The Strongest K-Pop Survival: Cuts? Really?

I’m going to keep this quick, because there’s really not much I want to analyze about a piece of fluff, but really, Channel A? Cutting down the show from sixteen episodes to fourteen? How much profit was that one week’s difference really going to bring you? Would it have killed you to allow the show to keep its narrative integrity by finishing out its run, despite the rock bottom viewership? And could you at least have given the production team a bit more of a heads up – I mean, seriously, they squeezed out the happy ending and epilogue in the last ten minutes, not that it was satisfying in any way.

So if you’re out of the loop, The Strongest K-Pop Survival is basically the cross dressing trope set to the idol world – think You’re Beautiful: Lite. It was silly and sweet, but without the substance I felt like it ought to have. It was the kind of happy-go-lucky team spirit I’d expect to find in another sequel to High School Musical, not the trendy programming that I had wanted. The characters were blah with little development (especially the hordes of nameless boy band members), but Park Yoo-hwan did have a solid performance throughout, even in the measly five minutes he was given to smart at Ji Seung-yoon’s betrayal (grumble, grumble). The plot was predictable, though the longer arcs, like the fate of the M2 Juniors, did keep tension throughout. But really, these are minor quibbles in the face of the Fuck You that the network flipped the show.

Really? A two episode cut? I didn’t even like the show, and I’m still smarting over the loss. There were so many loose plot ends left untied and so many arcs that were messily sewn together. Like what ever happens to the sexual tension between Jang Hyun-suk and Han Jung-eun? And how the hell do the fans react when they’re shown that Seung-yoon is a girl? And how does that affect the team? Does M2 Junior even stay together, or do some members go their separate ways? And does Seung-yoon ever get to look like a girl? Does she stay with the Juniors, or debut in a girl’s group? Argh. . . So many questions left hanging.

And it was ridiculously obvious that the production team had already edited the episode before they found out about the cut. The first fifty minutes of the finale were paced like a regular fourteenth episode, building up press reveal of Seung-yoon’s deception at a steady rate. Then she goes out for an errand and surprise! Time jump – suddenly she’s been missing for at least a few weeks, and the whole scandal has blown over, just like that. In drama land, anything’s possible, but this isn’t even plausible. No consequences? Really? But writers, it’s not your fault.

I just feel sorry for everyone involved. For the actors, for the production team, and for the viewers. Those last two episodes were obviously vital to the pacing and completion of the plot, but we were cheated out of them all. On a scale of how angry I am at the network on a scale from one to Firefly (shakes fist at Fox), this is about a three. I wish we’d gotten closure, but it’s really not going to keep me up at night. Not like watching reruns of Serenity. (Sob.)

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