Push of a button: Hello Counselor Review

How hard is it to judge someone else’s problems? Apparently insanely easy. Like the push of a button…

These past few months I have been idly watching a train wreck of a show – a train wreck of a show that has me pulled in so close I think I should probably give the freaking program a hug. Except I am scared to. Because this show has issues. Major issues. Such as:


The woman who would not let her husband or children use the toilet in their home. The mother who filled her house with 3,000 jugs of medicinal wine. The thin 18 year old girl who was constantly called a fat pig by her family. The woman whose brother was obsessed- he went on her honeymoon with her and her husband. The man who compulsively stored jars of urine. The girl that was embarrassed that her dad practiced Idol Kpop dancing 4 hours a day. The man who experienced racism on a daily basis.

Hello Counselor is the program I am rambling on about, and it is a, um, a gem of a …a…show. The premise is insanely simple and strange – average, every day citizens come on the program to share the odd, problematically normal, and bizarre issues they have. Celebrity guests appear to ad commentary, the guests change every episode. Four set hosts (Jung Chan-wu, Shin Dongyeop, Lee Youngja and Kim Taekyun) appear to maintain the fun and consistency…and then the audience votes if each person’s problem is an actual concern or not. The problem with the highest vote wins $1,000.

The Hosts

Basically, think a whacked out talk show and add in audience voting. And comedians. And a slide into a ball pit. Yep- this show is pretty much exactly what I would stage if I had unlimited time and resources. Tell me your problems people – but first you must slide into a ball pit. Muahahahahahaha!

Okay, wackiness aside, I will get serious for a moment. I really like watching this show, but not for the right reasons. It is interesting in as much as any American (or any country’s) talk shows are interesting; you are basically watching someone admit their dirty horrible secrets in front of everyone. They are attaching a big old scarlet A in the face of society, and that will never not be interesting.  However, in the case of Hello Counselor, the entire thing is executed with a sense of comedy. Which is something that is hard to grasp.

the ball pit and slide

Granted this show is not a rotating case of paternity accusations or slutty Mom’s punching their sister in laws. However there are some serious problems presented on this show; obesity racism, hoarding, obsession, and family drama. And the audience votes. Somehow the audience voting aspect and the monetary reward just seems like a bad idea given the seriousness of some of these problems. Yet, it keeps me interested, which makes me think I have some pretty low moral standards. Then again, those who appear on the show know the premise from the get go; so I can see the other side of the coin when I think about how they decided to air their dirty laundry with the hopes of $1,000 hanging over their confession. The age old talk show argument – is it their fault for airing their dirty laundry or is it the fault of the people that give them an opportunity to do so?


The celebrity guest stars are always a treat, mostly because paying attention to how they react to the problems that are presented on the show is a job in and of itself. Some of the guests have looked downright insensitive at times (no naming names, and the above pic is unrelated to my opinion on this) while others have tried to relate to those who come on the program to explain their concern. It is just plain interesting to see how idols / actors respond to the bizarre issues that make their presence loud and clear on this show.

You can catch episodes of Hello Counselor on KBS World. If you have watched this show what do you think? Audience voting about real life problems- issue or not? I am intrigued to hear others opinions. Just don’t mock the ball pit. Because that is just plain awesome.

9 thoughts on “Push of a button: Hello Counselor Review

  1. Thanks for writing about this show. I got hooked on it in part because I love how funny the hosts are. But you’re right.. certain issues are seriously disturbing and I think it’s unfortunate that sometimes the guests go off never to be seen again and with their problem not fully resolved. I mean there’s only so much you can do on a talk show but still. I don’t really mind the audience voting since it can be an indication of how serious everyone else thinks the problem is (because sometimes the person causing the problem really thinks it’s not an issue).

    P.S. Sorry I took your invitation to ramble on quite literally!

    • Good point on the audience voting, it can be an indication of how serious a problem is. I like this show, but something about it feels wrong. But like I said in my review it is hard to point fingers (since people come on the show knowing the concept). I guess any show that has people telling their problems has some kind of weird feel about it. Oh, and I love the ball pit.

      • I think I know what you mean, sometimes I get that feeling watching the show too. And yes the ball pit is great – I like to imagine how it would feel whooshing down the slide into the pit!

    • Which one are you looking for 🙂 A lot of the scenarios I mentioned are in different episodes. The episodes are available on KBS World on Youtube. Let me know which one you are looking for and I will hunt it down for you 🙂

  2. Hi, may I know which episode have this scenario :
    like in a recent one, the kids were very big(as in fat) and the mother said she couldn’t say no whey the kids ask for food because they would get mad.
    Thanks 🙂

  3. I was searching for good episodes and found this article. I 100% agree wit u.
    You understand from both sides and also the guests and MCs are much more agressive and straightforward in their opinions.
    Here, the MCs are so nice and think in a very nice pure way. In the love special, an obsessed hair- fetish lover was so crazy…but ppl acted so nicely.

  4. Is English your second language? If it is, you are an amazing writer. I think you have a talent for not English or Korean or whatever but in literature itself.

  5. I hate this show. I think some of the issues are actually dangerous and it’s ridiculous that they make a joke of it. A dad admitted to wanting to kill his family when he’s drunk and he abuses them and they’re like cut back on drinking and be nicer. Such an awful awful show. Sends the message to anyone watching who’s dealing with an abusive family member that it’s ok and not that serious.

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