South Korean show 'We Got Divorced' captures the attention of Chinese viewers
Published: Nov 29, 2020 11:18 PM

Photo: CFP

If you get a divorce, would you be willing to once again live with your ex in the same house for three days? The recently released South Korean variety show We Got Divorced explores this question. Since its premiere, the show has ignited heated discussion on both South Korean and Chinese social media for its bold and fresh exploration of divorce and the relationship between divorced couples.

Current episodes have featured two couples, South Korean actors Lee Young-ha and Sunwoo Eun-sook who got married in 1981, at the peak of their careers, and divorced in 2007, and YouTube influencers Choi Go-gi and Yoo Catnip, who got married in 2014 and divorced just seven months ago. 

The show records the two couples as they live in a house for three days and two nights, and explores their thoughts about their lives before and after their divorces. Two hosts and two guests, including one psychologist, observe and analyze the couples' behavior. 

The hashtag "We Got Divorced" has earned 830 million views on China's Sina Weibo. Many Chinese netizens have joined in on the discussion about the two couple' lives, with many noting that they, who divorce in China, have empathized with the couples. 

According to the data released by China's Ministry of Civil Affairs in September, 9.273 million couples registered for marriage, while 4.701 million pairs filed for divorce. Additionally, the divorce rate hit a record high in 2019, increasing to 3.4 per thousand. 

Many others also expressed the hope that China could produce a similar show.

"I think China can also produce a variety show called 'We Broke Up.' It would be interesting to gather couples who broke up," one Chinese netizen wrote on Sina Weibo.

Some netizens even launched online polls to select which divorced couples they wanted to see the most. Former celebrity couple Yang Mi and Lau Hoi-wai were discussed the most, while others expressed their willingness to see celebrities such as Song Joong-ki and Song Hye-kyo, and Ahn Jae-hyun and Ku Hye-sun appear on We Got Divorced.

Shi Wenxue, a teacher at the Beijing Film Academy, told the Global Times on Sunday that China has previously produced variety shows about blind dating, getting marriage, and raising children, but has not tackled the subject of divorce, a topic ripe with commercial potential. 

He pointed out that divorce has become a social issue in China as some big cities such as Beijing and Shanghai have seen high divorce rates in recent years. 

However, he also noted that if such a show were to air in China, it would have a difficult time finding guests as many celebrities likely would be unwilling to air their dirty laundry in public. As such, producing such a show would have to keep localization in mind, said Shi.