Are the cast members of ‘Single’s Inferno’ clout chasers?


Source: Korean Herald

Sunny Lee, Reporter

A new Netflix Original series “Single’s Inferno” premiered on Dec. 18, 2021. The show gathered attention because it was billed as the South Korean version of the popular American reality dating show “Too Hot to Handle.” On top of that, news reported that Song Ji-a, a well-known social media influencer, was casted, gaining more popularity. Within days of its release, the show occupied a spot on the global Netflix Top 10 and maintained the rank for several weeks. 

“At first, I did not think it would be much different from the numerous other dating shows,” Rachel Kim (12), an avid fan of Netflix shows, said. “However, the massive set was the most differentiating aspect. Islanders rode helicopters and spent nights in extravagant suite rooms. Also, it is hard to find shows with people like Song Ji-a as part of the cast.” 

The show starts off with beautiful, hot singles walking into a secluded island near Incheon one-by-one. After the cast members introduce themselves to the camera, producers present the rules for the stay. All participants have to keep their age and occupation confidential until they successfully pair up with a partner to go to the “Heaven Island” where they can then open up about their personal life. 

Unlike “Too Hot to Handle,” “Single’s Inferno” does not grant a monetary prize to their contestants at the end of the show. The purpose is solely to encourage members to find a romantic connection. They engage in activities together such as fun challenges, cooking meals, and collecting drinking water from a well. 

Although no financial reward was given to any of the islanders, lots of fame and popularity followed. After the show, Song Jia’s Youtube channel, Freezia, gained one million subscribers, which is over double the initial number. Since she was one of the final couples, fans assumed she would reveal her relationship status on her social media, but she remained silent on the matter. This left many to speculate her break up. 

Clout-chasing controversies tag along most dating shows. Rarely do couples who seemed tight throughout the show remain coupled up in real life. “Single’s Inferno” is not an exception. As many final couples appeared to have gone separate ways after the show, it is hard to believe that these islanders wanted to find love in the first place. 

The rudimentary problem is that those who applied wishing for a genuine chance of love lost their spot to those who used the show as an advertisement platform. This pretentious act is enough to anger the audience who watch anticipating an honest search for love. 

“It simply doesn’t feel right for people to take advantage of reality TV shows for personal benefit beyond finding love, Xavier Kim (12), an avid fan of Netflix shows, said. “I think dating shows like Single’s Inferno gather such large audiences for the authentic interactions between cast members—and of course, to have their hearts fluttered along the way. When cast members join the show for clout, it is unfair to the viewers who watch for that appeal. It’s an act of deceit.”

However, it is unrealistic to expect a full cast equally passionate for romance. 

The producers try their best to filter out applicants focused on publicity aspects. However, unless they blatantly express it, it is difficult to notice their true intentions. Furthermore, as directors look for people who do not mind their lives being broadcasted to millions of viewers, they inevitably encounter ones desperate for fame. 

Given this difficulty, the audience should keep in mind that the ideal situation where every cast member is equally passionate for romance is unrealistic. Dating shows should simply be a source of entertainment, not a documentary.