Virtual reality platforms breathe new life into Korean dating programs


First aired Jan. 31 on the cable broadcasting company JTBC, the dating TV-show “Dating Alone” implemented the concept of virtual reality, providing a new outlook on televised dating programs. Similar to other dating shows such as “We Got Married” as well as “Dating Boys, Dating Girls,” the TV program features four different hosts, Shi-Gyung Sung, Hyun-Moo Jeon, Min-Jong Kim, Jang-Dong Min, as well as Won-Ho Shin, virtually dating a guest through a pre-recorded video screen. While the program has only aired for five episodes, there is a diversity of opinions regarding the show.

“I think that application of virtual reality into the show greatly enhanced its entertainment factor,” Jeffrey Park (10) said. “The fact that the program uses the first person point of view distinguishes it from other dating programs, making the experience appear more real and relatable. Therefore, I thought that it provided me with thorough and understandable dating advice.”

Although there has been positive feedback on the show’s new approach to dating programs, some viewers of the show criticized it for its superficiality and shallow view of dating life. According to the Korea Times, many specifically claimed that the show portrayed dating not as a genuine sharing of feelings, but as a game because the hosts received points based on how they responded to certain scenarios.

“I feel that trying to depict dating as strategic is very simple-minded,” Jake Park (9) said. “Although there are certain aspects of dating that can be simplified to the choices made within the relationship, I think that this undermines the core value of dating overall.”

Despite the mixed reactions, it is clear that the “Dating Alone” garnered a large amount of attention, as reflected upon its high-ranking search results on Korea’s biggest portal sites such as Naver as well as Daum. Although it initially began with a rather disappointing viewership rating of only 0.8%, the show’s popularity rose quickly to a viewership rating of 1.7%. According to the Joong-Ang Daily, the producers plan to invite Min-Kyong Kang, member of popular group Davichi for the next episode on Mar. 7.