If one were to pick a star who caused the biggest sensation in a recent reality TV show, it will be difficult to leave out Dr. Oh Eun-young, a celebrated psychiatrist. The phenomenon, which was triggered by cable TV network’s Channel A's ‘My Golden Kids’ and ‘Oh Eun-young's Golden Clinic,’ has long since dominated national TV stations as well. In an interview with The Dong-A Ilbo, Dr. Oh said, “There are many people who find comfort in talking to and confiding in me.”
Recently, the so-called “counseling show” has become a trend in the sea of content on TV and YouTube. Those appearing in Dr. Oh’s show shake off the worries of what used to gnaw in them when left alone in front of the camera, in the course of talking to Dr. Oh and they find comfort doing so. TV viewers are also enthusiastic about counseling shows by expressing sympathy for those with similar concerns or cheering for those who are struggling.
Above all, the appeal of counseling reality TV programs is that counselors can get cues to solve problems. 'Oh Eun-young's Golden Clinic,' is said to often record over four hours per guest. “The trust of viewers grew bigger in Dr. Oh’s counseling, which dramatically and clearly has solved the problems of children as well as adults, especially couples,” said Ha Jae-geun, a popular culture critic. “It is becoming a genre of a reality program of its own.”
This trend is expanding even further on YouTube. An example is actor-turned shaman Jeong Ho-geun. The YouTube channel “Jeong Ho-geun’s Bizarre Life Counseling Center – Late Night Shrine” has several episodes with over 1 million views. In this show, Jeong maintains a calm voice in a neat suit and has a quiet conversation in a studio designed like a cafe. He does fortune telling, but the way he listens to the other person's concerns and communicates with them is impressive.
The YouTube channel ‘Golden Love,’ which seems to have parodied the Channel A program concerned, is also attracting attention. There are many viewers who applaud the way comedian Lee Yong-jin and Mirage talk in a comical and open manner, using the format of consulting on dating between ordinary people or YouTubers. KBS Joy Channel's ‘Ask Us Anything,’ which launched in 2019, has also established itself as a long-standing program thanks to Lee Soo-geun and Seo Jang-hoon's strong collaboration.
In order for the counseling program to consistently elicit positive responses, it is important to approach the subject matter with truthfulness rather than using stimulating materials. "There are a lot of viewers' reactions to the guests. The number of people who want to address problems and solve them full-on has increased,” said Producer Jeong Jae-guk, who is directing 'Oh Eun-young's Golden Clinic.’ "As the world has become a place that requires consultations and examinations for mental health just like receiving a health checkup, we are trying to include content that many people can relate to."