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Mukbang

This episode is dedicated to my Fiancée Shannon.

The following content is the written version of Season 2 Episode 15 of the Who’d a Thunk It? Podcast.

Recommendation Segment

  • One of my biggest requirements for a good movie, book, TV show or any other kind of story is to learn from it. It doesn’t have to be educational. For instance, if a really good drama series has its characters displaying such complex emotions in complex situations, then I’ve learned about a new possibility in the world. At the very least, I’ve learned that someone in the world has mind that was capable of coming up with such a story.
  • But then there are stories that are just garbage TV. Like most reality TV shows.
  • This week’s recommendation is TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé
    • There are tons of Spinoff shows
      • Before the 90 Days
      • 90 Day Fiancé: Happily Ever After?
      • 90 Day Fiancé: What Now?
      • 90 Day Fiancé: Pillow Talk
      • The Family Chantel
      • 90 Day Fiancé: Just Landed
      • 90 Day Fiancé: Self Quarantine
      • Darcey Stacey
      • 90 Day Bares All
      • 90 Day Diaries
      • 90 Day Journey
      • 90 Day Fiancé the Other Way
      • The Other Way Strikes Back
      • Happily Ever After Strikes Back
      • 90 Day Fiancé: Love Games
      • 90 Day Fiancé: The Single Life
    • The show follows couples who have applied for or received a K-1 visa, available uniquely to foreign fiancés of U.S. citizens, and therefore have 90 days to marry each other.
    • The vast majority of the people the show follows are delusional, but some of them you actually are rooting for… oh and there are a few Catfish stories as well.
    • My Fiance Shannon and I started watching the show because of a Podcast I listen to called Your Mom’s House. The Podcast’s hosts are Tom Segura and Christina P (married comedians). They said it was a great trash TV show to kill a few minutes and they were right!

Now for the Main Event! Season 2 Episode 15 is about the Korean internet craze known as Mukbang!

  • I was on the couch with my Fiancé Shannon. We were watching 90 Day Fiancé: Before the 90 Days. I didn’t notice Shan was on her phone until I heard it. There was this slurping and mushing sound coming from her iPhone.
    • LISTEN FOR YOURSELF to this audio segment I got off Youtube:::::::::::::::::::::play audio clip:::::::::::::
  • I slowly turned my head to face her with an alarmed look on my face and asked “um… babe? Are you watching porn right now?”
  • She burst out laughing and exclaiming that it wasn’t porn she was watching on her phone, but something called Mukbang… it is basically food porn.
This is Korean Mukbang star Zach Choi. I used one of his cover images for this episode.

The audio segment I used in the Podcast is from this Zach Choi video below.

  • The word Mukbang is Korean and translates to “eating broadcast.” It started in Korea back in 2010.
    • It is quite simply people eating food in front of a camera. The original Korean Mukbangers streamed themselves eating various foods live, but now it is quite common for Mukbang videos to be recorded and then uploaded with no live stream. As you’ve already heard in that audio clip, the chewing and slurping sounds are a big part of Mukbang.
    • Back in 2015 Mukbang made its way over the Pacific and began gain popularity among American viewers.
    • Today a Mukbanger can make upwards of $10,000 a month and that doesn’t even include sponsorships from food and drink brands.
  • But…. why?
    • Why is this a thing?
      • Of course one could point out that there are nearly 7.7 Billion people alive on the planet and the internet connects just about all of them so there are bound to be niche communities of all kinds.
      • But Personally I have no idea why this is a thing. I don’t understand the appeal. I think Mukbang is a little gross.
  • If I was looking to kill sometime on Youtube, I’d much rather put on a live stream of a busy urban intersection and enjoy the people-watching or maybe a live stream of a world-class aquarium. Watching fish swim around is incredibly soothing to me.
      • So in order to understand why, I looked else where.
    • I partially read a lengthy research review article on Mukbang and concluded it was a lot of boring research jargon
      • To summarize, the Springer Link article said: “Watching mukbang appears to help such individuals satisfy food cravings, experience the feeling of binge eating themselves, and have a vicarious satiation via visual and audio stimulation.”
    • The academic perspective is nice and all, but I thought an even better perspective would be from an actual Mukbang fan. So, I asked my Fiancé Shannon:
      • =======Input Shannon’s unscripted audio clip=====
      • Sorry blog readers, you’ll have to tune in to the actual podcast for Shannon’s take.
    • But you Blog readers can check out this video Shannon and I watched by Stephanie Soo. She is a Mukbanger herself and she gives a great perspective in to the “industry.”
      • The video is under 5 minutes which I like.
  • Along with the Academic perspective and Shannon’s perspective, I wanted to include a Mukbanger’s perspective.
    • Stephanie Soo, a Mukbanger from South Korea, says a lot of her viewers tune in to her videos because they have no one to eat with. Instead of eating alone, they feel connected to Stephanie when they themselves are enjoying a meal.
      • I thought that was kind of deep and depressing, but also hopeful in a way.
    • She also said that there is an important rule when making Mukbang videos: make sure you finish the food!
      • Most Mukbang viewers will be upset if they watch a video where the food isn’t finished. Some will even skip to the end of the video and if there is any food left over, they’ll take their valuable view elsewhere.

Criticisms

  • With any trend there are bound to be criticisms. Mukbang is no exception.
    • Apparently a lot of people with eating disorders watch Mukbang videos and that has led people to draw conclusions like
      • Watching people eat massive amounts of junk food makes people have terrible diets
        • Either it makes people eat way too much
        • Or it makes people eat way too little, depending on how each person interprets the videos.
    • Personally, watching someone else eat food always makes me want to eat food myself. This sucks because over eating is a struggle of mine. But thankfully it isn’t hard for me to recognize that watching these videos isn’t good for me and I have no problem just averting my gaze.
      • And Shannon falls in to the same category as me. But there are some who watch Mukbang to keep themselves from eating.
      • There seems to be some sort of Psychological factor at play here.
  • Mukbang isn’t really my thing. But in making this episode I realized that a lot of Mukbang videos start with the Mukbanger preparing the food they are about to eat. What’s interesting to me is that, THAT particular part I enjoy. The art of preparing food or cooking has always been satisfying to watch for me… I’m just not a big fan of watching people scarf is all down.
  • Thanks for listening Who’d a Thunkers! Until next week!

CREDIT

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