Infinite Challenge has finally come to an end. It is a variety show in Korea that started on May 6, 2006 and ended on March 31, 2018 with a total of 563 episodes. Infinite Challenge was aired at Saturday 6:20 pm, and its highest viewer rating was 30.4%. What was so special about Infinite Challenge that made this program very meaningful for 13 years?
Infinite Challenge opened the era of “Real Variety”. There was no script and the players were showed just as they were. Prior to this program, variety show programs of Korea mainly depended on guests and the script; the shows have a fixed format. Infinite Challenge departed from the fixed format and came up with different formats each week. Therefore, every episode was a special feature. Even showing the audience how the program members planned for the next feature became one special highlight of Infinite Challenge. This format was totally fresh and had provided a new interest to its viewers. The format of Infinite Challenge, which pursued liveliness and fun, was a perfect fit for the 21st century, the “age of the Internet”. After the Infinite Challenge, many variety show programs with the “Real Variety” format emerged.
According to Jae-geun Ha, who is a culture critic, the reason that made Infinite Challenge such a special program was that it embodied internal social issues. Almost every episode created a great sensation in the Korean society. The “Pimple-Break-Chase” episode embodied the hardships of displaced people. The background and the material of the episode were associated with the history of demolition. The “Samiljeol” episode, where the members visited Utoro and Hashima Island, Japan, reminded us of the history of the Korean forced labor by the Japanese.
Similar to the fandom of idol singers, the Infinite Challenge has merchandise for sale. Meanwhile, the Infinite Challenge calendars, annual publication for sale, were so popular that the servers of the marketing site went down due to the amount of competition. Infinite Challenge was not just loved by the viewers, but it also donated the profits it obtained from its name. The total amount of donation of Infinite Challenge was 6,300,000,000 won. Gallup Korea surveyed that Infinite Challenge was number one for being the “TV program that Koreans love” for a long period of time. The program that was fondly remembered as a symbol of one generation now bids farewell.
Joo So-young (Web Editor)