In new show, stars look after unusual pets

By 원호정

JTBC’s new show “Mari & I” hopes to show a different side to stars

  • Published : Dec 16, 2015 - 17:55
  • Updated : Dec 16, 2015 - 17:55

Eight male celebrities of varying age, background, and experience with animals are rolling up their sleeves to take care of other people’s pets in the new JTBC entertainment show “Mari & I.”

“It’s a story about communication between animals and people,” producer Kim No-eun told press at the Stanford Hotel Seoul on Tuesday. 

“Since they can’t speak to each other, they have to express themselves with their bodies and hearts. I think our viewers will get to see a very different side to our cast members.”

The cast is a hodgepodge of singers, actors and TV personalities. Headed by comedy and entertainment show powerhouse Kang Ho-dong (“1 Night 2 Days,” “New Journey to the West”) and singer Lee Jae-hoon (formerly of the ’90s pop trio Cool), the cast also includes the mischievous Eun Ji-won, who is already a household name in entertainment shows. 

(From left) B.I, Kim Jinhwan, Seo In-guk, Eun Ji-won (cutout), Kang Ho-dong, Lee Jae-hoon, Kim Min-jae and Sim Hyoung-tak pose for press at the Stanford Hotel Seoul on Tuesday. (JTBC)

Other cast members include singer-actor Seo In-guk, actor Sim Hyoung-tak and singer-actor Kim Min-jae, as well as Kim Jinhwan and B.I of YG Entertainment boy band iKON.

“We intentionally included members of different generations, singers and actors, to see how they would interact with the animals differently,” producer Kim said. 

On the show, the cast will be given tasks related to taking care of other peoples’ pets. They might watch over the pets while their owners are on a business trip, pick them up from the vet and drive them back home, or visit them once a week for regular pet-sitting. 

The animals on the show are expected to be as diverse as the cast -- in a preview highlight reel shown to press Tuesday, the animal talent included common cats and dogs as well as a raccoon, a pig and a chicken.

Kim acknowledged the difficulty of making a show about animals interesting and different when there are already similar programs and no dialogue.

“It was something we thought a lot about in the beginning,” she said. “People told us ‘animal shows can’t last long.’ Although animals are featured in our show, we like to think of it as a show about human stories, the side of us that comes out when we are with animals.”  

“Mari & I” airs every Wednesday at 10:50 p.m. on JTBC.

By Won Ho-jung (hjwon@heraldcorp.com)