Driving home the point that English is not important when communicating with foreigners here, tvN’s newly launched TV show “Friendly Driver” hopes to promote Korea as a tourist destination.
The show, which aired its first episode Wednesday, offers to drive foreign visitors from the Incheon International Airport to their destinations. The friendly drivers are comedians Lee Soo-geun and Kim Young-chul, actress Yoon So-hee and singer Microdot.
Even though the show deals with foreigners, only Yoon and Microdot are comfortable speaking English.
Comedian Lee claimed that communication is not just about speaking the language fluently. “Energy and attitude are more important, one cannot manage conversations by just being able to speak English,” he said at a press conference at Times Square mall in western Seoul, Wednesday.
The cast of “Friendly Driver” pose for photos at a press conference in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, Wednesday. From the left are Lee Soo-geun, Microdot, Yoon So-hee and Kim Young-chul. (tvN)
Fellow comedian Kim agreed. “I was first frustrated with my lack of English but I realized that the production staff did not contact me for my language fluency.
“Viewers do not expect perfect English from me. I hope to send a message to those who study the language that ‘They are able to communicate, speaking like that,’” he added. “Many of the visitors spoke Korean, at least the basic greetings. It’s different from the past.”
Through the show, the cast realized that many foreigners visited Korea for purposes other than sightseeing.
“I majored in tourism (in college) but I did not know that there were so many people with specific purposes,” comedian Kim said. Lee agreed, “Out of 10, at least five came to Korea in relation to their professions or studies.”
Comedian Kim wishes to promote Korea’s tourism industry through the show. “Compared to neighboring cities like Hong Kong and Tokyo, Japan, Seoul is much less recognized,” he said. “I wish that the show can be a chance to advertise Seoul.”
“I heard that foreign visitors often get the impression that Koreans are friendly,” producer Lee Yoon-ho said, explaining the title of the show. “Foreigners can later tell others about the experience, saying, ‘I met a friendly driver in Korea.’”
The show airs every Wednesday at 8:10 p.m. on tvN.
By Im Eun-byel (firstname.lastname@example.org)