A look at both sides of the duck

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No, not that duck!

In the United States, we sometimes use the analogy of a duck to describe a situation where someone appears to be moving along effortlessly (like the part of the duck you easily see above the water), but in truth they are “paddling like hell” (like the feet of the duck below the water, which you don’t see).

Obviously, the entertainment industry is always very much like a duck: What you see is the glamorous stars stepping out of their limousines; what you don’t see is all the work that got them there.

Last night P.O appeared on The Show dressed as a vampire, and I wanted to examine one fun, yet duck-like, thing that came from that–namely, the roughly 10,000 fan photos of P.O looking alternately handsome and adorkable.

That’s the top part of the duck–such fun!

Now let’s go beneath the waves.

ㅅ ㅅ ㅅ ㅅ ㅅ ㅅ ㅅ

Obviously a lot of work went into getting P.O all gussied up, not to mention getting him on the show in the first place. But I want to look at just one small piece of the picture: How did P.O and the fan cammers wind up in the same place at the same time?

As you can see by watching the above video, this was no chance meeting. There are a group of fans, clearly following set rules (stay seated, don’t approach him), who are in a particular place and time where they know P.O is going to show up, and where he knows the fans will be.

How do the fans know where to go? They follow this Twitter account (there is usually information on the fan cafe site as well), which is filled with photographs of near-abandoned cityscapes that can, at times, be oddly haunting and beautiful.

These are the places the fans are supposed to wait. Sometimes the waiting is just something you have to do to, say, be part of the audience for a music show, but often it’s what you do because one or more members of Block B is going to come out to say hello, pose for pictures, and maybe even answer questions (more or less seriously depending on their mood, of course).

This is a very common practice in K-Pop–at least with idol groups. And it’s part of why sometimes you get complaints that seem really odd. For example, Zico might be on the docket for a hip-hop show. The night of the show, he arrives in time for his scheduled appearance on stage, he does a good job performing the setlist he was expected to perform, and then he leaves.

And the fans complain bitterly.

That might seem really unreasonable–and, to a certain extent, it is. But it’s not quite as outrageous as, say, the fan of a Western artist getting mad about the same thing, because in some situations Zico absolutely is expected to come out and greet the fans in addition to performing.

But it also gives you an idea of why the notion that fans in Korea “don’t get anything” from Block B is such a risible one. What is considered minimal fan service in Korean K-Pop circles is well beyond what is expected almost anywhere else. There were a lot of photos this time around because of the costume, but P.O does this kind of mini-meeting with fans (which are, of course, set up by the Seven Seasons staff) pretty much every time he appears on The Show–and he’s a regular!

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