Aww-inspiring Grandpas

Aww-inspiring Grandpas
Actors (above from left) Park Geun Hyeong, Shin Goo, Lee Seo Jin, Lee Soon Jae and Baek Il Seob see highs and lows during a backpacking holiday in Europe in Grandpas Over Flowers, while Ben Yeo goes on a treasure hunt around the island with other players in Finding U.

KOREA - When it comes to cuteness, South Korea has to be a reigning superpower now.

For evidence, look no further than Running Man, a Korean variety hit permeated by playground mischief and peopled with human cartoons such as Ha Ha, who has been nicknamed Haroro for his likeness to animated penguin Pororo.

There's Gwiyomi Song, a K-pop meme which has made it okay for full-grown guys to perform finger-counting rhymes and pretend to be six-year-old girls.

And here's Grandpas Over Flowers, a Korean reality show bent on finding cuteness in unexpected places.

Deviating from a run of teen-friendly Flower Boy dramas, cable channel tvN has fixed on four of Korea's oldest television dads to make an aww-inspiring show about their first backpacking holiday around Europe.

Lee Soon Jae, Shin Goo, Park Geun Hyeong and Baek Il Seob - with an average age of 74 - are of the generation who haven't strapped on backpacks since the Korean War, who suffered economic hardship for decades and who associate European tours with the extravagance of middle age.

For them, getting to rough it in Paris is bittersweet.

It is their chance to catch up with adventurous younger travellers, even as they envy how bold young lovers are nowadays, whether in Seoul or on a sunny lawn in the Palace of Versailles.

"We've become a society that accepts pornography," Lee remarks.

Back in his day, he says, couples waited for the cover of night to canoodle in parks.

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