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'Make It Pop' Delivers Delightful Snippets Of Korean And Chinese American Culture To Young Audiences

BY Adrienne Stanley | Apr 08, 2015 11:58 AM EDT

The Nickelodeon musical series “Make It Pop” premiered this week, with Korean-American vocalist Megan Lee at the helm of its youthful cast. “Make It Pop” received widespread media attention as one of the first attempts by American television to take on K-pop. The show incorporates the captivating aesthetic of the genre, with Korean pop culture posters prominently displayed on the walls of the female protagonists. However, the songs that are performed by Sun Hi (Megan Lee), Jodi (Louriza Tronco) and Corki (Erika Tham) are not delivered in Korean. To call it a K-pop show is reductive as “Make It Pop” provides a comedic analysis of pop culture beyond the genre, focusing on the selfie-obsessed, electronic dance music (EDM) trends that pervade the 13-25 age demographic.

The first episode titled “Rumors and Roommates,” introduces viewers to the central characters and the seemingly impossible setting of Mackendrick Prep. Mackendrick Prep is an international boarding school, which immediately explains the self-centered personalities of its student body.

Sun Hi entertains dreams of international stardom and constantly emerges herself in music. She films a performance video with her reluctant roommates which goes viral. One of the best quotes about internet fame and viral videos comes from Sun Hi. “I’m web famous, that’s better than being real life famous,” said Sun Hi.

Corki, who interjects Mandarin into the program as she speaks with her parents, may be one of the most stereotypical characters in “Make It Pop” but she is also one of the most interesting. She is obsessed with studying and plays the violin.

Jodi is a relatable character, who is willing to sacrifice for her friends. The combination of young actresses who are at the helm of the series demonstrates excellent casting. The series is like a sanitized version of “Glee” as opposed to “Hannah Montana,” where there was a central focus on one musically talented character.

Caleb (Dale Whibley), who is one of the main male characters depicted in the show, is an aspiring DJ. His desire to collaborate with Sun Hi and her budding girl group is reminiscent of artists like Diplo or Skrillex, who have formed successful working relationships with K-pop stars like 2NE1’s CL.

“Make It Pop” may not feature a K-pop soundtrack but the series is worth watching. “Make It Pop” premiered on April 6 and will air twenty episodes during its first season.

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