Earlier this month, members of Infinite Challenge, popular Korean variety show, have visited Los Angeles to film their U.S. special episodes. On Saturday August 13, the first special episode was aired, showing more than their visit to LA is worth.
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Whereas the first special episode was dialed more in the laughter derived from slapsticky reactions to the notorious X2 at Six Flags, the second episode aired on August 20 presents both laughter and tears, leaving a meaningful message to its audiences.
On the third day of their visit to Los Angeles, members are given a tour around the city, guided by a producer at MBC America.
In a tour bus, the cast members visit, or rather pass by, Koreatown tourist attractions: a freeway interchange, USC and its Korean Studies Institute, Korean National Association, and a post office.
Throughout the “tour,” members complain about the tour’s poor quality, which doesn’t allow a stop for a look around or give a proper explanation about the places.
While members are busy complaining about the tour, even suspecting the tour guide of being a con man, they arrive at the final destination, Hollywood Walk of Fame, where they finally get off the bus to complete a mission – finding three Koreans’ names engraved on the Walk of Fame.
Although members of Infinite Challenge easily find the first two, they fail the mission, unable to find the one last name. Even when they were told the name, Philip Ahn, their minds go blank, clueless who the person is. It isn’t until later when members find the connection among Philip Ahn and all the places they’ve visited that day.
Philip Ahn is the eldest of Dosan Ahn Chang-ho’s children, as well as being the first Korean actor in Hollywood films. Those seemingly random places Infinite Challenge team visits are connected with Ahn Chang-ho being the common denominator. The freeway interchange, Korean Studies Institute at USC, and the post office were all named after Dosan.
Ahn Chang-ho, who is also referred to as his pen name Dosan, was a Korean independence activist and one of the early leaders of the Korean American immigrant community in the US. Forming organizations across the globe to fight the Japanese occupation of Korea, while also unifying Korean immigrants in Southern California, Dosan lived and died as the most important figure in the history of Korean independence and Korean immigration to U.S..
Having found the missing piece, the members go back to Korean National Association to learn more about Dosan’s accomplishments in the United States and to meet the youngest son of Dosan, Ralph Ahn. Later that day, the cast members are invited to Philip Ahn Cuddy’s house. Philip Ahn Cuddy is the grandson of Dosan and the son of Susan Ahn Cuddy, the first female gunnery office in the U.S. Navy.
After the episode was aired, both Korean audiences and Korean Americans living in the area are leaving positive comments about the episode. Many Koreans and Korean Americans in Los Angeles say that they are reflecting on themselves for being ignorant about the places featured in the show, despite their adjacency.
“Living in LA, I’ve never noticed Dosan Ahn Changho Interchange or Dosan Ahn Changho post office on the 6th st.,” said Ji-hye Ahn, a Korean resident in Los Angeles. “Watching the [Infinite Challenge] episode was like taking a history class.”
Truly, Infinite Challenge, through the episode aired on August 20, has left a priceless lesson to all the audiences, the lesson not to forget about the spirit of Dosan living with us.
Original article written by Lee Kyung-min
Translated and edited by Heewon Kim