The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

New Variety Show Captures Breathtaking Views

Netflix Original “Twogether” Starring Lee Seung-gi and Jasper Liu

Can you imagine being lowered down a cliff about 140-meters tall by a mere rope managed by a few men? Your only solace and support is your friend who is being lowered down with you. (Did I mention your friend is not a huge fan of heights?) It is a slow and worrisome descent but your mind is captivated by something far more consequential: The breathtaking view. 

“Twogether” is a variety show released on Netflix June 26. It follows two East Asian celebrities: Lee Seung-gi (a Korean actor, singer and Variety show veteran) and Jasper Liu (a musician, Taiwanese actor and Variety show newbie) join forces to complete a series of adventures planned by six fans. They travel through Southeast Asia to destinations chosen by their fans — if they are successful in completing the absurd missions at each stop, Lee and Liu get a chance to meet-and-greet each lucky fan. 

The pair complement each other quite well. Lee, 33, is an obvious choice for this travelogue series given his history of participating in Variety shows. He has been a mentor for many and it makes sense to pair him with Liu, also 33, an up-and-coming star. They are the same age but are at completely different points in their lives, so they have a lot to learn from each other. They match each other’s energy, passion and competitive nature. Lee does take on the role of the “leader” very quickly –– as he has done in his other shows –– while Liu follows behind, but this is somewhat expected given Liu’s lack of familiarity with reality shows. 

There is a language barrier: Liu speaks Chinese while Lee speaks Korean. They both make an attempt to learn the other’s language, one word at a time, but the majority of the show is them conversing in the limited English they know. It does get a bit awkward between them at times as they try to rack their brains for the right word and the directors notice that too. Hence, the display of comments and ellipses on the screen to alleviate some of the awkward tension. I would not hold that against the show though, there is so much to enjoy that those snippets seem trivial. 

I am especially impressed by the fact that Liu managed to survive the show knowing some English and the few Koreans words he learned along the way. Albeit I have only seen the pilot episode as of now, there is no sign of a Chinese translator among the staff and crew traveling with Liu and Lee. All the instructions are given by the directors (who speak Korean) and Lee roughly translates for Liu. It is really difficult to be in a foreign country when you do not know the language of the land or that of the people you are traveling with!

Compared to the other variety show I am in the midst of watching (“Master in the House,” also starring Lee), “Twogether” does not have that same level of hilarity. It does, however, have stunning scenery of Indonesia, Thailand and Nepal. Hats off to the creators for capturing the natural beauty of these countries. Whether they showed a view from above the city, the nightlife or Semanu –– where the Jomblang  cave is located in Indonesia –– I felt the urge to book a plane ticket and explore the cities for myself. (Obviously travel is not an option during the pandemic, but you know what I mean.)

“Twogether” is an interesting watch. The scenery and the duo’s race against time –– to finish the mission and meet their fan –– keeps you on the edge of your seat. Just from the first episode, you learn so much about the actors themselves too. For example, Lee sure knows how to bargain and negotiate and Liu loves himself some navy blue silk pajamas. This show is something different; it is a mix of a travelogue, game show and mystery that takes you on an adventure of a lifetime. 


* Side note: Variety shows are unscripted shows in which the participants (actors/comedians/idols/etc.) are challenged to complete certain tasks which often leave them in unpredictable (and often hilarious) circumstances. 

** There are English subtitles available on Netflix. 


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About the Contributor
Priyanka Gera, Managing Editor
Priyanka is a senior Spanish and Environmental Science double major on the pre-medical track. She has been a part of the Torch since her freshman year and has held several positions starting as a Staff Writer, then Assistant Culture Editor, Culture Editor and Digital Editor last year. As a part of the 99th E-Board, her goal is to strengthen the Torch’s online presence and grow the newspaper’s staff and contributors. She hopes to continue writing interesting and important stories for the St. John’s community. A Harry Potter fan, Priyanka is a Slytherin and loves the fourth novel in the series, “Goblet of Fire.” You can reach Priyanka at [email protected].

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