The newest season of Three Meals a Day: Fishing Village 5 comes at a time of global uncertainty and socioeconomic volatility due largely in part to COVID-19. In the beginning of the first episode, the three main actors reflect on how COVID-19 was considered before deciding to film the show. While the situation is still serious, especially considering the recent spike in virus cases sparked by recent events in Itaewon, the crew decided to continue filming. The risk was deemed relatively low due to their seclusion from other people and limited production staff, and they expressed a desire to hopefully bring a bit of positivity back into peoples’ lives through the program. With refreshing visuals and social interactions, Fishing Village 5 really is a relaxing breath of fresh air in an unprecedented, strange time.

Similar to previous seasons of Three Meals a Day, Fishing Village 5 follows a small group of actors as they harvest off the land, enjoy local scenery, and cook meals based on what is locally available. This season takes place in a tiny fishing village on the remote island of Jukgul and features Cha Seung-won, Yoo Hae-jin, and Son Ho-jun. They have all met previously and starred on previous seasons together as well. Seung-won and Hae-jin are the oldest members, while Ho-jun is treated like the baby of the group, acting as the assistant to the other two, whether it be cooking, hunting for abalones, or washing the dishes.

Seung-won tends to do most of the cooking and meal preparation so far while Hae-jin does more of the harvesting, fishing, and hands-on tasks. He even fixed up an old hand fan in order to more easily and efficiently stoke the fire pit they use to cook! The chemistry between the characters is playful, and they tease each other frequently, making the atmosphere of the show overall lighthearted and smile-inducing. They do however get along well in the end and more than once demonstrate a desire to care for each other. There is a very wholesome moment where camera crews sneak some food to Hae-jin on his boat while he is fishing for their dinner. Ironically, he has not caught many fish thus far.

One of the highlights of the show is the beautiful setting in which it takes place. The main segments of the actors cooking and collecting ingredients are interspersed with breathtaking nature shots, fishing excursions, lots of rain, and “An Illustrated Guide to Small Island Nature” that gives information about local plants and animals on the island.

The nature shots are comforting and give viewers the impression that they are being brought along to the island with them rather than only watching them from afar. The time taken to highlight the local landscape is an enjoyable balance to all of the cooking and dialogue. Additionally, the guide to island nature allows users to also learn useful facts along the way. While many are stuck in quarantine, these little educational tidbits provide some variety and fulfilling learning that is easy to digest.

In addition to the obvious cooking and preparing of food, there are also some fun events that happen along the way: the making of a hand fan, a very eager hunt for coffee, setting up a members only gym (of which Seung-won was not invited), and the visit of an old friend.

The first guest is Gong Hyo-jin, an actress famous for her roles in rom-com dramas and a previous colleague of both Seung-won and Hae-jin. A funny subplot for these guest episodes is her interactions and chemistry with the normal cast. Ho-jun, the supposed baby of the group (despite him being 37 in Korean age), has not met her and is at first shy and hesitant around her. The whole situation is very cute and ends up being very relatable to anyone who has been shy around a superior or influential acquaintance. Eventually, they become more comfortable interacting, even washing dishes and eating together (mostly) comfortably.

Overall this season so far seems to be a much-needed relief from all the intense media coverage and uncertainty surrounding the world right now. The interactions between the cast are positive and refreshing, the setting is beautiful, and viewers can learn some island knowledge along the way. The content and delivery of the show could also elicit a variety of emotions from viewers.

For some, the show could simply be light entertainment and for others, nostalgia. It seems that the show is meant to just convey positive vibes, allowing viewers to gain what they will from the program, even showing step by step how to make each meal they make. With much of the world stuck in quarantine, unsure of what the next day could hold, this season of Three Meals a Day: Fishing Village 5, could be just the reprieve viewers need to stay sane and positive right now. I do, however, hope they catch more fish in the coming episodes.

(Images via tvN)