The five member group 1Team, composed of Rubin, BC, Jinwoo, Jehyun, and Junghoon, made their debut last year with “Vibe” and have had several comebacks since, with “Ullaeli Kkollaeli” being their latest single. The MV for the song is jam-packed with fun scenes of the members playing games amongst themselves, and entertainment is added through the use of over-the-top CG effects and editing. “Ullaeli Kkollaeli” is an amusing watch throughout, highlighting the childish side of friendship and the importance of not taking yourself too seriously.

The lyrics to “Ullaeli Kkollaeli” at first may seem a bit cruel. 1Team is clearly making fun of a friend who has gone through a breakup saying that their friend’s unhappiness is a source of their own glee. Even the title, “Ullaeli Kkollaeli”, is a phrase associated with kids when they are making fun of each other, especially in reference to crushes. In the MV, Rubin is the heartbroken male lead, whose friends are trying to cheer him up.

The plot of the MV seems to be haphazard at first, with different scenes and settings of the boys playing games with each other, though by the end of the MV the pieces fit together. The MV starts with Rubin texting and waiting for a reply from a former flame, who has so far not opened any of the messages that he has sent them. Most of the MV, however, is composed of scenes of 1Team playing around with each other. The abrupt shift seems odd at first, but by the end it is revealed that the members were trying to help Rubin feel better.

Throughout the MV the boys play numerous childhood games in a number of different intense settings. They are in an empty restaurant, a creepy abandoned building, a walk-in freezer with carcasses of dead animals, and even a dark alley fit for a showdown between rival gangs.

However, the members of 1Team are constantly playing childhood games amongst themselves, and the punchline lies in the stark difference between the harsh settings and the innocence of the games. For example, they play hide-and-seek in the abandoned building, with Jehyun as the creepy “it” looking for his other members. In the walk-in freezer they play “The Rose of Sharon is Blooming”, or “Red Light, Green Light”, in which the players must freeze when the “it” player turns their head. The MV also incorporates more traditionally Korean games, such as an extremely dramatic version of Malttukbakki. The childish games immediately cancel out the suspense that was built and are a fun reflection of the lyrics that are about poking fun at their friend.

Though the first scene with Rubin and his unresponsive past lover may have seemed out of place, the MV circles back to him at the end as it is revealed that the previous scenes took place in a dream he had. After Rubin went through a breakup, his friends were making fun of him while trying to get him to feel better:

Friend, your unhappiness is my happiness
Sorry but truly, it’s my happiness
Whatever you say, I’m still your friend
When I break up, you can make fun of me too

They are teasing him and are happy at the expense of his sorrow, but tell him to bounce back. Rubin is even strapped to a giant homemade rocket while the others prepare to launch him; however, the homemade rocket is actually a giant eraser.

His members are encouraging him to forget and move on because his heartbreak is really not that big a deal. After all, they say, it is not his first time going through a breakup and he is certainly not alone in experiencing heartbreak. By the end of the MV, Rubin finds out that his messages have been read but there is no response, which leaves him sadder than he originally was. Perhaps he will get over his misery eventually, with the help of 1Team making light of the situation for him. 

The MV also makes use of over-the-top CG effects and editing to add to the childish nature of the song. For example, when the members are running on the highway, their legs blur together à la cartoon style such as Road Runner from Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.

In another scene Jehyun leaps through the air in slow motion, with fireworks exploding behind him. The cartoonish effects add cheesy humor to the mix and add to the overall narrative of not taking anything too seriously. The MV incorporates cringeworthy, exaggerated acting and editing, and embraces them as part of the narrative. Indeed, the charm of the MV lies in its dramatic portrayal of the simple concept of having some immature fun with your friends.

 In “Ullaeli Kkollaeli”, 1Team reminds viewers that sometimes it is important to relax and let out your childish side. The MV stays true to the lyrics and is a fun, light-hearted watch that proves that there is nothing quite like your merciless friends that can help you have a good time and get over your latest heartbreak.

(YouTube, Encyclopedia of Korean Folk Culture: [1][2]. Lyrics via Popgasa. Images via Liveworks Company.)