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Series / Knowing Brothers

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Knowing Brothers (Korean: 아는 형님; also known as Knowing Bros, Men on a Mission, and Ask Us Anything) is a South Korean television program distributed by JTBC. Originally having an audience-interactive concept wherein viewers were able to solve the questions posted on the bulletin board in a way that the cast members could use through the contest, three episodes were dedicated to a game show format before it became the classroom variety show it is known for.

The current format Brothers School (Korean: 아형고) is situated in a classroom, with the cast members act as high school students of the same age. Guests would come as transfer students from different schools and submit their entrance application, which is usually followed by the show’s most popular segment “Guess About Me”, wherein the guest asks a question about himself/herself and the cast members try to guess the correct answer.

Three episodes of the show have been dedicated to the behind-the-scenes footage of the cast members’ musical releases, which played a part in increasing the songs’ ratings and popularity. A duo called “Universe Cowards” (Korean: 우주겁쟁이; also known as Cosmic Cowards), consisting of Heechul and Kyunghoon, has released two songs. Youngchul was able to promote his third single, while Hodong was able to release a song after Hong Jinyoung guested on the show.

  • Kang Hodong (born June 11, 1970) - Television host, comedian, former Korean traditional wrestler
  • Lee Sangminnote  (born February 3, 1973) - Korean hip hop singer, songwriter, record producer, former member of Roo’ra
  • Seo Janghoon (born June 3, 1974) - Entertainer, former Korean basketball player
  • Kim Youngchul (born June 23, 1974) - Comedian, Korean trot singer
  • Lee Soogeun (born February 10, 1975) - Comedian
  • Kim Heechul (born July 10, 1983) - Korean pop singer, rapper, actor, member of Super Junior and its subgroup Super Junior-T
  • Min Kyunghoonnote  (born October 6, 1984) - Korean pop rock singer, member of Buzz
  • Hwang Chiyeulnote  (born December 3, 1982) - Korean singer, television host
  • Kim Sehwangnote  (born November 16, 1971) - Member of N.EX.T
Knowing BrothersUniverse Cowards
  • 나비잠note  (2016) – Released as part of S.M. Station Season 1
  • 후유증note  (2018) – Digital single released under CJ E&M Music
Kang HodongKim Youngchul

This show provides examples of:

  • The Ace: Janghoon for answering questions, Heechul for solving riddles or anything that requires memory, and Kyunghoon for athletics.
  • Affectionate Nickname:
    • Hodong is called the "Brother School Captain" (ahyung gotong) and "Face Genius" (eolgeulcheonjae).
    • Sangmin is the "sad one" (ansseureoun ae) and the "one whose current situation is miserable" (hyeonmoyangcheo).
    • Janghoon is called the "207 centimeter Giant" (207CM geoin).
    • Youngchul is the "one whose seat is always taken away" (maennal jali ppaetgineun ae) and the "unfunny one" (jaemi eobneun saram).
    • Soogeun is called the "Dwarf Village Chief" (soinmaeul ijang) and "Smurf".
    • Heechul is called "Psycho" and "dol-ai"note .
    • Kyunghoon is called “ssamja” and “ssamgu”.
    • Sungkyu is "Jang Teacher".
  • All Men Are Perverts: The brothers regularly make references to sexual things.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Whenever Youngchul is absent from filming, the other members frequently note that they miss his jokes.
  • Back to School: The "Brother School" format follows this.
  • Be Careful What You Say: The members make ridiculous promises to fulfill when the show reaches a 5% rating, which they deem impossible since the show is broadcast on a cable channel... And they actually get higher than 5%. One entire episode is dedicated to filming the members fulfilling said promises.
  • Butt-Monkey: The whole cast gets their share of being the butt monkey, especially as they like to poke on the cast members’ shortcomings and scandals.
    • Hodong gets teased for his face and body, as well as his harsh treatment for celebrity guests during “Star King”.
    • Sangmin’s debt and divorce is frequently brought up, as well as the scandals that eventually resulted to the disbandment of Roo’ra.
    • Though also he gets teased for his looks, the mention of Janghoon’s divorce is close to Once per Episode.
    • Even the guests poke fun at Youngchul’s appearance and lameness, and he gets the worst treatment, from being cut off by the other members to his parts being cut off by the video editing staff.
    • Soogeun has his old gambling scandal.
    • Heechul’s “rumors” are always mentioned. Though slight, there are also references to Heechul’s leg injury.
    • Kyunghoon’s singing style (using his head voice) and vibrato are exaggerated, especially by Heechul.
  • Call-Back: When the desks are rearranged, Kyunghoon knows where his is because he wrote "Kim Heechul ♡ Min Kyunghoon" on it for the music video of "Sweet Dream".
  • Catchphrase:
    • The most popular is Hodong's "싸펑피펑" (ssapeong pipeong), taken from "싸우고 싶어? 피나고 싶어?", is translated as "DFDB" (Do you want to Fight? Do you want to Bleed?). Heechul even used it in a commercial, which caused people to think that it was originally Heechul's line.
    • There's also "aju chingchanhae", meaning "You are great!"
    • Youngchul's "D-A-N-G? Dang dang dara dang dang dang dang dang...", which was later replaced by "Darurung, darurung, I'm your oppa" from his song "Ring Ring". Upon the release of "Can't I?", he uses it as well.
    • Jang Teacher has "*insert word here* time~~~~~~ma!"
  • Class Representative: The class president was decided by voting. Janghoon has been the president for three terms.
    • Guests assume it to be Hodong, given his role in the show and in the entertainment industry.
    • Shindong's first appearance as a guest has him as the president of the classical culture class.
  • Class Reunion: The "10 years later" theme for the Three No's segment is usually this.
  • Corporal Punishment: Whenever a wrong or unfunny answer is given by the brothers/guests, they are hit with a plastic toy hammer.
  • Custom Uniform:
    • Hodong wears a black cape and hat to signify that he's the captain of the school.
    • Heechul rarely wears the uniform properly. Most of the time, he keeps his uniform shirt unbuttoned and wears shirts or hoodies under it.
    • Shindong wears the black cape and hat over his transfer student uniform to emphasize his resemblance to Hodong.
    • In Super Junior's episode, Heechul and Shindong wear the group's designated transfer student uniform.
    • Go Joonhee wears the male transfer student uniform instead of the female one.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Heechul and Kyunghoon in episode 51, which focuses on their song’s music video. Heechul becomes a guest in episode 100, where he appeared with Super Junior.
  • Delinquent: Hodong is the "captain" of the school, with some guests trying to "fight" him to take over his position.
  • Delinquent Hair: The members poke fun at Hodong by teasing that his dyed hair can't even be seen because he always wears a hat.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Hodong, by the brothers and guests alike. This is because of his old reputation as a sharp-tongued MC who liked to get angry and beat up his fellow MCs and would give harsh comments to people who appear in his shows as guests.
    • Hodong and Janghoon are frequently challenged by guests in physical ability matches, because Hodong was a former ssireum champion and Janghoon was one of the best basketball players in Korea.
    • Heechul is dreaded by idols because of his extensive knowledge on things such as scandals and secrets, especially by those close to him. This is the same reason Heechul doesn't want Super Junior members appearing on the show, as they are the dreaded for him.
  • Dude Looks Like a Lady: Heechul, the only passable woman of the brothers, is noted to be even prettier than some female guests. See for yourself.
  • Easily-Overheard Conversation: Usually happens as the set-up is a classroom with the chairs close to each other. Averted with Kyunghoon and Heechul’s whisperings, since no one usually hears it but Heechul reveals what their conversation was about.
  • Foreign Exchange Student: A lot of foreigners have appeared on the show.
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: Happens when guests of other ethnicity besides Korean appear on the show.
    • Heechul or "Cherry", who uses four languages in his speech (Korean, English, Japanese, Chinese).
  • Ghost Story: The BLACKPINK episode has the girls play the role of ghosts who have haunted the school for a long time.
  • Gratuitous English: Everyone has their moments, especially Youngchul.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: Soogeun’s "Chinese".
  • Happy Dance: Usually done by Hodong, Janghoon, or Heechul whenever they get correct answers.
  • Held Back in School: Shindong is the brothers' senior student who has been going to the school for 20 years.
  • High School: The Brother's School is set up as an art high school (which is mistaken to be a sports high school by both guests and members alike due to Hodong and Janghoon).
  • Intergenerational Friendship: The show’s format involves speaking casually to both cast members and guests (which is not considered good manners in Korea as they are of different ages).
  • Large Ham: Jang Teacher.
  • Leitmotif:
    • Hodong has his song “I Kicked My Luck Off”, "Love Theme" by Nino Rota from The Godfather, and occasionally a variation of "The Imperial March (Darth Vader's Theme)", usually by Japanese group Kuricorder Quartet.
    • Besides Roo’ra songs, Sangmin has the ending song of the South Korean documentary program Screening Humanity, and occasionally "1997 Spring" from the 2001 Japanese film Calmi Cuori Appassionati, as well as "Cries and Whispers" from the 2003 South Korean film Oldboy.
    • Janghoon has "The Last Match" by South Korean singer Kim Mingyo, "Scars" by South Korean singer BOIS from the 2010 South Korean drama Secret Garden, and "Rainism" by South Korean singer Rain.
    • Youngchul has "Gone Not Around Any Longer" by South Korean duo SISTAR19, "Greetings" by North Korean singer Ri Kyongsuk, and "Whistle" by North Korean singer Jon Hyeyong. His songs “Ring Ring” and “Can’t I?” are also used.
    • Soogeun has "All In Theme (Orchestra Version)" from the 2003 South Korean drama All In, "Public Enemy" by Jo Yeongwook, "You Be Illin'" by hip hop group Run-DMC, and "La La Song" by Hoyt Curtin from the animated television series The Smurfs.
    • Heechul has Super Junior songs, most notably “Sorry, Sorry”, “Mr. Simple”, “Black Suit”, and usually the intro of “SPY”. Super Junior songs are also frequently used as background music.
    • Kyunghoon has "Careless Whisper" by George Michael and songs from Buzz.
    • Singers or rappers who appear as guests have their songs serve as their leitmotif, while actors/actresses have the OST of their drama or movie.
  • Meaningful Name: Janghoon uses the name Jangmi when acting as a girl. Jangmi means "rose" in Korean, and he is later associated with roses or even called with the name "Rose".
  • Mistaken for Gay: Heechul. There was even one guest who outright asked him if he was gay.
  • Motor Mouth: Youngchul.
  • New Transfer Student: The guests appear as transfer students, with the exception of Shin Soyul who appeared as a teacher.
  • Older Than They Look: The youngest members Heechul and Kyunghoon were born in 1983 and 1984, respectively, but look as if they’re in their early adult stages.
  • One-Gender School: The Brother's School is an all-boys school. The only females are the guests, who don't get accepted into the school as permanent students anyway.
  • Portmanteau: The Brother's School (ahyunggo) is formed from the show's title (aneun hyungnim) and the first Chinese character in the word high school (godeung hakkyo).
  • School of No Studying: Instead of actually studying subjects learned in school, the point of the show is learning new things about the brothers and the guests.
    • In activities done with paper such as drawing or solving problems, the brothers note that they feel like they're really in school.
  • School Clubs Are Serious Business: Some of their skits are based around the idea of a school club.
  • School Play: In episode 63, the brothers have their school play adaptation of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Ship Tease: Between Heechul and Kyunghoon, which is later referenced to in their music video for "Sweet Dream".
  • Sixth Ranger: Jang Sungkyu, who has appeared in 30 episodes as a guest, usually as the homeroom teacher.
    • In Sungkyu's absence, Shindong fills in his role, but with him as a senior instead of a teacher.
    • During Heechul's absence in episode 9, Henry fills in for him. K Jun does the same for Youngchul in episode 84.
  • Spell My Name with an S:
    • Kang Hodong vs. Gang Hodong.
    • Youngchul vs. Yeongchul vs. Youngcheol vs. Youngchul.
    • Soogeun vs. Sugeun.
    • Heechul vs. Heecheol vs. Huicheol vs. Huichul.
    • Kyunghoon vs. Gyunghoon vs. Kyeonghoon vs. Gyeonghoon vs. Kyeonghun vs. Gyeonghun.
    • Names of the guests are also subject to this, like Sunmi being spelled as Seonmi, Lalisa as Thalisa, etc.
  • Theme Naming: The brothers' names as girls all end in the suffix "-mi": Homi, Sangmi, Jangmi, Youngmi, Soomi, Heemi, and Ssamja.
  • Transfer Student Uniforms: The transfer students have different uniforms. Though most of the uniforms are the blazer type like the one worn by the brothers, old uniforms such as the gakuran have also appeared.
  • Two-Teacher School: Jang Sungkyu is the homeroom teacher, the art teacher, the P.E. teacher, the dance teacher, the club advisor, the school nurse...
    • Some guests play the role of teachers or school staff, but not in the "Brother School" segment itself.
  • Unknown Rival: Hodong to Jaesuk. The brothers mention that while Jaesuk is frequently referenced to, but Jaesuk apparently does not give them the time of day.
    • There's also Jang Teacher, who, through a rock song, laments that he might get replaced with Shindong.
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: All of the brothers have worn female's clothing and played female roles more than once within the show, but Heechul takes the award, because he does that willingly even outside of the show (and even before the show existed). He is awarded as the "Best Actress" in the year-end special.

The discography provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: "Can't I?" is a parody of Wheesung's popular ballad "Can't We?", and features Youngchul trying (and failing) to become a superhero, with him as Thor, Wolverine, and Doctor Strange.
  • Alma Mater Song: The brothers make one with the help of Henry. Later on, Sangmin arranges it and the members record the song.
  • Anger Born of Worry: Kyunghoon's reaction when Heechul comes home with bruises in "Falling Blossoms".
  • Bait-and-Switch: Wheesung appears in the first line of "Andenayon", then the song and music video abruptly changes to Youngchul.
  • The Cameo:
    • Momo appears in Universe Coward’s "Sweet Dream", while fromis 9’s Jisun and Park Misun appear in "Falling Blossoms". The brothers are featured in "Sweet Dream" (Soogeun as the teacher while the other brothers play gang members), while Sangmin acts as the gang boss for both "Sweet Dream" and "Falling Blossoms".
    • "Can’t I?" features Wheesung, Janghoon, MOMOLAND (Hyebin, Yeonwoo, JooE), Uhm Junghwa, and the K-TIGERS.
    • "I Kicked My Luck Off" has Hong Jinyoung, Jo Hyeryun, Soogeun, and Janghoon.
  • Cool Big Bro: Heechul plays Kyunghoon's older brother in "Falling Blossoms", but because of his disability, Kyunghoon acts as the cool older brother to him.
  • Damsel in Distress: Momo is kidnapped in "Sweet Dream", setting the plot into motion.
  • Downer Ending: "Falling Blossoms" ends with Heechul seemingly dying and Kyunghoon holding his hand.
  • Fight Scene: Present in "Sweet Dream", "Falling Blossoms", and "Can't I?". Though the one in the latter is Played for Laughs.
  • Last Words: In "Falling Blossoms", the letter that Heechul wrote for Kyunghoon contained the message: My sibling, Kyunghoon. Your older brother is always sorry, I’ll quickly get smarter.
  • Love Triangle:
    • Present in "Sweet Dream", where Heechul has a crush on Momo, while Momo has a crush on Kyunghoon. And then we find out that Kyunghoon likes Heechul.
    • Seems to be a minor conflict in "Falling Blossoms", between Heechul, Kyunghoon, and Jisun.
  • Mentor: Soogeun plays one in "Sweet Dream".
  • Mundane Made Awesome: "I Kicked My Luck Off" was filmed entirely with smartphones and selfie sticks.
  • Mundane Utility: Averted in "Can't I?", where Youngchul's powers get in the way of doing normal tasks such as typing on a computer and butchering meat.
  • New Transfer Student: Momo appears as one at the end of "Sweet Dream".
  • The Stinger: Turns out Heechul was just dreaming of "Sweet Dream" while waiting for Knowing Brothers filming to start. Momo comes into the classroom, introducing herself as the transfer student of the day. Kyunghoon is then revealed to have written "Kim Heechul ♡ Min Kyunghoon" on his desk.

Alternative Title(s): Men On A Mission, Knowing Bros, Ask Us Anything