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Welcome to Waikiki 2 Finale: 2nd Season of JTBC K-Drama ends well but doesn’t live up to 1st Season

The cast of season two of Welcome to Waikiki
Welcome to Waikiki aired its second season this year but it didn’t live up to the ratings set by its initial season. Pic credit: Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Corporation (JTBC)

Last year, the Joongang Tongyang Broadcasting Corporation (JTBC) aired a brand new K-drama that took slapstick to a whole new level. It was known as Welcome to Waikiki and it became a sudden hit among viewers.

In response to its popularity, JTBC released a second season of Welcome to Waikiki. It was decent, but compared to the first season, it did not live up to expectations.

New season, new cast, close yet lower ratings

Welcome to Waikiki 2 — also known as Waikiki 2, Laughter in Waikiki 2, Go Go Waikiki 2, and Woohoo Waikiki 2 — had the initial blueprint to be a great season.

Even a new cast, with only Lee Yi-Kyung returning from the first season, didn’t seem to cause any problems among fans who initially wanted all the original cast to return.

After the finale aired, the viewership average for Welcome to Waikiki 2 was 1.558 percent for the nation, according to AGB Nielsen Korea. The viewership is technically good given that JTBC K-dramas air on a pay network.

However, it is still short compared to the first season of Welcome to Waikiki which earned 1.806 percent according to AGB Nielsen Korea and 2.2 percent according to TNmS Media Korea.

Even international viewership shows Welcome to Waikiki 2 is not as popular as its predecessor. On Rakuten Viki, the rating for the first season is 9.6 out of 10 stars, with 1738 ratings. The second season, 9.1 out of 10 stars, 575 ratings.

Viewers could also tell Welcome to Waikiki 2 wasn’t as popular as the first season simply because it was low in the search results and the subtitles team took a really long time to sub episodes.

As of right now, the penultimate episode is only 75 percent subtitled while the final episode is still at zero percent.

Why did the second season not live up to its predecessor?

There could be any number of reasons why the second season of Welcome to Waikiki did not jive as well among viewers as the first. However, there seem to be two key differences that might have been the final factors.

Less Slapstick Comedy: At the beginning of Welcome to Waikiki 2, there was plenty of slapstick comedy to go around. The toilet humor scene in which Gook Gi-Bong (Shin Hyun-Soo) poops in front of four women was classic.

Eventually, the slapstick comedy was dialed down for more serious situations to be presented.

More of a Dorm, Less of a Family: In the first season of Welcome to Waikiki, the inhabitants of Waikiki seemed to come off more like a family than individuals sharing a dorm.

The primary factor is that everyone pitched in when raising Han Yoon-Ah’s (Jung In-Sun) infant son.

Other details include the three male leads actually working and interacting together to achieve their dreams of working in film. Kang Dong-Gu (Kim Jung-Hyun) and Kang Seo-Jin (Ko Won-Hee) also actually acting like they are siblings, something lacking with Cha Woo-Sik (Kim Seon-Ho) and Cha Yoo-Ri (Kim Ye-Won).

Ultimately, Welcome to Waikiki 2 was good enough to enjoy on its own. Compared to the first season, most enjoyed the first season more.

Still, K-drama fans should check out the first season and second season exclusive on Rakuten Viki.

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