An archetype, according to Carl Jung, is a pattern or symbol that can be recognized across cultures. Archetypes are primary, are subconscious. And every Kpop group has them. There’s always a “most popular” member, often identified by good looks. There’s always a rapper, a dancer. There’s always a leader. But where does Fei fit in to miss A? What archetype is she defined by?
Fei often seems like the leader to a group that has no leader. Which could be why, out of all the members of miss A, Fei seems to have caught on the least. Without that leadership role, how does one perceive Fei? She is the oldest member, at 27, and even if she wasn’t, she does give the perception as the most mature. She’s certainly no superstar like Suzy, and the most energetic (and some would argue, talented) of the idols would have to be Min. Like Jia, she’s a Chinese transplant, groomed, originally, for a Chinese girl group that never happened. Which is not to say that Fei is lacking in any way. In “Only You,” she may even steal the show, bringing a mature sexuality and gravitas that balances well with, say, Suzy’s “girl next door” charm.
But we wonder, quite often actually, why, out of all the members, Fei is usually the one we most easily forget? If it’s not something she’s missing, what could it possibly be? And would her solo jaunt in Real miss A somehow give us something of her to grasp onto? Something real?
In this episode, we follow Fei as she shops at a make-up store. It’s a rollercoaster of “will she won’t she” buy something. That’s sarcasm (though spoiler: after complaining that everything she wants is sold out, she buys something). The episode is unfortunately lacking in interest until Fei brings us onto the set of the last day of filming for Idols, True Colors, a China-based podcast. Fei hands the camera over to Zhoumi of Super Junior, who then interviews her. The show she hosts with both Zhoumi and Jia is worth a watch, though with accompanying animation and sound effects looks as “true” as any other carefully produced idol show. The “true” here is perhaps as true as Real miss A is “real,” but there’s still something in this episode. Trust us.
For each episode of Real miss A, we’ve been pointing out the moment we feel is most true, most real. This is, after all, Real miss A. Sometimes, it’s harder than others. But in episode four, that moment has to be when Zhoumi asks Fei how she feels about her upcoming release. “I feel great,” she says. And she could have left it at that. Most idols would. But Fei goes deeper. She let’s us in when she adds, “And so nervous at the same time.” She adds, pragmatically even, “I think everyone...ah, not everyone...but many people will like this new song.”
It’s a perfect answer, real in every way that matters. That nervousness is something all of us can recognize. She is vulnerable here, having put herself out there for everyone to judge. And vulnerability is an archetype. It’s something we recognize and understand. Maybe, just maybe, that’s what Fei’s has been missing all along.