[K-VARIETY] Running Man

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From a Runner’s Perspective: All About Running Man

So I took about a month long break after watching more than 10 Korean dramas since January. I always watched episodes subbed from ISubs, because I think they’re the best subber for Running Man. However, since they were uploading it really slow, and I insisted that I should patiently wait for their subs, I stopped at around episode 120. Recently, I remembered that I still have to catch up with my favourite variety show. I started watching again from episode 121 to the most recent episode, 195. Marathoning Running Man was the best idea ever, especially when you’re tired from work or just simply sad. Running Man is my happy pill.

How did I start?

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I still remembered that Episode 7 was the first episode that I watched, and that was because Jung Yong Hwa was one of the guests. I simply fell in love with the concept of each part. One includes having to take a picture inside a moving frame. Another would be drinking a cup of lemonade but you have to roll the dice which depends the number of scoops of sugar and number of lemons. The last would be mission race where the seekers catch the mission team by removing their name tags while the mission team do some mission to succeed. I love how everything was natural and real and they were funny without making effort. Since then, I decided to watch from Episode 1 and the rest was history.

Favorite games:

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Race mission — This was often played during the earlier episodes wherein the mission team had something to accomplish while the seeking team go out and oust the members from the mission team by removing their name tags. The catch: the seeking team had to attach bells on their shoes so as to give some hint to the mission team that they are approaching.

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Any water games — Even if the members greatly despised water games especially during winter season as the water is really cold, the writers cannot do anything about it. Why? Because water games are naturally funny. If they only stick with land games all the time, then there is no variety. I guess writers and the members should reach an agreement and balance it out.

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Drinking/Eating Race — Anything that requires drinking or eating like drinking a cup of hot hot chocolate and eating a cold cold bar of ice cream. I don’t think I can bear drinking hot stuff because it burns my tongue, but just the sight of the members torturing themselves is so funny to see. The most memorable one would be the an episode wherein they should drank coffee. They had to roll the dice and the number they chose corresponds to a random spoon. The spoon could be a shovel, a normal spoon, ear pick, soup spoon, etc. This spoon would be used to scoop the sugar. This in turn would either be too bland or too sweet, or if you’re lucky, then it’s just right. It’s funny but at the same time worried for the health of the members. What if they intake too much sugar?

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Acupuncture Mat Race — Anything that deals with acupuncture mat is a pure torture for the members as it really hurts seeing them from their expression. This mat is nothing new for me, as I’ve seen this mat a long time ago in a Taiwanese variety show. It’s also a hated object by the actors of that show so it’s really used rarely. I could really see how desperate the writers of Running Man are. They used these mats very often now, as if the members are walking on sand. I feel so bad for the members for their aching feet, but my aching stomach is very contented from laughing.

Members:

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Yoo Jae Suk — Nation’s MC and Mr. Chatterbox. The show cannot go on without Jae Suk. With his funny looks, especially when he removes his glasses, he becomes ugly, and extreme talkativeness, he is simply born to be a host and a comedian. Jae Suk started off to be one of the weakest members, because of his age. After joining the show, he learned that having good health and being fit is important in order to run and participate well in the show. He later revealed that he quitted smoking. Turns out to be a good choice, because he turned into one of the strong and witty members. He is often associated to water guns which gave him the name, Yoo-mes Bond. He also has the heart for dancing; his body inevitably moves every time music is heard. He gave himself the name Yoo Hyuk which is a name that he personally likes. Yoo Hyuk is often associated to dancing. Jae Suk is deemed to be the leader as a whole, naturally guiding the show. Weakness: Choi Min Soo, heights

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Kim Jong Kook — The Commander whom everyone is scared of. During the earlier episodes, we can really see the members’ scared faces and how they worked together to try to oust him. Kim Jong Kook, with no doubt, is the best-looking among the members, especially with his good body built. I really find him attractive during the old days. But as episodes passed, the Commander became a “coach”, teaching his teammates the proper way on how to do the game. I guessed his being a chatterbox was influenced by Jae Suk lol. And at times, people get irritated by his strict coaching. Still, one feels assured when he is Jong Kook’s teammate since the chance of winning is bigger with him around especially during eliminating name tags. Eliminating the Commander is one of the biggest dreams of the guests and once they successfully eliminated him, it will be an honor. Weakness: Women, Spicy Food, Yoon Eun Hye

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Song Ji Hyo — The only female member in Running Man, Song Ji Hyo is definitely the ace of the team. Although she’s a girl, her strength and wit are comparable to the boys. As the members say, she’s no different from them since she acts tough and manly. Ji Hyo is also part of the Monday Couple, the official and one and only boy-girl couple in the program alongside Gary. Song Ji Hyo, with her tight schedule as an actress, is found asleep oftentimes while filming Running Man. She can practically sleep any time and anywhere. She is also found having a “blank” face oftentimes which resulted to the members calling her Blank Ji Hyo. Despite of having these habits, these don’t hinder her from winning. In fact, she has one of the most several wins among the members. Lately, members called her Gold Ji Hyo for always winning and taking home gold as the prize. Song Ji Hyo is indeed the hidden weapon of Running Man.

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Gary — Gary is a member of a hip-hop group, Leessang. Gary seemed to be ordinary during the earlier episodes, with his very ordinary Korean face and he doesn’t really talk a lot. I hardly notice him back then, but Gary despite of his ordinary looks, is actually a black horse. He occasionally wins on games making him an ‘occasional’ Commander. In fact, he also won during the Best of the Best battles twice! Through years of practice and training in Running Man, Gary is considered to be the second strongest next to Kim Jong Kook. He has also experience in boxing. Gary is also part of the Monday Couple, in which he has a love line with Ji Hyo. He is also found to be the Master of Love/Dating, seizing the moment to shout out love comments from time to time. Weakness: Song Ji Hyo

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Haha — Haha is the leader when it comes to scheming and joking around. He isn’t the best player and oftentimes ranked next to Ji Suk Jin, being the second weakest. Haha is nicknamed Haroro, RoRo, or simply Penguin, because of his similar looks to that of Pororo the Little Penguin. Haha’s height seemed to be a disadvantage for him especially during eliminating name tags and he is often laughed at because of his height. Furthermore, Haroro is seen as a playboy, often confessing his love for the female guests. This stopped though, after becoming a married man. In return, he plays rough and rude to the female guests causing great laughter to the cast. Haha is also funny when he goes completely mad, shouting out loud like a child. Our Haroro indeed.

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Lee Kwang Soo — The icon of betrayal! But he wasn’t really like that before. During the earlier episodes, he was more of a framer, one who frames and speaks falsely of the other members. He later found his true nature, to betray. He often betrays other members and also guests leading them to be suspicious of Kwang Soo, which is why many guests don’t want to team up with him. He is also nicknamed as Giraffe or Gi Rin, because of his body liking to a giraffe. He is super tall and thin, and just long. He has also found his popularity in Asia, which garnered him the title “Prince of Asia”. Still, the staff and the members don’t really know the exact reason why he is so popular. In the latter episodes, due to the lack of a female member, he sometimes transforms into a girl named Kwang Ja. From a person who is like a shadow to someone who’s unforgettable, Kwang Soo really made effort to make a name for himself. Weakness: Kim Jong Kook

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Ji Suk Jin — The oldest and weakest player among the members. Fans of this program will always remember that he is the race-starter, which means that he is the first to be eliminated, then the race will officially start. Suk Jin is an easy prey, often wanted by guests especially female guests. Likewise, Suk Jin only see females as his opponent as he will never win against men. Although lately through three years of running, he has acquired some skills to oust a few weak guests. Ji Suk Jin, although portrayed as the weakest, is definitely a must in Running Man. Without him, something feels missing. Definitely loving his body gags that he’s doing naturally and not on purpose. I’ve laughed several times because of his body gags.

Favorite member:

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Almost everyone likes Yoo Jae Suk during the start of the show. I am no different as he became my favourite member even he was one of the weakest players that time. He was just a natural comedian that everyone can easily like. Eventually during the latter episodes, I learned to like Gary. I don’t know the exact reason why, but I just started rooting him to win. Even with his ordinary looks, his skills are extraordinary though. Like how the members see him, he’s a guy that is unpredicted. His skills come unannounced. My likeness for him also came unannounced.

Favorite Episodes:

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161 Shinhwa — This is weird, because I was never a fan of Shinhwa. I know Shinhwa as a popular group, but don’t really know the members’ names. After watching this episode, I became a fan of Shinhwa. I just found them cool and manly in this episode with their great teamwork. It was also the first time when Running Man Team lost in all of the games and they did not get any hint. This was a huge advantage for Shinhwa Team. The toe fight match and the water game were memorable. Definitely a must watch for Shinhwa fans!

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178 Crossing Han River — The most touching episode ever in the history of Running Man. This episode was an upgrade from one of the earlier episodes wherein they had to create a boat made out of cardboard boxes and cross the swimming pool. In this episode, they had to cross Han River, and we all know how long a river is. The members had to make their boats as sturdy as possible so they would not sink. If you enjoyed this, episode 187 is also another enjoyment as you’ll see them cross Han River once again this time with the use of different materials.

Running Man Top 10 Episodes 2013 (32)

129 Idol Race — This is the best Idol vs Running Man race in my opinion. Aces Jung Yonghwa and Choi Minho were the best in the team. And Kwanghee was the worst member. Even if he was the weakest, he’s still the best in making me laugh. Loved his side comments and his laugh. Lee Jonghyun and Lee Joon were also there to make things funny through their clumsiness. Even though the Idol Team lost, this was a memorable one especially if you’re fans of the idols.

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130 Reincarnation — Funny time traveling episode. During 1938, they played removing name tags and while playing, each member had some unique situation that happened to them. During present time, they played removing name tags once again but now they were reincarnated to a different person. Through those unique situations that happened, they learned who they were in the past. The final scene also provided a twist that one can never thought of. Felt that it was scripted, but gave a good laugh.

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162 Idol Group — The episode wherein they invited the most number of guests and all were from idol groups. The opening wherein every group gets a chance to showoff their dancing skills with their Running Man team mate was so hilarious that I kept rewatching it. The battle between the Easy Brothers during the water game was also funny. And because Girls’ Day had to leave early because they had a schedule, Jaesuk was left all alone, so it turned into “Everyday Jaesuk day!” A must watch for K-pop fans!

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74 Battle Royale with Superpowers — My all-time favourite episode. Each member drank a potion and each of them possessed a different power which varies from cloning to controlling time. My favourite power is Gary’s which is cloning. He calls them lolol and the venue appeared a lot of Gary’s. It’s confusing for the members and Gary could use some help from his lolol which made him the ultimate winner and the Best Running Man. Hilarious when they were reciting the spell for their powers to work. This deserves a part 2!

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I’ve watched many Taiwanese and Chinese variety shows, and occasionally watch random Korean variety shows, but nothing beats Running Man. This show is still my all-time favourite. From the music to the special effects and to the props, everything was well-made. I guess Running Man became popular for its unique and urban style of show. They also recruited the best of the best members. When I started watching, I know no one from the crowd except for Song Joong Ki. Everyone was a complete stranger for me, but I learned to love every single one of them as episodes passed. Now, I can never imagine anyone replacing the members. Even without guests, the members themselves are funny enough. I am a faithful runner, as you can see. I admit the earlier episodes were naturally more funny than the latter episodes, but this doesn’t stop me from continuing to watch. I guess a large part of this program’s success is because of international fans recognising the show, and for some people or community actually subbing it. I love Running Man and will remain to be an avid viewer till the very last episode. I highly recommend this show. If you haven’t watched this, then you’re missing a lot! Cheers for more years of Running Man!

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