Running Man – May 2016

This month was mostly solid, which feels so nice after a rather blah stretch. And even though I probably won’t rewatch any of these episodes, I enjoyed them while they were on, and they all made me laugh more than once. So on that count, they were well worth it.

Episode 297: “After the Sunset”

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Even though I know little more about Descendants of the Sun than a few iconic moments that crossed my tumblr dash in gif form, this was a very fun drama-themed episode. Both Kim Ji-won and Jin Gu (the secondary couple from DotS, if you are as ignorant of the show as I am) were fantastic guests who threw themselves into the (often absurd) games, and Eunseo did pretty well for a rookie idol. (The less that is said about the guest cameo from the villain, the better.)

While the editing suffered a bit (or maybe the subtitles–I wasn’t quite sure what all of the rules were for some of the games), this was a fast-paced defeat-the-spy episode that was all about entertaining the audience. I actually didn’t mind the dancing and the (cringe-worthy) aegyo demands, mostly because every member of the cast had to do them at some point, not just the female guests. (It still gave me a severe case of second-hand embarrassment, though.) Even the parody-iconic-DotS-scenes game was fun to someone who had never seen them before, but everything becomes a lot funnier when getting drenched in water is on the line.

All in all, a solid episode. Not one I would probably rewatch, but anyone who enjoyed DotS will probably get a huge kick out of it.


Episode 298: “The Answer is No”

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This episode built off the momentum of the DotS special with engaging guests and mostly fun mini games. While I’m a little sad at how tame the punishment at the start of the episode was (a Viking ride is nowhere near the terrifying scale of other roller coasters the cast have had to go on in the past), I was entertained by the fact that getting out of the punishment was so easy…provided you knew enough English to know what the correct answer was (or lucky enough to guess). Few things warm my heart as much as the cast members screaming in terror, so I’m good.

Lee Je-hoon, Kim Sung-kyun, and Go Ara were great guests (though KSK faded into the background). The intro with the pool and the chairs went on pretty long but still made me laugh a lot, from Lee Je-hoon’s soaking wet white t-shirt to Suk-jin’s words about the VJs’ jobs getting throw right back at him moments later. I even laughed pretty hard at Jae-suk sparing Go Ara a trip in the pool, mostly because of how adamant everyone was that he not do it.

(Side note: While the flying chairs are amazing, I kind of actually liked these small chairs because it was hilariously pathetic to watch people tip over backwards in them. I’m so easily amused.)

While I’m slightly disappointed that half the cast blew their chance to definitively discover the spy in exchange for avoiding one punishment, I have to admit that the finale would have been pretty boring if they’d known the spy’s identity. This way we got some suspense–and some laughter, too.


Episode 299: “The War for the Center”

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AKA, the reminder for why Jae-suk is the emcee for the show and not anyone else. XD Between Suk-jin’s emceeing and the weather, the intro was too much of a disaster to really be funny.

With this many guests (and such an ineffective intro), I don’t feel as if we got to know the guests as well as we could have. It’s always difficult when there are so many people, and with revolving (less polished) emcees, that made it nearly impossible. Jo Bo-ah and Stephanie Lee stood out the most to me, though most of the others had some good moments.

The best game of the episode was definitely the water one–and I’m excited for summer, because water games always have a high chancel of hilarity.

Not quite as good as the last two episodes, but still good enough to earn several laughs from me.


Episode 300: “7 vs 300, pt 1”

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Ah, it feels great to have a action-filled, cast-centric episode again! And it seems like a solid start for a two-part anniversary episode. One of these days I need to go to the “early years” episodes and watch them.

I’ll admit I’m very fond of episodes that force the cast to work together to overcome challenges, like in the episode where they had to be unanimous in order to win at anything. This episode does the same with themed challenges around the number three hundred, and we got some pretty hilarious results from it. (I’m still gaping at Jae-suk for his utter failure of the quiz. How could you!) I was particularly fond of the boxed ramen race (Jong-kook pinning down three BTS boys all at once and Kwang-soo getting koala’d by another), though the thing that had me cracking up the most was both times the punishment was to pay.

I’m slightly concerned by how few puzzles pieces the cast has, but the conclusion in the next episode looks like it will be both scary and difficult, so I am definitely there. I’ll stick this one on my rewatch list, provided they stick the landing.


Episode 301: “7 vs 300, pt 2”

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Let’s focus on the good, shall we?

The 7 vs 300 people thing was pretty amazing. I can see why it took up the bulk of the episode. It was an entertaining mix of luck and skill thrown up against sheer numbers, and it was fun. Yes, even when the cast faced some pretty humiliating defeats.

(It was oddly touching at some points, too. I loved the couple game and was terribly proud of some of those pairings.)

This segment of the episode had some great editing that really helped to ratchet up the tension and suspense. I also laughed a lot, especially at Kwang-soo’s game.

But the ending–ugh. After teasing this scary experience of being chased through the woods we basically got scraps. We only saw one person get caught (even though several people were, several times). Was it really that boring? There was nothing you could have done better? It almost felt like they got distracted by the epic game at the college and ran out of time for their finale. And I was so excited to have a scary episode.

Overall, it was a pretty good episode–but the ending left a mediocre aftertaste.

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