Photo stolen from Kshownow.net
Running Man has been the talk of the town for quite a while. Personally, I buy into that whole Running Man thingy. If there’s an official shirt, you will probably see me in it, if there’s a fan meeting, I did love to attend it. And since this [entry] sounds every bit like a pitch, let me convince you to watch Running Man and join the family.
There has been lots of good quality South Korean variety shows through the years such as Healing Camp (Discontinued), The Romantic and Idol, Family Outing (Discontinued), Barefooted Friends, We Got Married, Infinity Challenge, Golden Bell Challenge (Discontinued), Strong Heart, Golden Bell Challenge (Discontinued). Running Man is one of many factory-produced variety programs churned out by the major Korean broadcasting stations (SBS, KBS, MBS), or is it? A variety show created by the good people at Seoul Broadcasting System (SBS), Running Man was termed ‘An Urban Variety’ – a entirely new genre for variety shows – and aired its first episode on July 11, 2010.
It amazes me how the PDs (producers), FDs (floor directors) and VJs (video journalists) as en-dearly called by the Running Man members always come out with very original content to make the show really fresh (It would be rated 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes by my standards!) every episode. In the first few episodes, you could see the Running Man members still warming up to one another, as even their jokes are more ‘calculated’ and more banter-friendly. Kim Jong Kook, Yu Jae-suk and HaHa have collaborated for other variety programs (X-Man, Family Outing) before but Running Man seems to gel them together and bring out the funniest [and the best] in the individuals that other programs couldn’t have done so. As Sunbae (a term to describe someone with much experience), the variety show veterans openly showed the ropes to variety maknae (pronounced Ma-nae, a term to describe the youngest in a group), Kang Gary, Lee Kwang Soo (the tallest and ironically also the youngest) and Song Ji Hyo (Not part of the first VII but joined as a main cast at Episode 7).
In Running Man, everyone has something to contribute:
Jae-suk (Code-named: Yooruce Willies, Yoomes Bond, Grasshopper), the main host of the show, contributes the most laughter, takes great care of his maknaes and guests of the show and proudly boasts of his ties with the many guests of the show (to the disapproval of the RM members),
Jong Kook (Code-named: Commander, Sparta Kook, Tiger, Kookie, Mr. Kim Leave It) has the brains and the brawn and is the ‘man they fear’ for his brute strength but is also many times the laughing point when paired with girls (his weakness because he is generally nicer to girls) or when Eun-hye is mentioned (a very DEEP loveline he established with the actress in X-Man),
HaHa (Code-named: Haroro, Roro, Penguin,) and his crazy antics and queer-funny (Bwa-Ha-Ha) laughter and his ‘lust’ (he was constantly flirting with the female guests until he cleaned up his act after getting married!),
Gary (Code-named: Peaceful Gary, Monday Boyfriend), his ‘average Korean’ face, out-of-the-blue rapping and Monday-couple loveline with Ji Hyo,
Ji Hyo (Code-named: Ace, Mong Ji, Monday Girlfriend, Miss Mong) the only female in the group but is treated like a man and has a surprising amount of strength and wits which makes her an ‘Ace’. But more than that, she is the Monday girlfriend!
Ji Suk-jin (Code-named: Big Nose Hyung, Impala), the oldest and weakest man in the group and is often the ‘Race Starter’; the first to be out-ed and initiates race start at each RM episode,
Kwang Soo (Code-named: Prince of Asia, Giraffe, Icon of Betrayal) has shown so much potential from a variety amateur to being one of the most loved RM member. Dubbed the unlucky icon, Lee is also the expert in his field when it comes to framing and betrayals. He always tries to be popular but only end up being comical, no wonder he is so loved.
The show also saw two past regular member Lizzy and Song Joong-ki who also brought much laughter in the past episodes.
Despise the belief of scripting, Running Man has held its ground, running its 154th episode and providing much laughs for the past three years running. You can’ just do so well through scripting. Running Man is no longer a variety show, it is a Family. In episode 154, when a penalty kick opportunity was given to HaHa and subsequently Jae-suk, Running Man members Ji Hyo, Suk-jin and Gary who were standing at The Box (expensive indoor viewing section of a stadium) and Kwang Soo were all seen unanimously pleading to not bully HaHa and Jae-suk; to not let them take the penalty. They pleaded because they know their fellow colleague’s capability and they don’t want them to be embarrassed on national television.
It is there that one can see the members’ genuine love and respect for one another. When Gary announced his imminent departure, Running Man members and fans were there to encourage him not to leave. Reason? Simply because he is an irreplaceable part of the family. RM members later used that leverage to mob the straight-faced Gary. While there may be many other good or even better variety shows out there (and even though not every RM episode is very funny), Running Man has my vote and heart. Which other variety show can boast such unity? (Apart from the defunct Family Outing which was also hosted by Running Man members.) RM is also generous in showing that same love to all guests, welcoming each guest that appeared on RM affectionately and making them feel comfortable. The RM members were often quoted saying, “He/she has good variety show skills”, “He/she is part of the family now”.
Today, banters are released at will, and RM members and production teams’ synergy is at its best, having delivered laughs for the past three years and continues to deliver laughs for the months to come. Not only that, the producers of RM continue to produce interesting, creative concepts to entertain the fans. Avengers, The Secret of the Nine Swords (that spanned across Macau and Vietnam), Nine Tailed Fox, King of the Jungle, Eliminate the Zombies, 007; these are just some of the ideas that has been used and concocted into Running Man episodes!
Lastly, the Running Man members know and acknowledged that their fans from all over the world are the ones who continue to put them at the top, hence their very open show of appreciation to the fans everywhere they go. Watching them go, as fans we feel like we are part of the Running Man family too. Even though there’s a language barrier, laughter and family transcends all that.
Therefore, I besiege you folks, watch Running Man!! Be part of this global family of fans.