Why Should You Watch Running Man

RM 154Photo 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.

Run, don’t walk.

Watch English subbed Running Man episodes on EPDrama.com or Kshownow.net.

How to get to HaHa’s restaurant

안녕하세요, 여러분!

It will probably take a while before I get to share the pictures (after processing) and stories of my Seoul backpacking trip.

In the meantime, if you’re heading to South Korea soon just as I did a month earlier, and am a Running Man fan, and am clueless on getting to HaHa Dong Hoon’s 팔자막창 restaurant, then you’re in the right page.

It’s already tough finding the place from the net and the few blogs offering help seem to only confound rather than enlighten, I know I know.

So here’s the step-by-step guide on getting to your favorite Running Man’s restaurant.

HAHAMap credit goes to NANTA

 

1. Take the Subway Line 2 [Green] to Hongik University station and exit at Exit 9.

The station is located between Sinchon and Hapjeong and is also located by the very happening Hongdae shopping street.

2. Getting to HAHA’s restaurant via landmarks

The entire area on the map is actually the shopping area and I would advise you to make it one of your night escapades definitely but for the sake of not getting lost, walk forward by the main road after you exit from Exit 9.

You will cross a road and bypass Tom & Tom’s Coffee (they serve great coffee!). Keep walking until you see a Massage signboard/Ginseng Chicken restaurant. Just before you turn left into a small lane, you should also see a traditional Hanok shop.

After turning left into the small lane, follow the road ahead until you see the NANTA building.

IMG_4950PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

FYI: NANTA is South Korea’s longest running non-verbal performance show combining drama and comedy all in the kitchen There are currently four NANTA theatres (3 in Seoul and 1 in Jeju) as well as an international traveling troupe. Bottomline is you just catch it if you’re in Korea!

That would mean that you’re on the right track! Well done! Now walk a little further and turn right. You will see shops selling clothes and such, but don’t be distracted and wander away just yet.

Upon turning right, walk straight away and you should see a relatively big Marvel Superheroes poster on top of a shop. That’s your cue to keep advancing forward. Walk beyond the poster and you should see a ‘makeshift carpark’ in the middle of the shopping area. Look up, diagonally to your right and you will see the Sang Sang Ma Dang. Upon seeing this building, you know you’re really close to your destination.

The building looks like this:

IMG_4964PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

FYI: The Design Square on the 1st level of this building offers many cool products designed by Korea’s budding young designers. Check it out! Pictures to be up soon.

Walk past Sang Sang Ma Dang and cast your eyes to your right and you should be able to see HAHA’s 팔자막창 restaurant just down the road!

하하(HaHa) 팔자막창(Pal Cha Mak Chang)

IMG_4972(Collage)PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Signatures of past celebrities that visited. Recognize any?

Collage

PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Pork Intestine with Vegetable (Very spicy but oh-so-yummy!)

IMG_4985PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Got to know a new Korean friend. Meet Haesung, currently studying in the States. He’s back in homeland during his school breaks. He taught us how to eat the food! What a nice chap, dinnering with his little brother!

IMG_4989PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Barbecued pork intestines and pork strips anyone?

IMG_5291PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

IMG_5292PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

Condiments to eat the main course with

IMG_5300PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

IMG_5296PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

LeeSSang’s 팔자막창

IMG_4991(collage)PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

박명수(Myeong Soo) 와 유재석(Jae Seok)!!

IMG_5304PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

IMG_5303
PHOTO: Reuel Eugene Tay

 

We went to both HaHa and LeeSSang Gary’s restaurant but they are both essentially offering the same thing, plus the food is quite pricey for Korean food standards. So if you only have a few days in Korea, just go to one. But if you’re a fan of Running Man, I say go both! 😉

Thanks for visiting!

(Whew, this entry took so much more effort and time than I’ve expected!)