allkpop TV Guide [Variety Edition]: Running Man Ep. 101
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SYNOPSIS – ‘Running Man’ Ep. 101
It’s the musicians’ special with solo artist Kim Bum Soo, rocker Yoon Do Hyun, and singer (and ‘Family Outing’ alum) Yoon Jong Shin.
At an amusement park in Seoul, the cast are divided into groups of two (with Song Ji Hyo by herself) and told to find the honored guests. Predictably, hi-jinks ensues and the three guests are not found without quite a bit of laughter and some spectacular ad-libs from the members. “You must be here on vacation? Goodbye, then!”
Everything seems to be going well – until they find out someone has stolen their gold: the endgame prize for the glorious winner of that episode. The Running Men receive their new task – retrieve the pilfered gold from the thief, Ji Hyo!
Ji Hyo makes her escape via helicopter, but not before dropping off her GPS tracker to throw her chasers away from the scent. After barely missing the helicopter takeoff, the ‘Running Man’ team must follow her scent and pick up clues along the way to divine her final location.
While the ‘Running Man’ team are busy playing games, Ji Hyo manages to arrive at the final location, after meeting up with several clandestine agents who have all given her a mysterious black card for safekeeping. She’s given a bombshell piece of information by a kindly robot, Kibo: her gold is fake!
Cue the dramatic rewind – we find out that the real gold was taken by today’s trio of guests! That puts Song Ji Hyo right back at the beginning – save for a crucial hint, courtesy of Kibo: those mysterious black cards have letters on them which will appear when doused with water.
In possession of only three of the cards, Ji Hyo sets out for the rest, and the rest of the cast discovers the existence of these cards as well.
Meanwhile, two of the spies are preparing a diversion. Kim Bum Soo and Yoon Do Hyun conspire to rip the name tag of one of the blue team members, but goes horribly wrong when resident traitor HaHa catches on to their weak plot, and Yoon Do Hyun becomes a casualty of the ill-thought out tactic.
Yoo Jae Suk becomes trapped between the Two Kids, and egged on by Ji Hyo, becomes a casualty of the blue team as well.
Yoon Jong Shin, meanwhile, attempts to use Song Ji Hyo for his own means. They meet up with HaHa and Gary - the strongest team left standing – and attempt a surprise attack. Jong Shin’s legacy from his ‘Family Outing’ days works against him, though, and the ‘surprise’ goes down in failure.
While Ji Hyo isn’t looking, Gary and HaHa manage to run away with Ji Hyo’s cards. Figuring out that water makes the letters appear, they rush to the restroom and reason out the hint – the “wooden door at the sky bridge“. With the rest of the crew hot on their tail, the Two Kids reach the final location, open the safe, and claim the real gold for themselves. Sweet victory! The three ‘spies’ are despondent, Ji Hyo is angry, and Gary and HaHa are joyous at the win (and the massive loot).
But it looks like HaHa and Gary won’t be celebrating for long – next week, Kim Soo Hyun is out to get revenge, and it looks like he’s got a water gun with him!
REVIEW - ‘Running Man’ Ep. 101
The honor of the first show covered by the TV Guide – Variety Edition goes to one of South Korea’s most internationally popular variety shows, ‘Running Man‘!
Classified as an ‘urban-action variety’, the show revolves around a fixed cast and weekly guests as they attempt to win games and outrun each other. The show’s name tags – rippable Velcro tags affixed to the back of the cast members’ shirts – are the one staple element of a show which changes formats every week.
‘Running Man’ has been trending towards basing its weekly themes on movies or TV shows; this week’s episode took a page out of the American television program ‘CSI‘, with the cast members and guests chasing down a renegade Song Ji Hyo.
The problem with many of these cinema-inspired specials is that often, they come off looking somewhat cheesy and a pale shadow of the real thing. The ‘Sherlock Holmes’ special a few months ago illustrates this drawback nicely: viewers expected suspense and thrills similar to what the ‘real’ Sherlock Holmes novels gave, and anticipation grew correspondingly. But instead, what they received was, at best, a slightly better-than-average episode that was little more than a simple twist on the classic ‘find the spy’ theme that ‘Running Man’ has used (and abused, in my opinion) far too many times to count.
That theme plays out again here; the three ‘chaser’ teams go through several portals to track down the fugitive, stopping at each location to play a CSI-related game. The trouble, though, is that these games are very little different from the run-of-the-mill opening games on ‘Running Man’. The show would have been better served, I feel, if it had ditched the ‘CSI’ theme completely. (To credit the producers, however, the ‘CSI’ initials stemmed from Song Ji Hyo’s real name – Chun Sung Im – thereby giving it a small thread of relevance.)
The opening games provided several hearty laughs – Kwang Soo’s failed limbo attempts, Yoon Do Hyun’s drawing skills (which will take its place in the pantheon of ‘Running Man’ genius drawings along with TVXQ Yunho‘s ‘rhinoceros’), and Kim Bum Soo’s spectacular fall from the chair and the blue team’s subsequent struggle to get him back on it.
If there was one drawback, though, it was the the opening games basically amounted to nothing in the end. There were no benefits for finishing first, nor obstacles for finishing last: no different-sized name tags, no nothing. It was simply ‘get in the car, go to point A, go to point B’.
Meanwhile, Ji Hyo arrives at the final location. Just when the viewers are getting comfortable with the idea that Song Ji Hyo is the fugitive and everyone else has to chase her down, an additional wrench is thrown into the mix: spies.
I believe that I speak for the majority of the ‘Running Man’ fan population when I say: enough already with the spies.
A concept introduced way back when with Jae Suk and the water gun, it seems to be the one thing that the ‘Running Man’ producers can’t seem to let go. Although the idea is clever, it has become stale after dozens of times of use, and there is also one major problem in that the spy nearly always emerges victorious. It’s no fun if you can instantly tell who’s going to win. (The ‘Charlie’s Angels’ episode with Hyomin, Im Soo Hyang, and Go Ara is a perfect example of this.)
This episode was confirmation that the ‘spy’ mechanic becomes much more enjoyable to watch when the spies themselves are, well, bad. In a previous episode, Lee Kwang Soo and HaHa provided amazing comedic moments as their ‘spy’ schtick fell apart, and the same can be said here. The failure of the diversionary tactic between Yoon Do Hyun and Kim Bum Soo was truly hilarious, and it was a nice break from the usual ‘spy always wins’ scenario.
Apart from that, though, there were simply too many ‘things’ in this episode. A trio of spies that ran around doing basically nothing, Song Ji Hyo’s earlier travails all being turned moot, a robot out of nowhere, and too many hurdles to cross to get to the finish line. There was no running, no excitement, and the cast seemed ‘out of it’ in the sense that no one was quite exactly sure what they were doing.
The ending was definitely a real ‘huh?’ moment as Gary and HaHa took the prize with no suspense whatsoever, and this episode as a whole was full of such ‘huh?’ moments. Why did Song Ji Hyo not take her cards with her? Why did Kim Bum Soo and Yoon Do Hyun put up such a failure of a diversion? And why were Ji Suk Jin and Kim Jong Kook practically invisible throughout the entire episode?
Next week, Kim Soo Hyun is revealed to be the ‘boss’ of the three failed spies, and he’s out to claim the gold for himself. Let’s see if he can make up for this week’s bloated misfire of an episode.
This Week’s Highlights: 7/2 – 7/8
Here’s our recommendations on what to catch for the week coming ahead. Keep in mind that these picks are the writer’s personal choices; your own opinion may vary.
Writer’s Note: Starting next week, recommendations will be accompanied by a short synopsis.
Monday, July 2nd
Come to Play ::: MBC, 11:15 PM
Hosts – Yoo Jae Suk, Kim Won Hee
Tuesday, July 3rd
Win Win ::: KBS2, 11:05 PM
Hosts – Kim Seung Woo, Tak Jae Hoon, Lee Soo Geun, Lee Ki Kwang
Wednesday, July 4th
Golden Fishery – Radio Star ::: MBC, 11:05 PM
Hosts – Yoon Jong Shin, Kim Kook Jin, Kyuhyun, Yoo Sae Yoon
Thursday, July 5th
Happy Together 3 ::: KBS2, 11:15 PM
Hosts – Yoo Jae Suk, Park Myung Soo, Park Mi Sun, Shin Bong Sun
Friday, July 6th
Dancing With the Stars 2 ::: MBC, 9:55 PM
Hosts – Lee Duk Hwa, Kim Gyu Ri
Saturday, July 7th
Immortal Song 2 ::: KBS2, 6:15 PM
Hosts – Shin Dong Yup, Moon Hee Jun, Jun Hyun Moo
Sunday, July 8th
Running Man ::: SBS, 6:00 PM
Hosts – Yoo Jae Suk, Ji Suk Jin, Haha, Lee Kwang Soo, Song Ji Hyo, Kim Jong Kook, Gary
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