Being a person who was not really into anything Kpop, and having only dabbled in a few select Korean dramas that my mother so happened to be watching, I can definitely say that I happened to fall in love with Running Man by chance.
Running Man started back in 2010. I started Running back in 2011. I don’t remember exactly how I happened upon this show, but I was hooked. It was fresh in cheesy way. It was funny in a face-palm worthy way. It was, well Running Man.
I remember watching the first episode and I was like LOL, this old man (Suk Jin) – bang~ AND o.o that’s the guy from Sungkyungkwan Scandal isn’t it (Song Joongki). Then it started pour when Kwangsoo tried to say something.
I recently rematched episode 1, and I was surprised. (1) I recognized the guests – Hwang Jungeum (please let’s not talk about High Kick Through the Roof) and Lee Hyori – guests whom I remember that I didn’t care the least about way back then because I had no knowledge or even the slightest intention to recognize Korean celebrities back then. This time around I wondered, gee, Hwang Jung Eum should come back and guest…she never did if I remember quickly (I watched every episode to date).
I think why I liked this show was because it was fresh – because the cast had a lot of fresh faces in variety, because every episode used a new landmark, because (almost) every episode had new guests, because the members were developing new personas, and most of all, because I was new to the KVariety world.
Reminiscing about the early start of Running Man brings a smile to my face. From Framer Kwangsoo, Active Youth Joongki who just happens to be the flower boy BFF of Kwangsoo o, to the Monday Couple, Sparta(!), Race Starting Wooshuah Sunflower Suk Jin, this show is just too – too – too – cute.
I dedicated a whole summer to “catching up” on Running Man, and at some point during my marathon, I found myself not being able to laugh or smile even. I realized that Running Man changed. It was a crisis(?) in its own right for me because in the entertainment world, views reign supreme, as in, the viewership ratings determine the life and death of the show. I started noticing news and posts about how Running Man’s ratings started to dip, they they ended up ranking second to last or last even. I was sad. I knew for sure that Running Man was facing a “slump” (I dare not use the term ‘death phase’ for my favorite show, because unlike dramas, variety shows do not have a set expiration date). If you ask me, I would blurt out the 130s-150s range to be Running Man’s slump. I give this tight range because subconsciously I, holding much pride even in a show I like, cannot bear to admit that Running Man slumped real bad – to put it in colloquial terms. My honest answer would be that the problem started in the 110s for reals, the 130s-150s was a definite slump range, and from that point on Running Man did have slumps that were on and off and the ranges were more shorter.
The problem? I cannot say. I cannot blame the change in PDs because honestly, I think the staff work really hard, and trying something new isn’t a bad thing. The new things the PD tried weren’t exactly bad. I cannot say it was the guests, because their performances are affected by many different factors. The Running Man members shouldn’t receive scrutiny in my eyes because they really do work hard. I can see that.
Episode 41, for many, including me, was a major turning point – yep – Song Joongki’s departure.
I’m not really the fan girl type nor do I fancy “eye candy” (that’s the term right?). I was sad to see Joong kid go because Active Youth flower boy Joong ki has potential, but he wasn’t able to let it flourish longer and I was robbed of more interactions between the BFFS (Giraffe-nim and Flower Boy). I only saw 2 good things: (1)Good for you Joongki’s, wish you luck on the acting (though you don’t need it because you have the talent) and (2) no more competition for Gary.
in 2016, Running Man brought back a bit of nostalgia – track suits, Running balls, the punishment. I realized that many other fans out there were thinking what I was thinking – missing what I missed. The staff heard their voices, and I’m super grateful for those who let their voices be heard, because my voice was heard. I’m also somewhat ashamed that I didn’t contribute too… T_T
It would be pretty awesome if Joong ki could come back, if FD Dongwan could show up often again, and if they decided to bring back the old set up and games (Telepathy, tea time, and photo zone are some of my faves by the way), and if Monday Couple could rekindle their romance with a bonus douse of gasoline (let it burn~), but I have faith in Running Man.
6 years. It’s hard to come up with elaborate schemes for every week/episode. The fact that they’ve been keeping it so fresh is amazing. X Man was long running, but from what I’m aware of, the set up wasn’t as fresh as what Running Man has been doing, and eventually the ratings sunk too low. It’s sad to see that that show ended, but it’s also quite nice that its legacy lives on on my favorite show; Running Man.
Running Man, for me, is literally a dose of happiness every week. As a scholar, stress~ is hard to dissipate, but Running Man gives me a lot of strength to get rid of some, if not most, of it.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVE NOT BOARDED THIS SHIP YET, HERE IS YOU SHIPPING LABEL TO PUT ON YOURSELF! DON’T WALK, RUN! To watch this show. You won’t regret it~
Meep meep :3