SPOILERS ALERT: DO NOT READ IF YOU WISH TO AVOID SPOILERS FOR EPISODES 355-359
Running Man ‘I Go Sticker Race’ EP 355-359 (?) Thoughts
Recent episodes 355 to 359 that have been airing after the conclusion of the ‘Most Dangerous Tourism Sites’ Race, the splurging on plane tickets by the RM production team seems to be continuing with the ‘I Go Sticker’ Race, where the member and his/her selected buddy who has acquired 3 I-Go stickers will have to go to a destination recommended by 1% of viewers who submitted an exciting attraction. These attractions are not only fairly unknown, but also guarantee a frightful adrenaline rush — with the exception of the Crater of Diamonds Park in Arkansas. Is all this money being spent on such global races worth it?
355: Find no.1 places, complete the missions and obtain as many stamps to avoid receiving I-Go Stickers
356: Complete missions by being discordance with other members to retain as much money as possible and avoid receiving I-Go Stickers
357: Get the most amount of money by completing missions to avoid receiving I-Go Stickers
358: Prevent the thieves from eliminating the sheriff and acquiring 2 ‘I Go Stickers’ that can be assigned to any member(s) upon their discretion.
Running Man almost died — but after realizing the immense power of the international fanbase, SBS agreed to bring it back along with 2 new members. The reason for the death sentence (and the subsequent awkwardness at the 2016 SBS Entertainment Awards), is due to the extremely low viewer ratings within S. Korea. Many S. Koreans consider the show to be extremely childish such that most of the shows viewers are kids around the age of 12. To attract more viewers and keep the ship afloat, I am guessing that the recent investment in all the plane tickets for the “Dangerous Tourism” and “I Go” races are measures being taken to reach this goal.
While it is interesting to be able to see all these countries and bizarre tourist attractions, I’m still a little dubious that this will boost viewship ratings significantly. However, I value the production staff’s efforts — they probably begged a whole lot for the budget, and to a certain extent, I think the recent episodes are a tad more interesting because the new members and the others have been able to bond even more as they spend so much time overseas.
However, maybe it’s because I watch a whole lot of Infinity Challenge, but I feel like the Running Man PDs are a little too soft. When they aren’t being too soft, they seem to not be able to calculate the the feasibility of some of the missions well enough. One prime example would be the goat milk mission in Mongolia for the “Dangerous Tourism” race, when there was no way the members could collect the designated amount of milk before sundown and make it back to the airport given the fact that the clan lived really far away and was difficult to locate. In addition, the PDs also failed to fathom that the clan would have already milked the goats. Despite reducing the amount of milk, the Mongolia team still failed and were guaranteed to earn some stickers. I thought that this was pretty unfair and unfortunate in terms of all the money spent on transportation and gifts in addition to intruding upon a number of clans before they found the right one.
I’m not exactly sure if “Dangerous Tourism” was successful as I’m not aware of the standards for deeming success, but maybe it was for this continuation of using these stickers. Of the recent “I Go” episodes, I enjoyed ep 356 (Discordance Race) and ep 358 (Sheriff vs. Thieves) the most. 357 featured a bunch of female guests, but despite the fact that they were interesting and funny in their own right, I couldn’t really see a “wow” factor that made this episode particularly memorable. The Discordance Race from ep 356 was hilarious — from Yoo Jae Suk the business middleman to the Karaoke session. 358 was also quite amusing with the return of the water guns and it made me itch to play a round of the Mafia Game. Interestingly enough they made newbie Yang Se Chan the Sheriff in charge of catching the thieves; Yoo Jae Suk and Kkukie. I don’t know if I am being cynical, but I feel like they chose such an unlikely pair as thieves for a reason. Yoo Jae Suk and Kkukie are rarely partners because they are probably too formidable together. With Yoo Jae Suk’s numerous shows and Kkukie’s upcoming Turbo activities, I can “see” that the production is doing them a favor by decreasing their chances of needing to go overseas with a pretty-much-guaranteed victory. Like seriously, Yooruce Willis with his water gun and Kkukie with his strength in everything including name tag ripping?! Against newbie Yang Se Chan?! Wow.
While I don’t think the flavor the earlier episodes had will come back, the RM peeps are trying their best, and RM is still unique as a variety show. Keep up the hard work!