I’ve actually contemplated about whether or not I should even write this post, as I’ve actually stopped watching Running Man. “Watching,” in the sense that I watch each fresh episode every single week — I’ve only watched a select few of the recent episodes because (1) I ran out of other things to watch & (2) I wanted to see how they were doing.
My Main Reasons
I have nothing really against the new members, and by that — I mean nothing. I do not think their talents are off the charts nor do I not acknowledge their talents. I think this is probably because I’ve been so loyal to my seven members for those seven years — #7012. I guess I’m sentimental in that sense. While I must say that Yang Se Chan hasn’t really stood out to me, Jeon So Min is quite the wild character on the show now. I think she’s hilarious, but I can’t find myself cackling as I used to — maybe I’m senile.
I’ve aged, so have the members. Over time, we, as humans, can’t help but changed/mature. Song Ji Hyo is no longer the wild lady who sleeps everywhere like she was in her late 20s & early 30s. After the whole ordeal when she & Kim Jong Kook got “fired,” I feel like she became much more reserved on the show. Of course, “Yuk Ji Hyo” (Cursing Ji Hyo) comes out sometimes, but I feel as if it’s forced, and I can’t help but smile bitterly, rather than exhibit my ROFL state. The same goes for KJK — he used to be very open about freely using his muscles, but I guess the trials of 2016 + gout + age has made him a very tamed tiger. While he still “bullies” the members, and continues his banters with Jae Suk, I can’t help but get the feeling that everything has been toned down. The members don’t go to far, because they’re family — this fact has become more real after the “revival” of the show. While I find this really endearing, and I’m so happy for them, I also am conflicted, because the show, inevitably, takes on a different flavor. The SpartAce couple (who has been forcing a loveline as of late) are not the only ones who have changed, but so has Kwang Soo, who has gained 2 maknaes, effectively relieving him of the “maknae-to-bully” position. Sure, Kwang Soo is still Kwang Soo, as he gets bullied by everyone, even the 2 new maknaes, but once again, it just feels very different.
The show’s flavor, despite having the same PD from way back when I liked RM the most, is dull. Kim Joo-hyung returned to take the wheel for a bit, but he quickly left — I hope it’s not a sign that RM is a sinking ship, but tbh, I feel like it is. I was hoping that he would bring back some of the old styles from 2010 to 2016’s “reviving” RM, but nope. I guess many people would balk at any desire to bring “outdated” 2010 Variety foshizzle to 2016, but if you watch the old episodes, when the members went from barely knowing each other to becoming a teasing fam within 4 years, you can tell — by your own laughter. I think it’s very possible to readapt some of the games and formats, but I guess I’m of the helpless minority.
Guests. Where the fudge are the guests?! Okay, this is a problem with long-running variety shows. At the early stages, a variety show will be desperate to cast any stars, and they would plead and plead to get a somewhat “hot star” onto the show. When the show has started to gain popularity, hot stars willingly volunteer to star on the show, even if it’s for ~20 min or a single game (EXO & BTS). Now that we’re in this state, we only have recurring guests who aren’t all that (sorry.) or guests who are seriously, clearly, there to (1) promote or (2) be there because RM can’t get anyone.
I Miss Gary. While I am super happy for Gary for his marriage, his career, and his child…I’ve recently found myself to really missing Mr. Gary from RM, on RM. I really need a goofy one on this show. HaHa was his cosmic twin in that respect, but he’s no longer the outrageous, flirty, Pororo bachelor — he’s married, with 2 kids!
Ji Hyo’s airtime is next to negligible. Where is Ji Hyo?! I think this really has to do with what has happened, so she’s become so much more reserved. In addition, because Jeon So Min (&Yang Se Chan) are now on board, like the nice Unni/Noona she is, Ji Hyo is obviously giving the hoobaes a chance, while sacrificing herself. I think this is super unfortunate, and somewhat unfair, but I get where she is coming from, and I’m even more proud of her. I don’t know if forcing a loveline between the SpartAce couple is the best move, but it does seem like it’s the only option.
Politics. If the 2016 SBS Entertainment Awards were really a funeral, then 2017 was an awkward…ok…so we do want to apologize with actions instead of words…but RM isn’t really doing that hot for us to shower you with awards…so we’ll just force a couple so you don’t make a big scene. Running Man only won 4 awards that night…which I must honestly say…is quite a lot & generous…but I can’t help but feel angry because it’s not even the members’ fault. RM was completely ruined by people who didn’t pour their heart into the show, while the members tried to compensate but working even harder…but ended up just sustaining more physical strain & injuries! Ji Suk Jin got the Top Excellence, Jeon So Min got New Star, Kwang Soo & So Min got Best Couple, and the Global Star Award went to RM, the show — BUT YOU SEE IT TOO, RIGHT? That Global Star Award was clearly just designed for Running Man – like some sort of consolation — “sorry, we screwed you over and abandoned you, but because your global fans go angry, we’re gonna give this global af award to you.” Ugh. Disgusting.
I’m very disheartened by what happened to my “favorite show,” and although this show will forever hold a special place in my heart, I think I’m still going to stop watching this show. I’ll definitely still root for them, but I really can’t bring myself to watch it.