How do you take an uproariously funny show about six adorable grown men acting like children, and up the cute factor? Give ‘em enormous teddy bears, that’s how! Add in some sneakiness, lying, backstabbing, and botched subterfuge, and we have the next generation in delivery racing. And while newbie Uhm Tae-woong is still pretty green to the whole every-man-for-himself mentality of 1N2D survival games, he’s managing to catch on…sorta.
EPISODE 326. Broadcast on March 20, 2011.
[Note: I'm using the episode numbers tagged on the video files. It seems there's more than one way to number 1N2D episodes, but I chose this because it seemed simplest, for the purposes of locating the appropriate file for download.]
javabeans: So, the teddy bears. So ridiculous, and pretty much the perfect way to humiliate all six adult men in one fell swoop. For this episode, Jong-min was first to arrive and pick out a mysterious box for an “upgraded delivery race.”
girlfriday: The delivery race is a game where each member is entrusted with a different item to be kept safe/clean/intact/unmolested to the destination. Only the first to arrive with his item unmarred is the winner who gets to sleep inside, along with one partner. (It’s a staple of the show that every night some members get to sleep indoors while others have to sleep outside, even in the freezing cold.)
javabeans: I saw the flashback montage. Looks like they can get pretty vicious with the sabotage.
girlfriday: It’s the best game EVER.
javabeans: This time, the mission was for each member to deliver his box from the studio to Ulleungdo — meaning, three men take one boat, three men take another, and one ferry ride later, all six complete a footrace to their final destination.
(Ulleungdo is a remote island to the east of the peninsula. In Level 7 Civil Servant, Kim Haneul used it numerous times as an excuse when she went on her spy missions, telling her boyfriend Kang Ji-hwan that she was going to Ulleungdo — the implication being, “Don’t call me, I’ll be out of range.” In Coffee House, Kang Ji-hwan goes to Ulleungdo when he’s off the grid for two years writing a new novel, which is set on the island. Basically, it’s way the heck out in the middle of nowhere.)
You can tell Tae-woong is still easing into things, because when he got to the starting point and the PD asked why he thought he was here (meaning: What do you think your mission is?), he answered, “To do 1N2D!” Sooooo cute.
girlfriday: Like a little kid.
javabeans: Oh! And then, when the rules were explained to him about needing to keep his package safe, he asked so innocently, “Why wouldn’t it be safe?”
girlfriday: HAHAHAHA. It’s like he’s new…to the world.
javabeans: Cue flashbacks to stealing, tripping, sneak-attacking, and ambushing fellow members.
girlfriday: It’s a game that brings out everyone’s devious side, as they scheme and make backdoor deals, and then promptly betray each other at every turn. The last time, Ho-dong had a raw egg as his package, and Jong-min ATE IT in his ramen.
javabeans: That’s awesome. It’s like adding insult to injury. And eating it too. I guess it was a new development this time that everyone had to carry the same (monstrously sized) package.
girlfriday: And what a brilliant idea to make it both cute and unwieldy. I love each of their reactions when they open their mystery box to find a ginormous teddy bear, all groaning, “I should’ve picked the other one!”
javabeans: Then, each member lied to each other when they phoned in to see what everyone’s respective packages were…except Tae-woong. Sweet, pure, gullible Tae-woong.
girlfriday: I love it because that’s such a banjun for 1N2D; it’s a given that they’re all going to lie. Except he doesn’t know how to. YET.
javabeans: But on the other hand, it worked for him in the second half, because everyone just assumed he’d fall for their lies. And he wasn’t THAT dumb.
girlfriday: Yeah, it’s a good thing he doesn’t fall for every single trick in the book, ’cause otherwise I’d feel too bad for him to laugh (sort of). He really is Uhm “Soon-doong” though, which is I think the best nickname for him so far (meaning “innocent”). He just says what he means, and means what he says.
javabeans: Can we talk about how scary-smart Ji-won was in this one? You have Jong-min strapping his teddy bear to his back with a huge pink blanket—not conspicuous at all, eh?—and Ji-won cleverly stuffed his into a neat, compact backpack. And then later, he was workin’ some major telepathy by accurately predicting the other team’s situation perfectly, based on ONE measly text message Tae-woong wrote.
girlfriday: He is a genius strategist. Sometimes it’s scary. I think Seung-gi says it in this episode, but the recurring thing with Ji-won is that any team with him on it fears nothing, because even if he loses, he will ARGUE his way out of anything.
javabeans: Especially compared to Jong-min, who was desperately trying to be sneaky, but foiled by his own ineptitude. Like, he’s got this huge mutherfuckin’ teddy bear on his back, and he’s insisting, “My package is this book! No, this umbrella! No, this neck pillow! I swear, it’s not the teddy bear!” He was the craftiest, but also the least successful at being crafty.
girlfriday: So…not crafty in the least. Heh. It kills me that he insists it’s not the bear…while the other person is carrying THE EXACT SAME BEAR around. So, I’ve got a bear, and he’s got a bear, but yours is NOT the bear? Hm. Not the brightest bulb, this one.
javabeans: I guess Ji-won’s genius has a limit, though, because he was the first to be disqualified. Even though Su-geun would have been out first — if only he hadn’t whimsically strapped his teddy bear in with the seat belt. Hee.
girlfriday: Seung-gi sneak-attacked Ji-won while he was sleeping, but then did you notice that as soon as they made the deal to gang up on Jong-min, when Ji-won discovered that Seung-gi’s bear was easier to steal, he switched gears at a moment’s notice? And someone please tell me how I’m not supposed to squeal at the fact that Seung-gi gets TICKLED out of his bear?
javabeans: Isn’t it funny how four people were eliminated before they even arrived at the island for the race? Two of them were eliminated before they even got to the ferry.
girlfriday: Last time Jong-min was eliminated before leaving the studio.
javabeans: Snerk. And really, the only reason he survived this one was because he desperately reminded his teammates that he was their only hope for sleeping inside that night. If they took him out, then the winner would be from the other team. Although, I cracked up every time he begged for mercy, appealing to them by saying, “But…we’re singers! We’re all singers!”
girlfriday: Haha. It’s a function of how they tend to divide up the teams—sometimes it’s OB/YB (Old Boys / Young Boys), and sometimes it’s Comedians/Singers.
javabeans: Ahh, that makes sense then. ‘Cause I was like… Uh? So you’re singers?
girlfriday: Now they have a new team though, with Actors/Comedians/Singers ‘cause Seung-gi swings both ways.
javabeans: Rawr. I noticed that the young boys were a lot more cutthroat than the old boys, especially when they were on their separate boats to Ulleungdo.
girlfriday: Well they have Seung-gi AND Ji-won, who are both sly little foxes.
javabeans: And Jong-min, the not-so-sly attempted strategist. The old boys were way more laid-back on their boat ride. Although two of them did get their bears stolen on the boat. But I doubt the OBs would have come up with that crafty text-messaging scheme like the young’uns did. (The YB team convinced Na PD to let them use his phone, and then pretended to be him while texting the writer on the other team to find out info.)
girlfriday: That was GENIUS. I love that Na PD went along with the wager and actually let them use his phone. I think they scared him a little.
javabeans: So it’s not common that the boys impersonate the PD to weasel out info from the staff?
girlfriday: To the point that they imitate his word choice to fool the writer into giving away the OB team’s teddy bear status? That’s a new level of crafty.
javabeans: It was so hilarious when the writer called Na PD back to confirm, and he had to lie on the spot but was TERRIBLE at it. “Uh, how’s this team doing? Uh, er, they’re…all safe. Oh, the thing I said before? I-I-I was wrong about that.”
girlfriday: He cracks me up. How can an evil genius be so bad at lying? Na PD is actually one of my favorite characters on the show because he’s such a ball of contradictions, and he’s a great fourth-wall-breaker. It makes the whole thing more REAL when he participates, whereas when it’s just the six members looking out at the cameras, it can get stagey.
javabeans: It was pretty smart that both teams came up with the same strategy, though: Two eliminated players protect their one viable contestant from the other team. Seung-gi and Ji-won at least tried to run interference for Jong-min, but Tae-woong’s teammates FAILED HIM. They didn’t even try to help him beat the young boys in that race to the lighthouse.
girlfriday: They just couldn’t keep up with the Uhmforce. He was like the freakin’ Teddy Bear Terminator. I mean the protecty kind, not a teddy bear killer!
javabeans: Yeah, here’s where I think Tae-woong finally displays some major advantages. He may not be the smartest, but damn the man is in shape. He could’ve run the whole way and more, I think. And his second-fastest competitor would be gasping in his wake. It’s almost a shame Seung-gi was disqualified early, because a race between him and Tae-woong might’ve been pretty interesting. They would probably be matched for speed, but Tae-woong has the edge on strength. And Seung-gi the edge on smarts. Ahhh, too bad.
girlfriday: It’s nice that Seung-gi’s finally got some competition for the physical games again, ‘cause he’s pretty much the winning horse in anything involving speed or hand-eye coordination (except strength games, of course, where everyone loses to Ho-dong). Now Tae-woong’s gonna put ‘em all in the ground with his action-school moves.
javabeans: Oh man, and how I giggled when they brought out the theme song from Last Match [hit 1994 basketball drama starring Jang Dong-gun and Shim Eun-ha]. I notice they played a lot of Uhm Jung-hwa hits, too, for Tae-woong’s scenes.
(The song: “마지막 승부” (The last match) from the drama soundtrack. Download)
girlfriday: Oh, no you di’n’t. I LOVE 마지막 승부! Must… resist… urge… for tangent…
javabeans: How hilarious was Jong-min, who kept begging Tae-woong (his main competitor) to stop for a mutual rest? “Hyung! Let’s both take a 5-minute break. I swear we’ll just rest.” Like that was gonna do anyone any good but himself. I love the captions that pointed out that Tae-woong kept saying okay, and then kept running anyway. And Jong-min was left crying, “Hyung! Wait! Let’s rest! Hyung!” The only time Tae-woong finally paused was when his poor cameraman asked for a break.
girlfriday: That’s actually a common problem, ’cause sometimes the guys will outrun their VJs when their competitive drive takes over. Everyone has an adjustment period with that too, and I think Tae-woong still has to learn that on a variety show, winning off camera is… NOT WINNING.
javabeans: That must be why every time it happens, the producers draw attention to it, sorta hanging a lantern on the problem. (“Tae-woong runs so fast his VJ can’t keep up!”) Better to “write it in” to the storyline (so to speak) than to leave viewers dissatisfied, eh?
girlfriday: It cracks me up that while everyone else strapped, bungeed, and stuffed their bears to keep them safe, the winner just carried his along like a big kid. I just love that the boys were running all over Korea with those giant teddy bears in tow. I think Ho-dong got attached to his, taking it out on a date.
javabeans: I think he got FRISKY with his.
girlfriday: But my favorite thing was Tae-woong’s confession that he loves Ho-dong. He so sweetly refused to believe that his hyung would betray him. “Ho-dong-ppa!”
javabeans: Heh. I noticed how everyone was quick to suck up to Tae-woong at the end, hoping he’d pick them to share his shelter for the night. But I knew he’d pick Su-geun, because he was so cute that morning when he ran into Su-geun at the station. He whispered, “I missed you” like he was embarrassed to be caught on camera being so sincere. And then they promised each other that they’d be each other’s besties if they won. Plus, it was totally worth that look of surprise on Ho-dong’s face when he didn’t get picked. That’s what you get for making assumptions!
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