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So, I’ve caught a few episodes here and there of the Sunday variety show 1 Night 2 Days (hereafter called 1N2D), and while I enjoyed them, I never got hooked. Not even to Lee Seung-gi. Although in retrospect, that’s probably a good thing, as it spares me from getting my butt kicked by a possessive girlfriday. In any case, the show’s just about four years old, meaning I’d not only missed the bandwagon, but it had left me miles behind, choking on its dust. Like I was about to catch up on 300+ episodes at this point.

But then, the show recently added a new cast member in actor Uhm Tae-woong (Devil, Resurrection, Queen Seon-deok, Cyrano Dating Agency, Delightful Girl Chun-hyang, Dr. Champ, Stranger than Heaven, Chaw, Forever the Moment, Public Enemy Returns, and more). I figured that this would be the ideal time to give 1N2D a try, since it sort of resets the game at a common starting point — AND gives me lots of Uhm Tae-woong, acting silly and performing all manner of outrageous tasks. As if I’d pass that up.

So I’ve joined girlfriday in this newfound 1N2D attraction, and we decided it was too much fun not to weigh in on some of our favorite moments. So here we go!

But first, a little introduction.

If you aren’t familiar with 1 Night 2 Days, the gist is: You take a group of celebrities, put them on an overnight trip, and make them perform certain games and missions. Usually for food and/or shelter, or to avoid certain punishments. The more dignity stripped in the process, the better. Stir in some inclement weather and a sadistic genius for a PD, and there you have it: 1 Night 2 Days.

Each trip provides material for two episodes, so the members are basically shooting every other weekend. The member count has been five in recent months, following the departure of MC Mong, and currently comprises (in order of their photos above):

  • Kang Ho-dong, 40, comedian and frequent MC on just about every variety show ever;
  • Lee Seung-gi, 24, singer and actor (My Girlfriend Is a Gumiho);
  • Lee Su-geun, 36, comedian and actor (Chopsticks);
  • Eun Ji-won, 32, singer who debuted with K-pop group Sechs Kies back in ye olden ’90s, currently re-debuting with group Clover;
  • and Kim Jong-min, 31, singer with pop group Koyote.
  • Oh yeah, and Sadistic Genius Extraordinaire Na Young-seok, or merely Na PD.

And now: 1N2D initiates Uhm Tae-woong. Also javabeans.

EPISODE 324. Broadcast on March 6, 2011.

girlfriday: FINALLY! Welcome to the 1N2D family! I knew the Uhmforce would bait you!

javabeans: I’ve always liked him as an actor, but I’ve gotta say that since I’ve seen him in 1N2D, he’s become SO much more adorable. He’s just so…earnest.

girlfriday: And unassuming. Just so UN-star-like.

javabeans: You could see the guys were curious to see whether he’d have star airs, but he really doesn’t. In fact, they were surprised at how accommodating he was. I’m sure it’s ‘cause he’s new, but he just kept agreeing to everything.

girlfriday: I think that threw them off because these guys are used to arguing over everything—they have to fight like dogs over every little scrap and they constantly live in self-preservation mode. Uhm threw them with his super sincere “Yes” to everything.

javabeans: Not having seen many of the 323 episodes prior to this, I’ll venture to say that adding Uhm is good for the show and the viewers in that the rules are shifted a little. I can see that the guys are so used to how things run that there’s this shorthand for everything—they’ve figured out how to game the system (kind of). And now with a new guy they have to recalibrate their expectations, and adjust to the new dynamic. Also, maybe figure out how to use/abuse/manipulate him.

girlfriday: It’s nice to have a changeup because the other guys have such solidified identities, but it shakes things up in a fun way. Also, eye candy!

javabeans: As far as initiations go, I’d say this was an effective one. You could see the other guys were sort of in awe of him when they were waiting for him to show up at the station in the morning. I guess that’s the tricky part of introducing someone who’s more famous, someone who’s kind of, maybe, just a little bit on a higher rung of the celebrity ladder. By ambushing him at 5am without warning, you get past those initial barriers real quick. The guys totally went from feeling nerves straight into mission mode when they find out they’ve got 1 hour to wake, feed, clothe, and bring Uhm back to the studio, which is 20 minutes away. No time for niceties—must find pants! Go!

girlfriday: Yeah, it was the perfect way to introduce Uhm to the group. And I’m not just talking about the boxers. *mrawr*

javabeans: I wonder if his manager was sweating bullets, hoping Uhm wouldn’t be indecent. Or swear. Or embarrass himself. ‘Cause those 1N2D producers are SHARKS. They’re not leaving anything out on the cutting room floor.

girlfriday: And that’s why the show is good.

javabeans: It was kind of brilliant to tell the big star that go-time is 11am, lull him into a false sense of security, and then jump him at dawn. I suppose it could’ve been a trainwreck had he acted like a diva, but he was so sweet that it made me love him right away. Even Ho-dong was all giddy, saying how his first impression of him was so awesome. And in that kind of panic mode, the other guys went from worrying what to call him (in a way that wouldn’t offend the star) to jumping right in and yelling, “Tae-woong-hyung!”

girlfriday: It’s weird to call them by their first names, but that’s the nature of the show….so….Tae-woong? Ho-dong? That’s so weird!

javabeans: When in Rome… Does this mean I can call him Tae-woong oppa now?

girlfriday: Yes. Just you. As long as I’m the only one getting called noona by Seung-gi.

javabeans: I’ll take that deal. Oh, and I thought it was adorable how he admitted his sister [pop diva Uhm Jung-hwa] had picked out his clothes for his first appearance and gave him advice, only to have that all go by the wayside because he was ambushed.

girlfriday: I love when they went to go pick out his clothes, and all they found were three closets full of suits. They weren’t even surprised. “I bet you he just has suits…oh look, suits!”

javabeans: Tae-woong was so bewildered, you could see he was self-conscious about having eye-boogers or whatnot the whole time. And then you have random guys going, “Hi, nice to meet you! I’m Jong-min! Eat this!” and shoving raw egg into his mouth.

girlfriday: Omg Jong-min’s attempt at cooking with that electric stove cracked me up!

javabeans: He was all, “How do you work this fancy thing? It’s because this is an Actor’s house…” I was dying laughing when they’d fed Tae-woong, and then the other guys were eating all his leftovers. Like how Ji-won was sneaking in bites of cereal.

girlfriday: That’s the thing about this show—you never know when you’re going to eat again, so they stuff themselves at any opportunity.

javabeans: It was impressive how they actually got him back to the broadcast building in their allotted time. And although they lost their next task with the singing game, I was just glad that it wasn’t Tae-woong who messed up. Just ‘cause it would suck to screw up your first mission. Thank god for Jong-min.

girlfriday: He’s reliable that way.

javabeans: We were just talking about Korean ages in this post, and this episode was a good example of it. As soon as the cast members acquainted themselves with Tae-woong, they asked what year he was born, because they had to figure out how to address him—who would call him hyung, etc. It’s easy with the extremes: Ho-dong is the mat-hyung (eldest), and Seung-gi is the maknae (youngest). It’s everyone else that needs some figuring out.

girlfriday: That’s the Korean way—I’ve never entered a social situation with Koreans without having to go through the age rigamarole.

javabeans: For example, Tae-woong’s a 1974-er, but Su-geun offered that he’s an “early 1975” because they might be close enough in age to forego the hyung-dongsaeng hierarchy. But then Tae-woong said he started school early, which kept him firmly in hyung territory—even if he was then held back a year, because he didn’t do so good in kindergarten. I cracked up when he admitted that, totally honestly and without shame.

girlfriday: Who gets held back in kindergarten? So cute. And I didn’t know Tae-woong was that old. He’s actually Seung-gi’s ddi-dong-gap, which means he’s the same Chinese zodiac sign, but one cycle over. Basically it’s a shorthand that means he’s twelve years older, but it’s a cultural marker used to denote a difference in generation. For example, a full generation would be two cycles: my mom and I are ddi-dong-gap by two cycles, or 24 years.

javabeans: My brother and father are ddi-dong-gap by THREE cycles. 36 years, booyah! (Side note: I can be competitive about anything.)

girlfriday: Yes, my liver thanks you for that.

javabeans: My liver thanks you back, from the deathbed. Oh, what the hell was up with that clown car? Is that a 1N2D thing? Force six grown men into a van that is shorter than them?

girlfriday: They love any opportunity to make the guys look ridiculous. I think they brought that car back from the dead, which would explain why it stalled on them, and Ho-dong had to practically carry it along.

javabeans: Didn’t it have an “Uhm Tae-woong on Board” sign painted on it?

girlfriday: Yeah, like “Baby On Board,” but hotter?

javabeans: I’m guessing they went easy on him with the games this time, because they seemed kind of simple: Rock-Scissors-Paper, multiplication tables, and country capitals.

girlfriday: No, the games are always simple. You’d be surprised at how often they mess up simple things. That’s kind of the beauty of the setup, because it’s genius-simple. Like you find yourself rooting for the boys in tasks that a child could do, but the stakes are what make it interesting. That and their competitive nature.

javabeans: Apparently Tae-woong does not know how to count. Or multiply.

girlfriday: OMG Seung-gi’s face when he realized Tae-woong was the multiplication Black Hole was just hilarious.

javabeans: I love how seriously the veterans took their roles “mentoring” the rookie. Like, Jong-min’s super-serious advice on how to beat the director in Rock-Scissors-Paper. Dude. There’s a limit to how much strategy you can use in that game. Although, I guess it was technically Mook-Ji-Ppa, not Rock-Scissors-Paper.

girlfriday: (In case you haven’t had the pleasure of playing Mook-Jji-Ppa, it’s a bizarrely stressful version of rock-paper-scissors where you have to NOT play the same hand as your opponent, while still beating them at rock-paper-scissors.)

javabeans: Does that sound confusing? IT IS. Basically, you have to play a juiced-up-version of rock-scissors-paper and avoid mirroring your opponent. It’s REALLY stressful.

girlfriday: Also, that cameraman is notoriously good at that game. He NEVER loses.

javabeans: He looks freaky. Like the Terminator of childhood playground games.

girlfriday: I love how impressed they were that Tae-woong beat him.

javabeans: He was surprisingly good at country capitals, too. It’s just where numbers are concerned that he sucks. But the PD was really lenient about letting them go double-or-nothing every time they lost. It’s like they wanted him to win and were trying to give him all the opportunities.

girlfriday: No, it’s because Na PD is an evil genius. He has nothing to lose by having them up the stakes with more members offering themselves as collateral for punishment. It’s always better TV.

javabeans: That, and pantsless idols. But that’s for the next post!