In which case we are shown that the simplest, most childish games can sometimes be the most hilarious. And sadistic.
(Also, this is 1N2D’s 200th episode special, which you may notice doesn’t correspond to our episode titling. That’s ’cause 1N2D is a segment airing as part of KBS’s Happy Sunday, so we’re using the Happy Sunday episode number on the video files.)
EPISODE 342. Broadcast on July 10, 2011.
girlfriday: Happy 200th episode, 1N2D! Ho-dong starts off the show by giving a big bow [a big bow is the ultimate show of respect, when you get down on your knees and bow low to the ground, usually reserved for grandparents, highly respected elders, deceased ancestors]. Ho-dong has a tendency to do this all the time with no warning to the other members, so they always have to scramble to follow him.
javabeans: Ha, it’s great how the members all catch on right quick, except for Tae-woong, who bobs up, notices he’s prematurely risen, then bows back down. Like a boy at church.
girlfriday: Tae-woong’s brought one of his dogs, Baek-tong, as a guest mascot today. He says that if Baek-tongie were a person, he’d be just like him — shy and doesn’t talk much. Aw. Ho-dong gives a shout-out to Sang-geun, their old mascot for most of the show’s run. Oddly enough, I think that dog is a bigger movie star than any of the boys are. There was a bigger uproar when he left the show than when a whole slew of original PDs left. I miss seeing him drag the boys around or tackle them like a bear.
javabeans: Aw, that is a damn cute dog. Looks so jolly.
girlfriday: He was mostly judgmental, based on the captions that they always attributed to him. Like the dog was always silently judging the silly children and their games.
javabeans: Okay, now I like him even more.
girlfriday: They’ve arrived at Go-chang for their 95th trip, and Na PD leads them straight to their basecamp… where they’re met with an anniversary banquet in a giant field. They stare blankly, “Is this… for us?” and then burst into laughter as the string quartet begins to play. HA. Why is that so inherently funny? It just doesn’t suit them at all.
javabeans: It’s definitely the classical music that pushes them over the top. They’re cautious enough as it is, knowing to expect some kind of hardship, but the quartet (and their apprehensive entry) makes it seem like they’ve crashed a wedding.
girlfriday: There’re balloons and even an ice sculpture (the shape of which eludes me) and congratulatory banners posted everywhere, like: “We’ve done well thus far so let’s do well in the future.” Heh. That’s like making a birthday banner that says: You’ve lived thus far, so keep on living.
javabeans: Isn’t that just like Na PD? He’s like the gruff dad who can’t bring himself to flowery praise, so that’s the warmest you’re gonna get out of him.
girlfriday: The boys feel so out of place and awkward that they can’t even approach the banquet, and then of course they immediately feel nervous. “Stop being so good to us!” They know there has to be a catch. There’s always a catch.
javabeans: The funny thing is, though, that even though they know there’s something coming at them in the near future, they’re willing to put that aside to enjoy the banquet: “Well, we’ve gotta eat, right? So let’s eat and then worry about it.”
girlfriday: They cautiously approach the buffet table, and Na PD tells them that their fans sent them a cake. Whoa. That is one impressive cake. It’s got each of the members, and even Sang-geun and Na PD hanging out on top of the bus with bottles of eel sauce. It’s like an Ace of Cakes cake!
javabeans: It’s an awesome cake. The kind that looks like a professional toy model, not an edible product. I love pregnant Su-geun with his bowling-ball belly.
girlfriday: They wonder if maybe they’ll have to work based on how much they eat, but I think the fact that it’s their 200th anniversary makes them put their guard down a little more than they would normally. This kind of treatment out of the blue would be alarming, but it’s a big enough milestone that they think maybe Na PD is being sincere. And here I am, shouting: “Have you learned nothing over the past 199 episodes?!”
javabeans: This is why it totally works! Because they know better…or they should.
girlfriday: Sure enough, as soon as they sit down with their plates of food, the two staff members sitting at their table spring up, shouting, “ONE! TWO!” They stare at each other… are we… playing… a game? After a pause, Seung-gi and Jong-min get up at the same time, “THREE!” making them both out. Everyone stares blankly, not knowing why they’re playing a game all of a sudden. I love that their instinct is still to play though, like a pavlovian response.
javabeans: Oh, totally. They have no freaking clue what the heck is going on…but a game has started! Must play along!
girlfriday: And then… men in black come and kidnap Seung-gi and Jong-min and stick them on a bus… that drives away. HA.
javabeans: Seung-gi looks so sad at the plate he’s barely touched. The other members just sit there unruffled, and eat off his and Jong-min’s abandoned plates, HAHA. Meanwhile, Seung-gi and Jong-min are loaded onto a bus and left literally yelling at the window, “Hyung! Hyung!”
girlfriday: Everyone gets told that their 200th episode is in fact not a banquet, but a farming special, where they’re going to give back and help out local farmers with their harvest. The larger the task, the earlier they have to leave. Seung-gi and Jong-min’s task? To pick 7000 stalks of corn on over 3300 square meters of land. WUT? In a day? Are they taking a detour to the fourth dimension?
javabeans: It is crazy. Shoulda known that the specialer the occasion, the specialer Na PD’s brand of sadistic puppetmastery. Dance, my puppets, dance! He tells the other members that they’ll be given their missions shortly. “But that’s then. Till then, please enjoy yourselves and eat up.” Like they could eat stress-lessly with that hanging over their heads.
girlfriday: Meanwhile, the kidnapped boys come out of the bus dressed in their finest ajumma farmer wear, flower pants and matching flower hats, and Seung-gi hilariously asks for the Boys Before Flowers theme song to play as they exit. “Almost Paaaaaaaaradise~!” Pwahahaha.
javabeans: Because clearly they fit that anthem of luxury, right? I love their expressions when they’re told their mission. “Seven what? Seven thousand? Thousand? Wait, seven thousand?”
girlfriday: The rest of the boys eat nervously, and then a while later, music starts to play. They recognize instantly that they’re playing the pairing game. Na PD calls out “Three!” and then two pairs form: Ho-dong/Su-geun and Tae-woong/Ji-won. Uh-oh. Somebody’s gotta ditch their partner to save himself. Ho-dong tries to convince Tae-woong to join them, but it doesn’t work, so he kicks Su-geun free… and Su-geun beats him to the other guys!
javabeans: I love that Na PD gives them a time limit this time, because this could just go on forever. Hee, immediately the Men In Black come at him like he’s a criminal off to the clink.
girlfriday: Ho-dong’s task: harvesting watermelons… enough to fill a 1-ton truck. Holy. They’re lucky that Ho-dong got stuck with this one. Who else could carry that many watermelons without dying?
javabeans: Are they actually playing the spy theme song from Level 7 Civil Servant for this? That cracks me up. Like it’s a super covert mission, only it’s NOT.
girlfriday: The ajumma greets him, practically yelling at him because he didn’t bring Seung-gi with him (hee) and brings him a pair of flower pants along with this… ass cushion? With straps? OMG. Ow! Ow!
javabeans: Ho-dong totally whines like a baby at the task, not to mention the discomfort of standing/kneeling. But when that cushion/seat is brought out…oh man, it’s hilarious. Especially since it almost doesn’t fit.
girlfriday: Back at basecamp, Na PD tells the remaining three guys to hand him the TV remote and each pick a channel between 1 and 20. He tells them that the channel with the fewest people onscreen loses. Round 1, they each have one person. In Round 2, he decides that the channel with the most people onscreen loses. Ji-won: 0 people. And then they turn to Tae-woong’s channel… and it’s a massive concert hall with like a thousand people. HA!
javabeans: You know, Na PD is really pretty creative with his games. This is a simple selection process, but he didn’t leave it to a simple picking of straws or whatnot. In recent episodes, I’ve had this image of him as a ten-year-old playground general, being the one kid who everyone wanted to play with, not because he was the best at games but because he came up with the most creative ones. I’m picturing him being surrounded by a bunch of eager ten-year-olds, ready to do his bidding.
girlfriday: Oh, totally! Like he was the jjang in grade school, not because he was the biggest, but because he made the rules. Tae-woong gets carted off by the MIB for his mission: picking Korean raspberries, or bokbunja.
javabeans: What is it about these music choices that crack me up so much? Tae-woong’s prison walk is to the tune of (the rather epic) “Last Concert,” like he’s just had his and is off to face the Big Guy in the Sky.
girlfriday: He’s pretty happy about it, despite the fact that he has to pick a thousand of them. But hey, that’s nothing compared to 7000 corn.
javabeans: His easy attitude makes me nervous for him. “That seems pretty easy. I’m glad.” Because those…are the words of someone who will later regret them, no?
girlfriday: Back at basecamp, Ji-won asks suspiciously if the tasks really do get easier the longer you remain “in” the game. Na PD assures them: “I’m still here.” That’s really the most convincing thing to them — Na PD is guaranteed to go with the easiest mission.
javabeans: Heh. Ain’t that the truth. I love that he acknowledges it. The tasks do seem to be getting easier, though. And Tae-woong’s problem won’t necessarily be his physical mission, but his own personality. He figures that all they’ll see of him onscreen is picking raspberries, like he wants to be more entertaining but doesn’t know how. Aw.
girlfriday: For the final game, Na PD sticks his hand out in between Su-geun and Ji-won and waits… Nothing happens, so he says, “I’ve put my hand out,” and both boys race to clasp his hand first. Su-geun wins, and Na PD gathers him in a hug. Caption: “Su-geun ♥ Young-seok couple wins.” Hee.
javabeans: In true Ji-won style, he’s dragged out while complaining that the game was rigged against him. And when I say dragged out…I mean dragged out.
girlfriday: Classic Cho-ding. His mission: to fill 60 boxes of potatoes. I think he got reversed with Tae-woong. Digging potatoes seems way harder than picking berries.
javabeans: Maybe Tae-woong’s task is harder to complete for sheer numbers. Potatoes does seem kind of fun, though, like Ji-won says: “It’s like digging for gold.”
girlfriday: I love that in the long shot, they can’t tell which of them are the ajummas and which one is Ji-won.
javabeans: Su-geun finally gets to his location, and is instructed to pick peaches (and enjoys eating one that’s technically marked unsellable, because of a teeny imperfection).
girlfriday: Wow, those peaches look like they’re CG’ed, they look so perfect. And Su-geun gasps to find out that they’re literally cream-of-the-crop peaches, that sell for like five bucks EACH. Over in the watermelon patch, Ho-dong discovers that his watermelon sell for 20,000 won each, and the ones with tiny imperfections (like a non-T stem) only sell for half as much. Good grief.
javabeans: But you know Korean shoppers with their groceries. We like the ones that look perfect, no matter what they taste like. (Well, they should taste good.) But still. Go to any Korean market and see the pristine fruit there. That’s how I judge the quality of a good Korean market.
girlfriday: Seriously though, and I’m not just saying this — Korean fruit tastes the best. It’s unbelievably good.
javabeans: (My mom says it’s because they use tons of pesticides, to keep the bugs away and maintain the perfect appearances. I just rinse a little harder.)
javabeans: Ji-won is really cute in his task. I think it’s because it brings out the cuter half of his cho-ding personality, rather than the immature bratty part. Mind you, I find the brat hilarious, but I think the little boy is adorable. He’s all proud of himself, even though the ajummas are totally unimpressed, saying he’s not going very fast. The women note that he has to work all day for his sixty boxes, and he says as plain as you please, “Yes, that’s what they say. I think they’re not right in the head.”
girlfriday: It reminds me of my favorite Cho-ding moment, when the boys went to visit a group of country homes way up in the mountains, and each stayed with a different family. Ji-won took to his ajumma so naturally that when she had him pluck the stems from some bean sprouts, he did it and asked, “Like this, Mom?” like omma, as in mommy. It just came out of his mouth. So. Cute.
javabeans: Aw, so cute. I can totally see that. It’s his lack of affectation that makes it cuter, like how we described him and Yeom Jung-ah in the actress special just getting along naturally.
girlfriday: It’s sort of nice that each of the tasks seems to suit their personalities pretty well — Jong-min takes to his job really quickly (declaring himself a corn-picking genius, pffft), and Tae-woong’s quiet patient personality really goes well with the berry-picking.
javabeans: Jong-min is zooming right along, and is so pleased at the praise when his ajumma calls him a good worker and pretty. He’s like, “It’s been a long time since anyone called me pretty.” Thing is, he kind of is pretty, by real-world standards, though not celebrity ones. And Tae-woong converses with his ajumma and asks about her son, who’s still unmarried, and reacts like an ajumma would: “How old is he? 32? Oh, he must be a worry.” Meanwhile, he’s like 38 (Korean years) and single, but says this with a straight face.
girlfriday: The funny thing is, even though he’s nearly forty, he’s such a man-child that it’s hard to think of him as marrying age.
javabeans: Ho-dong eats some noodles for a snack, which by the way look delicious. Make me want to root around for ingredients to make my own. Alas, I have neither ingredients nor cooking ability, so…
girlfriday: I know! I’m so jealous right now. I’ve done none of the manual labor, but I want everything that they’re eating!
javabeans: His ajumma is still stuck on the lack of Seung-gi, and it appears the other workers are well aware of her love for him, so they make her give Ho-dong a kiss to make up for her singleminded Seung-gi devotion.
javabeans: Ho-dong takes on a wheelbarrow carrying 18 watermelons at once, then starts running, saying that it’s so much easier once you’ve got the momentum going, and I’m sitting here cringing going, “Oh, don’t do that….”
javabeans: I KNEW IT. There he is, sprawled amidst a pile of fallen watermelons. Thing is, it’s almost not funny because he feels really bad for rendering half of them unsellable, and you know these foods are the product of such labor and time. Eeek. Cringe cringe cringe. Especially since the other farmers tell the head farmer he has to receive compensation, but he clearly doesn’t want to ask that.
girlfriday: Sometimes these market standards seem unreasonable.
javabeans: That said, if I were in the market, I wouldn’t buy the one with the bruise, or the clipped stem, if there were lots of perfect ones around. That said, it’s a LITTLE funny — just a leeeetle — when Ho-dong falls to the ground and cries like he’s in a sageuk drama. “I CAME TO HELP…BUT I JUST HURT YOU…AND ATE TWO BOWLS OF NOODLES…”
javabeans: Snacktime comes ‘round to all the different fields, with each one serving up its own speciality. (Potatoes in the potato field, corn in the corn field.) Ji-won gets along with his ajumma so well, it’s really endearing. And Jong-min’s really impressing with this speedy corn-picking skills. Seung-gi is in raptures over the raspberry juice and has eight cups all to himself. Hee. It’s a good thing it’s not its alcoholic big brother bokbunja-ju, or we’d be watching a different show.
girlfriday: The hilarious thing is, bokbunja (the raspberries that Tae-woong is picking) are known to be very energizing, and is particularly advertised as a natural um… upper? Like it gives you energy to go all night… for dudes… so they get all over-excited, playing up all this manly energy they have all of a sudden. Heh.
javabeans: Then they dispense with the cups altogether and drink out of the punch bowl directly. They definitely look energized, like they just had a dose of Gummi Berry Juice. Oh, please tell me you know what that is.
girlfriday: Gummi berry juice?
javabeans: Seriously? No? “Gummi bears…bouncin’ here and there and everywhere…high adventure that’s beyond compare…They are the Gummi bears!” Did you not watch TV as a child?
girlfriday: I ATE gummi bears…
javabeans: “Dashing and daring, courageous and caring…” Oh, forget it. Watch this.
girlfriday: What era were they? Pre-Care Bears?
javabeans: They were…post-Flintstones, I think post-Smurfs, pre-Darkwing Duck and Chip & Dales Rescue Rangers. Just around the time of Duck Tales. (Woo-HOO-ooh!)
girlfriday: Duck Tales!!! You are clearly more well-versed in the Saturday Morning Cartoon Canon than I am.
javabeans: Totally. Gummi Bears, Fraggle Rock, Snorks, I was all about ‘em. Annnnnyway… The bokbunja ajumma was asking Tae-woong so cutely whether being on 1N2D would be good promo for them, and he was like, “I think so?” And after this segment, DUDE. Bokbunja revival!
girlfriday: Seriously. Guys are gonna be lining up to buy the stuff.
javabeans: Basically you got super-expensive endorsement star Seung-gi to shoot a CF for you, for free. He’s pretty much running around all puffed up with energy, acting like it’s all the juice’s power, except that since this is reality-docu TV, it kind of IS all the juice’s power. Ha, I love that Ji-won is all scoffing at the PD for busting out the helicopter camera (“For picking potatoes? Psh~!”) and yet, he runs around like a little kid waving at it. (Side note: I’ve noticed it before, but I really do love the music selections in this show. Heli-camera is set to the song “Icarus’ Wings.”)
girlfriday: Ho-dong fills his watermelon truck, and his PD tells them that they’re going to buy the bruised ones that Ho-dong dropped earlier, to share with the staff. Aw. That’s nice. They finally open one of the watermelons to show on camera, and they weren’t kidding — that’s some melon perfection there.
javabeans: Dude, Ho-dong looks like he’s going to cry when he tastes his. Thing is, he does that all the time so I don’t necessarily trust that reaction…except I almost think there may be real tears this time.
girlfriday: I think they might be hard-work tears mixed in there too.
javabeans: And guilty I’m-sorry-I-effed-up-your-crop tears.
girlfriday: Su-geun starts the task of boxing the peaches he picked, according to size. (The top-grade are four to a box, then the next step down gets one more, and so on.) But apparently, he doesn’t have to make the decision about which level the peaches are. He picks one up off the table and a machine voice goes: “Level One.” Na PD looks around, “Is there an x-ray?” Ha. Sometimes you are NOT a genius.
javabeans: Haha. Sometimes people forget subtraction is a mathematical function?
girlfriday: But when he finds out it’s by weight, he immediately goes, “I want to put Kang Ho-dong on it.”
javabeans: More bokbunja promo: Tae-woong finishes early and joins Ji-won to help out, and says, “I had so much bokbunja, I’m in trouble.” Because of the magic bokbunja vitality. Like, he is cleared to return to basecamp, but he’s choosing to work because he has so much energy. Seriously, now I want to try some of that stuff. But it seems like it’s SO effective that it would almost be annoying if you didn’t work it off, like coffee jitters x20.
girlfriday: I think I’m good with just coffee. That stuff seems intense. Su-geun almost finishes too, except that some of the boxes of peaches are incomplete, so he has to go back out, just to fill them. “Neverending Story” plays as he goes back on his never-ending peach quest. Heh.
javabeans: There truly is a song for every occasion. Tae-woong helps Ji-won box up potatoes together, and notes, “It’s like we’re married.” Ji-won, with his flower pants, gets the wifey caption. Aw, and then Tae-woong offers to do the harder job (handing up boxes to the truck, where Ji-won receives them), ‘cause he’s stronger. I like how it’s just a given that in this duo, Tae-woong’s just gonna do the harder task, and Ji-won’s gonna do the easy one.
girlfriday: It’s adorable. I love that when they finally load all of the boxes, Ji-won just sprawls out on top of them: “These are my potatoes!” That’s totally what I would do.
javabeans: Ji-won thanks Tae-woong for helping, since he wouldn’t have been able to do it alone. Tae-woong waves it off, saying he needed an outlet because of all that bokbunja he had. Ji-won: “Hyung, don’t eat bokbunja anymore.”
girlfriday: One by one they finish their missions and return to basecamp dead tired.
javabeans: They describe their tasks. Seung-gi: “If there’s someone I hate, I’m going to tell them, ‘You and me. We’re going to the corn field.’”
girlfriday: Then talk turns to the bokbunja again, and Seung-gi is at a loss for how to describe the burst of energy. Ho-dong notes that Seung-gi seems less like a cute kid and more like a man these days, and he uses a particular expression that he loves…
javabeans: Ho-dong: “You give off the scent of an animal.”
girlfriday: A MALE animal. Like the scent of a male. But ew.
javabeans: Seung-gi: “I’ll go wash.”
javabeans: Na PD brings out watermelon and bokbunja for them all to have a snack…and then drops the bomb about their sleeping arrangements game. They arrange into two teams, and the first team that leaves the platform loses, and has to spend the night in a deserted house in the village. The winners “get to sleep here, safely.”
girlfriday: Dude, that’s creepy. Like a haunted house?
javabeans: But what makes it even worse — and sadistically genius — is that Na PD basically pumped them full of fluids, knowing that they’ll have to pee sooner or later. Probably sooner. So this becomes a game of HOLDING YOUR PEE.
girlfriday: Hahahaa. Sometimes the simpler the game, the funnier the outcome.
javabeans: Ho-dong: “I totally didn’t have to go — but now that I hear this, I have to go!” Oh man, and then Su-geun makes it extra-interesting by proposing that they play a game amongst themselves, and the losers have to eat the rest of the watermelon.
girlfriday: I love it. They’re like, screw endurance — let’s just call a clear winner now.
javabeans: They’re in the same teams as last time, playing the same game. And it looks like the same trend occurs — you win some, you lose some, but as Seung-gi says, “We lose when it’s important.”
girlfriday: They have to eat the rest of the watermelon, as the other team taunts them: “Shhhhhhhhhhh….”
javabeans: Hee! Like little kids, taunting them with water noises. Do you love how Ho-dong by now is sitting with his legs together, almost in the pee-pee dance?
girlfriday: And then they get all mad at Baek-tongie, because he keeps peeing behind them. HA.
javabeans: Ho-dong almost quits, but resists the urge, and now they settle in for a long evening of sitting there, legs crossed, trying not to pee. Finally Ho-dong gives up with a resigned sigh…only to get the death glare from teammate Seung-gi. HA.
girlfriday: He’s notoriously a big ol’ scaredy cat — one time Ho-dong taunted him with a flashlight in the middle of the night and Seung-gi cried — so sleeping in a haunted house is like death to him. I love that Ho-dong just sits back down silently after one glare from the maknae.
javabeans: In turn, they identify the guy who’s suffering the most at any given moment, and assault him with water noises. Jong-min: “I really feel like I’m going to die.” Ji-won: “You won’t die.” Oh man, I really feel like someone’s going to wet his pants! Finally, Ji-won has mercy on Jong-min (who really looks like he’s going to die) and tells him it’s okay, so Jong-min runs off thanking him. When Ho-dong gets ready to do the victory hand-raise, Su-geun warns him — they’ve won, but they haven’t peed — to go slow. Ha. And then Ho-dong runs for the bathroom.
girlfriday: I’m actually a little disappointed that their team didn’t lose, because Ho-dong scaring Seung-gi all night would’ve been AWESOME.
javabeans: Aw, I’m disappointed too. That scary house looks scary!