It’s the viewer tour special, part 2! I don’t know how many episodes this is going to span, but I suspect the official number will be: a crap-ton. Not that I mind, though, with these engaging guests and the inherent craziness of herding 100 die-hard fans on a single trip alongside some of variety’s favorite faces.
EPISODE 349. Broadcast on August 28, 2011.
javabeans: Surprisingly, and happily for the team, nobody recognizes Grandpa Ji-won. He lasts a whole minute, then two… and even though some people turn back in his direction, they all end up walking away.
girlfriday: He’s doing a good job of appearing like a nondescript grandpa, all hunched over and frowning. But the members panic at every little gesture, thinking he’s overdoing it.
javabeans: Even without his grandpa overbite, nobody can see Ji-won’s face, so he’s totally safe. He starts getting bored and making fishy faces. Su-geun jokes that people are actually too uninterested, and Hyun-moo quips that Ji-won seems mad that nobody’s caught on.
girlfriday: Eventually people start milling about, and some even start taking pictures. Nobody’s said his name yet though, even though a good number of people have caught on that it’s Ji-won. I know it wasn’t immediate, but I’m still shocked that he can’t go unnoticed for 10 minutes, dressed like a grandpa.
javabeans: They last 10 minutes and 9 seconds, which allows them a pretty generous lunch allowance of 69,000 won, which is like sixty bucks for nine people. Na PD doesn’t even bother to hide his displeasure as he hands over the cash, telling him he’s disappointed. He gripes, “What kind of celebrity doesn’t get recognized for that long?” Ji-won chimes in, “Frankly I was a little disappointed, too.”
girlfriday: Hee hee. It’s honest. You do a task like that wanting to succeed and earn money for your team, but then it niggles at your vanity if you go unrecognized too long. I still think 10 minutes is remarkably fast though.
javabeans: Na PD wants his satisfaction, so he tacks on an additional challenge — for Ho-dong to last five minutes in the same task — with a dinner dish thrown in as prize. They get him to agree on either Ho-dong or Shi-kyung, since both are equally recognizable — Ho-dong has that unmistakable body shape, while Shi-kyung has his height and trademark black glasses.
girlfriday: Shi-kyung notes how odd it is that the food dangled in front of them is common stuff that they could buy themselves, and yet when it’s a reward, they’ll go to any lengths. Games are funny that way.
javabeans: After some discussion, Shi-kyung agrees to do it, if the producers will let him go without his glasses, which go a long way toward making him look ordinary. (Although his height, I think, really makes him stand out. Har har, unintentional pun!) I love the idea that he’s SO unrecognizable without the glasses that he asks permission to do it, like it might be unfair otherwise.
girlfriday: He does this whole pitch to Na PD: “There are three Korean celebrities who can never take off their glasses: Pororo, Sung Shi-kyung, and Kim Tae-woo…” HAHA. And then he says that he’s willing to take them off for variety’s sake if Na PD will allow it. (Sneaky, when you’re the one asking HIM for the favor!) Ho-dong runs with it, saying that it’s a real coup for variety, and Na PD answers over the walkie: “I’m a guy so I’m not actually that curious to see it.” Keh.
javabeans: They’re salivating at the thought of lunch, now that they have a decent allowance to buy more than mere ramyun. Ji-young says, “I’m gonna get full just on my saliva,” which is one of those hilariously oxymoronic statements — salivating because you’re hungry, and that makes you full, even though you’re starving. The meaning makes sense to your brain, but falls apart under logic.
girlfriday: I love how excited she gets over all the lunch options, but then how easily swayed she is at each suggestion, which lasts for about three seconds until someone suggests something new. It’s like goldfish memory.
javabeans: Once they arrive in the Chuncheon area in Gangwon Province, however, they find that the restaurant they stop at is too expensive for them — it’s 10,000 won per person, too rich for their blood. They continue onward, but for some reason Ji-young wants to walk while the others want to drive, and this turns into a randomly hilarious battle of the walkers (Ji-young, Shi-kyung, Seung-gi) versus drivers (the rest). The members want to take the car anyway and start lunch faster, but the problem is, Shi-kyung has taken the money pouch with him. Jong-min and Ji-won start running after the guests to get the money pouch, while Ho-dong and Su-geun start driving.
girlfriday: When did lunch turn into a race? I love that the second you split up, there’s competition afoot. Jong-min initially runs after the walkers on his own, but Ji-won follows after him because he’s suspicious that Jong-min The Betrayer is actually carrying the money pouch in secret. Tae-woong runs after them too, so then these three are bunched together. So now it’s three teams of three, and only enough money to pay for six portions of chicken galbi. Math = betrayal. And like clockwork, Su-geun (with the car team) decides that all they have to do is pick up the first group with the money and go eat like kings.
javabeans: With such a long history of betrayal, Jong-min and Ji-won start running after the car. Thus when the walkers look back, all they see is a car headed for them, and a bunch of guys running after it. I love that they have no idea what’s going on, but this is 1N2D, so automatically this triggers their survival instinct. People be running after the car, so we’d better get in it! Hee. After all’s said and done, it’s a pretty backwards way of getting what they wanted — all nine in the car and headed for lunch.
girlfriday: I love that Ji-won’s team catches on to the betrayal as soon as the car speeds past them, while the other team has no idea of the drama that’s unfolded in their wake. But one look at the scene behind him, and Seung-gi goes, “Bokbulbok! It’s Bokbulbok!” and they scramble for the car. Heh. He’s shocked to notice that Shi-kyung is first to get in the car: “I didn’t know you were so agile.” Shi-kyung just answers matter-of-factly, “I used to dance.” Flashback time! Oh my god, when is this, and why is it so awesome?
javabeans: Again, it’s Shi-kyung’s dry delivery that makes the moment for me. That, and his orange hair. Anyway, they come across a second restaurant, but the prices are the same as the first. If they want chicken galbi, they’ll need to cough up 10,000 per person. They can afford to buy everyone noodles for half that price, but now they want some meat. And so, a deal is struck with Na PD. There’s a fountain in front of the restaurant, and we know what the presence of water means in 1N2D-land…
girlfriday: It was fated for them to leave the first restaurant and find the one with the swimming pool. How many chicken galbi restaurants have swimming pools?
javabeans: The loser in a game of nine-way rock-scissors-paper will go into the water, in exchange for the production buying nine orders of noodles. Then, the team can use their lunch allowance to buy 6 portions of the chicken galbi.
girlfriday: It’s like a speed round version, because it goes from 9 to 5 to 1, just like that.
javabeans: Hyun-moo loses. Aw, I always feel bad when it’s a guest who has to take the punishment. To make this moment more festive, the boys pick him up by the arms and legs and toss him into the water.
girlfriday: It makes their experience more authentic, like one of the gang. Wait, now I sound like Na PD. Man, that chicken galbi looks so tasty. While standing over the grill, Su-geun bursts out laughing when he realizes that in their matching outfits, they look like the restaurant staff, sitting down to eat after the lunch rush.
javabeans: Then it’s time for Shi-kyung to attempt the same challenge, this time in a central part of the city of Chuncheon. He tucks his longish hair under a cap and behind his ears, and to test out his recognizability, he even leans out of the window and asks a young passer-by for directions. The girl doesn’t even bat an eye, and the guys exult.
girlfriday: He really looks like a different person when he tucks his hair back, which is such an odd detail, but it works.
javabeans: Shi-kyung begins his challenge and takes his place on the corner. Luck is on their side, because the drizzly weather makes for sparse foot traffic, and also, people are surprisingly unable to identify Shi-kyung. Grumpy Na PD sees that they’re likely to win, so he adds another challenge with galbi on the line to add to their chicken dinner — for Ji-young to join Shi-kyung and pretend to be his girlfriend for another 3 minutes.
girlfriday: I love how in this context, their matching outfits are a couple look.
javabeans: I know. In that sense, it’s actually kind of a disguise. But by now this task is proving so easy for the team that Shi-kyung even looks people in the eye and draws attention to them, but still, nobody has the least bit of interest in the weirdly dressed couple.
girlfriday: There are a few people who notice them, and maybe even recognize them once Ji-young is out there, but they don’t approach.
javabeans: Don’t you love how cranky Na PD is getting? He complains, “I’m really disappointed in the people of Chuncheon!” And now they tack on the ultimate challenge, the one that would have seemed impossible at the start of the day: Seung-gi, go!
girlfriday: Na PD is at the height of his whiny mode today. It’s so awesome. He tells Seung-gi to play a third wheel in a love triangle, and fight with Shi-kyung over Ji-young. Hee.
javabeans: Don’t you love that they play the theme song to Jealousy (the ultimate love-triangle trendy drama) as he joins them? With indoor sleeping arrangements on the line, Seung-gi heads out; surely with all three of them are dressed in their strange uniform and standing together, they’re conspicuous… and nothing! It’s so odd that Seung-gi dares to take off his cap for a few seconds, and the others do too, as if daring the residents to NOT recognize them. Seung-gi even looks around to let his face be seen, and… nope. Ho-dong jokes, “They could even ask strangers for directions [and they wouldn’t be recognized]!”
girlfriday: And then finally, a guy comes up and asks to take their picture… but he never says any of their names! Na PD explodes: “How can he not call them by name? You’re supposed to call them by name!” Hahaha. They don’t show it, but I’m picturing stompity feet. With dinner and sleeping arrangements secured, they finally arrive at basecamp, and meet the final guest MC, who’s been waiting for them for hours. It’s gagman Kim Byung-man, who makes a pretty grand entrance, on… an ATV? Or something? Anyway it floats on water, and he takes a few of the boys for a spin. Okay, that looks like fun.
javabeans: Ha, well he needed something to do for the six hours he was waiting for them. Building stone towers and skipping stones in the water could only entertain him for so long. He jokes that he’s learned all the fish by name in the time he was waiting.
girlfriday: Time for the main event. It’s team-pickin’ time! Everyone sits down and they go through some more age reshuffling. Byung-man is the same age as Su-geun, and they’re also comedian friends. Ho-dong thinks it’s strange that Shi-kyung and Jong-min are the same age, while Ji-won thinks it’s weirder that Hyun-moo is only one year older than him. Aw, poor Hyun-moo. It’s the Ajusshi vs. Idol factor. I actually think Ji-won looks the youngest out of that group.
javabeans: Seriously, it’s weird when you take people from complete different spheres and compare their ages. Or even the same sphere, in the case of Jong-min and Shi-kyung, who are the same age despite Jong-min looking rather old, and Shi-kyung kind of young.
girlfriday: Na PD tells them about the overwhelming response in applications for the viewer tour — not only nearly 70,000 individuals, but from all over the world too. Shi-kyung says that he caught a glimpse of the elaborate handmade applications and was surprised because he didn’t think TV was such a warm medium. Aw.
javabeans: I’m amazed they went through all the applications in three months — I’m sure in addition to their normal work duties. It seems like a job in and of itself.
girlfriday: They ask what the most competitive age range was, and Na PD tells them it was the teens, and in particular ages 16 and 17. Well that’s not surprising. He says the odds to be the 16-year old participant were 3188 to 1. What the? That’s crazy. By contrast, there were only two applicants for the 100-year old position. But even that seems surprising to me. Na PD dispels any ideas they might’ve had for taking it easy with the 0-9 group because they’re being accompanied by their parents. He explains that the parents are essentially behind-the-camera staff.
javabeans: Not literally staff, but in the sense of the parents not being involved in the shoot, which puts the burden of care on the cast members. Man, I’d rather have the 100-year-old guests than babies.
girlfriday: Fer reals. Everyone freaks out, and Ji-won asks how they’re even supposed to carry the infants, sticking out each arm and a leg. At that, Tae-woong chimes in: “You have to tie them up,” miming a set of imaginary leashes, all strapped to his waist. Pwahahaha! Is he for real? Spoken like a true dog owner.
javabeans: I’m imagining Tae-woong as a maypole, with kids running in circles around him, tying him up in knots, literally.
girlfriday: Su-geun offers up that at that point they just need to become surrogate dads. The guys ask how Daddy Su-geun deals with his kids then. Su-geun: “I ignore them.” Pfffft. I suddenly feel very sorry for his wife.
javabeans: Ha, why am I not surprised. Su-geun is such a traditional ajusshi, and that’s the traditional ajusshi’s way of childrearing.
girlfriday: Everyone has their own little fears — while 0-9 and 90-100 are the scariest ones, Jong-min fears the teens and 20s the most because he’s scared they’d be disappointed to have him instead of Seung-gi. Aw. Ji-young would rather have older grandmas and grandpas too, thinking that those team captains will receive the most love. Ji-won goes first and gets the 70s team, and Jong-min picks next and gets the 80s team. Shi-kyung follows and picks… 90-100. Oh man, he gets one of the hardest groups. They warn him not to tire out the elderly by talking too much, but Ho-dong assures them that he’ll do fine because he’s well-mannered.
javabeans: He’s got that lovely melodious voice, that should be great for putting them to sleep. Ha. He looks majorly bummed and worried, but I still think it’s better than getting the babies.
girlfriday: Hyun-moo is next, and I’m thinking that if the pattern holds, we’ll come back around to zero now… and he picks 0-9! Everyone jumps up in glee. Wow, the guest MCs get all the hard groups, while the boys get to sit back? They assure him that he’ll be the star of the whole episode with that group, but I don’t know if that’s really so much comfort in the face of ten screaming children.
javabeans: On the upside, that does give him lots of screentime, right? Since a third of them probably won’t be talking, and another half will be barely coherent? Plus, imagine if he rocks it. Or even just does passably well. Suddenly his sterling ajusshi image turns into…what’s shinier than sterling? He goes from ajumma Pororo to ajumma’s romang, aka romantic ideal. He gets to be best of both worlds.
girlfriday: Tae-woong picks the 30s, which is perfect for him — it’s his own age range so he’ll have a dong-gap friend there, and Ho-dong adds that perhaps, fate will bring him a girlfriend too. Hee. I love that they’re just like a bunch of extra moms with Tae-woong, trying to marry him off at every opportunity.
javabeans: Well, he does need the help. Hee!
girlfriday: Seung-gi picks next, and everyone hopes he gets the teens, but he wants his own age group. Su-geun jokes that even Seung-gi is no big deal with 90-year olds, and Ji-won quips: “It’s possible that a hundred years ago, Seung-gi’s face was considered ugly!” LOL. But he ends up picking the 40s group, which means he will be showered with drama-fan-ajumma-mommy love till the cows come home.
javabeans: It’s crazy how Seung-gi basically would be loved by every group, and to excess. But I really think 40s is the group that’ll shower him the most with adoration. The teenagers might be thrilled and giddy, but it’s the ajummas and even ajusshis in the 40s range who are in that perfect age range to wish him for their son — it’s how he got the name of eom-chin-ah, literally mom’s friend’s son, which means basically ideal son. They’ll just loooove basking in his solicitous care, and doting on him in return…
girlfriday: Byung-man gets the 50s, which leaves the teens, 20s and 60s. Now everyone’s worried about the teens, and Su-geun wonders, “What if they arrive on motorcycles?” Ji-young picks next, desperately hoping to be doted on by the 60-year olds… and gets the teens. Wow, the guests really do have the hardest groups, which Shi-kyung stops to make a point of.
javabeans: It’s funny how everyone’s afraid of the teenagers. The babies are hard and the seniors are as well, but teenagers? Terror. Not that I blame them.
girlfriday: Now it’s down to Ho-dong and Su-geun, with the 20s and 60s groups left. Su-geun stops to make sure that his mother isn’t one of the participants in the 60s group before proceeding. Heh. Now I wish it wasn’t just a joke. How awesome would that be? Everyone thinks it would be best if Ho-dong got the 20s group, since they’d be the natural leaders to help out the other teams. They open their envelopes… and it’s Ho-dong 20s and Su-geun 60s.
javabeans: I think I like these matchups. Most of them will probably be really entertaining, and I don’t think there’s any one that’ll be terribly mismatched. I mean, could you imagine, say, Tae-woong with the teenagers? Awkward!
girlfriday: They would totally railroad him. He wouldn’t be the leader so much as a mascot. Now with the teams in place, they each get an application of one participant from their group, so they can call and tell them they’ve been chosen. They take a moment to read, and Shi-kyung starts to cry. He explains that his viewer is a 97-year old grandpa who lives with five generations of his family under one roof. What makes him cry is a photograph of the grandpa looking in on his great-great-granddaughter, and her reflection superimposed on his face. Aw, I think I love this guy.
javabeans: It’s adorable and touching. The guys have to take a moment to understand the generations represented, and minds are blown as they realize that 97-year-old man is the grandfather of the little toddler’s grandfather. Eep! Could you imagine being a grandparent, and living with your grandparent?
girlfriday: It’s hilarious to see the difference between Jong-min and Shi-kyung, who are sitting next to each other and make their calls one after the other. Jong-min is as nonsensical and scattered as ever, while Shi-kyung is a radio DJ through and through — he’s eloquent without being labored, and says everything in that really calming radio voice.
javabeans: It just goes to show you how basically the country feels like 1N2D is their extended family. For instance, Jong-min’s grandma talks to him in the normal way until he introduces his name, and then she exclaims, “Ah, Jong-min-ie!” So cute. It’s hilarious to watch Shi-kyung field his call, talking to the grandmother/granddaughter, and then the old man, and then his great-great-grandaughter. The woman keeps changing the phone between people, so Shi-kyung gets confused modulating his responses between five generations. HA.
girlfriday: Ji-won makes his call next, to his 77-year old grandpa, who’s apparently a Ho-dong fan. Ho-dong greets him on the phone and tells him that Ji-won will be his team captain, and the disappointment in his tone is so transparent, it’s awesome. Ji-won: “Grandpa, you can’t trade!” I think I’m going to love this grandpa-choding pair. Ho-dong calls 24-year old Sarah to tell her that she’s been chosen, and she screeeeeeeeeams for a good twenty seconds. Oh man, these two are a match made in heaven. She and Ho-dong basically go back and forth cheering and screaming and making random exclamations, and I think it’s the first time I’ve ever seen someone else tire Ho-dong out. When she finally calms down long enough to realize she’s talking to Ho-dong directly, she freaks out all over again: “Kang Ho-dong! Kang Ho-dong! Kang Ho-dong! Oppa! Oppa! OPPA~~!” I can’t wait to see these two together in action.
javabeans: Oh my gosh, that call’s exhausting. I mean that in a cute way — everyone’s amazed at her energy, and just when they think the conversation’s winding down, she picks up the energy level again. Haha. Her reaction is what I would’ve expected of a teenage applicant if they got called by Seung-gi, basically.
girlfriday: Hyun-moo calls 8-year old Tae-heon to tell him he’s been chosen, and it’s the most adorable conversation. This kid’s nickname is Little Kang Ho-dong, and he even knows who Hyun-moo is. He confides in him about his unrequited love for the pretty girl in his class, in this adorably innocent and sincere way. Hyun-moo: “Why doesn’t she like you back?” Tae-heon: “I don’t KNOW!”
javabeans: He’s super cute, a precocious little man-child. I love how when Seung-gi calls his ajumma, who already guesses, “Is this Lee Seung-gi?” he draws out his name all distinct-like, as though they might not get it otherwise. “Hi, my name is Leeee. Seung. Giiiii.” It’s heartwarming just to hear how happy these people are — even when the calls start sounding the same, you’re still smiling because it’s just great to hear how excited they are, and what it means to them. One grandma confides that she was afraid she messed up her interview and was regretting it, while another applicant is from North Korea. It’s almost enough to make you want to hear every single call, even though going through a hundred would get tiresome, and LONG!
girlfriday: Everyone finishes their calls and then it’s finally dinner time.
javabeans: I wonder if they would’ve had to play bokbulbok for dinner if not for all the celebrity non-sighting rounds they won earlier.
girlfriday: Yeah Na PD lost all his bokbulbok rights earlier that day.
javabeans: Since they got so much food, though, they go straight to the eatin’. While the “ballad brothers” Seung-gi and Shi-kyung grill the meat, Ho-dong reminds Shi-kyung about his earlier vow, asking when he’s going to uncover Seung-gi’s true dark nature. And Shi-kyung says, “I think he might be a good kid after all…” Hahaha. Foiled again!
girlfriday: He still muses that Seung-gi’s SO well-mannered that there must be something really dark beneath the surface, to counterbalance the angelic image. Ho-dong wonders… maybe he’s all manners outside, but then he comes home and treats his mom like a tyrant.
javabeans: Seung-gi cracks a joke, acting like he’s just stepped home, demanding food instantly. But Ji-won points out that he used the wrong phrase, like he’s so nice that even pretending to act mean comes out wrong.
girlfriday: I love that he does the tone pretty convincingly, fake verbally-abusing his mother, but then breaks into laughter immediately.
javabeans: Ji-young points out the need to prepare an act for the show that caps off the viewers’ tour, and decides to do a salsa, possibly with Hyun-moo. Na PD points out that the ballad brothers (initially called so jokingly) actually have good energy together, so Seung-gi and Shi-kyung are in for a duet of some kind. Please let it be a love song, with lots of soulful staring, a la our previous bromance performance between Seung-gi and Tae-woong.
girlfriday: Or a really cheesy 90s throwback dance number.
javabeans: After the guests are sent home for the night, the cast settles down to pick a song that everyone can enjoy singing along to. It’s not an easy task with such a vast age gap, but finally they decide upon a popular ‘70s and ‘80s singer and his song “Love Twist.” It’s deemed the perfect selection, and the guys get to demonstrating the twist, which ought to be easy for everyone to follow… That is, everyone except for Mr. Dog Feet.
girlfriday: Jong-min starts making up the dance moves and then Su-geun brings the comedy, deciding that the dance should pretty much be all build-up and no follow-through.
javabeans: So he leads them in the moves, which consist of… turning. It’s like the Macarena, but without the Macarena.
girlfriday: It’s hilarious. He’s like, JUMP!…. and turn, turn… and TWIST!… and turn, turn… It’s dubbed the Betrayal Dance. As in betrayal of expectations?
javabeans: A betrayal of dance as an art form?