Another international trip for our Running Man Cast? Count me in! This time we’re headed to Beijing to handle a different kind of beast: the Great Wall of China. There’s big money on the line – will you give it your all Running Man?
EPISODE 61. Broadcast September 18, 2011.
Our cast gathers together at Gimpo International Airport excited about heading overseas again. They wonder if their Chinese fanbase can compare to their reception in Thailand of screaming adoring fans waiting for them at the airport.
Hm, it looks like we’ll have to do without our Monday Couple this episode as Ji-hyo is unable to join the rest of the members. But never fear because our first guest, Kang Ji-young (from idol group KARA) is here to fill in and Gary asks if the Monday Couple will naturally unfurl this way. As in, Ji-young replacing Ji-hyo. Oh you.
They arrive safely to Beijing and the warm greeting from their Thailand fans is still fresh in their minds. The door opens and they’re met with…silence. No joke, no fans with placards or high-pitched shrills of “Oppppa!” Aw, don’t take it so hard – there are some people to greet you!
Instead, the cast is escorted by military personnel, and given the lack of a fangirl and fanboy mob, their faces seem to say, “Who are these guys? Are they even celebrities?” Haroro is a bit confused too: he’s got a sizeable amount of Twitter followers in China, so where are they?
First stop – The Great Wall of China. But before they begin their mission, we’re introduced to two more guests: actress Lee Yeon-hee (Paradise Ranch, East of Eden) and Kim Joo-hyuk (Terroir, My Wife Got Married).
Yeon-hee’s presence pretty much leaves the boys in a daze and they ask if the staff will switch her out with someone else during the night. Haha yet again declares his true love to Yeon-hee and adds that he wasn’t serious about the countless other actresses he previously confessed to. Methinks everyone wants to be on *cough* Yeon-hee’s team today.
Time for our guests to choose their teams! Ji-young is teamed up with Suk-jin and Kwang-soo (much to her displeasure and their disappointment). Joo-hyuk picks Haha and Jong-kook and apologizes for robbing them of a chance to be with Yeon-hee. The remaining two end up (happily) with Yeon-hee. When Gary is asked if he misses Ji-hyo, he responds, “Who?”).
It’s the start of Beijing Race Part 1! By now, we’re pretty familiar with the basic format: complete the mini missions and pick up a money suitcase at each stop. The first team to cross the finish line wins the loot. At the mention of money, the cast start to point fingers at each other – who will be the thief this time?
The Blue (Jongkook’s) Team heads up first after winning at rock-paper-scissors and Joo-hyuk keeps tugging at his pants. It’s hot out and he’s annoyed that he wore such tight pants that he can’t run properly in them. LOL.
In the White (Jae-suk’s) Team cable car, Jae-suk asks Yeon-hee if he and Gary were the team she hoped for. When she agrees, the boys squeal in excitement. Gary worries, however, that Ji-hyo might get upset that he may have forgotten about the Monday Couple but Jae-suk comments that she’ll hardly notice. She won’t – on Tuesday.
The Blue Team arrives at the entrance of the Great Wall and remark that it’s so…long and they can’t see where it ends. Haha laughs in disbelief that the RM staff took their joke about a Great Wall Race seriously. Yea, don’t underestimate the staff – they’re working hard to bring you pain and suffering.
Each team must complete the mini-mission in one go – should they fail, they must travel to the next station (eight in total) until they succeed. Naturally the more missions they fail, the longer the return trip will be.
Their mission is to kick a hacky sack 30 times in order to pass. But these aren’t ordinary hacky sacks –they’ve got overly large feathers sticking out of them. Someone correct me if I’m wrong but are these for real?! Haha goes first and kicks it once, twice, and alley-oop…over the Wall it goes. Congratulations Haroro! You’re the first person to send a hacky sack over the Great Wall!
Needless to say the others don’t fare much better (and Joo-hyuk receives a death glare from his teammates for adding a lonely one to their count) and they head off to the next station. Here they’re asked to fill in the following line from the Thousand Character Classic (a poem often memorized via song to help children learn Chinese characters similar to how you might memorize the alphabet song in English). Jong-kook gets close but nope, it’s off to station number three.
Back to the White Team, Jae-suk asks Yeon-hee to read the mission card aloud. She begins in her professional actress clear voice until Jae-suk stops her mid-sentence: this is variety, you’ve got to make it fun! She tries again in a bubbly tone with a “Woo!” to finish. It’s cute how the cast teach their guests little variety tips.
Both Yeon-hee and Kwang-soo (on the Pink Team) are the second and third consecutive person to successfully kick a hackysack over the wall and both teams move on to the second station. It must be young blood pumping through Ji-young’s veins because she keeps on running ahead of her teammates who have to chase after her.
The third station is a modified version of rock-paper-scissors using body motions instead of their hands. But after Haha loses the first round, he and Jong-kook make a fuss, demanding a rematch. They instruct Joo-hyuk to freely express his anger and he gripes half-defeated, “I’m so upset.” They end up losing again thanks to Haha. Onward!
Is Jae-suk some kind of Chinese character machine? Even though the PD only asks for the next line of the poem, he ends up singing the entire verse. Given the man’s been out of elementary school for a while, I’m pretty impressed. Ask me what the next line of “Little Miss Muffet” is. I’m drawing a blank.
Jae-suk can rely on his teammates to fail and they head to the next station. They can spot some RM staff members in the distance and hope that they don’t end up all the way at the final station.
What they don’t know is that the rest of the stations are
short long dashes to the following stop. Both the Blue and the White Teams succeed at their respective stations and head back, with a confused and defeated Pink Team to wonder how much further they might have to travel.
The constant running, and maybe a bit of the tight pants, has tired Joo-hyuk out and he proposes, nearly out of breath, “You guys should rename this show Walking Man instead of Running Man.”
Next stop – Shichahai, a scenic spot surrounded by lakes. Their mission here is to buy three items of street food and bring them back. The White Team isn’t worried because Yeon-hee knows some Mandarin. But the task is a bit harder this time, the members are left to guess the names by ear and no cue card to help them out
Jae-suk notes that it’s strange, he’s sure that he heard the lady speaking Korean earlier at the Great Wall (she’s a translator). He adds that she even smiles as they speak as if she understands. Hehe.
Each team manages to find their first item pretty easily. It’s the other items they’ve got mixed up in their heads, and asking the locals in a kind of pseudo-Korean fashion, the words reworked to sound more Korean than anything else. Oh man, now I’m beginning to understand how important the four tones are.
Now I want to travel to Shichahai just to taste some of these foods – look at that man working the taffy to create a beautiful air-blown treat! Gary even manages to successfully haggle with the vendor to save a few bucks.
Haha seriously cracks me up. His rendition of one of the items is so off the mark of its actual pronunciation and the rest of the team follows suit, asking for, “Gomapseumnidang” (the Korean word ‘Thank you’ but more nonsensical). Thankfully, they luck into finding the right item and head back.
I’m going to take a moment to break into laughter as Kwang-soo asks the vendor, “I want to go home!” as a sign that he wants the food to go. The best part is that they immediately understand and pack up the food.
The teams are pretty beat from running up along the Great Wall but their spirits lift after seeing a crowd of Running Man fans who have gathered to meet them. It turns out that the fans didn’t get the memo until now but they’re here to cheer on their Running Man Oppas.
Completing their food mission, their next stop is to travel to the North Sea Park and Jae-suk finally confronts the translator, asking for more specific directions in Korean since she can understand them after all. She looks to Mr. PD and says (in Korean), “Can I tell them?” HA!!
All the teams succeed in one go (even the Pink Team) but before they leave, she warns each team in Mandarin to take special care of their money bags. Hmm…
Joo-hyuk sits back in amazement as his “Hallyu-star” teammates are mobbed by fans who notice them. They respond in feigned modesty, insisting that their popularity will dissolve like bubbles but basking in the spotlight. Leaving behind some screaming fangirls, Joo-hyuk reflects in Running Man’s overwhelming popularity.
The fans continue to appear wherever they go and Joo-hyuk joins in, calling after “Haroro!” like a fanboy. When Haha and Jong-kook try to thank their Chinese fans while pushing Joo-hyuk out of the way, he casually walks in front of the shot. Aw, the big-time actor is jealous of Haha and Jong-kook!
The last mini mission is given by the water: pour the tea, drink the tea, and slide the cup but don’t let it fall off the table! This could be an epic drinking game – where can I get me one of those crazy teapots?
I imagine this game requires a lot of skill and finesse and the teams seem to have neither as more ‘tea’ seem to spill onto the guests’ heads than in the cup. As the water level rises in the cup, so does Ji-young’s temper. She takes most of her anger on the cup, but a girl’s got her idol image to keep.
Oh god, it looks like this thing is going to keep the cast up all night. Peaceful Gary, we haven’t seen you in forever! (Gary is known to strike a solemn expression whenever he’s concentrating on a mission.)
Finally, the Blue Team manages to succeed first and they head out to the water to paddle-boat their way across to the other side. But the White Team is right behind you so paddle harder!
They’re still neck and neck at the other side and the Blue Team makes a run for it, the final spurt to the finish line. Jong-kook lunges and grabs the flag, securing a victory for his team. To top it off, their moolah doubles after choosing a lucky fortune cookie. Their total loot: 8,000 yuan (approximately $1250 USD).
But Part 2 looks awesome – the money’s been swiped? Who? When? Where? Ack … Ji-hyo, you’re not supposed to be here!!