EPISODE 378. Broadcast on March 18, 2012.
javabeans: For some unspeakable reason, the opening today involves a dance as Su-geun does his best impression of a manic host and introduces the guys. Jong-min’s dancing with such concentration that the caption points out that he misses out on being funny… but fear not, since Equator Man Tae-woong comes out next and does the silliest frilly girl-wave-shuffle.
girlfriday: Joo-won follows with his best aegyo H.O.T. dance, replete with the sitting hop.
javabeans: I don’t even want to think of how old he was when he first learned that dance. Was it in “retro dance” class featuring “old school”?
girlfriday: It’s possible he learned it from his mother’s womb. Let’s not dwell on it, k?
javabeans: I’m learning to love whenever they make Shi-kyung do anything remotely embarrassing or dancey. Which, for him, are interchangeable words.
girlfriday: I… don’t even know what he’s doing. It’s hilarious.
javabeans: It’s the Roger Rabbit, if Roger Rabbit had no joints, and danced to SNSD.
javabeans: That’s the roger rabbit. YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE ROGER RABBIT.
girlfriday: Oh no worries, my grade-school-talent-show-dancing self knows the roger rabbit.
javabeans: Oh phew. Now I don’t have to kick you. Tae-hyun’s next with some MC Hammer, though sadly (or maybe gladly for him) without the requisite parachute pants. OH wait, it just occurred to me that this means Seung-woo has to dance.
girlfriday: I think waiting in the wings is more torturous than having to dance.
javabeans: Um. I don’t know what he’s doing. He’s like some kind of interpretive hippie on acid making a grand entrance, and then doing some ‘80s jazzercise.
girlfriday: HAHAHA. Why are there wings? There are flapping wings in his dance.
javabeans: Su-geun says he’s disappointed, because he heard Seung-woo used to be a cheerleader. Seung-woo protests, trying to be all manly, “It was a PEP SQUAD!”
girlfriday: Pffft! WAY manlier.
javabeans: Su-geun says that with wife Kim Nam-joo in a 30% weekend drama and Seung-woo in an almost-30% weekend show, the 60% weekend couple owes the guys a party. He retorts, “KBS should buy US a meal!” and then everyone quiets and he worries, “Is that dangerous to say?”
girlfriday: I love the group silence to that exclamation, as if on cue. Jong-min makes the most awkward transition over to Tae-woong’s new drama, Equator Man, and the guys urge him to promote it. In his usual sheepish way, he glosses right over it, saying that the story’s complicated but it’s really entertaining. Uh… thanks?
javabeans: They prompt him to use his angry-roar voice just for fun, so he barks the details like he’s threatening to break your legs, while actually giving pertinent viewing info. It’s such a bizarre combination. So then they segue to Joo-won’s drama Bride Mask, because he hurt his wrist filming it, and then he mimics Tae-woong’s info-bark for his own drama. Quick on the uptake, that one.
girlfriday: Okay, that’s funny. He turned Tae-woong’s awkwardness around into a joke right away. Promising. They ask Bird PD about today’s trip, and he informs them that it’ll be a race to their final destination, and their deadline is 3 o’clock. For every ten minutes they’re late, one member sleeps outside. Oh, and today, indoors is inside the tent, so outside is ya-ya [out-outdoors]. Seung-woo: “What’s ya-ya?” You will know soon enough sir.
javabeans: That’s mean. Except Su-geun says that the deadline is totally possible, and Shi-kyung speaks up (how funny is it that he’s standing OFF the path, like a foot lower than everyone else?) to say he’s been watching old 1N2D episodes and Na PD always argued and fought and made you want to beat him: “You speak stammeringly and you’re too nice.” Ha, when you’ve just told your team their potential punishment and they tell you you’re too nice, that’s saying something.
girlfriday: He really is too nice, but I’m sure he’s getting his bearings too. Su-geun is quick to add: “It’s people like that who end up sticking a knife in your back.” Mission #1: each member has to drink a cup of morning coffee from a vending machine and return to the train station. They take off running. Eventually they split up, and Joo-won is the first to find one. Even his panic is cute: Hyungs. I have to get the hyungs. HYUUUUUUUUNG!
javabeans: I love how they find others, but they’re all turned off. Did they just leave one on in the whole town or something? Shi-kyung finds another and goes yelling, “Hyuuuuung!” This reminds me of a kid running into a crowded room calling for Mom. In this case, doesn’t matter which one answers.
girlfriday: It’s seriously adorable that they’re all running around just screaming “hyung” but I worry that no one’s going to find each other.
javabeans: Joo-won finds the other guys, and it’s amusing that he’s all out of breath from running for ages, and Seung-woo just stands there sipping his coffee, calm as can be. They find their missing member (Tae-hyun) and complete the task in 11 minutes. Choi PD moves on to the next task, holding up his closed fist and asking them to pick a finger. Jong-min jokes to pick the ring finger because it’ll be the hardest for the PD to hold up, haha. I like how he thinks. But they choose the index finger and find the clue written on it: “mu.” Doesn’t mean anything on its own, and Tae-woong jokes that they should just grab the PD and (wait for it) force his hand. (Badum-ching!) I love that the PD recoils, like he thinks they would.
girlfriday: It’s the kind of threat that would be laughable coming from Su-geun but makes him run when it comes from Tae-woong. He gives them the next stop on the race, and they sigh to see the tiny minibus drive up. They somehow manage to squeeze all seven guys in, though it’s not unlike a pack of sardines. Seung-woo: “Are the cameras supposed to be this close to our faces?” Joo-won points out that being closer to the camera will make him look cuter, and immediately Seung-woo sticks his face in it. Hee.
javabeans: The next part of the mission involves a memory quiz. The guys will have 10 minutes to study the contents of a museum, after which they have to take a test. If they fail, they get 10 more minutes and another try. Seung-woo suggests splitting up, and I love how this means Shi-kyung’s trying to memorize cartoon characters and Joo-won’s looking at ancient texts.
girlfriday: And of course, Tae-hyun is off looking at magazines with pretty girls. Ha.
javabeans: They try to predict what they’d be quizzed on, and try to memorize facts based on potential questions. That seems… backward to me, but far be it for me to prevent Tae-hyun from scrutinizing the magazine covers, deciding they might ask for names of the actresses. And then, it turns out to be exactly the question they’re asked, ha.
girlfriday: Joo-won sees a pair of old school uniforms and quips that they’re from Seung-woo hyung’s era, and Seung-woo whines as a knee-jerk reaction, only to confirm that he wore that same uniform to school when he was young. Ha. It turns out to be another of the questions–the nametags on the uniforms, and luckily Joo-won thought to have them memorized.
javabeans: In preparation for the third and final question, Su-geun motions the boys close and murmurs that even if they think they know the answer, don’t let on that they know because the PDs can always switch out the question if they think it’s too easy. And then what happens? They start to ask the question and Su-geun jumps to crow, “I know this one!” Without being prompted, he starts spouting all sorts of facts, like the number of dolls and what kinds there were and on what shelf, which, DUDE. Obviously they’re going to change the question if you’ve hit on the right answer! The question asks about the pose of the doll on the bottom left, which they get wrong. Time for a retest!
girlfriday: Aw, and he was so close, too. For the second round, Tae-hyun answers the first question confidently, having memorized the titles of the little paper doll series. But then the next question is about a specific poster, and Jong-min is the only one who studied it. Oh no. I’m worried…
javabeans: He manages to pull through with the slogan written on it (he’d actually said it aloud, but it’s the thing that immediately leaves your brainspace), and the last question refers to some stickers on the wall, and ends with the instruction to sing the theme song from ‘70s anime Galaxy Express 999.
girlfriday: They’re saved by Tae-hyun who notices that Su-geun’s version doesn’t make sense, as if he’s actually following the narrative logic of the anime theme song. Ha.
javabeans: It’s cute, like, “Why would you be looking for Mom?” (They’re looking for happiness.) I barely remember hearing about the show (it’s before our time), but that had to have been huge in Korea because after quibbling over the lyrics, they all sing it in unison and get it right.
girlfriday: They get another finger clue, and this time they ask for the middle finger, wanting to see Bird PD flip off the cameras (ha) so he shows them while covering the rest of his hand. The clue: “so.”
javabeans: In the van ride to the next stop, the guys ask the resident Kim Sunbae for his expert opinion on whether they’re doing a good job. Jong-min replies, interview-style, that they’re doing fabulously well, and that he’s confident they can sleep inside tonight: “At least one of us.”
girlfriday: They reach their next mission locale, a river, and are told they’ll be running a relay race across it. They have to get all seven members across in under 100 seconds. But that’s not all… their baton is an extra bokbulbok, as the sheet gets lifted to reveal all manner of things, like a jajangmyun delivery case, a giant pole, and a picture that means that the baton would be a PERSON.
javabeans: Do you enjoy how the screen fades to black and white, giving us a short description of our low hopes for this mission? Jong-min is their dance singer, Shi-kyung is their ballad singer “who enjoys wearing trench coats” (ha for randomness), Tae-hyun is the guy who hates to be bothered, Tae-woong is in his “old age,” Su-geun is short, Seung-woo is in “advanced old age.” The only one in color is Joo-won, their “only hope.”
girlfriday: Anytime they introduce the members as athletes is guaranteed comedy. They draw for the baton, and of course, they land on human. They pick Lazy to be the baton, which only makes sense, really. So off they go, running back and forth piggybacking Tae-hyun as their baton.
javabeans: He’s adorable: “I like Shi-kyung the Car!” How is Su-geun gonna manage? And Tae-hyun starts to complain about how this is physically taxing on HIM, the baton.
girlfriday: How can he be the loudest complainer when he’s the one getting rides? He cracks me up.
javabeans: They fail the first attempt, and note that it looks like Tae-hyun has motion sickness.
girlfriday: While they wait their ten minutes before they’re allowed to re-try the mission, they ask if they can use their coffee change to buy some snacks. Bird PD agrees (he really is much nicer than Na PD) so they run over like little kids. So cute. They sadly realize they only have enough for two people to eat, so they set up their own little game–rock tower building–to see who gets to eat. Haha, I love it–this game is more entertaining than the missions, ‘cause their competitive streaks come out.
javabeans: It’s also a random and strange competition, which makes it funnier. Basically it’s jenga with rocks — you want your rock to stand, but it’s in your interest that the rock doesn’t easily allow others on top of it.
girlfriday: Their personalities really start to show. Tae-hyun, you figure is just going to use the sharpest rock to mess up whoever goes after him. That’s a given. But then when maknae Joo-won picks up a pointy rock, Seung-woo and Tae-woong chastise him like dads, “You only learned bad things!”
javabeans: They get super competitive: “You set it down, you can’t move it!” and “DON’T PUSH ME!” I love how into it they get, to the point where Seung-woo looks disappointed when their 10 minutes is over and they have to resume the actual game. The second baton is much easier — a long radish, which they adorably start eating — and lets them run unfettered, but as it turns out, they still end up 6 seconds over the time limit. Damn. And that’s an easy baton; how would they manage with a staff or a metal delivery case?
girlfriday: They make a deal to get ten seconds added to the next relay, by giving up ten minutes from their final deadline time. Not a bad exchange. They go eat their snack, sharing one bite for each member. I love that they’ll fight tooth and nail while playing the game, but in the end they just share anyway. On their way to the final run, Tae-woong quips about Seung-woo’s legs giving out, and Seung-woo counters, “We’re only a few years apart!” I always forget that.
javabeans: They pick the last “good” baton — a toy magic wand (with the Sailor Moon theme song playing, lol) — and off they go. And they make their deadline this time… by six-hundredths of a second. The third clue finally gives them enough to go on to pull together a clue: the syllables so-na-mu make up the word for pine. They figure the remaining two syllables spell out a word for park or garden.
girlfriday: Their next mission includes lunch, which they think is nice of Bird PD… until he explains that they get one of two lunches and have to finish everything on their plates. And one table has seven soup-sized rice bowls filled to the brim.
javabeans: It’s like the rice bowl you put on the the dinner table to serve everyone, only there are seven of them. A spinny dart wheel determines their fate, and Tae-hyun is given the duty of throwing for their lunch. Thankfully, he picks noodles, which are much more reasonably portioned. They’re still on the clock, so they hurry to chow down.
girlfriday: They get another clue: “ki” and then head to their next destination. On the way, they try to figure out what kind of pine tree they’re looking for, that might include “ki” in the name.
javabeans: So now they’re reconfiguring the syllables, trying out all possible combinations that might hint at a location.
girlfriday: Suddenly Shi-kyung turns around to Tae-hyun: “Hyung, in My Sassy Girl, wasn’t there a big pine tree…”
javabeans: It clicks for Jong-min, who guesses the missing syllable and comes up with: Sassy Girl Pine Tree. Aha!
girlfriday: I love that Shi-kyung’s like, yeah you shot My Sassy Girl here, and Tae-hyun’s like, “Did I?” He has no idea.
javabeans: The next part takes them inside a deep cavern, and they climb tall flights of stairs and see the enormous pillars and icicles and rock formations.
girlfriday: Ooh, it’s just like those caves on Planet Earth! So cool. While they take the tour, their mission is to refrain from using any English (or any foreign words), adding a few minutes’ punishment each time.
javabeans: The tough part is that they have to remember not to use borrowed terms that have snuck into Korean, like “okay” and the like.
girlfriday: They add their own punishment to make it interesting, and when Tae-woong is the first to lose, they attack him with flicks to the forehead.
javabeans: Ha, I love how he takes his punishment through gritted teeth, but the last one is especially hard and he glares, “Who was that?!” But it’s the one guy he can’t exactly intimidate — Seung-woo — so that dies there.
girlfriday: Right? He goes from pissed to Oh, it was hyung. Crap.
javabeans: But karma’s funny that way, because Seung-woo’s gleefully reminding him that it’s all in the name of the game, and uses the word “game” — so then he gets flicked.
girlfriday: And then HE’s just as angry, all, “Someone just say something!” giddy with revenge. The PD offers them a quiz question to earn ten minutes–the technical term for the pillars in the cave, and everyone stares dumbfounded until Shi-kyung comes up with the answer, saying it’s something they learn in school. Su-geun: “I don’t think you fit this show very well.”
javabeans: I love that, because it’s true — Shi-kyung gets answers right, has good luck, and hasn’t suffered much. (Yet.) They prompt him to do a brief interstitial segment to encourage viewers to visit these caves, and after a moment to prepare his thoughts, he gives this really gentle, smooth narration like he’s voicing over a National Geographic video or something. He’s like the anti-Ho-dong. Then they tell Jong-min to try it too, and it’s like night and day.
girlfriday: Hahaha. Jong-min’s version is like taking Shi-kyung’s speech and throwing it in a word-blender on high speed. I don’t even know what he’s saying.
javabeans: I don’t think the others do either. They die laughing through the segment. He talks like a cartoon villain.
girlfriday: With a mouth full of marbles.
javabeans: On meth and laughing gas, simultaneously. They start driving to their final destination, and they’ve got a good amount of time, nearly 50 minutes. But the location is far and they’re going on minimal horsepower — say, one sickly horse with a wheezy cough and a bad hoof — and by the time they see the flag way off in the distance, they’re past the deadline and one guy has lost tent sleeping rights.
girlfriday: I love their little cartoon turbo zoom, pretending that the van’s all speedy. I like that they’re all game for silly stuff like that–it just takes one guy to give the idea and they’re all joining in. So cute. They finally reach the top of the mountain and Shi-kyung runs up to the flag. Two members have to sleep outside, but the rest are spared.
javabeans: Tae-hyun hasn’t really had much reaction to all the Sassy Girl references all day, but now that he’s at the top, he looks around, marveling that it’s been twelve years since he was here. He looks deep in thought, and laugh-sniffs that if somebody says something poignant they’ll push him over the edge into crying.