EPISODE 394. Broadcast on July 8, 2012.
girlfriday: One by one, the boys get picked up by the crew — Tae-hyun at home, Joo-won at the salon, and when they get to Jong-min, he’s like, “But we’re taking my car?” Yeah that’s not much of a pick-up service then. Su-geun reacts very suspiciously, asking if everyone else got picked up too.
javabeans: Don’t you like how all the PDs are like, “We’re escorting you” and all the members are, “You’re dragging us where?”
girlfriday: It gets worse when they’re told that the first thing on the agenda is breakfast. Su-geun: “Whoa… … …” Joo-won: “Why are you doing this?”
javabeans: What, is it a breakfast menu of bugs and offal? That’s where my mind goes first, Fear Factor style.
girlfriday: Right? But then the PDs ask each member to choose between two stews: kimchi or soybean. Is this one of those things where if they don’t all choose the same, nobody eats?
javabeans: Or is it the simpler, less meanypants version where it splits you into teams? The guys are told that they are now incommunicado with their bros, and cell phones are off-limits.
girlfriday: It must be a team thing, because as soon as Tae-woong chooses kimchi, they call out his destination.
javabeans: Aw, now I want everybody else to choose soybean, so we get another Seung-gi-on-his-own-trying-not-to-go-crazy mission.
girlfriday: Oh that was awesome. Yes please!
javabeans: It was especially awesome because it was Seung-gi being all manic, since he’s particularly aware of his variety burden. I wonder who’d be best on his own (as in, most entertaining) in this bunch.
girlfriday: Tae-hyun would be great, but maybe almost too good.
javabeans: Oh right. Is it so easy it’s too easy? I actually want to see Joo-won, because he still has a tendency to hang back and only gets a few highlights per show. He has yet to carry an 1N2D storyline.
girlfriday: Yeah I want to see both Joo-won and Shi-kyung lose at things, get totally messed up, and be really really annoyed and real.
javabeans: Especially since Shi-kyung and Joo-won have a tendency to be the top two players in a bunch of their games. You’ve got to break them down, variety style. In the immortal words of Real World: What happens when people stop being polite… and start getting real? *Dramatic pause*
girlfriday: Both Tae-hyun and Tae-woong are the first to arrive for their respective teams. I love how nervously Tae-woong eats, like any second a monster’s gonna jump out from the shadows and eat him.
javabeans: Yes, a monster named Bird PD whose special talent is stealing food. I feel like I’d give myself indigestion even when I’m allowed to eat freely, just from the stress.
girlfriday: Jong-min arrives on Team Soybean, and sees Seung-woo’s car arriving behind him. He points out that Seung-woo hyung is the only member with the big fancy car, because hyung-soonim earns lots of money. Ha.
javabeans: I just love the idea of Kim Nam-joo wearing the pants in his family. Who knows if it’s true in real life, but the recurring narrative cracks me up.
girlfriday: It’s just especially awesome because you can believe she’s a ball-buster, and that she wafts through the house looking fabulous to boot.
javabeans: I was worried Tae-woong would be stuck alone, because Tae-hyun saw that he was ushered to a two-table setup (“Ah, then I’m not alone”) and Tae-woong got sat down at a single table. But Su-geun soon joins him, though he’s eating just as nervously, stopping every other bite to look over his shoulder. But now it’s four versus two, so Joo-won’s the last to arrive… and joins team kimchi. So: Tae-woong, Su-geun, Joo-won versus Tae-hyun, Jong-min, Seung-woo, and Shi-kyung. That actually makes a lot of sense to me, since Joo-won loves Tae-woong and Tae-woong loves Su-geun.
girlfriday: Right? It’s a love triangle on that team.
javabeans: Against two couples, right? ‘Cause Jong-min loves Seung-woo, and Shi-kyung and Tae-hyun were paired previously too.
girlfriday: Um, are Joo-won and Tae-woong wearing couple shirts?
javabeans: HA. So the mission is laid out, and it sounds… vague, to say the least. It’s an “Amazing Race” where the goal is for the teams to find the 1N2D flag… anywhere in Korea. Whuh? They’re not allowed to use: cell phones, internet, or maps.
girlfriday: Seung-woo looks like he’s going to hit the PD.
javabeans: Especially when they’re told that the difference between winners and losers today is “heaven and hell.” That means free time and a dinner feast and A WISH. Oooh. Things just got interesting.
girlfriday: Oh, I love it when there’s a wish. That means slave duty for somebody. I hope it’s Bird PD.
javabeans: The losers… have to peel a thousand bulbs of garlic while the winners bask in free time. And their allowance for the day is a dollar each. Now I understand breakfast.
girlfriday: Yeah it’s breakfast…so you can withstand starving the rest of the day.
javabeans: The first clue to start off the mission is to go to their cars and “Say Ho.” Cryptic. They’ve got to decode it, like wondering if that means a guy named Se-ho, or if it’s a chant that brings you something.
girlfriday: I hope it involves rapping.
javabeans: Tae-woong spots a pen drawing of a fork and spoon on his window. OH is it invisible hint on a window or something, that you have to breathe on? Bingo! Tae-woong huffs on his window, revealing the name of a rest stop. Off they go!
girlfriday: Okay, that’s pretty cool. The other team isn’t as quick on the uptake though, so they search their car over and over, muttering, “Say Ho?”
javabeans: HAHA, so on Su-geun’s prompt, Joo-won walkie-talkies to the producers that if, for whatever reason, they happen to go easy on the other team or give them a hint to even the race, “[Scary voice] Gaksital will never forgive you!!”
girlfriday: LOL. It’s adorable how much they love it. They’re all giggling like little boys.
javabeans: Seung-woo finally spots the rest stop mark and they get the hint. We know they’re behind, but the team is feeling comfortable. Shi-kyung reasons: Joo-won is gonna be sleepy from his drama schedule, and Tae-woong will be busy making lame jokes. Cut to: Tae-woong making lame jokes.
girlfriday: They’re so bad that Su-geun and Joo-won cringe, and Joo-won busts out another, “Gaksital will never forgive you!”
javabeans: I love how they arrive at the rest stop so quickly that the staff exclaims, “Already?!”
girlfriday: Bird PD says the mission here is God of Rest Stop. They’ll throw a dart and land on an arcade game and have to match the score listed on the wheel. If they win they get to leave, and if they lose they have to wait ten minutes before trying again.
javabeans: That’s so hard, scoring an exact number. They land on whack-a-mole, and have to score 550 points, which is close to the top score. Ha, they’re really taking to the Gaksital threats; it must be their theme of the day to threaten everyone and -thing with his wrath.
girlfriday: It’s not enough to scare the moles away though, and they have to wait another ten minutes before trying a different game. The other team arrives and they greet each other with hugs since there was no opening where they got to see each other this time. Seung-woo’s team spins and lands on 60 points at basketball.
javabeans: This seems a lot easier than whack-a-mole. Er, it may be hard to get 60 points, but a lot easier to control the result. Except… after they pause at 59 and take aim for the final basket, they score three points. Wait, how does that even work?
girlfriday: Um, that’s bad math.
javabeans: 59 isn’t even divisible by 3. And there’s only one basket.
girlfriday: Maybe it’s just an old machine that makes random calculations. So it’s bokbulbok?
javabeans: Ah, the boys test it out and Tae-hyun figures that depending on how many times the ball hits the rim, it adjusts point totals accordingly. Tricky. And… totally not basketball.
girlfriday: But then when Su-geun’s team plays it, that’s not how it scores. It’s two points each.
javabeans: It must be time, because once the clock winds down to the final 20 seconds, it starts scoring 3 each. That makes more sense.
girlfriday: Man, that’s tricksy. But somehow, they manage to land at 60.
javabeans: They’re totally lucky, because that means you needed to get a certain number before the switch, otherwise you’re screwed. Su-geun’s team wins, so they get the all-clear to leave after Game 2. Leaving Jong-min’s team totally mystified at the workings of the game. They lose their second game, which is still basketball, and have to wait again.
girlfriday: I’m more mystified at how each team keeps landing on the basketball game on the spinny wheel in the first place. But when they get to the machine for Game 3, someone’s already playing it, so they have to wait and wait until he finishes all his bonus rounds. Seung-woo: “Could Su-geun have planted him here?”
javabeans: Thankfully this time they match up their baskets mathematically (?), leaving them with 57 points and 9 seconds to make the last one. Actually they miss, but the machine gives them the score anyway, which is what Joo-won explains happened with their round, too. Stupid tricky machine.
girlfriday: They head to their next destination, and Su-geun’s team takes a really cool one-lane tunnel into another moss-lined tunnel, and Tae-woong marvels, “We’ll come out the other side in the Joseon era!” You watching all those time-travel dramas too, eh? But it turns out to be a wrong turn, and by the time they find their way back, the other team is ahead of them. Whoops.
javabeans: Uh-oh for them, given that they had a head start out of the rest stop. They spot the other team pausing to ask directions and quietly drive by unnoticed, deciding to keep driving. Thankfully they find the right location, coming to a place that makes sense of their clue. They park just moments ahead of the other team and start running, getting their clue first to find the three books listed. They’re hidden inside, and finding them will get them their next destination.
girlfriday: Dude, there are so many books here. And not dewey-decimaled either.
javabeans: They’re all over the place, too, like Gone with the Wind, a law exam guidebook, and one written all in hanja just to be confusing.
girlfriday: It’s utter chaos, with members running from building to building haphazardly, but then eventually each team finds two books. Tae-woong and Shi-kyung seem to be especially good at this game, or at least better than the rest of their teammates.
javabeans: Tae-woong’s team gets all three books first, and when stacked the lines on the spines reveal another hint (letters). They grab these stacks of scrolls from the production and get in their car… which is being blocked by the other team’s car. D’oh!
girlfriday: Haha. The other team calmly looks for their last book, “They have to come back anyway.”
javabeans: The boys run back, wrestle Jong-min’s keys from him, and rush off to move the car. Meanwhile the second team is scratching their heads, trying to figure out how the books reveal a clue, ignoring the letters on the sides. Tae-hyun finally spots them and they get the name: It’s the artist who drew the pictures on the scrolls. Damn, and now their final mission is to FIND the location the artist drew and take a photo to match. Yeesh.
girlfriday: Luckily Tae-woong recognizes the landmarks, and can name one for sure, so his team is off to a good start.
javabeans: He’s happy: “Bird PD thought up a good mission.” Ha, is it because we finally see him excelling at one? So I’m guessing his strong points are trivia quizzes and hiking tasks. Just don’t ask him to play a kiddie game or kick anything.
girlfriday: The PDs radio each team to tell them they have two bokbulbok chances in their car trunks, to use at their discretion. Tae-woong’s team stops to ask for directions, but the captions tell us that the woman has misidentified one of the landmarks. Uh-ohs. So from the get-go they’re planning it wrong. But then Seung-woo’s team stops to ask, and one of theirs gets misidentified too. Ha.
javabeans: Tae-woong’s team stops for more directions and snacks with their 3000 won. Oh man, why am I not surprised that Joo-won even has aegyotastic ways of eating his snack foods, smooshing them together to get all the honey to spread?
girlfriday: I know right? It’s his narration: “I’m going to smoooosh it.”
javabeans: He’s so adorable, and yet, I’m like, Dude. You’re 25.
girlfriday: And then Tae-woong demonstrates his method of eating around the edges first to save the honey for last, and immediately Joo-won copies him. OMG.
javabeans: This is why they are friends. They disembark at their first location, and a local ajumma thankfully sets them straight right away about the one they got wrong. And one of the pictures can be snapped right here. Su-geun asks her to lie when the other team comes up, and she agrees to say they’re in the wrong place. Ha, she says that now, but I wonder if she’ll stick to that when they get here and start sweet-talking.
girlfriday: Team Soybean hits their first location, three giant boulders in the middle of a river. They get their picture and move on to the next. Meanwhile, Team Kimchi reaches their first location, but Bird PD tells them their picture is wrong. Oh dear. Did they go to the wrong one anyway? Why didn’t they listen to the ajumma?
javabeans: Joo-won thinks out loud that it looks like a different landmark (the right one), although his hyungs shoot him down. At least he’s on the right track, since he looks unconvinced.
girlfriday: At least they get their second one right, after a boat ride along the river. Or, I guess that’s still their first. Meanwhile the other team reaches their second destination. I see a reversal in the future.
javabeans: But Team Jong-min also arrives at the wrong landmark, so they’ll be losing time too.
girlfriday: After getting their second picture, Su-geun decides to stop and use one of their bokbulboks.
javabeans: They have to each eat one lemon in order to halt the other team for 15 minutes. Joo-won and Tae-woong go for it, but Su-geun shudders like it’s poison.
girlfriday: The hyungs endure the sour, but Joo-won enjoys it, smiling the whole time. What the?
javabeans: That means that the other team literally has to stop in the middle of the river to wait out their 15 minutes. I’m thinking it’s not a bad place to enjoy the view, but Tae-hyun complains about his constant bad luck — of all the places to get stuck.
girlfriday: Oh no, on their way to the wrong place too?
javabeans: As Tae-woong’s team drives off, he chuckles that he wishes the other team’s bokbulbok food item were raw chicken. Feeling murderous, are you?
girlfriday: Their 15 minute freeze passes and Team Seung-woo takes their picture. Only… it’s not the right place. And for some reason, this team has a hilariously hard time understanding what went wrong.
javabeans: Particularly Shi-kyung, once again reinforcing that image. Smart, but slow?
girlfriday: So stubborn that logic refuses to pass through?
javabeans: Tae-woong’s team gets their third picture, and as Jong-min’s team returns to shore after their time-out, they opt to use their bokbulbok card. They chow on lemons and pull over the other team, who realize that they’ve got a bit of leeway now. They decide that if they see the other car passing them while they’re stopped, they’ll use their second bokbulbok opportunity. If not, they’re still in the lead so they don’t have to use their chance.
girlfriday: So that means Tae-woong and Joo-won spend the fifteen minutes staring down the road just so they don’t miss the other car passing by. The the music turns dramatic, as the captions tell us though they are crouching by the side of the road, these are the drama heroes of Wednesday-Thursday. Heh.
javabeans: But just as soon as those 15 minutes are up, the other team decides to use their second chance right away. Uh-oh! But this one’s a harder task: ditch a team member for another 15 minutes. The ditched teammate has to somehow rejoin them later to pull the final flag.
girlfriday: Oh no. That’s a pretty hefty price to pay. What if he can’t catch up?
javabeans: I feel like the first team to use this one is at the disadvantage. If they ditch a teammate, the other team will know and has the option not to, even if they suffer the 15 minute hold-back. I guess this team can always decide to forgo the opportunity, but it’s a tough call.
girlfriday: At least Shi-kyung volunteers right away to be ditched, so they don’t spend time arguing and deciding that part. He tells them to hurry up and leave, so they do. But as soon as Su-geun’s team gets the call to stop again, they figure they might as well use their chance too.
javabeans: I love the way they immediately decide to ditch one, and Su-geun tells Joo-won to hitchhike like it’s a foregone conclusion. Well, that’s what you get for being maknae.
girlfriday: Haha. He’s like, wait… me?
javabeans: Even funnier is how Su-geun asks the ajusshi, “How far is it running?” Just ‘cause he’s the fastest runner? Ha, but it takes 40 minutes so they’ll have to give it up to the whims of the hitchhiking gods.
girlfriday: So now it’s really a race between Shi-kyung and Joo-won, because you have to have your whole team to win.
javabeans: Actually, Shi-kyung even passes by his team, so it may end up being car versus car; the hitchhikers get to keep traveling during the time-out.
girlfriday: How funny that the ditchee passes his ditchers.
javabeans: Damn, Joo-won runs along the road while waiting for a car. Don’t use all your racing energy now! You may need it at the end! For instance, Shi-kyung catches his second ride with a bus, and hears that the stop is about 3 to 4 kilometers from his goal. He figures, “I can run that.”
girlfriday: Bird PD decides for some crazy reason to go with Joo-won, and just ends up huffing and puffing waaaay behind.
javabeans: Shi-kyung looks like he’s the farthest along, and gets off at the bus stop… where Joo-won sees him, driving by in the ride that he hitched. Eee! The car stops and Shi-kyung tries to hitch a ride with Joo-won. HAHA. Would it be hysterical if they both hitched?
girlfriday: That would be awesome. I love how calmly each of them reacts to the other. “Joo-won-ah.” “Hyung. They threw me away.”
javabeans: But instead, this is where Joo-won gets off, so the boys end up walking together holding hands. Until Joo-won starts running (he seems to enjoy it, saying he’s run a marathon before), and Shi-kyung shouts after him. He watches Joo-won dashing away, muttering, “Damn he’s tough.” This really is going to be a race of car versus car, isn’t it?
girlfriday: Too bad. I’d rather they just keep walking hand-in-hand.