EPISODE 400. Broadcast on August 19, 2012.
girlfriday: We get a traditional opening in front of KBS, as Bird PD announces another summer special. The guys whine, “Isn’t summer over? Kids are back in school!” But no, he insists it’s still summer. Tae-woong gets flamed right away for a really awkward line delivery–like he had it in his head for so long that when it came out he sounded like a robot.
javabeans: But… he’s an actor! You’d think line deliveries would be his bag.
girlfriday: Perhaps he shouldn’t be in charge of his own lines.
javabeans: I do think the scripted lines in this show are really awkward though, especially since most of the stuff is unscripted. The difference really comes across, when they’re doing intros and closings and weird lead-ins.
girlfriday: Yes, particularly because it’s still scripted in Kang Ho-dong style, because that’s where it came from… but it sounds less organic when others do it (though Su-geun and Seung-woo are far better than the others, as MCs). Thankfully, there’s very little scripted stuff on this show. They congratulate Tae-hyun on his big hit movie and Su-geun jokes that he’s bought the whole staff gift certificates. He plays along, “Just read carefully what they’re for!”
javabeans: Bird PD announces that the theme of this trip is “Back to the Basic” (and yes, I’m just itching to amend that to Basics), which has everyone narrowing their eyes in suspicion. Bird PD says they’ll be completely self-sufficient for this trip and Shi-kyung says skeptically, “When have we NOT been?” But today’s the hardcore version: no money, no food, they have to take care of that themselves. Since they aren’t prepared for camping, the producers allow ONE stop per team: Home. Haha, I like this.
girlfriday: Nice. Someone’s mom/wife is gonna have a bad day.
javabeans: Ha, I like the team divisions: Marrieds versus Singles. That means Seung-woo, Su-geun, and Tae-hyun are one team, and the other is Tae-woong, Shi-kyung, Jong-min, and Joo-won. I wonder: will the Marrieds have the edge?
girlfriday: They totally have the upper hand, right? Or… I guess it depends on whose mom gets put in the hot seat.
javabeans: But will that team be lost without their spouses once they’re unleashed to fend for themselves, cooking and such? I bet Su-geun’s wife would be superwoman with provisions. And… hm… Tae-woong’s mom? Although the rules do allow that the “home” can also be a friend’s place, not necessarily a cast member’s. Anybody got a mountain man friend handy?
girlfriday: Haha, as each team confers, Tae-woong shouts, “Jong-min’s being weird! He says we can’t go to his house!” Girlfriend alert!
javabeans: Do they go to his house just to embarrass him? Or… do they want to win?
girlfriday: I choose embarrassment! I guarantee there are weird rules anyway, and preparing better doesn’t mean you’ll end up with what you brought.
javabeans: Yes, Bird PD’s instructions sound like there’s definite weirdness down the line. He confirms that if, say, your team brings enough food along, you can eat the whole trip long. However, the team that prepares their gear “better” gets a benefit. One clue: weight. The guys assume that this means the lighter equipped team wins, but Bird PD gives a vague “That’s not necessarily true” answer.
girlfriday: The teams start calling home, and the bachelor team decides that Joo-won’s house will likely have the most food. He calls Mom to tell her, and she panics, naturally.
javabeans: Haha, that’s so cute! She’s all, “Son, because you aren’t home, I didn’t go grocery shopping.”
girlfriday: But he swears that their house is well-stocked; he’s sure of it. He must know what he’s talking about, because he doesn’t really even let her argue.
javabeans: Omg, she’s adorable. Panicking, she’s all, “How many days?!” He’s like, “1 night 2 days, of course!” HAHA.
girlfriday: Haha. She’s just as aegyotastic as he is!
javabeans: Mom says she’ll make do with what they’ve got at home, and Joo-won puts in a special request for ice cream. Tae-woong butts in: “Mother! You can buy a few things! It’ll take us time to get there!” And then they all sign off with “bbyong!”
girlfriday: Tae-hyun calls home, worried that his wife is still asleep, and then sure enough, Son answers and says Mommy’s sleeping. Uh-oh. He waits while he tries to wake her, but it doesn’t seem to be going well.
javabeans: So then Seung-woo’s next in line. He pulls out his phone saying they have no gear at home. They’re like, “Call anyway.” Seung-woo: “I will, I’m just afraid I’ll get yelled at.”
girlfriday: LOL. Okay, maybe this married ajusshi team isn’t better after all. They’re all afraid of their wives!
javabeans: Why do I suddenly have this image that the wives all send the husbands away, then crash for the weekend blissfully? He gets no pickup at home, and he looks so relieved.
girlfriday: Did he even call, or just pretend to?
javabeans: It comes down to Su-geun’s wife, and as he calls to explain the sitch, he prefaces, “Honey, don’t swear at the PD, you’re on speakerphone.”
girlfriday: Hee. And then he just outright gives her a camping shopping list and sends her out to buy stuff now.
javabeans: It’s hilarious, he tells her to go all out and buy TONS of stuff. “But not a tent, that’s too expensive.” Then he hangs up and is all, “We’re paying for this equally, right?”
girlfriday: So funny. That’s the difference right there. The bachelors are like, Mom’s paying! And the marrieds are like, we’re splitting, yeah?
javabeans: The problem is, the boys worry that the two hours isn’t enough to go to Joo-won’s house and to their destination. So they switch to Tae-woong’s house, and now I’m all sad we won’t get to see Mom. Er, Joo-won’s mom.
girlfriday: Aw, me too.
javabeans: The Marrieds arrive at Su-geun’s place, where his two boys pop out to say hi. Oh so cute. Seung-woo gets a glimpse inside and already is impressed at the stash Wifey assembled. The producers throw in a wrench, though: They only have a few minutes to grab what they need.
girlfriday: Of course. They give a long sigh. Bird PD says they have to earn each minute they can spend inside with dibidibidib, which is just a reflex game. But really hard.
javabeans: The Married men do well, and with six minutes already, Seung-woo joins in — blindfolded. Hilariously, he wins extra minutes without even being able to see! They all crack up and Bird PD looks miserable. They win 15 minutes total. Meanwhile, Joo-won gets out on the first try: 0 minutes. And Shi-kyung only gets 1.
girlfriday: Thankfully, Jong-min is their ace, and he gets them up to 10 minutes. Phew. I just love how miserable Bird PD is with the Marrieds — they tease him endlessly. Su-geun pops his head inside, “Honey, I think we can even eat before we go!”
javabeans: Su-geun’s wife is awesome. She got everything, and it’s all packed neatly into boxes and stacked in the front hallway. Ha, the captions note that it takes all of ONE minute for them to get the stuff they need, so they spend the rest of the time playing with the boys. Tae-woong’s mother had much less time to prepare, so it’s up to the boys to raid the fridge and grab things as they see them. Poor Mom. It’s like she got ransacked by a bunch of polite robbers.
girlfriday: Can you imagine? With no warning either.
javabeans: It’s not bad enough that they strip the mosquito net off the bed (Mom’s getting bitten tonight!) but then Jong-min picks up the mattress, going, “Let’s take this too!”
girlfriday: Haha, what is he doing? No tent, so they’re going to sleep on a mattress on the ground? I love that these guys are more concerned with filling their bellies now rather than planning for later. Focus!
javabeans: The Marrieds pack up and leave in great spirits, which means Bird PD’s spirits, inversely proportional to theirs, take a dive. He’s a little miffed at how his game went awry, and then Seung-woo tries to get him to do the game himself. Bird PD refuses, Seung-woo presses, and it becomes this whole thing where Seung-woo’s bellowing, “Play the game!” and Bird PD stalks off, pissy.
girlfriday: Lol, he actually seems pissed off! Seung-woo’s teasing him relentlessly, which is a nice reversal, but even funnier is that Bird PD can’t take it.
javabeans: In the car, the Marrieds pat themselves on the back and wax poetic about how great it is to be married, and how the Singletons probably had a hard time with supplies. They’re all, is there anything about marriage that ISN’T great? Seung-woo chuckles that there are 99 awesome things… and one not-so-awesome thing… and yet, that one thing can overpower all 99 others. Tae-hyun says wistfully, “Freedom.” Seung-woo: “My wife’s really busy these days and it’s great.”
girlfriday: Pffft. That’s dangerous talk there, on national television.
javabeans: I know right! Su-geun adds that he should be happy that her drama got extended, and Seung-woo says, “Not enough.” LOL.
girlfriday: This from the guy who was afraid to wake her up with a phone call??
javabeans: Ha, I want to see what happens when Wifey walks into all this bravado talk and they all cower.
girlfriday: I know. Hopefully we’ll get a report on it by the next trip. The two teams meet up at a rest stop where there’s a scale waiting for them in the middle of a field. Hm.
javabeans: They’re given a game opportunity to take food from the other team, which makes well-stocked Marrieds unhappy, and less-stocked Singletons excited. First instruction: bring the lightest item for weighing, though it has to exceed 500 grams.
girlfriday: Su-geun actually adds that rule, and then goes off whispering to Seung-woo, who exclaims, “You’re a genius!”
javabeans: I love that his strategy sorta works against him. Because his ramyun package says it’s 548g, but it weighs in at 620. This worries the others, but luckily their 400g canned fish adds up (with water and can) to 520g. They congratulate Shi-kyung for his clever thinking.
girlfriday: Things are lookin’ up for the singles. Next up: 5kg, and the closest weight wins. The teams wonder what they can add and start rummaging through their trunks, when Tae-hyun discovers something that sends him into a fit of giggles.
javabeans: It’s marked as a 5kg package, so they pick that. Meanwhile the bachelors have a bag full of stuff, though Su-geun notes that Shi-kyung’s really good “at calculating strange things.” Haha. Marrieds win this one, so it’s on to the third and final round. This one instructs them to take something that isn’t labeled with a weight, and the team has to guess it.
girlfriday: Cue rounds of human guessing scales. They all take turns comparing things in their left and right hands to guess their relative weights, and then Seung-woo tries dropping two things to see which one’s heavier. Um… did someone not pay attention in physics class? There’s this thing called gravity…
javabeans: The Marrieds overestimate, and the Bachelors underestimate. The Marrieds have it! Aww. Not only do they have tons of food, the Bachelors can’t really spare any.
girlfriday: Oh no! Maybe they’ll take the mattress or other comfort items instead.
javabeans: I think it has to be food. Oh well, Bachelors have rice, right? So they won’t starve? Then the Marrieds rub it in their faces, eating bananas in front of them and offering their remnants — and when Shi-kyung happily accepts, they’re all, “Neener!” They give bananas to the other team in exchange for slipping on a banana peel. At first Jong-min is insulted by it, but then they say he must not be hungry enough and he does it after all.
girlfriday: Haha. Pride or food? The eternal dilemma. Once they get back on the road, the Marrieds decide to just cook up and eat the best stuff for lunch, because there’s no telling what other game is coming up next. Good strategy. They’re feeling extra taunty today and Tae-hyun says if they have leftovers they’ll feed the staff, but not the other team.
javabeans: How sad. They happily cook up sausages and pork on a barbecue, and the other team boils water for ramyun. Ha, why is all the food from Tae-woong’s house past its expiration?
girlfriday: This team is just getting sadder and sadder by the minute. Half the meager food they have is spoiled?
javabeans: Omg, and then they run out of gas for their little range. Joo-won sidles up to the barbecue and sighs pathetically, and Su-geun offers to give him a taste if he jumps into the water. And while the meat-eating team is discussing the mode of humiliation like a bunch of withholding gods (hee), Jong-min stealthily approaches from the other side TO STEAL a can of propane. HAHA.
girlfriday: But eagle-eyed Su-geun stops him after two feet. Aw. The Singles make the strangest pot of ramyun that’s basically a hodgepodge of every different kind they have, with every canned anything also thrown in. It looks so weird, but they’re like, “It’s delicious! We’ve invented a new ramyun!” Or… you’re just really hungry.
javabeans: Why is it that I get hungrier watching the pathetic team eat, over the meat-eating one? Is it sympathy hunger pangs? And is it strange that Jong-min is particularly proud today? When Su-geun says one jump into the water, fully clothed, equals one sausage, Tae-woong and Shi-kyung look ready to do it. But Jong-min immediately frowns and says no, he won’t.
girlfriday: It’s probably a kneejerk reaction to we’re-so-pathetic-all-I-have-is-my-pride.
javabeans: But then it turns into a race, and they fumble to ditch their mic packs to claim the sausage. Tae-woong jumps in first and wins it. I love how the Married team resumes the car ride feeling vaguely dissatisfied. Su-geun: “Now that I’m full, I feel stressed out.” Seung-woo says it’s because they’re too used to being hungry that it’s strange now, and grumps, “I feel bad.” A second to take in the discontent… and then he asks, “Whatchoo wanna eat for dinner?” HA.
girlfriday: They arrive at basecamp to find a field filled with rows and rows of tents. Are they housing an army here? Oh it’s for the staff–they’re all camping too. But why’s it look so ominous?
javabeans: Yoo PD explains that the teams have to now begin preparing the staff’s dinner. For ingredients, they have to “earn” the money, and a menu lists the prices: a photo or autograph earns a measly 100 won (a dime), for instance, or they can harvest tomatoes or fish. Wait, is “bungee jump” on that list?
girlfriday: Whoa. Well I guess if they had one brave jumper, they could earn all their money that way–just jump all day long.
javabeans: Dude, I’d do the jump. It’d be fun! And easier than winning a game of badook.
girlfriday: I think so too. But people always say that and then get to the edge and freak out. I think if I could close my eyes and run off, I’d be set.
javabeans: I’ve never bungee jumped, but my main reason (same with skydiving) has always been cost. I don’t want to spend the money when I have the chance, and when I DO want to, I’m nowhere near a bungee spot. But I think I could enjoy it. Consider only earning a dime for a fan photo, or a quarter per tomato, while one jump gets you 30 bucks in one go. Ha, clearly I am the lazy one.
girlfriday: Dude, am so with you there. I’d rather do the big thing and forget the counting pennies. The problem is now dividing the tasks, and all the boys are like, “You do the bungee jump! No, you!”
javabeans: I love it. Jong-min’s all, “You do it! I can’t… because… uh, I have a disease.” Shi-kyung: “This is your chance to overcome that.”
girlfriday: They all gang up on him. Joo-won: “Life is about overcoming trauma.” Pfft.
javabeans: On the other team, Tae-hyun is all, “What’s the big deal? I’d do it ten times.” They all tell him how cool he is. Cut to later: “What’s wrong with his face?”
girlfriday: Oh noes. He looks terrified! “Will I look bad if I don’t jump now?” That flashforward doesn’t bode well. Seung-woo and Jong-min each decide to challenge the god of badook, while the rest of the members head to the river where all the tourists will be.
javabeans: The members aren’t allowed to offer photos, just agree when asked. So I love how when Tae-hyun and Su-geun are posing with a group of young girls, Shi-kyung and Joo-won come running to photobomb. They shove them away, but then the girls are all like, “OMG! JOO-WON! I WANT PHOTO WITH OPPA!” (Internally, of course, though it’s written all over their faces.)
girlfriday: After they take some pictures, it’s time to start fishing (for tiny shellfish and hidden pool balls that amount to the number x 1000 won). They look kind of ridiculous, with their butts in the air and their heads in the water, like water ostriches.
javabeans: Seung-woo heads off to find his badook challenger, which seems simple enough: Here’s your pouch of playing pieces, you hike down, and you play until you need more pieces… but you have to climb allllll the way back up and allllllll the way back down.
girlfriday: Dude, he only gets 10 stones to start, and there are 600 friggin’ stairs! He makes his way down to find Bird PD sitting on a picturesque sandy bank and waiting for his challengers. They start playing oh-mok, like connect-five, and Seung-woo smiles that he’s not quite the master player they proclaimed. But 10 pieces aren’t enough to win.
javabeans: He huffs and puffs his way up the hill again, and even his VJ is suffering. He meets Jong-min, who’s on his way down for the first time, though Jong-min’s confident he can win with ten pieces. Ha. Famous last words. Although he does say he used to go out and compete as a student. Aw, and then Seung-woo finds that his second batch is only FIVE stones.
girlfriday: Good grief. I do love that as soon as he starts playing badook, Seung-woo starts in on sageuk speech.
javabeans: Wow, Jong-min really is as good as he says. He feigns a couple of moves (“Aw, I guess this’ll have to do”) but then he gets all his pieces set up for the victory. All he needs is one more piece to win, but he’s out of stones and he purposely hurries Bird PD (“I have to go back up! I’m running out of time! Please hurry!”) to distract Bird PD — who doesn’t see his imminent defeat. Jong-min has to hike back up, but he has secured the win.
girlfriday: That’s impressive. Or Bird PD is really bad.
javabeans: Time to count up the fishing yield. Haha, Tae-woong collects 205 of those sea snail thingys, and earns A HUNDRED BUCKS.
girlfriday: What? Yeesh, I guess counting pennies wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
javabeans: On his way back down the hill, Seung-woo spots a pavilion off to the side where he can play for more badook pieces. Uh-oh, I don’t like that the captions even call this a trap. It’s basically a game of 50-50 chance, and he wins one round and loses all the rest. Ha, he gets caught up in the gambling fervor, and it’s hilarious.
girlfriday: Omg, get out now! He’s just gonna spend all day there, isn’t he?
javabeans: He has to go allllll the way back up to get more pieces, and his VJ just about dies at the thought. Then he runs into Jong-min on his way down, who only needs one more piece, and pleads with him for the rest, “So I can play some more.”
girlfriday: Already an addict? This is bad news… they’re gonna come back after the trip to pick him up and he’ll still be there, with an overgrown beard, asking bystanders for one more stone!
javabeans: He’s already got the wild look in his eyes! And then he’s going to figure out, as Jong-min has, that all that trouble was to win FIVE BUCKS.
girlfriday: Is that really all this game is worth?? Given that it’s really just connect-five, it’s not that hard, but it’s the mountain-climbing part that should make it at least worth ten bucks. Geez. Not to mention the therapy bills for Seung-woo to shake his gambling habit.
javabeans: So much effort for so little payoff. He should’ve just jumped… like it looks like Tae-hyun will do, next week. OR WILL HE?