We’re time-travelling back to the 80’s and 90’s in this Running Man time capsule. Before the era of the idol Oppas and Unnis, these legendary men and women ruled the stage. This episode is filled with physical comedy that will have you laughing from start to finish and now, I want to listen to all of their classic pop hits.
EPISODE 122. Broadcast on December 2, 2012.
We open at a club scene and our cast dances to a classic 80’s tune and they all get a solo in the opening dance sequence. Even their dress reflects the times but hey – haven’t we seen this before?
DJ Maknae FD takes the liberty to introduce today’s guests. He gives a hint about their first guest as “Korea’s ‘Madonna.’ Meet singer Kim Wan-sun, and the dancing queen’s presence excites the ajusshi cast members.
Their next guest only builds on the furor: Park Nam-jung and for a man in his forties, he’s still got the moves and surprisingly light on his feet. This is the man who created the famous “ㄱㄴ” dance and Wan-sun screams like a fangirl. Cute.
There’s more: singer Kang Soo-ji swings in and So Bang Cha (Jung Won-kwan, Kim Tae-young, Lee Sang-won) slides down a firepole and puts on a stunning performance.
Don’t worry if you’re unfamiliar with these guests because I am as well. This era of kpop was just before my time but we’ll learn about them together, shall we?
What I can’t believe is how great all of them look even though their heyday was nearly two decades ago. Jae-suk jokes that Suk-jin, who’s younger than all of them, looks older than them.
The guests greet the cast and Sang-won admits that he’s a fan of Ji-hyo’s… which means that Gary will intercept the handshake on her behalf. Ha.
Mr. PD introduces today as a ’80s and ’90s Legends Special and the teams are the Running Man cast versus Team 8090. Since the numbers are uneven, there’s another special guest.
And just when Jong-kook wonders who it might be, the staff start playing Turbo’s “Black Cat,” complete with stage outfit and all. Now you’ve gotta dance!
He does and now my childhood memories are relived. Jae-suk laughs that Jong-kook is the maknae in the Legendary Singers line (Turbo debuted in 1995).
Then who will come for the Running Man team? Why, returning guest Goo Hara (KARA) of course!
Mr. PD introduces today’s race as a Time Machine Marble Race where they’ll blast back to the past because if you can see the future, then time-travel is no big. They’ll pick up their time-travelling marbles and the team who wins at the final mission location will be declared the winner.
Haha addresses Team 8090 as ‘Teachers’ as a form of respect and maknae Spartakooks yelps, “None of us are ‘Teachers’!” The other legendary singers agree with this and instruct the other team to call them Oppa and Noona. HA.
Both teams climb into their time machines and Team 8090 head into the wormhole first. Did you make sure to hit 88 mph and have a plutonium reactor under your hood? Ha – those are real sparks coming out of those machines! Nice touch, show.
Team Running Man announce that they’re headed to 1982 and Haha calls out, “Hara wasn’t born yet!” (She’s a ’91-er). In the Team 8090 vehicle, Jong-kook comments that he’s scared to be in a vanful of his idols and Tae-young pipes, “I was more scared of you!”
Their first mission location is a replica Myungryang Athletic Competition and it’s an obstacle race. Coach Kookie gets his team together and whispers that they’re not going to win on pure strength… so they’re going to have to cheat. HA.
Jae-suk teases Jong-kook for having his arm around Wan-sun (she doesn’t mind) and then they encourage Hara to playfully rip off his name tag. And Wan-sun is NOT pleased. Wan-sun: “Put it back!” Jong-kook: “So this is why guys date noonas!”
It’s Jae-suk and Haha vs. Nam-jung and Won-kwan and they look so cute in their Pokeball-like costumes. We’re in for some hilarity ahead, aren’t we?
Sure enough, the announcer blows the whistle and Haha grabs Nam-jung’s suit. That both causes them to take a tumble. Then they push each other as they run up and roll down the hill. Jae-suk: “This game is going to take 10 hours!”
They’re not allowed to show their legs past their knees and Haha hobble jumps at the second obstacle… and lands in the water. He drags Nam-jung in too, but then Nam-jung rolls ahead for the lead.
Not that it does much because Won-kwan is as slow as a tortoise and Jae-suk hops in front. HAHA – the physical comedy is killing me right now. Won-kwan suddenly stops and breathes, “I think I just lost the feeling in my legs.”
So he resorts to rolling the rest of the way. They’re pretty much exhausted by the time they reach the snacks and Won-kwan sits there with his mouth open as if willing the snack to come towards him. Wait, can they even reach the snack?
Then Soo-ji calls out “Oppa, jummmp!” I know you mean well, but I don’t think he can make it!
And as if the variety gods wanted to wring out more entertainment, the wind starts to blow the snacks any which way. HAHAHA. About 10 minutes later, Jae-suk starts to blow the snack away from Won-kwan, who bites into it.
Now it’s just the last spurt and Jae-suk hops ahead, clinching the win.
Now it’s the ex-Monday Couple against Jong-kook and Wan-sun. The ladies are up first and Ji-hyo rolls ahead past the first obstacle. Poor Wan-sun can’t stand straight and Ji-hyo stays behind and employs Soo-ji’s help. Soo-ji: “Just roll her over!”
Wan-sun’s “crawling mode” makes her look like the girl from The Ring but what’s clear is that the dancing queen + round suit = hilarious. She has so much trouble that even with help, she naturally just rolls back.
Gary is surprisingly fast and soon the boys are neck and neck at the final leg of the race. Gary takes a tumble and then Jong-kook throws himself past the finish line.
The tie-breaking round will require three competitors on each team and Suk-jin and Sang-won go up first. They play a clip of Sang-won being one of those trolling spectators, jumping on the sidelines, asking why it’s so difficult. You’re going to get served, aren’t you?
Cut to: Sang-won lying on the ground, exhausted. Jae-suk comes round to see if he’s all right and he breathes, “Don’t talk to me.”
He successfully jumps over the water and is crawling to hand his baton to his teammate… but hands it to Hara instead. Whoops.
The ladies roll their way around the track and hand the batons to their teammates. The staff instruct Kwang-soo that his knees must be in the suit and he cries, “But they won’t fit!”
So Tae-young gets a small lead while he argues with the staff. They both end up at the second obstacle again and Kwang-soo jumps… and lands head-first into the water. AHAHA, oh man – poor guy can’t catch a break! Then Tae-young rolls above him for the win. HA.
Team 8090 chooses three marbles and when the Running Man Team attempt to show their marble off, Jong-kook reveals their king-sized one. Then Jae-suk tells them, “Take care of Sang-won!” who really looks like he’s going to puke.
Next stop, 1998. The Running Man Team fills us in on how old they were that year: Haha was in his first year at college, Gary in his third year, Hara was 7, Kwang-soo was 13 and Ji-hyo was 18.
1998 looks like an arcade and everyone gets so caught up in playing that they completely ignore Mr. PD’s instructions to gather together.
Once they do get together, they’ll be competing for the highest score on a punching game machine. The Running Man Team gripe that Jong-kook has the clear advantage – the current record was set minutes ago by Spartakooks.
It’s Nam-jung who steps up first and if his practice swing means anything, he’ll be a formidable opponent. He gets a pretty impressive number but it doesn’t beat Jae-suk who inches past him.
Jae-suk gets an 882 on his second try and jokes that he’s “never done this before.” I’m worried for Sang-won who looks like he hasn’t fully recovered from the previous game. Unfortunately, his punch isn’t strong enough to beat Jae-suk.
That new title of “Punching King” is short-lived because Won-kwan beats his score in the next round.
If ever the Giraffe needed some motivation, Suk-jin tells him to imagine Jong-kook’s face. So he jokingly spits at it. Dude. He’s right behind you.
Then to everyone’s astonishment, he beats Won-kwan’s score.
Time for Spartakooks to take the stage and he’s got three opponents to take down. He beats Kwang-soo by two points and Haha as well.
Now it’s Jong-kook against Gary and Jong-kook punches a high number. And then despite some jeering from Team 8090, Gary pulls ahead and wins it.
The teams travel to 2002 and here, they’ll be playing a variety show classic: tray karaoke. Even some of the old staff are with them today. As a last incentive before the final mission, there are 5 marbles on the line.
The gist: Sing in a round and if you make a mistake, the trays will fall on your heads and you’ll have to start all over. If I recall correctly, this game is nearly impossible because someone is bound to mess up.
The Running Man Team is up first and it’s an old So Bang Cha song. It looks like Jae-suk knows all the words and the young’uns give a puzzled expression. Once their order is determined, Haha asks the staff to drop the trays once.
So you can test out the pain? Jae-suk: “It hurts more than it did [years ago]!”
Suk-jin messes up on the first beat and Tae-young calls out like a crabby ajusshi, “It took us 10 hours in the recording studio to get the first beat right!”
Then when Haha mentions that Tae-young has already brought it up several times, Won-kwan confirms, “I’ve heard this six times!”
Team 8090 gets a challenging song of their own: KARA’s “Pretty Girl.” Even Hara admits that it’s easy to get a syllable wrong and Tae-young throws in the towel, “We’ve lost!”
They try to appease to Hara’s good graces to get a hint but she remains tight-lipped. At least the Legends get to their second person before the trays come crashing on their heads. It looks super painful but hilarious all the same.
Soo-ji ponders whether her, “The words that don’t make sense” portion is wrong and Jong-kook throws out some suggestions. Then Kwang-soo calls out, “The action that don’t make sense.” and Jong-kook tells him to shush.
HA – then Mr. PD catches Nam-jung looking the lyrics up on his phone and he acknowledges it, adding, “But it won’t load!”
The teams switch out again and while Suk-jin still hits the wall with the first beat, the others have trouble with the English lyrics. And though we finally get past Suk-jin, the trays come down again because Gary sounds more like he’s doing spoken word than singing.
Tae-young discovers a pretty good find: a helmet. Too bad it does little to dull the pain when Won-kwan raps Wan-sun’s head with his spoon.
Soo-ji is so hilarious. She instructs Tae-young to practice his portion ten times but when Wan-sun doesn’t know hers, she asks in a light-hearted tone, “Then should we use a ‘chance’?”
They use their chance to listen to the entire song once more and it looks like they’re pretty confident this round. That is, until Sang-won sings, “Walk healthily” versus “Walk confidently” and gets teased for the slip-up.
Omg, that stressed out look on Kwang-soo’s face makes my heart break for him. You can even tell that he’s worried as they start the song and then he misses the beat.
Then they’re ALL stressed out when Mr. PD tells them that they’ve got to get the chorus down too. Bah, and their ‘chance’ isn’t going to help them – they’ve got to change seats. All of their faces read, We’re scccreeewwweedd!!!!
While it’s Team 8090’s turn, Jae-suk finally remembers the chorus thanks to Tae-young’s hint. So Tae-young gets up to strike a deal: I helped you, so you [Hara] can help us.
Tae-young feeds the line word-for-word and Hara’s about to do the same when Kwang-soo cuts in, “You can just tell him if he’s right or not.” But Hara’s nice enough to return the favor.
In the end, the Running Man Team are able to finish the song in its entirety and now it’s back to the future!
Who knew that the final mission at 2012 would be nostalgic childhood game? It’s a marbles game and whoever has the most marbles inside the circle wins.
The first few marbles miss the circle but Soo-ji’s lands dead center. The Ace lives up to her name and after a few more turns, both teams get two marbles each inside the circle.
Won-kwan checks the conditions for Tae-young like a caddy and it comes down to him to throw the last marble for his team. He misses and the score is still 2:2.
Suk-jin is the last to toss. He throws… and misses. Tae-young throws the tie-breaking marble as it rolls around and sinks into the circle.
Jae-suk’s got one last shot and he tunes into his Super Green Power for luck. He misses it by a long shot.
Team 8090 celebrate at their win. Haha: “Sang-won hyung, you wore your sunglasses again!” Now that‘s a cool win.