It’s a Christmas Special on this week’s Running Man. Who needs one Santa when you can get five? With snowballs and snow massages, this show delivers endless hilarity and laughs from start to finish. I’ll be honest – there were times when this recap was in danger of never being written because I was in a fit of giggles. Happy Holidays Running Man!
EPISODE 125. Broadcast on December 23, 2012.
We open at a ski resort where our cast hums Christmas jingles and wonder if they’ll be graced with female guests. They get further excited as Mr. PD describes today’s guests as “loveable” and will pop out of the cake behind them.
So they call out excitedly, their fingers crossed… and receive their Christmas surprise: five Santas. Gulp.
HA – I love that they’re all utterly speechless and all of their flabbergasted expressions read, What the… this is our present?!
Meet today’s Santas: returning guest actor Park Sang-myun; entertainer Jung Hyung-don; comedian Ryu Dam; Super Junior member Shindong (Super Junior); and Juvie Train (Buga Kings).
Our Santas carefully climb down the cake and our cast reluctantly greets their guests as Haha tries out his new signature move on Hyung-don… who’s a little bigger than Hyo-joo.
Let’s just say he’s not pleased to be on the receiving end and then starts to playfully knee-kick Haha in response. And then I love that Spartakooks steps up to protect his dongsaeng. So cute.
Man they haven’t even started the opening and it’s already chaotic (Jae-suk: “What kind of Christmas is this?!”). After a few rounds of how jolly our Santas look (Suk-jin: “Shindong, you’re the slimmest amongst them!”), we focus our attention on Juvie Train, a rapper for hip-hop group Buga Kings.
He quietly stands there until Haha jabs: “He still frequents clubs even after he got married!” Commence another battle of Santa vs. Spartakooks.
Hyung-don puffs up at the Running Man members’ gazes, (“It’s like you’re seeing a celebrity.”) and Jae-suk brings him back down to Earth: “Be quiet and leave. See you Saturday.” (Hyung-don, Haha, and Jae-suk are also a part of another show, Infinity Challenge)
Sang-myun mentions that as the first guest to arrive, he wondered who else might join him. Then once the others started showing up, he got it. “It’s THAT kind of episode.” Jae-suk: “What kind?” Sang-myun: “You know, (points to other Santas) THIS KIND.” Hahaha.
We finally get to the opening and it’s a Snowball Fight Race and we know the drill by now: break off into teams, play some games, and last team standing wins. And hey – the punishment for the losing team is back!
Let’s introduce our teams as they head out: Yellow (Jong-kook, Haha, Ryu Dam, & Juvie Train), Red (Jae-suk, Hyung-don, Gary, & Ji-hyo), Blue (Suk-jin, Shindong, Sang-myun, & Kwang-soo).
They squeeeze into their seats on the trolley and they’re off!
In the Red car, Jae-suk expresses his surprise to see his fellow Infinity Challenge member here and Hyung-don tells him that it’s been eight years since he’s appeared in a Sunday variety show. Gary: “Then why didn’t you just rest!”
Ryu Dam asks why they’re taking the trolley when it’s so slow and Jong-kook jokes, “Because it’s still faster than you.” Caption: Bingo.
Their first mission is a Santa- Rudolph raise where they’ll need to climb a hill and dig their tube sleighs out of the snow and then “Santa” will have to change into his signature red socks.
Sang-myun nearly upchucks just thinking about the physical activity, (Suk-jin: “Don’t mind him! He’s just trying to attract attention to himself!”) and Hyung-don asks questions about the game, to which the others are like, We just heard the instructions!
The ex-Monday Couple have a bit of fun as Ji-hyo playfully throws a snowball towards Gary and then Kwang-soo picks it up, “This isn’t snow!” HA – then is it ice?
The Red Team and the Blue Team face off in the first round and it’s the ex-Monday Couple who dig out their sleigh first, and slides down the hill. I find it hilarious that Shindong does a sliding kick in order to get to the socks. Then Gary pounces on Kwang-soo in his bare feet. Badass.
After some struggle and a few snow foot massages later, the Blue Team win the round. Kwang-soo comes over, apologetic, and Jae-suk jabs, “Are you a reindeer?” Kwang-soo: “I’m a giraffe, not a reindeer!” Hehe.
The other pairs of the Red and Blue Teams are up next and they start tumbling down the hill to get to the tubes. They slide down and frantically try to grab for the socks.
In the end, Jae-suk manages to grab the flag with both socks on, bringing the score to 1:1: and Hyung-don collapses on the snow.
Everyone’s a little quicker in the tiebreaker game as the Easy Brothers slide down first. Now struggling to grab the socks, Kwang-soo asks why Gary’s trying to peel off his socks. Answer: Revenge.
The best part is the caption that usually reads: An eye for an eye. Since ‘eye’ and ‘snow’ are homonyms in Korean, it’s more like: Snow for snow. HA.
Then Suk-jin gives Hyung-don a snow belly massage. I’m dying of laughter right now. Gary sneaks off with a sock just before Suk-jin can grab the flag but it’s Hyung-don who bursts, “If we win, we have to play again!”
Now it’s turned into a game of who can lose as Kwang-soo, completely spent, yells that he doesn’t want to win. The flag ends up in Suk-jin’s hands anyway and Gary yells: “WE LOST!”
So the Blue Team reluctantly advance to the next round as they go up against the Yellow Team. It’s no surprise that Jong-kook pushes the Blue Team out of the way in order to grab the socks so the Blue Team retaliate with more snow foot massages.
The Yellow Team wins the first round and in order to avoid a tiebreaker, the Blue Team cheers for the opposing team. Which means the Red Team cheers in favor for the tiebreaker. HA.
Uh-oh, the Yellow Team’s tubes slide down the hill before they do and then Haha gets in the tube behind Suk-jin. So everyone has to trudge back UP the hill again. Will this game ever have a winner?
Now Kwang-soo resorts to biting (which, ew) to buy some time. Then Kwang-soo and Juvie Train run through the snow in their bare feet. What seems like forever later, the Yellow Team wins it.
Onto somewhere warmer at an indoor pool for their next mission entitled Christmas in Summer. (Gary: “Not a ‘Romantic’ Christmas?”) Here, they’ll need to switch places on a balance beam in the middle of the pool under a minute.
Shindong: “It’s hard enough while we’re standing!”) and Sang-myun gripes that he can’t even walk straight on a sidewalk.
Ryu Dam spends the entire minute just trying to get on the beam and Jae-suk teases that he resembles a walrus. As for the Blue Team, as soon as they’re hip to hip, Kwang-soo tosses Sang-myun into the water, yelping, “It feels weird!”
The Red Team seems to fare better but when Gary nearly falters, Jae-suk grabs his butt. No, I’m not kidding. HAHA. It’s too bad they fail just a few seconds short.
It takes a good thirty seconds to get Ryu Dam onto the beam and another thirty trying to get him across it. He and Juvie Train both fall into the water, and the others point out that Juvie’s wet hair resembles G-Dragon. Jae-suk: “It’s Ju-Dragon!”
The Blue Team employs a pretty handy method of lifting each other across the beam. It’s just that Kwang-soo carries Suk-jin over… but there’s no beam left and Suk-jin splashes into the water. Hahaha.
Jae-suk: “This is what variety is like!” Indeed, sir.
The Yellow Team are up again and it’s Ryu Dam who traverses his way across first. Now he has to get across the motherlode of obstacles, Juvie Train, as the others chant their names. Yeahh… let’s just say it doesn’t work.
I’m not sure how I feel about this hop-over-me tactic by Shindong, but it appears to be working… until they all fall into the water.
Eventually, even scaredy cat Hyung-don fights his fears and the Red Team succeeds first with two seconds to spare.
By the time everyone moves onto the third mission location (a restaurant), each team has four snowballs each. Everyone sits at their respective seats around the table as Mr. PD explains how Christmas Dinner will be conducted.
Similar to the game ’31’ (a counting game where the person who ends up as number 31 has a penalty), they can eat as much of the selected dish as they like, up to five bites a turn. The last person who gets to eat is eliminated. Oooh, interesting.
They all salivate just thinking about the menu and all gasp when the first item is steak.
It’s as much of a use-your-noggin’ game as it is to fill your stomach and Suk-jin warns Sang-myun to calculate how much he should eat. Sang-myun: “I am! I’m not that dumb!”
It’s already down to 22 pieces out of the original 31 by the time the steak reaches Gary. He’s nice enough to stop at one in order to save his teammate but then Hyung-don barks back when he’s told to restrain himself. Jae-suk yells to the staff: “How can you concoct such a devilish game!”
Jae-suk is in danger of being eliminated so he appeals to Kwang-soo’s good graces to stay in the game. He pulls out the big guns – he’ll set Kwang-soo up on a blind date. It works.
It’s a continuous mind game as they try to convince Ryu Dam to eat more than one piece. But he yells, “Enough!” and eliminates Ji-hyo. Aww, at least she gets to eat the last piece.
Keeping his promise, Jae-suk says that he’ll arrange the blind date for Kwang-soo. There’s just one catch: she’s 39.
I love it how the cast members try to yell out strategies, (“You have to calculate!” “Think of me!”) but when you’ve got a platter of food in front of you, Shindong and Sang-myun are like, Screw that and eat as many as they can.
They’re down to six pieces by the time it reaches Jong-kook and the Easy Brothers plead with him. Suk-jin miscalculates (which would then eliminate Kwang-soo) and then Kwang-soo says, “Eat five so Suk-jin hyung is out!”
Jong-kook eats piece number four and Sang-myun belatedly realized that his team is in danger of being eliminated. The Easy Brothers: “It’s your fault!”
Ji-hyo warns Jae-suk to stop eating or else Gary will be in danger of being eliminated but Ryu Dam looks at him with innocent doe-like eyes, “Please, just eat.” Ryu Dam eats five pieces himself, ignoring Jong-kook’s protests.
The food gets passed down the table and it’s up to Hyung-don to decide whether to keep Jong-kook in the game or not. He picks up the second to last piece in an almost threatening manner and then realizes, “This is like the Ultimate Fish Cake!”
It’s hunger versus strength as Jong-kook tries to keep the piece at bay using his brawn. But then everyone stops when Hyung-don offers to eat both and eliminate himself because, “the food’s so delicious.”
Jong-kook takes the bait but of course Hyung-don turns on a dime and eliminates Jong-kook anyway.
One of the dishes turns out to be a mini game. (It’s a counting game where a certain number of people stand at a time.) Drill Sergeant Kwang-soo makes a triumphant return with his signature red hat.
He eases into the came, counting off by ones, much to Hyung-don’s irritation. But once the game gets going, it’s Hyung-don who’s eliminated.
The next item is orange juice and Shindong pipes that he can’t have juice. The others look over to him with faces that read, Are you allergic? but Shindong explains, “I don’t like it very much.”
So the remaining four start downing glass after glass but Shindong strategizes near the finish, leaving seven glasses for the rest of the participants. Now it’s down to Suk-jin who has two glasses in front of him but another chance to drink.
He stops and with Jae-suk’s last glass, Haha’s eliminated.
Time for the final mission location and the teams will use their acquired snowballs to eliminate the other teams. Last team standing wins it. But more than anything, they have to avoid coming in last place, lest they face the punishment.
Hyung-don yells that since it’s not a game of name tag rippin’, he ain’t afraid to face Spartakooks. I hope you don’t end up eating those words.
The other teams realize that the Yellow Team is biding their time with just four snowballs. Er, make that three because Juvie Train just threw his… and failed.
So they step back and watch the Red and Blue Teams go at it. Sang-myun is eliminated first and Suk-jin yells that they have to stick together, “It’s what the Yellow Team wants! For us to eliminate each other!”
They agree to an alliance though both sides are rightfully suspicious of each other as they step away. They corner Haha, who just continues to climb up to higher ground to evade his captors (Ji-hyo: “Why are you trying to climb a mountain in a snowball fight!”).
But it’s Juvie Train who’s in danger of being eliminated when Ryu Dam appears and throws his lone snowball at Jae-suk, successfully taking him out of the game.
The teams taunt each other with their snowballs and it’s a cautious game on both sides. Juvie Train is eliminated, followed by Jong-kook (who gets hit right in the heart).
Hyung-don gets in a successful sneak attack, eliminating Haha, only to be tagged out himself by Ryu Dam. He cries, “I hid here for thirty minutes!”
Ryu Dam sweats – how’s he to take on two teams by himself? He uses all of his snowballs on Ji-hyo, who evades all of his attacks. After a chaotic battle, it’s just Gary versus the three members of the Blue Team.
Gary takes Suk-jin out with ease and avoids Kwang-soo’s snowballs. Now the Blue Team only has one snowball left… so they run.
Gary then sticks a snowball on Shindong and then another on Kwang-soo, winning the game for his team.
The Red Team celebrate while the others gape at this turn of events. They note that this is Gary’s second Christmas win. Their prize? Christmas cookies.
But what WE’RE interested in is today’s punishment and the Yellow Team’s faces drop when they see a familiar item: red long johns. HA.
Such is their fate to ride down the slope in their holiday-appropriate attire, crying “Merry Christmas!”