Spring is in the air, which mean it’s the perfect time for romance (or bromance) to blossom in varietyland. There are a few pairings we’ve come to know and love and now it’s time to figure out who’s the best. Some couples are Meant to Be while others are more unfortunate. May the best couple win!
EPISODE 142. Broadcast on April 21, 2013.
We start off today’s episode with a few survey results from the viewers and Gary buries his face in his hands when he accidentally sneaks a peek (“I saw my name on top of the list!”). His excitement, however, quickly fades when he’s picked as Most Likely to Stand Out Even In a Disguise. Heh, it’s true that you can always tell it’s Gary.
Newly crowned Asia Prince Kwang-soo is shocked to hear that he’s ranked sixth place in a Chinese fansite popularity survey with a mere 7%. To rub salt in the wound, the sum of the Easy Brothers’ results is equal to Gary’s 11%. Aw.
Today’s female guest has ranked our boys based on looks. Though there are six men altogether, she only bothered to write down four names, which puts Suk-jin and Haha out of the running.
Spartakooks pretends to get all huffy about his fourth (or is it last?) place ranking. And to everyone’s surprise, Gary comes out on top. Yay!
Today’s theme of “Best Couple” is quite appropriate for today’s guests: former co-stars Lee Bo-young and Lee Sang-yoon who just wrapped up weekend drama My Daughter Seo-young.
How funny is it that the cast mentioned Bo-young’s name in passing last week, and she just so happens to turn up today. When asked why Bo-young didn’t write anyone for fifth and sixth places, she answers, “Well, I felt like I didn’t need to…” Burn.
Our teams (which have been predetermined by the staff, to Gary’s chagrin) are as follows: Pink (Jae-suk, Jong-kook, and Bo-young), Green (Ji-hyo, Gary, and Sang-yoon), and Yellow (the Betrayal Trio). Both Jong-kook and Bo-young jokingly complain about how especially awkward it will be for them since Jong-kook ranked last on her list.
The breakdown of today’s race should be familiar to longtime Running Man fans: play games to acquire Running Man Balls and write names on them to be selected via lottery. With that, we’re off and may the best couple win!
In the car, Jae-suk is uneasy about their hot pink uniforms, but he’s all smiles again when Bo-young pipes up that real men wear pink. Then the two former team leaders bicker with each other as usual, this time over Jong-kook’s definition of a V-neck.
Jae-suk: “Yours comes down to your stomach!” I see no problem with this.
Meanwhile, Ji-hyo comments that it’s too bad that Gary wasn’t paired up with Bo-young like he hoped. He doesn’t seem too torn up about it today since “I can’t betray you on Mondays!”
She counters that that certainly didn’t hold him back from acting all chummy with Yeon-hee a few weeks back, and adds that she’s super duper close friends with athletic Sang-yoon. Oh, you two and your lover’s spat.
They arrive at Garosugil where each team must carry their teammate and successfully throw an empty cup into a bin. To fail at one station means you move on to the next one, which just means a longer trek back.
Ji-hyo earns a chorus of “Ooohs” from the crowd at the teensiest courtesy gesture towards Gary, who yells, “You saw that, right?!” HA.
On their quest to obtain cups, the cast reaches out to the crowd, who are more than willing to help. A few passers-by even down the rest of their drinks in one gulp before handing them over. Hellloo brain freeze and burnt tongues.
We skip ahead to the second station where Bo-young misses her shot and then takes the entire cast by surprise when she offers to carry Jae-suk instead. That suddenly makes Jae-suk look like the bad guy, and all the boys are like, You can’t do that to our guest!
He resolves the issue by awkwardly sitting in between his teammates and mostly leans towards Jong-kook. (Unbeknownst to Jong-kook, the Yellow Team steals a few cups out of his pocket, heh.)
Something falls out with a definitive clunk when Suk-jin tosses his cup – it’s a rock. It doesn’t surprise me that the Yellow Team would try to cheat, though it does crack me up that Haha hurriedly whispers, “Run away, run away!”
Sang-yoon gets pretty close for his team (though his second attempt hits a flag, ha), but alas all the teams are sent out to the following station and search for more cups.
I love how Bo-young has this gung-ho competitive spirit about her and readily offers to carry Jae-suk again at the third station. Thankfully, they succeed this time and get to move on with three Running Balls per team member.
Eventually, the other teams succeed as well and in the car, Sang-yoon asks his Monday Couple teammates if they contact each other when they’re not filming during the week. Are you a Monday Couple fan, too?
They simply reply that they’re good to each other on Mondays and Gary adds that if the show is around for a good seven or eight years, “then [Ji-hyo] will be the longest relationship I’ve ever been in.”
It’s evening by the time everyone arrives at the Han River and it’s the return of the dreaded prickly mat. Here, they’ll have to collectively long-jump barefoot at least 20 meters as a team.
Without any hesitation, Bo-young volunteers to jump first and walks along the spiky mat with her bare feet in order to get them acclimated. She jumps a fair distance, but gets disqualified for stepping over the red line.
By the time it’s Spartakooks’ turn, he needs at least 18 meters for his team. He jumps on the floor a few times (ow!) to prep himself, and ignores Jae-suk’s cries of: “Your feet will bleed if you keep [jumping]!”
He gets about six meters in three leaps… and then instinctively curls into the fetal position from the pain. HA.
Now Sang-yoon finally gets to show-off his athletic prowess and manages to jump an impressive 8.2 meters. He still reels from the belated pain, heh.
The newly arrived Yellow Team complains when Ji-hyo takes three large steps to a total of two meters. So she snaps back at the trio: “YOU try it!”
Sure enough, their initial overconfident boasts turn into pained expressions once they step foot on the mat. Haha bellows this war cry before his turn and then sllooowwwllyyy walks on the floor, taking these teeny steps that add up to 1.7 meters. Jae-suk: “You even did worse than Ji-hyo!”
Kwang-soo revs up to take one for the team and starts way around the bend. He runs and actually jumps an impressive distance… only his record is disqualified because he stepped just past the line. Boo.
Mr. PD offers a handicap to each team where one member can wear socks and both Jong-kook and Bo-young object to this idea, to Jae-suk’s frustration. He volunteers himself to be the socks-wearer and his two coach-teammates are like, “You have to jump at least 8 meters then!”
It’s always entertaining to watch Ji-hyo and Jae-suk bicker with each other. They go for a few rounds about why the pain gets worse the longer she walks on the mat until Haha steps in and says: “This back-and-forth [with Jae-suk] is my thing!”
Coach Bo-young suggests a tip for Ji-hyo to jump in place to dull the pain. Ack, I know you mean well and that Ji-hyo is the show’s Ace, but not everyone has the same high pain tolerance as yours!
Even Jong-kook jokes that Bo-young’s coach mode is a bit overwhelming, and she meekly asks, “Are you embarrassed of me?”
Both Ji-hyo and Sang-yoon jump over four and eight meters, respectively. Gary’s up next and he literally flies through the air to jump an astonishing 9.3 meters. Daebak.
Aww, but it turns out that Ji-hyo’s record doesn’t count (she was barely a toe out of line) and Gary gapes, “You should have told me earlier! Then I would have jumped 15 meters!”
Then Suk-jin is up next for his team, but the soles of his feet look oddly stiff. Upon closer inspection, the others discover the inserted insoles. Hahaha, points for cheating creativity?
Jae-suk really does have it rough, caught in between two competitive coaches. Bo-young continues to impress when she asks for a minute to get her feet used to the prickly surface. Furthermore, she instructs her teammates to stand on top of the mat to prepare them as well.
Her drill sergeant-like method seems to work as both she and Jae-suk jump a combined distance of over 12 meters. Now it’s up to Jong-kook to close in on the gap and he does so with ease, putting his team in first place once more.
Everyone receives their allotted Running Balls (the Yellow Team get merely one per team member) and move on.
Their third mission takes place at a buffet where everyone is separated by individual tables. Each member chooses from the vast array of foods before they sit back down. Hm, is this a kind of team telepathy game?
Mr. PD announces that they’ll play Buffet Bingo with their selections and need two rows to declare bingo. I love how each member’s choices reflect their personalities, like how Jong-kook picked mostly health-conscious foods or Gary who’s just plain hungry. HA.
The rules are fairly simple, as each member will choose an item to eat off of their “board” and anyone else who has the same item also gets to eat. Bo-young casually asks for some condiments and when the staff grant it, everyone else gets on this train, too.
Bo-young starts off the game with grapes, which both of her teammates have selected. This game requires a level of strategy, since you want to select foods your teammates might have, but also make sure your opponents haven’t chosen the same. Though I can only assume that strategy is the last thing on their minds given that everyone is so hungry.
It’s no surprise that only a few of the cast members have chosen healthy foods (like tofu) but Gary gets an earful when he calls out his “common” item (hot pepper) Suk-jin: “Who eats peppers at a buffet?!”
By the time we get to the end of the line, Jae-suk has emptied nearly an entire row whereas poor Sang-yoon has cleared just two of his dishes. Aw, is our guest not going to get to eat today?
It’s Bo-young’s turn again and right after she makes her choice (chocolate), Jong-kook asks, “Are you making these choices with regards to making a bingo?” She laughs. Yeah, that’s probably a no.
I love it how Kwang-soo chooses items that no one else has, like pickled radish or lettuce. Conversely, the Pink Team seems to exhibit some team telepathy, especially between Bo-young and Jong-kook who share the same healthy foods.
At one point, Bo-young passes down the soy sauce to share among the other members. When the dish reaches Jae-suk, he mixes in some cola before passing it to Kwang-soo, none the wiser. He ends up with a cola-soy sauce sushi combination. Ew.
Kwang-soo takes it in stride and thanks his hyung: “Thank you for the bubbly soy sauce!”
Surprisingly, it’s Suk-jin who succeeds first and Jae-suk undercuts his victorious moment with: “You’ll likely go to jail first too.”
I’m not sure if Jong-kook realized he could have chosen a different item to get two lines of bingo, but within a few more turns, two of the Yellow Team members, and a Green Team members all rise from their seats.
When Jae-suk asks the staff if he can eat the rest of the food, the answer is a firm no. He gets caught trying to sneak off a dish (Suk-jin: “Don’t you know the basics of filming?!”) and Gary pipes: “There’s something called ‘Insert’ in filmmaking!” Hahaha – it’s basically close-up shot that would incriminate Jae-suk of his actions.
Kwang-soo calls out a pasta dish to get his two-row bingo and the Yellow Team celebrates their first win of the day. Only, Kwang-soo stops short and grows quiet when he eats the dish. Then he mouths, “It’s jjolmyun [spicy chewy noodles].” Hahaha.
That effectively nullifies his win but Kwang-soo argues that the two dishes look the same. He holds a dish up to the others, who readily identify it, exasperated: “It’s jjolmyun!”
He tries to explain himself again a minute later, but this time he mixes up the dishes he ate and the captions read: You already can’t remember? Oy, you’re going to end up last again, aren’t you?
So the Pink Team scoops up first place for the third time today, and the Yellow Team comes in last.
The Betrayal Trio hyungs are still plenty angry in the car as Haha shouts that they lost a rare opportunity to prove themselves. Kwang-soo bluffs that he won’t be part of the Betrayal Club anymore and both hyungs roll their eyes all, Yeah, okay.
The situation gets increasingly dramatic between Haha and Kwang-soo, who snap at each other like a lover’s squabble. Then Suk-jin’s awkward foot acting skills breaks the tension: “Stop it!” which has the young’uns burst in laughter.
Aww, just goes to show that no one took the loss to heart.
We finally arrive at our final mission, Hide and Seek, where our cast members will be paired off as couples via lottery, and the ninth(?) wheel as the Seeker. The last couple or the Seeker left standing after one hour wins. Easy enough, right?
Our teams watch on screen at the “live televised broadcast” of the show, led by our resident announcer, Kim Hwan. Ji-hyo and Jae-suk are our first couple, and Bo-young’s face falls when she hears her partner’s name: Suk-jin.
I love it how everyone bursts out laughing except for the Betrayal Trio who sincerely congratulate their mat-hyung. Out in the hallway, Bo-young jokes, “Can I be paired off with Ji-hyo instead?”
Kwang-soo and Jong-kook become our third couple of the evening. These two are destined for each other aren’t they? Then finally, Gary and Sang-yoon are paired off, which means Haroro is our Seeker.
Drunk on power, he bellows in the hallway. Welcome to Couple Hell.
Suk-jin and Bo-young are up on the rooftop and he warns her that their elimination is practically a sure thing if they’re ever cornered. She retorts, “You have to block them!” Uh, do you know who you’re paired off with?
The chilling sound of bells sends shivers down everyone’s spines, including mine. Except for Jong-kook and Kwang-soo, who are too busy strategizing different ways to take Haha on using their VJ as a dummy.
Two of our couples freeze in place at the distant ringing noise and gasp when Haha rounds the corner and cackles at his good fortune. They bolt and he gives chase.
Haha turns his attention to the Tiger-Giraffe Couple when they approach him. But his attack fails as Jong-kook takes him on single-handedly and Kwang-soo tears off Haroro‘s nametag with ease.
All the while, the other couples look on with faces of amusement as Haha screams, “Come and help me!” Wait, so who’s the Seeker again?
Gary laughs that it’s no fun if the game is this easy. Haha gets a brand new nametag but that almost seems pointless in the face of the Tiger. He keeps yelling at the other couples to help him and their response is basically, Why should we?
They twirl around a second time, which just results in Haha’s second elimination. Oy, this is going nowhere for him, fast. Haha: “How can I tear off [those nametags]!”
He peers over the four couples who taunt him to come and play with them. As expected, his repeated attempts to overtake Jong-kook continue to fail. In a quiet moment, he cries into the camera: “Chu Sung-hoon, come back and take [Jong-kook] on!”
Almost 45 minutes have already passed and all four couples comfortably roam the halls without an ounce of fear. That is, until they hear a ringing of bells and Haha appears out of nowhere with a new determined look on his face. He’s angrier, faster, and more agile now, and he quickly eliminates Sang-yoon and Gary.
Not only that, Haha’s smarter now and knows how to pick his battles. He tries to pass the opportunity to challenge Jong-kook and Kwang-soo, but they grab him first.
In this moment of distraction, Bo-young appears and reaches towards Haha’s nametag, but he whips around and breaks the couple’s bracelet instead. Woah.
With only ten minutes remaining and two couples left in the game, Haha proposes an alliance with the Jae-suk and Ji-hyo couple. His wounded pride and war-torn clothes are all he can show the couple. Near tears, he breaks down: “Help me eliminate [Jong-kook].”
There’s only five minutes left now and time is of the essence. The couples and Haha circle around each other until Jong-kook lunges towards Haha. At the same time, Ji-hyo wraps her arm around Kwang-soo’s leg, holding him back. Then she implements Step 2: Tickling. Hahaha.
In their struggle, Jong-kook reaches across Haha’s back just as Haroro grabs for the couple’s bracelet… and the bracelet breaks first.
Now that Jong-kook’s out of the game, Haha stumbles towards his former allies. He wrenches the bracelet until it breaks, and then he collapses on the ground to soak in his victory.
Haha belatedly apologizes to Ji-hyo for messing up her hair, who sends him a flying kick in response.
Everyone gathers together for the closing and Haha gapes at his prize: a pair of gold bracelets. Mr. PD invites him to give one away to one of today’s castmates, but Haha chooses to keep them instead.
He screams: “Go-eun ah [his wife]!” and runs around the building like madman.