Princess Mung has it all: beauty, brains, and gold. She rules the land with an iron fist and issues orders with a sharp tongue, all with a killer smile. I mean, she has BIGBANG idols who wait on her hand and foot and one particular suitor who sweeps her off her feet, if only for a moment.
EPISODE 163. Broadcast on September 15, 2013.
Once upon a time in the Running Man Kingdom, six cast members suit up to impress the loveliest princess in all the land: Ji-hyo. Ooh, is this the prize—the episode solely dedicated to her—she won months ago? Me likey.
The boys immediately rib Gary on his tuxedo-like suit, but that’s nothing compared to Jae-suk’s military-style princely outfit, which just cracks me up. There are three more suitors join them today: BIGBANG‘s Daesung, G-Dragon (or GD), and Seung-ri. Eeee!!
Today’s teams are as follows: Red (Jae-suk, Gary, and GD), Yellow
(Jong-kook, Kwang-soo, and Daesung), and Blue (Suk-jin, Haha, and Seung-ri).
It’s time to meet our lady of the hour as Ji-hyo arrives in a horse-drawn pumpkin
carriage. Everything about her entrance looks like it came straight out of a fairytale, down to her fairylike white dress. Aw, the Monday Couple really do like a perfect cake topper.
Entitled “Steal Ji-hyo’s Heart,” our three teams will face off in a series of games to win her affections. And yes, gold.
The first place team after each game will have the privilege to ride with Ji-hyo in the luxury car while the plebeians will travel by—what else?—a rundown sedan. Ooh, I really hope that car becomes a running gag in this show.
They hold a dance-off to determine the first lucky team, and ha—Ji-hyo tries to shrug off her castmates in order to get a 1:1 dance with GD. Girl, I do not blame you in the slightest.
Daesung suddenly puts a stop to the contest before his team’s turn to point out that it’s obvious that they’ll come in last place anyway, adding: “You could poll 30 million people, and we’d still come dead last!” HA, your humor is what makes you a true variety-dol.
So his team opts to dance to a trot song instead, which is both adorable and hilarious. At one point, Jong-kook scoops Ji-hyo up into a princess carry. Heh. It works, and Ji-hyo chooses them.
The other teams immediately call for a second chance to impress, and this time, Gary steps up… and swoops in for a surprise kiss on the cheek. Omo! Omo! Omo! Rewind, replay!
It leaves Ji-hyo flustered and both Kwang-soo and Seung-ri rush to try the same tactic for their teams. Puhahaha. Her answer? “Kang Gary.” Aww, yeahhh.
Everyone climbs into their respective cars, and Spartakooks practically burns his arm leaning against the window. GD, meanwhile, promises to do well today… so that he can stay in the nice, air-conditioned car. Hee.
They’ll be getting down and dirty in their first game, which takes place in a muddy rice paddy. And it seems Ji-hyo is getting the full-on princess treatment today as she’s piggybacked to her throne.
It’s sweet how the boys belt out in love songs to their “noona” princess. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t teeming with jealousy right now. Bah, who cares if this part is scripted?
Anywhooz, back to the game. Here, the first team to return with their flags will be declared the winners. The caveat: they’ll be tied to bungee jump cords. And then Haha jokes that they’ll fall—for entertainment’s sake, of course—regardless.
Haha trips Kwang-soo up at the start, and our resident giraffe reaches for the first flag… and then falls into the mud again. Working against the taut cord is no easy feat as the boys go down one by one, sometimes more than once.
Driven by their love for Ji-hyo (or to sit in the luxury car), they all return with their first flag. But this is Running Man which means the boys also fight dirty, and Haha tugs on Team Daesung’s cord.
That tactic only works for a short while as Spartakooks charges towards the flags just as Team GD reaches out for theirs… They both grab them, and both fall. Hahaha.
With a final huzzah, Team Daesung sprints and reaches to grab the last flag. It takes another try (as the Stairway to Heaven soundtrack plays dramatically in the background), and Jong-kook grabs it to win it, to Ji-hyo’s delight.
…and then Jo PD congratulates Team Daesung for winning the first round. Oooh, now that’s just cruel. Not that I’m complaining about seeing muddy men fall over and over again, mind you. I love it how everyone gapes in shock: “The first round?! We have to do this AGAIN?!”
Turns out the teams need to win two rounds, and everyone puts on their game face. All the teams turn on their A-game, and soon they all charge for the final flag. It down to either Team GD or Team Daesung in the last spurt… and Team GD pulls ahead to tie up the score.
GD looks almost unrecognizable by now in his muddied state, but he still has a big smile on his face. By now, the teams have worked out a strategy as they methodically march to and fro between the flags with the (less) occasional slip-and-fall.
Jae-suk grabs the third flag with Team Daesung close on his tail… and it’s the latter who gets there first.
Each team picks a card (out of three), and Ji-hyo is more than willing to help the idols choose the highest cards in each pile. That is, until Team Seung-ri steps up and she reminds them that Haha criticized the game earlier. Haha: “To say that it was great!”
I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get sick of watching Ji-hyo be pampered all day. But that doesn’t mean she’ll scold Kwang-soo any less, as she instructs him to keep the camera on her.
Both Jong-kook and Daesung agree that anything and everything Ji-hyo says and does today is the law of the land. Daesung claims that he’s an expert when it comes to serving others, and the others tease Kwang-soo for not jumping on this bandwagon right away.
Things are relatively quiet in Team GD’s car as GD reflects on how hard the first game was. Then if things couldn’t get more ridiculous, their highway ticket goes flying out the window.
Jong-kook sure wasn’t kidding when he said that Princess Mung’s feet shouldn’t touch the ground. He carries her all the way to her chair, and a little later, Gary leans in for another kiss. (He fails. Boo. Hiss.)
The next game is an “All About Ji-hyo” quiz, and the boys stake their claim on everything they know about her. (“We go to the same hair salon!” “We’re sasaeng fans!”) Then Kwang-soo calls out: “57.8 kg.” DUDE.
Their first challenge is to return with what Ji-hyo wants to eat right now. The boys seem fairly confident, and Gary jokes: “What we ate last week together?” Heh.
Team Daesung returns with their choice (fried potato) and Ji-hyo requests that Kwang-soo stay farrr away from her. Daesung plays on the joke and asks, “We’ll call you when we get back to Seoul?”
Meanwhile, the other teams fight at the naengmyun (buckwheat cold noodles) station and rush back with two bowls. Kwang-soo asks why she didn’t have any of theirs, only to be told that she already had some. At this rate, you may need to find your own ride home, Kwang-soo. Unfortunately, they’re all wrong.
Thanks to a bit of GD’s aegyo, his team earns a hint: “It’s red.” They immediately think of ddukbokki (spicy rice cakes), and then we see Ji-hyo’s real answer: jjamppong (spicy seafood noodle soup). Ooh, so close.
They all eventually arrive at the same answer and Teams Seung-ri and GD hold out their trays. They set off simultaneously, but then Jae-suk stalls the other team to give GD time to return first.
Hahaha, oh this is fantastic—Team Daesung belatedly returns with jjamjjapong aka a half-jjajangmyun, half jjamppong dish. Yunno, in case she couldn’t decide. Points for creativity!
Next the boys will need to choose the correct dog at a nearby dog park. To that, Gary points to himself: “Me?” So punny. (The first character gae also means “dog.”)
Gary argues that Ji-hyo could totally like ugly, yet cool dogs like a bulldog. Or himself. While choosing one dog is one thing, catching one is an entirely different matter.
How apt that each member ends up with a dog that looks eerily similar to themselves, like GD and a poodle or Haha and the Yorkshire terrier? Both Jae-suk and Kwang-soo chase after the same papillon, and I’m starting to think that the Saint Bernard is the one taking Big Nose Hyung for a walk.
All the puppies are plain adorable, and it’s the humans who all bicker in the background. Out of a possible nine choices, Ji-hyo chooses the bulldog aka Jong-kook’s choice.
Wait, does this mean Gary has a fighting chance after all? (Just let me live in my fantasy world!) Then Team GD wins first place.
It’s off to the swimming pool for their third game, and the boys try their best to maintain their balance on the water mats. The teams will have one minute to jump rope 30 times, run down the mats, and hope that Ji-hyo will accept their rose. Ji-hyo: “This is a great day!”
It’s pretty cool that these mats can withstand a man’s weight, but jumping rope on it is no easy task. Kwang-soo falls in after a few jumps, and then the jumprope breaks in Jong-kook’s hands. Lol.
Seung-ri puts in an impressive showing and then runs down with seconds to spare… only to fall in. Aww. Both Jae-suk and Gary jump the first 29, and GD sprawls flat on the mat after his one and last jump.
Then GD runs down and throws his rose… and Ji-hyo catches it. But it’s not over yet as the other teams contest the win, citing that it wasn’t a legitimate jump. The decision is put forth to Princess Mung… who declares a do-over.
So Team GD tries again, and the first rose is too short. Something strange happens when Gary and GD runs as the distance between the mat and basket widen. Sure enough, it’s the work of the devilish hands of the other teams who have been pulling the mats back. Heehee.
It only gets better (or worse?) from there as we catch Kwang-soo rolling up the runway as Haha runs down it. Suffice it to say, the roses fail to make it in.
After GD falls on his butt (twice), the other teams resort to separating the mats. Then we see Haha dragging Ji-hyo away on her floating throne. Team GD still tries to throw their roses anyway, but they all fall short.
Everyone agrees to fair play, but those are just words as Team Daesung speeds down the runway with mats flying anyway. At this point, the distraction tactics, though entertaining, borders on ridiculousness and to fill airtime.
Jo PD allows them to continue, and Daesung shouts: “Let’s just go with this for eight weeks!”
Night falls by the time Team Seung-ri gets another shot, and thankfully, this time, they win it fair and square.
Now nice and dry, The cast gathers at the final mission location. It’s basically a card game battle of wits where the teams will trade cards with Ji-hyo in three rounds. The team whose hand beats the total sum of Ji-hyo’s will win the gold. If not, Ji-hyo will get to keep her treasure.
Ji-hyo currently holds 4 cards ranked 10-13 in her hand. Team Seung-ri is up first and chooses 11 while Ji-hyo takes their highest card: 7. Team GD picks 12, and then hands over a 6. Oy, I can tell there’s going to be a lot of math involved.
Daesung bursts laughing after he draws a card, and sure enough, he’s chosen the lowest card in Ji-hyo’s hand. Then Ji-hyo takes their highest: 9. At the end of the first round, Ji-hyo is in the lead with 39.
Team Seung-ri is in a good position in the second round, but so is Team GD as they choose the highest (13) card. Damn Kwang-soo’s perpetual bad luck as he draws another low card. At least Ji-hyo does too, and they hold fast to that tiny glimmer of hope.
By the time the third round rolls around, Team GD is in the lead with 29. It’s hard to tell what the final count is by Suk-jin’s expression, though it doesn’t seem to be all bad by the end of their turn.
Team GD is in danger of losing either of two highest cards in the game. Jong-kook draws the Ace (1) again, and then offers his team’s paltry cards. Finally, the boys decide upon Gary to choose the card Ji-hyo will burn.
One by one, the teams reveal their cards. Team Seung-ri ends up with 19, Team GD has 25(!), and well… Team Daesung pulls in a 9. That shot with Jong-kook holding up the Ace card is priceless.
Now it’s Ji-hyo’s turn, and her first two cards add up to 21. And then she holds up an 11. With a total of 38, Gold Ji-hyo lives up to her name and takes home the gold.