Let’s be honest—family reunions can be stressful, especially if you have two hyungs nagging you as the maknae. Or maybe you’re the middle child who’s stuck between a rock and a hard place. Or maybe you’re the mat-hyung whose dongsaengs just stick you in the hotseat. But the thing about family is that even with the endless ribbing, the high expectations, and the temptation of gold, you’ll take on any challenge as a team even if it means flying out of a chair together.
EPISODE 164. Broadcast on September 22, 2013.
It’s time for another family reunion as Madame Maknae FD’s lineage gathers together for the Chuseok holiday. Jae-suk is happy to hear that he’s distantly related by marriage to Haha, whose younger brother Kwang-soo accuses Jae-suk as their “parents’ enemy.”
To that, Lawyer Kim Hwan interjects, “They’re still alive and well!” Pfft.
Madame Maknae FD has two daughters, and the eldest’s sons—which consequently makes them brothers—are Suk-jin, Jae-suk, and Jong-kook, respectively. Then younger daughter Ji-hyo is married to Gary, natch. Good to see their “divorce” didn’t last too long.
Time to introduce the family maknae aka Ji-hyo’s youngest (I know; it’s confusing and weird along with Haha’s earlier mention of being a breastfed baby): meet actor Yoo Ah-in (Wandeuki, Jang Ok-jung) who’s greeted with open arms by his relatives.
The Monday Couple claim him as their own despite Jae-suk’s attempts to argue that he’s more closely related to the star (since they share the same surname “Yoo”). Heh, it’s just funny that older hyung Haha speaks to Ah-in in jondaemal.
The older cousins wonder who their mother is, since she’d have to be older than mat-hyung Suk-jin. Ahh, it’s Korea’s Mom aka veteran actress Kim Hae-sook (The Suspicious Housekeeper, I Hear Your Voice)!!
Now’s a good a time as any to formally introduce our families/teams: Eldest (Hae-sook, Suk-jin, Jae-suk, and Jong-kook) and Younger (Gary, Ji-hyo, Haha, Kwang-soo, and Ah-in).
Already the tense family dynamics kick in when Hae-sook says her nephews didn’t greet her. Haha bites back: “[We will] when you repay your debt to us!” Hae-sook: “WHAT?!” Ha, I love her feistiness.
Lawyer Kim is here to read out the madam’s will and testament in her stead, where she will hand over her amassed wealth to the family who masters the “ultimate recipe.”
Hae-sook is confident in her cooking skills, but Jae-suk stops short when he reads off that their first mission location takes place at a swimming pool. Haha: “We finished the summer specials two weeks ago!”
But Hae-sook says there’s nothing they can’t do in the face of such a grand prize. Now that’s the spirit!
Oh no—it’s the return of the flying chairs. But… it’s autumn! Here, the men will go flying if their “mothers” choose the kkwang (dud) card out of five cards. The family to win two rounds wins it.
At least this means the ladies will stay dry, but then Jong-kook says that the ladies should have a chance in the chairs as well. He gets a slap on the back for that remark, keh.
I do love watching the actor guests’ flabbergasted expressions when they realize how “real” variety is. As in, you don’t get the diva treatment with staff waiting on you hand and foot. Like how Ah-in asks how they’ll get to the chairs in the middle of the pool. Answer: “You’ll walk of course.” Cue jawdrop!
So the boys traverse the chilly pool, and engage in a round of My Mom is Better than Yours. Hae-sook says she chewed on a razor blade (a reference to her character in the movie Open City), and then her sons realize that Daddy is none other than Simon Yam from The Thieves. LOL.
Then Hae-sook exclaims: “All of [my sons] look different, which means they have different fathers!” Puhahaha. Omg, I’m dying.
Tension run high as soon as they start, and thankfully both daughters choose correctly, to their sons’ delig ht. They’re literally shaking in their chairs in anticipation, and it’s a fifty-fifty chance when it’s Hae-sook’s turn to choose again.
And whaddaya know—Ji-hyo ends up with the kkwang card. Both Haha and Kwang-soo go flying. HEE.
Hae-sook doesn’t hesitate to induce fear into Ji-hyo as her sunbae. It’s down to another fifty-fifty chance the second time around… and Ji-hyo’s sons take another dip in the pool. Hahaha, the slo-mo reaction shots are hilarious.
Hae-sook’s lucky streak ends when she picks the kkwang card on her next turn. But it’s Ah-in’s unfortunate picks that leads to his hyungs getting wet yet again.
We get this hilariously dramatic moment before the second round when the cast discovers a grasshopper floating in the pool. Resident Grasshopper Jae-suk delicately scoops up the insect, but it looks like it’s not going to make it.
Hee, Hae-sook’s boys go flying on her first turn, and no one is as excited and relieved as Ah-in is. After another anxiety-inducing minute, Hae-sook’s boys go for another dip in the pool, and Jae-suk encourages her to throw in the towel and end his brothers’ suffering. Which she does. HA.
The score is tied at 1:1, and Hae-sook hasn’t lost a rock-paper-scissors match yet. Ji-hyo is determined to send her maknae son flying, an idea that Ah-in isn’t looking forward to. Yes, yes, but WE are.
And so when it indeed happens… only Kwang-soo flies into the pool? Huh, did the chairs malfunction? But no worries because the staff sends both of them as soon as Kwang-soo returns to his chair. Muhahaha.
Ah-in tries to play off his first dunk as nothing, saying the others complain too much. To that, Jae-suk retorts: “You screamed the loudest!”
Ah-in’s face of frozen anxiety cracks me up. He tries to shrug it off again, but the panic is his eyes is hilarious. Then comes the moment of truth when the mothers reach for one more card… and Jong-kook and Jae-suk fly into the air.
Wet and cold, Jae-suk rallies everyone to bid farewell to all their summer games: “Bye pool games!” “Bye mudfield!” Then Jae-suk predicts, “Will we say ‘goodbye’ to Ah-in as well?”
After Ji-hyo says goodbye to Ah-in, she picks her first card… and sure enough it’s a dud. HAHAHA—you can’t make this stuff up.
The score’s all tied up with this final set, and the mothers give their sons some last few words. When Kwang-soo gets passed over, he shouts that he’s being ignored as the middle child by both his mother AND the cameras. Aww.
Hae-sook leads her son to rally for a win, and then Ah-in asks, “Do we not want to win?”
Ji-hyo waves to the camera, “Bye Ah-in-ie!” …and then picks up a kkwang card. Muhahaha.
Everyone heads out to grab some grub, and in the car, Ji-hyo’s family laugh over the small age gap between generations. Gary: “I was eight [when I had you, Ah-in]!”
Gary then suggests that Ji-hyo take the kids abroad so he can live it up in the nightclubs. Haha and Kwang-soo play up the joke: “Stop going to Room 34!” “I grabbed a disco ball on my first birthday!”
The families arrive at the restaurant where they’ll be tested on their five senses via a cooking quiz. Hae-sook is surprised that they have to earn their food, but there ain’t no free meals in Running Man Land!
The first test requires them to listen and correctly identify the sound of the ingredient. There’s some chopping and frying noises, and Haha rolls forward to answer… and blanks. Needless to say he gets it wrong.
Hahaha, Hae-sook is freakin’ hilarious. She rolls forward to spit out three possible answers, hoping one of them is right. She’s super earnest, but can only pick one. Nope, that’s wrong too.
The cast is given a hint, but they’re still as clueless as ever. They line up anyway, since they don’t have anything to lose. Haha gets the answer (kimbap).
The next round is a taste test, and Kwang-soo practically burns his tongue when he’s fed the fried squid(?). It’s like his indiscernible screams are saying It buurrrrnnnss!
He makes a guess (fried clementine), and I for one am happy that it’s incorrect. Then Jong-kook slides ahead, and Ji-hyo warns the health fanatic that it’s fried food. But Jong-kook takes one for the team while the others heckle him in the back. Jae-suk: “He only eats chicken breast, so he doesn’t know what other things taste like!”
Then Kwang-soo calls out: “The more you eat it, the more it tastes like clementines!” Pair that with Jong-kook’s guess of grapefruit, I begin to wonder if it is something citrus-y.
Ahahaha, they’re fried gummy worms?! Oh gosh, this is going to take foreverrr! Ah-in manages to pull ahead of everyone else, and the weird consistency gives him pause.
But when it comes down for him to answer, Ah-in pleads for more time. Ha, so much for being the rebel poster boy. The extra few seconds, however, gives him time to arrive at the right answer, to everyone’s astonishment.
Jong-kook: “You fed me something fried AND gelatinous?!” Everyone else takes a bite and says it’s tasty, but I’m thinking that’s the hunger talking.
Both Ah-in and Haha taunt the others from the sidelines, reeling from the next item. It’s a touch test, and the inability to see what you’re touching just makes the experience that much more harrowing.
But Hae-sook reaches in the box (of mackerel) and stubbornly refuses to take her hand out so that she can feel around properly. She even sneaks a peek before settling for the generic answer: “Fish!” Ha, technically it’s not wrong.
She continues to stick by the box, milking her opportunity to play on Lawyer Kim’s sympathy for all it’s worth. It totally works.
Lawyer Kim is a little less patient with Jong-kook in their smell test. Then when Haha starts to pester the others, Jae-suk eerily rolls up to him, blindfolded, to give him a warning. Lol.
Kwang-soo sticks his tongue out to taste-test just like his fellow giraffes, but he indeed gets it right. Then everyone gathers around like a flock of vultures to grab a bite.
Ji-hyo’s family wins the second game, and both teams choose another box before heading out to their next location—a town village.
The mission here is to be the first team to collect ten songpyeon (a traditional rice cake commonly eaten at Chuseok) hidden around town. Aw, innocent variety newbie Ah-in thinks that their collected dduk will be safe if they bring it back, only to learn that that’s not true in the slightest.
Both teams acknowledge that Kwang-soo’s betrayal image comes in pretty handy for games like these. But Hae-sook doesn’t seem too worried: “He hasn’t seen how scary I can get.” Eek, drop the branch!
Ah-in discovers three songpyeon right away. And if you ever wondered what a pregnant Ah-in would look like, well… this is it. Hehehe.
Haha runs into Jae-suk, who has two songpyeon in his arms. His attempts to steal them away are futile, and they end up using their words to bicker in the road. Heh.
Meanwhile, Ah-in crosses paths with Hae-sook, and the two circle around each other. Unbeknownst to Hae-sook, Kwang-soo sneaks up on her to take the songpyeon hidden under her shirt.
She screams for help, and soon, there’s a chaotic tussle going on as everyone lunges toward each other’s songpyeon. Ah-in makes off with one, and Hae-sook momentarily holds Kwang-soo hostage.
When Jong-kook arrives moments afterwards and guards one, Haha calls out: “There’s one [songpyeon] we won’t be able to steal!”
The hyungs torture him (via ear-grabbing) to talk, and then they literally flip Kwang-soo over to remove a songpyeon hidden in his pants. Haha pleads his defense, but Kwang-soo points out that they took off his pants in public. It wouldn’t be the first time we saw your underwear?
While the boys are busy stealing their loot from each other, Hae-sook goes searching for the hidden songpyeon and finds them. When Ji-hyo realizes that they’re gone, Hae-sook’s sons thank Kwang-soo for helping them out, a lie that his team immediately believe.
Disappointed in their “problem child” Gary remarks, “We should never have had you! Go study abroad!” Then Jae-suk jokes that the entire village has agreed. Aww.
Ah-in and Haha discover the last two songpyeon they need to win it. All they have to do is return to base safely, only that Hae-sook makes off with one hidden with Gary’s VJ. Whoa.
That gives Hae-sook’s family a total of nine along with one stuffed in another VJ’s backpack. Ji-hyo’s family does their best to stop them, but Hae-sook’s team wins it.
It turns out the difference between the boxes is different-sized plastic bags, and both teams have 100 seconds to buy as many groceries as they can.
You can describe the next couple minutes as pure chaos as the teams run around, stuffing their bags with ingredients and screaming at each other. Is that bibim-myun I see in one bag?
At the end of it, Hae-sook points out they don’t have any seasoning. Well, if you don’t count the seven packages of kimchi, that is.
Then they head to their final mission location where their epic cooking battle will take place where they’ll have one hour to complete their dishes.
Given how Ah-in made sure to buy seasoning earlier and gives preparation instructions to his teammates now, I get the feeling that the boy knows his way around the kitchen. Whereas I get worried in Hae-sook’s corner with that potful of kimchi.
Eee, Gary lends a helping hand to make it easier for Ji-hyo to cut a pumpkin. Haha jokes that they may very well see another sibling soon, and Gary replies, “Don’t come home tonight!”
Then Haha says it’s Daddy Gary’s dream to be a kirogi father (directly translated to “wild goose,” it also refers to fathers whose families are abroad while they work in Korea). Ha, so he can go clubbing?
Hae-sook takes a peek at Ji-hyo’s family’s menu (galbi jjim or braised short ribs), and Haha explains that it’s surf, turf, and air. Mmm, whatever it is, it does look delicious.
Then we cut to Kwang-soo, who’s cutting a pear with scissors. Daddy Gary reminds his son what a constant disappointment he is, especially when Kwang-soo evolves into Giraffe Scissorhands, wielding a pair in each hand.
At least we’ll be able to meet Kwang-soo’s real father next week(?), and get those daddy issues resolved. I hope.
With twenty minutes to go, the boys worry about Hae-sook’s cooking skills. They immediately call her out for the mysterious powder hanging on the soup spoon. MSG, is it? Hae-sook: “It’s a special powder I brought from home!”
I love how her solutions to all things is: “Add more kimchi!” Jae-suk points out that their maknae Jong-kook isn’t doing anything, to which Jong-kook says he’s busy supervising the entire operation. Lol.
At the ten-minute warning, Ji-hyo’s family’s dish looks about ready to go, and the massive kimchi-dduk soup doesn’t look too shabby.
When it’s all said and done, Madame Maknae FD arrives to preside over the judging process. As for the judging itself, 100 townsfolk will taste-test their dishes.
So one by one, they eat and cast their votes as the families wait anxiously. Afterward, the madam shows off today’s prize—a golden Ultimate Spoon—that will make any dish delicious. Pfft.
And with 71% of the votes, the winning family is… Ji-hyo’s. With a huge smile, Ah-in cheers, “Bye Ah-in-ie!”