Sitcoms/Variety Shows
Running Man: Episode 197
by | May 30, 2014 | 44 Comments

Only Running Man could take a neighborhood game like ddakji and turn it into a nationwide competition. In this tournament, there’s more than just scholarship money on the line for these seven universities. We’re talking about the importance of upholding your school’s name, protecting its honor, and rooting for your schoolmates until your voice goes hoarse.

EPISODE 197. Broadcast on May 25, 2014.

It’s a busy morning right off the bat, as our cast leaves one by one to various destinations all across Korea. In product placement 2014 FIFA World Cup-stickered cars, of course. Curiously, Jae-suk says he has to defend his Ddakji King title today.

30 Minutes Earlier. The cast sits down for a hearty-looking breakfast on the SBS garden rooftop. Turns out those seven regional dishes correspond to seven different universities in Korea. Today, each cast member will team up with two students (just like in the last university race) and compete in a nationwide Ddakji competition.

Our seven universities include: Haha (Incheon National University); Gary (Kyonggi University); Jong-kook (Kangwon National University); Suk-jin (Chonbok National University); Jae-suk (Chungbuk National University); Kwang-soo (Korea University); Ji-hyo (Pusan National University).

Kwang-soo lucks out since Korea University is right in Seoul whereas Ji-hyo has a long trip to Busan ahead of her. In his car, Jae-suk hopes that his teammates are just like him: lightning fast. Aw, Gary says Kyonggi University brings back sad memories for him (he made the waiting list, but didn’t get in).

Basking in the sunny weather, Kwang-soo finally gets on the bus towards campus. He ends up paying for the seven other staff members accompanying him, and there’s this moment when he tries to calculate how much change he should get back. Not only does he get caught up in all the numbers (understandable), but he also gets a bunch of coins in return. D’aww.

He strikes up conversation with a Korea U student with whom he exchanges his 100 won coins for a 500 won one, ha. She’s originally from Busan, and it’s cute how excited she gets about meeting her first celebrity.

All of our cast members arrive at their respective campuses, and it’s great how everyone is so surprised to see them. Gary runs into a few phys ed major students, whom he greets warmly: “They ALMOST became my hoobaes!” Ha.

In fact, he greets as many phys ed majors as he can, and one of them is a pretty good dancer, with whom he engages in an impromptu dance battle. Promising a spot to one of his almost-hoobaes, Gary heads out to find another person who’s great at ddakji.

Meanwhile, Kwang-soo meets a foreign exchange student who speaks Korean (Joey) and even calls Kwang-soo hyung. Hold on, is that… Young-taek? Omo, it is.

Ji-hyo doesn’t have to do much to rally the large crowd of Pusan students (of mostly males, ha). Just like last time, Suk-jin has the students chant his name and talks to a few students to state their cases. One female student is super enthusiastic while another says her hagwon teacher just happens to be giving birth today.

She claims that people tell her she looks like Jae-suk, so she’s given a pair of glasses and whaddayaknow—they really do look like. Haha has some students help him scope out campus and ends up chasing one athletic-build male student.

Luckily someone knows who the camera-shy design major is, and Haha eventually persuades him to join his team. In case we needed more proof to show how strong he is, he easily lifts Haha into the air.

Unfortunately, Jae-suk still hasn’t found anyone yet, what with all of his candidates being terrible at ddakji. He meets one male student who also turns out to be a poor ddakji player, though his super serious form is hilarious. He even gives off Young-taek vibes, as he mentions some experience in taekwondo. His rather weak kick suggests otherwise.

He also claims to know some yoga, but his poses are a dead giveaway that he in fact doesn’t know at all. Still, it’s funny how he continues to try to impress despite failing every time. Ha, he really is like Young-taek.

Over at Kangwon, Jong-kook interrupts a class to gather recruits. He agrees to face-off against one tall student who’s said to be stronger than Jong-kook is, but then all of a sudden, one classmate comments: “[Jong-kook]’s short.” Awww.

Not only is that particular student tall, but he’s strong too, judging from how the ddakjis jump in the air. Problem is, he’s a little too strong and the ddakji keeps flipping back to the same side. Still, Student Choi makes the cut.

A Gary lookalike joins the ranks of Suk-jin’s team. Speaking of whom, Gary gets the idea to recruit a volleyball team member. He gets permission from the coach to approach the nationally acclaimed athletes whose skills prove they’ve got what it takes.

Back at Incheon, Haha is taken aback by his ddakji candidates. A pair of students carry jumbo-sized cardboard ddakjis, and it’s just extra funny to see the students slam them down with a roar.

Haha gives everyone a fair shot, though, and choose the sweaty male student. A Mr. Bean lookalike definitely knows how to curry favor with Haha when he fails the ddakji test, screaming, “The power to turn back time!” Over and over again. HAHAHA.

The call for recruits continues as Gary races against a few students and finishes dead last. The dancer phys ed major beats the competition for a spot, and a lanky student joins Jong-kook’s team. Ji-hyo uses a baseball test to choose two male Pusan students.

Jae-suk’s been talking about how hard it is to find one good ddakji player all morning. He finally meets his ddakji soulmate when one student comes running and his skills leaves Jae-suk’s jaw agape.

I love how the show builds up this moment, replaying clips of Jae-suk’s earlier acquaintances who failed. The student, Shin Hong-gyu, deserves a name mention, and I can only hope he has much to offer later.

All the teams head back up to Seoul (including a total of 300 students from each university to cheer on their school) and gather together nearby the arena. Everyone is full of energy, but before they enter the arena, their teamwork will be put to the test.

It’s a massive tug of war between the seven teams, and whichever team grabs all three of their team’s flags will be declare the winner. Jong-kook has a clear advantage with two strong teammates, and once everyone’s in position, the game begins.

All the teams start crawling towards their flags, though as expected, Jong-kook’s team is the first to grab a flag. But Jae-suk’s team manages to swipe two before anyone else, and three team form an alliance in an attempt to prevent both Jae-suk and Jong-kook’s teams from grabbing their last flag.

If you can believe it, both Jae-suk and Jong-kook’s teams fight against the resistance… and then Jong-kook’s teammate swipes the final one for the win. That boosts them to the semifinals, and Ji-hyo rips into her fellow Kyungsang Province teammates.

After all the students eat up to cheer on their fellow schoolmates, we take a look at the area where our Ddakji Tournament will take place. The teams strategize and stretch in preparation, trying to keep the nerves at bay.

Then it’s time for the tournament, and all the competitors are met with deafening screams from the crowd. It’s awesome to see so much school spirit in the air, and awww, Young-taek and another Korea U student from the university special are in attendance.

All of a sudden, the screams hit an even higher decibel as girl group A Pink performs to spur on the teams. The girls pick the first match between Jae-suk and Ji-hyo’s teams, which coincidentally are the girls’ hometowns. The other matches are as follows: Gary vs. Haha and Kwang-soo vs. Suk-jin.

The first quarterfinal round pits Jae-suk’s team (Chungbuk) against Ji-hyo’s (Pusan), and “official” inspectors check the homemade ddakjis used for the match. Whichever team obtains 3 points first will advance to the semifinals. Pusan goes first, but the first throw fails to flip. No good.

Ddakji King Jae-suk winds up, but fails, and the next flip gives the point to Pusan. The Pusan students’ chant is adorable: It’s a play on words of “It flipped!” attaching Ji-hyo’s name instead.

Chungbuk comes back with another point and Hong-gyu slams down one more for his team. Pusan ties up the score, both times to overturn Jae-suk’s previous turns. Ji-hyo calls upon a black knight to aid in her team’s time of need, but the ddakji doesn’t flip over. And that’s when Jae-suk’s teammate brings it home.

Then it’s Haha (Incheon) vs. Gary (Kyonggi), and neither of their first throws succeed to flip the other ddakji over. The mat-hyungs Suk-jin and Jae-suk provide sideline commentary as the teams continue to face off, weighing Haha team’s accuracy versus Gary team’s power.

The two MCs get the crowd going, stressing the importance of hitting the paper square’s center. By their third competitor, the teams are tied 1:1, and then Kyonggi scores another point. It’s back to Haha versus Gary, and after a few unsuccessful throws, Gary ends it like a boss.

Our third quarterfinal match competes Kwang-soo (Korea U) vs. Suk-jin (Chonbuk). Haha temporarily takes over commentary duties, as the topic of such thin ddakjis in the arena are brought up. It makes it both harder to throw and even more difficult to flip, but Chonbuk grabs the first point.

For some reason, Kwang-soo eventually goes barefoot on stage, as if that’ll be an advantage. Maybe he thinks it gives him more stability, but it does little, and then Chonbuk picks up another point.

Korea U starts to make a comeback thanks to Joey, and the live epic music really does play up the dramatics of this tournament. I’d imagine being spectator in person would be a lot more fun than what we see on screen, but you can feel the spirited energy of the crowd regardless. Then Chonbuk wins to advance to the next round.

Jae-suk’s team faces Gary’s team in the semifinals. First up is reigning Ddakji King Jae-suk (who’s had a rough showing thus far) against the volleyball player. Both men carry power in their throws, as a few almost-flips gets the crowd’s hopes up.

Then Jae-suk lives up to his title, gaining the first point. Gary brings it up to a tie score, but then Chungbuk pulls ahead again. The volleyball player’s powerful flip works against him, but his second try ties it up again to 2:2. And Hong-gyu steps up to throw down the third point.

It’s time for Jong-kook (Kangwon) to make his first showing against Suk-jin (Chonbuk). It’s impressive from the start as Kangwon takes the first point on the first throw down. A few more slams later, Kangwon picks up its second point.

They’re looking pretty unstoppable by the time Jong-kook finally steps up. In an effort to distract him, the crowd chants “Yoon Eun-hye!” which actually makes Jong-kook momentarily lose focus. It works though, and this long drawn-out moment before Suk-jin’s turn makes me think that we’re up for a big reversal ahead.

Nope, the first try’s no good… but then Suk-jin’s second flips the other ddakji over. He actually beat Jong-kook (in a turn) for once, which yay for Big Nose Hyung!

But that’s only the beginning for Chonbuk who scores yet another point, to everyone’s surprise. Round and round they go with one throw after another, and at one point, one ddakji bursts upon impact. And in a surprising twist, Chonbuk slams down the win to advance to the finals.

Jae-suk and Haha gives their two cents on the Number 1 Seed’s unexpected loss, which they attribute to the “Yoon Eun-hye” effect. That was really a great win for the underdogs.

Now’s the time everyone’s been waiting for has arrived: the final round between Suk-jin (Chonbuk) vs. Jae-suk (Chungbuk). The show replays the dramatic journey each team took to get to this last battle.

Neither team succeeds in flipping over their opponent’s ddakjis on the first try. Chonbuk Gary throws down the first point, and Suk-jin’s lucky streak continues, adding another point to the tally. Imma say it now: Even if Suk-jin ultimately loses, this has been a fantastic day for him.

The crowd rallies support for Jae-suk, who fails to flip the ddakji. His team’s ddakji withstands a beating to give him another chance. He fails again, and everyone waits with bated breath at the next offensive attack. Still, no good.

… and then a light: Jae-suk scores the first point for his team. Following a few more frustrating throws, Chonbok Gary lays down another strike. The Chungbuk ddakji flips in the air two revolutions before falling back on its original position. Twice.

But third time’s a charm, and the Chunguk ddakji finally flips over, making Suk-jin and Chonbok the champions. Daebak.

And while both Chonbok and Chungbuk teams are awarded scholarships, the real winner today is Suk-jin, hands down. Drink it in, Big Nose Hyung—this is your day. We love you!


44 Comments from the Beanut Gallery
  1. erika

    Great game and makes my heart goes deugeun2.

  2. PL

    Thanks, gummimochi!
    I sure hope the scholarship money helps. The trend of rising college fees is a zillion times harder to “flip” than the thin ddakjis up there. Kids nowadays really have it tough.

  3. zakin89

    I’m impressed every time RM takes a simple game and turns it into this really big thing. There was so much suspense during the tournament section it was amazing =)

    I also loved the interactions of the cast with the students. It’s always nice to see them being with non celebrities!

    And man was I cheering for Suk Jin πŸ™‚ I was so happy for him and you could see that all the other cast members were happy for him as well =)
    Well done Suk Jin! May there be another win ahead in the future πŸ™‚

  4. ryoko

    It was nice to see Young Taek again. He was hilarious in the boat race episode. The PDs should bring him on as a special guest in another episode.

  5. Kaekae

    Am I the only one who thought the JaeSuk look alike was a 12 year old boy at first? She looked so young, but maybe I’m getting old. She was super cute tho – so hyper. πŸ™‚
    Also, how did they get the Busan students there in time? I can see flying 2, but not a couple dozen (unless they chartered a plane). KTX?

    • 5.1 candycow

      Ktx would only take abt 2-3 hours. Factor in the tug-of-war and they’ll probably be able to get there on time.

  6. LoveSilents

    I don’t think there has been a Running Man with college students that I didn’t like. I loved both Han River races and I loved this episode.

    I am so impressed with the students’ willingness to endure hard work and try to help their team win, I love their enthusiasm. I am always surprised at their comfort level to be on national TV (as well as the web).

    I was glad to see Suk-jin win but was rooting for Gary. His theory about spiking volley balls should have gotten him the win – unfortunately it was Gary that’s not so good at ddakji…

    Loved the cheerleader kid in green for Suk-jin’s team. Was he a kid? A college student? They kept calling him Jae-suk’s little sister but he was male right? I’m so confused – but he/she was pretty cute.

    I totally love that they give these students help with their tuition – too bad it wasn’t for all the participants

    • 6.1 cassie

      I think ‘he’ is a she.
      Physically, she might not look like one but I think she is a female. Her girl-like personalities are there. lol

  7. acloudofwrinkles

    Oh my God. I just couldn’t with Kwang Soo today… I can’t…. just…..
    There was like a major ovary eruption when I saw him in those jeans. And that hair style plus the way he was so quiet and elegent, unlike his usual variety image, just killed me.

    I’ve always had a thing for him, but today he really made me fall in LOVE with him. β™₯

    • 7.1 BB501

      Omo. I thought i was the one like that.! I really thought Kwangsoo looked super handsome in that episode.!

  8. Wag_a_Muffin

    I agree–the shows with college students are just so much fun! (I wish I knew Korean–it sounded like the cheers would’ve been fun to understand.)

  9. Tyrew

    So is YEH, the unofficial member of RM, ever going to guest on an episode?!

  10. 10 cassie

    Aww…. Young Taek got a girlfriend. And she’s the student in the same team with him and Jae Suk! Chukkahae Young Taek. xD

    • 10.1 Hari

      They were so cute…couple clapping. I’m glad JSJ’s team won; he was so proud & touched. Kudos to editors for making that competition more interesting.

    • 10.2 Nay

      The cameraman keeps panned over him and his gf. His mission to get a girlfriend did come true. D’awww.

    • 10.3 gg

      Ohhh was she?? That’s fantastic!!! I felt so sorry for him when he said that his house had been broken into during the Han river episode. But that guy is so funny and I would rewatch that episode just for him. Hope that only good things come his way now!

    • 10.4 Arsenalanewdawn

      for reals? that is the same girl from that boat race? Wow! well done youngtaek!

    • 10.5 petmink

      In the beginning I kept going back in the episode to see signs that they were together. Later it became obvious. Haa Jae Suk really got him a girlfriend from the Kang River episode.

  11. 11 bluesky

    unexpected winner but yayyy for Big Nose team^^
    love this ddakji episode..I feel dugeun..dugeun..

  12. 12 NoNoNo

    Im sorry but ddakji it’s the most boring game i’ve seen in my life.

    • 12.1 Tia

      I totally agree. i dont ever want to see them play this game ever again. i know its just entertainment but it was cheesy and embarrassing how they made it seem like this game was the most important thing in their life or something… the funniest part of this episode were the recruiting part. rest was boring as hell.

      • 12.1.1 bjharm

        considering there was scholarships on offer it may well have been the most important thing of thier lives

  13. 13 Kwang&Soo

    Good Episode, kwang soo bus scene (god of variety)

    for kwang soo fans:

    July 4th : Drama Secret Love Episode Starring By Nicole & Kwang Soo

    July: Confession (First Kwang Soo’s Lead Movie)

    July: Drama It’s Ok Thats Love

    July 14th: Kwang Soo’s Birthday 30 years (29 International Age)

    A very full month for kwang soo

    • 13.1 vic

      i want kwang soo in happy together for the Confession Movie Promotion, jae suk and kwang soo together is always hilarious.

  14. 14 Aigoooo

    Great episode! It’s always nice to see them actually trying their best in competition instead of most of it being scripted to let guests win. Suk Jin come from behind victory over KJK was awesome!(Thanks YEH Psych out! lol)

  15. 15 poy

    I hope they give kwang soo a birthday special for july. Just like the romantic comedy episode. That one is super hilarious.

    • 15.1 Crow

      Yeahh, and the gift…… YURI

      • 15.1.1 cloudatlas

        I prefer park ha sun i always think they would make a cute couple, they are great friends in real life

        • bd5

          PHS is too much woman for the Giraffe.

  16. 16 Hiro

    A-Pink And Kwang Soo = Fanta Time xdddd

    • 16.1 LoveSilents

      HAHA – there’s my boy!

  17. 17 Mia

    ahahaha Young task got a girlfriend πŸ˜€ congrats!

    • 17.1 Mia

      I mean Young taek!

  18. 18 concreteroads

    This episode completely reminded me why I LOVE Running Man.

    To date, I haven’t liked a single ttakji episode, and so I didn’t have high expectations for this episode at all when I heard that a) ew, they were playing ttakji, again, and b) the cast was splitting up for the day.

    But Running Man is a show that always grows and learns from its mistakes, and they really blew it out of the water with this episodes. It was crazy how they turned the usual game of paper-flipping into a super high stakes, international sports competition-style tournament. I loved the awesome interactions between the cast members and college students, loved how they included a foreign exchange student as well as the Han River crossing participants from last time. I love how the cast always, always roots for the underdog– the way the guys were super supportive of Jihyo’s team when it looked like they might beat Jaesuk, and the way everybody went absolutely nuts for Sukjin’s two crazy reversals.

    Can I just say that I am SO HAPPY FOR SUKJIN IN THIS EPISODE!!! :3 I love how in the end he was the one–not his college Terminators, but Wangko himself–who turned it around for his team and gave them the comeback they needed to become the champions! So much love for Wangko. ^^

  19. 19 earthna30

    I really enjoyed this episode. Running Man has been a bit dull the past few episodes. I laughed so much at the yoga guy, mr. Bean, and jaesuk look alike! And youngtaek! I like the episodes where they include normal citizens. I enjoy watching them than celebs coz they feel real. Plus scholarship awards are really good considering how expensive tuition is. Thanks gummimochi for the review!

  20. 20 Lilian

    The student which Haha met was the funnest when he tried to use the “superpower” to turn back time, and still no matter how many times, he still failed >_<

    And it is good indeed to see the underdog win! I wonder also whether there is really something between Jong Kook and Eunhye, that was brilliant sabotaging!

  21. 21 BAF2

    I too am not a ddakji fan, but this episode made the game enjoyable. I truly support the efforts RM makes to showcase college students. It’s a win-win for everyone. As usual, I always pull for Ace, but Suk Jin’s win was well deserved. RM Fighting! ^___^

    P.S. I still think it was a boy. ^_~

  22. 22 onyxx

    the thing that really set me off laughing was Ha-has’s team-mate invoking Ha-ha’s power to turn back time after failing to turn his ddakji during his first throw — and he does it again and again TO NO AVAIL lol!

    i can’t believe a simple game like ddakji could bring tension to this level. the air was so heavy with it you could practically cut it with a knife esp. during the final game. nice job, JSJ! πŸ™‚

  23. 23 Gwen

    I was initially really bored at hearing about the ddakji theme and the 7 members seperation but luckily they made this episode an exciting one.

    I’m glad they’ve gotten the hang of editing for 7 seperate locations. Not staying at one area for too long and having a more balanced screentime for each cast member is the key to not boring the audience. Having a tight pacing is everything.

    The student participation is great and the atmosphere when they were cheering is really daebak. You can’t fake that!

    The underdog teaming winning is great as well!

  24. 24 Gwen

    One of the funniest moments is when that guy whom Haha was trying to interview, ran away from him and then suddenly there is a chase across the campus. That guy must be really apprehsive why there is a huge bunch of people chasing him suddenly, and he ran like hell!

    For celeb guests, I like this type of arrangement where the idols come on for like 5 mins, and then leave the rest of the program alone. Like in episode 95, that’s a good arrangement too. I want to only take them in small doses.

    The episodes which I detest the most is when they put all the focus on the celeb guests and butter them up the whole episode. Oh purr-lease!

  25. 25 queenh

    Funny seeing a friend on the show – Joey is part of my group of friends here in Korea…can’t wait to tease him next time I see him.

    But on another note, I really do love running man episodes that have non-members (aka students) as part of the show. The Han river eps are some of my faves πŸ˜€

    Hopefully, one day I will get to see them shooting live πŸ˜€

    • 25.1 arsenalanewdawn

      wow! how did he get so good at korean?

  26. 26 bd5

    RM is usually fun when they have the public participating, and in particular students.

    Nice to see Young-taek again – and if that girl sitting next to him is his GF,

    Haha and his student aides chasing the athletically built student,the Korean Mr. Bean and the students w/ the super-sized ddakjis were the highlights, along w/ YJS finding student after student inept at ddakji and the YEH chant which flustered Kookie.

    Ji-hyo did the worst job in picking her teammates (hitting a baseball?) and didn’t think that special sub for her was fair.

    YJS probably had the 2 most skilled ddakji players (he was the weak-link on his team) but that one guy really choked at the end (tried too hard relying on force rather than skill/placement).

    In fact, all the past self-proclaimed “Ddakji kings” – YJS, Kookie and Gary were well off their game.

    Suk-jin finally came thru for his team.

    The 7-way tug-of-war was impressive and esp. that YJS’s team almost managed to win it.

  27. 27 anonymous

    one of the best running man episode i’ve ever watch πŸ™‚ even a simple game ddajki could be this fun

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