Running Man: Episode 198
Love will be put to the ultimate test in this couple competition, where unlikely pairings give us the most hilarious and heart-pounding moments from awkward first meeting to almost-kisses. Or maybe I just enjoy seeing Jong-kook’s bashful side for ninety minutes. Hell, who am I kidding—I could watch his cheeks flush red next to a super enthusiastic girl all day.
EPISODE 198. Broadcast on June 1, 2014.
We open with Kwang-soo standing alone, letting passersby walk past while he waits for his teammate/partner/soulmate, a mirror (or just a parody) of the 2001 Japanese movie Calmi Cuouri Appassionati.
The woman he’s waiting for is none other than Narsha (Brown Eyed Girls), and I love how they both break character to laugh sheepishly in surprise. But good ol’ Kwang-soo assumes his role as the romantic hero again and runs to take her hand…
…then the record scratches, and they both greet each other for the first time in jondaemal and deep 150 degree bows. Hahaha, I love these embarassing and awkward first meetings.
It appears that the show has chosen to use movie parodies to introduce our cast members to their partners today. Over at the marketplace, Jong-kook silently places a pair of headphones on actress Ha Yeon-soo’s head (Potato Star 2013QR3, Monstar).
She’s a bright personality for sure, and Imma be honest—my mind immediately jumped to that classic X-Man Dangyunhaji moment between Jong-kook and Yoon Eun-hye. He places it back on her ears, replaying the moment: “Of course.” Pffffft, it’s practically been a decade and it’s STILL funny.
Her straightforwardness and competitive spirit makes a great complement to Jong-kook’s general bashfulness around women. That, and Yeon-soo is just plain adorable.
Jae-suk gets the Most Romantic-Turned-Hilariously-Strange intro today, as he parodies the Romeo and Juliet meet-cute with a tank of rockfish. Lol, the captions are great, like “DiCaprio… sorry,” and “Yoocaprio.” At least his Juliet is a beauty: actress Jin Se-yeon (Doctor Stranger).
Ji-hyo gets her Roman Holiday moment as someone walks down the steps. For a moment, we’re led to think it’s Gary, but it’s actually actor Park Seo-joon (Witch’s Romance). As for Gary, he greets his teammate, Girl’s Day Min-ah, with whom he shares a moment from the 2003 movie The Classic.
Ha, the staff even reminds Monday Couple fans everywhere that everything will be fine because they’re filming on a Tuesday. I have to say, these intros are just downright hilarious, but everything else pales in comparison to Haha, who stops in his tracks to see his female teammate at the pottery wheel.
The married man and dad can barely bring himself to step forward, let alone sit behind model Han Hye-jin à la Patrick Swayze in Ghost. In fact, he hasn’t even seen her face yet, and then immediately reverts back to awkward politeness once he does.
Suk-jin reenacts his Pretty Woman moment as Richard Big Nose, with a limo and everything to meet his Julia Roberts, aka Choi Hee a KBS announcer known as the baseball goddess. She asks, “We won’t spend the day in jail, right?”
In the car, Yeon-soo asks Jong-kook to sing something. Caption: He doesn’t normally sing on broadcast… And then he totally does. Haha.
Another kind of romance is brewing in a different car as Narsha jokes that Kwang-soo is deliberately driving around to spend more time with her. Her refreshingly assertive personality catches him off-guard, and he even steps on the brakes in surprise.
Our seven couples finally gather together, and Jae-suk says that Yeon-soo’s face is smaller than Jong-kook’s bicep. He likens Jong-kook and Yeon-soo’s difference in stature to Arnold Schwarzzenager and his character’s daughter in Commando (1985).
Either he’s has a large frame or she’s just petite, but I’d say it’s a bit of both. And then Yeon-soo tests the “her face is smaller than his bicep” theory right then and there. Ha, I love her.
The cast runs through the guest intros, like how they hope Se-yeon will say something instead of just laughing this time around, or how Jae-suk reveals that today ISN’T Choi Hee’s first SBS appearance like she claims (she was Jung Joon-ha’s pretend sister-in-law in 2006).
Seo-joon says that his first glimpse of Ji-hyo today was of her asleep, to which Jae-suk replies, “Ji-hyo sleeps anywhere you might think to yourself, ‘Could one sleep here?'” Case in point: Jumbo Jenga Tower.
Today’s couple race entitled “Unbreakable Love” will test each team’s solidarity in a series of games. Each couple will be given one of seven rocks (varying from fragile to unbreakable, save for an egg) and the top three teams can swap rocks for a different one after each game.
We skip ahead to see that Kwang-soo and Narsha get to choose who gets stuck with what first. Naturally, the couple who ends up with the strongest rock by the end of the final mission will be today’s winners, who will be awarded with an actual diamond ring.
Our first game will test the men in three rounds of hurdle races where they must be first to grab a dangling bouquet for their partner, lest a balloon filled with flour pops over their heads. While the ladies shout words of encouragement and tips to their partners, Haha yells to Hye-jin: “Don’t get your hopes up!”
It looks like Jong-kook has the advantage at the start, but when he jumps, another hand appears beside him. It’s Seo-joon (as the Frozen soundtrack plays again), but his hands slips and knocks the bouquet out of the way.
There’s a collective cry of pain from the guys and hah, it turns out they’re jumping on that acupuncture mat they hate so much. It’s Kwang-soo who grabs him first, but then he falls and gets stuck in a heap, the mat digging into his body. Owwwww.
But it’s Seo-joon who wrestles it away in the end and delivers it to Ji-hyo. A shower of flour falls upon the other ladies.
With Seo-joon out of the way, Jong-kook wins the second round. The men courteously help dust off the flour for the ladies, and then there’s Kwang-soo who basically helps Narsha headbang the flour out of her hair.
It’s the ladies turn against the hurdles in the third round, and Haha looks to his long-legged teammate for the win. It looks like Hye-jin has the lead when suddenly Se-yeon runs ahead. And then there’s Narsha, who casually walks over her hurdles.
Problem is, the only woman tall enough to reach the bouquet is Hye-jin, but the ladies aren’t afraid to steal it away from her. It quickly turns into an all-out catfight and Narsha pulls rank as the mat-unni, squealing: “I’m the oldest!”
It doesn’t work. When it’s a three-way struggle, including Se-yeon, Jae-suk steps off the platform. That’s a foul, and Jae-suk takes issue with Narsha’s high-pitched squeals. Jong-kook tosses up the bouquet once more, which leads to another squabble between the women.
The bouquet is mere inches to both Jae-suk’s and Suk-jin’s hands, but then Hye-jin’s fury kicks in, which makes the show wonder: “Is the witch smiling?” (A reference to JTBC’s talk show Witch Hunt which she’s a part of.) The bouquet ends up in Haha’s hands.
The other guys get dumped with flour, and Min-ah is so amused by Gary’s caked face that she cries, “Oppa, you’re really ugly!” Gary: “You think that’s the first time I’ve heard that?!”
The flour makes Kwang-soo’s teeth look extra yellow, so Narsha pats some flour on his teeth. Haha and Hye-jin are given the opportunity to switch either their own or another couple’s rocks just once, but appearances are definitely deceiving among the stones.
The first and second place teams are given a hint along with a chance to switch stones. Ji-hyo and Seo-joon learn that their similar-looking stone is actually stronger than Jae-suk’s team.
They try to deduce more out of their clue in the car, as Seo-joon says that he’s learned that a rock with a higher density makes it more fragile. Jae-suk and Kwang-soo discuss what types of rock would be strongest, to which Kwang-soo asks, “Marble?” Caption: Marble seems pretty breakable…
Their car drives past Suk-jin’s, making a jab that the mat-hyung is driving too slow. Narsha: “There isn’t even any traffic!” Jae-suk jokes that it’s because Suk-jin’s never taken the lead before. But he’s our new Ddakji King!
Our next game entitled, “Love is Bounce,” (just like Cho Yong-pil’s single “Bounce”) which involves one partner to bounce on a trampoline and play charades while the other makes guesses on their gestures.
Ji-hyo’s phone rings unexpectedly, which piques the others’ curiosity. Then Gary pipes in, “Do you have a boyfriend now? You should let me know so I know to speak carefully around you.” Hahaha.
Kwang-soo and Narsha are up first, and when Jae-suk says she’ll have trouble reading his gestures anyway, she cuts in: “He’s ignorant, isn’t he?” then adds, “I’m ignorant, too…”
As Kwang-soo heads downstairs, the others liken Kwang-soo’s gestures to a romantic comedy. Jae-suk remarks, “This is a romantic comedy, but you need a different lead.” Because their bickering dynamic is more like between friends?
Although Kwang-soo has no trouble jumping thanks to his tall height, the sight of his head popping up and down leaves Narsha frightened: “Smile! Wait that’s scarier, don’t smile!”
The odd couple guesses six people and characters correctly, and when the others goad Suk-jin that he has to be the one jumping outside, Suk-jin quips, “Choi Hee, you’ll be out there in five minutes!”
Gary and Min-ah are stuck with guessing songs, and right at the start, he can’t remember how the Wonder Girls&rs;quos song “Nobody” dance. He should be more worried about crashing into the wall for jumping so high or just being seen on the second story.
It takes a while for Min-ah to get the hand of it, but she ends up guessing two songs correctly. When Gary comes back upstairs, he asks why Min-ah didn’t get his version of the “Gangnam Style” horse dance, then gapes to hear that he’s been doing the wrong move the entire time. Ha.
It’s finally Suk-jin’s turn and Jae-suk jokes that they have to prepare an ambulance ahead of time for the mat hyung. “You might not even see him [outside the window]!”
I do worry for Suk-jin, though, especially since he collapses onto the trampoline after just two guesses. But Suk-jin’s a fighter and keeps jumping, and surprisingly Choi Hee manages to guess correctly with her limited view and clues. Jae-suk: “But all the animal sounds sound the same, ‘Aahhh!'”
Haha volunteers his teammate as the jumper, saying that she was 168cm tall by the sixth grade. Hye-jin: “What does that have to do with anything?!” She ends up going downstairs, and then Jae-suk says to Se-yeon shamelessly, “I think this is the trend, so get ready.”
Even if Hye-jin’s tall, she can’t (or is afraid to) jump very high, but thankfully Haha works around it. At one point, she shows him three fingers and the others interject: “Sahmranghae [versus Saranghae or ‘I love you’]” “Samgyetang [ginseng chicken soup]!”
Totally clueless, Haha screams, “Three?! What about it!?” (The answer turns out to be love triangle.) Hye-jin is upset to hear that they only got three items right. Haha’s all, “You should have done a better job explaining!” and then shrinks in fear.
Jae-suk is a high jumper, clearing the window with ease. His Hulk impression is pretty hilarious, but unfortunately for him, Se-yeon doesn’t get any correct. She’s still smiling although Jae-suk is fuming, and Suk-jin points out: “See how he’s not looking at you?”
Seo-joon’s a good jumper, too, but he isn’t so good at the explaining. That just tries Ji-hyo’s patience as he bounces around. They too end up with nothing.
At the next rock swap, Min-ah follows Gary’s instruction to switch to the egg(!) and Narsha sticks to the rock they have now. A few couples including Jae-suk haven’t even had the opportunity to observe the rocks up close, but they head out to the next game.
The following “Love is Hot” game takes place at a restaurant where two couples will face-off and the remaining couples will place their bets using rice cakes. The first round is a three-legged balance game where the first couple who falls loses.
Haha and Hye-jin choose Suk-jin and Choi Hee as their opponents, and the mat hyung openly admits that his hand is shaking involuntarily right now. He blames it on the recent ddakji competition. Aww.
The teams place their bets, and Suk-jin warns that those who vote similarly to Jae-suk will lose today. Jae-suk admits as much, but then says no one voted for the mat hyung.
Suk-jin starts attacking Hye-jin, but then the boys start grabbing each other’s hairs and faces like some schoolyard fight. The teams change up the rules to use both hands and that livens up the game as people teeter back and forth. Then finally, Hye-jin loses her balance and falls over.
Ji-hyo and Seo-joon are chosen for a variation of the Peppero game (using yellow radish instead), and Gary immediately interjects, “Are you sure?!” and gets all worked up when they whisper to each other.
They make the fantastic choice of Jong-kook and Yeon-soo, since Jong-kook’s cheeks will flush red in bashfulness. Ha, Yeon-soo is totally game.
The teams make Jae-suk wage his bet first (so that they can choose the opposite team), and although he thinks that Yeon-soo will be the only assertive one (true), Suk-jin argues that Ji-hyo and Seo-joon could be awkward. Ji-hyo: “We’re both actors.”
That’s enough for Jae-suk to vote for Ji-hyo and everyone else chants, “Jong-kook!” Yeon-soo: “Don’t cut off until I say the okay!” God, I love her enthusiasm.
Ji-hyo and Seo-joon are up first (Gary keeps a close eye, ha), and they waste no time to nibble down the radish, drawing closer and closer… and leaves a little slice behind. At the argument of whether their lips touched, Ji-hyo cries again: “We’re actors!” Whatever, you lucky girl.
Jae-suk is the happiest out of everyone, and now Jong-kook and Yeon-soo have to produce a slice less than 4mm. I’m pretty sure that he’s going to turn bright red from just looking directly at her, but really seeing El Tigre in his meek and bashful state is just variety gold.
He’s all embarrassed, saying, You know we can’t help but have our lips touch now. She continues to choose the right radish instead. LOL. He keeps chattering on like he’s stalling for time, instructing her to give him a signal when to stop. We should be worrying about YOU right now.
Then Haha says, “When you’re ready, just let your foot pop.” Hahahahaha.
The best part is that nearly everyone has crowded around them by now, but Yeon-soo is completely unfazed. Then she totally goes for it.
We see everyone else’s reactions BUT Jong-kook and Yeon-soo, but damn, they produce a teensy silver, to Jae-suk’s disappointment. The staff makes the final decision and the difference is less than a millimeter but Jong-kook and Yeon-soo win it.
Jong-kook says he suddenly feels tired, to which Kwang-soo teases, “Your knees would buckle.” And then Jae-suk figures that means Jong-kook has finally moved on, and calls out (to Yoon Eun-hye): “Ahn-nyoung.”
When Jong-kook takes issue with that, Jae-suk says he was just saying his greetings (“hi” and “bye” are homonyms in Korean), then mouths, “Bye… it’s all over now.”
For their last round, our remaining three couples will have to crack eggs on each other’s foreheads, and whoever ends up with the raw one wins. Variety god Kwang-soo cringes, since we all know how that worked out for him last time.
The game starts off rather safe, as Se-yeon timidly cracks a hard-boiled egg on Jae-suk’s head. The question is Kwang-soo, and I will die laughing if he ends up with a raw egg.
Narsha has no reservations about slamming it on his head. It’s fully cooked, and Jae-suk says that’s how you do it on variety. So Se-yeon puts that advice into practice and cracks the next one… and the yolk dribbles down Jae-suk’s face.
The cast digs in to eat ddukbokki as they wait, and aw, Ji-hyo feeds Kwang-soo some food. Say what you will about what you might see in the cast’s interactions when the cameras are rolling, but at the end of the day, these guys truly care about one another.
We move on to the final mission location where the couples will smash each other’s rocks into one another. Whichever rock comes out unscathed will win.
The top three teams make their final switches, and seeing the rocks for the first time today, Jae-suk exclaims, “So THIS is what the rocks look like!” Suk-jin and Choi Hee are told of the top four hardest rocks (in random order), then make their switch.
Gary and Min-ah’s raw egg has no chance against Haha and Hye-jin’s rock. But the latter breaks when they strike it against Kwang-soo and Narsha’s rock.
Then they’re pitted against Jong-kook’s rock, and for a moment it looks like the clear stone is fine, but then Jong-kook lets the pieces fall to the ground. Things are looking great for Kwang-soo and Narsha as their rock withstands impact after impact. Suk-jin complains, “It’s because that rock’s big!”
Only Jae-suk and Se-yeon’s rock remains in the running. Kwang-soo’s rock fails to break the other, so they turn the tables and Jae-suk strikes… and breaks Kwang-soo and Narsha’s rock in two. Whoa.
Everyone can hardly believe it, and as promised, a diamond ring appears. It turns out that Jae-suk and Se-yeon’s rock, corundum, ranks highest on the Mohs Hardness Scale compared to everyone else’s.
Haha takes issue with the sudden diamond prize, saying, “Are you going to give us an apartment next week?” HA. The diamond ring is given to Se-yeon as her prize.
Omg, you guyyyyysss! Park Ji-sung is back next week! YAYYYY!!!