Park Ji-sung. Need I say more? Okay, I’ll say more. Our beloved captain is back for the third year running to train our cast to be in tip-top shape for the Asian Dream Cup, though really, this rigorous bootcamp seems to be more work for him than anyone else. Then soccer sensation meets soccer legend, who provides even more tips for the amateurs, all topped by a friendly scrimmage. Will it all be enough to prepare for what’s waiting for them in Indonesia?
EPISODE 199. Broadcast on June 8, 2014.
For this 2014 World Cup Special, we begin covering the life and times of the man with two hearts, from his celebratory goal in the 2002 World Cup to his years playing for Manchester United, all leading up to his announced retirement made this past May.
Ha, the show adds the shameless plug that the soccer sensation was an RM guest in both 2012 AND 2013. Suk-jin: “Can you put that in?” Caption: “Why? Isn’t it true? ^^”
This is all a fancy intro for the guest who needs no further introduction, but we’re going to give our beloved captain one, anyway: Welcome back Park Ji-sung! He looks embarrassed (and maybe a little uncomfortable) in that suit, but he immediately gets smothered in hugs regardless. Awwwww.
The cast wastes no time to point out Ji-sung’s ring, to which Suk-jin asks if it’s diamond. Remember when they teased Ji-sung about his relationship with SBS announcer Kim Min-ji last year? Yep, the lovebirds are gettin’ married in July. Congrats!
Ji-sung’s dry wit is still very much alive as he introduces himself as a semi-fixed guest. Gary chimes in that he wants to become Ji-sung’s knee, and Ji-sung quips back, “I don’t want that.”
Just like the past two years, the Running Man cast have the opportunity to participate in this year’s Asian Dream Cup in Indonesia. Both matches still ingrained in his memory, Ji-sung jokes, “Can we not do that?”
He certainly has good reason for the one-liner, since both of those showings were embarrassing (but also hilarious). Even though the video clips serves as a reminder for us, the cast chooses to brag about their sort-of achievements: Kwang-soo: “Can any of you do a heading?” Jae-suk: “Has anyone kicked a penalty kick before?!”
As always, the cast must go through boot camp prior to heading overseas. This time, the cast and Ji-sung will have separate missions; the cast’s success or failure affects the difficulty level of Ji-sung’s tasks. Furthermore, Ji-sung must complete his missions in order to obtain chance coupons, which will come in handy for their final mission.
As an extra incentive, should the cast succeed in the final mission, they’ll be given another mysterious advantage in Indonesia. That prompts Jae-suk to wonder: “We won’t be using superpowers in the [soccer] match, will we?” Winged players and movable goalposts? HA, now that’s a game I’d watch again.
Anyhow, the mention of an advantage gets everyone talking, and Jong-kook wonders if the show will be bringing in more soccer stars to coach them like last year (Evra & Koo Ja-cheol).
They wonder if it’s possible to invite Cha Bum-kun (inarguably the greatest Korean soccer player in history; also father to professional soccer player Cha Du-ri) to the show. Given that the man’s an SBS sports commentator now, I’d say there’s a good chance. Jong-kook: “I don’t know his number, but I know his wife’s.”
So then Jong-kook calls her up right then and there, and she hands it off to her husband, Cha Bum-kun. It’s cute how flustered Ji-sung gets while talking to the legendary former athlete on the phone, stammering his request that Cha coach the cast.
Ji-sung: “If it isn’t you, there’s no one else who can fix this issue.” As in, bring up the cast’s soccer skills to somewhat acceptable. You can sense Cha’s warm personality just by his laughter—will he really come?
We cut away to see Cha Bum-kun himself at a photoshoot with his fellow commentator Park Moon-sung (the footage taken from the documentary camera crew). It cracks me up how Park and announcer Bae Sung-jae try to eavesdrop on the conversation, and it’s Bae who eventually persuades him into agreeing that he’ll drop by afterward.
On the bus, Ji-sung says he won’t mind if his future kids pursue soccer whereas Jae-suk is hesitant on whether his son should become an MC like himself. Adding to the hilarity, Haha asks what Suk-jin thinks of his son becoming the next Ddakji King. Suk-jin: “It has to [make money].”
At the SBS building, the cast changes into spandex suits for their first mission testing their telepathy. Here, they must complete their mission while Ji-sung performs a separate task; however, should Ji-sung mess up, it’s considered a failure. Yikes, no pressure.
Moreover, they’ve got up to five chances to succeed—if they don’t, Ji-sung’s mission will be harder. I love how the white suits blend into the white walls, so when Kwang-soo asks if they can only see his face, the camera turns up the brightness accordingly. Ha.
The mission: Ji-sung must kick a hackeysack (without letting it drop!) until the cast members return to the lobby all wearing different color clothing. Although Ji-sung’s claims that he isn’t adept at hackysack, he seems to be doing just fine at the start.
That is, until Kwang-soo swings by and his loud praises breaks Ji-sung’s focus. Ack, worry about your own mission, Kwang-soo! To make matters worse, Suk-jin walks in too, and their distractions result in Ji-sung using up his only two chances to fumble.
Neither Easy Brother knows how to take a hint to just leave Ji-sung alone. Suk-jin shouts at the others to haul ass already… and then Ji-sung fumbles once more and collapses to the ground. Aw, after all that work.
By the time everyone else gets back, Gary’s orange uniform takes the cake by far. The cast jokingly places blame upon Ji-sung with thickheaded remarks (“Let’s focus next time, okay?”), which agitates him enough to fire back: “I’m the one who chooses who makes the team, okay?!”
So it’s back to square one for their next chance, where the cast must find different items that start out with the same characters (e.g. if the letter is “s”: sunglasses, sandals, etc.) Poor Ji-sung has to jump rope until the others get back. Dang, the staff is really going to test that “two hearts” nickname of his.
Ji-sung says he hasn’t jumped rope since middle school, but his prep makes him look pretty legit. Ji-hyo is first to return with a hat, a choice that forces the others to double back. She cheers him on while the others think of different guesses for words with “m-j”: “Beer [maek-joo]!” “Cup [mool-jan]!”
… But then Ji-sung trips up. Oh no! Kwang-soo brought another person with him and claims, “Athlete’s foot [moo-jeom]! It’s an infection!” Apparently that was what Kwang-soo was looking for, as evidenced by the video footage. Empty-handed, Gary takes Ji-hyo: “Mung Ji!” Hahaha.
Next, the cast is tasked to bring someone from all different age groups while Ji-sung is told to trap a soccer ball in the meantime. Sure it’s finally a sport he knows inside and out, but that doesn’t make it any easier, and he tells the staff to shush so he can focus.
It’s actually kind of remarkable how Ji-sung tunes everyone out as the members return loudly. Jae-suk calls out to someone, and wait a minute—that’s Baek Ji-young! He manages to flag her down to represent the thirties. When Haha asks if she hasn’t hit her forties yet, she shoots him a death glare.
Desperate, Kwang-soo appeals to the camera PD: “You’re the oldest one here!” Ha, not the best way to get on his good side. Ji-sung has been at it for eight minutes now, and just as Kwang-soo brings the last person, the soccer ball flies into the air. Eeeek!
… and Ji-sung totally saves it. Daebak. Problem is, the man Kwang-soo brought isn’t in his fifties, but his sixties. Uh oh. It’s almost as if you can see the rage on Ji-sung’s face.
As Kwang-soo runs around the building, Ji-sung hits the ten-minute mark: “I can’t see the ball because of the sweat in my eyes!” The suspense builds as Kwang-soo brings another man, and this time, they make it. Phew!
That means Ji-sung’s mission is easier, but Ji-sung gapes at being told to kick a soccer ball into a car window: “You call this easy?” (Apparently the “harder” task was to kick the ball through the opposite window. Is that… even feasible?)
This episode is really turning out to be Ji-sung’s hellish bootcamp, and he’s got three chances. He opts to kick the ball into the front window. And that ball goes in on the first try. Niiiicccceee.
The bus ride into the country puts the cast on edge—surely they’re not headed for a field or patty again? Oh, but it is, as they’re greeted by a makeshift soccer field, a crane, and cardboard cutouts of famous soccer players.
Here the cast must perform a relay of tasks within 90 seconds using a soccer ball as their baton. The tasks themselves get more ridiculous as it goes on (at one point, “a scarecrow” must go horizontal to vertical to pour water into a cup) and ultimately ends with one person hanging from the goalpost and catching the ball between their legs. Phew!
Scaredy-cat Jae-suk is lifted into the air and things look good at the start as Suk-jin receives the water balloon easily. They hit their first snag when Suk-jin hesitates and then Kwang-soo ends up with more water on his face than in the cup.
No matter how hard he tries, there’s no way for him not to end up with damp hair. No one else wants the job either, so they proceed as usual. This time it’s Ji-hyo in the air, and Jong-kook is determined to impress with his dribbling skills.
We all know that Jong-kook’s coordination isn’t something to boast about but he gets through. Kwang-soo resolves to spit out the water that ends up in his mouth, and then hits Jae-suk with that same glass. Now all they need to do is have Haha catch the ball Ji-sung will kick, but it falls instead, and they run out of time.
Then we skip ahead to the cast’s fifth and final chance. Now Jong-kook charges through the cutouts for the sake of speed, and though Kwang-soo’s task eats up some time, they get to Ji-sung’s kick. Up the ball goes and Haha catches it. Huzzah!
The question is whether they were under 90 seconds. With 2:24, that doesn’t cut it. Disappointed, Haha murmurs that the staff could fudge the results.
That puts the pressure back on Ji-sung, who has to choose the one chance coupon hidden in one of five trays. If he chooses wrong of course, a health drink awaits him. Jong-kook: “I’ll drink it.” Haha: “Seeing as the staff is bringing out candy, it must be really bitter.”
Even with the cast’s suggestions, it’s up to Ji-sung to decide. Holy crap, he picks it!
I love how as Jae-suk remarks that there’s plenty of other better-tasting health drinks out there, Jong-kook just downs the bitter tea. I suppose it wouldn’t have been a terrible thing if Ji-sung had to drink it, seeing as he seems to like it anyway.
The third mission will hone the cast’s goal-scoring skills, and someone special has arrived to coach them through it: Cha Bum-kun. His history-making reputation precedes him, and Gary gawks at the limo: “Does he usually take this?” (He doesn’t.)
Cha greets Ji-sung warmly and then laughs when the cast tells him that he has to teach them a few things while he’s here. Cha (pointing to Ji-sung): “But you have a star right here!”
Cha gives practical tips to the cast, a moment they use to make a jab at their captain: “Ji-sung never taught us that! He just wants to do well on his own.” Ji-sung: “They don’t get any better even if I do it for them!”
Then Cha explains step-by-step as Ji-sung shows off a practice kick. Immediately, the cast follows suit, to which Cha keeps instructing against their form: “Don’t lift your foot!”
Ji-hyo is praised for her clean kick, but when Haha complains that Jae-suk is distracting him, Cha tells him that there lots of distractions out on the field, so he has to ignore them. At that, Jae-suk proceeds to bug him some more. Cha tells Haha that he has to shoot even if people spit, and so the others spit AT him. Ew.
Although Kwang-soo has all the steps memorized by heart, his execution looks hilariously stiff. After another tip to let his arm guide the ball’s direction, Kwang-soo gives a solid kick. Good for him! Aw, he and Gary are chosen as the best strikers after their quick lesson.
Time for the mission: Everyone will go through a round of penalty kicks, and batters will try to bat away the balls—they need to have at least four goals (out of eight) to succeed.
Cha is still there to coach them through it (“They won’t be able to block it if you kick it properly.”) Jong-kook revs up… and the batter knocks it out. When Jae-suk’s get blocked too, Cha takes it upon himself to complain that the distance is too far and measures it out himself. Lol.
Suk-jin is the first one to kick a goal and Gary follows through with another. Neither Haha or Ji-hyo’s kicks make it past the barrier, but Ji-sung makes up for it with a clean goal. It’s up to Kwang-soo to make it or break it for the cast with this final penalty kick… and it goes in!
That means Ji-sung’s mission is (relatively) easier: kicking a ball through a ring of fire. Jo PD: “The harder one was both a smaller ring and higher.” Gee, thanks.
Cha has a go at the mission and notes that it’s been over a decade since he’s actively played. He kicks, the ball shoots into the air, and it hits the rim. Adorably, Cha gripes: “I’m wearing [the wrong shoes] and the ground is tough!”
Thus he switches to his soccer cleats and kicks the ball once more. It hits the upper rim this time. Cha gives the ball one final kick and it soars through the air… and goes through. Wooot!
Cha gives a few warm words of praise and encouragement about Ji-sung before leaving, and now it’s time for the final mission: a scrimmage between the Running Man cast versus the soccer-playing idols.
We have: Chang-min (2AM); Dong-joon (ZE:A); Doo-joon, Ki-kwang, and Yo-seob(BEAST); Leo (VIXX); Min-hyuk (BTOB); and Baro (B1A4). Aw, did Dong-joon greet Ji-hyo with a hug?
I know that some of these idol boys are part of FC MEN (an all-star subunit consisted of celebrities and play charity matches), so this is some fierce competition. And here to lead them is Seol Ki-hyeon, a fellow 2002 World Cup national team player who scored a memorable goal against Italy. He says today gives him reason to see Ji-sung, whom he hasn’t seen in a while. Aww.
The match will be split in two fifteen-minute halves, and each “chance coupon” the cast earned equates to five minutes of putting Ji-sung on the field, so fifteen minutes in total. Unfortunately the idol team don’t have an equivalent advantage.
Coach Seol goes into serious mode as soon as the game begins, which prompts his former teammate Ji-sung to tell him to lighten up. Seol: “I have to get in as many goals in before you go in and play!”
Whoa, I never knew that Baro played soccer, but he and the others have got a few tricks to keep the RM cast on their feet. Ki-kwang scores his team’s first goal and Chang-min calls out: “Let’s score 10 goals before Park Ji-sung shows up [on the field]!”
Ji-sung looks pretty amused watching his team play while Gary can’t help but be in awe at all the flower boys on the field. You and me both, man. When Ji-sung calls a player change, the other team wonders if the man himself will enter the field… and Gary chimes in: “It’s me.”
Things immediately look better for the RM cast, and now Suk-jin has a chance to shoot… and misses. Aw. Ki-kwang shows a bit of his dribbling skills before sinking another goal, bringing the score to 3:0 in favor of the Idol Team.
With five minutes left for the first half, Ji-sung tags himself in, putting the other team on alert. It’s kinda adorable how the idols get all jumpy (“He’s in! He’s in! I’m scared!”) and are promptly instructed to stick to Ji-sung like a shadow.
At one point, the ball is passed to Baro, but then next thing he knows, Ji-sung runs past to steal the ball away. Baro’s astonishment is priceless.
Ji-sung shoots, but it’s no good as it hits the goalpost. And you know what? Ji-sung steals the ball AGAIN to pass it to Gary, who passes to Jong-kook for a clear shot… but he misses. Ack, so close!
Ji-sung uses every second of playtime he can get, taking on four players at once. I’m sure the idols are just as excited to be playing with the soccer star as well as playing against him. On the bench, Yo-seob remarks in awe: “[Watching] Park Ji-sung run is like watching an ox run.”
Ji-sung softly kicks the ball into the air, and this time Gary is there to receive it and send it into the goal. The score is 1:3 in favor of the Idol Team at the end of the first half, and Gary jokes: “Can’t you give us two goals?”
The cast tries to strategize during halftime, realizing that they need a more aggressive approach. Thinking back to their quick lesson with Coach Cha, they send their apologies: “I don’t think those tips will work against this team.”
Ji-hyo thinks she can latch/bite onto one player, to which Suk-jin tells her to bite them for real. Lol. Then Ji-sung says you can even kick another player just so long as the referee doesn’t see. HA, have you been hiding things from us, Ji-sung? Haha points out: “He’s just never been caught doing it!”
The cast nearly runs into trouble as soon as the second half begins: Haha kicks at his own team’s goal. Thankfully it doesn’t go in, but the action doesn’t go unnoticed. Hee.
After Idol Team scores another two goals, Ji-sung tags himself into the game with ten minutes left on the clock. He even takes off his jacket. Nervous, the idols call out to the staff: “We’ll play him with his jacket on!”
Mr. PD tells Ji-sung not to scare the young’uns too much, to which Ji-sung retorts: “If they’re scared, I suppose they’ll avoid me.” He says with a smile on his face. Damn.
Ji-sung flies down the field the first chance he gets. His first kick strikes the goalpost, to goalkeeper Ki-kwang’s relief. Ki-kwang: “Don’t mess up, guys! It’ll only be harder on me!”
I keep forgetting just how fast Ji-sung is, but when Dong-joon runs down the field, our beloved captain is already there to block him. The man’s only got the ball in mind as he traverses up and down the field like the pro he is.
He even receives a kick and runs down an open field (Coach Seol cracks an impressed smile), to Ki-kwang’s alarm. He shoots and scores a goal, leaving everyone impressed. I have no idea if that tiny kick that sends the ball to pop over another player’s head is his trademark move, but I know that it impresses me every time.
Although Ji-sung scores another goal with that, the final score is 3:5 in favor of the Idol Team. Coach Seol gives some warm words on behalf of himself and his team.
Next week, practice time is over at the Asian Dream Cup, where our cast will be up against formidable competitors in both human and animal form. Indonesia, here they come!