Running Man: Episode 206
In this DIY Cooking Battle, there are a few key ingredients one needs to survive that aren’t edible: a sprinkle of wit, a dash of creativity, topped off with teamwork. Be prepared to watch our cast eat and eat and eat their way across town that will surely make you salivate even before they make it to the arena. Then it’s time to turn up the heat on this competition as our teams think of innovative ways to spice up some familiar foods into fun and unique concoctions.
EPISODE 206. Broadcast on July 27, 2014.
As dawn breaks, two men board a bus to meet our cast, who are currently busy with today’s opening. I love how Jong-kook’s early riser habits have turned into a running joke now, as the mat-hyungs say that his mother has to stay up all night in order to prepare breakfast for him at 3 AM.
Then it’s time to greet our guests: actor Joo-won and actor/restaurateur Hong Seok-chun. Today happens to be Joo-won’s first SBS appearance ever, in terms of dramas (see: KBS’s Good Doctor, Gaksital, Ojyakko Brothers, Baker King Kim Tak-gu, and MBC’s Level 7 Civil Servant) and variety (see: KBS’s 1N2D), and Joo-won admits that he’s never stepped inside the SBS building before.
Suk-jin can’t get over how small Joo-won’s face is (he’s referring to how Joo-won’s face compares to his overall body proportions—a 1:8 head to body ratio, aka the ideal or “golden ratio,” colloquially known as 8-head proportion or pal-deungshin in Korean) which Jae-suk takes as a literal joke to point out that Joo-won’s face isn’t physically that small.
After Seok-chun’s compliments on Kwang-soo’s acting in his latest film Good Friends, Jong-kook asks who caught his eye. Seok-chun playfully answers, “Jong-kook-ie.”
(Hong Seok-chun is one of the few openly gay entertainers in the industry, being the first celebrity to reveal his sexual orientation back in 2000. In brief, his coming out stirred considerable controversy, but the celebrity has slowly rebuilt his career since then, and mostly known as a rather successful restaurateur nowadays. Longtime RM fans may recognize his face from way back in Episode 44.)
So when Seok-chun is asked if men like Jong-kook is his type, he cheekily replies that Ji-hyo is the only one who isn’t his type. Heh. He even adds a little envious question: “What are you doing here?” Ji-hyo: “I’m a [cast] member.”
As for today’s teams: Blue (Jae-suk, Kwang-soo, & Joo-won); Orange (Monday Couple & Suk-jin); and Green (Jong-kook, Haha, & Seok-chun). It’s a food-tasting race for our teams where they’ll collect puzzle pieces at various restaurants that will later prove useful for their final mission: a cooking battle.
There’s a hilarious moment in the taxi when the driver recognizes Joo-won from Gaksital, but not Kwang-soo. He stumbles, “You’re that… what, where was it…” Aww.
It’s still early when they arrive at Samchungdong, as they walk through the relatively quiet streets. Kwang-soo is happy that there’s someone younger than him today for once (he’s an 85-er and Joo-won’s a 87-er), eager to shed the maknae status today. Joo-won’s prepared and raring to go, and when he and his team run into Seok-chun & Friends, they all head to the same destination.
Inside, both teams boast about their guests to one another, and when Jong-kook reddens at the mention of how Seok-chun’s going to give him a restaurant, he admits sheepishly that he doesn’t quite know how to respond. After noting that maknae Joo-won looks young for his age, Haha points out the wrinkles on Kwang-soo’s face.
They’re told to just dig in, a completely foreign concept to former 1N2D cast member Joo-won. ‘Cause while Running Man has made the cast generally work for their food, I’ve found that they still generally get to eat more frequently than 1N2D does.
Jae-suk unintentionally flusters when Seok-chun notes that he’s got sauce on his lips, and when Kwang-soo mentions how he goes to Suk-chan’s restaurant often, Seok-chun returns: “Don’t come anymore.” Ha, I love his sharp wit.
Meanwhile, the Monday Couple and third-wheel Suk-jin are excited to eat French cuisine at a traditional hanok. In his excitement, Gary blurts, “Whelk?” Ha.
After chomping down on what looks like filet mignon, Suk-jin offers his thoughts: “French cuisine is like ‘Neener neener’! It’s so teasing!” Gary offers his insight too, which sounds like an indiscernible French(?) phrase.
Back at the burger restaurant, Joo-won admits that he’s more of a bread and noodles guy, and Kwang-soo gets immediately called out for chiming in his agreement. Our resident giraffe’s just having a tough time getting away with any sentiments today, his words met with classic reactions in a morning drama: Jae-suk’s jaw drops, juice and all, at Kwang-soo’s second attempt and slaps him for the third.
For their first game, at least one person from each team must catch the flying toast with their mouth in order to win. How simple yet difficult, and sure to be entertaining. Joo-won remarks that 1N2D should take a cue from this show. Ha.
And it’s hilarious indeed, as each toast unexpectedly hits the Blue Team in the face. Hard.
Joo-won catches his toast on his cheek on their next attempt and uses his shoulder to bite into it. I love how Seok-chun cries from the sidelines that he’s got an actor’s image to uphold, and Joo-won asks in this cutesy voice if it doesn’t count.
At the same time, Gary struggles at picking up beans with his boxing glove covered hands whereas Ji-hyo speedily transfers them from one dish to the other. So Gary folds the paper airplane, adding that the edges have to be neat, and completes it just in time. Very, very nice.
Even though Joo-won gets praised for his novel idea for tilting his head to catch the toast backwards, only to be criticized for instinctively closing his eyes. (Joo-won: “I was scared.”) No matter what position the Blue Team is in, though (including looking like girl group SES), they fail to catch any.
Kwang-soo immediately calls Seok-chun out on using his shoulder to bite into his toast: “You might as well have caught it with your hand!” Jae-suk practically chokes on his water by that remark, adding that it’s the first time he’s genuinely laughed at Kwang-soo’s jokes in this show.
It’s pretty funny watching the cast members try using their tongues to inch the bread towards their mouths, but then Jong-kook snaps one up with his teeth. What a beast. And so, the Blue Team decides to forfeit this mission for somewhere else.
Suk-jin’s the third wheel again when the Orange Team passes by a jewelry shop; Ji-hyo asks when Gary’s going to buy her that diamond he promised. Gary: “You have to promise me something for me to buy it for you.” Ji-hyo: “You have to give me a diamond in order for me to make that promise!”
They take a picture together too, which just makes Suk-jin look more like the lone third wheel he is. Hahaha, well that explains Suk-jin’s Weibo update. The Monday Couple even replicates a painting by the road.
Suk-jin shares his third-wheel woes with the Green Team at their next stop, to which Seok-chun immediately directs at Haha: “It’s driving me nuts that you keep butting in!” Hahaha, between you and Jong-kook? Seok-chun really is bringing on all the big laughs today, with yet another passive remark towards Ji-hyo: “I usually don’t like kids who look like her.”
At this restaurant, it’s the return of the Heart Rate Mission where the goal is for one person’s heartbeat to rise above 160 within 3 minutes by any means necessary. Seok-chun: “Is kissing allowed?” PD: “Whatever you like.” Oooh, this’ll be interesting.
Once the Orange Team is hooked up, the Monday Couple, who have the lowest resting heart rate, hold hands to check their fluctuating heartbeats. Gary’s increases, whereas Ji-hyo’s drops. HA.
So the Monday Couple play the Truth Game and jump right into it. Gary: “Was there ever a day that you had feelings for me?” Ji-hyo: “I did think you looked cool once.”
Then it’s time for Ji-hyo to ask, “Have you ever thought of me as a woman?” As Gary’s heart rate rises, Suk-jin butts in: “I have.” What’s funnier is how Big Nose Hyung‘s heart rate climbs faster than either Ji-hyo or Gary in this conversation.
But anywhoos, Gary admits that there was a time. Ji-hyo: “If I confessed my feelings to you then, would you have accepted them?” Gary: “I think we would’ve met like the wind.” I feel like Haha and Jong-kook in this entire exchange, as they try to suppress their own squeals, and I love how we can see Gary’s heart rate steadily rising.
Ack, I love Ji-hyo for asking about that surprise kiss when BIGBANG came to visit: “Were you really planning to do that?” Gary: “I wanted to since that morning that day. It was my heart that did it, not me.”
Then they draw their faces towards each other, and Gary keeps leaning in. So they decide to touch noses, and then Gary tilts his face ever so slightly. HEE. Even when their turn is over, Gary asks to confirm if what she said was genuine. He smiles when she says of course.
We skip ahead to when the Orange Team decides to use exercise (on Suk-jin, at that) to raise that heart rate. It works, to their delight. Gary: “If [exercise] was going to work, then why’d we talk about our love story.” Because some of us need some closure, okay?
The Green Team uses the exercise approach too, with Coach Kookie at the helm. It’s adorable how Seok-chun kicks up his legs every time, but all that hard training pays off at the end.
When Ji-hyo mentions that she’d like to be on a date, Gary chirps in: “You’re on one right now.” As they hold hands, Gary says they’ve confirmed that they have no romantic feelings for each other today. Ji-hyo admits that she finds Gary most impressive when he’s performing on stage, and he returns that she’s always pretty. Aw, they’re just sweet together.
Third Wheel Suk-jin asks if they’re finally confessing their feelings to each other after four years now, but they both dismiss the idea.
The Orange and Blue Teams bicker as soon as they run into each other again at the next restaurant. Is… the food always going to look this delicious for the rest of the episode? I can hear my stomach growling.
After they eat, the Blue Team is told about their mission: shoot down the attached noodles on someone’s face with the water gun. Immediately, Jae-suk starts sticking on noodles to Kwang-soo’s face. Ha.
Both teams agree to make it interesting and turn it into a competition with the puzzle piece on the line. After the teams place noodles on the opposing team member’s faces, the teams start firing. All the noodles appear to just slide off of Seok-chun’s face, giving his team the win.
Feeling generous, the Green Team agrees to let them try again anyway, for which the Blue Team (except Jae-suk) deeply bows in gratitude. Kwang-soo has to punch Jae-suk in the gut to get him to double over. And just to rub it in, Haha hands Kwang-soo the Green Team’s briefcase and tells him to bring it over at their next stop.
After the Orange Team completes the toaster mission, everyone receives a message about the chance to win a golden puzzle piece. The Green Team happens to be nearby with the Blue Team trailing in after them. And given how the show points out Kwang-soo’s expression, are we to assume that he swiped a puzzle piece from the Green Team’s briefcase?
So it’s only when the Blue Team claims to have three puzzle pieces (and shows off their board to prove it) does the Green Team realize that something’s amiss. Sure enough, a flashback shows that the Blue Team did steal a piece for their own.
And even though Kwang-soo sticks to his lie, Haha knows Kwang-soo’s tell: “Your mouth’s open, which means you’re lying.” All three of the Blue Team just ignore him and keep on eating. They aren’t too worried that the staff won’t step in, ether: “Jong-kook will take care of it.”
It turns out the two golden puzzle pieces are actually made of real gold, and having one will prove extremely important today. The first two teams who collectively jump rope 20 times wearing scuba fins on will win those pieces.
Jong-kook isn’t too worried about that missing puzzle piece once they’re outside, assuring his teammates that the Blue Team will find themselves piled elsewhere in the blink of an eye. Joo-won starts off well for his team, but then Kwang-soo trips up upon entrance.
While Jae-suk is busy criticizing Kwang-soo, Haha breaks into the Blue Team’s briefcase. He makes a point of returning it to them, which prompts the Blue Team to check… and find all of their puzzle pieces gone. As an extra precaution, Jong-kook carries his team’s briefcase with him, only to trip and fall upon entry.
None of the teams succeed on their first try, and now it’s back to the Blue Team. Both Joo-won and Jae-suk enter safely, so it’s up to Kwang-soo for a clear entrance. He finds his in, and the trio all jump together to be the first ones to win a golden puzzle piece. We learn that the Green Team grabs the second piece, and then it’s off to their final mission location.
Our cast will participate in a DIY fusion cuisine cooking battle today, where their ingredients will consist of instant or frozen foods. Haha: “I’m an expert at that!” The team may use one puzzle piece to exchange one item within the same box, and the two teams who won a golden piece may add one more item from any box to their list.
The five available boxes are stuffed with some random items, including ice cream and popcorn, which makes them harder to choose from. Ji-hyo complains when the other two guys on her team argue for using ice cream and chocolate (“They want to cook the ice cream!”).
Seok-chun encourages the idea: “You could boil the ice cream and make it into a soup!” Haha jokes: “Don’t tell them that!” In the end, the chocolate gets thrown into the mix.
Haha shows the most promise, seeing as we’ve seen him cook several times on this show already. With their (somewhat) random ingredients, all the teams head inside. All the teams have thirty minutes to whip up their dishes… and go!
The Orange Team chooses a fusion kebab approach with tonkatsu, shrimp, and spaghetti, slightly dipped in chocolate. It sounds okay in theory, but will the execution meet their expectations? None of them have melted chocolate before, and watching Gary dump the pieces in makes me nervous—ack, use a double boiling method!
Thank goodness Seok-chun mentions it, but Gary doesn’t know what he means: “Is that medium heat?” Maybe we should let you continue to cook your ramen with cold water, good sir.
The Green Team decides on dumplings, and with Haha’s cooking skills and Seok-chun’s restaurant experience, these two make a pretty good team. In fact, there isn’t much for Jong-kook to do but watch and do what he’s told.
While Joo-won is busy cooking dumplings, Jae-suk and Kwang-soo get the sauce going. Or more like Jae-suk concocts a sauce and only lets Kwang-soo taste it afterwards. Judging from their expressions, it must be okay.
As the Orange Team’s spaghetti kebabs start to come together, Gary wonders if they should add some rice onto it. Hahaha.
Over at the Green Team’s station, the trio is busy making meatballs wrapped in spaghetti for their fusion dumplings. Whoa, Haha grates bread through a sifter to make flaky bread crumbs. I’m so doing that. Jong-kook breaks into one of Turbo’s songs “White Love,” and Jae-suk quips, “Why didn’t you sing on X-Man when you were told to?”
Joo-won looks pensive as he contemplates what to do with the frozen chicken. When Kwang-soo asks how to cook it thoroughly, Joo-won informs him that it’s already fully-cooked. Kwang-soo: “Really? I just ate it without knowing that for thirty years.”
At the same time, the Green Team hurries to deep-fry their dumplings; problem is, they keep bursting. Uh oh.
With fifteen minutes left on the clock, the Orange Team taste-tests their chocolate- dipped kebabs. The taste? Gary: “Sweet.”
So then they decide to mix the tomato sauce with the chocolate, surprised when it gives off a whole new taste: something like-but-not-necessarily curry. Even Ji-hyo is surprised.
There’s less than five minutes left when Jae-suk pours his sauce over the cooked chicken. It rather seems like all the Blue Team has done is cook their ingredients separately, and with time winding down quickly, Jae-suk just throws everything together. And then he adds water into the mix.
Needless to say, things spiraled downward real quick at the Blue Team’s station, but… maybe it still tastes okay? Kwang-soo: “Too salty.” Never mind. And with the staff yelling at them to hurry up, they toss in a kick of sweet, because what have they got to lose now?
Then it’s time to meet our judges for this competition, who all seem to have some internet fame related to food. And then there’s Myuk PD!! We missed you! The scores will be out of five stars, and the team that gets the highest score wins.
The Orange Team presents their pork-shrimp-spaghetti kebabs with chocolate-tomato sauce first. None of the judges look particularly excited to taste this dish, but the Orange Team continues to emphasize their surprise sauce.
All of the judges seem to have trouble biting into the fried kebab, but they receive some general compliments on the sauce and dish. Then there’s Myuk PD, who gets the sauce all over him, and says, “The dish itself seems to be made for those you have a grudge against…” HA.
The Green Team is up next, and while their presentation and idea get praised, some of the judges critique the taste. Whenever a critique is made, the other two teams chime behind them all, I totally knew that! and That’s what I’m saying!
Lastly, Blue Team presents their “Instant Chicken Dumplings Fried Noodle” dish, and they play up the potentially salty taste to their advantage. And then Kwang-soo gives his New Year greetings over half a year too late.
All of the judges silently reach for their water glasses, and then one judge asks if the team made all of these ingredients separately. Why yes, they did. Kwang-soo argues that their combined dish speaks of their team unity. Ha, nice save.
Myuk PD issues the critique that their dish was the only one that tastes like instant food, which the Blue Team considers as praise: “That’s the idea of our dish!”
Jae-suk: “Instant food that masks that taste is a lie!” And even after his turn is done, Myuk PD adds, “Trying to take instant food and mask it as a real dish…” He gets his plate taken away.
Adding to the critique, another judge notes how ruining such a special ingredient like chicken wing is an insult to the chickens themselves. And another: “The best part of this judging process… was when I drank some water.”
He goes on to say that Jae-suk claimed that instant food should taste like what it is, “But I think you misunderstood.” The female judge claims that she didn’t even eat before this competition, and now she’s full from water.
She even adds that she personally likes chicken and that “chicken is good no matter what you do with it.” She needn’t say any more for us to realize that this dish is a disaster. Kwang-soo: “Why does chicken always need to taste good?” Jae-suk: “The chicken has to put in work, too!”
Despite the criticism, the Blue Team sticks with the silver lining—why, four of the judges of the same opinion right now, and that’s their doing.
How adorable—the judges will be giving their scores via star helmets that light up. The Blue Team receives two out of five stars.
The Green Team receives 4.5 out of five stars, which means the Orange Team must receive a perfect score to win. The energy rises as each star lights up above each judges’ heads: one, two, three, four stars now….
But the last star doesn’t light up, giving them four stars in total. It cracks me up how both Suk-jin and Gary keep counting out, but the score remains unchanged. Which means the Green Team wins today’s DIY battle and receive gold stars for their efforts. Now that’s a shiny win.