Monday, 10 December 2012

Six worst Running Man episodes

(Note: a list of other bad Running Man episodes from 2013-14 is here)

I love Running Man, I hope that much is clear, but there are occasions when ideas don't seem to work. This is only natural in a show that tries to reinvent itself so often.

And so, inspired by episode 118, I've decided to try to list the worst episodes of Running Man. It was much harder than choosing the best, but these are the episodes where the ideas didn't quite gel, or the editing didn't make sense.

There was one episode that I considered, even though I'd already put it in my list of the best: Episode 25, with Park Bo Young, was great but it was a bit painful to watch how marginalised Lizzy had become by then, especially when there's a strong female guest. It turned out to be her last episode.

They are listed from the least worst to the worst worst, if you see what I mean...

Episode 101

The theme to this episode is one of the thinnest puns I think I've ever seen. Song Ji Hyo's real name, Chung Sung Im, has the same initials as the cop show C.S.I. From this follows an entertaining episode but one in which you really need to suspend your disbelief. This is a series of challenges loosely slotted into some kind of narrative, and of course Song Ji Hyo has to stay one step ahead otherwise that's the end of the episode.

Episode 118

A bit of a mess, frankly. Choi Min Soo, one of the stars of Running Man guests, comes back to finish off his rivalry with Yoo Jae Suk. It begins in a light-hearted style with Park Bo Young, but then it abruptly changes style with a late-night horror special with Choi Min Soo picking off the regulars one by one. Trouble is, it was too abrupt. Park Bo Young should at least have got a couple of seconds on screen to say goodbye, even if it's just a wink to the camera. And, reading between the lines, it looks like it took a very long time to shoot this episode, since most of the cast seem to have gone home by the time the finale plays out. Quite entertaining and Choi Min Soo and Yoo Jae Suk are great together, but a bit disjointed and unsatisfying.

Episode 30

This starts well, with the regulars chasing Big Bang's Seung Ri around the National Center for Korean Traditional Performing Arts. But then, the wheels fall off. It's one of those episodes that doesn't involve the guest enough, and after the Hide And Seek game is over, he barely features. The challenge at the end is completed too quickly, so there was obviously a lack of footage, meaning that a throw-away photography game is included in the show, as well as a far-too-long music based game.

Episode 1

I almost don't consider this to be a real episode. It feels a lot like a pilot episode. The regulars don't know each other, the games aren't quite right, and there's no Song Ji Hyo. There are entertaining bits, but there's no real rhythm or any relationships between the cast.

I suppose that's why they asked Lee Hyo Ri to appear, so there'd be some continuity with Yoo Jae Suk and Kim Jong Kook (they were all in Family Outing) but you can tell that most of the cast feel awkward. I'm sure the weather during the grand opening scene didn't help.

Episode 87

The ″True Love″ episode. Now, I strongly suspect that the makers of Running Man would rather be making film blockbusters or TV dramas, and in this episode they let their narrative ambitions get out of control. In episode 87, the female guest has to work out who was her first love in school, using clues scattered around the location. This story is enhanced by flashbacks to when the Running Man cast were about six or seven in age.

But this makes the show incredibly slow-paced, with plenty of slow motion and soft-focus close-ups. It is clearly an homage to the Korean drama The Moon That Embraces The Sun, but if you haven't seen it then this is just a very slow episode of Running Man with some shocking over-acting by HaHa which is funny in small doses, but here it really drags. In fact, I didn't make it to the end, giving up with around ten minutes to go.

Episode 23

I am happy to admit, this is totally down to culture. This episode features veteran comedian Shim Hyung-rae. I watched it like I was looking at a museum piece, since it featured a lot of corny physical humour and references to things that pre-date my sparse knowledge of Korean culture by decades.

It's like when Jerry Lewis or Norman Wisdom appear on TV shows, I'm always impressed that they're still working but it's never classic entertainment. The same applies here. The regular cast are far too respectful of the comedy legend, and it kind of ruins the show.

I'll be honest, I barely made it through half of this episode before turning off and never going back. And this is only episode of which I haven't kept a copy, hence the screenshot off a YouTube clip.


  1. I agree with you about episode 23, only running man episode I haven't finished

  2. i agree with your picks

  3. your list is exactly the same list as me. just watched ep 23 and 30, esp 30 its so boring i didn't finish it. it kinda dissapointing though

  4. I really agree with episode 118. Though I had fun seeing Min Soo bully Jae Suk, but this went too far. For me it was foul play lol. He planned everything from the start and the members had no idea at all. It was thrilling though... and a bit scary.

  5. I don't know if anyone else agress with me, but I hated the two part Big Bang episodes 84 and 85.

    1. Yeah. Its not really nice

  6. don't forget episode 45 when Jaesuk and Jongkook must gather all members.. I think it's very boring

  7. I agree and disagree with your points. And there are more "not-so-good" episodes (I'm too nice to say they were the "worst" lol)

  8. I've just finished watching episode 23 and it was the first time it took me two days to do so and I seriously thought about moving on to the next. However the Hide and Seek game was pretty cool specially the scene where Kim Joong Gook made Gary and Haha become a family with him again.

    I didnt feel comfortable at all trying to understand the references to old Korean comedy culture and although I tried to find informations about the guest in the middle of the episode, it didnt help much. Even the members were feeling kind pressured to make him feel welcome and important. Haha and Lizy continuous fake laughs were really embarassing to watch.

  9. i agree with labeling ep.23 as the worst episode...the guest was so boring -____-
    his jokes are so's even clear that RM members are forcing out a laugh. worst episode yet. hope it never happens again.

  10. Out of the 203 episodes, episode 23 was the only one I failed to finished. For the most part, I agree with your list. The only exception is episode 1; it was one of my all time favorites because Hyori was just so great. Not to mention I also loved watching them solve clues to find the can-thing.

  11. here's a thought, I believe 1 of the many reasons we love Running Man so much is the unique individual charm possessed each member and how much they support and compliment each other.

    the reason I get to know YJS, KJK, JSJ, HaHa, SJH, Gary & LKS is bcoz of Running Man, not KPoP, not 2PM, not 2AM or whatever else~

    the 6 listed above are only part of the worst episodes ever broadcasted in RM history bcoz there are plenty more especially when they invite IDOLS as guest...

    I love the 2nd Han River episodes... where each member have to visit their random choice of University in SK and gather 2 personally picked students to aid them in building a boat using different materials and cross the river together... from here you can already tell how popular they are even without the IDOLS (just pretty face assholes with image issues)

    the student ddakji episode was quite entertaining too~

    the point is RM 7 cast members are just daebak & entertaining enough to make my Monday feels like a payday~

  12. I think the worst episode was ep.16 which the guest(Yuri SNSD) didnt had a RM ball where YJS n SJH had 3 RM balls each. Yuri should atleast won it at the last mision but SJH played unfairly, Yuri missed the chance. How come they treated the guest so bad. Even YJS mentioned that he felt uneasy about that. After that episode, I think RM started to go easy on the guests. Remember Charlie’s Angels episode where the weak female guests won against strong n experienced Running MEN cast...

    1. I agree. That was horrible to Yuri.

    2. Yeah it really sucks how they don't do it aggressive tho. Charile's Angels were really boring like they only cared and felt weak because they were girls.

  13. I don't agree with y'all I like Choi Min Soo Hunting

    1. Exactly
      It was supposed to be entertaining and a ... an End to the ... trilogy (if I may!)
      And the whole ... game/plot was well thought of!

  14. Really? I think every episode of Runnning Man is great. But to be honest episode 31 was the worst. Also, Choi Minsoo does it because he wants revenge of Jaesuk for what he said last time. Obviously, ep 1 would be boring like they don't even know each other well.