This post is a sequel to this one I wrote almost two years ago. Since then, as I mentioned in my last post about Running Man, the ratings have suffered and, as I went back over the episodes, I did notice that there was a period where these poor or unremarkable episodes seemed to be more frequent. Luckily, that period seems to have ended. Mostly, anyway.
So here is my second list of the very worst Running Man episodes, from about episode 135 to 222. This is in order of episodes, since no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't work out which of these episodes was the worst.
I can imagine that filming a Korean variety show is a pretty strange affair. So much is filmed that you need to be entertaining for hours at a time, knowing that most of what happens will be cut out of the final show.
And, of course, knowing that a lot will be cut out, it wouldn't be unreasonable for people to do the same joke several times in different situations, thinking that at least one will be used.
In that case, there must have been a remarkable lack of decent footage for this episode, as two jokes are repeated in the first game. And the whole thing never really gets going. Sure, there are funny bits, but they're much further apart than usual.
In this episode, there is a vague storyline about the Running Men team having super powers. But the first game is paintballing, which is just not funny. There's a not very exciting dodge ball game and then during the elimination game, some fighters are introduced. The idea is that the Running Men should team up and battle them, but they don't and they're easily picked off one by one.
This is actually quite a good episode, all about a Running Man fan's scrapbook of the show. However, in the final chase, the book itself is ripped to pieces in a fight. I found this quite disrespectful to their fan. I hope it was a copy.
I feel bad about listing this amongst the worst, since Ji Suk Jin works overtime to try and make it entertaining. This shows that Running Man relies a lot on its guest these days. Kim Yoo-jung is too young to have any real presence on a variety show, and the other guests don't really make up for it. A bit feeble.
I'm not sure why the producers thought it was a good idea to start this episode with a 20-minute section where the Running Man members and guests all got horoscopes, but they did. And we all had to suffer for it. The following games weren't great either. The “Phone a famous person at random” game was okay, but very long. Still, it was comedy genius compared to those bloody horoscopes.
Ah, Australia. Such a beautiful country, such a dull couple of episodes. The first game looked impressive: diving for treasure maps in a rusty old wreck, but was too dangerous to allow for any real joking about. Any humour comes from the witty (?) captions that accompanied the action. And if your variety show is relying on the guy who writes the captions to be the funny one, then your variety show is clearly in trouble.
None of the other games were very good, and they appeared to be designed by the Australian Tourist Board. Not even Song Ji Hyo arriving during the second episode could save it. A dud.
Honestly, I didn't laugh once for the first twenty minutes of this episode. It was so bad that I thought “Maybe I don't like Running Man any more.” With no guests, the seven regulars play some games and more or less do the same jokes that they always do. Some of those jokes are still funny, but I do find myself wishing they didn't do guest-less episodes any more. Without someone new who can be unpredictable and change the balance of power in the group, Running Man really suffers.