Show rankings for December
1. 1 Night 2 Days
2. Infinite Challenge/Running Man (tie)
Very close month, with all three shows within one point of each other. All three shows were up and down in December, which saw relatively decent episodes mixed in with a handful of weak ones. 1 Night 2 Days however had a bit of a boost from relaunching, which provides for an inherently interesting concept that they were able to make the most of, and their weakest episode was largely due to factors outside of their control. They also had the single best episode of the month in the first leg of the What Men Live For challenge. As for Infinite Challenge and Running Man, both shows were fairly solid but neither had an episode of really high quality this month.
Variety Cast Members Top 3 for December
1. Defconn – 1N2D
Defconn really stood out in his ‘rookie’ month as a fixed variety member, providing a lot of energy and leadership to the shoots with the new cast. While he’s still in a process of exploring his variety persona, he also managed to step in often to assist with roles traditionally handled by an MC, which the new 1N2D doesn’t officially have among its members. Overall a very solid and promising start to Defconn’s variety career.
2. Yoo Jae Suk – Infinite Challenge
While Jae Suk is always a leading candidate for MVP honors, December was an unusual yet still impressive month for him. Starting off the month with an uncharacteristically weak performance in the Milan and Jamaica special, the majority of the following episodes had Jae Suk in an extremely MC-heavy role during the My Lonely Friends arc. In addition to MCing the party itself, the invitation episode was conducted almost entirely by Jae Suk alone. The role of the MC is an interesting one, as it requires very specialized skills yet also somewhat limits opportunities to really stand out as being individually funny. As a result, while he didn’t really have many great moments on Infinite Challenge, Jae Suk’s hard work was crucial for the episodes to succeed.
3. Cha Tae Hyun – 1N2D
In December, Tae Hyun was nothing if not consistent. While he seldom really stood out with exceptionally clever jokes or gags, he had great reactions and maintained a consistently high level of energy – something that can be very hard to do in 1 Night 2 Days’ format. Since this was a re-launch month, Tae Hyun’s energy and effort was crucial to helping get the new season off on the right footing.
Variety Cast Members Bottom 3 for December
1. Gary – Running Man
Gary was stuck in the background for almost every Running Man episode in December, even when he was the focus of the main plot. It’s difficult to know for sure since he may be being edited out a lot, but Gary has seemed a bit bored and uninterested in Running Man for some time now.
2. Song Ji Hyo – Running Man
Similar to Gary, Ji Hyo hasn’t seemed to be particularly engaged in Running Man for awhile now. This month, however, she was also given roles that serve to limit her contribution, such as ‘MC’ during the guy’s special, and sitting on the top of the Jenga tower while the other cast worked. While Ji Hyo did have some good moments where she was eager to be involved, she also spent a lot of time being content to let others do all the talking.
3. Ha Ha – Infinite Challenge
A rough month for Ha Ha, as he was faced with story arcs that focused on joking and talking, which are Ha Ha’s weaker areas. While Ha Ha can do quite well in reality/mission and situational skit acting types of environments, he struggled to keep up with the quick-witted comedians that were the focus of the Lonely Friends arc. Ha Ha also had several episodes where he was not given much to do, or was edited out a lot.
Guests Top 3 for December
1. Ji Sang Ryul : Infinite Challenge
Appearing in key guest roles in three of the Infinite Challenge episodes in December, Sang Ryul’s contribution was extremely important to the My Lonely Friend arc. As it seems the PDs had trouble getting all of the guests they had hoped for and had to do some last minute casting, it fell on Sang Ryul to carry much of the load as many of the guests had limited variety experience. He did very well. especially during the invitation and final episodes, where he was constantly contributing amusing bits to the show.
2. Lee Seung Gi : Running Man
While he only made one appearance, Seung Gi was a major factor in carrying the Numbers Race episode, alongside Kwang Soo. Seung Gi brought a lot of enthusiasm in his appearance, and did a great job of interacting with and playing off of Kwang Soo’s hijinks.
3. Yang Pyung! : Infinite Challenge
As Ha Ha said, he doesn’t have to say much, but his presence alone is enough. Yang Pyung is in many ways just a regular guy, but he has a certain natural comedic charm as well as the courage to put himself out there in terms of ridiculous situations, and is actually surprisingly good at playing off of others considering he has no comedic training (to my knowledge, anyway.) Seems that he will be back again soon, which is a good sign as well.