Running Man ep 179 – Cooking Battle Part 1
Overview: The cast is split up and sent all over Korea, where they meet their guest cooking partners and find some ingredients.
Planning and Direction: 2
Cooking shows are where variety shows go to die. Splitting the RM cast up like this is disastrous, as they are mostly lost without Jae Suk, who is the only member with the ability to lead a segment (although Suk Jin is passable in a pinch.) The show began by taking nearly 20 minutes to introduce a list of disappointing B and C list celebs, who then did…some stuff. Not interesting or fun stuff, either. Stuff like kneading dough and stuff like chopping scallions. It seemed that the PD’s planned the locations and the instructors and then took a nap, and ended up shooting and airing a whole lot of mundane NG footage.
Somehow even the postproduction was more boring than usual…did RM get its budget slashed or something? It felt like they were shooting to fill the last few dates on a contract or something.
Yoo Jae Suk: 6
There were only one or two mildly funny moments in the episode, and they were all from Jae Suk. Interestingly, Jae Suk even seemed a bit annoyed with the plan for the episode, complaining about dividing the cast and voicing concerns about airtime and footage. He said it half-jokingly, but Jae Suk almost never complains to the camera about such things, and he seemed to be in a genuinely bad mood for much of the episode.
Kim Jong Kook: 5
Jong Kook was probably the most energetic of the lot, and his segments were the least boring along with Jae Suk’s. Jong Kook didn’t really do anything, but he seemed up for the shoot at least.
Ha Ha : 3
Massively edited out, and what aired from Ha Ha’s team was tedious and half-assed.
Ji Suk Jin: 4
Suk Jin tried his best, but his partner was such a cold fish that it was mission impossible and they ended up being edited a lot.
Lee Kwang Soo: 3
Massively edited out. Kwang Soo barely appeared, and his entire appearance after the partner-meeting segment was asking if he could stand up, then kneading some dough for ten seconds.
Gary was OK, but also cut quite a bit, although not as much as Ha Ha and Kwang Soo. Gary seemed to start the filming off fairly well but just seemed bored during the actual cooking segment.
Song Ji Hyo: 5
Ji Hyo was a lot more energetic than usual, perhaps because she was shooting in Pohang. She was upbeat, but contributed literally nothing to the episode once it got started, although this is as much the fault of the PDs for separating the cast as it was hers.
John Park, Park Soo Hong, Rainbow Jae Kyung, Infinite Sung Kyu, Song Kyung Ah, Kim Kyung Ho, Lee Dong Wook
Incredibly odd choice of guests to shoot a two-part episode with, as none of them have a great deal of entertainment value, with the possible exception of John Park who can be pretty good but is inconsistent and needs a lot of MC help. He was also a big disappointment this episode, largely due to not having someone to lead him. The biggest surprise was the variety-unknown model Song Kyung Ah, who seems to have some natural variety talent in her sense of humor and reactions. The rest of the guests were OK at best, horribly boring at worst.
Episode MVP: Yoo Jae Suk
Final Score: 2
Possibly the worst Running Man ever? What was going with this episode? The episode was like a bizarre Family Outing, except with 1/4 the members and 0/4 the funny. The majority of Running Man cast members don’t have the ability to carry long segments by themselves, and pairing them with inexperienced and/or boring guests was just a really basic error that shouldn’t have been made at this point, particularly as the PDs didn’t even plan any games or anything to take the pressure off the members. Did they have to stretch one planned episode into two using NG footage, for some reason? It is a mystery..