Running Man ep 180 – Cooking Battle Part 2
Overview: The cooking competition begins.
Planning and Direction: 2
Another very odd, very weak episode from the Running Man team. The contest itself was painfully straightforward, almost as if it was being filmed in real time. I’m not suggesting that they should try to force games into a cooking show, but the writers didn’t seem to have much for the cast to do either, which is very strange as Running Man is usually amply scripted. The result of all this ended with the cooking segment being extremely dry. Worse, however, was the overuse of footage from the previous episode – there had to have been at least 15-20 minutes of old footage in total. When combined with the sit-down interviews discussing the old footage, this episode further convinced me that for some reason the Running Man staff had to make two episodes out of one episode’s worth of footage, as it is very uncharacteristic of a show that is usually so tightly edited with tons of usable film.
Again, this was pretty boring. Running Man’s best post-production assets are its visuals and graphics, which are not very useful for a generic cooking episode.
Yoo Jae Suk: 5
Didn’t have much to do in terms of either MCing or comedy, but was still one of the only members who was at least somewhat amusing.
Kim Jong Kook: 5
Jong Kook was cheerful and energetic again, but outside of the egg disaster segment (which went on way too long), he didn’t appear much until the end. Nevertheless, Jong Kook was probably the hardest working member this week in terms of entertaining.
Ha Ha : 5
Ha Ha was one of the better members this week, as he showed good reactions and often narrated what his team was doing as the show progressed.
Ji Suk Jin: 4
Suk Jin wasn’t on screen much, but he was pretty solid when he did appear.
Lee Kwang Soo: 4
Kwang Soo was OK during the introduction and judge segments, but almost didn’t appear at all during the cooking segments.
Gary was just chopping meat in the background for most of the episode.
Song Ji Hyo: 3
Ji Hyo barely appeared, and probably got no more than 2 or 3 minutes of screen time, not counting the old footage from last week.
John Park, Park Soo Hong, Rainbow Jae Kyung, Infinite Sung Kyu, Song Kyung Ah, Kim Kyung Ho, Lee Dong Wook, and four celebrity judges from the cooking world.
Once again nothing special from this bunch, although Kyung Ah was once again a pleasant surprise considering her inexperience. Soo Hong was decent again as well, but the rest didn’t contribute much in terms of entertainment. The judges were nothing special.
Episode MVP: Kim Jong Kook
Final Score: 3
Another poor episode, very oddly edited with a mixture of straightforward cooking, footage from last week, and unnecessary sit-down interviews. The latter two elements strongly indicate a lack of usable footage, as they are the most common ways for staff to ‘fill’ an episode’s time requirements. If combined and edited together, the cooking episodes would have made one slightly dull but passable episode. However, being split into two parts and loaded with filler instead created two very poor individual episodes. As one of Running Man’s greatest strengths is usually its extensive filming process. I am led to believe that something went wrong in the production schedule. Whether this was a one-time occurrence or a sign of something bigger happening at SBS remains to be seen.