Running Man ep 184 – Running Man Winter Olympics
Overview: The members team up with some guests, then do an assortment of cold weather related challenges/punishments.
Planning and Direction: 2
Another miserable week for the Running Man staff…I’m not even sure where to begin with the problems in this week’s episode. The guest choice was really…weak, for starters, as none of them had experience or personalities. Then, they herd them all off into one team, which basically doomed them all (and the show as a result). Secondly, the sub-missions were terribly ill-conceived. I mean… ‘walking in a cold stream and stacking rocks’, seriously? The best comedians in Korea couldn’t make this funny for longer than 30 seconds, let alone the RM cast and guests. Then, to really put the nail in the coffin, they spent 10-15 minutes of airtime on each ‘punishment’, which included such things as “cooking dinner” and “doing laundry”. There was nothing more to it either, they literally just cooked dinner and did laundry on TV. The final mission was also poorly conceived, and ended up being an awkward group wrestling match. To top it off, they also ended up cutting entire segments. There was one point where Jae Suk grabbed Kwang Soo to visit the guest team, who was doing the cooking punishment, as if he was planning to try to bail them out in terms of usable footage…then seemed to give up hope once he got a look at the situation. This is a creative reading of the situation, of course, but the fact that even Jae Suk looked lost as to what to do demonstrates how off the rails the planning for this episode was.
And, even the usually good RM postproduction was worse than usual. The graphics were extremely plain, the captions boring, the laugh track was used constantly when nothing funny was even happening, and the music was awful (with the exception of Buraka Som Sistema). It was obvious that someone just googled “songs about ice” and put them in, whether or not they fit the scene or added to it in anyway. For example, there were multiple songs from the Frozen OST thrown into the episode, despite not fitting, not being amusing, and NOT EVEN BEING ABOUT THE COLD. Lazy lazy lazy.
John Williams “Summon the Heroes”
Tachyon “Feel Your Breeze”
Leo Arnaud “Bugler’s Dream”
Reel 2 Real “I Like to Move It”
Demi Lovato “Let It Go”
Yolanda Be Cool “We No Speak Americano”
Buraka Som Sistema “Bota”
Idina Menzel “Let It Go”
DJ Hanmin “Show Me Your Bba Sae”
Hit Girls “Bad Reputation (Joan Jett cover)”
Yoo Jae Suk: 5
I feel somewhat bad for Jae Suk, as he sort of tried but he was cut off from the guest team and thus unable to help them out much as an MC. However, despite it all Jae Suk was probably still the funniest member this week.
Kim Jong Kook: 4
Jong Kook was the only RM member stuck with the boring guest team, and he’s not exactly the best member to have in such a position. He seemed to try his best, but it was mostly mission impossible.
Ha Ha: 4
Ha Ha didn’t do much, but was one of the hardest working members during the challenges, despite how difficult they were to be funny in.
Ji Suk Jin: 4
Became a background character for most of the episode.
Lee Kwang Soo: 4
Along with Jae Suk, Kwang Soo was the only other member who really tried to be amusing, trying to use his body gags as much as possible during the minigames. The games were not really designed in a way that allowed the members to be funny though, so many of his gags ended up being repeated ad nauseum.
Gary had a few OK interactions with Jae Suk, and put forth a modicum of effort, but didn’t appear much.
Song Ji Hyo: 3
Ji Hyo practically didn’t exist for most of the episode, and didn’t do much in the few moments where she did appear.
Son Ho Joon, B1A4 Baro, Kang Ye Won, Seo Inguk, Park Seo Joon
An inexperienced group of C and D list celebs, they were for the most part an amorphous yellow mass for most of the episode. The one exception was Son Ho Joon, who had some surprisingly funny (if unintentional) body gags at several points, and also seemed to be the most comfortable and talkative member.
Episode MVP: Yoo Jae Suk
Jae Suk wins this one, almost by default as nobody was particularly good this week.
Final Score: 3
What is going on with this show? The direction and planning of this episode was outright awful, with games that prevent the cast from being funny without adding any sort of competitive drama. Then showing 40 minutes of cooking and cleaning while cutting entire game segments…then having a final game that seems like it was thought up during the car ride to the location. I’m generally hesitant in regards to saying shows are doomed and so forth, but the fact that Running Man has rapidly become terrible at the things they used to do well (planning, editing, postproduction) is concerning – especially as they haven’t fixed the problems that have been going on for awhile now (reliance on weak guests, cast apathy/stagnation). It’s unclear whether episodes like this one, the cooking episodes, and last week’s episode have been so bad due to budget cuts in lieu of the Australia trip, or something larger, but someone needs to sort the show out in the meantime. While it’s unlikely RM will be cancelled (or, more likely re-structured) unless the ratings drop below 10%, they aired a number of severely flawed episodes that will not do much to garner goodwill from either the viewers or the cast.