Infinite Challenge 386 – Speed Racer #4 – Pre-Race Practice
Back to racing this week, as the members practice for the real thing, and determine who will take Gil’s spot.
Planning and Direction: 4
While it was largely out the staff’s hands (again) due to Gil’s idiocy and the race being delayed due to the Sewol ferry accident, an entire episode dedicated to on-course practicing was a bit a let-down in terms of planning. In previous ‘practice’ episodes, they at least tried to spice it up a bit by incorporating driving mini-segments and comedy bits, but this was almost entirely actual practice racing. Nothing terribly wrong with how it was presented, but it wasn’t really meaningful in any way either.
Good work from the postproduction team again for a Speed Racer episode, as the graphics and captions were vital in conveying the details of what was actually happening on the track. Additionally, the lack of copyrighted music was actually an improvement over the cheesy rock and dubstep soundtracks used in previous episodes.
Yoo Jae Suk : 5
Didn’t have a lot to do this week, as his spot was already assured and he didn’t have much to prove in terms of racing. Still, he did well enough keeping the flow going as MC when called upon.
Park Myung Soo: 4
Didn’t do much of anything this week, even his sulky character was nowhere to be found as he seemed to have already given up on qualifying. Was just a background player this week.
Jung Jun Ha: 6
Another decent week for Jun Ha, who wasn’t amazing but was again the most active member in terms of audience entertainment. He benefited somewhat from the PD’s decision to focus on his ‘chase’ of Jae Suk as a major plot point, but also had some of the episodes better jokes (sponsorship gags with HaHa, making fun of Hyung Don’s failures) and stayed involved for most of the show.
Jung Hyung Don: 4
Seemed lively during the introduction at the track and during the early segments, but faded into obscurity as the episode went on following his elimination.
Ha Ha: 5
Not a major player this week by any means, but had some good interactions with Jun Ha and was again the best member in terms of talking while driving.
No Hong Chul: 4
Hong Chul worked very hard and created a surprising result, but he really didn’t make much effort to be funny other than with his reactions during the elimination races.
Episode MVP: Jung Jun Ha
As the episode was 80% driving, there wasn’t a lot to separate the members this week, but Jun Ha probably had the best performance in terms of both racing and comedy. Additionally, during the sponsor selection, Jun Ha was the only member to choose charities that seek to change Korean society for the better, selecting organizations in support of multiculturalism and single mothers.
Final Score: 4
While there was nothing overtly wrong with this episode, it was a bit pointless as a full episode as well as being a bit too repetitive both in terms of racing itself and in terms of structure – there have been tons of elimination and practice laps already aired on previous episodes. For non-racing fans it was probably a bit too much, and for people who enjoy racing it was probably a bit too banal, as there wasn’t as much of an attempt to examine the nuances of racing as there were in previous installments.