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Popular Running Man Television Show Brings Back Childhood Memories

2011/02/16 | 5059 views | Permalink | Source

Do you recall playing tag with your friends back in childhood? Do you remember the moments of thrill before shouting "FREEZE!"? Now I think back, 'where' was not the big question, but 'with who' was. 'Running Man' is a show which relates to those childhood memories, and enables the audience to sympathize with the child-like humor generated from watching the show'.Running Man' is the first segment of Weekend entertainment show 'Love Sunday!' The program was first aired on June 27, 2010, replacing ex-popular TV series 'Family Outing 2'. Yoo Jae-suk, much-celebrated host, firmly stands at the center and leads a group of celebrities through various missions and games. As the producer explains: "The agenda of the show is to visit notable landmarks in Korea, and explore the place as one had never done before". True because, no adults over 13 would play hide-and-seek or tag at National Gugak [music] Center, or at City Post Office, or at the Korea Metrological Administrative Tower (that is the scholarly title for the weather center), or, at any other city attractions no one really pays much attention to under ordinary circumstances.

Whatever the original agenda of the show must have been, 'Running Man' has succeeded in attracting the viewers who were tired of watching another 'reality show'. In addition to Yoo Jae-suk, the host, there are seven more celebrities also starring in the program – Ji Seok-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Haha, Gary, Song Joong-ki, Lee Kwang-soo, and Song Ji-hyo. As if eight members are still not enough, different guests are invited every other week, bringing a unique atmosphere to every episode. The show is often led by a competition between the guests-team vs. the 'Running Man' team.

Scene from Running man on 2011.2.15 with DBSK/TVXQ – first mission: identify the guest! (guests hidden among the camouflage)

The first mission for the 'Running Man' team is to identify the guest – which often remind the viewers of either hide-and-seek or tag. The guest disguises himself or herself against camouflage. For example, when DBSK/TVXQ was invited a few weeks back, the guests hid themselves among a group of staff dressed in Phantom of the Opera costumes at the National Gugak Center. Uninformed of who the guest was, or were, the starring celebrities started chasing after every 'phantom' they ran into in the building.

I had quite a good laugh watching the members looking devastated at discovering 'another phantom-staff'. The mission gets more entertaining when the guests themselves become emerged in the game and run around the place with their best effort not to get caught. The first mission is over when either the 'Running Man' team catches the guest, or the guest completes his separately given mission without being discovered by the other team member.
There are about three to four different missions in each episode, and the games often vary every week. Each mission is rather simple, and the games often resemble those the viewers used to play when they were young. The one-sided rivalry of Lee Kwang-soo against Song Joong-ki, a complete opposite in appearance but only the same in age, and 'Monday-Tuesday Couple' referring to Song Ji-hyo the actress and Gary the HipHop rapper, only adds to the fun of the show.

Scene from Running Man with guest stars Cha Tae-hyun and Yoon Se-ah; Yoo Jae-suk at the center (in blue)

Above all, however, what makes 'Running Man' so entertaining and fun to watch is that the viewers can simply recognize the genuine enjoyment and excitement the members generate while being part of the show, and share their emotions related to each one's own childhood memories.

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