Thursday, January 23, 2014

Running Man popularity is dropping?

Jackie Chan he is 50% half Korean
Its not a secret that Running Man is reaching the peak of its popularity. But as the show keeps growing in influence throughout Asia, apparently Running Man show is not as popular in South Korea as the  rest of Asia thought it would be.
Of course, Running Man is not the only variety show in South Korea thus creating different competitive environment for Running Man back in its own homeland.

But is Running popularity is dropping over the years?

No, its not that they become less popular, it just that their rating is stagnating or regressed a bit. Before this, their rating rises exponentially from 2010 to 2012. Its in 2013 that their ratings in South Korea decrease to almost the same level as 2011. The different of both ratings in 2013 and 2011 is almost 10%! That can't be right. Ok, maybe that doesn't seem like 'regressed a bit' at all. And the statistic number could be wrong, I mean, where does that figures come from anyway? I only looked the rating list from wikipedia, so that it doesn't really mean anything. Is it? Right, you guys?

Wrong! There is indeed something wrong with this show. Although a lot have been pointed out regarding on the show flaws, and a lot have been rectified to make this show to be more diverse and interesting, the Running Man still become almost mundane.

And by mundane, I mean you started to skip certain scenes while watching the show. And what scenes are those? You know which one I'm talking about. The one that didn't make you laugh at all.

It is impossible for the game show not to be scripted at all. Sometime things happened, and you need to be prepared with contingency plan, hence the scripting here and there. Scripted as the show may be, nothing is more annoying than seeing the script didn't change and started to be predictable. For example, the latest Running Man episode, Village School Secret Romance. You can almost see that everyone in the show have already guess who is the secret couple mid-way of the show. But they play out their roles nonetheless by excruciatingly questioning each other to create suspense and tension that doesn't exist.

I don't understand why Ji-hyo is chosen to play as the secret couple- wait you guys have seen the show right? I'm not spoiling anything here, yes? The thing is, in recent episodes, there are too much of Ji-hyo. How long must the production crew lie to the viewers? She is really not the 'Ace', no matter how much the producers try to paint her image that way. I accepted her role as 'Ace' before because in a way, she is one woman who competes against 6 Running men, showing her as a strong woman. But that was a long time ago when we all were hoping that a second female cast would join in later.

In the previous episode of 179-180th, Running Man Cooking Battle, she was given the best ingredient and easiest to win, the king crab. Did she win? Nope, she lose. Just like that. While other member had to fish some rockfish, catch chickens, learn how to make cold noodles, gather oyster and mussel.. she just bought the king crab from the market and spend her time playing at the beach. Don't get me wrong, its a variety show and all of the show cast member also loves goofing around. But she spends the whole day.. without even trying to cook the dish, it was her cousin who cook it for her. Her chosen dish were king crab stew, steamed king crab, and king crab porridge.  And guess what, she failed on how to cook a porridge which she could have learn in less than 5 minutes. A Porridge!?

I was totally disappointed in those 2 episodes, a little bit. Because of the wasted effort and all that.. she is not even funny. But does the latest episode of 181st got any better?
It could be, if Suk-jin was chosen as the secret lover. People would never expected that and it would be so hilarious. The very idea was so ridiculous, all the Running Man members and viewers alike would be rolling on the floor laughing out loud just thinking about it.

But it wasn't Suk-jin as the secret couple. It was Ji-hyo. What a waste. There was a scene where they play the Scarecrow game, and when they wanted to decide who would start first, Lee Seyoung was upset because Suk-jin ahjussi didn't make a rock in scissor-rock-paper causing HaHa to ask whether they are the secret couple. But all of them just laugh at the very notion. Then on the other game where the boys need to ask the girls to go out, Lee Seyoung rejected HaHa and Gary, and choose to be with Suk-jin ahjussi instead. Nobody suspected him or even accuse him of being the secret lover. At all. Because it just too ridiculous to even consider. That could have been solid gold plot twist, right there.

The show is not totally spoiled though. The gags, comedy, its all there. It was really entertaining other than the part where the camera zoom in for the secret couple scene which stole too much airtime. There was scene that suppose to be hilarious (Suk-jin was picked up by Jong-kook and Kwang-soo)  but the camera kept on Ji-hyo for secret lover secret mission. Not to mention it was pointless. Because first, both of them were acting too weirdly and all the other members notice this throughout the show. And second, the real secret couple was shown to the viewers for a reason I cannot fathom. Why try to add suspense between scenes when you already expose who is the secret lover anyway?

It is not a secret that Running Man show is not just popular, but due to its popularity throughout Asia, any cast, member or guest, who joined the show without doubt would gain recognition from viewers outside South Korea. But lately, I felt like Running Man is more like Song Ji-Hyo's personal popularity booster. I loves her when I first saw her in Running Man, but over the years, with the 'Ace' and 'Monday Couple', and all of the cute scenes, fades away with her 'delinquent' side, only to be glorified as 'Bad' Ji-hyo, I saw it was all just names. She wasn't all of that. She actually took the roles of a possible new female member.

There were rumors that she would be leaving the Running Man, turns out she wasn't. She was just busy with acting in new films and might have conflicted schedule in the future. But the PD (production director) did says something about misunderstanding between Running Man production and Ji-hyo's side, where the PD mentioned that Ji-hyo's side might have felt under-appreciated when Running Man production was 'rumored' to be interviewing another female star. Come on, don't tell me you can't read between the lines...

Frankly, I think Running Man would do better with a new female member addition. I'm not kidding. Ji-hyo alone would make things a bit restrained because what the other male members can do, she cannot (and for the love of God, please don't pretend to be strong, just because you bungee jump all by yourself, doesn't mean you don't need a member co-star) . She need to have a partner. All the male members have their own partner where they can work hand in hand together. If I have to see, Ji-hyo cute, Ji-hyo blank, Ji-hyo bad all over again, I'm really going to be crazy!

Or, maybe Running Man is really is Ji-hyo's personal popularity booster?


  1. I am feeling annoyed at people (and I am not pointing you but some on other sites) who claim that Running Man is going to get cancelled because of "low ratings". Maybe they are new to the Korean culture and so when they read news, they think they know all of stuffs but I have been a fan for as long as I can remember and ratings for Running Man aren't low at all.
    If we take as reference, AGB and nationwide ratings, of course the show decreased when it comes to viewer ratings. You gotta understand that back in 2012, MBC and KBS "sucked so hard" with their variety shows which allowed SBS to get all the viewer ratings from most "adult counterparts". Running Man has always been popular with kids and students. Then in 2013, MBC had Real Men and DWAWG, which proved to be popular and took most if not all adult viewer ratings which explains the drop in ratings.
    But Running Man losing popularity in South Korea ? Heck no. They are still able to invite top stars and a lot of diversity when it comes to their guests. They are still in double digits ratings which means that the show is doing well. (low ratings is what Barefoot Friends had : 4-5%). Even now, Running Man manages to top the competion whereas they are at the fourth year. So, yeap', this is nothing to look down but it's rather impressive. If they continue this way, the show will go for a longtime and as a Runner, I am really happy.

    Also, I get that people have different opinions and whatever but really, all those comments about how old episodes were better are pissing me off. I still remember back then, between episode 15-40, people complaining that hide and seek predictable, missions boring ... etc. Y'know, I realized that you really can't satisfy everyone.
    As someone who watched every freakin' episode at least twice, I can say that I am glad that PD decided to change format because it saved the show.
    Frankly, I can't really understand people complaing about the quality saying that nowadays, they skip scenes, episodes ... etc. Seriously ? You do this ? I can tell you those few episodes that I disliked in my recent memory : 156, 163, 170 and 173. That's all.

    Anyway, great article even though I don't agree about the scripted part :)
    As far as I understand, people think that scripted = manipulated and I witnessed that every time a guest wins, it's "scripted" but when a member wins "it's not scripted". The logic.

    But I agree with seeing so much of Ji Hyo. I just think that the PD is trying to balance with the fact that back in 2013, we didn't much of Jihyo and perso, even if my ultimate is Kwang Soo and Suk Jin, I don't complain. Heck, try to be like Suk Jin and you can complain XD.

    1. Scripting is important to keep the show on track. But the problem is that if it was heavily scripted, where the show becomes predictable and spouting nonsense. Like the example I gave in recent episode 181. What exactly was the show theme at the time? What was it all about? In the end what do you feel? Did you laugh, did you cried, did you smiled? I highly doubt it. It was a complete bull-crap.

      And yes, I do skip scenes nowadays with RM, every time Ji-hyo comes out with the glittering and the sparkles, and especially when the word, Monday Couple comes out.

      Let face the fact, how long was it when Monday Couple love-line started? 3? No, I think it close to 4 freaking years. Ever since Ji-hyo's personal life comes out in the open, the bubble burst. But it was a good run. We smiled, we laughed, everyone danced, we had a good time. But that was it.

      Don't forget, at the beginning, Jong-kook was literally one of the most hated RM member because of his uncontrolled outburst, aggressiveness, and picking on the young Kwang Soo and the weak Suk-jin hyungnim. But that was four years ago, what did he make for himself? The Commander, Sparta'kook', Kookie, he even group himself with the others and make the Jong-kook and 2 kids, giraffe and tiger, my hyung and my dongsaeng.

      What did Ji-hyo do for the last 4 years? Which group did she joined? Which member did she paired up aside from Gary's Monday Couple thingy?

      Like you said, the format changing saved the show. Of course it does, no one wants to see the same thing over and over again. Even I was glad when new themes and ideas were put into the show. And the casts would be changing into new roles and character.

      Look at what Kwang-soo and Suk-jin hyung did for themselves where they were labeled the weakest member of RM? Easy Brothers. It was first scripted by the PD in the fake spy mission, yes it was scripted. They didn't come up with the pairing themselves, but what did they do with it? They immerse themselves into the characters, even make a cheer out of it. Feel~Touch~Cross!

      Even Jong-kook tried to emulate that in his tiger and giraffe pairing which ended hilariously. Kook~Soo~Eat! (Kooksoo=Gooksoo means noodle)

      For the guest win that people been rambling about its being scripted, it really doesn't take a genius to figure one that out. They're guest, what do you expect? If you a singer, and your guest could outdo your performance without any scripting, then you might as well retired and gives your spot to the guest. I didn't care much about the guest scripting though.

      But Ji-hyo, is NOT a guest. Or is she? That is why on my first article about the RM, I honestly think that Ji-hyo is more of a really, really long term guest. The more Ji-hyo's character clinging to that Monday Couple line, the heavier the show's scripting would be. Urghh.. Just watch episode 183 and you'll know.

      That is why I wrote this article. I didn't say the show is going to be cancelled nor do I pretend that I know how popular is RM back in South Korea. But I do know that if this trends keep going on, RM will lose its audiences. And like I said, I do skip scenes now. I do not know about other people, but for me, there are parts that I wish it would changed just like the rest of the show's format.


  2. I agree. RM is getting boring week by week. There are surely many factors that causing it. Surely there's some external factors like new challenge from MBC good, fresh variety programs.

    But, like what you said, I do now skipping some scenes when watching RM - even almost all scenes like on the college race episode. I even haven't watched the Australia special til now, and not planning to do so until two or more weeks. In the past, I always stand by to get the latest episode every week.

    To me, there are several reasons that make me feel the show become uninteresting. First, the show become more and more YJS centric, which is I find it annoying. Then, KJK is getting older & his 'commander' character ruins his image. KJK always getting attention for his shy personality & love lines with other casts or the guests. But, now he is 40 years, and the Commander character prevents him to show his true personality. Next reason is, even I'm not really their shipper, SJH & KG on screen relation might never go off screen. It's way different to what KJK & YEH had during X-Man days, where other artists revolved around them & try to break apart their relationship - but the young, funny on screen chemistry between both had made many believes that they were destined to meet each other. Such chemistry, many tried to duplicate, even by involving KJK himself, but none has reached the same high.

    Even so, back to RM, there haven't been any other K Variety that has so many followers worldwide. To say RM would be cancelled won't happen anytime soon. The show is getting tired, but they still got much time to turn it around.

  3. totally agree, as times goes by, running man character image especially jihyo ' have become dullsometimes annoying, and the idea of monday couple i think its time to throw it into the dustbin


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