Running With Superheroes

It was superhero day on Running Man. And they started out in blockbuster style swapping out the usual welcoming ceremony with star-studded credits. Of course, after the introduction, the “ceremony” got under way with the usual banter.

For the most part, they looked pretty awful in their costumes. Kwang Soo was painstakingly made-up as the Avatar character, but it wasn’t a pretty sight. Jong Kook as Wolverine looked like a Korean Elvis Presley, Ha Ha an errand boy, and Suk Jin a budget-conscience Batman wearing a mask that might have been cut from the back of a cereal box. I think Gary was some sort of space monkey. None of them seemed particularly happy about their apparel.

Of course, Ji Hyo looked good and took on the part of Wonder Woman as though she were playing a real character, and Jae Suk jumped right in (as always) as Superman.

There were more good situations than bad in this episode, which is the best way I can rate Running Man in recent months. I don’t think highly of the writers. The interaction among the members really is the show, and the writers should work hard to give them interesting things to do or games to play. Fortunately, in this episode, the good outweighed the bad (or the boring).

Watch here:


Jessica Jung Moves Away

The split between Jessica and Girls Generation has caused what seems to be an irreparable rift in communication between the two sides. Except for Jessica’s statement and SM Entertainment’s childish response, nothing else has come to light. Now, Jessica seems to be putting some distance away from her old band days. She is now a business woman and is jumping in with both feet.

As announced by Lane Crawford, a company that deals with luxury items, Jessica will begin selling a series of sunglasses through the company’s outlets. To commemorate the business venture (and Lane Crawford’s first anniversary in Shanghai), Jessica will be on hand to promote her series collection.

The event takes place in Shanghai Times Square on October 16th.

So no doubt about it, she is not letting the split get the best of her. More than that, even though it’s sad she will no longer be part of SNSD, she is sending a clear message to SM Entertainment and Girls Generation that she will not be bullied into abandoning her future.

The Girls of SNSD Turned Their Backs on Jessica

On Ssul Jeon, Kim Gu Ra made a perfect comment on what betrayal means for idols. Specifically, he spoke concerning Jessica and the way she was fired. He said,

When you look at conflicting situations for idols, the member in question has no one to lean on but the fans and other members, but in this case, the members turned their backs on her, right? If you look at it from the big picture, it is not a beautiful farewell. I felt that, as expected, all groups are just groups for profit.

It isn’t a beautiful farewell. It’s more than just the loss of a job; it’s the loss of friendship. And that’s the biggest thorn in my side over this. It isn’t because Jessica is no longer part of the group. I was never particular a fan. But she was part of the Girls Generation family, and you sort of buy into that idea over the years.

Unfortunately, Gu Ra is right: They really are all about profit. Family is the marketing angle. The decade they spent together doesn’t seem to have changed that or brought them any closer than arm’s length.

Jessica’s desire to invest her future beyond that of an entertainer seems to have been the catalyst in the confrontation. Push came to shove and not even for the sake of the fans were they willing to sort out their differences. Ok, fine. They no longer see eye-to-eye. But their solution is to cut her out completely?

Out of the group. Out of their lives.

It is the worst type of send-off for everyone.

Running Man Races On – And I Missed It

Race Start is the official fan meeting event for avid fans of Running Man. If you don’t know what Running Man is, please move on to the next post.

I missed every event last season, and now I’ve started this season off the same way. If I don’t catch the one held in Korea, then it’s pretty much over for me. Fortunately, I’ve been able to find more videos from this year’s event, but I would love to see an entire show.

Only Yoo Jae Suk and Gary are missing from the lineup this time, so we’re getting closer to seeing a full cast for one of these events. I think I might have to splurge for a plane ticket if that ever materializes.

Enjoy some of the event from this video.

Shin Min Ah + No Pants = Funny

Well, according to Shin Min Ah, the no-pants gag is hilarious. Recently, on Entertainment Weekly, she revealed that it was her idea to have Jo Jung Suk remove his pants in a few scenes of their upcoming movie “My Love, My Bride.” In the movie, he appears to remove his pants quite often, so I assume it became a running gag after her suggestion.

I’m not much on romantic comedy, especially if guys start taking off their pants, so as much as I enjoy watching Miss Min Ah, I’ll probably skip this one.

See the clip here:

Sunny May Have Revealed Her Side of the Vote

As fans try to piece together the events that led to Jessica being fired from Girls Generation, it is inevitable that we must speculate on ulterior motives, especially since the Girls themselves do not seem as eager to discuss their rationale as quickly as they were to eradicate a member.

Well, front and center on speculation is Sunny. In a vote against Jessica, on which side was she? It’s no accident that she was chosen to sing Jessica’s part of Mr. Mr. during a recent visit to Japan. It’s possible she typically stands in for Jessica during rehearsals, so we have to wonder what was in her mind when asked to put Jessica to a vote.

Even though we can more than infer a growing criticism against Jessica for her outside projects, in reality, each one of them wants more: more acting, more solos, more product labels for their smiling faces. And it can rightfully be conjectured that without Jessica, Sunny gets more lead vocal time. So even if she had no reason to oust Jessica, it’s safe to say she was on the negative side of the voting table.

Sooyoung has Something to Say!

Sooyoung has dropped in her two cents on what it meant to suddenly vote out a member of Girls Generation. “I’ll work even harder for the people who are cheering on Girls’ Generation,” she said.

So, basically, it was nothing. No well-wishes to Jessica. No revelation of what led to the backstabbing. Just the same ole packaged “work harder” rhetoric we’ve heard from every KPop group that has ever existed.

How difficult is it for these girls to apologize directly to Jessica’s fans for what happened? It seems not only did they successfully kick out Jessica, but they seemingly intend to also rid themselves of her fan-base.

SM Entertainment Sticks it to the Fans

By immediately removing Jessica from everything that is Girls Generation, SM Entertainment all but admits they owe the fans nothing. And the girls reveal just how lightly they regard themselves as family. We will soon enter the phase of excuses through some heart-felt attempt to justify their extreme course of action. But no matter how you look at it, the firing of Jessica Jung, in which they all played a part, is inexcusable.

SM Entertainment to all Jessica’s fans, “Go to hell. We owe you nothing.”

Shin Min Ah on Running Man (episode 215)

Shin Min Ah. From the beginning, I’ve looked for her to appear on Running Man. Never thought she would. I was very surprised to see her in the preview for episode 215. The last time I saw her she was playing a resurrected ghost in Arang and the Magistrate. Now, she wants to get married…to Gary!

I enjoyed the episode, though I think they played the song game too long. The end game was a throw-back to the early years when Jong Kook and the kids in blue used to hunt down the pink team. This time it was a hunt for wedding gifts. I’ve never particularly cared for the Blue vs Pink hunt-to-the-death game, and this variation didn’t change my mind about it. But for the most part, the episode was fun.

I will say Shin Min Ah seemed particularly delicate. She was definitely as timid as expected (she always gives me that impression in every talk show or interview I see her in). Nothing aggressive about her, which unfortunately doesn’t make her well-suited for Running Man. And it seemed the games were devised to accommodate her mild nature (no mud wrestling, food-gorging, or acupuncture mat). But none of that mattered. She was delightful.

Shin Min Ah Running Man

SM vs Jessica: The Unofficial Conversation Revealed

For those who still can’t see through the deceptive statement from SM Entertainment regarding Jessica Jung’s firing from SNSD, I’ll break it down for you. In fact, I’ll put you right in the room of the discussion. Keep in mind, this is not an actual conversation, but rather one that most logically fits with what we’ve been told.

If we were to follow the discussions according to SM Entertainment’s statement, this would be the flow of the conversation. (To follow the logic of the scene, take note of the references that inspired the dialog.)

Jessica: I’m out! One more album and then it’s clothes, clothes, and more clothes for me.1

SM: We respect your decision.2 We will make it effective immediately.3

Jessica: No, no. One more album before I go.

SM: Are you still here? Our decision is final. No more activities with Girls Generation.4 And you keep your mouth shut.5

Jessica: The hell with you. [Jessica releases statement]

SM: Bitch!

SM: [Top brass meet to discuss Jessica’s rebellious ways]. Now what? We already prepared our lie to the Chinese fans of why Jessica could not attend the fan-meeting without revealing we fired her.6 She turns more American every day! Ok, fine. Let’s stick it to her good. Billy Bob! Prepare the standard statement of why we’re so right and she’s so wrong.7

Billy Bob8 [SM’s official press writer]: You betcha, Sir!

1. She [Jessica] has notified us she will halt her team promotions with the release of one [more] album.
2. Despite Jessica’s sudden notice, the agency and the Girls’ Generation members tried our best and tried to figure out a way that Girls’ Generation’s activities can continue in the best possible direction.
3. Despite ongoing talks, it has come to a point where the team could not be maintained.
4. From here on, our agency will continue to support and manage the 8-member Girls’ Generation…
5. [It is naturally inferred she was not allowed to talk about the decision because of the tone of SM Entertainment’s rebuttal that her statement was unexpected.]
6. …the agency had no choice but to pull up Girls’ Generation’s activities as 8 members earlier than planned. [The fan-meeting was upon them. They had no intention of telling the truth. They were trying to come up with an excuse without revealing the situation. But they were blind-sided by Jessica’s statement.]
7. In the midst of while working out when to announce this, Jessica had posted her words early this morning. [Naturally, they’re peeved. They raise these kids like cattle. When they say dance you dance; when they say sing you sing; and if they bite you on the butt, you keep your mouth shut about it. But turns out this kid bites back.]
8. Good ole Billy Bob. When it comes to compounding a problem, he is the one most expected to stick his foot in his mouth. I don’t know who the official writer is for SM Entertainment, but he seems to have as much sense as Jethro Bodine.