Running Man 254-Girls Generation

Running Man Episode 254 – Return of Girls Generation

Well, I thought I should voice my opinion about Running Man episode 254, which saw the return of Girls Generation.

All I can say is I’m glad it’s over.

I haven’t cared for the group since they kicked out Jessica without so much as a farewell concert. Still, I like Running Man, so I tuned in, and hoped against hope that the show would help me forget about my disdain for the guests.

It started out ok (not the opening, which was juvenile, but the first game). The mud flat race was everything I’ve come to expect from that oft-visited pool of mud. It was gritty and fun, and quickly zapped the energy from everyone involved. I particularly like whenever the Running Men start wearing down and still keep trying to make us laugh.

mud-Running-Man-254

Of course, while the trip to the mud was fun, it must be noted I am not a fan of striping off everyone’s clothes. I don’t find that funny. And I particularly didn’t find any amusement in having the MC stripped down to his underwear.

But moving on, well, there’s really not much to move on to. The rest of the show wasn’t worth watching. They tried to get things moving by starting up a giant Tetris game, but it quickly devolved into dance practice.

Why so much dancing? In some of the recent episodes, the dancing routines have been great because the guests were fun to watch. But with Girls Generation I felt like I was watching a bunch of wannabes on amateur hour.

The robot moves were horrendous! And whatever Sunny was doing was just plain awful. (Does that girl have any rhythm?)

running man 254 dance-off

Yes, there were some things I liked in the episode: Ji Hyo’s mud-caked face, Gary’s awesome dance move!, and even  Soo Young’s desperate negotiations to save herself.

mong ji mud face

But there were too many dislikes to save the episode. All I can say is if Girls Generation visits again, I’m not watching – Well, it’s Running Man so I have to watch, but I won’t like it.

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SNSD Gets Hypocritical in Their Latest Release

SNSD just released a preview of a new song called “Divine.” Right now, I see them anything but divine. But what strikes me most are the lyrics. Here’s a sample :

We are always one
What will we say we’re capable of
Once we stand before the waves that give their loud roars?
We’ll meet this distress, with a gentle intimacy

Even though I’m not really sure of the story behind the words (probably about young lovers), it’s so hypocritical to release a song about being one and meeting distress with gentle intimacy immediately after kicking out a member of the family.

Unfortunately, the intimate marketing image just doesn’t work anymore. We know if the waves get big enough, SNSD becomes cut-throat.

Jessica gives an interview. Seems to be doing fine.

A few days ago, Jessica Jung (formerly of Girls Generation) was in Shanghai to promote her fashion line at the Lane Crawford event. During her visit, she paused for a brief interview while heading towards the main venue.

She assured fans that she has not lost her passion for the entertainment world. At this time she is focused on the launch of her fashion business, but music is not out of her life. That pretty much sums up what she had to say.

She appeared to be in high spirits, and many fans were there to support her, so it’s a good sign she may end up starting a solo music career and not just fade away.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

SM Entertainment Makes Things Worse

SM Entertainment’s rebuttals began in the same way CCM’s did when Hwayoung was unceremoniously kicked out of T-ara: They released an explanation that only compounded the problem.

They said Jessica wanted to focus on her business. (Ok, I can see that.) They said Jessica might do one more album. (Ok, if she wants to focus on her business, then yea, I can see that, too.) Then, they proceeded to give us a nonsensical statement to reason out why they desperately needed to fire Jessica in an effort to “protect” the girls. In their minds, this statement is irreproachable. After all, it contains the appropriate amount of sugar-coating: tried our best, had no choice, could not maintain. And it relays perfectly their intent to disassociate the Girls from their lead singer. Yet, something is missing…. Oh yea, “Bite me, Jessica!”

It isn’t an explanation. It’s an open letter to the fans to say, “We refuse to work this out because Jessica dared to tell you about what we did.”

Let’s take a look at some business logic. SM Entertainment is in the business to make money. To make money, they need fans. They must maximize their fan-based markets. So, let’s say for the sake of argument that Jessica announces she wants to leave. In a business sense, how do you benefit from such an announcement? You coordinate an album release with a farewell tour. You market it from top to bottom and drive album sales and ticket sales through the roof. You give the fans a tribute they will remember and come out smelling like roses.

Here is what you don’t do: As a business, where mature heads are supposed to reign, you do not become little boy blue and publicly announce you are through with your star pupil because she dared to show her frustration in a blog post. That’s what little Bobby Sue and Billy Bob do when they are mad at each other for half an hour.

The finality of tone in SM Entertainment’s rebuttal is unjustifiable. But more than that, the sum of the statement is an indirect slap in the face to every fan who cared for Jessica.

Taeyeon Helps Unmask the Surprising Ugliness of SNSD

Taeyeon is the leader. She should have the maturity of a leader. That means putting herself in Jessica’s place and asking how she would hope her “sisters” would resolve an internal dispute against her. Would she hope to be ripped off like a Band-Aid? Or that she should be excluded from all immediate and future activities? Would she hope that after nearly a decade as part of their intimate inner circle that she would be treated as though she meant nothing?

Taeyeon has taken her first step towards leading the group into the unpleasant world of backstabbing.

Taeyeon should step down!

In the wake of Jessica Jung’s firing, Taeyeon’s only hint at an explanation is within her sorrowful plea to fans, which stressed her desire to “Protect Girls Generation.” Protect from what? Was Jessica trying to vote out other members? Was she bringing in new blood to expand the group? Was she bad-mouthing the girls at press conferences? What protection so warranted such a desperate resolve as to fire Jessica and immediately cut her out of all Girls Generation activities? Was some horror so eminent that they should ruthlessly spit her out so that Girls Generation could live another day? Perhaps to some fool out there, Taeyeon’s words make perfect sense. But if so, I would suggest you have given into rhetoric. Yes, protecting the brand is good. Protecting the image of the group is good. But how does the immediate firing of a member help the brand or help the image? If anything, it is detrimental. There is nothing good to make of it, and no explanation will suffice.