To me, Running Man is South Korea’s best variety show simply because of the main stars. For the most part, the games or missions are mostly trivial, and by themselves would never be interesting enough to keep me tuning in. But because of the cast, the show is always entertaining.
What I like most is the interaction, the perpetual banter during the missions and the insightful “discussions” in-between. It’s all for comic-relief, and they are very seriously good at it.
Take for example the Music Geniuses in episode 218. Instead of simply working to play a tune correctly, they started punishing each other for messing up by stripping off the offender’s clothes.
Or in episode 147 when they interrupted a game to determine whether Kwang Soo should be allowed to speak to Kim Soo Hyun informally.
Best of all, they are really good sports (especially when you consider the drama queens that would emerge if this were an American show). Like anyone they can express irritation but they are quick to pass it off, unless of course they seize an opportunity to “get into character.” For instance, when most recently in episode 239, Ha-Ha Dong slips into his sad, picked-on persona as he is forced to hand over his gold coins to “big kid” Jong Kook.
It’s all for fun and we see in some of these interactions brief glimpses of their acting abilities, especially in Ji-Hyo, Kwang-Soo, and Ha-Ha.
Running Man is a show I look forward to every week. They pretty much fill up the year with new weekly episodes and I hope they are able to continue on for many more years.
It will certainly be a sad day when it all comes to an end.