The challenge of removing Kim Jong-kook’s name tag is comparable to compiling a list of the best Running Man episodes. Hence, instead of “best or funniest,” here is a list of “My 10 most re-watched episodes, in random order:
10. Episodes 588-589 (2022)
Guests: Lee Hyun-yi, Irene, Song Hae-na, Joo Woo-jae
Theme: Fashion King, Battle of heights
This was the first of many appearances by model and actor Joo Woo-jae, who displayed his distinctive charms fit for variety shows. Everyone had their shining moments, but Woo-jae’s shone the brightest. He appeared to be a match for Jong-kook’s strength, but during the games, he turned into a paper doll performing unexpected skits making everyone laugh. His team, which included So-min and Seok-jin, finished last in all the games, making them the underdogs for the name tag removal mission. The come-from-behind moments would make you cheer for them. The Yang Se-chan game, which is like our own “Pinoy Henyo,” also provided memorable scenes. Everyone was laughing at Yoo Jae-suk’s difficulty in guessing the answer, which was his wife’s name, while they were amazed at Woo-jae’s quickness in guessing “Donald Trump” after only four questions. The variety show gods truly blessed this episode.
9. Episode 503 (2020)
Guests: Jessi, BewhY, Ahn Ji-young (BOL4) Jinhyuk (UP10TION) Hyojung (Oh My Girl)
Theme: The Kings and Queens of festivals
The Tom and Jerry interaction between Yoo Jae-suk and Jessi was the highlight of his episode. Want to see Haha asking their PD whether he fears Jessi or the national MC pleading with her to let him speak? Everyone on set was astonished and laughed at her responses during the “cutting the rope” task. Jee Seok-jin’s victory at the end demonstrates the eldest member’s survival instinct.
8. Episode 499 (2020)
Guests: Ro-woon (SF9), Lee Do-hyun, Cho Sae-ho, Noh Sa-yeon, Hong Jin-young
Theme: Class Race / A battle between professions
In the Running Man video clips that have been uploaded on YouTube, Lee Do-hyun is praised as an entertainment genius. As Yang Se-chan was questioned for giving the impression of confessing to having a girlfriend with his “Love is my girlfriend” sentence, Lee added “My girlfriend is Se-chan’s girlfriend” , complicating matters further. Look for a 2-minute video on YouTube because it is so funny that it cannot be described in words. During the hide-and-seek mission, he was cornered by Haha, but they worked out a deal since Lee wanted to win a prize for his mother. He agreed to be photographed, giving Haha the advantage. As Lee tricked the members into thinking Ro-woon was the spy rather than him, the episode showcased Lee’s acting abilities.
7. Episode 448 (2019)
Guests: Hani & Solji (EXID), Mingyu and Seungkwan (SEVENTEEN), Kim Hye-yoon, Han Bo-reum
Theme: The team that goes viral wins
The mission, in which teams had to re-enact scenes from a K-drama while guessing a song from a popular year, was chaotic but hilarious. Kim Hye-yoon’s awkwardness and dance abilities were adorable. Mingyu and Seung-kwan’s improvisation while performing “Home” without background music demonstrated why they are variety show standouts. After completing the mission, the teams must make a one-minute video, with the winner determined by the number of likes.
6. Episode: 376 (2017)
Theme: Race for get-together money
Guests: Leeteuk, Yesung, Eunhyuk and Donghae (SUPER JUNIOR), Irene and Joy (RED VELVET)
The show has featured members of Super Junior before, but this episode marked the first time four of them appeared together.
Donghae appearing on a variety show is also unusual. He would suddenly take photos once he completes a mission, which surprised everyone. And you know those backstories in K-dramas where the main characters were childhood friends? At least in this episode, that sort of happens in real life. Jun So-min and Eunhyuk were classmates in elementary. The two shared their memories and performed Roora’s “3!4!” which they also did as 4th graders. On the last mission where the members had to guess the identity of the spy, So-min was the only one who maintained her stand that it was Eunhyuk. She obviously knows him. Their chemistry and friendship made this episode heartwarming. Eunhyuk, whom So-min calls by his real name Hyuk-jae returned as a guest after four years in episode 589.
5. Episode 135 (2013)
Theme: Treasure Hunter Special
Guests: Jackie Chan, Siwon Choi (Super Junior)
Global superstar Jackie Chan’s appearance is evidence of just how popular Running Man is. The mission where they had to ask each other questions and set an alarm was the mission’s high point. Whoever is speaking when the alarm goes off loses. To buy time, Kang Gary bombarded Chan with questions. Chan returned the favor by asking Kang to list his top ten favorite Jackie Chan films. Super Junior’s Siwon was attacked by Yoo Jae-suk with a question about his dating status, and he responded by asking who he considered the best MC in Korea. The next mission, inspired by Jackie Chan’s film “Chinese Zodiac,” was a classic running man game that tested everyone’s physical and mental stamina. The entertaining episode came to a perfect finale with Siwon being the only one to hit the golden zone in the dart mission.
4. Episode 147 (2013)
Guests: Kim Soo-hyun, Lee Hyun-woo
Theme: Flower Boy Athletic Race
Running Man is the type of show that helps fans appreciate celebrities in a new light. In this episode, Kim Soo-hyun’s competitiveness and down-to-earth attitude will make you realize why he is currently Korea’s highest-paid actor. “Soo-hyun that embraces the chicken.” Yoo Jae-suk’s funny adlib upon seeing Soo-hyun clutching the chicken he captured for a game, shows why he was named Korea’s National MC. Over 300 individuals participated in an incredible three-way tug-of-war at Sogang University for the final mission. The editing and music used were excellent. The mystery of who would win made this thrilling episode worth re-watching.
3. Episode 242 (2015)
Guests: Jung Il-woo, Jung Yong-hwa (CNBLUE), Lee Hong-ki (FTIsland)
Theme: Hallyu Race (Games suggested by global viewers) / 3 against 7
Three members (Kim Jong-kook, Lee Kwang-soo & Jung Il-woo) versus seven members (Yoo Jae-suk, Jee Seok-jin, Kang Gary, Haha,
Song Ji-hyo, Jung Hyong-hwa, Lee Hong-ki) Before the popularity of “The rose of Sharon has bloomed” game in the film, “Squid Game, there was “What time is it Mr. Wolf?” in Running Man. The game was suggested by a fan from Singapore. Jong-kook’s intimidating character as the wolf matches well with him as someone who can defeat the other members combined, but in the end, CN Blue’s Yong-hwa’s speed in running gave the game a surprise twist.
2. Episode 133-134 (2013)
Guests: Lee Dong-wook, Han Hye-jin
Theme: Special Asia Race in Macau and Vietnam
This episode is a reminder of why Song Ji-hyo is Running Man’s precious ace. Three teams compete to find the secret of the hidden swords. The episodes have a massive scale in every aspect. The huge crowd in every mission location cheered the loudest at the sight of the Giraffe, Lee Kwang-soo. Mr. Dependable, Jong-kook, who saw it, told the other members that they need to be kinder to Kwang-soo going forward since his popularity is no joke. Members of each team had to choose from a sky jump (bungee jump), mast climb, and sky walk at the Macau Tower which measures 338 meters in height. The missions were tremendously challenging, so everyone was rooting for everyone to accomplish them, whether they were on the same team or not. Haha told Ji-hyo that he is proud that they are teammates when she was getting ready for the bungee jump. Ji-hyo replied by telling him their teams were different. Haha said he meant “Running Man team.” Earlier, Ji-hyo’s teammate Lee Dong-wook volunteered to do the bungee jump because, being the gentleman that he is, he claimed he could not allow their lone female team member to do it. Ji-hyo and Dong-wook’s bungee jumping may have given Han Hye-jin the confidence to decide to jump as well. The encouragement from everyone to not give up and overcome their fears, and Ji-hyo’s girl power moments, made this episode meaningful and memorable.
1. Episode 175 (2013)
Guests: Gong Yoo and Park He-soon
Theme: The Suspect race (inspired by Gong Yoo and Park He-soon’s action movie)
The opening scene had the members and guests being led inside the cell as the offenses for which they were detained were stated. Yoo Jae-suk was accused of committing the offense of being “dance crazy,” or someone who moves to the beat of the music all the time. Song Ji-hyo for her “crime of beauty” and Gong Yoo for his “Arson,” of setting women’s hearts on fire. Gong Yoo’s athleticism was on display during the pool wrestling game, but Kim Jong-kook overpowered him in the decisive round. Jee Seok-jin grabbed Jae-suk’s waist to stay alive, but as he fell into the pool, he mistakenly dragged his pants down, exposing Jae-suk’s shorts.
I first learned about the show’s dynamics and characters in this episode. Running Man is more than just the members that we see, there are individuals behind the show’s success. Gong Yoo told the members, “I didn’t realize the set was this big with many staff members.” What was the first Running Man episode you watched?
Finally, the variety show gods have blessed the Philippines. RUNNING MAN “A DECADE OF LAUGHTER TOUR IN MANILA, presented by PULP Live World is happening this April 1, 2023, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. We look forward to the fan meeting with anticipation and enthusiasm that we will be able to write another list of our running man memories, this time from the fan gathering, just like we did with the unforgettable moments mentioned in this list.