While everyone (or most people I know of) are still addicted to and stuck at 런닝맨 (Running Man), I have long since moved on. Granted though, I got started on Running Man much earlier than most people in this part of the region – the first episode I watched was in Dec 2010 when my favourite Choi Siwon of Super Junior went on the show for a Christmas special. I didn’t even find it that interesting then. Some months later, H was sent to Virginia on a 2-month long work trip. I got bored being all alone at home with the furkids, and that was when I started watching Running Man again, backtracking all the way to the 1st episode.
The first few episodes were hilarious! And I got seriously hooked. The show has a concept quite unlike all other entertainment series I’d watched. They were funny without being too slapstick, suave without being too ‘greasy’. All in all, a great concept to begin with. But after watching over 100 episodes, I got quite sick of the show. I’m a serious person with a rather severe opinion of doing things with absolutely no meaning longterm wise. Watching Running Man happens to fall into this category. Yes, the episodes are funny and entertaining, but most of the time at the end of the show, I learn nothing. That was when Running Man started becoming stale for me. With H being an absolute fan, I ensure that he gets to watch the latest episodes 1-2 days after telecast but I myself seldom watch them anymore unless interesting guests I like come on the show.
I started watching 1박2일 (2 Days & 1 Night) more religiously. It introduces me to a lot of Korean culture and places, and features many of my favourite actors on its permanent cast. However certain episodes can be boring. But between this and Running Man, my choice is very clear. Atypical nevertheless, but crystal clear.
Then along came 정글의법칙 (Laws of the Jungle), which is a good mix of both shows. I started on this entertainment series rather late although I’d always known of its existence since a couple of years back when it first started. The concept of the show sounds a lot like ‘Survivor’ (which I watched none of because seeing people plotting and scheming is not my cup of tea) so I naturally wanted to skip it, given my rather delicate heart. However, while nursing a bad sore throat in the hotel room during our recent trip to Seoul in March, I happened to watch one of the episodes from their recent New Zealand expedition. I learnt that they cannot be more far removed in association with ‘Survivor’ than anything else because the theme of the show is to pull through together as a group. That got me really interested in the show.
And so, I started looking for sources to download the earlier episodes after our return from Seoul. Because the series is not so famous internationally unlike Running Man, seeders were seriously lacking. It took me the longest time to download even one complete expedition I almost abandoned the thought of watching the series. But they suddenly turned up on Running Man as guests, and impressed the hell out of me (and many Running Man fans) with their cunning and unity. That appearance created a lot of awareness and suddenly seeders appeared out of nowhere. I’m not complaining because I finally managed to have complete expeditions to watch. I started with the 6-episode Siberia expedition. Their survival skills left a deep impression; could be that I myself am not so unfamiliar with roughing it out complete with scarcity of food and water (not exactly to their extent but hunger and thirst are universal basal feelings) that I appreciate their skills more.
I didn’t enjoy the Siberia expedition much because conditions were really severe and I felt so bad for them. The 2nd expedition I chose to watch was the one to Madagascar, which featured the group that went on Running Man, save for Ricky Kim (who appeared on Running Man alone the episode prior) and Ryu Dam. I thoroughly enjoyed all 12 episodes, and learnt so much about Madagascar. Entertaining yet informative. My cup of tea.
Of course my interest level was piqued because of 2 hotties in the group – Ricky Kim, and Jinwoon of 2AM. I also like Jeon Hyebin, the gutsy ‘female lion’ of the group and Park Jungchul. In short, I loved all 7 of them together and enjoyed watching their easy camaraderie develop over the 24 days. And the tree house they built in the rainforest was super impressive. I really have a lot of respect for Kim Byungman. For you Running Man fans out there, yes that’s the guy who could climb trees like a monkey.
Currently I’m mid-way into the New Zealand expedition. Another kind of interesting but I’m not expecting any of the future episodes to ever come near the near-perfect Madagascar one. Sad but true. And Ricky Kim has indicated that he wishes to put more emphasis on his acting career so he will not be attending every of the expedition. I find it such a pity; apart from being the ultimate eye candy, he has also become the most trusted right-hand man of Kim Byungman. I love watching them team up to complete difficult tasks while the other members look on helplessly. Haven’t watched the Amazon and most recent Himalaya expedition where he wasn’t a part of the team so I wonder who stepped up to be the Assistant Tribal Leader but at the rate I’m watching, I will be finding out soon.
If you are like me, finding Running Man somewhat lacking in depth, Laws of the Jungle could be a viable alternative. In any case, do give this awesome series a chance. You may be in for a pleasant surprise!