Running Man (Korean: 런닝맨) is a South Korean variety show; a part of SBS's Good Sunday lineup, along with Kim Yu-na's Kiss & Cry (김연아의 키스 앤 크라이). It was first aired on July 11, 2010. This show is classified as an "urban action variety"; a never-before-seen new genre of variety shows. The MCs and guests play games and carry out missions in the landmark, and are required to win missions to earnRunning Balls. The team with Running Balls will win, while the losing team will be punished. It has garnered attention as being the come-back program for Yu Jae-suk, the main MC of the program, after leavingGood Sunday's Family Outing in February 2010. Originally airing at 5:20PM KST as Good Sunday Part 1, Running Man moves to 6:40PM KST beginning May 22, 2011, airing after Kim Yu-na's Kiss & Cry asGood Sunday returns to airing as a "whole" program.
The MCs and guests divide into teams and are required to earn Running Balls to escape punishment by winning missions. The format for the missions as of episode 44 are:
- Mission 1 is the race mission.
- Mission 2-4 features missions related to the landmark.
In episode 44 and 45, Running Man returned to its original concept (viewers voting for who they believe would win the race); staff of the landmark would vote for who they believe would win the race. Results and information from each mission are posted in the lobby of the landmark. Those who correctly chose who would win would receive a special bonus from their boss.
The losing team will be punished with an embarrassing and humiliating punishment.
The MCs and guests are locked in a landmark during closed hours and are required to leave before opening hours. In the first episode, they are divided into two teams and race to find the code to the main doors hidden in the landmark. With a total of 5 numbers, after one is found, a game is played to determine which team will start first in the next race. The losing team receives a punishment while the other team has a head start. After all numbers are found by either teams, they reach the door and enter the code they believe is correct. The correct team leaves the landmark while the losing team is punished inside the landmark.
From the second episode to the fifth episode, both teams compete to find money hidden in the landmark and participate in games to win more money. The team with the most money will escape the landmark and win, while the losing team will be punished in the landmark. The money collected by the teams will be donated in the winning teams honour. Viewers can vote on the official homepage on who they believe will escape the landmark first, a lucky viewer who guesses correctly will have his/her name included in the donation.
From episode 6 to 10, a consistent format has been used. Both teams compete to find Running Man Balls (shortened toRunning Balls in future episodes), the team which finds a ball or who wins a game will receive a ball of their team color (blue or red). The games and races are considered missions. The missions for are as follows:
- Mission 1 features games related to the landmark. Previously, the Photo Zone Game was played at every landmark.
- Mission 2 is the race mission.
- Mission 3 is Leisure Time for a Cup of Tea. This mission has not been present since the eleventh episode due to controversies.
- Mission 4 is Morning Team Sports. This only aired in episode six, and only highlights were given in episode seven due to time restraints.
In the end, the Running Man Balls collected throughout the night are put into a lottery machine. Which ever color ball that comes out first will represent that team winning. The more balls that are collected, the better the chances of that team's ball being chosen. The losing team will have to commute home using public transportation with an embarrassing punishment.
As of the eleventh episode, teams are no longer used except for the race mission. Smaller teams may be used during other missions. Everyone will individually earn Running Balls throughout missions and the balls that come out will represent which individuals that win. The format of missions has changed:
- Mission 1 is Challenge 1 vs. X.
- Mission 2 is Find the Thief. From episode 15 to 25, games related to the landmark were played.
- Mission 3 is the race mission, Bells Hide and Seek.
As of the eighteenth episode, only those with no Running Balls are punished.
As of the twenty-sixth episode, the race mission, Bells Hide and Seek, has been replaced by the Find the Guestsmission. The MCs and guests are locked in a landmark and are required to earn Running Balls for a chance to escape punishment. Through a series of missions, the Running Man members may divide into teams and/or individually earnRunning Balls. The format for the missions from episode 26 to 38 are:
- Mission 1 is the race mission, Find the Guests.
- Mission 2 features games related to the landmark.
- Mission 3 is the One Chance challenge, from episode 27 to 32.
When there are a lot of members with no Running Balls, they are automatically punished and there is no lottery. However, if the members succeed in the One Chance mission, they will all be relieved of the punishment regardless ofRunning Balls and there is no lottery either.
The following is a list of missions that have aired on Running Man in chronological order. Missions that have been modified or which are played during another mission are grouped together. For other details, please refer to the List of Running Man episodes article.
Cast and Character
The original members of Running Man are Yu Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin, Kim Jong-kook, Ha-ha, Lee Kwang-su, Song Joong-ki, and Gary. Song Ji-hyo was originally a guest for the second (episode 2-3) and third landmark (episode 4-5). She officially joined the program in the fourth landmark (episode 6) but was unable to attend until the fifth landmark (episode 7). Lizzy was also originally a guest for the eleventh (episode 13) and twelfth landmark (episode 14). She officially joined the program in the sixteenth landmark (episode 18). However, she has not been seen since episode 26. In February 2011, it was revealed that she was only a long-term guest and has left the program. Producer Jo Hyo-jin has stated that she is welcome to return at any time. In April 2011, Song Joong-ki recorded his last episode and as of May, has left the program to focus on his acting career.
|Name||Joined the show / Left the show||Character|
|Yu Jae-suk||July 2010||The main host of the show, Yu Jae-suk is known as Yu-ruce Willis (유르스 윌리스) during the race mission where he is good at running away. The name is a parody ofBruce Willis in Die Hard. He is also known as Yu Hyuk (유혁), acting as a popular student that can dance well. In The Usual Suspects of Running Man (episode 38), he was known as Yu-mes Bond (유임스 본드), where he needed to disguise as a guest and eliminate all members in Find the Guests.|
|Ji Suk-jin||July 2010||The oldest member of the show. Ji Suk-jin is known as Big Nose Older Brother (왕코형님) for his known big nose. He is often shown as weak during the race mission and is frequently and easily caught.|
|Kim Jong-kook||July 2010||The strongest man on the show, Kim Jong-kook is known as Sparta-kook-s (스파르타국스) and Capable One (능력자) for his skill in capturing others during the race mission. Sparta-kook-s is a parody of Spartacus. He also known as "Kookie^^" for his cuteness and "aegyo".|
|Gary||July 2010||Featured as one of the "variety rookies", Gary is known as Peaceful Gary (평온개리) for his calm facial expressions during the Photo Zone Game and throughout the show. He is also known as Ga-colas Cage (개콜라스 케이지) during the race mission, which is a parody of Nicolas Cage.|
|Ha-ha||July 2010||Ha-ha is usually picked on by the other members. He is known as Ha-roro (하로로) for his similar appearance to Pororo the Little Penguin. During the race mission, he is referred to as Ha-rad Pitt (하래드 피트), which is a parody of Brad Pitt.|
|Lee Kwang-su||July 2010||Featured as one of the "variety rookies", Lee Kwang-su has build an image known as Incriminating Kwang-su (모함광수), where he frames his fellow members with embarrassing and often absurd rumours.|
|Song Ji-hyo||August 2010||The only female member of the show, Song Ji-hyo is known as Song Ji-yok (송지욕), where "yok" means "to swear", because of her "bad words" toward some of the members like Lee Kwang-su and Ha-ha. She is also known as Mung Ji-hyo (멍지효), where "mung" means "confused", because of her facial expressions which makes her seem confused. During the race mission, she is referred to as an Ace(에이스) due to her similar running/catching capabilities as Kim Jong-kook.|
|The following were previously members of Running Man but have since left the show.|
|Lizzy||November 2010 / January 2011||The "long-term guest" of Running Man and member of girl group After School, Lizzy is known as the country girl from Busan. As of episode 26, she has left the program for After School activities.|
|Song Joong-ki||July 2010 / May 2011||Featured as one of the "variety rookies", Song Joong-ki is known for his good-looks and is referred to as Flower Joong-ki (꽃중기), meaning pretty and is referred to asBrain Joong-ki (브레인 중기). He is also known as Active Young Man (적극청년) when he either wants to try something new or believes he can do something well, but fails. As of episode 42, he has left the program to focus on his acting career.|
|Kim Jong-kook, Ha-ha, Gary||Often found in the same team, Ha-ha and Gary often appear afraid and are usually under the control of Kim Jong-kook.|
|Gary, Song Ji-hyo||The scandalous couple of the show, they show interest in each other on Mondays, the day Running Man is recorded.|
Song-Song Siblings (송송남매)
|Song Joong-ki, Song Ji-hyo||This relation officially appeared in episode 23, however, the couple's loveline has attracted a lot of viewers’ attention since episode 15. They have evolved into a sibling-like relationship.|
|Lee Kwang-su, Song Joong-ki||Lee Kwang-su claims to be close friends with Song Joong-ki due to their same age (26), but Song Joong-ki often denies their close friendship, leaving Kwang-su appearing depressed.|
|Yu Jae-suk, Ji Suk-jin, Lee Kwang-su||This trio is often caught the earliest during Bells Hide and Seek, and meet each other at the jail.|