A K-DramaAddict's Guide to Korean Variety Shows [Part 1]

Hi everyone! I'm latteholic. I feel so bad having my name listed as one of the contributors to this site for so long without having anything to contribute. So since school and class are finally over, here I am paying my "contribution"! *bows to kakashi

It's difficult to pinpoint the exact moment I started to watch Korean variety shows religiously. But I guess, it officially began while I was still back home, in the land where internet connection can only reach 0.8 Mbps on average *shudders*. I was so in love with Dream High at that time and lucky for me, someone -possibly sent from drama heaven- shared the subbed episodes on YouTube and so I could feed my addiction weekly. But as every dramaddict knows too well, soon your regular dose won't be enough to get you through the week and you will start to crave mowwwre.

The clip that started it all
Yeap, two episodes per week were no longer sufficient for me. So... I started looking up any news related to the show, esp anything related to Taecyeon. By chance I came across a BTS clip of him and his band member 2 PM on YouTube! They're so funny and quirky! I didn't know what they're talking about, but I laughed at their silly dance movements/gags and (obviously) I couldn't help but kept clicking and clicking every related videos. Fortunately the chain of related videos did not lead me to the weird part of YouTube, but instead... Hang on, what is this.. Shin Bong Sun tries to sleep on Taecyon's arm??! The title instantly caught my attention. I didn't know who that girl was, but she sure sounded a lot like my inner-sasaeng-fan. Out of curiosity and empathy, I clicked on the link.. And I couldn't help but chuckling along. Soon one click leads to another and I found out that the show where all this funny clips took place is called Family Outing.

I then exhausted my research. I went to different internet forums and long story short I managed to get my hands on 81 episodes of Family Outing season 1. And even though they didn't have Taecyeon in it, they were ever so awesome. It didn't take long before I finally discovered another variety shows and their "antics". These people... they really love to dance! Even when they can't dance, they will still be dancing like no one will put it on YouTube. And every show was so chock full of games that were slapstick heaven that watching them was like being transported to the 5-year-old me who will laugh maniacally at every silly body gag.

Yeap! This one is for you kakashi! :)

So in honor of my new found addiction love after k-dramas, I decided to compile a list of my favorite K-Variety Shows. Here goes...

Family Outing

Family Outing was my first K-Variety love. And you know what they say about first love: yes, you never forget it. The show ended on January 2010, but I still can remember every funny parts. FO follows the “Family" which consist of nation's MC Yoo Jae-suk, singer Lee Hyo-ri, Big Bang's Daesung, Kim Soo-ro (A Gentleman's Dignity), Lee Chun-hee (Conspiracy in The Court, Smile You), Park Ye-jin (My Princess, I Love Lee Tae Ri), singer/songwriter Yoon Jong-shin, and singer Kim Jong-kook on their journeys to different villages in South Korea. The Family would then take care of the house of an elderly family and accomplishes the tasks left for them by the house's owner while the owner goes on a vacation. Different guests would come on the overnight trip and help the permanent cast with the tasks while playing some games (where we normally get our dose of laughter).

The show was famous for ending its evening with a ranking of Family members to determine the sleeping order. The game ranges from dancing, singing, doing impression, reenactment of scenes from drama, slapsticks comedy all the way to rapping. The guests surely added a layer of awesomeness to the show, but it was the permanent cast who were the heart and soul of the show. My two favorite characters were Lee Chun Hee a.k.a Chunderella who is so clumsy and naive despite his tall built and Sweet and Savage Miss Ye Jin who is... sweet... but will demonstrate her “savage” food-preparation and capturing skills when needed.

Family Outing season 2 aired immediately after season 1. However, the show seemed to loose its... charm. There were no strong bonds between the family members and the laughs seemed to be forced. Despite having Taecyeon (the reason I got into FO), unfortunately I dropped the second season on episode 4 and never looked back. 

Running Man

And this one is for you lafer.. :)
Running Man is cited as “urban action variety show”. During its earlier days, the casts and guests have to complete their missions while being locked in a landmark and played epically intense games of hide and seek. The format was then changed into a series of missions and then changed again into one long race with continuous missions. The regular casts comprised of Yoo Jae-suk (yep, the same MC from FO, and the name who you'll see often in K-variety world), Kim Jong-kook (yep, also the guy from FO!), lafer's boy Song Joong-ki (who left the show on episode 41), Song Ji-hyo (Goong, Jumong), LeeSang's rapper Gary, Lee Gwang-soo (SJK's friend in Nice Guy), singer/comedian HaHa, and MC Ji Suk-jin

Almost every episode will feature a guest(s) who will work together with the cast to finish the missions. Some guests can blend almost immediately with the cast and games, while others don't fare so well. But what makes the show more entertaining is its ability to show you another side of these celebs which you'll rarely see on TV. Like... who would have thought there would be a day when you get to see Ji Jin-hee throwing a pillow at Suzy??

Running Man is also different from other variety shows because it doesn't hold back with its concept, it goes all out on its out-wordly mechanisms, and it doesn't shy away from being too cheesy. Imagine time-travel, superpowers, future-seeing, or other fantasy/sci-fi elements blended in every episode. The result is hilarity!

The show also has one of the most palpable interactions between its members. It's always a great delight to watch the Easy Brothers, Ace and Commander, Kim Jong-kook and Two Kids. But.. my favorite pairing has to go to the Monday Couple (Gary and Song Ji Hyo). They are the primary loveline of the show, they show interest in each other on Mondays, which is the day the show was filmed. (Later, the show was filmed on both Mondays and Tuesdays, leading to jokes about the couple not being in effect on Tuesdays.). They're so cute, sweet, and funny together and I don't think I've ever shipped a couple as hard as I ship them*.

To be continued...

*After the news of Song Ji-hyo's relationship broke out, their relationship was deemed to be taken out from the show. However recently the couple "seems" to be interacting a lot and thus was named the Ex-Monday Couple