Lets go back in time for a little bit, it’s June 15 2008. The day that Family Outing premiered on SBS. it quickly became one of the most popular and successful variety shows ever but ended prematurely due to poor ratings which were a result of some controversies and scripting. one thing you all need to realize is that a majority of variety shows are scripted in some way, but that doesn’t mean that its a bad thing. however, family outing went a totally different route and scripted everything. one of the scripts for an episode was leaked to the general public and every action, reaction, comments were planned out. so in a way, it was like you were watching a movie, but the PD made it seem like it was all natural. The second controversy was during a fishing scene in a 2009 episode. Kim Jong Kook caught a really rare fish, but the Korean audience was sceptical and took screenshots of the scene highlighting out where a diver was seen underwater so that he could hook the fish onto KJK’s fishing pole. the main PD at the time denied every single controversy, and threw Yoo Jae Suk under the bus by making him apologize at an SBS award ceremony. The show “ended” when both Lee Chun Hee and Park Ye Jin left, they filmed for another year with the same cast but it wasn’t the same and poor ratings led to its cancellation.
Family Outing season 2 was a result of the cancellation for the first family outing with a completely different cast and crew. but just like last time, poor ratings led to its cancellation. The main thing to take away from this is that the three PDs who were working on FO season 2 were Cho Hyo Jin, Lim Hyung Taek and Kim Joo Hyung, if you’re wondering why those names sounds familiar, its because all three of them joined with Yoo Jae Suk and discussed a potential new show on SBS which would eventually lead to Running Man.
Running Man is no different from Family Outing, there is scripting and probably a lot more than you would notice. I’m not saying RM plans out what the members say and their actions, cause that’s not what they do. The only scripting that happens is during the beginning of the episode, and partially near the end of the episode. The cast already knows who the guests are, they all hang out in the waiting room together getting their make up done. So whenever a guest is introduced and they have no clue who it is, its more than likely fake. but this doesn’t really change the show for me, so what if they over react that girls generation or BigBang is appearing, They only do that to make the show exciting, and that’s their job as entertainers, to entertain. a really good example of this is Episode 162 when each member had two idols as their team mates. the classic 12 minute intro had them dancing along with the idols. a behind the scenes video was revealed and you can clearly see the entire roster dancing in the same room and even talking with each other. so when HaHa freaks out when Apink walks out of their car, he already knew who it was. but again, does that really change the show for me or you? probably not because if I didn’t do research it would have looked genuine to me. Another thing they script in the beginning is the teams that are formed. You find it odd that Yoo Jae Suk is usually on the team with the popular guests? since he is the main guy and typically the funniest, he gets paired with the guests so they get more screen time.
During the mini games which are usually during the middle of the episode aren’t scripted because I dont think you can really script anything from that. a show like RM encourages you to be competitive and athletic, that side of you just comes out naturally and you try your hardest. Do you really think in the early episodes of RM you could have told KJK to tone it down a little bit? hell no. the man wants to win and will do whatever it takes to do so.
The ending is where a lot of the fans usually lay their eyes on. The BigBang episode is where I noticed a lot of “scripting”. when a guest as big as them appears on the show, you better hope that they stay until the end of the episode so you can retain every single V.I.P that tuned in. and think about it, if you were a fan of BigBang and a majority of the members were in jail and the there was still 40 minutes left would you still be watching? The RM cast let them escape so many times that it was laughable. Even Ji Suk Jin the “weakest” member of RM would have completely destroyed BigBang in name tag ripping. Another one that had a lot of rumours was the RM x Law of The Jungle episode. there was no proof of this happening, but it was said that LOTJ was beaten so bad and quickly, that they had to re shoot the entire name tag sequence. now again, there is no proof of this so I cant really say anything on this. but its a theory, so take it with a grain of salt. I personally dont believe that’s true because a lot of time would be wasted, and most of the members have other schedules the next day, so dragging out the filming just for a similar outcome wouldn’t make any sense. Lastly I do believe that in some cases the RM cast goes easy for the final mission usually the name tag ripping and lets the guest win and claims the prize. Now this part does kinda ruin the show for me. because there is no way the RM cast should lose to anybody, especially when the guests got the physical stature of gumby. but I understand why they would want to or need to do it. you gotta make the guests happy, and if a win makes them happy then just let them. another reason is that if they won the first time around, they might appear again just to claim another prize. it helps them and helps the show.
So with all of this information, does it ruin running man for you? it sure didn’t for me. so what if they overreact to the guests in the beginning and sometimes let the guests win at the end. it doesn’t change how much joy and laughter I got from each episode. The intention of a variety show is to entertain and make you laugh, and if they fulfilled those needs then its a success.
Now if you wanna watch a show that’s blatantly scripted, go catch an episode of We Got Married.