R is for Running Man

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We don’t really have anything like Running Man here in the US, and I really wish we would! It is my absolute favorite Korean variety show, I have literally watched every single episode. The show has a cast of 7 celebrities and there is at least one guest nearly every week. The producers come up with a theme each week and have the cast play games or go through different challenges. Some only watch episodes with guest celebrities that they like but in my opinion the main cast is what really makes this show great. They have been working together for four years now and have great chemistry. Just watching them stand around and joke with each other often makes for my favorite part of the show.

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The leader of the show is Yoo Jae Suk, aka The Nation’s MC, and he is one of the most famous comedians in South Korea. This show was originally popular because it was his comeback after the last show he was on, Family Outing, ended. Yoo Jae Suk was originally poked fun at during the show for being one of the “weak players” because he and two others were often in competition for being the first ones eliminated. Later on, however, Yoo Jae Suk became one of the strongest players, giving himself the nickname Yooruce Willis. The only one he never really has a chance of beating in a straight on physical contest is the next cast member.

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Kim Jong Kook aka The Commander aka Sparta Kook. In case you can’t tell from his nicknames he is the physically strongest member of the show. Another of his nicknames is Coach Kook, he is such a perfectionist that no matter who is partered up with he will always nag and tell them how to do it better. Outside of the show however, he is actually a ballad singer. On the show they actually make fun of him for his “mosquito voice.” This guy is really big but his singing voice is really high pitched. Here is a link to his latest music video “All Men are Like That.” Side Note: The actor in the MV is Song Jong Ki, a former member of Running Man.

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Then, there is the Lee Kwang Soo aka the Giraffe akaFramer Kwang Soo aka Icon of Betrayal. During many games Kwang Soohas made alliances with different members or guests and as soon as it helps him he will throw them under the bus, or towards Kim Jong Kook so he can get away. None of the members trust him anymore but for some reason guests still do. What really surprised me is that Kwang Soo started his career as a model, it doesn’t fit his image on the show at all.

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But you can’t talk about Kwang Soo without talking about Ji Suk Jin, together they are known as the Easy Brothers. This is both because they are easy to take out but also because if you combine their last names (Lee and Ji) it sounds like easy. Suk Jin is the oldest member of Running man and is known as being the physically weakest. He plays along with this often challenging the women who come on the show if given the option, as they are the only ones he has any chance of beating. He is also known for betrayal, though not as much as Lee Kwang Soo.

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HaHa aka Haroro is the primary “funny man” of the cast. He is the one that jokes around the most and is picked on by the other members for his height and his similarities to a popular cartoon character, Pororo. Together Haha, Lee Kwang Soo and Ji Suk Jin make up the traitors club. While Lee Kwang Soo is best known for betrayal the other two do it whenever possible as well.Outside of the show Haha is a Reggae music singer, and seems to like to bring his comedy into his MVs.

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Kang Gary aka occasional Mr Capable is the sweet one of the show. He was never on a variety show before this and is known as the more naïve or gullible member. What I find fairly funny about that image is that he is the rapper of the duo Leessang and when doing that has more of a hardcore image. I didn’t know about his rapping until very recently and when watching him performing or during a music video I actually found it pretty hard to take seriously because of Running Man. He recently released his first solo mini album and with it an MV that is probably the most overtly sexual thing I have ever seen come out of Korea. But it is so overdone it seems more like a joke than anything else.

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I have saved the best for last! The only female member of the cast Song Ji Hyo aka the Ace aka my favorite member! Even though she is the only female Ji Hyo is considered one of the strongest competitors on the show. While quizzes are not her strong suit (another of her nicknames is blank Ji Hyo) when it comes to the games and physical contests she is amazing. She seems to have made a routine of embarrassing Haha and Ji Suk Jin by beating them, she even once beat Ji Suk Jin at wrestling. Her and Gary are also called the Monday Couple, because they are only a couple when they are filming on Mondays. They are actually the cutest thing ever and I totally wish they would date in real life! Outside of Running Man Ji Hyo is a very successful actress. She originally became famous by playing the other woman in the hit Drama Goong aka Princess Hours. She most recently has been in another drama called Emergency Couple.

If you would like to check out Running Man you can do so here.

L is for Lee Hi and Lee Michelle

I chose these two not only because they have the same last name that starts with L they have quite a lot in common. Both of these girls were discovered on the first season of Kpop Star and are powerhouse vocalists. Neither of them won the competition and then both were signed by YG Entertainment after the show. But that is really where the similarities end. Lee Michelle was dropped by YG before her debut and was signed by a much smaller agency. Lee Hi was debuted as a solo artist and has had major mainstream success.

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Originally the two were going to debut together along with a couple other girls under the group name Su-Pearls. Su-Pearls were actually a group created during Kpop Star and during the show Lee Hi wasn’t part of it. Both girls trained for two years after the show at YG but before the group could debut Lee Hi debuted as a soloist with the song 1234, one of my favorite Kpop songs to this day. Soon after Su-Pearls were disbanded and while no one really knows for sure why most believe it was because of Lee Hi’s success as a soloist. Lee Hi released two more singles and, like the first, they were both a major success solidifying her title of “monster rookie.”

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Now, don’t let the rest of this post fool you, I quite like Lee Hi. She is an amazing performer and I own her album, it is really great. But I feel like Lee Michelle has a lot more depth to her then Lee Hi does. She just recently released her debut single Without You. WARNING: Do not watch the video without a box of tissues handy. This is actually the first time, pretty much ever, that I cried at a music video. Normally a music video can’t get me into the story enough to make me cry. I can watch it and I know that it is sad but it doesn’t really… hit home, if you know what I mean.

For those of you that can’t tell from the picture of her above Lee Michelle is half black and half Korean, and she grew up in Korea. Some of you may not know this but Korea is actually fairly new to having foreigners. It wasn’t so long ago that a white or black person, or pretty much anyone who wasn’t Korean, couldn’t walk the streets of Seoul without being stared at. So I imagine growing up in a place where everyone thinks of you as an outsider is very difficult, and she tells us about it in her new video.

If you just look at the surface meaning of the lyrics of the song it will seem like she is just talking about a lost love. However, taken with her history and the MV, the lyrics have a much deeper meaning. During the video you mostly see a little girl that could be Lee Michelle’s little sister, who is clearly supposed to be her. She starts by running from some unseen threat to a really sad looking house. She proceeds to write racial slurs on the wall, ones that have been slung at her. At one point the little girl uses powder to whiten her face, trying to become what everyone wants her to be. But the video ends with her throwing paint at a white canvas that has Lee Michelle’s face drawn on it, giving her color again. I am not ashamed to admit that I was bawling by the end of this video.

I know in the picture of me on the About page I look really really white, but I am actually mixed. My mother is half Filipino and half Italian while my dad is part pretty much everything that is white in Europe, but mostly Irish. I proudly proclaim myself to be a mutt, thank you very much. But even if you don’t have a mixed heritage you can relate, most of us have something we feel we have been put down or bullied for. What did you think of the video, could you relate to it?

K is for Kim Woo-Bin

This is going to be a short post because I am slightly ashamed of myself for doing this… but I couldn’t help it, look at him!!

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Because of this man I have come to the conclusion that I am a puddle… meaning I am just that shallow.

He is 24 years old and fairly new to the scene. He started as a model in 2009 and made his acting debut two years later. His standard role is the miss-understood bad boy. This is most likely because he has a really hot mean face. See…

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I was okay with having him be my bias in his previous dramas. In School 2013, at least he was trying to change his ways. In A Gentleman’s Dignity he was really only a bully to the guy that was a jerk first. But I have no excuse for myself when it comes to his role in Heirs… He literally makes small children cry and threatens the female lead and I didn’t care, I still liked him!

Do you have a celebrity crush that can do no wrong or is it just me?

Anybody?

I is for Inkigayo

Inkigayo is the Romanized version of 인기가요, which translates to The Music Trend. It is a music based TV show that debuted back in the 90s. It was originally a chart show where they would just play the songs that were topping the charts. It was revamped in 2003 and every week they would have 7 of the most popular Kpop Idols that have recently released songs come and perform. They would have people vote online for who was their favorite and would crown a winner each week.

They revamped the show again back in 2012. There are still popular Kpop idols performing each week and a winner is still voted each episode, but they have switched their attention from ranking the groups to focus more on the music and artists. They even recently began a segment called Inkigayo Showcase where they take indie and new artists with less exposure and give them a chance to be seen on TV. There is also a segment called Inkigayo Q where fans submit questions via a mobile app for the Kpop idols on the show that week.

I think the reason I find this show so fascinating is because we have nothing like it here in America… not that I would watch it if  we did because I don’t care about American pop that much. I do plan on moving to Korea someday, living there for at least a year, and I will go to at least one Inkigayo taping!! But first… to become fluent in Korean.

Do you have any shows like this where you live? Would, or do, you watch it?