Isn’t there part of you that just wishes they would let this show die? That perhaps, that maybe, just maybe, when the cast got together and decided after Jongkook and Ji Hyo were fired to just end the show — that they shouldn’t have allowed themselves into being talked into continuing on?
We all knew, before the cast shakedown, that the show was ailing, some might say even dying. And yes, while we all can agree what the producers did, just firing two of the cast, giving some BS reason for it, and expecting 1) this to go down easy and 2) the rest of the cast members, after being so notably close, that they’d just let it lie was pretty stupid on their part. This day and age, truth, no matter how hard you try to bottle it in, has a way of popping out.
However, no matter how dumb they were about how they did it, they were right, the show needed a change. It has/had gotten stale. But was this the fault of the cast (as the production apparently thought) or the producers (as many viewers think)? Honestly, I’m thinking it’s a mix of both. The cast has been doing this for a long time. They’re older, wily to the game, and not quite as willing to be as physical as the show once was. The producers have made some terrible casting/scheduling issues with special guests, the games have gotten stale, and the editing choices are truly bizarre.
As the ratings sank, and they made this hail mary pass, only to see it blow completely up in their faces, I applauded the cast. They ended as they meant to go on — as a team. The show was going to go out with a vicious bang. People were talking about the show again — okay not in a great way, but at least they were talking about it. Of course, the network couldn’t just let their long-standing and big money making (despite the sinking ratings) show die without a fight. Bringing in the big guns (ie the original producer who left them to take over the Chinese reboot) and convince them all to stay.
And so the limping celebration continued. They weren’t going to go! They had won! Woohoo. But what now? It’s not like the show still wasn’t broken. But now they had kind of knit themselves into a corner, promising no new cast, promising the original cast would stick around. That’s cool and all, but something still needed to change. So why talk about this now?
They have officially signed on not one but two new cast members.
Huh. Well, at least they had a lot of people to choose from, right? With all the repeat guests and people who time and time again said they’d love to join the cast, there had to be some sort of hot new thing who could be the bright new star. Except…they saw that option, looked it and said “Naw, that’s just not for us.” and cast two people, Yang Se Chan, listed as a comedian, doesn’t really have anything of note on his bio, just, yep, a guesting on Running Man, and Jun So Min, an actress who, when you look at her picture you go, huh…well she looks kind of familiar. I’m not entirely certain how these two people are either going to shake up the system or bring in the newer viewers (or heck the old viewers who abandoned the show).
I was saying to the McFeeley’s that I can only imagine that they didn’t have the options they once did as what agency is going to allow their big star, or up and coming star to sign onto an ailing show? But then I was thinking about it, I realized, sure, they aren’t going to be able to get a Yonghwa or a Nickhyun, but there are enough up and comings, enough wannabe idol bands that they could easily get some other, possibly slightly bigger names. But would that be right for the show either? Part of the drive of this show is the comradery between the main cast. Could that happen with someone so young, with possibly nothing else to contribute but their youth and eager energy? Possibly not.
Not sure what the answer here is, except part of me really does wonder if it would have just been more grateful to bow out at the end. Leave them wanting. No one wants to be the last one at the party who won’t go home even when the hosts have cleaned everything up, changed into their pajamas, and now sit there on the couch checking their watches. And that is most definitely Running Man.
Also, congratulations former cast member, Gary on your new marriage! May this finally put to rest Monday Couple.