Just Bananas About: Week of 11/7/16

It’s a sad week (or is it?) in Korean variety shows.  Kang Gary shot his final episode of Running Man which aired yesterday.  He was half of our Monday Couple, the Jerry to Haha’s Tom and our favorite squid (oh-jing-uh).  Most importantly, he graced our screens every Sunday evening with sarcastic humor and athleticism.  He will always be considered as part of Running Man’s family but somehow that made him part of our family as well.  We may not see him every week but I’m sure that he’ll grace us with his presence again as a special guest.

The episode itself wasn’t much to write a recap for but it pays to watch the touching tribute.  The other 6 members of Running Man meet up first to discuss the secret mission each member had to do without Gary’s knowledge.  Each member must steal memorabilia from Gary’s studio without his knowledge.  As each member steals an item, the next member must steal a bigger item.  This is one challenge in which you don’t want to be last.

All the while, the members must take on various challenges to win prizes.  The challenges ranged from getting a painful massage from a sports massage therapist or competing against the crew or taking your chance at eating altered snacks.  The difficulty in the challenges determined the points that the members could win.  The greatest amount of points indicating how much the group has traveled all over the world in the last 7 years.

So as the challenges distract Gary, each of the members are looking around the room trying to see what they could steal.  Kim Jong Kook starts things off by stealing a figurine while running off camera after losing one of the early challenges.  He tucks the figurine in his arms like a football and runs downstairs to deliver the item to judges that are standing by.

The items just get bigger and more ridiculous.  Like Song Ji Hyo preparing to bring an entire plant downstairs.  In fact, she moves the plant past a bookcase which Gary notices but doesn’t think much of it.  Because really?  Who would steal a plant?

Then, during one of the running challenges against the VJ’s, Ji Hyo makes her move, with Kwang Soo’s help, and brings the plant downstairs.  She makes it in the room just narrowly missing Gary during his practice run.

Of course, it’s Ji Suk Jin who has waited far too long to make his move and he is now the only person who hasn’t stolen an item to bring downstairs.  He decides to move Gary’s sofa.  The other members help him but he’s short on time and he just can’t get it past the door.  So he decides to steal Gary’s bike instead.  At first, he runs down the stairs but then hears someone running up the stairs.  Thinking it’s Gary, he runs back up and hides.  Unfortunately for Suk Jin, it was Jong Kook.  He decides to run downstairs again but this time he has to wait for the staff to open the pathway into the room.  Just as Suk Jin is about to cross the corridor, he comes across Gary running up the stairs.  Gary sees what’s going on but he’s too focused on the mission and continues to run up the stairs.  Suk Jin goes into the room to compare the bike to the other items that were stolen and discovers that Ji Hyo’s plant is bigger than the bike.

Ji Suk Jin is back to the drawing board again but now Gary’s suspicions have been raised.  Ji Suk Jin tries to get past the awkward situation by saying that he was just interested in his bike and assures him that he returned it.

One of the final missions has the members searching for nametags but the nametags have been shrunken to miniature size and placed all over the studio.  This is Ji Suk Jin’s final chance and he decides to steal the rug that’s in the main room.  Obviously, Gary notices that the rug has gone missing but upon asking about it, Ji Suk Jin says that the crew removed the rug because of dust.

After all of the missions, Gary ends up winning the Running Man set prize.  It’s a prize with Running Man flags so can place them at his studio and the members can visit him while they’re shooting the show.  The show gifts Gary with a photo of himself which is actually a photo mosaic of all his appearances on Running Man.  If I were him, I could see myself just looking at it and thinking over all of the great memories he’s created on the show.  The cast and crew go out for food and drinks and this is one of the last moments where they’ll all be together.

However, when Gary returns to his studio he notices a giant present waiting for him.  He opens the box to discover all of the stolen items that the members have taken.  As he places each of the items back, he realizes that the members have left their own goodbye gifts in their place with a letter.  I have to admit that I was bawling at this point.  Lee Kwang Soo gifted a boombox, Kim Jong Kook gifted an electric shaver, Yoo Jae Suk gifted sneakers and Ji Suk Jin gifted a box of red ginseng.

I think it was hilarious to see that Haha had left behind a box filled with dried squid.  The teasing never stops, huh?

As for the Monday Couple, Song Ji Hyo had gifted a massager and a more personal gift.  She created a photo album filled with just Monday Couple photos.  As much as the other gifts are great, you can’t beat a personal gift like this one.

And then confusingly, the show doesn’t end with a goodbye to Gary but more like, ‘You thought this would be Gary’s last goodbye, right?’  What does that mean?  The show is being such a tease but if that means that we get to see Gary for one more episode than I am A-Okay with that!

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