Over the next couple of weeks, as we approach the end of 2020, we’ll be sharing some of our favourite 2020 content, entertainment that got us through this f-cked up year. If you asked me at the end of 2019, if we could have predicted that we’d be on lockdown for several months, what I’d spend most of my time doing, I would have said reading and my recommendations would be books. But then I got the inlectio and now I’m anxious that my inlectio will last longer than this pandemic.
Instead of reading, 2020 for me was all about East Asian entertainment. I got a Viki membership about a year ago – because it was about a year ago that Crash Landing On You premiered on Netflix, which is when my Chinese and Korean drama obsession really got out of hand. Viki, if you’re not familiar, is a streaming service with a huge library of subtitled East Asian content. And I initially signed up for it to look for more Hyun Bin content after getting impatient for new Crash Landing On You episodes. Then I ended up getting sidetracked by a Taiwanese time travel drama called Someday Or One Day which is definitely in my Top 5 series of the year, like overall, not just out of East Asia.
Around the same time though, I read a headline about Ryan Reynolds on a South Korean variety show, Running Man. Koreans produce a LOT of variety shows (they produce a LOT of TV period) and Running Man has been around a long time, I think maybe a decade? Running Man features a regular cast with special guests joining to complete missions over the course of an episode. The missions are basically games – and some of the games are bonkers. Like ridiculously stupid and also, at times, unnecessarily complicated. This, of course, is intentional, because the cast is hilarious and the whole point is to put them in situations that bring out the comedy.
Running Man wasn’t Ryan’s first Korean show. You may remember, in 2018, while in SK to promote Deadpool 2, he actually participated as a contestant on King of Masked Singer, which most of you probably know in North American now as The Masked Singer, which premiered on Fox in early 2019; the network signed off on the series after Ryan’s appearance went viral. No doubt he had a good time – but he’s also, as we’ve seen, great at marketing and branding, and knows good content. He knew King of Masked Singer would be good content. And he must be somewhat familiar with a lot of the good content and the value of the Korean market, especially where Netflix is concerned, because when he returned to SK a year later to promote Netflix’s 6 Underground, he once again made it a point on the press tour to do another Korean variety show. And he brought along his co-stars.
Here are a couple of clips which don’t give you the complete picture but you do get a sense of how random and silly it is and the key to everyone having a good time is to be game to play along.
YouTube has so many Running Man Clips. And you can find the Tom Cruise Running Man episode there too.
There’s also another variety show called 2 Days & 1 Night that also cracks me up. It’s similar except that 2 Days & 1 Night has a travel theme to it where their regular cast members and guest stars go around to different places in Korea to complete their missions. I got into that one because there was an episode where three hot actors and the cast members had to jump rope while continuing to take their clothes off, lol. Obviously that alone is a thing but what also makes Korean variety shows so funny is that they sometimes insert the shadiest comments on the screen and whoever’s doing the captions also becomes a silent character.
Anyway, those are some of my recommendations and more from other team members will come over the next few weeks.
Yours in gossip,