SBS’ Running Man seems to be catching up to KBS2‘s 1 Night 2 Days. On Sunday, December 18th, Running Man earned 19.2% nationwide and broke 20% in Seoul with 20.8%. 1N2D stayed on top with 26.3% in ratings.
Although 1N2D remained the king of Sunday programming, I wasn’t all that surprised that Running Man’s ratings are on the rise. Both shows hold a corner of my heart, but currently Running Man is slightly edging out 1N2D. Since Kang Ho-dong left, I feel as if 1N2D has lost some of its footing. Nothing has really changed, it’s still the (almost) same cast and crew traveling around Korea and playing various games for food and indoor sleeping privileges. What I adored about 1N2D hasn’t changed; how the lure of food can lead to sabotage, betrayal, and out-right pettiness. I love the pettiness.
So imagine my shock when I found myself more excited to view the latest Running Man episode than my rock, 1N2D. It was like I was happily married to 1N2D and along comes Running Man beckoning me with its sexy wiles and lures. When I compared the two shows, both had all the same key components that drew me to them in the first place. Both had a solid cast, both shows have the same reward/punishment format and both shows turned innocent childhood games into fights to the death matches. So why does my heart roar for more Running Man instead of 1N2D?
I guess it all goes back to the lack of an MC. While the cast of 1N2D have stepped up to fill the void that Kang Ho-dong left, it was still very evident that Ho-dong had a bigger role than I gave him credit for. The opening/closing aren’t as smooth as before, the laughs are coming fewer and fewer, and the pettiness has been cut in half! I miss seeing how much of a petulant child he became when Na PD (Na Young Seok) took away his food.
And even with the combined effort of the cast and crew, the shows been feeling hollow. There has been less funny hi-jinks and more “documentary” as of late. They’ve also been splitting the boys into individuals missions instead of the bromance love-fest that I crave.
But I’m not turning to Running Man because my relationship with 1N2D had lost it spark. Running Man offers a different hilarity that 1N2D never had. Hide and Seek with bells? Shockingly scary. “Spies” that go on about eliminating their own members and then lying to the “survivors” with a straight face? Hilariously sly. Celebrity guests that get sucked up in their insane missions? Charmingly entertaining.
In the end, Running Man had beaten 1N2D by small margin. But I still adore 1N2D for the “real” moments on the show. The exuberance of avoiding a dunk in the ocean, the deliciousness of instant noodles, or the amazement of one’s intelligence, (or lack of) and the strong bond of bromace. I’ll enjoy these last few episodes that 1N2D still have to offer and I’ll look back on them fondly, but I won’t wish for an indefinite extension, I doubt my heart can take it.