Out of all the variety shows airing in Korea presently, Running Man is the most popular. As of November 22, 2015, it has recorded 274 episodes since its debut on July 11, 2010. Among its many episodes, numerous Korean stars -- K-dramas and K-pop idols -- have either cameo appearances or participated in its games, including Sistar, EXO, and Girls' Generation. Also, Running Man is probably the only K-variety show that was monumental in the Hallyu Wave, as it is voted as the No. 5 show in influencing it, beating out popular K-dramas like Boys Over Flowers, Heirs, Producer, and Pinocchio.
Even though Running Man is technically a game show, where its participants enjoy uniquely fun games for the entertainment of their viewers, it does have emotional elements. For one example, Running Man cast members Gary and Song Ji Hyo have expressed a relationship that viewers think go beyond platonic co-stars. Whether it's true or not, the progression of episodes does show the progression of their relationship, too. As for another example, popular K-pop idol girl group GFriend touched the hearts of 200 participants during Running Man's "100 vs. 100" episode by performing "Me Gustas Tu" and "Glass Bead."
Now, another touching moment on Running Man has touched the hearts of its viewers yet again. This time, the show's cast united the cast of comedy skit show People Who Are Searching For Smile with their families.
As shown in the November 15, 2015, episode of Running Man, titled "The Laughter War Race," the cast was sent to Seoul Broadcasting System studios, which runs the People Searching For Smile stand-up comedy show. As reported by KdramaStars, the cast of both shows were divided into two to compete in games for the "Golden Smile" award. The first part of the game was definitely made for fun factor (especially the one game involving women's stockings and frozen yogurt drinks). The second half is when the Running Man cast had to try stand-up comedy on the stage for People Searching For Smile. Song Ji Hyo, Gary, Kim Jong Kook, and HaHa were picked to participate and, despite nervous jitters, they pulled off their parts very well.
Afterwards, the scores from both parts of the competition were tallied up, but while the final result was being calculated, the People Searching For Smile cast were given a treat as their family members appeared, hoping they take care of themselves and wishing them the best. For those who are unfamiliar with why this is such a touching moment, working as a stand-up comedian for People Searching For Smile (or any show either it be on television or not) is an extremely difficult path to take. Throughout the episode, People Searching For Smile cast members talked about how the pay may not be enough and how it can be extremely difficult to afford certain necessities -- some may need to get a second job. Because of this, they are constantly working, which keeps them away from their families. Still, they would not give it up because they love what they do.
All in all, it was one of the most touching moments Running Man has ever aired. Numerous People Searching For Smile cast members cried, and so did Song Ji Hyo. The episode in its entirety has been attached below for viewing. The touching moment described above starts at the 1:15:00 mark in the video.
Running Man currently airs during the Seoul Broadcasting System's (SBS) "Good Sunday" lineup at 5 p.m. KST. For those who don't have access to Korean channels, all upcoming and past episodes are available for viewing in certain regions for free (with ads) on both DramaFever and Viki.
[Image via Running Man Promotions/DramaFever]