Month: February 2013

Running Man Episode 132: Spy vs. Spy

Double Spies! The RM members and our three guests, Hwang Jungmin, Hyun-ah, and Park Sungwoong, are divided into two teams. It’s Actors vs. Singers for this week’s episode.

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The little twist? Both team leaders (Jungmin and Jongkook) plant their respective spies on the other team.

Reason enough to love this episode? Our spies are none other the Monday Couple: Jihyo is the Singers team spy while Gary (yes, you read right) is the Actors team spy.

The mission: to deliver the 7 Running Man cases to Boss Go Dongwan.

First part: Opening sequences

My favorite parts:

When Gary approaches Jungmin and Cho PD on the helipad and he made it seemed like he walked in on the wrong meeting. Hehe. You can even hear the lovely laughter of Cho PD. RM PDs’ and the staff’s laughter hearty and warm. It’s always a nice touch and a wonderful addition to the show, albeit in the background because you can tell that what made them laugh was really spontaneous and unscripted.

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Gary finding out that he was a spy

Gary: “But I can’t last more than 5 minutes.” And we heartily agree, Kang Gary.

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The Commander scolding Spy Song Jihyo even before the mission starts… because she wanted to find out who the guests were first before she does her spy duties… hehe.

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RM members huddling together like penguins under the bridge while waiting for their guests because of the extreme cold weather

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Gary and his fashion-sense or lack thereof?

It was so hilarious when Gary gets back into the huddle with a warmer hat and everyone has a laugh about its effect on him. Cue camera focusing on Jihyo laughing the hardest. The half of the Monday Couple just gives the most extreme reactions to her other half.

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Team-forming bit: or the one where Gwangsoo and Jaesuk(!) gets drafted to the Actors team.

Hilarious bit when Jaesuk questions the PDs when they put Gwangsoo in the Actors team, arguing that Gwangsoo is a gagman. Pfft. Hilarious.

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And his reaction, along with the rest of the members’, was funny. Thanks to a brief cameo in a movie in ages past, Jaesuk earns his spot on the Actors team.

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Second part: Collect your team members

Each team chooses a finder who will look for the members in various locations but they have to do that in number sequence. Actors team chooses Jungmin. Singers team chooses Gary. Hehe. It’s like the Singers team gave the game up already. You would think that but Commander Spartakooks is as tough as they come.

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My favorite parts:

Gwangsoo gets love-struck again. When his teammates come to pick him up, Hyun-ah grabs his arm and asks him to stay for a while. This brings a blush to his cheeks and of course a wide smile on his face. Add to that the fury of Jungmin when he scolds his errant teammate. Hehe. Gwangsoo: “Hyung, but this hasn’t happened to me in a long while now.” Hehe.

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Jaesuk and Haha playing gag while waiting for their respective team members. I always appreciate seeing the give and take relationship that these two have. If one delivers, the other always has a sure comeback. This nice dynamic gives certain fluidity to the fun and the funny.

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Third part: Who has the jjajjangmyun?

This game is like a version of the thief card game where one team has to guess which member of the other team has the jjajjangmyun card.

My favorite parts:

This is like a montage of evidence on how well the RM members know each other so well, they know when one member is lying.

When Gwangsoo stays silent and does not speak at all; when Jaesuk knew that the right way to ask Sukjin was to ask if he doesn’t have the card (because he suspects that he doesn’t); when Gary awkwardly answers again (because he has the card)

There’s this cute Monday couple moment again (yay!) when Jihyo looks at Gary and just bursts out laughing and everyone’s like, “You really enjoy looking at Gary, no?” and then Jihyo’s like, “Did you wash your face?” to Gary and Gary looks fake-mad and resigned at the same time, quipping in return, “Then wash it for me!” Pfft. Classic Monday Couple push and pull.

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Another MC moment was when Jihyo suspects Gary and he’s like pulling this “Yes, I have the card” strategy and trying to get the other team off his trail and failed miserably because his facial expression was so obvious, Jihyo even imitates him.

Jungmin turns tomato-red when lying… Man, Jungmin turns out to be another Gary who can’t lie to save his life. I think his lips tremble and his whole face turns red. Haha. It was so funny when he gave out the cards to his members, maybe initially thinking of having the jjajjangmyun card but then gets burdened by it and he makes this quick (and so obvious) switch at the end that the other team completely calls out. Good thing Jaesuk is quick on his feet and immediately reshuffles the cards.

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Last part: Collect all the missing cases and present them to Boss Go. This is where all the shenanigans really happen. Our spies get to work. There are doubts and suspicions flying around like bats at night. It was frustrating (in a good and entertaining way) to see those few cases get switched around between the two teams. It was harder even to keep track of which team has which and how many of those cases. I’m always Gary-biased so even though it was a showdown of the Monday Couple as the spies, I was gunning for Gary and his Actor teammates to win.

My Favorite parts:

Jaesuk-Gwangsoo tandem or the Dumb and Dumber 2.0 (since Jaesuk and Daesung were the first version in Family Outing)

The two are going about their mission of finding the missing cases while unknown to them, their teammates have branded them as spies. Haha. They looked so lost and completely clueless. These two are developing their signature mark (which we’ve seen for several episodes now)

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SPOILER ALERT! SPOILER ALERT!

This was really Gwangsoo’s episode. Most of my favorite parts in this last segment were because of Gwangsoo.

Gwangsoo: “Why is everyone born weird?”

This was Gwangsoo adding his line to the running gag where Sungmin and Sungwoong were explaining that they’ve been doing what they’re doing since they’ve been born. LoL.

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Gwangsoo taking out Spy Song Jihyo

Up until Sungmin saw the Spy tag behind Jihyo, he really did believe that Gwangsoo was the spy in his team. Poor Gwangsoo. But when Sungmin finally realized he has been misled all along, he throws his arm around Gwangsoo and they become BFFs, that is, until Jongkook eliminates Sungmin leaving Gwangsoo the lone surviving member of his team.

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Gwangsoo’s self-detonating bomb, a.k.a., “I can remove my own nametag and you have to spend five hours looking for the rest of the cases.” Pfft.

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Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Gwangsoo has a PLAN! I repeat! Gwangsoo has a PLAN!

Gwangsoo using the case as a distraction in order to remove the Commander’s nametag was epic! Jongkook was caught completely unawares and didn’t have time to protect his nametag. Kim Jongkook Out! Yay for Gwangsoo! I wonder if he’ll post it on the web again like Jongkook’s nametag before.

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Feel! Chok! Cross! O, Easy Brothers, you’re time has really come. Being the last two in the game? You’re emerging as competitors in your own right.

I love the laughter from the PDs and crew when Gwangsoo removed Sukjin’s name tag after their signature Cross! Cry. And this look from Sukjin? Aha. You won’t see a more surprised look.

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Even though Gwangsoo was the winner and thus the main character of the show as he claims, there are still lots of traces from his clueless character… like being hit by the closing doors of the elevator because he was looking at all the pretty ladies by the counter…

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or still not understanding that Gary was a part of their team as a spy even until the end of the taping. Bwahaha.

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In any case, this is a happy and well-deserved win for the Giraffe.

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On to the next! Running Man goes to Macau and Vietnam! Aww, wished I was there.

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Running Man Episode 131: The King of Ddakji

It’s Fighter vs. Fighter in this episode of Running Man. The members take on two legendary ‘fighters’ in a game of brains and brawn.

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Today’s guests are UFC fighter Choo Sunghoon and amateur boxing champ and 4D actress Lee Shiyoung. The episode theme: King of Ddakji.

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First part: Nametag-ripping at 4 AM

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The members are all in for a shock to find out that they will have to remove each other’s name tags at so ungodly a time. Each member is pegged with an amount, sort of like a cash reward in exchange for his or her nametag. It ranged from the measly 100 won (a.k.a. Sukjin) to the toughest opponent’s 900 won (a.k.a. Sunghoon).

My favorite parts:

When Sunghoon catches Jaesuk for the first time and lets go of him once, Jaesuk then explains to the RM members (with a straight face) that he was let go because of the power that Sunghoon recognized in him. Pfft. As if anybody will believe that, oppa.

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Gwangsoo getting cornered by Sunghoon because he was the weak one who got separated from the herd (per Jaesuk’s explanation to Jihyo)

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Sunghoon and Jongkook showdown. I love that the Commander is able to hold his ground to a world-class fighter even though technically, as the captions in the show would later explain, he is really a singer and not a professional fighter despite the body physique. I also love that they’re serious about besting each other but they both do it adorably, like smiling at each other and joking with one another, even though their arms are straining to take each other nametags off.

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Second part: Quiz game

The members have to answer questions correctly and the first team with all members answering correctly wins. The catch: they have to roll across the floor sitting on a tiny plastic ‘chairs’ towards the table where they have to put their seat pillow on the table to answer.

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My favorite parts:

Short Monday Couple moment, when Jihyo answers correctly against Shiyoung and she and Gary gave each other hive five’s.

And then Shiyoung protests on grounds of spelling and Gary just immediately launches into spelling the answer and Jihyo laughs her head off. Hahaha.

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The incredibly ‘courageous’ or just plain pabo Gwangsoo, who tells Sunghoon the wrong answer. I love that Gwangsoo just commits to his character. He’s so dedicated, I love him.

 

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How cute is Sunghoon to look so imposing with those big arms and muscled body and also look so clueless about the quiz at the same time. He looks like a young boy suddenly thrown out into the world and he has zero clue what to do or even where to start.

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Jaesuk and Gwangsoo getting battered by Shiyoung, they could not even take off to answer the quiz questions.

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After the Sunghoon-Jongkook showdown, I don’t even believe this as I’m writing but there’s also a Sunghoon-GWANGSOO showdown. Where of course Gwangsoo gets beaten to a pulp. So to speak. ^__^

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There’s this funny bit when Gwangsoo seems to have had enough and when Sunghoon gives the correct answer, it turns out that the question was a multiple choice one and Sunghoon still has to guess which number. Gwangsoo, in an exasperated voice, simply asks the PD to end his suffering already and just declare Sunghoon as the winner. This to the laughter of the cast and crew.

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Sunghoon throwing with so much passion, he didn’t even realize that he also through the plastic chair along with the seat cushion

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Gwangsoo hitting Sunghoon in the leg… the picture says it all, right?

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Sunghoon and Gwangsoo both diving for the table. Gwangsoo seems to be having the upper hand but then when the PD checks the seat cushion that landed first was… Sunghoon’s. Gwangsoo can’t seem to catch a break.

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And then alas, a winner… Gwangsoo?

Gwangsoo answers correctly and the round finishes with Gwangsoo smugly walking around looking like he won one over Sunghoon in a hand-to-hand combat.

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Third part: Wresting game… on a mudflat!

Elimination game where one member can take on all the members of another team if undefeated

My favorite parts:

Jaesuk’s 8 km – 8 kg comparison. When he introduced Shiyoung and Jihyo, he says that Shiyoung runs 8 kilometers while Jihyo eats 8 kg worth of food. Pfft.

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Myuk PD’s quick deduction for Haroro. When Jaesuk asks for a rematch with Shiyoung because his feet got stuck, Myuk PD grants him one. But when Haha tries to ask for one himself, Myuk PD shuts him down saying he lost that game fair and square. Hahaha.

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Last part: Who’s the King of Ddakji?

In this concluding part, each team gets to purchase their individual Ddakjis from a wide variety set using the money they’ve earned through the earlier games. Be the final victor and your team wins.

My favorite parts:

When Gary won that one time. Too bad their team were booted out first.

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The Jaesuk-Jongkook showdown. It was nerve-wracking. My brother and I kept checking the remaining time for the episode, wanting to find out if the last turn would be Jaesuk’s or Jongkook’s. I so wanted Jaesuk to win because he has been de-throned many times from his King of Ddakji status, but alas, it was not meant to be. Jongkook flips Jaesuk’s Ddakji and his team wins the game.

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This was another fun episode but unfortunately not as epic as last week’s. However, it was still a great episode to watch. Maybe it was because I had been looking forward too much to Shiyoung’s guesting stint because I knew she had this 4D personality but she fell a little bit below my expectations. Although, it was still fun to watch her give the RM members a run for their money when she continues to beat them during the games.

Sunghoon was a revelation to me. I didn’t know him before this episode so I didn’t know what to expect of him. But I’m pleasantly surprised and very pleased to know that apart from his fighter side, his goofy side can shine through in variety as well.

Next week: Double Spies!

Book Review: The Temptation of Your Touch

 

I know Teresa Medeiros has already written a lot of books. However, this is only the second book of hers that I’ve read, the first one being the first book in her new Burke series, The Pleasure of Your Kiss.

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Here’s the book blurb from Goodreads:

Maximillian Burke has always prided himself on being the man every mother would want her daughter to marry. But after his scoundrel of a brother makes off with Max’s bride, Max discovers it’s more satisfying to be a rogue than the perfect gentleman. Forced to flee London after a duel gone wrong, he seeks refuge at Cadgwyck Manor on the lonely coast of Cornwall, a place as wild and savage as his current temper. The tumbledown manor comes complete with its own ghost, but oddly enough, it’s not the White Lady of Cadgwyck who haunts Max’s heated dreams—but his no-nonsense housekeeper.

The last thing housekeeper Anne Spencer needs is a new master, especially one as brooding and gorgeous as the Earl of Dravenwood. Even as she schemes to be rid of her new employer, she finds herself irresistibly drawn into his strong, muscular arms. When Max vows to solve the mystery of Cadgwyck’s ghost, he doesn’t realize it will put both of their hearts at risk and tempt them to surrender to a pleasure as delicious as it is dangerous.

 

The Temptation of Your Touch was an enjoyable read. Added to the central love story was a plot filled with mysteries. It wasn’t great but reading it was not a waste of time either. I like the first three quarters of the book. I love happy endings but my only misgiving in this book was that the latter quarter, especially the ending felt a bit hurried. The mystery gets solved in like a flick of a finger. There were resolutions offered but it felt a bit contrived in the end. Although I appreciated the bits and pieces of information or clues, if you will, that were peppered throughout the book but maybe it would have worked better if the answer to the mystery had been revealed earlier because by this point, the readers would have had a good idea what had happened, and instead focused more on the dynamics that the reveal would have shifted between our hero and heroine.

 

I like Max’s character. He’s a good person and I would have wanted his character arc resolution to have been more epic, for lack of a better word. I was looking forward to his redemption and three-fourths of the book had offered more than glimpses that the story was walking the readers into that direction. But since the ending was really a bit abrupt, I felt that I was left hanging a little. Nevertheless, given the character development that was expressed in the book, readers wouldn’t have a hard time imagining the ending, like the ending was were the trajectory of the story has been targeting after all. It just would have been better if the gaps in between were filled.

 

As for Anne, I like my heroines feisty, tough, and smart, and I think she has all these qualities. Her motivations are understandable and I appreciate that she has endured through life in spite of all that fate has dealt her with. Again, in the first three-fourths of the book, I absolutely adored her. She’s not afraid to speak her mind and she can stand her ground even, or most especially, against Max. But then that last quarter of the book when the big reveal came… I just expected more, especially with her relationship with Max.

 

As for the mystery, I appreciate that Teresa Medeiros wrote it the way she did. As I’ve said earlier, there were already clues that point to the truth, but still not enough to set it on stone. She had kept me guessing until the big reveal. When I was sure that it was one way, she writes it like it’s completely the other way, which is a plus that the mystery was sustained. However, as I’ve also said earlier, it would have been nicer for a bit more development in terms of the relationship of our hero and heroine after the mystery was solved so that readers could have been given much more substance in terms of the future of their relationship beyond the mystery. I would not have minded a little more angst from both of them, or at least from Max, instead of following it up immediately with the happy ending.

 

Nevertheless, I actually like the theme of the mystery of the ghost. It’s a nice parallel of having a ghost haunt you and having your past haunt you. Max said it best:

 

“We’re all haunted in one way or another, are we not? If not by spirits, then by our own demons and regrets.”

 

Overall, it was still an enjoyable read. I think part of Medeiros’ charm as an author is that she writes lovely prose and her descriptions are one of her greatest assets. They’re vivid I could see her scenes play out in my mind’s eye. The part where Maximillian was imagining what had happened to Angelica in the tower during the fateful night was an example of this.

 

My rating: 4.0 stars