Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Return to 1 Night 2 Days


I have a confession to make. In the past week or so, I haven't really been watching any dramas aside from Cheese in the Trap and Signal (and 1 episode of Moorim School). The reason was that basically I didn't feel like watching any. But it was also because I really got into variety shows. I usually end up watching Running Man, which is a safe bet for me, but recently I've been really getting back into 1 Night 2 Days, something I haven't done in a long time. The reason is because this season (the third) is really good again.

I wrote several posts on the show a few years back because I really did enjoy the show. Since at the time I only had access to KBS (via KBS World on cable), I had very limited opportunities to watch other shows. But I did think that 1 Night 2 Days was a solid and awesome show, which sadly ended in 2012 (the best of it, that is). That was what I thought for a long time because I didn't really enjoy much of Season 2, which lasted four months shy of two years, currently the shortest season yet. So it's been about four years since I tuned in weekly. But little did I know that I'll be coming back to it again for its third installment with an almost completely new cast from the first season.

The current season consists of actors Cha Tae-hyun, who returned from Season 2, and Kim Joo-hyuk, singers Kim Jong-min from Season 1 and 2, Defconn, and Jung Joon-young, and comedian Kim Jun-ho. Their first episode started more than two years ago in December 2013, so it's safe to say I was pretty late to the bandwagon. I really didn't plan on watching this current season, as you can tell from my late start, because I wasn't feeling Season 2 and thought well, the glory days of 1 Night 2 Days are over and they're only milking the machine dry now. How wrong was I.

My first taste of Season 3 came courtesy of Cha Tae-hyun who was able to cast Jo In-sung to the show, which was crazy since he rarely ever does variety shows (like many actors tend to do). So when a Struggling Friend special came about, Tae-hyun didn't know who to cast and called In-sung who just so happened, by the miracles of dramagods, to not have a schedule at the time (Tae-hyun also invited Kim Ki-bang, because In-sung doesn't really fit the theme of the episode). It was a glorious two episodes, watching the beautiful Jo In-sung get himself all dirty and muddy and still end up better looking than most of us. That was also the episode I found out about Roy Kim, so thank you show.


After that I didn't watch any subsequent episodes because once you experience Jo In-sung you expect nothing less. Oddly enough I started looking into the show when Kim Joo-hyuk announced he was going to leave the show. I know, what terrible timing. I saw an article of his farewell episode and found out how many people love this season (and how sad it was for him to leave). This lit a bulb in my head so I went out to watch it.

I didn't know where to start and read somewhere (couldn't remember where) that one of the funniest episodes of the show is the Non-Smoking episode. If you want to watch the season but don't know where to start, I highly recommend that one. It was downright hilarious. They weren't really their best selves in that episode, but I think that made it all the better. All the scheming and lying and Tae-hyun, the only non-smoker of the group, laughing all the while in the background, made it a hilarious show. Like actual cigarettes (but not really. Don't smoke guys), this episode was my entrance into the addictive Season 3.

I think what makes the season was the chemistry of the cast and how different it was to other seasons. Season 1 is where Kang Ho-dong was the leader and eldest of the pack and helped lift the other members, sometimes literally. Now compare that to Season 3 where no one in particular is the leader. The eldest, Kim Joo-hyuk, is such a variety newbie that he doesn't know what to do half the time. Seasoned veteran Kim Jong-min is the local airhead and has difficulty making decisions for himself, let alone other people. Everyone else has their bright moments, but no one outshines anyone in particular. They also play around with each other very well, with no two members awkward around another. This is what makes this cast so special. They feel more like a collaborative group versus Season 1 which has visible hierarchy that's difficult to ignore.

Plus this season everyone is funny, a return to the golden group of Season 1. Season 2 mostly had Lee Su-geun to fall upon, which is not the best situation since it's not a Su-geun centered show, which I think is why it wasn't a very successful season. And, compared to Season 1, the cast of Season 3 doesn't have a particular role to play on. It might seem like a downfall, especially in a world where variety stars are characters on screen. But this means that the cast has room to play their parts and make for very interesting shows, with each episode different enough from the others. If all goes well, I could see this cast go for a very long time. It outlasted Season 2 already with no signs of stopping. I have yet to watch the episodes without Joo-hyuk, but I think the five will do okay, with no disrespect to Gutaeng hyung of course.

Another sign of its success is the return of strong crew presence. Season 1 had Na PD (who is now a living legend), and Season 3 has Yoo PD (Yoo Ho-jin, who was actually a maknae PD of Season 1 and victim of a cruel prank on episode 63). Season 2 changed PDs twice, and neither, as far as I know, had that strong of a presence. Yoo PD does, despite his frail appearance, often referred to as crayfish. I think he's a tad nicer than Na PD, who is devious in many ways, but he's not weak in the least. It's always hilarious how often the cast argues with Yoo PD and him seeming like he's going to fall for it but most often not. And based off of the episodes they've been doing, their writers team is also very strong, with episodes like the aforementioned Non-Smoking trip, an episode revolving around Movie OSTs, and a medical check up 1N2D style.

It's a really great season to watch 1 Night 2 Days, even if you didn't watch any previous seasons. The episodes are also available on YouTube via the KBS World channel which is always nice. Just a fair warning, don't read the comments. 1 Night 2 Days isn't one of those all-pleasing shows where things go perfectly according to plan and some people don't appreciate all the betraying and suffering that happens in the show.

3 comments:

  1. Hi! Thank you for this post, you wrote everything I feel about the show.
    Actually, my experience with 1N2D is extremely similar to your, except for that I started watching the 3rd season when I accidentally found out it existed :D And i loved watching it in sequences, seeing how awkward they were at first and how close they've become :)

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    1. I'm actually not watching the season in sequence, but I probably should right? I'm mostly going for episodes that seem interesting and funny, although so far they've all been pretty good. I still haven't watched the first episode yet. I'm so bad.

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  2. I watched 2D1N because of Jung Joon Young, but I learned to love all of its cast members. Currently, I'm really enjoying watching Jong Min and Joon Ho foolishness and fights. I also watched it randomly. However among the 3 seasons, I only able to watch season 3 that's why I can't compare it to other season.

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