Seven years ago, an ambitious reality show called Family Outing appeared on Korean TV. Hosted by "The Nation's MC" Yoo Jae-suk (most may know him only as the guy with the bowl cut in PSY's recent videos), this variety show took outdoor reality to a level that is still trying to be reached. The show ran for nearly 2 years on SBS's 'Good Sunday' and had many of the same cast and crew members from the game show X-Man. What this show offered was more than just silly games and jokes, it was a travelogue of Korean villages and offered a glimpse into the Confucian-based society unheard of in America.
The show had the cast visiting various rural villages around South Korea. The elderly homeowners would go off on a small vacation while the cast did chores for them and placed games. Family Outing opened with Yoo Jae-suk calling the cast members and that week's guest to inform them of where to meet. Once they saw their chores, they'd immediately get to work, play games and cook dinner together at the end of the day. The show was a two parter, with the first day's event ending with the cast members choosing sleeping arrangements. The 2nd day often began with a morning quiz that was full of nonsense and trickery by Yoo Jae-suk and the rest of the day was spent finishing up chores, games and cleaning up before the elderly homeowners arrived.
The show's cast was a fine mix of actors & singers led by comedian Yoo Jae-suk. The show was co-hosted by singer Lee Hyori of girl group Fin.K.L. and together these two were known as the "The Nation's Siblings". Jae Suk and Hyori often wound up fighting each other, with the latter taking on the role of the bratty little sister. Daesung, from the world famous kpop group Big Bang, silly pun-filled banter with Yoo Jae-suk earned them the name, "Dumb and Dumber". Neither had the wherewithal to make a firm decision and their interactions showed that thinking was not their strong suit. In one episode (see below), they both expressed shock when they figured 8 x 20 = they have to pick 400 perilla leaves. Whenever they made puns or had an epiphany, Yoo Jae-suk would often look at Daesung, "We match well!" This didn't sit well with Lee Hyori who was not only jealous of their relationship, but annoyed it took them too long to do anything.
The other singer on the show was Yoon Jong-shin. At 40, he was the oldest cast member and his ineffective body meant he was often picked last at games he was certain to lose or he could be seen sleeping in the background. Jong-sin's solid contribution to the show was adding ramen powder to the meals the family had to cook every night. This ensured that even with scant ingredients, there'd still be flavor.
The rest of the cast were actors, each with their own nicknames. Park Ye-jin was given the nickname 'Sweet and Brutal Ye-jin" for her role in catching fish and a chicken with her hands and using her nasal voice to calm the animals when it came time to eat them. Lee Chun-hee and Kim Soo-ro are both actors with a 10 year friendship and a 10 year age gap. Honorifics in Korean society forced Cheon-hee to be deferential to Soo-ro, who took on his hyung role with relish. The two were dubbed, "Chunderella and Step-Mother Kim" since Soo-ro's only contribution to the Family's work was bossing Cheon-hee around.
In later episodes, Kim Jong-kook, a singer and former cast member of X-Man, was added to show when he returned from military service. The show made his reentry to civilian life a running gag. The show also tried to force a loveline between Kim Jong-kook and Lee Hyori, with Jong-kook often spurning Hyori's advances and offers of buying him a gym. A love triangle bloomed after Park Ye-jin appeared in Kim Jong-kook's music video. Besides his muscles, Kim Jong-kook is often teased for tiny eyes, some thing Daesung fully understands. Together, they were were "The Small Eye Brothers".
In 2009, Park Ye-jin and Lee Chun-hee left the show once their one-year contract was up. Actor Park Hae-jin and former Miss Korea and actress Park Si-yeon were added in their places. They were given the nickname "The Park Siblings", but unfortunately Park Si-yeon was rarely seen on the show due to her injuries and eventually left. Park Hae-jin was a guest on episodes 5 and 6 where he showed a competitive side in the games that led Yoo Jae-suk into fantasizing they were rivals. Once he joined the show, he proved to be quite clumsy and inept at games. One top of that, Hae Jin's serious awkwardness at comedy and dancing became its own running gag. The highlight of Hae Jin's appearance on Family Outing was when he was a dressed in women's clothes dancing to 2PM's Heartbeat.
With so many personalities, it was refreshing to see so many interactions that seemed nearly natural even when it was clear one in the pairing may have been awkward with that direction. But in the short time these people were Family, they made bonds that seem to have endured to this day.
In the five years since leaving the show, so many of the cast members have moved on to brighter futures. Yoo Jae-suk and Kim Jong-kook have been on SBS's Running Man since 2010. All of the former Family Outing cast members, except Park Si-yeon, have made guest appearances on Running Man. Kim Soo-ro, Lee Chun-hee and Park Ye-jin have continued acting. Park Hae-jin saw his popularity rise while acting in the smash hit drama, "My Love from the Star". Lee Hyori got married & semi-retired. Yoon Jong-shin runs an entertainment company with a stable of indie-rockers and comedians who are now everywhere in Korean variety. Daesung has released solo albums and Big Bang has just released their first full length album in 3 years and will be embarking on a tour that includes the US.
Written by Anika Malone
Anika Malone is a writer and photographer living in Los Angeles. She spends most of her time teetering between being amused and enraged by the people in this world. Anika is an avid gardener, lover of Korean entertainment, video game obsessive, and gadget collector when her budget allows. She loves travelling and food, especially when they're intertwined. She lives in Los Angeles with her family and a five-pawed dog.
Original article : www.12blaxx.com/2015/07/celebrating-family-outing-part-1/
Her website : www.12blaxx.com
Facebook : www.facebook.com/12blaxx
Twitter : twitter.com/12blaxx
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