Which Has the Better Guests: ‘Infinity Challenge’ or ‘Running Man’?

SBS’ Running Man was always the one falling behind in the past. It started up after MBC’s Infinity Challenge garnered a great success, but failed to make a big difference with its suffering ratings.

These days, however, Running Man is making viewers laugh every week in the place of the missing Infinity Challenge, and its exciting surprise guest appearances seems to have helped. How does it compare, then, to the original king of surprise guests, Infinity Challenge?



The biggest sports stars: Kim Yuna vs Park Ji Sung

Need we say more? These two programs have been more than successful in getting big sports stars to appear. In 2009, Infinity Challenge invited Kim Yuna to appear in an episode, and the figure skater added to her feats as the ‘Queen of Figure Skating’ with her appearance.

Running Man also didn’t fall behind. In May, the show led a rediscovery of Manchester United’s Park Ji Sung. Infinity Challenge fans, on the other hand, were left saddened when Park Ji Sung said he “wanted to appear on Infinity Challenge, too.”

The goddesses: Kim Tae Hee vs Han Ga In

These two appeared as the ‘Santa Goddess’ and the ‘First Love’ in their respective shows. Kim Tae Hee lightened up the set of Infinity Challenge by making a surprise appearance in the show’s Christmas Special in 2006. Her appearance was ever more surprising because she’s rarely seen in variety.

Running Man scored in the same area with Han Ga In, the woman who made her husband Yeon Jeong Hun the enemy of many men. She became a big success with MBC’s The Sun and the Moon and Architecture 101, and succeeded again on Running Man with her detective skills.



Big global stars

The shows’ global connections managed to shake up fans with shocking arrivals. Infinity Challenge played host to French soccer star Thierry Henry and Paris Hilton. These appearances are said to have left their marks in the history of variety. The Henry episode even gave birth to a timeless scene involving a soccer ball guessing game.

Running Man also showed off its global connections at least once. The appearance of the Hollywood star Jackie Chan drew awe from its viewers. The only setback was that he didn’t get to run alongside the members.

The Big Bang matches

The way the two shows handled appearances by Big Bang showed their unique characteristics despite their similarity in form. Infinity Challenge brought in Big Bang on May 2011 for its ‘Gangs of Seoul’ episode. The Infinity Challenge members and Big Bang members were left to chase each other around the city.

Running Man cast Big Bang in March. The Infinity Challenge and Running Man Big Bang episodes were about a year apart, but the concepts were similar. Big Bang and Running Man chased each other around in a building in a story that had viewers meeting twist after twist in surprise.



The legends: Cha Seung Won vs Choi Min Soo

Cha Seung Won in Infinity Challenge is an example of how a big star can change so much in just one episode. The actor appeared on Infinity Challenge in August 2005, when the show hadn’t found its place yet, to carry coal briquettes in tights.

Choi Min Soo of Running Man also left behind a legendary episode. He intimidated his viewers with his charisma, appearing as a hunter on the show to hunt down the ‘Nation’s MC’ Yoo Jae Suk.

Photo credit: MBC, SBS

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Reporter : Lee, JinHo (zhenhao@cj.net)
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