At the tail end of 2013, I wrote a first impression article for the new look “1 Night 2 Days.” During that review, I praised the feeling of freshness I felt from both the show and the cast members. It’s now been 3 months since that review and I think it’s a good time to discuss whether the show has continued to improve on their foundations or if they gone from one sand eel sauce coffee to the next.
Very Important Disclaimer Stuff: The writer is not really an expert at anything much and is just a mere casual fan of pretty much everything. The writer has been known to be rather weird and cynical at times. The writer’s opinions certainly DO NOT reflect the opinion of Soompi’s news team or Soompi as a whole. Trust me, the rest of the team is quite normal.
Looking Forward to Sundays Again
Before we even begin to write anything subjective, lets just get some of the facts out of the way. The ratings for last week’s “no smoking special” episode was 15.4% according to rating firm AGB Nielson. Time slot rivals,” Running Man” and “Real Men” both rated 13%. Average ratings for “1N2D” have also been hovering above the 12% mark since December (From a single program rating standpoint). The days when one program dominated completely over another program on the Sunday time slot is now gone. Instead, we now have a relatively close battle between all 6 Sunday programs, with all 6 programs all within 5% within each other. That difference becomes even less when we take the combined umbrella ratings for each of the Sunday programs (KBS’ “Happy Sunday,” SBS’ “Sunday Is Good,” MBC’s “Sunday Night“).
The ratings seem to indicate that the show has started to gain traction, but what do I personally think about the show? I’ll start off by saying that it’s always much easier to be negative about something, then it is to lavishly heap praise on it. On that note, I don’t really have a lot to say about “1N2D” beyond the fact that I’ve once again started to really look forward to Sunday nights, a first in many years (No, I’m not a fan of “Running Man.” Don’t ask why, you don’t want to know).
I can’t really end my review there, so lets expand upon that point. I previously mentioned that my grievances with Season 2 compared to Season 1 was due to an increasing focus on extravagance and concepts, rather than the members themselves. It also didn’t help that I felt a few members like Lee Soo Geun seemed to overpower a lot of the other members and their interactions felt rather artificial. Season 2 never got to the point where I felt like I was watching a bunch of friends. Instead it felt like I was watching a bunch of work colleagues trying to get along with each just while the new recruits nervously glanced around at their seniors.
Thankfully Season 3 has completely alleviated most of these concerns. Barring the first couple episodes, the members have all seem to really get along with each other and the pace at which they all established interesting characters has been, quite frankly, amazing. My two biggest concerns during the first episode was whether Jung Joon Young and Kim Joo Hyuk will acclimatize to the show.
Those concerns have now completely disappeared. Jung Joon Young has this air of confidence and unpredictability that makes him a joy to watch every week. Kim Joo Hyuk however has completely shocked me in regards to how quickly he fitted into the group. He just fits in so seamlessly that’s it hard to imagine what the show would be without him.
But the great thing about the new members is just how balanced they are. Like I mentioned above, Season 2 always seemed like a few members were overshadowing the rest. Even in Season 1, it sometimes felt like Kang Ho Dong was sometimes overshadowing everyone else with his excessive energy and persona. In season 3 however, all the members appear to be on equal footing and no members is above the rest. This is most evident in the attitude of Kim Jong Min. In previous seasons, he sometimes felt flat and lacking in confidence. In season 3, he seems to be really enjoying himself and you see him get involved more actively then ever before.
You also can’t talk about “1N2D” without talking about the staff. One of the trademarks of “1N2D” have always been this interaction between the members and staff. Season 2 was somewhat awkward in this regard, but Season 3’s Yoo Ho Jin PD gives me glimpses of the brilliance that Nah Young Suk PD showed in Season 1. His interactions with the members feel natural and in no way forced. He seems to have a playful side to him that is initially hidden by his somewhat monotone voice. Best of all, unlike Season 2, he interacts with the members on a similar level of command. In season 2, it always felt like the PD was the weakest of the lot, always being intimidated by the members. Yoo Ho Jin PD however has been authoritative when he needs to and has backed off when needed.
Overall, I’m genuinely enjoying the new season of “1 Night, 2 Days.” Every week seems to bring in something fresh and interesting. The best part of all is that the show has realized that each week’s concept is only as good as how the members treat it. In that sense, the bi-weekly concepts take a back seat to the general interactions between the members. It’s got to the point where I don’t really care about the concept because it frankly doesn’t really matter. Watching the members interact with each other and the staff is where all the joy of the show comes from and Season 3 has nailed this point. It’s great to look forward to Sundays again.
*Lordbordem is the writer that now prefers penguins over koalas since the former don’t drop down from trees. Free from the perils of Koala warfare, he can now continue to write articles on Soompi without fearing for his life.