An Open Letter About Why Gary Cannot Leave Running Man



Note: Running Man's Kang Gary has announced his departure from the show starting in November 2016. It is indeed a sad time for Running Man fans around the world who have grown to love the quirky, cool and all round adorkable rapper in his 6 years on the show. We wish him all the best in his musical career and hope that he will decide to come back to the show as a guest more frequently than not.

Dear anyone who really cares about Running Man,

I've never thought that I'd come to a point in my life where I would react to the news of a cast member leaving (even if it is on a hiatus) Running Man so seriously. 3 months prior to this moment, I wasn't into Running Man at all, laughed at all my friends who were mad crazy about the show and preferred to remain in my warm, safe and ultimately ignorant cocoon. I didn't even know who Gary was, moreso care about whether or not he's leaving Running Man.

But in these 3 months, I've come to love every single cast member on the show. I've laughed and laughed at their antics and followed their relationships with each other, both on-screen and off-screen, with a passionate gusto. I would watch several episodes of Running Man in a day, finishing up almost all 110 episodes. In these 3 months, I have become the person I used to laugh at, a true blue Korean freak.
And then news broke that Gary, one of my personal favorites on the show, was going on a hiatus from all variety shows, which of course, included Running Man. Here is his original tweet:

Translated: “To focus on maintaining Leessang company and music concerts, I am stopping all the variety show activities. I am sorry this is all sudden. Sorry”

As soon as I saw that news, I was shocked, appalled and felt something inside me that I hadn't felt in a long, long time; sadness. I never thought I would feel sad over a guy I didn't know anything about until some 3 months ago. Yes, I didn't know who Kang Gary or LeeSsang was but through Running Man, I began to listen to their music and to get to know them better.

Gary is special. Here was a guy whom I had bonded over 110 episodes of Running Man with, laughing hysterically as he showed off his 'Calm' Gary face and his cheesy one-liners.

My favorite Gary moment.

Watch this video to see why I suddenly took interest in Gary (I really recommend watching it. It's funny as heck.). Here was a guy who I watched win both the Running Man Survivor series. I watched him try to spark things up with Song Ji-hyo, eventually becoming the amazing Monday Couple and then, ever so suddenly, breaking up.

After the Monday Couple breakup, I briefly entertained the notion of not watching Running Man anymore, because I totally shipped the Monday Couple so hard. But I still loved watching Gary, because all the hottest female guests who came on the show usually stuck to him. His trademark 'ST-REESSSS!' was, for a brief moment in time, incorporated into my every day speech, to the chagrin of my friends.

But don't get me wrong. I love the entire cast of Running Man. It's the interactions they have with each other that make the show worth watching, week after week. The cast of Running Man blend so well together, making even the simplest of conversations entertaining and amusing.

My sentiments exactly.

The best part about it is that the cast members don't only maintain a 'fake' or 'pretend' friendship on-screen, they all have a tight friendship off-screen too. Look at this clip here, where Gary and Kim Jong Kook have a short cameo scene in Gwang-soo's new movie 'Wonderful Radio'. Or how about these few articles here; all of which show how close the Running Man members are even when the cameras aren't rolling.

Which is precisely why I feel that Gary cannot leave Running Man. He's been a regular with the show for over a hundred episodes, since the beginning.

Gary's first appearance on Running Man.

He's as much a member of Running Man than anyone else. To put it into perspective, Song Joong-ki, the pretty flower boy, left in episode 41 and many tears were shed. Gary has almost triple of the number of episodes Joong-ki had. I'm not saying that Joong-ki is any less of a Running Man member, but look at what happened after he left. The producers didn't even try to look for a replacement. Joong-ki only had 41 episodes to impact the audience and to make more fans. Gary had 110 episodes, roughly about 50% more episodes to endear himself to the Running Man audience. If the producers thought that the Joong-ki role of a pretty flower boy was a pretty hard one to fill, the Gary role would be a meteor-sized crater.

I'm sure I'm not the only person who would say that every single Running Man member is important to the show.

Would the "Herbivore" gang of Grasshopper Jae-suk, Impala Suk-jin and Giraffe Gwang-soo be as funny if there wasn't Tiger Jong-kook there? Would Haroro HaHa have the same cute and childish charms if he doesn't have Jae-suk there to entertain his childishness? Will the Monday Couple ever get back together again (and I'm crossing my fingers for a yes) if Gary or Ji-hyo is no longer there? Would there ever have been a Monday Couple in the first place? The answer for all the above questions would be a big, resounding 'NO!'

Running Man has legions of fans worldwide mainly because of its cast. Everyone just plays their roles so perfectly that a single member's absence puts the entire show at risk. Here's a small example of what would happen if Gary really did leave Running Man. In episode 107-108, Gary was absent from the show because of an injured back. A quick check of the television ratings in Seoul saw a dramatic 3% viewership drop, which is almost like serious as Conan O'Brien calling in sick for his show.

And that's for Seoul alone. I have friends who are also huge fans of Running Man telling me that the episodes without Gary are, and I quote, "not worth watching, I WANT MY GAELY!!!".

At the end of it all, I just want to conclude this needlessly long letter by saying this: Gary cannot leave Running Man. He, just like the other members of Running Man are all equally important. To remove an important cog like Gary, the Running Man machine will undoubtedly cease to function properly. Despite nothing being confirmed yet, I, and the hundreds of thousands of Running Man fans around the world beg of you, LeeSsang Company, please do not let Gary leave Running Man.

Sincerely hoping,
A Running Man fan

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  1. The world misses Monday Couple so much! 😭😭😭


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