A simple joke made by producer Na Youngsuk in the second episode of New Journey to the West Season 4 unexpectedly turned into a big deal. Challenged to a game in which all of the staff thought it would be impossible to win the first-place prize, the celebrities let out their hidden card who completely turned the tide of the game in an instant. WINNER’s Song Mino, or should I say Songarak, showed his surprising accuracy skills, winning a Porsche and Lamborghini. The cars, however, ended up being traded off for six Dragon Balls and each member's wishes. Songarak was the start of it all, and no one knew what consequences would follow.
Youth Over Flowers
In the first part of the New Journey to the West Special, WINNER finally fulfilled their dream of appearing on Youth Over Flowers. Although it was probably not the best way to be taken on a vacation, the idol group enjoyed their break to the fullest extent.
This special highlighted several different characteristics of the idol group and provided an opportunity to rid any sort of biased thoughts towards WINNER. Not long after the first episode had been broadcasted, the boy group immediately gained positive remarks, especially ones that complimented the members’ personalities and teamwork. Nonetheless, it’s totally understandable; it’s too difficult to dislike such adorable boys!
Now to the beginning of the story: accepting Mino’s request to take his group on a break through Youth Over Flowers, Na PD carefully planned out a way to take the boys by surprise. It certainly succeeded when the episode aired, showing that the boys were ripped of their personal belongings even before their arrival at the airport. Wait, hold up a minute here—what happened to their belongings? Fans countlessly reported seeing all members, especially Jinwoo, being attached to their bags even during their schedules in case they would randomly be taken away. However, through the staffs’ careful observations and planning, the program team succeeded in taking the group by surprise, using a fake car commercial as a plan-in-disguise. Watch the video below to find out more about this extreme procedure!
The group spent their vacation in bliss as the day of their dreams became a reality. Even the smallest things brought happiness and joy as Seungyoon, Seunghoon, Jinwoo, and Mino were able to take a break from their lives as WINNER. In a foreign land, the boys did face obstacles along the way, but they were able to keep going with the presence of their closest friends (in other words, each other). Being able to achieve their wishes such as skydiving and stargazing together, the four members were able to strengthen their bond of friendship.
Of course, this cannot be left out. The day of WINNER’s arrival in South Korea was indeed a special day; the transformation of the idol group’s appearance from wearing prison outfits to nice suits brought a wave of confusion to those at the airport. Fans wondered about the true story behind their change. To relieve them of their unceasing curiosity, tvN came to the rescue, releasing a behind-the-scenes video of the last episode of the spin-off show.
A program based off of tvN’s popular show Youn’s Kitchen, Kang’s Kitchen gained a high amount of attention and interest even before the broadcast started. Achieving a record of 5.4% just on the airing of the first episode, the New Journey to the West team certainly proved their rising popularity.
The episodes following WINNER’s Youth Over Flowers featured the members of New Journey to the West Season 4 (excluding Kyuhyun who is serving in the military) on Jeju Island, running their own restaurant, Kang’s Kitchen, to fulfill the store owner’s wish. A set concept of where the owner eats more than his customers, Kang Hodong truly showed this side of himself by creating a humongous pork cutlet dish large enough to feed multiple people. With the main menu “Kang Ho-dongkatsu” (pork cutlet) and Ahn Jaehyun’s famous “omurice” along with further additions, the cast made and served the food with much care throughout each business day.
Each member had a position/job to fill in: Eun Jiwon as hall manager, Kang Hodong as the main chef, Ahn Jaehyun as assistant chef, Song Mino who changed from a server to a kitchen assistant, and Lee Soogeun as the all-round part-timer who served and helped the kitchen. With small “fights” here and there, the employees at Kang’s Kitchen built their teamwork which improved the system of the restaurant.
One of the most popular dishes that many people started making at home is the ramen menu “제주많은 돼지라면.” Named with a play on words, this specific menu includes ramen, eggs, green onions, a special sauce that brings a spicy but refreshing flavor, and pieces of cut-up tangsooyook (crispy fried pork without its signature sweet and sour sauce) to finish it off. Even aside from this ramen, fans tried making the “omurice” and Lee Soogeun’s “삼겹살 김밥” (samgyupsal kimbap) in a way to rid the disappointment of not being able to visit the store themselves. Being one of those fans, I tried making the kimbap and ramen myself, and all I have to say is that there is a reason why the restaurant was so popular! Check out the video below to see how to make the ramen yourself.
Although the members did not end up making an excessive amount of profit, they were satisfied with the result as they had poured in a huge amount of effort to make the best out of this opportunity. On Na PD’s suggestion of creating another special, the members promised to talk with more caution to prevent the producer from using their unusual ideas (which I doubt will happen anytime soon). I think it’s a good time to start waiting for the third special series!
Undoubtedly one of the most loved programs, New Journey to the West Season 4 is considered to be a famous variety series. The unforgettable incident being the start of it all, both specials have left a great impact on tvN shows. From the dorky and adorable boys of WINNER to the hilarious yet remarkable members of New Journey to the West Season 4, these programs have reached their peaks of success. Even though Youth Over Flowers and Kang’s Kitchen have come to an end, they provided great times to sit back and enjoy the special episodes that brought us laughter and delight.