Episode 508: Tears of the Polar Bear: November 26, 2016
It’s almost the end of the year, and the <Infinite Challenge> crew has completed most of their missions from the “Letters of Fortune” series that they started earlier this year in episode 464.
The series included
- a collaboration with idol group EXO
- living in nature
- having Park Myung-soo live a day as a slave
- ridding scary roller coasters
- participating in the <Show Me the Money> preliminaries
The only challenge left is interacting with polar bears.
While taking about missions for the following year, Park Myung-soo jokes, “Is Yang Se-hyung going to be able to continue with us next year?”
Yoo Jae-suk, “Yes. Actually, I’m more worried about you not being with us next year.”
For the final mission, viewers were touched by a previous episode where Jeong Jun-ha led the Polar Bear Special. The crew also mention a famous picture of Jeong Jun-ha hugging Dota the elephant, so Haha jokes that Jeong Jun-ha should hug the polar bear as well in order to complete the mission of “interacting” with polar bears.
Yoo Jae-suk, “That sounds too dangerous. Why don’t we just hand the polar bear a mic and call it a day?”
The conversation heads to Yang Se-hyung, and Jeong Jun-ha asks him, “Do you even know where the north pole is?”
Yang Se-hyung, “The south pole is the one in the south, and the north pole is the one in the north.” He then complains about Jeong Jun-ha always looking down on him.
Jeong Jun-ha complains that Yang Se-hyun is the one always looking down on him, especially that time when he became the goodwill ambassador to Africa. Yang Se-hyun then gets down on his knees and sarcastically apologizes.
The other MCs then yell at Jeong Jun-ha for constantly bullying “kind-hearted” Yang Se-hyung (and Haha too.) Jeong Jun-ha is flustered because he feels like everyone’s picking on him.
Special Guests Documentary PDs Jo Joon-mook and Kim Jin-man
They’ll be going to Churchill, Canada to see polar bears, and since Jeong Jun-ha has never been there, he gets advice from PD Jo Jun-mok of the documentary <Tears of the North Pole> and PD Kim Jin-man of <Tears of the South Pole> and <Tears of the Amazon>. These were part of a popular documentary series narrating the effect of global warming on the environment. Yoo Jae-suk notes that they were the highest ever rated documentaries in Korea at 21.5% viewership ratings. PD Kim Jin-man dryly responds, “It was 24% in Seoul.”
PD Jo Jun-mok has been doing documentaries for 10 of his 20 year career. Haha jokes that he looks like he’s been doing it for much longer. The PD is the same age as Park Myung-soo.
PD Jo Jun-mok went last March to northern Canada when it was -30 degrees Celsius. He warns Jeong Jun-ha that once the sun goes down, it gets really cold. He says he was really young looking and had a lot of hair before going there, but jokes that the cold wind and temperatures made him go bald. He couldn’t even wear facial masks because if he got sweat or moisture on it, it would freeze on his face. It was a difficult challenge and one of his crew members even fell into the ice and had to be rescued by an Inuit guide. They were there for one year.
He says it’s harder than filming tigers in Africa because in Africa, tigers are kept in a sanctuary, so it’s easy to locate them, whereas polar bears travel hundreds of kilometers. Also, the documentary crew actually films from far away, but they still have guards with guns because if the polar bears charge at them, the won’t have time to pack up all their equipment.
PD Kim Jin-man talks about filming emperor penguins in the South Pole. He talks about hurdling and how the penguins on the inside are warm, yet they switch to the outside, so that the others also get a chance to be warm. How kind.
Unfortunately, these documentaries focused on the “tears” caused by global warming. Many Inuits die these days because they’re not used to the weak ice conditions. Also, by 2050 polar bears may be extinct. PD Kim Jin-man adds that while filming, only 7 out of 1,500 penguin babies survived since their parents often died while hunting. Many of them were killed by melting ice caps.
Churchill is a harbor city along the Hudson Bay. There are lots of polar bears there. Since they’re going in November, it will obviously be cold. It’ll be around -20 degrees Celsius. He recommends not wearing a one piece suit, because then he has to take everything off when using the bathroom. Yang Se-hyung, “It’s okay because Jeong Jun-ha just goes in his pants.” These two are so petty with each other.
Jeong Jun-ha says he told the production crew that he wouldn’t go alone, so he asked around for the person with the least busy schedule. He wants Park Myung-soo to go with him, and of course he tries to convince Jeong Jun-ha to pick someone else. It’s not easy for an old man to survive in the icy Tundra.
Ha & Soo: Off to Canada
It’s November 14, 2016. Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo are dressed in polar bear outfits ready to depart from the Incheon International Airport. Jeong Jun-ha shares how a fortune teller read tarot cards and warned them to be careful on their upcoming international trip in November because it’s going to cause a lot of friction in one of his relationships.
As soon as the two walk inside the main hall of the airport, they’re recognized by fans that laugh at their getup. Luckily, they must have gone on a weekday because the airport doesn’t look too busy. Yup. the math checks out. November the 14th was a Monday.
They have a couple layovers in Vancouver and Winnipeg, the hometown of Pooh. It looks like they’re flying business or maybe even first class. I wouldn’t know the difference, having only ever been in economy. How lucky. It’s my dream to fly first class once before I die.
They get off in Winnipeg where there are also some polar bears. Park Myung-soo is frustrated about why they can’t just stay there to meet the polar bears, and have to go all the way to Churchill.
Jeong Jun-ha reinterates that their two goals for the trip is the meet polar bears and to video chat with the rest of the <Infinite Crew> members in Seoul.
They get on a shuttle bus to their hotel. Jeong Jun-ha is worried about fighting. Park Myung-soo is super cranky about wanting to hurry up and get to their hotel. The cold is making them irritable. The plan is to go to sleep at midnight and wake up at 6 am for filming the next day, so I can see why Park Myung-soo wants to move quickly .
There are seven polar bears in the Assiniboine Park Zoo. Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo meet with Curator Janice who shows them around. Most of the polar bears are orphans from the area.
Curator Janice first shows them some polar bear sounds. Then they see a bear swimming in the water. It’s so cute how it’s just swimming around in a tank. They have fur on their feet for walking in the snow. The one in the tank is a baby at 384 kg. A fully grown polar bears weighs about 450 kg.
Park Myung-soo asks again about back hugs. Curator Janice responds as a matter of fact, “No, you’d be dead.”
We get to hear the Story of Star the polar bear who was a young cub living with his mother. He loved napping with his mother, but lost his mother when he was one. He was scared of being alone, but went to search for his mother. He was almost eaten by wolves, when he was rescued.
Because the tundra hadn’t frozen, Casca and his mother couldn’t eat for days. He and his mother couldn’t hunt, so they walked and walked until eventually they wandered into the middle of Churchill to search for food. While searching through trash, some locals shot and killed the mother.
These seven bears can’t go back to the wild, because they don’t know how to hunt properly.
The duo also get to see some seals who are really cute circling around Jeong Jun-ha’s hats.
It’s now November 16, 2016. The Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo get on another plane. This time to Churchill. It’s extremely cold, and even the roads are frozen. As they ride a bus, they see the sea. There’s nothing much in sight just land and sea.
Park Myung-soo punches Jeong Jun-ha for speaking informally to him. Jeong Jun-ha punches him back twice. It looks like that fortune teller was right. Churchill only has a population of 800 and Park Myung-soo comments that with them and the camera crew, it’s now 830.
Meanwhile, in Korea it’s 3 AM, the other <Infinite Challenge> MCs video call them. They make fun of Hwang Kwang-hee for wearing slippers and looking like a beggar. I guess it was too early in the morning for his stylist. They note that they heard from the production crew that Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo have already had two fights.
Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo get on a Tundra buggy. The captain says he has 31 years old experience driving. Park Myung-soo jokes that he looks 31 years old. The captain tells them how unfortunate it is that the tundra hasn’t frozen yet even though it’s November because that means that the polar bears can’t hunt. There are far fewer polar bears than 30 years ago.
As they travel to their destination, they see that sea really isn’t frozen yet. It has to freeze so that the bears can walk over it.
They see a bear pretty much right away. Park Myung-soo asks the captain, “wild bear?” Jeong Jun-ha, “No. Polar bear.” LOL at their English skills. The polar bear is walking around just a few meters away. It looks alone. All it can do is eat brush and seaweed until the ocean freezes. Because of the wind and snow, the polar bear is trying to seek shelter in the bushes. It can’t eat much on land.
Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo name the bear “Hana” (which means one in korean) because it’s the first one they’ve met. The second one they see, they nickname “Duri” (two together) They then see a mother and its two cubs. Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo want to feed them, but the Captain lets them know that it’s illegal to feed them because it would alter their behavior and way of life. If they die, it’s just part of natural progression. If the mother dies before the babies are two years old, they would probably die.
Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo try to call Seoul, but the connection doesn’t work. They move to another spot. Now, it’s their fourth polar bear sighting.
Jeong Jun-ha and Park Myung-soo put on polar bear costumes. There’s another mother and cub sighting. Even with the editing, it looks like the two are seeing a ton of bears. They even manage to see one pooping. It must be pretty amazing. They get really close to the bears. The Captain again stresses how special it is that the bears allow them to get so close instead of running away.
Back in Seoul it’s now 4:30 AM, Yoo Jae-suk says they’ll wait until they make contact. If not, they’ll come back at the same time tomorrow. Some of the staff members are falling asleep. Poor guys. They need to leave soon the area soon, so that <Radio Star> can film in that location.
They finally make a connection. Haha yells, “Show us some polar bears,” but the call keeps getting frozen. Haha randomly says things like, “How interesting” while pretending that he can hear them. After more than five tries, Yoo Jae-suk eventually gives up. Kwang Hwang-hee wanted to show Jeong Jun-ha a drawing he made, but it looks like he’ll just have to see it when he gets back to Seoul.
Next Week: more polar bears