I could not stop crying while watching the latest episode of ‘1 Night 2 Days.’ The popular Korean variety show dedicated its most recent episode to the late actor Kim Joo-hyuk who appeared on the show as a cast member from December 2013-2015.
On October 30th, 2017, Kim Joo-hyuk unfortunately passed away in a fatal car accident. 1N2D dedicated a special episode to him last year following his unfortunate death. This year, 1 Night 2 Days did the same thing again and it was just as heart-breaking and hurtful to watch.
Because Kim Joo-hyuk’s death was so sudden and unexpected, the dedicated episode last year primarily consisted of clips and footages of the actor when he was on the show as a cast member. This year, the show had a little bit more time to prepare and invited two of Kim Joo-hyuk’s friends to converse with the 1N2D members about Kim Joo-hyuk. It was such a simple but beautiful way to remember Kim Joo-hyuk and to honor their most beautiful memories with him. With every topic or point of discussion were additional 1N2D clips of Kim Joo-hyuk from certain episodes. You would laugh at one point watching these old clips and then you would cry knowing that you’ll never see our members like this again. Then a few minutes later you go back to laughing and then after that you cry once again. It’s the most ironic and conflicting feeling ever watching the late Kim Joo-hyuk act so happily in these old footages of him on 1N2D because you’re reminded that he’s gone and that there will never be these kind of moments again.
Kim Joo-hyuk originally agreed to be on the show because he wanted to do something different, to create more memories, and to have more fun. I think we can all agree that he got that with 1N2D and so much more. SO much more. The 1N2D cast and production staff was his family. They were all so close with one another and their friendships and relationships extended beyond what was shown to us on camera. You could tell that Kim Joo-hyuk truly adored, cherished, and loved everything about the show. You could also tell that he missed everyone based on the short appearances he would make on the show even after his departure. Kim Joo-hyuk created so many delicate and wonderful memories while on the show and these adventures were things that were dear to him. He loved the show like no other and was ultimately glad to have been on the show for everything that it provided him and so much more. Kim Joo-hyuk came into the show feeling insecure and concerned about how he was going to do, but left knowing that the show provided him with wonderful experiences and so much more he never imagined was possible.
Although he was an actor, Kim Joo-hyuk gave up his image just so he could make viewers laugh and that’s what I found so admirable about him. Though Kim Joo-hyuk struggled at times, he let go of his public perception so that he could make the other cast members and fans of the show happy. And indeed, he did. So many of his fans recognize him not only for his acting career and projects, but also for the short but impactful amount of time that he was on the show. I remember binge-watching all of the episodes to the 3rd season of 1N2D because I was IN LOVE with the show. A lot of those episodes also consisted of the ones with Kim Joo-hyuk so of course he made me laugh endlessly and provided me with so much laughter and content. There are no words to express the pain you feel upon knowing that the person who made you laugh and smile so widely like a fool is no longer alive. Your heart just aches and your throat dries up at the thought of it.
I think about Kim Joo-hyuk every single day just like how our 1N2D cast members are reminded of him frequently as well. On the latest episode dedicated to him, they all just simply talked about him and discussed their most vivid memories of him. It was as if we viewers were also sitting at the table with the cast members and talking about him. It felt so real and raw and I liked how simple everything was. A group of friends just gathering to remember and commemorate the life of their great friend and colleague. The conversations were so smooth and bittersweet and there were rarely any awkward silences except those few moments when the cast members held back from crying. The show also held a special event where the 1N2D cast members and fans watched one of Kim Joo-hyuk’s most memorable movies ‘When Romance Meets Destiny.’ One simply couldn’t hold back tears upon watching the late actor act so brilliantly and realistically in the movie.
While every single memory they brought up about Kim Joo-hyuk was nice to hear about, one of the memories that stood out to me was the moment when the cast members went to visit Kim Jong-min’s father’s burial site. The members originally recommended Kim Jun-ho to say a word to Kim Jong-min’s father, but as the eldest Kim Joo-hyuk stepped up to the plate. He left an encouraging message to Kim Jong-min’s dad and reassured him that Kim Jong-min was doing well. Maybe it was because Kim Joo-hyuk too lost his own father and knew exactly how Kim Jong-min felt or because Kim Joo-hyuk was the eldest so he felt the need to represent the rest of the members but that scene in particular stood out to me. Kim Joo-hyuk was familiar with the whole process and feeling of losing a loved one and could empathize well with Kim Jong-min so he took the time to say something. That scene demonstrated his true personality and his leadership-like characteristics that none of our cast members at that time had cultivated yet. Many years later, Kim Junho is now the one speaking to Kim Joo-hyuk at his burial site and representing the rest of the members as the eldest. The Kim Jun-ho who could barely utter a word to Kim Jong-min’s father a few years back is now the one dedicating messages to Kim Joo-hyuk as well as to Kim Joo-hyuk’s fans. Certain circumstances might have caused Kim Jun-ho to learn some things a little bit faster than expected, but he’s grown well over the years hasn’t he?
In the episode, we also got to see each member’s relationship with Kim Joo-hyuk and how these relationships evolved over the span of the two years that he was on the show. 1N2D had been struggling with seasons prior so season 3’s cast weren’t so certain as to how the show was going to do. The thing was that they weren’t supposed to do well. They were only given six months to make an impression or else the show was going to get cancelled. However, as we will all witness, this season turned out extremely successful with high and consistent ratings every weekend. This season has been going on for 5 years already with many more to come. A big reason for this unexpected success (among many) would be thanks to our cast members and Kim Joo-hyuk who was and will always be considered one.
1N2D is able to magically and organically bring out the best in everyone in every episode and I’m always impressed at how effortlessly they do this. The latest episode dedicated to Kim Joo-hyuk was so heart-breaking to watch, but you also felt at peace knowing that he’s not forgotten and that he has great friends like the 1N2D cast members (and many more people) who will always care for him. The tears couldn’t stop streaming throughout the episode, but it wasn’t just during the episode alone that I cried about him. I’m reminded of Kim Joo-hyuk frequently as well and I think about him every single night before I go to sleep. He had such a bright and amazing future ahead of him (he was set to star in so many movies and all of them have been released) and he had everything going for him. He really did. It’s such a shame that Kim Joo-hyuk is no longer with us, but I hope he’s at peace now where ever he is. Hopefully he’s reunited with his parents and loved ones and is happy. It’s been a year since his death and I still remember the exact moment when I learned about his death. Something as tragic as that you never forget. Time will pass by quickly and the seasons will come and go, but Kim Joo-hyuk will always be remembered for his kindness, humility, hard work, and many talents.
Thank you Kim Joo-hyuk for all that you’ve done. You worked incredibly hard and you changed so many people’s lives for the better, including mines. I miss you so much and hope you’re resting well. I will always remember you. I will always love you ❤