Just in case we didn’t think this season of Road Rules: X-Treme was lame enough, the good people at Bunim/Murray decided to double our pleasure by bringing back a host of familiar but amazingly unwelcomed faces to the proceedings. Dave, Chris, Abram, Mary Beth, Cara, and Tina from Road Rules: South Pacific returned for an intense X-Treme reunion that played out like a trip to a country fair. Yes, it was that most beloved of Road Rules traditions: the two-episode battle with the previous season. Where else can we find out what our latest Bunim/Murray superstars are up to? I’m sorry, let me rephrase that. Where else can we reaffirm our disdain for the Bunim/Murray superstars? Okay, okay, it’s not that hard to reaffirm the disdain — half these people spend the greater part of the year rehashing their fights and stagnating their maturation process on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge. I just still don’t understand why the producers reintroduce past Road Rulers as if we the audience have been waiting on pins and needles all year long for this moment. Oh how I pine for the moment when I can hear Tina’s sweet boar voice shattering mirrors throughout my apartment!Before any shenanigans with Road Rules alumni could get underway, Angela had to administer some X-Treme psychotherapy to Derrick. Acting as if she were the first one to notice this, Angela gave Derrick a random alcohol intervention in some shady public bathroom. Normally, I’d applaud Angela for being the one person to finally take the time to address Derrick’s questionable drinking habbits, but in this case, I think she’s less concerned about his liver and more excited to simply talk down to him. I swear I could see a smirk of delight when Angela laid on the guilt by saying things like “You’re just like your parents” and “Don’t tell me your girlfriend dumped you because of your drinking.” Derrick was practically ready to hand over his soul to her by the end of this session.
It was sort of a random note to start the show on, but it didn’t take long for Road Rules to veer back into banal territory as the beautiful but English-challenged Mission Mayors introduced the South Pacific jerks. Missing from this clan was Christina (sadly), Donnell (thankfully), and Jeremy (who?). The good news for us was that Dave and Mary Beth are fairly normal and inoffensive. The bad news was that Chris has become even more righteous, and the ugly news was that Tina still exists. Meanwhile Abram – the misunderstood ejectee from last season – has now morphed into a ball of hyperactive suck. Sadly, he has been given a false notion of celebrity from his TWO seasons (in one year!) of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, and therefore he thinks he is just a riot. Oh those witty asides. If only I could give the camera a rasberry as well as he!
The two teams met at what was dubbed “Face Off Island”. So did the creative team behind Super Mario Brothers name this mission? Actually, to be fair, the episode would have been a whole lot more entertaining with this music in the background. Anyway, Chris – who appears to be using Just For Men for his chronic graying – said that he wanted to know how extreme the new guys really are. Uh, well, they drew pictures of trees and ate blood sausage. Does that count?
Somewhere in the frenetic mess of the two teams hugging and wrestling and being giddy in general, Angela was kind enough to announce that Jillian had been sleeping with Patrick. So much for that trying to be friendly bit at the end of the last episode. Turns out that when kind-hearted, pop-psych spewing Angela isn’t being Ms. Mature & Altruistic with Derrick, she’s happily besmirtching her teammates’ reputations. I guess she’s gotta pull the “Slut!” card before someone strikes her Jehova’s Witness Achilles’ Heel.
The competition finally got under way with a six mile relay race. Ooooh – X-TREME! High school track teams are in awe. They normally only have four legs in their relays, but Road Rules has SIX! Somebody call the IOC – MTV’s gotta beat on them!
Derrick ran the first leg, and because he drinks a lot and smokes a lot (unlike any of the other vice-free competitors on the screen), he was easily eclipsed by Dave. Tina, known for her tact and well-informed comments, yelled out “How those cigarettes feeling, big boy?” To which I wanted to respond “How those ugly facial features feeling, big girl?” Apparently, no one in this game remembered that Derrick actually has a knee injury, but I guess that’s harder for people like Angela to talk down about, so they’ll just hawk the drinking problems.
Tina, who was looking sort of like a cleaned up Madame from Polynesia, was next to run her leg, and of course, being the slow hypocrite that she is, easily lost her lead to that other magnet for obnoxious attention, Angela. Upon finishing her lap, Tina fell to the ground amidst a flurry of hacking sounds. Jodi cheerfully noted “when you throw up when you’re done you know you ran hard”. So what does it mean when I throw up when I see Tina? Nevertheless, X-Treme dominated over the race with Jillian and Patrick serving as MVPs. I guess that’ll happen when you get a track star and a football player to run what is normally considered a practice loop.
The next event on Face Off Island was some X-Treme chicken wrangling. Two people would run into a pen with two chickens and race to grab a cock and hoist it over their heads as quickly as possible. Surely, Tina would have no problem going after the cock, but the event proved more difficult for her than expected. She and Jodi grabbed a poor chicken and tugged on it as if it were some prized teddy bear. Nevermind how terrifying it was for the bird to be man- er, chickenhandled in such a way, but can you imagine wandering around your little world, only to look up and see the tree-trunk figure of Tina lunging at you? That’s pretty much the equivalent of getting sexually abused in the chicken world. The fowl had its revenge though when Tina was sent toppling over, hopefully in some chicken poo, and Jodi was victorious.
After that intense poultry showdown, the players all got a chance to relax for a little bit and suck on some Capri Sun pouches. Mmmm… Capri Sun. I don’t even like it, but I can’t resist inculcating product placement. Must… drink… Capri… Sun… Actually, I bet I’d like Capri Sun just a little bit more if they would only show that hysterical commercial with the old lady shuffling to the car just one more time! It gets me every time!
With the Road Rulers facing a little down time, Angela decided it was time to be a busybody again (Years of knocking on people’s doors have taught her well). She approached resident preacher Chris about showing Derrick the light. Chris was more than happy to oblige. He gave Derrick a little pep talk about how he too used to be into usin’ and abusin’, but then the power of Christ compelled him to stop. Of course, when we here at the TVgasm offices last checked, Chris was spreading the word of abstinence by serving drinks at The Forbidden City in Hollywood. Anyway, whatever Chris said did the trick because suddenly Derrick was on the straight and narrow path – as evidenced by him staring at a liquor bottle, and then… not staring at it! I’m glad Chris can provide insta-rehab.
With the public service announcement portion of the broadcast over, the show got back to trivial matters with the next fascinating face off. Contestants now had to punch through a series of wooden “planks”, and the team with the fastest cumulative time would win. As daunting as this task may have looked, the truth was that these pieces of wood were about as thick as an emery board. But hey, it’s X-Treme Nail File Breaking! No one seemed to have any problem with it except Cara who apparently would lose a fist fight with a twig. Literally, this girl could not break the boards. I guess that can happen when you exert about as much force as an infant reaching for a bottle. Meanwhile, the Mission Mayors just laughed in the background. More bonus point for them.
Once again the X-Treme crew dominated and the kids all retired to their RVs for the night. The episode sprinted to the finish line by throwing in taunts of sexual intrigue with Patrick and Mary Beth. The two engaged in a flirtatious tango that understandably rattled Jillian. Mary Beth only wants attention, explained Jillian. Uh, last time we looked, Road Rules stars weren’t known for their reluctance in the spotlight, Ms. “I Put Out On My First Night On TV”. For now, Jillian will have to watch her man dance poorly with another woman. But would the Mary Beth/Patrick canoodling lead to an X-Treme hookup? We won’t know until next week since Bunim/Murray flashed “To Be Continued…” on the screen. Oh, how I yearn to see the results of Face Off Island, Day 2!