Stick a fork in Road Rules. It’s done.
No, not the season – although that ended tonight also. This franchise. It’s over. Kaput. Bunim/Murray has run this once interesting series into the ground with bland personalities, lame challenges, and just generally predictable storylines. Granted, the show must have some sort of appeal because I stuck with it all summer, but I think that might be due to tradition and the intense need to mock stupid people behind their backs. And while these are compelling reasons to watch any show, Road Rules has become so flat that even MTV must realize it’s time to put it out to pasture.
Of course, the only reason why MTV keeps Road Rules around at this point is to fuel the ever growing fire of pathetic-ness that is The Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Without Road Rules, the Challenge becomes obsolete, but is that a sacrifice we’re willing to make? Uh, not sure. Ask me again in about 15 weeks. In the meantime, let’s fondly remember the final episode of this X-Tremely lame season.Tonight’s episode began with nary a hint of drama. With little ado, the show plunged us into the final mission which involved “surprise bridges”. I personally thought that meant Beau Bridges would show up at random times, but apparently it was more literal than that. The kiddos had to traverse two rickety and poorly conceived bridges that were hardly conducive to foot traffic at all. For all you X-Treme devotees, there were no blindfolds involved.
Now, call me a nitpicker, but this was a pretty lame final mission. Yeah, it later proved to be rather difficult, but we like the last stop on the misery tour to be something big and over the top. This challenge was very Episode 5 – interesting, tricky, and forgettable.
The first bridge provided ample challenge when Patrick discovered that the already sparse wooden planks were of poor constructional integrity. Basically, they broke. Ooooh. An X-Treme plank! Everyone pretty much made it across without a problem except Jodi and Angela, surprise surprise. Jodi tripped and dangled for three minutes – enough to warrant a commercial cliffhanger – but as usual, it was all hype and she quickly hoisted herself back on the bridge.
Fleet footed Angela, meanwhile, took a large chunk of time to cross the bridge (there was a ninety minute time limit to complete the entire mission). Midway across the gorge, Angela channeled her fear into beverage requests by yelling out to her team “I need a drink of water after this!” Anything else we can get for you while you sully up pop culture?
Eventually even Angela made it across the bridge of doom which meant she could officially weigh in on how difficult this mission would be for Jillian. It would be easy, explained Angela, because “she has five percent more balls than me.” Wow, that’s an odd statement. Does that mean Angela has actually taken scientific measurements? If so, why have we never discussed that Angela has balls? Actually, she probably doesn’t have testicles since she’s, you know, a girl, and five percent more of zero is zero which means that they both have the same amount of balls. The statement is null, and Angela is an idiot.
The second bridge in this evening’s tour of “The World’s Worst Gorge Crossing Techniques” was an odd contraption with flying punching bags whirling around it. Honestly, if I were going to build a bridge across a giant gorge, I would specifically choose an area that wasn’t flanked with flying punching bags, but that’s just me. I would also design a bridge that wouldn’t suddenly flip ninety degrees at random moments, but that’s just what this dumb bridge did. The Road Rulers had to shimmy along a pole, then wrap their legs around some wires, then dodge the aforementioned punching bags, and crawl to the finish line. Oh, and kids, try not to fall off when the producers, I mean bridge, tries to eject you.
Patrick and Jillian powered across without much incident; although, an unflattering shot let us all imagine what it must look like when Jillian visits her gynecologist. Nick and Angela had a few problems – mainly Angela’s complete lack of physical stamina and mental fortitude. Nick tried to give encouragement, but he wound up shouting at his stupid partner in frustration. Eventually, Angela passed the mission with flying colors. And by “flying colors”, I mean she fell off the bridge. Unfortunately, a safety harness saved her. The two went back to the starting point for bridge 2 while Derrick and Jodi zipped across it. The second time around, Nick and Angela were more productive. They actually made it to the finish line without failing the mission for everyone. I guess helping them was the fact that the producers opted not to flip the bridge over like they had for everyone else. Oh well. Gotta have that happy ending. To his credit, Patrick also helped by flooding the mission with annoying pep talk like “You got it, girl” or “You can do it, girl” or “Come on, girl” or “You have to admit, I look like Ben Affleck, girl.”
With about two minutes to spare, all the Road Rulers finished the challenge. As the Mission Mayors presented the team with their last “X-Treme Key”, I couldn’t help noticing the soundtrack suddenly turning into cheesy gay pride parade music. Instead of the standard happy go lucky guitar riffs, we got a thumping rhythm, some black diva vocals, and synthesized instrumentation that could have been pulled right out of Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. I don’t really know why the producers used that musical cue, but I’m thinking that maybe they were all going to hop on a float and ride it all the way to WeHo.
Actually, what happened was that the Road Rulers all went to some random, er, X-Treme warehouse to find and unlock the X-Treme machine. Patrick noted that when they first arrived, all they saw was a box: a “pretty extreme looking box.” Listen, it was a box with an X on it. That doesn’t make it extreme. Then again, this cast sees a pebble and thinks its X-Treme. Well, the group all inserted the various X-Treme keys in slots, a show of Road Rules pageantry which afforded us a few moments to go down memory lane and reflect on the journey these kids have taken. A very very stupid journey, filled with petty squabbles and lame missions.
Eventually, all the keys were in place, and the X-Treme box opened up, pouring forth an X-Treme cloud of fog. Could it be? Could the X-Treme machine be a fog maker? Or was there an even more X-Treme bubble maker in there as well? Actually, neither. The X-Treme machine rolled forward, revealing itself to be less of a machine and more of an elaborate car key holder. Yes, in grand Road Rules tradition, the participants all won cars which were quietly awaiting them by Lake Hollywood in Los Angeles.
As the show wrapped up, we were treated to a few lame exit interviews, some annoying emo, and of course, a brief endorsement for Suburu by the cast of Road Rules X-Treme. You know, nothing boosts consumer confidence like the high praise of Derrick or Angela. Why, I might just trade in last year’s Saturn Ion for a new Suburu. Thanks MTV!
Well, that about wraps up another goofy season of Road Rules. We have about two weeks before the next wave of The Challenge bears down on us. Until then, we can sit and ponder the greatest lesson of Road Rules X-Treme: this show must die.