Just when you thought it was safe to tune into MTV on Mondays at 10 PM, Bunim/Murray has thrown another pile of steaming, uh, hormones onto our laps. No, it’s not the latest Coral/Veronica/Trishelle/Miz circus, but another shiny new installment of Road Rules, this time called “Xtreme”. At first I thought this might be some cross promotional tool with a razor or deodorant or Mountain Dew product. But then I remembered that this was Road Rules, which in its old age, has resorted to desperately grandiose titles to still sound relevant. It’s sort of like when you meet a guy over fifty who has a pierced ear. You know, like Harrison Ford.We first meet our latest batch of Road Rulers in South America. We’re introduced to Patrick who doubles as not only this season’s All American Boy but the resident Ben Affleck doppleganger. He’s plopped in the middle of nowhere with Jodi. The two of them are just so damn happy because they hate complaining and are up for anything. We’ll see how long that lasts. It’s become a strange, self-referential ritual of late where new cast members of The Real World and Road Rules all consult each other to find out which roles they’ll be playing. First, there’s the usual check to see who will complain and be psycho. No one ever admits to that, but true colors tend to emerge with self-deprecating remarks like “Oh, I’m the neat one. I’m so anal. That’s the only thing.” Everyone shares a good laugh, and then stores away the mental note “Bitch”.
The self-classification pauses for a moment as an oxen-drawn buggy comes to whisk Patrick and Jodi off. Then we meet Danny and Ibis. She’s Latina. He’s gay. And in another stellar display of self-perception distortion, both claim to be very down to earth. We’ll see how long that charade lasts.
Stop three on the oxen express takes us to Kina and Derrick. She’s a Jersey Girl, and he’s a Chicago native. Derrick also mentions that he’s a hundred percent Polish and proud of it. He also sports an outdated turn of the millennium hairstyle, and I bet he’s proud of that too. As Derrick strolls onto camera, I start to wonder if he might just be one part Polish, ten parts douchebag.
With the whole group assembled, they all congratulate themselves on being cool and awesome. Derrick adds how it’s especially great that there are no faggots on board. Woops! Closeup on Danny looking uncomfortable. Another classic Bunim/Murray tradition. Nothing like the casual gay slur in front of the gay cast member. As they say in South America: idiosa!
The super six finally arrive at their huge RV which features one big bed in the back and an odd little puzzle thing on the dashboard. The cast also receives T-Mobile phones, but Catherine Zeta-Jones is curiously absent for this promotional opportunity. As Patrick takes the driver’s seat and steers the RV towards the first mission, the cast yet again starts assigning roles. This time the subject is sexual orientation. Ibis notes that usually there’s a gay or lesbian person in the RV. Someone then comments how no one appears gay. Finally, after this open environment fails to lure anyone out of the closet, the group does a mini “I’m not gay” roll call which comes to a screeching halt when Danny announces that he in fact has a boyfriend. The gals squeal with delight. Ibis bubbles that she now has a shopping partner, not to be stereotypical or anything. Everyone says they’re cool with it, except for Lech Walesa in the corner. Gulp. Derrick expresses his squeamishness with homosexuals by assuming a bent over position in front of Danny’s midsection. Hey, whatever’s clever.
The six bestest friends ever finally reach their mission mayors who are two perky individuals who may very well have been plucked from MTV South America. Everyone hands over their personal items and learns that with every successful mission, the team will earn an Xtreme Key to the Xtreme Machine, which houses the handsome reward. Xtreme Machine? Come on MTV. What sort of retarded scheme is this? It’s clearly an Xtreme Safe, not a machine.
Soon after the Xtreme cast members Xtreme learn about the Xtreme Keys and Xtreme Machine, they discover that for their first mission, they must… bunjee jump! Thank goodness. I was worried that they’d have to do something crazy like, uh, not bunjee jump. The twist this time around is that they’ll be jumping over an active volcano. Jodi, I believe, makes the salient point that if she drops into the volcano, she’ll burn up and die in a second. Yeah, because if you drop to the Earth instead, you’ll just need a little Yoga to loosen up the joints.
A mustachioed safety instructor tells the kids that this is the first time ever a stunt like this has been performed. Furthermore, if there’s a problem with the helicopter, you’ll be jettisoned into the lava as a sacrifice. Cue the thumping music and the gloomy faces. Do these kids really think MTV will let them die? We can only hope for such excitement.
The first duo goes up in the helicopter, and without much ado they jump out amidst a flurry of screams and shrieks. Of course we soon see that these chumps are nowhere near the lip of the volcano, but we’ll let them have their fun. The next duo ascends to the heavens and expresses some minor fears about plunging out of a helicopter. MTV tries desperately to create some sort of commercial cliffhanger by having Derrick yelp “They’re not jumping!”, but come on, Road Rules. You’re thirteen years old. Everyone does the bunjee jump. It’s practically in the application these days. Of course, all three duos clear the mission perfectly, and as the last group returns to Earth, we bizarrely see that we’re not in the middle of some isolated wilderness but in full view of a random beach community. Awkward…
That night, the happy campers buy some cervasa and share a few celebratory libations by the campfire. Derrick attempts to be the life of the party, but he winds up less like Stiffler and more like Ruthie from Real World Hawaii. Once again, Americans everywhere can feel embarrassed for exporting more of our finest culture overseas.
Later, as Derrick becomes belligerent, Danny and the girls adopt serious faces and gab at the RV table. “I don’t feel safe” says Kina or Jodi. This is followed by minor proclamations of “That is not cool” and bug-eyed requests for agreement. Outside, Patrick towers over the randy Pole, keeping him firmly trapped in a head lock. Kina and Ibis emerge from the RV and talk Derrick down to a semi-sloppy state so that he can finally go to bed. Patrick rambles on about how Derrick’s love of life is misdirected into… oh I don’t remember. It was too schlocky to retain. To Derrick’s credit, at least he didn’t boot all over the camper. Still, as the episode comes to an end, the girls express doubts that they’ll be able to open the Xtreme Machine if Derrick doesn’t improve his attitude.
Not that they’re complaining. They hate that. They so don’t do that. They’re just saying…