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It’s official. Mark July 5th, 2004 on your calendars. That was the day that MTV aired quite possibly the most retarded episode of Road Rules EVER. Yes, this dilapidated franchise has come close to reaching new lows of silliness, but until last night, nothing has ever eclipsed 1999′s Semester At Sea season when Pua protested an elephant painting challenge, and MTV was kind enough to zoom in on the pachyderm’s tearing eye. That’s right. Bunim/Murray tried to have us believe that the elephant was actually crying over having to paint, and because of that brief moment of lunacy coupled with the cast’s moronic mission protest, that episode ranked as the most idiotic of all Road Rules installments, until last night.The episode started off pleasantly enough. Everyone hit the dark gray beaches of Chile where Danny babbled about his favorite Playgirl centerfold, prompting Derrick to interject, “Earmuffs!” Danny rolled his eyes, hoping the gals would get his back, but little did he know that all three of them had just spent lunch talking about how he would be the first to go if push came to shove. We’re not idiots though. With all the anti-Danny rhetoric floating around, we knew that he would probably excel at this episode’s mission with flying colors. Little did we know that would literally be the case.
The happy campers drove off to the latest challenge, which in this case turned out to be “Don’t crash into trees.” Unfortunately, they lost. Derrick somehow steered the RV into a tree, causing an arboreal traffic jam in this little corner of Chile. Local statutes insist that all drivers in an accident must be taken in for a sobriety test, so it was the perfect opportunity for MTV to proclaim this the FIRST EVER ROAD RULES ARREST! RAH!!! Actually, it was more like a standardized questioning, but we’ll let Bunim/Murray get their jollies where they can.
While Derrick went off for a tÃªte-Ã -tÃªte with the authorities, the rest of our crew – plus the dog – went to a small airport where the mission mayors presented us with one of the truly dumbest challenges ever seen on reality television. Our group of five was split into two groups: the artists and the puzzle solvers. Rubber-faced Jodi was the lone logician since her partner-to-be Derrick was off with the police. She commented that she, of anyone, was probably least suited to her puzzle-solving role (classic reality misdirection, of course), and Danny fretted that if the team lost, it would probably be his ass going home. Meanwhile, the artists’ goals were to draw pictures while strapped into a jet doing loop-de-loops (how do you spell that?). Of course, there was some silly stipulation. The artists could only draw each picture for ten seconds. If they started too early or drew too long, that picture would be eliminated. With all the drawings collected, the puzzle-solver would have to use them as clues to find the X-treme key. Could this be any more convoluted?
The kids all geared up in STA-Travel flight suits and took to the skies. Now, I personally thought these guys would have to draw something that could only be seen from the jet, like a unique lake or a mountain or a crop circle. But no. The producers opted for a more Kindergarten level of difficulty. The kids all scrambled as the pilot shouted out real graphical doozies such as “Flag!” and “Tree!” and “Snail!” and “House!”. Are they kidding me? Those images are like Doodling 101. I’m surprised there was no call for a stick figure or maybe a cloud. Once again, this season impresses us with its X-Treme challenges.
Meanwhile, Derrick was released from his fifteen minutes of custody and embarked on a low-rent version of the Amazing Race. He hopped in a cab and tried his darndest to meet up with his homies, but he forgot where they were and wound up travelling to two other airports. MTV intercut this adventure with Jodi nervously awaiting her duties as a puzzle master. Would her partner make it back in time? Would she be left to use her noggin all by herself? The suspense was not killing us.
Derrick was nowhere to be found, but before Jodi could commence her journey through the world of logic and obvious clues, the mission mayors gravely announced that someone had cheated. Oh no! Of course MTV cut to a commercial break, and when the show returned, the mayor corrected herself and said “Actually, cheat is too strong a word.” Oh, thanks for the fakeout. Turns out that Kina had started her drawing too soon, and in a moment of devastating impact, her tree picture was erased with unrelenting sangfroid. The drama!
Luckily, there were three other rudimentary scrawlings of trees for Jodi to use as she bounced off on her little scavenger hunt. You see, it all comes together. She had to run by a house, climb a tree (which was a sight unto itself), continue past a yellow snail on a playground, and then find a flag. Even Jodi with her self-professed low brainpower had no trouble completing this leg of the mission. The team won their X-Treme key, and in the excitement, Jodi commented “Someone had really good drawings”. Turns out that Danny’s expert renderings of basic shapes saved the day, and of course, this led to lots of comments like “Danny really stepped it up” and “I hope I proved that I’m a valuable member of the team”. So how bad were those other drawings? I mean, it’s not very hard to draw a house or a tree or a flag. These guys have to be completely vacant if Danny’s drawings stood head over heels above the rest.
With the challenge over, the cast members reunited with Derrick and retreated to a hotel that was to serve as their temporary home while the RV got repaired. Just when we thought this episode had plundered new depths of a Road Rules nadir, it sank even lower. Danny sulked on the balcony that he was really upset that every time he mentions anything homosexual, Derrick and Patrick joke “Earmuffs.” It’s his homosexuality, dammit, and if he wants to talk about the details of his sexual life, you all should listen! Nevertheless, Danny felt like he was constantly marginalized as an outsider, making it hard to seem like part of the group. The girls responded with a supportive “That sucks.” Moments later, they trotted out Derrick for a Very Special Road Rules segment where the guys talked about their feelings, and blah blah blah, everyone felt better. This awkwardly placed social issue was wedged into this episode with all the grace of a yak. The only way Bunim/Murray could have topped the X-Treme Doodling was to add an X-Treme touchy-feely moment. And now we all want to vomit.
This show must die.