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What I Watched Last Night: MXC

I'm not going to say one word about that car wreck known as My Boys. Badly-done references to Chicago aside, it's just a stupid, boring fucking show - period - that I'm pretty sure even prison inmates don't watch except when they're being punished. If I'm going to fritter away minutes of my life I'll never get back on a Wednesday night, I'm going with something that resembles entertainment. Yeah. Something like Spike TV's "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge," otherwise known as MXC.

Quite frankly, this is one of the funniest damn shows around.

Watched alone, it's wildly amusing. Shared with others who find silly, juvenile shit amusing, it becomes wildly funny. Shared with a fatty, you might even wet yourself if you can manage to scrape up some mental focus.

Originally a 1980s Japanese game show called Takeshi's Castle, MXC is a campy storm-the-castle game where an army of contestants in crash helmets play a series of physically impossible games where everyone shares the same very real possibility of losing teeth and breaking their neck.

Some of last night's games included Irritable Bowl Syndrome (ride a giant bowl down a waterslide without falling out); Log Drop (walk across a series of rolling cylinders); Boulder Dash (avoid giant boulders being rolled onto you); Rotating Surfboard of Death (jump over obstacles while riding a rotating surfboard attached to a rickety, wobbly arm over a pond of water); and Wall Bangers (charge through a series of doors - some made of paper, the rest solid board).

The games winnow out the weak and the uncoordinated until six contestants are left to lead their teams to victory. The end of the show features ten "Painful Eliminations of the Day," which highlight the most painful contestant mishaps.

Clearly, the Japanese know a thing or two about entertainment. Which is why the Japanese get soap operas with bondage and we get "comedies" like My Boys. And we wonder why even the French think we're idiots.

Anyway, the true genius of MXC is not always the challenges. Rather, it's the clever (often cleverly outrageous) and intentionally bad overdubbing of crude, sexually-explicit double-entendre running commentary by two characters known as "Vic Romano" and "Kenny Blankenship," who correspond to two hosts in the original show. (Voices are provided by four members of the improv group The Groundlings, and they remind you exactly why this country's been considerably more tight-assed without Mystery Science Theater 3000).

If you can imagine daring two rookie drag queens to costume kabuki on a budget of five bucks and a backwoods resale shop, you've got Vic and Kenny.

Rounding out the main cast of characters are "Captain Tenneal" (a name parody of the 1970s musical duo Captain and Tennille), who provides contestants with pre-game pep talk, and "Guy LeDouche," a field reporter of questionable sexual preference whose main job seems to be hitting on the contestants.

Tenneal looks like the leader of a high school marching band gone very, very bad; LeDouche seems to have lost a previous job driving the African Safari ride at Enchanted Forest.

The contestants and games have been re-named after celebrities or have made-up names with some sort of scatological or sexual reference. So you end up with games like "Sinkers and Floaters," and "Eat Shitake." Before each stunt, the contestants shout out what appear to be statements of upcoming valor, which have been overdubbed into random, addled thoughts like, "I need a kidney!"

Three of the six back-to-back episodes I watched last night featured teams Jackass vs. Stand-Up Comics, Sexual Pioneers vs. Violent Films, and Superheroes vs. MySpace. It was all great fun, I laughed my ass off without chemical assistance or wetting myself, and one contestant damn near broke her neck.

Who won didn't matter. I won. Because I wasn't watching My Boys.

Reminisce about 2006 by visiting the What I Watched Last Night archive.



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Posted on December 28, 2006


MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Don't Let Your Pet OD.


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