Saturday, January 31, 2009

Experiencing Painful Eliminations?

[Wall Bugger]
Vic: Good takeoff. Nice extension, nice face skid ..

.. but no pelvic commitment, Ken.

Some things don't need an explanation. You either get them or you don't. One example of this is Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC), which is one of the few successful productions of the Spike cable channel. Like Mystery Science Theatre 3000, it's a voiceover show. In this case, the voices are carrying over an old Japanese game show called Takeshi's Castle Takeshi's Castle is one of those shows that, if you were a traveler in the Far East during the Eighties and didn't know Japanese, you would have stared at for a while and wondered just what the hell it was you were watching. Yes, I speak from experience here. Thankfully, some American comedians and actors have filled in the blanks with a hilarious play-by-play patter and sound effects.

The MXC version of this game show has two emcees, Vic Romano and Kenny Blankenship, who describe the play-by-play of a game that pits two teams of contestants against each other. These teams are made up of different occupational or interest groups. One episode supposedly pitted cable televisions executives and White House staffers against each other. They compete in various events, some of which are shown in the pictures on this page, that are designed to be almost impossible for even good athletes to complete. MXC gives them names like "Window Pain", "Log Drop", "Eat Shitake", and "Pole Riders". As you can see from the quotes near the pictures, the comedy is often low brow, but it's subtle just often enough to please any intellectuals who have wandered within earshot. (Yes, they really are fans.)

Some people won't understand all this. They'll ask things like "Those two guys are obviously Japanese. Why are their names Vic and Ken?" There's a perfectly reasonable reply to this question:

People are attempting ridiculous and dangerous stunts that they couldn't manage on their best day, and you're asking about the names?

That's some of the dialogue in the quotations next to the pictures. The first two pictures are from an event that MXC dubbed "Wall Bugger". The contestants fly toward the wall, which is covered in velcro, on a rope. They then try to attach themselves to the wall by flinging themselves onto it. As you can imagine, most fail in hilarious fashion. The picture below is from an event called "Boulder Dash". The characters who participate are often given Scandinavian names, for reasons I have yet to decipher.

[Boulder Dash]
Vic: I'll tell you, Ken. Nothing's more painful than trying to pass a stone that size.

While serious injuries are never shown on the show, that doesn't stop Vic and Ken from imagining gruesome fates for the contestants. Thanks to the "Impact Replay", viewers can see the contestants hitting the dirt, the wood, the wall, or whatever over and over again, and in slow motion.

[Log Drop]
Ken: .. and again. Let's hear the bones crack ...
Vic: Oh, Kenny, stop!
Ken: And let's see some blood

According to its IMDB entry, MXC hasn't been produced in more than a year. That doesn't stop Spike from airing the show, and there are DVDs of at least the first five seasons. If you need a laugh, they're well worth renting.

NOTE: All images in this article are screenshots of MXC DVDs taken by Cujo359. MXC is a copyrighted work of the Spike channel and others. No one who produced this program approved this article or is in any way responsible for its content.

1 comment:

Dana Hunter said...

LOL! Awesome! I've gotta start watching this show again...