"Road Rules XII: South Pacific" Review
By Shawn McKenzie 05/27/2003
For some reason, MTV’s “Road Rules” hasn’t appealed to me as much as their other veteran reality hit, “The Real World.” The show is essentially “The Real World” on wheels, yet it has never captured me. Maybe it is because the thing that draws me to “The Real World” is the drama of the roommates. There is drama on “Road Rules,” but those missions always interrupt it…and most of the drama surrounds the success or failure of the missions. I guess I’d rather have my drama revolve more around the quickie relationships of the participants. One thing that is cool about the show is the exotic locations, and the twelfth season takes them to the South Pacific.
The Road Rulers this time will drive their Winnebago for ten weeks from the Fiji Islands to Tahiti to New Zealand. Along the way, they will have to participate in several missions. For every mission they successfully complete, they will be given a piece of a tattoo, which they will put on the outside of the Winnebago. They need all of the pieces of the tattoo to win the prize at the end of the season. At that time, they will be given the opportunity to get the same tattoo on their skin (it didn’t say if this is for a prize or for fun. I personally wouldn’t want the tattoo.) If they fail a mission, they don’t get a piece. If they fail two missions, they have to eliminate one Road Ruler to gain a piece. After two failed missions, every following failed mission means that they have to eliminate another Road Ruler. They were given 15,765 Fijian dollars, which equals $15 a day per person. They were also given a GPS system to find their way around. Their “Mission Mayors,” Russell and Irene, will give them all of their mission instructions.
The cast seems fairly plain, with one notable exception. Donell, 20, is the first fat guy I’ve seen on any of MTV’s reality shows (unless I’m forgetting someone.) He is also the most emotional and opinionated. After they almost failed the first mission, which involved retrieving three bags hanging off a hot air balloon, he felt like they had won the mission unfairly, since it was given to them because of wind elements. They funny thing is that he was the one who almost lost the mission for them. Still, he is trying to change the image of the fat guy as a lazy slob. The rest of the cast are your typical pretty Road Rulers. Abram, 20, has never had a friend that was a girl, so unless he is hooking up with them, he acts chauvinistic. He purposely scarred his body every time he changed something in his life. Cara, 22, has short, curly hair, and it looks like Abram is attracted to her. Dave, 22, thinks he is the crazy guy, yet it’s Abram who gets naked and runs into the ocean at the end of the first episode. Christena, 20, grew up in a white neighborhood, and she says the black kids never accepted her. She just wants to be accepted by everybody now. Mary-Beth, 22, has posed for Playboy, and she is very concerned that people will perceive her as a bimbo.
Even though the show never excites me, I always watch it. Unlike last season’s “Real World” in Las Vegas, this first episode didn’t really grab me with anything unique. This show may have invented the traveling reality show, but others since then have improved upon it, most notably with CBS’s “The Amazing Race” and ABC’s “The Mole.” In the case of “The Amazing Race,” it is the fast pace and tension. With “The Mole,” it is the mystery and deception. Missions on “Road Rules” could be exchanged with any of the challenges on “Survivor.”
You could do worse than watching “Road Rules” every Monday night. It beats watching reruns of NBC’s “Fear Factor.” I’ve noticed that the seasons of these shows seem to take longer to air than it took to film them. If this season stretches into the fall TV season, I may have to leave these Rulers on the side of the Road.
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