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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that although at first glance this show might appear to be a typical (if goofy) reality competition series, it's really an elaborate spoof of over-the-top Japanese game shows. All of the dialogue has been newly dubbed for the English series, and all of the characters (including the hosts) are fictional. Each episode has a "plot" of sorts in which two diametrically opposed teams duke it out for the championship, but, really, the series' main attraction is watching people compete in strange physical challenges and obstacle courses that usually result in them getting beaten up like human pinatas. It's exactly the kind of humor teen boys love, though parents may not get the appeal.
What's the story?
In MXC (aka Most Extreme Elimination Challenge), two teams go head-to-head in a series of screwball physical challenges. Based on over-the-top, elaborate Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle, the American version has actors supplying the voices of hosts Kenny Blankenship (Christopher Darga) and Vic Romano (Victor Wilson), as well as all of the contestants. Kenny and Vic's off-the-wall chatter fills the segments between the competition scenes -- which are the true heart of the series. In each episode, two comically juxtaposed teams (Religious Right vs. Gay Rights, for example, or Stoners vs. Health Nuts) carry out crazy challenges that have them stumbling their way through an obstacle course-like setting. Some of the many bizarre feats include dodging giant foam balls while attempting to walk a narrow plank over a body of water (\"Dash to Death\"), balancing on a greased log (\"Runaway Stump\"), and running across a series of stepping stones that may or may not be moored to the bottom of a pond (\"Sinkers and Floaters\"). Very often, contestants participating in the challenges end up face-planting in muck, smacking into a hard object, or otherwise flailing about in painful situations; they all wear safety gear, so no one is seriously injured, but some of the hits look like they really hurt.
Is it any good?
Vic and Kenny's sarcastic narration can wander into iffy territory (for example, when one said to the other, "How many records does Lil Trim have?" and the other replied, "I dunno, but have you seen her Golden Globes?), and Asian stereotypes are sometimes played for laughs. But overall, MXC is basically just inane humor for the easily amused. Your inner 12-year-old will love it.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about healthy competition. What is sportsmanship? How can you make sure you do your best to attain your goal while also playing fair? Why do you think people cheat in competitions? What do you like best about this show -- the silly dialogue or the face-plants? Why?