Spike TV offers little in the way of intellectually stimulating shows; "MXC" is no exception to this rule. Yet, despite my better judgment, I plop down on the couch next to Mike at about 9:00 p.m., and laugh heartily at Japanese teenagers getting crushed by giant styrofoam boulders, doing belly-flops into mud pits, and rushing head-long into solid rock walls while two obnixious, crass American men dub over their voices with (sometimes) crude commentary. I don't really know how we happened upon "MXC," but it is now a staple in our quality time together.
Our favorite "event" consists of a person running across the top of these giant wheels. Usually, the person makes it across the first two wheels with no problem, but that tricky third wheel is just an inch or two higher, and it gets them every time. (You can tell that we've analyzed this event down to every inch.) When the poor Japanese teenager hits that dreaded third wheel (haha, no pun intended), he or she usually bends into a gruesomely painful shape, and plummets head-first into a shallow pool of very cloudy water. What a laugh riot.
Other events include running across stone lillypads over a shallow pit of muddy water. Some of the lillypads are "trick lillypads" and cause the poor unsuspecting soul to fall, often hitting the actual lillypads with their front teeth. Another great one consists of a person walking across a tightrope while men dressed like Sumo wrestlers launch large golden balls at them in order to knock them down. All of this, with the added bonus of two guys making dumb remarks (voice over) as if they were doing sports commentary, one of them constantly saying "right you are, Ken" in a low, important-sounding voice.
But truly the best reason to watch MXC (as if I haven't already given you so many) is the "Top Ten Most Painful Eliminations of the Day." You know how I love the "top ten" format, and this is pure, concentrated hilarity. They go through the ten most gruesome falls, smashes, landing positions, etc., replaying them several times in slow motion. When the countdown is through, they shout "DON'T GET ELIMINATED!" over the group of Japanese Sumo wrestlers who raise their arms enthusiastically. Confused? Well, you'd better watch it, then, so you can understand.
Now, my love of this show is COMPLETELY uncharacterstic. I am the girl who stopped watching "America's Funniest Home Videos" because I thought it was morally wrong to experience pleasure over another person's pain, ripped pants, or talking dog. (I also can't stand Bob Sagget, with that perfect, plastic grin, and those stupid jokes . . . ). But here I am watching "MXC" and loving it. What has happened to me? Am I on a moral decline? Am I, like some of "Seventh Heaven's" characters' recent controversial dabbling in drugs and sex, reflecting the overall decay of our society's standards?
More disturbing is the fact that my two-year-old (who has never seen the show) now sings his own version of the classic Seven Dwarves song: "Hie ho, hie ho, it's down to MXC we go." Where did he pick that up? I also frequently ask myself if I am okay with watching these poor kids fall down and humiliate themselves (to be fair, they never really get hurt) because they are in another country, because the voice-overs make them seem so ridiculous and ditzy? Am I racist for watching this show? What would the Japanese think if they knew about "MXC"? And do they do the same thing with our strange reality shows? Do they make fun of "The Apprentice," for example? I'd feel better if I knew. . . .
Despite these upsetting questions and moral conundrums, I still find myself running into the living room when I hear the raunchy guitar-riff theme song for "MXC," plopping onto the couch, and settling in for the spectacle.