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[Pimp My Ride] Pimp My Ride: The Complete First Season
Label: MTV Home Entertainment/Paramount

Author: Steve 'Flash' Juon

"You rollin clean? I saw the shit you drive
You need to call MTV and tell 'em pimp your ride"
- Slim Thug

There are three generally accepted forms of "reality shows" that air on television today, be it seen on national broadcasts or only available through cable and satellite. The first and arguably "original" form of reality show is the situational drama, where a group of people who normally wouldn't associate are forced to live together in one place, with cameras rolling 24/7 to capture any compelling behavior (violent, confrontational, sexual) that results. This form is credited to "The Real World" and successfully copied by dozens of other shows like "The Surreal Life." The second form is the competitive challenge, where people work with or against each other in the hopes of being the last man/woman standing to receive a prize, often filmed in an exotic or mysterious location for months at a time. "Survivor" is probably the most popular example, although personally "Fear Factor" is much more compelling.

The third form is sadly the most overlooked; ironically it's also the most rewarding and guilt free form of reality TV around. In this form of reality TV people aren't tricked into fighting with each other for ratings, and they don't lie and deceive each other just for monetary gain. It's easiest to call the third form "constructive deconstruction" for short. In some ways this form has been around the longest, because even Julia Child's cooking and Bob Vila's home building can be said to fit into this category. It's all about real people doing real things, things they can make with their hands and a little labor. Some are even things you could easily do yourself, or at least learn how to do. Not everyone can become a master French chef, but with practice anyone can make a decent omelette. Not everyone can trick out a car with 22's, candy paint and TV's in the headrest, but with effort most people could master installing subwoofers and an amp. Admittedly some of the fun in watching these shows though is the vicarious experience. You may or may not think you can do what these people are doing, but there's no shame in watching others who have the skills get it done. The best part of constructive deconstruction is that at the end of the day it's all positive. Something was built, created, made, or remade. It's not about who can get who evicted from the house, or who can stab someone else in the back to get ahead. The end result is it's own reward.

MTV's "Pimp My Ride" may just be the ultimate example of this type of show, and it's certainly one of the most popular to come along in years. The premise is simple - young, hard working men and women that drive a real busted hooptie but for practical and/or financial reasons can't afford better beg MTV to "pimp their ride." Other than the 1% of the population who was born with a silver spoon in their mouth and given a Ferrari for their 16th birthday, it's a premise most of us can relate to. Your first car was either a hand-me-down or the cheapest junker you could drive off the lot and still make payments on. It's the kind of ride rappers from Boots (of The Coup) to Sir Mix-A-Lot to have made infamous in song, and many of us still drive those same vehicles to this day. MTV screens the requests and endeavors to find the most deserving among them: the girl who drives her grandma to the hospital every week, the guy holding down two jobs and supporting his younger brother, shit like that. With the naturally charismatic rapper Xzibit as the show's host, and the world famous West Coast Customs refurbishing their busted cars into some of the world's flyest rides, it's an incredibly compelling experience

If you've never seen a single episode before, the first episode of the first disc is a crash course (no pun intended) into what the show's all about. We're introduced to Wyatt, who drives a vehicle so ugly it actually makes me feel good about the "brown bomber" Oldsmobile I drove in high school - a 1988 Daihatsu Hi-Jet microvan. Before "Pimp My Ride," I had never even heard of Daihatsu before, undoubtedly with good reason. Vans are not necessarily beautiful to begin with, but this one is so square it could pass as a Lego brick. Held together with duct tape in places, house door hinges holding the cargo door in place, upgraded from golf cart rims and tires (I'm not bullshitting you) to Mazda RX-7 rims that somehow still resemble crap, a non-existent driver's side middle door replaced with sheet metal (an outline for a non-existant window drawn on it), the list goes on and on. Wyatt is not shy about admitting he's dead broke because the Hi-Jet is a piece of crap and not good for anything. As a delivery vehicle it'd break down in a heartbeat and as a transport vehicle to and from a job it might go even faster, not to mention being towed away as junk by any company who saw it in their lot. Wyatt just recently moved to California so needless to say what little money he'd have for anything better is long gone. He's stuck, fucked, and shit out of luck... until Xzibit comes to the rescue!

One of the funniest and most entertaining aspects of each episode is when Xzibit shows up to initially inpsect the "ride" to be pimped out. His appraisal is as honest as his facial expressions, and from a self-confessed lover of automobiles you can often see he's quite perplexed how they can turn "a toaster riding on donuts" like Wyatt's Daihatsu into anything REMOTELY pimpin'. Invariably he cracks up before inspection's even over, and his classic quip in this episode is "I'm afraid to kick this {shit} because it might fall apart." Wyatt is so excited when Xzibit knocks on his door he can barely breathe. What follows afterwards is Xzibit driving the vehicle to West Coast Customs, although in some cases the vehicles are so busted they don't even make it all the way there (in one episode a vehicle broke down right across the street and the WCC crew had to run out and push it into the shop). The Customs crew are colorful characters in their own right. The manager Q gets in another great quip at Wyatt's expense: "Even the damn key is busted!" After the owner Ryan takes us on a tour of the shop, he shows us some of their work, including an H2 Hummer that they just finished for 50 Cent. Q organizes a meeting and all the WCC crew gives input on how to pimp it out. Jimmy discusses a brand new paint job including flames. Ish has plans for a fly wraparound couch - interiors are his things. Alex wants to put some bigger rims on it, and 'Mad' Mike is the man who hooks up the TV's and stereos, consulting with Abraham on electrical. Q wants to see a wing on the back to go along with everything else. It's definitely going to be a lot of work, and the first step is ripping everything OUT of the vehicle to be pimped until it's LITERALLY a shell of it's former self.

For the rest of the episode and all subsequent episodes, what follows from here on out is a miracle that really has to be seen to be believed. When one battery is not enough to power the electronics, they use two. When one size rim doesn't fit, they recut the frame to MAKE it fit. When WCC says "there's no limit to what we can do" they really mean it - they not only find a way to make it work, they make it look GOOD. When the big reveal is done at the end of each show, the recipients of their refurbished vehicles inevitably react the same way - shock, awe, and in many cases hysterics or tears. Two words sum up Wyatt's reaction: "Holy {shit!}" Three more: "Are you serious?" The before and after pictures dramatically sum up just how radical the Daihatsu's transformation is. Xzibit ends most episodes by popping the recipient's collar and proclaiming to them "you've OFFICIALLY been pimped." Then at the conclusion we see the reaction of their friends and family, more shock and awe, and a personal thank you from the recipient to MTV for "pimping my ride."

If Slim Thug is the "Already Platinum" rapper he professes to be on his forthcoming national debut, he's hopefully pushing a WCC ride half as fly as the ones they come up with on this show. This is reality TV done the right way - it's never negative, always positive. It's good people, doing good things, for other good people. The show makes you smile, makes you laugh, and may even make you a little green with envy wishing your ride could be pimped out like that. Hey, if you live in their neighborhood and can afford it, I'd give West Coast a call - and if you can't do like Slim Thug said and call MTV to see if they'll do it for you. You could be the show's next star. The first two discs feature all 15 episodes from the premier season of the show, while the third is some exclusive "behind the scenes" shit like deleted footage, bloopers, a WCC "what we drive" feature and even Xzibit's music video for "What U See is What U Get." It's hard to argue with the goodness of the episodes themselves, especially in this commercial free high quality DVD format, but the extra shit you don't see on TV on disc three is the icing on the cake. Fans of Xzibit will love this set. Fans of customized cars will love this set. Fans of the show itself will most DEFINITELY love this set. The only thing I can't comment on here is the price range, because this is a promo copy for review purposes - but if it's $30 or anything under I STRONGLY recommend you pick one up. "Pimp My Ride" is the best show on MTV since the long-gone and much missed "Yo! MTV Raps," and that would be the only box set of DVD's they could release that could possibly be better.

Content: 10 of 10 Layout: 10 of 10 TOTAL Vibes: 10 of 10

Originally posted: March 22, 2005
source: www.RapReviews.com

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