As everyone probably knows by now, this season may be the last for Road Rules. BMP has said that if the ratings for the show are high enough, there will be more seasons of Road Rules. If they're not, well, there's still the Real World. So, in order to boost ratings, the folks at BMP have added "cool new filming techniques" and the scary, omniscient Road Master. Savor this season, kids: the future does not look too bright for Road Rules.
But, wait--this year's cat members are here to save the day! There's Theo, Msaada, Holly, James, Laterrian, and Katheryn--a lovely bunch, indeed. The gang meets in Sedona, Arizona, in the middle of a desert. Upon meeting, James and Holly discover that they come from towns within 10 miles of each other. (Clue #1) Amid all the greetings and banter, the 'Shasta' (this year's equivalent of the Winnie) drives up. Now, I did not see the usual "give up your money and credit cards" bit, nor were there any past cast members to greet the new victims, I mean Road Rulers. Come on, the budget can't be that tight. I mean, if no past Road Rulers were available, we all know Teck from RW Hawaii would jump at the opportunity. (By the way, I guess he has a new show on MTV starting Friday. Can't wait.)
While the gang is exploring their new 'home', the aforementioned Road Master pops up on a screen in the Shasta to introduce himself (how kind of him)and alert the kids of their first mission. Whenever he pops up, a light above the screen flashes and an alarm sounds. Kind of like one of those tornado alarms or whatever. Personally, that alone is enough to scare the crap out of me.
Speaking of scaring the crap out of someone, the gang's first mission is to walk on a platform between two hot air balloons. And James is very scared of heights, so this mission is just perfect for him. Each person who walks across the platform without touching any of the ropes gets a $1,000 coin. The more coins by the end of the trip, and the more successfully completed missions there are, the bigger the handsome reward is. And the Roadies get $100,000 to split up equally between them if all the missions are completed. So James knows he can't chicken out, even though he starts shaking before the balloon gets up in the air. But sweet and caring Holly is there to comfort and encourage him (Clue #2), and he walks across successfully.
The first mission is completed, but something is missing: the traditional Road Rules Skull. They are given the skull by a Native American chief in a very symbolic ritual which reminds me of that stupid torch-lighting crap on the show Survivor. BMP obviously thinks if that will get 23 million people to watch Survivor, surely it will work for Road Rules. Next week: Theo loses an Immunity Challenge and gets voted out by his fellow tribe members.
Back on the Shasta, romance begins to blossom between who else, but Holly and James. Wow, I never saw that one coming! Now James seems like a nice kid (although he does remind me of Zack from Saved By The Bell), and Holly doesn't, so of course this should make for a good storyline. Holly wants sex, and James does not. But he is a little attracted to Holly, and she is very attracted to him, so the editors find a way to make it look like a relationship is about to happen.
Speaking of relationships, the topic of interracial relationships is brought up. James states he was in a relationship with a Hispanic girl, but never with a black girl. So he, Holly, and Msaada joke that his best friend is black, his dog's black, etc. Then good ole' Theo chimes in "My gardener's black." Wrong thing to say, buddy. And he wonders why no one seems to want to hang out with him. He feels different than anyone else, but he wants to fit in. Sure, this happens every season, but not during the first episode. He invites his travel mates to come to the "crick" with him, but they all go out to lunch instead, leaving him alone. You know it's a bad sign when you are alienated right off the bat. Good luck, Theo, that's all I can say.
But thanks to the magic of editing, everyone is friends again by the next mission. The gang goes to a radio station and receives their next mission: they have to get in two groups and have people test and fill out a survey on one of two new products: the Waterbra and Daddy Nurser. The more surveys completed, the more money they make. Everyone has fun with this mission, and they end up making $1,500 to last them 2 weeks. But they are offered another challenge to earn them $500 more: they have to get 5 guys to try and fill out a survey on a Penis Pump. None of the guys in the group agree to be lab rats, but the girls find more than enough test subjects. And Laterrian gets the gold star for effort by finding one guy to test the product. Another $500 is earned, and another mission is completed.
But there's trouble in paradise for Holly and James. The next stop for the Roadies is Provo, Utah (or as Theo calls it, Parvo), where the guys meet some nice girls and decide to go out with them and take them back to the Shasta. Holly gets extremely upset by this, because she has very high expectations for James, and he does not seem to be living up to them. When the guys get back from their night on the town, Holly tells James she is going to remain committed to Daryl, her 'boyfriend' back home. Nice excuse--I'm sure James is crushed.

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