|This article needs additional citations for verification. (September 2012)|
|Created by||Paul Abeyta|
|Developed by||Paul Abeyta, Peter Kaikko, Larry Strawther|
|Opening theme||Firebrand by Bumblefoot|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||81 (list of episodes)|
|Executive producer(s)||Paul Abeyta, Peter Kaikko, Larry Strawther (Season One)|
|Running time||approx. 20 minutes|
|Original run||April 13, 2003– February 9, 2007|
MXC (Most Extreme Elimination Challenge) is an American comedy television program that aired on Spike TV from 2003 to 2007. It is a re-edit of footage from the Japanese game show Takeshi's Castle which originally aired in Japan from 1986 to 1990. The re-edit created a new completely rewritten storyline and new characters, as a dub was added that centered on the game show hosts narrating the action as people tried to win points for their teams by surviving through different challenges. In the original program Takeshi's Castle, the characters Kenny Blankenship and Vic Romano are actually a count named Takeshi and his assistant creating challenges in order to fight off an opposing military leader and his troops.
MXC was created and produced by RC Entertainment, Inc. in Los Angeles, California, and is the property of both Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) and RC Entertainment. The 2004 special episode MXC Almost Live is the property of Viacom International, which was filmed in Orlando, Florida by the producers of MXC. In addition to this, MXC's distributor is Magnolia Home Entertainment.
For the first two seasons, MXC was an initialism for the show's former title: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge. Early commercials in 2003 promoted the show as just Most Extreme Elimination with the initials MXE.
The last episode premiered in February 2007, completing the series that spanned five seasons and 81 episodes.
The premise of MXC (as distinct from Takeshi's Castle) is a game show that is hosted by the eccentric characters Vic Romano (Vic Wilson) and Kenny Blankenship (Chris Darga), along with the field marshal Captain Tenneal (John Cervenka) and the field reporter Guy LeDouche (John Cervenka). The announcer (John Cervenka) begins each episode with this standard introduction:
"What are these people running from? They're not! They're running TO the World's Toughest Competition in Town!"
Usually, two or three teams of contestants compete in several turn-based and head-to-head challenges. The only episode done without a competitive team base was the first episode ever made, which was simply centered around the stereotypical antics of college girls. Even though this was the first episode made, it was the seventh episode of season one to air. Most other competitive teams do not truly have a real-life rivalry (e.g., Season 1, Episode 2 "Donors vs Addicts"), while others such as Democrats vs Republicans vs Third Party do.
The contestants compete in a variety of challenges, usually four per episode, but occasionally as many as six. The challenges are extremely hard, and a majority of the contestants fail to complete the challenges. Throughout the show, painful failures to complete challenges are reviewed by Vic and Kenny in the "MXC Impact Replay" (briefly renamed the "Foot Locker Impact Replay" and the "Norelco Impact Replay"), which is essentially a sports-themed playback feature. Occasionally, the Impact Replay is used for Kenny's pleasure, in looking at the female contestants, items, or random events in the series which he finds funny or disappointing. Contestants who do complete a challenge earn one or two points for their team (maybe even more). The team with the most points at the end of the episode wins the competition. At the end of each episode, Kenny counts down the ten "Most Painful Eliminations of the Day", which usually focus on the events shown in the Impact Replay, but sometimes includes random events that involved the main or recurring characters.
Kenny and Vic, along with any other people around them at the end of the show, all end the episode by saying: "Don't get eliminated!"
MXC Almost Live and other special episodes
On April 22, 2004, Spike TV aired a special edition of the show to start the third season, featuring skateboarder Tony Hawk and snowboarder Tara Dakides. The special was taped at the Universal Orlando Resort in Orlando, Florida using students from nearby colleges and appropriately dubbed MXC Almost Live. The special edition is not based on the original Takeshi's Castle footage, but only has some added in for Vic, Ken, the Captain, and Guy LeDouche. Actors were hired to play those who would replace the roles of the latter two, named "Major Babe" (Michelle Sorrell) and "Gip LeDouche" (Eric Esteban). While everyone in the episode is American, everything said by any contestants besides Hawk and Dakides is still dubbed.
Three other special episodes aired, all from Season 2, including a special nighttime episode, a "Monsters vs. Mascots" episode, and a special winter episode.
Most of the characters and contestants on MXC are voiced by the producers and series' writers: Victor Wilson, Christopher Darga, John Cervenka, and Mary Scheer who did all of the female voices.
- Vic Romano (Victor Wilson provides his dub voice) (named after a character from a single episode of Miami Vice) is the co-host and play-by-play commentator. In Takeshi's Castle, Vic's character is Count Takeshi himself, the main character of the show. In MXC, Vic is level-headed, has a dark past of alcohol abuse, failed marriages, and various addictions, and generally treats MXC as a serious competition. Vic was once also a professional baseball player who became addicted to "everything", including every type of drug, alcohol, and easy women. He once was an airline pilot during his stint of alcohol abuse, but states: "Luckily, nobody noticed." Notable catchphrases include "Right you are, Ken!", "Indeed!", and "Kenny!", which is usually followed by him smacking Kenny's head with a paper fan, in response to Kenny's commentary of the action. When the show was filmed in Japan, Vic's character was played by Japanese actor and movie director Takeshi Kitano.
- Kenny Blankenship (Chris Darga provides the dub voice) is Vic's co-host and color commentator. Blankenship is a high-school dropout whose uncle owns the network. Kenny's character is very unprofessional about hosting, far less serious about the job than Vic's character is. Despite his non-professional stand-point, he claims to make ten times the amount that Vic does because of his uncle being one of the network bosses. Kenny has also been stated to own a condo complex from all the money that he earns from hosting and drives a Volkswagen Jetta. During hosting, Kenny usually spends his time commenting on the sexual appeal of the female competitors. Kenny's character was originally played by comedian Sonomanma Higashi.
- Captain Tenneal (John Cervenka provides the dub voice), whose name comes from the 1970s musical act Captain & Tennille, is the field marshal who conducts the contestants through each challenge with a sharp "Get it on!" Near the beginning of each MXC episode, he is seen addressing the contestants as a group, asking whether some broad assertion relating to one of the topics in the episode is true. After the contestants raise their hands to show agreement, the Captain usually declares "Well, you're wrong!", but on one occasion, the "Cops vs. Cons" episode of Season 1, he actually agreed with the contestants. After further explanation and give-and-take with individual contestants, he bellows "Let's Go!" and leads the contestants forward to begin playing the games. Captain Tenneal is played by Hayato Tani. In an early episode, Captain Tenneal's character was named Sergeant Toomey, after the insane drill sergeant in Neil Simon's Biloxi Blues. The name change was dropped and the character permanently became Captain Tenneal.
- Guy LeDouche (pronounced "gee" as in "geezer"; John Cervenka provides the dub voice) is the MXC field reporter. He is portrayed wearing a pith helmet and his personality is that of a flamboyant man of suggested French descent who has a questionable sexual orientation, as he makes passes to many of the contestants he interviews, regardless of gender. In addition to this, he is seen to have a romantic interest in Captain Tenneal. He has other family member interviewers who show the same behavior, such as "Lyndon" (which plays off wacky political figure Lyndon LaRouche), "Geek", "Giddy", "Gip", "Goon", "Gawp", and "Gawk", along with females named "Gay", "Grandmama", "Gab", "Gin", "Gidget", and "Gal", with an unrelated reporter named Al Frankincense. Guy is played by Junji Inagawa. The family (and Al) is voiced by John Cervenka (male) and Mary Scheer (female).
The following are characters who have established a semi-consistent name. However, their names may change to fit in with a show's theme or style of game.
- Danny Glands (John Cervenka provides the dub voice) (a play on the name of long-time Las Vegas entertainer Danny Gans) is an MXC staffer who works in many of the games. His primary responsibilities include asking questions in Finger It (later renamed Hand Job), knocking down contestants in Brass Balls, and launching the soccer balls in Dirty Balls. Also known as Jimmy Junk, Sugar Ramos Phiss, Golden Shower Boy, Barry Sosa, and Spin. The original actor is early 1980s J-Pop star Michiru Jo; he is notably skinny, and his lack of appealing physique is often played for laughs, emphasized by his voice actor who adopts a nasal, nerdy tone.
- Skanki is a 16-foot (5 m) samurai who punishes contestants that fail to complete the Wall Bangers game.
- Chief Otto Parts (a parody of the Chief Auto Parts auto supply store chain) is a American Indian who taunts the contestants in Rotating Surfboard of Death.
- Em on Em (a spoof of rapper Eminem, as well as a play on the pornographic film term "m on m", or man on man) is an apparently gay set of twin rappers dressed in rainbow ponchos and bowler hats. Main games include Tumbling Dominos of Doom and Irritable Bowl Syndrome. Also known as "Babe and Ruth" "Bud and Pud", and "Jessie and Jackson" among others. They are played by identical twins Shoji and Shoichi Kinoshita. In one of the episodes, there was a contestant named Marshall Mathers, the real name of Eminem.
- The Babaganoosh Family is a family of contestants from the Middle East who appear in nearly every episode.
- The Brown Spider taunts contestants in various games, including Wall Buggers and Dash to Death. Usually played by Brad Lesley (also known as Brad Leslie).
- Herbie the Steamy Pile is a strange, brown creature who taunts and sprays fallen contestants with a fire-extinguisher in Buck Off!
- The Zygote Brothers are identical characters that appear in the game Dash to Death. They attempt to distract the contestants and knock them into the water as they run through the obstacle course.
- Sporky is a character featured in the game Dash to Death. Hiding inside a jail cell near the "spinner" obstacle, Sporky taunts contestants as they pass by. If contestants fail in the area of the course around him, Sporky is usually credited with distracting the contestant into falling off the course.
- The Diddler is a character exclusive to the game Little Man in the Boat. If contestants don't go far enough on the course, The Diddler appears out of nowhere and pushes the contestant off and into the water.
In the show, the contestants' names are usually names of celebrities, network bosses, or family members and friends of the producers or voice actors. Several recurring names appear in the show; the most common family name is Babaganoosh, since the producers of MXC were given short deadlines for producing episodes, therefore giving them limited time to write the scripts. Babaganoosh comes from Darga as his family is from the Middle East, where Baba ghanoush is the name of a local eggplant dish.
During the production of the show, the network bosses stated that they did not want the producers, Paul Abeyta and Peter Kaikko, to repeat games from episode to episode, but Abeyta and Kaikko ignored this, knowing that fan-favorite games would keep fans interested in the series. Some fan-favorite and recurring games included Log Drop, Wall Bangers, Dope on a Rope, Rotating Surfboard of Death, and Sinkers and Floaters, amongst many others. Due to the high viewership and popularity of MXC in the United States, several of the original Japanese actors whose acting careers were failing at the time MXC aired in the United States got massive career re-boots because of the US fan base.
While the basic premise of MXC is that of a legitimate game show, its true premise is that of a comedy not intended to be taken literally. All background audio is added by an audio technician, leaving none of the original audio from Takeshi's Castle in MXC. The script is completely unrelated to the original Japanese dialogue, in which Wilson and Cervenka stated that they specifically intended for the dialogue in the show to have nothing to do with Japanese or Asian culture. The only Japanese-related, albeit loosely, term used for the show was the name Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, which has a Japanese-like naming style. Both producers openly admitted that they had no knowledge of what the contestants or actors were originally saying during the filming of Takeshi's Castle. In MXC's script, the dialogue is usually based on sexual puns, pop culture, or mocking various celebrities, athletes, sports announcers, and politicians. Contestants are given seemingly incongruous but humorous names and occupations based on their team and physical appearance (e.g. Sal Bloomberg from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, a meat handler team member in the Season 1 episode "Meat Handlers vs. Cartoon Voice Actors", aka "Network Boss"). In addition, the various challenges are all given humorous names, such as Sinkers & Floaters or Wall Bangers. The footage for a single episode of MXC can come from multiple episodes of Takeshi's Castle, and occasionally the same footage, including challenges, will be used in multiple episodes with different character names and dialogue. Unlike international editions of Takeshi's Castle, the original text that appeared on screen is left as is, with the characters often playing off of it.
A two-disc DVD set, containing the first season episodes, was released on October 3, 2006.
Special features (Disc one):
- An original episode of Takeshi's Castle viewable with forced English subtitles, and also with an English announcer (Episode #93)
- Audio commentary by the producers and voice actors (Featured on episode 1)
Special features (Disc two):
- Kenny Blankenship's Most Painful Eliminations of the Season
- Original MXC sales presentation to the network
- Audio commentary by the producers and voice actors (featured on episodes 7 and 12)
The second season was released on April 17, 2007.
The episode entitled "Monster Edition - Real Monsters vs. Product Mascots" is heavily edited on this 2-disc set. The episode has a running time of 11 minutes and 19 seconds, as opposed to the rest of the episodes on the disc, which have a running time of 20 minutes and 5 seconds. No official reason for the editing has been given, although it is most likely because the cut scenes involved copyrighted characters from Ultraman and Astro Boy. (See Ultra Series#Licensing rights dispute)
Special feature (Disc one):
- Original Episode of Takeshi's Castle (Episode #61)
Special features (Disc two):
- Kenny Blankenship's Top 25 Most Painful Eliminations of the Season.
- Behind-the-Scenes of MXC
Part of the third season was released on DVD on November 6, 2007. The set contained the first half - 13 episodes - of the third season of the show (Except Almost Live). Volume Four was released alongside with Volume Five on November 11, 2008, completing the third season.
Special features (Disc one):
- Original episode of Takeshi's Castle (Episode #1)
- Kenny Blankenship's Top 25 Most Painful Eliminations of the Volume.
Special feature (Disc two):
- Original episode of Takeshi's Castle (Episode #67)
Volumes Four and Five
Volume Four and Volume Five of the show were both released on DVD on November 11, 2008. The fifth volume contains every episode of the fourth season, except the "Most Best of MXC" compilation episodes.
Special feature (Volume Four, disc one):
- Original episode of Takeshi's Castle (Episode #75 - College Girls)
Special feature (Volume Five, disc one):
- Original episode of Takeshi's Castle (Episode #86 - Snow Special)
The actual fifth season of the show has never been released on DVD, however it was available for a time on the iTunes Store (albeit missing one episode, "Gay Rights vs. Religious Right"). Season 5 is currently available on Amazon Instant Video and Hulu.
The American gameshow Wipeout on ABC was accused of being "a blatant copycat" of shows such as Takeshi's Castle and MXC, and a copyright infringement lawsuit was filed by Tokyo Broadcasting System against ABC in late 2008, claiming the obstacle-course game show closely resembled several Japanese shows. It alleged Wipeout violated its copyrights to shows such as Takeshi's Castle and Ninja Warrior.
The Japanese network later sued Dutch entertainment giant Endemol, which produces Wipeout.
The companies settled the case on November 30, 2011, after meeting with a federal magistrate judge in Los Angeles. No settlement terms were filed with the court.
- DVD Audio Commentary for Season 1, Episode 7
- "Wall Bangers (Wall Buggers) 1 - Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC)". YouTube. 2010-12-26. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "The Best of the Best of MXC - Dash to Death". YouTube. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "Buck Off 1 - Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC)". YouTube. 2011-01-01. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC) - Top 25 Most Painful Eliminations of Season 3". YouTube. 2011-02-23. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "Little Man in the Boat 1 - Most Extreme Elimination Challenge (MXC)". YouTube. 2010-12-30. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- March 11th, 2012 (2012-03-11). "The Grammarphobia Blog: The spicy history of baba ganoush". Grammarphobia.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- "MXC - Most Extreme Elimination Challenge Season One: Victor Wilson, Christopher Darga, John Cervenka, Mary Scheer, Jamie Alcroft, Zona Jaguar, Kip Madsen, Shingo Yanagisawa, Hideo Higashikokubaru, Takeshi Kitano, Bradley Jay Lesley, Hayato Tani, Amanda Salas, Larry Strawther, Mickey Ramos: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge - Season 2: Victor Wilson, Christopher Darga, John Cervenka, Mary Scheer, Kip Madsen, Zona Jaguar, Shingo Yanagisawa, Hideo Higashikokubaru, Takeshi Kitano, Bradley Jay Lesley, Hayato Tani, Amanda Salas, Larry Strawther, Melissa Patson, Mickey Ramos: Movies & TV". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
- "Most Extreme Elimination Challenge DVD news: Release Date for MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge - Volumes 4 and 5". TVShowsOnDVD.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- [dead link]
- October 7, 2008 (2008-10-07). "Wipeout | Wipeout Finally Sued For Copyright Infringement". UGO.com. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
- "ABC, Endemol Settle 'Wipeout' Copyright Lawsuit With Japanese Broadcaster". Hollywood Reporter. 2011-12-24. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
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