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 V.13 No.17 | April 22 - 28, 2004 

Idiot Box

“Pimp My Ride” on MTV

Although most of America seems adverse to the idea of actually cleaning, renovating and decorating their houses, they are quite happy to watch TV shows about other people performing those same activities. Having burned through every variation of home trading, sweeping, monsterizing and making over, television has turned to our next most cherished possession: the American automobile. Leading the charge in the vehicular renovation movement (followed closely by TLC's “Overhaulin'”) is MTV's hilariously titled “Pimp My Ride.”

In the show, viewers write in and ask that their beat-up old cars be properly “pimped.” If viewers are lucky, rapper-turned-host Xzibit will show up at their house, dispense a few automotive insults and whisk their vehicle away to undergo a total transformation. “We're going to take this pick up and really pick it up,” crows Xzibit with trademark wit.

But these vehicles aren't merely slated for new fenders and a fresh fuel pump. Oh, no. When MTV gets done with these four-wheelers, they'll be ghetto fabulous and ready for inclusion in the next Ludacris video. Battered '78 Cadillacs and ramshackle '86 Oldsmobiles are tricked out in a manner that Huggy Bear himself would admire. Factory paint jobs give way to fantasia hues like “candy pink pearl” and “tangelo.” Glove boxes are traded out for six-disc DVD players. Headrests are replaced with Sony Playstations and seven-inch” monitors. Rims get wider, tires get skinnier.

No addition is too outrageous. Naturally, when a girl named Nile has her car pimped, the customizers feel the need to include a small river that runs down the backseat and onto the floorboards. What could possibly be done to wake up a tired Mitsubishi Mirage? Well, putting an aquarium in the backseat is certainly a start. Lamborghini doors on a Honda? Why not? And paint the whole thing lavender while you're at it.

Obviously, it's a fine line between cool and preposterous. The magic of “Pimp My Ride” is that it's an entertaining show no matter which side of the divide you're on. If you think these hip-hop hoopties are the bomb, then “Pimp My Ride” will fuel all your Fast and the Furious fantasies. If, on the other hand, you find these candy-colored chariots suitable only for blaxploitation stars or Hot Wheels collectors, then “Pimp My Ride” is a suitably amusing exercise in automotive excess.

“Pimp My Ride” airs every Sunday night on MTV at 10:30 p.m.


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