Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Brief Guide to IRT: Deadliest Roads (Spoiler: I Hate It)

The History Channel has developed some non-Hitler-based programming lately, presumably to compete with the Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch and other shows that do not focus on the Third Reich or Nostradamus. One of these programs is Ice Road Truckers, which people apparently like. I don't really understand the appeal. It seems to be an hour (half hour? I tune it out) comprised 5% of people driving and doing vaguely interesting Big Truck Things and 95% of bad CGI illustrating the TERRIBLE ICY DEATHS that the truckers could experience if something went wrong (which it does not). I do not find this to be interesting enough for a series. It's one of those things that could use a special or something, but the premise kind of begins and ends with "these people drive back and forth until the ice melts, and also are drama queens." I am not an executive at a TV channel, but if I was, I would employ a basic test for new series. I would ask myself: "Is there a concept beyond 'this neat thing exists'?" If the answer was no, I would call my Making Specials About Neat Things Existing Team and have them go at it, then sit back and collect my money. I do not think this is how executives work.

So okay I hate Ice Road Truckers, but what I hate even MORE than Ice Road Truckers is IRT: Deadliest Roads, or as I have come to think of it, Privileged Assholes React to Being Out of Their Comfort Zone by Swearing, Driving Aggressively and Refusing to Adjust Their Behavior and Driving to the System That Everyone Else on the Fucking Road is Using. They're now over in India, where - surprise! - the infrastructure is totally unlike both standard US roads and the ice roads they're used to. The roads are extremely narrow and kind of cling to the edges of cliffs, and everyone drives like a crazy person. The drivers are issued an Indian truck and a navigator who is familiar with the terrain. The drivers, finding themselves out of their element choose to do one of three things, to wit:
  1. Openly doubt the navigator and in some cases make a giant prissy show about how they're not doing something because it's "insaaaaane."
  2. Refuse to abide by the norms of the roads, thus congesting the entire road, in some cases for an epic distance, and always requiring the native drivers to work it out because clearly they are the problem, and CERTAINLY not the idiots steadfastly ignoring what the navigators are telling them. Again.
  3. Swear at, threaten and challenge the native drivers who respond to item #2 by honking, tailgating or generally getting frustrated with the assholes obstructing the road.
This show is fucking infuriating for so many reasons, chief amongst them being the complete snobbery of these drivers. Look. If you sign up for a show called "Deadliest Roads" when you are ALREADY on a show about (presumably) dangerous roads, the driving is going to be fucking hard. If you are going to India, and particularly in the Himalayas, you should probably pick up a paper or watch some goddamn Travel Channel or be aware of the world outside your cab so that you get some awareness of the fact that a.) India is not exactly noted for its slick infrastructure and b.) there is a lot of fucking UP in the Himalayas and that much up usually means a tricky ascent.

I'm sure that you've picked up by now that this show is deeply fucking irritating, and would probably like to avoid it, or at least get a foreshortened version. If you would like to take the latter path, here's what you do. You know how kids tend to go through an annoying repetition phase? Find three of those kids. Teach one kid to say, "holy shit, this is a sheer drop of a thousand feet! YOU COULD DIE IN A SECOND." Teach the second one to say, "these fucking people drive like assholes! Fuck them!" Teach the third one to say, "No, that's way too steep, I can't do that. I COULD DIE IN A SECOND." Then simply throw them in a room with about eight pounds of candy, and don't let them out until it's gone. Once the sugar high has really taken hold, tell them to go out in the yard and run around in circles for 15 minutes yelling their assigned phrase.

Notice how they don't stop when 15 minutes are up, even if you tell them to?

Welcome to the IRT: Deadliest Roads experience.

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