19 April 2005 | bob the moo
Trashy, silly stuff but rather entertaining in small doses
In the name of spreading peace, tolerance and gangsta-style rollin' rapper Xzibit visits the unfortunate majority of us who have clapped out cars and selects those worthy enough for help. The cars he selects he takes to West Coast Customs to get them "pimped" by which I mean they get fixed up, jazzed up and made to be eye-catching and stylish beyond practical use.
Having spent some time in America last year, I was able to see quite a few programmes in this series before seeing it on MTV in the UK. The concept of the show will be nothing new to those of us lucky enough to live in the UK and have been bombarded by reality makeover shows on rooms, gardens, homes, diets, bodies etc, the only thing that is strange is why it took them so long to turn to vehicles as the subject of the show. Of course this is not a make over show in the traditional sense because it goes to silly extremes, making it a process with less value perhaps but making it quite engaging viewing. Each show I see I am amazed at the junk they manage to put into these cars and can't help wonder if it will last ten minutes parked outside the homes of some of the subjects my car has been broken into several times and I don't even have a PS2 and flat TV screens in there! For some of them I think that once one of their new, fat tyres need replacing then they are going to have to sell a kidney to afford it.
Nonetheless I watch it; maybe it is the fact that I myself "roll" in an 18 year old Nissan but it is fun to watch them trashing the cars and rebuilding them. Of course the actual design of the cars themselves is the least enjoyable bit because the process is silly mostly all that remains of the original car is an element of the body and it may have been easier to buy them a new one. Also, the guys in the shop are so OTT and take themselves so seriously that it is a bit off putting and I wished they would mock themselves more given just how silly their work is. A major downside to the show (on top of the silliness) is that it does encourage dissatisfaction and materialism by making fun of those with basic cars and promoting the idea that you're nobody with a flashy/big/noisy ride as an introvert and an environmentalist, this is not a view I support, nor would I like to think that some people will go deeper into dept just to "pimp" their ride.
Of course this is reading too much into the show and I never really worried about this too much while watching thanks to one massive factor in the show being fun Xzibit. As well as being a solid, if unoriginal voice in hip-hop, he is a natural presenter and never takes it seriously at any point. He is great at laughing at the old cars and delivers some hilarious lines, for example (my favourite) when a guy exclaims he has never had rims before, X grabs the camera and shouts "hey he's a first time rimmer" I'm pretty sure he meant it in "that" way and I was rolling on the floor! He is a breath of fresh air in a world full of rapper/actors who puff themselves up and talk a lot of fighting he is simply a really natural guy and he makes for a great host.
Overall this is just a trashy reality makeover show no matter how you dress it up but the excesses, silliness and novelty value make it entertaining nevertheless. The promotion of the materialistic dream of money, cars, brand names etc is a bit of a put off but thankfully this is put out of the mind by great presentation from Xzibit, who is as funny and charismatic as he is OTT!