In news that should come as a shock to no one, The Huffington Post is reporting that much of the auto work done on ’00s MTV reality show Pimp My Ride was sub-standard, to say the least. The site interviewed several of the show’s “contestants” (a.k.a. people who volunteered their shitty rides to be on TV) who said that, after the cameras left, they were left with barely-functioning cars, many of which were downright dangerous to drive. One contestant, Justin Dearinger, even told HuffPo that his car spontaneously exploded years later, albeit after he’d done some work to it on his own.
Other revelations include the fact that producers actually took out a lot of the stuff in the cars after the shoot, like in Dearinger’s case. His car lost its “pop-up” champagne cooler because the network didn’t want to encourage him to drink and drive, and its “drive-in theater” because it wasn’t street legal. Other items were placed into the cars for aesthetics but never actually worked, like a robotic arm placed in one contestant’s car that was “controlled by commands that were entered into a laptop by the spiky haired guy off screen,” but was really just “a robotic arm with a bunch of wires hanging out of it.”
Some contestants were also forced to remove the items from their cars after the shoot, not because it seemed excessive to have, say, nine TVs in a ’86 Honda Civic, but because they were just plain dangerous. As the article says,
Seth Martino’s car seemed to be particularly low quality. “There were plenty of things wrong with it,” he told HuffPost, including television screens never working again after filming. As Martino recalled, some things that didn’t work on the car included the LED lights that were put in the seats. “They would get really hot if left on so I couldn’t drive with them on,” Martino said. “They took the gull-wing doors off because the pistons used to lift them kept them from putting seat belts in the back, which was highly dangerous.” A cotton candy machine they installed was fit into the trunk without leaving enough room for the dome top to keep the cotton candy strands “from flying all over the place.”
(Seriously? Cotton candy?)
As Gawker notes, the entire HuffPo piece is well worth reading, especially if you’re into behind-the-scenes dirt about how contestants were forced to re-shoot reactions if they didn’t go “ape shit” enough, or how producers stuffed candy in and around the seats in an overweight contestant’s car to make him look like more of a pig.