Posted: 09/21/2009

 

Madventures, Series Premiere On the Travel Channel

(2009)

by Laura Tucker




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You may be thinking “Just what we need, another travel series showing the oddities of worldwide excursions.” Yet Madventures is a little more than that and does go beyond what you might see someplace else. It’s fascinating to watch, while not necessarily showing possible travel destinations, but more places and culture to learn about.

Madventures follows a two-man Finnish crew, one the on-air talent, and the other his camera man. Riku Rantala and Tunna Milonoff travel to extreme areas of some popular destinations. In the two-episode premiere, Riku and Tunna travel to Brazil and Southeast Asia. Luckily it’s on in the last hour of primetime, as you definitely don’t want to be eating dinner while watching this.

In the first episode, Riku and Tunna arrive in Brazil, including a stop in Rio. They are allowed into a shanty town controlled by gangs that is heavily guarded. They wouldn’t even allow the camera into certain parts of it and the filmmakers had to be frisked before entering. Guns can be heard going off while they’re interviewing one of the guards. They move on to visiting a shaman who is in his 90s. They partake in a ritualistic ceremony of drinking a hallucinogenic. Tunna claims afterwards he felt nauseous, yet couldn’t puke to get rid of it, and he saw dragons which scared him, yet also his unborn child being born. Riku had an opposing experience seeing his mother dead, yet wasn’t scared.

If Riku and Tunna couldn’t puke then, there was plenty of opportunity later as they played rock, paper, scissors to find out who had to eat the monkey prepared and cooked out in the wilderness. I had to shield my eyes and couldn’t watch after seeing them skin the primate who resembled a human, the cracked open his skull like a huge nut to eat his brains. Of course, I have a hard time watching what they eat on Survivor as well, but this was something you truly need a hardy constitution for.

As Riku explains, it’s impolite to decline food you are offered. It’s with that reasoning that while in Japan in a future episode he eats live squid. He watched them prepare it by chopping it up, then ate it while the pieces squirmed on his plate and sucked to his tongue with the tentacles. Later he becomes the plate as women eat sushi off his naked body, even pulling at his nipples with their chopsticks.

Also in Japan, Riku and Tunna explore “the freakish to the most traditional and honored.” The freakish would be the escort service that has robots from “adolescent to MILF” and from “obese to anorexic.” There is also a place to channel seemingly any other fetish you may have. Riku refuses to tell us exactly what he did there for some reason. They wind up with the traditional and honored, watching a kata being honed in the Japanese bush. No machinery here as a man labors to perfect this blade. I found Riku’s statement that the Japanese are perfectionists to be a slight understatement.

If you’re looking for a little excitement and adventure on your Monday night, turn on Madventures … after dinner, of course. You can catch it on the Travel Channel at 10 PM EST.

Laura Tucker Laura Tucker is the webmaster of Reality Shack, and its accompanying Reality Shack Blog, and is a freelance writer providing reviews of movies and television, among other things, at Viewpoints. She is also an Associate Instructor and 2nd dan black belt in tae kwon do with South Elgin Martial Arts. Laura can be reached at LauraBelle@realityshack.com



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