If the 90’s brought us anything of note, it was either Kurt Cobain’s suicide, The Usual Suspects, or the X-treme marketing movement. Of the three, guess which was easiest to turn into a modular humor article? Hint: the piece about Cobain’s suicide will be up next week.
Sonic the Hedgehog!
The original bad boy of phylum Erinaceomorpha, Sonic has often been credited with starting the whole X-treme movement with his in-your-face attitude, gravity-defying speed, and undying thirst for gold rings. Whether exploding robots to free baby animals or foiling the plans of an overweight physician, Sonic goes nothing less than blue, spiny balls out at all times. This motherfucker will spin dash directly into your spine; he doesn’t give a fuck. And when you’re paralyzed for the rest of your life, he’ll be using the chaos emeralds to woo a sexually questionable, underage fox. The brand has been somewhat diluted by several less extreme cartoon series (chili dogs? No, Sonic subsists entirely on an all-pussy diet) and the addition of a ridiculous number of supporting characters—Tails, Knuckles, Amy, and even a robot and some sort of giant retarded cat—but when you see that glint in Sonic’s single, misshapen eye-viewplate-thing, you have to admit, he retains a certain air of the X-treme.
Level of X-tremity!
A busload of electric guitarists jumping a shark-filled Grand Canyon.
What could be more X-treme than a roasted corn snack? Lose a couple fillings to Corn Nuts, and you’ll know. It seems that when the makers of Corn Nuts discovered that their product was essentially the over seasoned, unpopped kernels left over from the Orville-Redenbacher factory, they decided that instead of improving it (or possibly providing some sort of Corn Nut-softening agent with every bag) they’d use an X-treme ad campaign to openly challenge consumers to bite through the menacing, nacho cheese-flavored rocks. Their personified cobs of mutant corn are truly frightening, urging you to devour them if only to prevent a future corn uprising. Looking at a bag, one imagines an angry cob bending you over a desk and whipping you with his horrifying husks, or else helping other cobs beat you into membership in an all-corn street gang. But did the strategy work? Hell yes! You can hardly go anywhere in the rural South these days without seeing someone crunching into a handful of Corn Nuts, gladly sacrificing their few remaining teeth for the exhilarating flavor of Corn Gone Wrong.
Rating on the X-treme-O-Meter!
Tony Hawk coming to your eighth birthday party.
The X Games!
How can it not be X-treme? It’s got X right in the name! When you sit down to watch some X-games coverage, don’t be surprised if you find yourself literally blown to the back of the room as an electric guitar wails to a fourteen-year-old snowboarder grinding pipes. Unfortunately, that effect eventually wears off, and constant comparisons between the X-games and its older, more respectable brother the Olympics has left the franchise worn and weary. It’s like that cool cousin you looked up to when you were ten. At first, the fact that he smoked weed instead of doing homework and snuck into R-rated movies all the time seemed awesome, but by the time you’re twenty five and he’s in his late thirties, smoking weed instead of collecting unemployment and sneaking into pay toilets all the time, some of the glamour wears off. Not that the Olympics is looking much better, that steroid-popping tight-ass. If there’s any lesson in all this, it’s that there are no more good role models for kids outside of professional wrestling.
Steven Seagal, pre-Executive Decision.
For the place on your body you thought would never be X-treme enough to challenge your taint: Right Guard X-treme! Coat your underarms with this pine-scented gel and even your most X-treme friends will be ashamed of their own, dull, workaday armpits. Deoderant is a latecomer to the land of X-treme marketing, only getting really hardcore after 2000. But seeing as how antiperspirant gels and being X-treme are such a good match, one has to wonder how this didn’t happen sooner. Really, it’s a no-brainer: after skateboarding off of the world’s biggest ramp or pulling an 1180 on your BMX, what does a truly X-treme person need more than the assurance that his deoderant is kicking the shit out of stink molecules, as portrayed by sexy roller derby babes? Furthermore, Right Guard has had celebrity endorsements from Method Man, Red Man, and king of X-treme Bam Margera, who you know has to stink something fierce. As the 90’s mantra goes, if it’s X-treme enough for a skateboarder who named himself after Barney Rubble’s son and routinely beats his fat father on national television (God, what a dick), it’s X-treme enough for me.
A helicopter battle raging high above the surface of the moon.