Thursday, June 24, 2010

Rob Dyrdek's Fantasy Factory: Keeping the Laughs Alive

Rob Dyrdek made his mark on the mainstream media world when he teamed up with Christopher “Big Black” Boykin in MTV’s hit series, “Rob & Big.” The show was a hit, popularized by the charisma of its two main characters, their relationship dynamic, and of course, Dyrdek’s financial situation, which allowed the duo to explore a fantasy-like reality which the audience was made a part of. After three full seasons on the air, “Rob & Big” came to an end. Questions have risen about the true nature of the show’s demise, specifically regarding the estrangement of its two main characters. Rumors circulated about growing tension between the two leads, while others focused on Boykin’s aspirations of fatherhood over a life of “makin’ it rain.” Regardless of the reason for the show’s expiry, television lost one of its most original and entertaining shows.

For a genuine fan of the show, accepting the end of “Rob & Big” was a difficult task. I look back fondly on times watching original episodes, and being amazed at how thoroughly entertained I was. Even after days of attempting to upkeep a sense of “media snobbery,” “Rob & Big” always made me remember that some things are just plain funny. When I got word that Rob Dyrdek was coming back to commercial television with a new show, I was slightly skeptical. I made the mistake most people made in their criticisms of a spin-off, asserting that the relationship between Dyrdek and Boykin was the element that gave the show its true success. When the trailers for “Rob Dyrdek’s Fantasy Factory” finally hit the airwaves, faithful viewers got a sneak peak into the true entertainment genius that is Rob Dyrdek. Promotions for “Fantasy Factory” showed Dyrdek being catapulted into a pit of foam, maneuvering around his “office space” in a car reminiscent of Speed Racer’s, and simply maintaining the persona he established in “Rob & Big”: an enthusiast of fun.

In my own mind, the trailer for “Fantasy Factory” affirmed the notion that Rob Dyrdek is a mastermind. It seems that while the relationship between Boykin and Dyrdek was showcased in the earlier series, Dyrdek’s wacky and entertaining inceptions were the heart and soul of our viewing fun. Looking back on three great seasons of “Rob & Big,” one can see what the heart and soul of the series was. The amusing and extravagant crusades the two main characters went on were almost exclusively drawn up by Dyrdek (at least portrayed that way in the series). This is not to downgrade the impact that Boykin had on the show (he did, after all, provide me with one of the biggest laughs of my life when he brought the mini-horse trailer back to the house adorned with one of the greatest murals I have ever seen), but to simply accept the fact that a series starring Dyrdek without Boykin could still work.

The first two episodes of “Fantasy Factory” lived up to the anticipation brought forth by its trailers. The stunts are intact, the insanity runs rampant, and the cast of quirky characters, combined with an excellent array of guests make this show a gem after just two episodes on the air. Early notions (be myself as well) hinted at the possibility that Dyrdek would be unable to carry on a successful show by himself without his oversized companion. However, exposure to “Fantasy Factory” has led me to view the relationship between Rob and Big much like I do Mario and Luigi. While we will always have fond memories of the two working together, we can expect equally great things from one of them by himself… adorned with his trademark hat(s).

Dyrdek’s unwavering boyhood desire for fun and excitement is infectious. I am never inspired to live my life to the fullest than when I watch Rob Dyrdek “at work.” Regardless of age, race, creed, socioeconomic stratus, etc., I urge everyone to sit in front of their television screens for an episode of “Fantasy Factory.”

(c) 2010 Brent Bracamontes

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