One man’s trash is our season-premiere treasure.
The X Life is about extreme sports competitors and the pretty women who love them. And, from the opening credits, we learn that they are also the pretty women who endlessly worry over their men. “I keep thinking, ‘What if, what if, what if…’” one partner says during the opening credits. And for once that “What if,” isn’t, “What if I punched this girl’s face?” No, we’re talking real consequences here, from paralysis to death. Also, occasionally the, “What if” is, “What if I punched this girl’s face?” But we’ll get to that later in the episode.
First we meet BMX dirt biker jumper Cory…
…Nastazio and his complete-opposite-of-nasty girlfriend Nicole Panattoni.
“I never thought I’d fall in love with somebody who risks their life every day,” she interviews. (Note: Don’t get Nicole a firefighter calendar for Christmas.) She also points out that Cory has literally made a name for himself: “Nasty.” Nasty always seems to be the nickname people give themselves, doesn’t it? We get a brief flash of the sort of lifestyle he leads to earn himself the name “Nasty.”
…But then we see Cory and Nicole’s two adorable children, and Nicole explains that they’ve been dating on and off for 10 years. They’re not married because he’s not ready, but, “When he’s ready, I’ll be here,” she says. So she’s risking her life too, in a way.
We also learn that’s he’s a devoted boyfriend and father, but he’s getting older in an occupation that demands you be young (and shirtless, and double tattoo sleeved) to succeed.
Off to a less mature start is motocross star Jeremy “Twitch” Stenberg, who we find playing video games in the garage while his wife Susie tends to baby puke.
Of course guys in the garage playing video games don’t usually do so in their three-car garage inside a house that looks like this:
So, he gets the benefit of the doubt for now. As immature as he seems, this is a very grown-up house.
Other facts we learn: “Twitch” is Jeremy’s nickname, but it’s because he has Tourette syndrome, which hasn’t stopped him from rising to the top of the motocross field. That’s admirable. Also admirable: Jeremy once broke both legs and learned to walk and compete again. Susie lovingly took care of him the whole time. We also learn that she’s never stopped taking care of him. “I f***ing do everything,” she says. Bills, lawyers, household stuff, all Susie’s to worry about. I would say she’s also in charge of parenting, or maybe should be:
X-treme parenting! “I know I drive her crazy as hell. But that’s just me. She knew what she married,” he shrugs after she runs out and yells at him. I love how this excuse is used several times throughout the show. It’s the perfect argument against growth, maturity, wisdom: “What you see is what you got, babe!”
We learn that Nicole and Susie went to high school together, and because of the similarities of their situations, they’re friends. Judging by the relative warmth of their hugs, their partners are even better friends.
Moving on: Denise.
We are introduced to Denise in the best way possible: with fists.
Kinda, sorta, yeah. His girlfriend knew what she was getting into when she was getting into this bar. Denise says the girlfriend was “talking s***,” and explains that she’s from Queens, New York, where no one does that, ever. “I’m not going to change just because I’m in California,” she tells us. But I don’t see her having any trouble blending in with the locals. Someone in the bar calls her “low class” and she’s got the best answer possible:
Already I love her because she equates being on TV with class, which has never been true, except for maybe, what? Antique Roadshow? A phrase you will never hear: “Come quick, something classy is happening! There are cameras everywhere!” No.
Her boyfriend is vert skater Pierre Luc Gagnon.
He is also the only person ever named Pierre Luc to get kicked out of a pool bar. He also has an explanation for her behavior: “She’s a nutcase.” Fair enough! You know already that she’s going to be fun because, while the other girlfriends worry about their partners’ safety and maturity, Pierre has to warn Denise not to get too crazy in Vegas and she’s like:
A girl willing to die to party. Seriously, no VH1 reality show has ever held the possibility of death over our heads like this. It’s so exciting.
We see Cory and Nicole arrive at the Dew Tour in Las Vegas. His performance here is important because if he doesn’t do well, the sponsors won’t pay him, and the Dew Tour won’t pay him. Things look like they’re going well:
…until Cory disappears after a jump and doesn’t emerge. He comes out a little bit later, and he’s fine, but he’s doesn’t qualify.
Just to highlight how dangerous BMX really is, the next rider, a friend of Cory’s who is also in his thirties, takes a bad spill just after.
They go to the hospital. “I should have been a golf player,” Cory smartly observes on the drive over. “Golfers can still get hurt,” Tiger Woods argues from somewhere.
After checking in at the hospital they go out to dinner with the other couples. They talk about injuries and the danger of their sports, which only makes Susie even more worried. Jeremy points out that when he broke his legs, Nicole had to wipe his ass. The possibility of having to do that for your partner, for the next 40 years, would also worry you. Denise and Pierre share their story of how they met, while Nicole admires how they both dish it out and take it. I not only admire it, but I crave it.
The next day we get another injury: Susie’s baby Savy leans forward off the hotel bed and hits her heard on the nightstand. She calls Jeremy while comforting her child. Dr. Jeremy asks:
So Susie smartly calls the paramedics, who decide that Savy needs to go the hospital. Susie interviews that, between working about the baby and Jeremy, “It’s too much fear…it’s too much. Too much.” It’s heartbreaking.
On a lighter note, her gurney ride through Palms? Also too much:
Savy just needs a couple of stitches, so they return in time for Jeremy’s performance. Jeremy’s doing a paid exhibition, so there’s not much pressure, except for Susie’s CONSTANT UNABATING fear that someone will get injured. I mean, yeah, this looks dangerous:
Things are fine though, obviously, so the couples head out for the night.
Pierre has yet to compete and needs a full night’s sleep, so he leaves the club early. Denise, being the polar opposite of the other two worried, fearful partners, stays to drink and engage in some light same sex kissing…
… while Nicole clucks disapprovingly.
The next morning Denise is hungover with a female friend in her bed. She’s too hungover to head to the competition with him, so she takes her beer and goes back to bed. “I definitely know what I signed up for,” Pierre says repeatedly, as if he’s telling himself as much as us.
But she’s also as loyal as he’s promised. She arrives to watch him, and even brings his cross for good luck.
It works. Or rather, his talent and hours of practice and blah blah blah worked. He’s the Dew Tour winner. Denise tells the ladies that they’re staying in Vegas to celebrate, and Nicole and Susie are surprised/worried. I predict that their polite surprise and worry will turn into stern judgment soon. But not this day.
She explains that she’s got to get all her wild days in before she starts popping out babies. Yes, please! Get out all your partying this season. You have no idea how closely “getting it all in” and “popping out babies” is related.