MTV’s new series The Dudesons in America — the network’s attempt at recapturing some of its Jackass luster from yesteryear — launches tonight at 10 p.m. What, exactly, should you expect? You know, a group of Finnish guys nailing their ears to a board, smashing their balls on a stairway, and facing an angry bull — while on stilts. That kind of thing. Paging Johnny Knoxville and his crew! But, no really — Knoxville is actually an executive producer on this series. Go figure!
The idiots — errrr, brave future reality stars — performing such ridiculous feats are none other than (from left in the photo) Jukka, HP, Jarppi, and Jarno, who collectively make up The Dudesons. (You may have heard of them before — they’ve had smaller reality shows on other networks, like Spike TV.) To prep for the you’re-doing-what? mess that’s coming to MTV tonight, you should do two things: 1) Watch the trailer for The Dudesons in America, which we debuted on EW.com a few weeks back. And 2) Read my Q&A (below!) with ringleader Jukka, who tells me about becoming the first Finnish Native American, how the group got their name, and what part of his body he broke on the sixth day of shooting (surprise: he loves the American health care system!).
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Are you still filming the first season of the Dudesons?
JUKKA: We’ve still got two more episodes to do. We’ve got 10 episodes in the can.
I know you’re headed to set today. What are you doing today?
Today we’re filming something with cars. Everything we film is themed around Americans, and cars are an important element. I heard you guys get a car before you get a house! We are on a mission to build the ultimate Dudesons car.
What would be the ultimate Dudesons car?
We’ll see. We have to go and wrap our heads around it and see what comes out of it. I’m sure it will be something interesting.
What are some of the other Americana elements of the show?
The whole spirit of the show is that everything we do is something very themed, very American. On one of the episodes we tried to become the first Finnish Native Americans. So we got a 73-year-old Indian mentor, and we go through all these ridiculous rites of passages we could think of. We tried to prove we are worthy of becoming a member of his Indian tribe.
Wacky. What else?
An American hero is the astronaut, so we tried to make a rocket and fly all the way to space. We trained ourselves like the astronauts trained, but of course it has a ridiculous twist to it. It’s fun. America has been treating us so great so far. Haven’t been kicked out of the country yet. We’ve been to Florida, Roswell, Lake Tahoe, California — to places with all these cowboy guys and their bulls. We had a rough start. The second day of shooting one of us broke his wrist, fourth day of shooting one of us broke our back, sixth day of shooting I busted my tailbone and my hambone. In the Dudesons world you call that a strong start.
Do you take time to recover?
Surprisingly, I guess Finnish people heal pretty fast. You guys do have a good health care system because you took care of us. We managed to have a good season.
What kind of stunts will we see over the season?
Imagine a Dudesons guy trying to out-run a tiger. That’s pretty interesting and tigers are pretty quick. Entering a bullring on stilts, then releasing the bull. That’s something I ended up doing, it was a pretty scary moment when you look at the beast in the eye. They have one job and that is to nail you down. It’s great to work with animals, because they have that animal instinct and when it kicks in you don’t know what they’re going to do.
What’s your mentality when you do something like that?
You try not to think too much, and yeah, you are scared — stiff from being scared. But that’s also the exciting part. It’s fun. Some of the times it’s like, “Holy crap, what am I doing, trying to walk on stilts while the beast is chasing me?” Sometimes you’re just in the mood and mindset, like you’re in the car trying to recreate the legendary James Bond car barrel-roll jump, and you’re just getting into it. In the first episode we get USA branded on our buttocks. It’s a huge variety of stunts. We do stuff with animals where you have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen. It’s a great combination of doing big stuff and having fun. We enjoy every moment of it, and hopefully that comes across on TV.
Did you come up with the stunts yourself?
Yeah, we brainstorm and come up with all the stuff we do. It’s an ongoing process. You can see something funny on the street, and think, “Oh, that would be fun to try. How can we make it even more silly?” Some of the things you see in movies or cartoons, you think of a way to recreate it or add a unique twist to it. Usually, it’s taking something to a totally wrong place. Let’s say you have a snow sled. What’s the most ridiculous thing you can take it down? It’s not always the first idea that we come up with that works. A lot of things change on the go.
What is the response you get from regular Americans? Have they been receptive?
With the spirit of the show and how we are, we never make fun of anyone except ourselves. Doing the show in that spirit has been great. Americans have been laughing and saying, “Oh my God, what are you guys doing?” They don’t really know what to think. “These guys are nuts but I love them.” Being here in America and doing the show here, we try to do a lot of things with Americans, and there are a lot of local people involved as well.
What happens in the first episode?
In the first episode, we go into a hardware store and we’re playing a game of follow the leader. There’s a punishment when players drop out of the game. So we go into the hardware store and ask for a hammer and nails — we thought about hammering a nail through our ear, like a wooden board, and we get help from the owners of the store. It’s like them reacting and hammering a nail through the ear. It’s a great way to have locals involved in the show.
How did you get the name the Dudesons?
It’s our name in Finnish — the Duudsonit—a slang version of “dudes.” Then we just turned that word into an English version. I know it probably doesn’t make any sense, but neither do we.
What about censors?
Finland TV is pretty laid back in that there isn’t too much censorship. We can do pretty much anything on TV. But coming here and going through legal hoops it’s like “Whoa.” We just come up with funny, crazy ideas we want to do and hopefully we will get permission.
How involved has executive producer Johnny Knoxville been?
Very involved. He’s a great guy and we’ve known him for so long. It’s like a match made in heaven, putting us and him together. He’s in a few of the episodes. He gives his opinion on things.
Are any of his old compatriots, like Steve-O and Bam, showing up?
Yes, we have some of the Jackass guys showing up, and some of the Nitro Circus guys, special guest starring.
Anything else you want to say?
Hopefully you guys enjoy it. We’ve been having so much fun here in the U.S. shooting it. In Finland, we had all these big, crazy ideas, but we didn’t have a chance to do it because we might not have had the budget or resources to do it, but coming to the U.S. it’s a chance for us to go after our wildest dreams. I personally have never had this much fun filming. Hopefully it will have a good impact on America.
Tanner on Twitter: @EWTanStransky
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