Defiance Charger

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Defiance Charger
RCR Defiance Charger.jpg
Car Details
Make Dodge
Model Charger
Year 2013
Owner Chris, 'TheAficionauto'
Episode Details
Episode Link Watch
Season Vagabond Summer
Air Date November 14, 2016
Transcript
Credits u/Ianator

We drive the car from the SyFi show Defiance. This is a 2013 Charger with mudder-tires and partial external roll cage. It looks amazing but drives...uh...really bad. Still it was one of the more fun days we had filming up in Centralia PA.

Check out more of the Defiance Charger here: https://www.youtube.com/user/theaficionauto

Transcript[edit]

Prop cars are righteously awful.

---

INTRO SONG by THE ROMAN
to the tune of BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN THE BATHROOM from BOB'S BURGERS

Bad stuff happened to Defiance,
Was canceled by the network that it's fiction is for science,
Tires acting with their own minds,
Show cars tend to be a mess no matter what the show's like.

---

NARRATION by MR REGULAR

This is a 2013 Dodge Charger V6 made to look like a Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic rampage sedan and it is one of the worst-driving cars I ever tried to point down a road. It doesn't track straight, the ride gave me hemorrhoids, half of the interior amenities don't work, the steering feels like rotating a frisbee in a plate of mashed potatoes, I can't see the instruments and the wheels rub. Oh, and all the tires are in business for themselves.

Prop cars are made to look good on screen. They're not made to be cars. A stock Subaru Forester has more offroad capability than this... whatever this is. Roman has some notes on the show Defiance and the associated video game and we're gonna get to those when he's ready, but this is the car from Defiance. This is the Sheriff I-don't-know-what. I didn't watch the show, he did, he'll figure it out.

Chrysler Corporation is really flingin' their cars out. And by that I mean, we know they're having problems so maybe from a marketing standpoint they're gonna go, "AAA DA DA DA DA, AAA DA DA DA DA, everybody have a car and mwe- we remain relevant by virtue of ferocious marketing." Any sort of video game or movie or something, Dodge has its fingers in it somewhere.

To make this suburban emasculation machine look like it's ready for war the producers commission car builders to leave in the spring pucks. Now I may be describing those things wrong but when a car comes off that car hol- hall- hauler? Y'know, that big thing that holds about six cars and rolls into the dealership? Every single one of those cars has higher ride height than it's meant to and the way they do that is to have rubber pucks that get just shoved into the springs. It keeps the springs from completely collapsing and it increases ride height. It's the opposite of cutting springs. And the reason they do that is so when you back it off the truck you're not gonna scrape the bumpers or anything, you get an extra four inches of ground clearance that way.

Well, they left those things in this so they could jack the car up and fi- fit these Mickey Thompson mud tires onto it. And you'd think, "Oh, well you- now you have more ground clearance!" You don't! Alright? 'Cause right away the wheels completely fill the wheel well. It looks bitchin'! But the second you hit a bump because your spring rates haven't changed, and your dampening hasn't changed, so you hit the slightest bump in this car and GRAGHR- the Mickey Thompsons just tear into the plastic splashguard of the wheel well.

And there's another reason you don't turn sedans into offroad cars is because the wheelbase is far too long. Look, we tried to get this onto the abandoned section of Route 61 up here in Centralia and it didn't work. The car just kept highcentering. A stock Jeep TJ with its short wheelbase would just go whompompompompompom~

When cars are prepped for movies or television, most accessories are removed an- windshield wipers' control stalks are unplugged, turn signal switches are snipped, radio head unit wires are yanked... The idea is that actors, while driving the car, can gesture and use the space within the car without "Oops!", hitting the horn or hitting the wipers or anything and ruining a otherwise perfectly good take. So you gotta reconnect all those things.

Now in order to make this Dodge look like it lasted forty-seven years or something like that, the- they took a random orbital sander and just went FWWFWFWFWFW all over the entire dash and the seats and everything like that so you can't see the gauges. Mmm. And then- oh, you see these side pipes coming out the side? They're fake. And- look how the whole body looks distressed? This is all one big wrap. It's a perfectly clean car underneath.

I have no idea what this thing on the hood is supposed to be. In the future, cars run on reactor fuel and technobabble and- whatever this is in front of you obstructs your vision. It's like the Knight Rider car - it's hard to go, it- it- this car- oh, this is even worse than the Knight Rider car! The Knight Rider car went- KITT went straight just fine. But it had trouble turning. This car can't turn and it can't go straight. And the guys who bought this from the show - they bought it from the prop department - they were on a road trip from Toronto, down into Pennsylvania and then they *drove this thing all the way to LA like this*. Huuuh.

---

NARRATION by THE ROMAN

Okay, so Mr. Regular asked me to talk TV this week. Now, a lot of people know this but some don't, but my side job actually involves me watching and writing about TV for an entertainment blog. Hell, I have a quote on the back of The Walking Dead Season 5 DVD. True story. ("As emotionally savage as ever.") And yeah, it's a humblebrag but seriously. It's there.

All this is a way of saying I probably would have never heard of Defiance if I hadn't been busy reporting on TV shows because I'm a cord cutter so if I wanted to watch something on cable I'd have to go out of my way to find it.

Now, Defiance was cancelled a year ago last month and although it was primarily a TV show I mostly remember it for the game which featured an uncomfortable amount of online ads that all use Radioactive by Imagine Dragons but without even having the courtesy of putting Alexander Daddario in it like the music video did. But considering the setting had to deal with exploding alien terraforming technology ripping the Earth a fresh new asshole? I suppose the song choice was apt.

So. Way the hell back in June 2011 it was a different time. Anthony Wiener was making headlines. People argued for and against stricter gun laws. John Jones was causing ruckus in MMA. And Dolph Ziggler was a... mid-card champion in WW- okay, so maybe it wasn't all that different. But this was also the same month that SyFy announced they would be creating a television series with a video game tie-in.

Actors were cast. Alien languages were created with the help of a professional linguist. And an entire universe was pretty much created from the ground up. The story centered around a man and his adopted alien daughter in the city-state of Defiance where humans and alien races lived together in the ruins of St. Louis with its five-alarm dumpster fires of interspecies tension and cratered roads that give the sensation of driving on an oatmeal raisin cookie.

For a show like Defiance you could kind of see how a car like this might be necessary. But a lot like general opinions on the Charger over the years, the show started out with solid ratings but became a bit more divided with subsequent seasons. By the end it was averaging about a million viewers which wasn't a great number when you consider how much a show like that had to have cost. Hell, Defiance was SyFy's most-watched drama the year they axed it but they couldn't justify bringing it back for the audience it was pulling. And I can't imagine there was any way they could've done a show like this justice on a reduced budget.

Granted, they probably could've tried at least, given it a season on a discount? But... the third season ended in a way that would've made it odd to come back from? And besides, by this point SyFy pretty much decided to nuke everything from orbit and start over with shows like Dominion, Haven, Lost Girl and Continuum all coming to an end and getting replaced by stuff like Killjoys, Dark Matter and Twelve Monkeys.

SyFy is in the Canadian import business, bringing in shows from the Great White North on the cheap so you don't really need shows like Dark Matter and Killjoys to be massive hits to be worth the investment. And the same was for Lost Girl and Continuum. So Defiance got the axe and fans were pretty torn up about it. On the 'What a shame' scale it fell somewhere between an eggless carbonara and a guy ignoring his doctor's cholesterol advice and loading up his plate with hot brown at Shady Maple.

The video game somehow had an even more divisive reception. It wasn't necessarily that it was bad, it was just kind of generic. While plenty of reviewers had nice things to say about the mechanics, others were kind of worn out on MMO-style games and hated the grind of it. The way you instinctively hate whatever song was playing during your first car accident or the first time you were pulled over.

The game just didn't impart that same sense of uniqueness that the series did. It felt more common than this arbitrary list I made up about the five most common female middle names. For reference, it's 'Lynn,' 'Elizabeth,' 'Anne,' 'Marie' and 'Louise.' Go ahead, show this video to your girlfriend and maybe you'll hear her curse under her breath because her name is on the list.

Ultimately, Defiance had a dedicated fanbase. I mean, it still does. It had people fighting for its right to stick around and that's a lot more than you can say for other shows and games in this genre. I guess what I'm saying is that Defiance was worth being taken more seriously than it was. And in today's car culture you can make the same argument for the Charger.

It isn't just about guys named John chumming the water to find other bros to bro out with and form their own little Johntourage. And it's not about hopping on the dyno and keeping those wheels spinning like the top at the end of Inception. A Charger can be about more than all of that, especially when you consider how much they mean to the people who own them. Like TV shows, cars can get cancelled too. But if the Charger were ever discontinued, I can imagine the outcry would encompass more than hashtags.

---

Thank you, Roman.

When we had this thing up in Centralia, folks loved it. The offroad guys were magnetically pulled to this idea of triumphant individualism because that's what post-apocalyptic movies are about, they're very much Westerns. It's the idea of the individual triumphing over nature or some barbaric tribe. And the cars have become the horse. The faithful, rugged steed.

And that's what this represents. Because all of us- eh, maybe it's a male thing or maybe it's an American thing - we love this romantic vision of us standing tall against a pile of evil in a wasteland. What is it about that?

And even though this car is horrific to drive, and you also have to- you can get into the back seats of this car but you have to pull some pins and take this fake roll cage- oh yeah, this roll cage. It's welded directly to the body. Oh, and another thing, these red lights facing forward? They're illegal. The little blue lights flashing inside this whatever-this-thing-is? That's illegal. I don't think the chicken wire inside the windows is illegal though.

Anyway. This car is very good at doing one thing: representing individualistic survivability. It's representing an idea. And it's wonderful at stayin' put.

Just don't drive it.

---

OUTRO SONG by THE ROMAN
to the tune of BAD THINGS HAPPEN IN THE BATHROOM from BOB'S BURGERS

Defiance didn't air on Showtime,
Otherwise the seasons would've gone up to nine,
The only way you'll have a safe day,
Is if you never get inside this deathtrap disarray.

---

Plug for AFICIONAUTO

---

STINGER by MR REGULAR

This is the beginning...

...Where I find truth...

...Over the rocks.

References[edit]