MTV's Road Rules, a hard-driving spin-off of the network's The Real World, is off to quite a start. In its premiere week, the Road show which features five Gen Xers wandering the U.S. in a Winnebago found that hinting at sex and playing footsie with politicians can be as combustible as gasoline.
The spark was set in the Arizona border town of Nogales (pop. 22,000), when the cast rolled in for a charity pentathlon. There to greet them was the fresh-faced Democratic mayor, Louie Valdez, 24, who went along on a tequila-soaked bash just south of the border, then retreated with Roadster Allison Jones, 21, for what Valdez now calls a ''romantic interlude.'' ''He didn't realize how many margaritas I had,'' Jones explained on camera after viewers saw her returning to the Winnebago the next morning wearing what one of the gang referred to as the mayor's clothes; Valdez now contends ''those weren't my clothes.'' A spokesperson for MTV could not be reached for comment.
Christina Quihuis, the mayor's secretary, concedes that MTV's visit has been ''the talk of the town.'' The local paper has had few calls critical of Valdez, but one alderman is outraged. ''It was ridiculous!'' says Tony Serino, a 19-year veteran of the town council. ''I was sorry I stayed up until 10:30 at night to see a bunch of crap. That's what happens when you give a man's job to a little kid.''
''I guess this is my 15 minutes in the sun,'' Valdez says of his big fiesta. ''Maybe it's a little bit awkward.''
The mayor says he has not heard from Jones since the show was filmed in April. ''It was a very spontaneous MTV moment and that's about all I'll say. My detractors are jealous, my supporters are ecstatic, and everyone in between is pretty happy,'' he claims. ''We put Nogales on the map.''