“This is ridiculous. This isn’t even a final. This is just manual labor.”—Jenn
“Well, ladies and gentlemen, just when you thought I couldn’t get any more amazing….” —Kenny
It’s really great we have Kenny and Wes. Not only are they a consistent source of amusement and tension, but they really saved last night’s Rivals finale—and the season in general—from being an anticlimactic stream of people gushing about their partners. Up until now, with the notable exception of Evan and Nehemiah, who weren’t speaking by their final Jungle, every single pair of “rivals” has ended their trip echoing Fatboy Slim: We’ve come a long, long way together, through the hard times and the good. I have to celebrate you baby; I have to praise you like I should. Even Adam and C.T. left on good terms!
So the overriding theme of Rivals was basically that people can set aside any differences and bury any past grievances when their financial interests are aligned. But then there were Kenny and Wes. Although they made it all the way to the end and in many instances put their animosity on hold to strategize, they bickered throughout the competition and constantly argued about who was failing the most in the challenges. So while every other team was friendly heading into the final challenge, it was clear that Kenny/Wes were on the brink of fracture. Continue reading
“I want you to cry, because you’re worthless!” —Laurel
“This is the worst case scenario for the mob because somebody’s going up against ME. The mob is going to have to vote against each other and that is going to be good… This is going to be so good.” —C.T.
I knew this episode of Rivals was going to be good almost instantly. As soon as it opened with a series of slow motion close ups on the cast’s excited yet apprehensive faces—not unlike the piano scene at the end of Act I of The Deer Hunter—it was clear that MTV was setting up something big.
Instead of shipping off to Vietnam, though, the contestants were shipping off to Buenos Aires, trading their Costa Rican paradise for one farther south. Once in Argentina, their behavior veered from hedonistic bacchanalia to inmates-running-the-asylum type madness. There was screaming and nudity and violence, all to no apparent end, like some Nietzschen dystopia. Continue reading
“Evelyn is a superior partner. I’m pumped, and then I remember: We don’t like each other.” —Paula
“Wes’ weakness is his ugly face…I’m gonna show this guy what a finish line looks like.” —Kenny
“Madness is everywhere and it’s not me.” —C.T.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back! It’s been over six months since the last season of The Challenge concluded, and that’s too long to go without a Challenge-fix. The unusually long gap was likely due to T.J. Lavin’s recovery from last year’s injuries, though, so I’m cool with it. It was a classy move by MTV to wait for Lavin to come back rather than go forward with a new host.
Also making the wait the more palatable was the format of the new challenge: Rivals makes perfect use of the history and drama inherent in The Challenge by pairing people who hate each other. If this isn’t exactly what the show should be, then I don’t know what is… Continue reading