“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 »
“Everybody’s watching every move I make. It’s fun at this point. It’s like, let the games begin…” —C.T.
“We’re playing the game with a bunch of bitches and I’ve got the biggest one on my team.” —Nehemiah
Just a week after I broke down my problems with this season of the Challenge, Rivals had its best episode yet. Things that had been brewing all season long—fraying rivalries, the tension with C.T., C.T.’s love triangle—finally boiled over.
It seems that the moronic “D-Day” plan from two weeks ago did not die with its initial failure—the Wes/Johnny/Evan alliance put it in motion yet again last night. The plan was essentially the same: Evan would throw the challenge to get sent into the Jungle, where he would hopefully meet and defeat Adam/C.T. There were many obvious problems with this plan, the first of which was preventing Adam/C.T. from winning immunity. Continue reading »
“The Challenge gods are angry at me for something.” —Kenny
“Playing the ‘my-partner’s-what’s-holding-me-back’ card is getting tiring.” —Katelynn
Despite the great structure of Rivals, there have been a few things about it that have been hard to watch, and last night’s episode was a great example of them.
First, this season has featured almost a complete absence of strategizing. Part of this is due to the separation of male and female eliminations (since only half of the contestants are invested in any given vote, the other half is much more likely to jump on any bandwagon so as to avoid making enemies) and part of it is due to sheer stupidity (Here is a brief guide to strategy: 1) Count up the number of votes 2) Divide that number by two 3) Try to get one more than that number of people to vote with you… It’s really that easy, yet it eludes most of these players).
Most of it, though, is due to the voting rules. For one, even though it seems like the fairest way to do it, the last place team should not automatically get sent into the Jungle. Doing so immediately drains half the suspense out of any vote, and preemptively eliminates a lot of potential strategies and alliances. Continue reading »
“‘D-Day’ means we drop every bomb we have and we kill everyone in sight.” —Wes
“The entire ‘D-Day’ plan was idiotic from the get-go.” —Evelyn
Should the fact that this week’s power rankings are a day late be taken as an indictment of this week’s episode? Of course not. With that said, this wasn’t exactly an episode for the history books.* It centered on the dominant alliance’s** plan—christened “D-Day” by Wes—to send Adam/C.T. into the Jungle. With only a few male eliminations left before the final challenge, they were desperate to get rid of the best team.
*You know, the history books with a chapter entitled “Competitive Reality TV Programming.”
**For those keeping track, the dominant alliance includes Kenny/Wes, Johnny/Tyler, and Evan/Nehemiah. 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 »