Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Ruins, Week 1 Power Rankings

Reviews of The Hill and The Ruins on consecutive days may seem a little much, but don’t worry: NPI still writes about issues unrelated to MTV reality shows.

When I saw that MTV had allocated a full hour-and-a-half to the season premiere of The Ruins, my first thought was, “Well, I guess someone gets in a fight.”

Alas, this season has no C.T., and Wes is all talk, so no punches were thrown. But the episode didn’t lack for action. Three things to note in particular from last night’s episode:

1) Has there ever been a more dislikable housemate/cast-member than Wes? He’s arrogant, but not even occasionally funny like Evan or Kenny. He’s mean, but not entertainingly so like Veronica. He acts like he’s volatile and tough, but isn’t even close to the legitimate insanity of C.T. As far as I can tell, he has no redeeming qualities. It’s also very telling that the only friend he seems to have on the show is Danny (who, sadly, didn’t bring his wife along with him), who has about as much personality as wood. In last night’s episode, Wes whined like a baby when his team refused to follow his method of nominating players for elimination and threatened to throw the challenge. It was tremendously satisfying when the challenge proved to be unthrowable, and Wes ended up in the elimination anyway.

And yet, despite his unredeemable personality, Wes was engaged to Johanna and is now dating Kelly Anne. Those are two of the five most attractive girls in recent Real World history. How exactly is he brainwashing these girls? It’s not like he can really get by on his looks or his killer personality. It seems ungentlemanly for me to root for Wes to get kicked off and for Kelly Anne to leave him for her ex, Cohutta. Nevertheless…

2) I don’t know why MTV insists on setting up these Challenges in way that is lopsided a priori. The teams on The Ruins are the “Champions” and the “Challengers,” with the former consisting of past winners and the latter of newcomers and past losers. I don’t see any way that the “Challengers” actually pull this off. Their best hope was Wes throwing challenges for them, but that failed this time, and eventually Wes is going to get sent home if keeps up his active sabotage. My only guess is that MTV likes to set up a clear underdog to maintain the possibility of a final challenge upset, but the only time that works is when the underdog wins via some technicality, like when Eric passed out during the final challenge of The Gauntlet III, preventing the team from having “every team member cross the finish line.”

What MTV should do is have an individual competition in the first episode, with the two winners earning the rights to pick their teams as “captain” playground style.

3) I’m starting to think Tonya is actually unstable. Not in the typical “unstable reality-show contestant” way; I think she has legitimate mental issues. Watching her getting into drunken altercations no longer feels like sociological voyeurism, and there’s no schadenfreude from her inevitable downfall, because she’s not one of the usual vain, self-indulgent, overgrown adolescents on these shows; she’s just someone with a lot of problems. MTV shouldn’t let her on these shows anymore.

And now, the Week 1 Power Rankings:

Eliminated: Chet (Challenger) and Diem (Challenger)

I was sorry to see Chet go, but mainly because it meant Wes stayed. Diem continues not to meet expectations.

Barely Hanging On: Tonya (Champion), Shauvon (Challenger), Wes (Champion)

Wes and Tonya each won close competitions in “the Ruins,” and Shauvon was just happy not be sent into the elimination.

Too Early To Tell: Ibis (Champion), Susie (Champion), Kelly Anne (Challenger), Brianna (Challenger), Sarah (Challenger), Kimberly (Challenger), Adam (Challenger), Cohutta (Challenger), Danny (Challenger), Nick (Challenger)

Lots of people in this category because there’s only been one challenge and it’s hard to see how these people fit into the dynamic.

Will Probably Stick Around Simply Because People Like Them: Katie (Champion), Veronica (Champion), Casey (Challenger)

If you’re a girl with a reputation as a slut/partier, you can go far in these games….

The Top Ten:

10. Syrus (Champion): This guy’s got to be approaching 40 now, but he knows how these games are played and doesn’t have many enemies.

9. Johanna (Champion): Strong ties to players on both teams will help keep her in the game.

8. Johnny (Champion): He usually sticks around a while, but alienates a lot of teammates in the process.

7. Darrell (Champion): Challenging Wes to a fight last night probably earned him a lot of points.

6. Dunbar (Challenger): He hasn’t won anything yet, but he’s shown promise.

5. Derrick (Champion): The Challenge’s John Elway: People wondered if he could win the big one, and now he’s coming off back-to-back wins.

4. Brad (Challenger): The Challenge’s Kurt Warner (without the ring): You expect him to lose in a heartbreaker.

3. Kenny (Champion): Good at challenges, but great at alliances.

2. Evelyn (Champion): Hands down the best female athlete of the decade.

1. Evan (Champion): The new godfather of Challenges. If you come at the King, you best not miss…

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9 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by James Schneider on October 1, 2009 at 5:31 PM

    ok, evelyn is ahead of kenny, come on? Must i remind you that you didnt see how annoying she was on the island and how kenny was the only positive thought i had about that season. and why do u like evan? i mean i have nothing against him, but was that by default?

    Reply

    • Posted by John S on October 1, 2009 at 6:34 PM

      Who is going to beat Evelyn? Kenny could run into a scenario where he has to go into the Ruins vs. someone like Dunbar, but Evelyn can destroy every girl on that show. Her only potential competition, Ruthie, isn’t even on this season. And Evan’s #1 because he’s coming off a win in The Duel 2 and he has some psychological hold over the rest of the cast.

      Reply

  2. Posted by Albert U. on October 2, 2009 at 10:04 AM

    Wes brainwashing Kelly Anne and Johanna? Just bc they are hot does not mean they are nice/intelligent/cool people that take brainwashing to date. If anything they found a perfect match in Wes.
    And the best of all time was Lando Commando, he was nearly unstoppable and actually nice/intelligent/cool

    Reply

    • Posted by John S on October 8, 2009 at 1:04 AM

      Landon was great, that is true. But before you hasten to call him “nice/intelligent/cool,” must I remind you of his double mohawk in the Inferno II?

      Reply

  3. Posted by Dylan on November 9, 2009 at 4:23 PM

    Johanna’s a slut, she fucked kenny when she was saying shes going to marry wes. GET THE FUCK OUTTA HERE. None of the men are man enough top sit down with wes and actually settle things and put their ego aside.

    Reply

  4. […] For one, not every challenge is throwable (although this week’s would have been perfect), as Wes found out in Week 1. Also, throwing challenges and eliminations brings on a severe scolding from TJ Lavin, and I […]

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  5. […] suggests pulling names out of hat (an idea he always seems to be in favor of), but CJ and Evelyn don’t believe they should have to go into Exile a second time when others […]

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  6. […] be used to pick captains who will choose the season’s teams (a suggestion, I should add, that was made a year ago by none other than yours truly). The “twist” that MTV puts on this is that the captains won’t be the race’s winners, but […]

    Reply

  7. […] if this is my swan song, it’s fitting that it comes in a season set in Thailand, which also hosted the first season I wrote about. Not that you […]

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