Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat 2, Week 1 Power Rankings

“We need some newbies, some fresh meat, because all of us are only getting older and uglier.”—Paula


“This is the sleaziest group of people I’ve ever seen. Is this who they are going to have replace the king of kings?”—Kenny

Aaaaaaaaaand we’re back! It’s been nearly four months since the final challenge of The Ruins, a seemingly interminable stretch in which we Americans had to do with only college basketball to sate our competitive spirits.

But now The Challenge has returned, and injected some new blood in the form of the titular “fresh meat.” Back in 2006, MTV aired the original Fresh Meat, in part to offset the dearth of new competitors in the absence of Road Rules, which has had only one season since 2004. That season introduced us to plenty of faces that it is now hard to imagine the challenge without: Evan, Kenny, Easy E, Ryan, Evelyn, Diem, and even Casey.

Of that group, Kenny, Ryan, and Ev, are back, joined by Danny, Wes, and Darrell (who were all alumni in the inaugural Fresh Meat), along with Sarah, Jenn, Paula, Landon, Jillian, and Challenge newcomers CJ (from Real World: Cancun) and Katelynn (from Real World: Brooklyn, best known for being the first trans-gender cast-member). Each of the alumni will be paired with an opposite sex newbie, and these pairs will be the only “teams” for the duration of the competition, so how the players get paired off is pretty important.

Last night’s episode began with a draft, though the alumni had to go in with very little information about the new cast members. They were given a booklet of the stats from the combine—yes, Fresh Meat 2 had a combine—and got to ask some questions, but there was nothing like the Wonderlic or Pro Days. This may come back to haunt a lot of them.

In a lucky break that no draft has seen since the Orlando Magic won the NBA Draft Lottery two years in a row, Darrell, the defending Fresh Meat champion, got the first pick, and took Cara Maria. Other notable choices included Laura’s selection of Jeff, which seemed to be based totally on looks, Danny’s selection of Sandy, who states in a confessional that she’s seen Danny on other challenges and thought he was a jerk, and Wes’ selection of Mandi, whose blonde hair nearly scared him off by giving him flashbacks of his last Fresh Meat partner, the ineffectual Casey. Based on the brief clip we saw of Mandi from the combine, it looks like she might have more in common with Casey than just hair color.

Two other selections that weren’t all that eventful at the time may end up playing major roles down the role. First, Noor, the best new male competitor based on the combine, got teamed up with Jenn, a below average female. This probably doesn’t bode well for Noor, who could have gotten far if he had been teamed up with someone like Ev, but it might make the Noor/Jenn team deceptively competitive for a while. Meanwhile, Landon, in his first Challenge since dominating The Duel II for most of the run, got stuck with Carley who claims, “I’m not really good in athletic sports, but I can kick ass in a lot of other things.” Um, Carley, what “other things” do you expect to kick ass at? There’s not going to be a crocheting contest in the eliminations.

Once the partnerships were formed, the cast-member were shown their houses and allowed to embark on the general debauchery of first episodes. This season was promoted by MTV as Wes vs. Kenny: two competitors who have clashed for years now finally going toe-to-toe.* It was pretty surprising, then, to see them so congenial with each other in this episode, even forming an alliance to send Darrell into Exile, the Fresh Meat elimination obstacle course. There were, however, the seeds of discontent sowed by the end. First, the newbie Theresa, who Kenny declared “very attractive,” drunkenly professed desires…to lay with…both Wes and Kenny. Despite Kenny’s professed disavowal of interest, this triangle my flare up again.

*Evan’s absence really hurts Kenny in this competition. I’m not even sure if Kenny was referring to himself or Evan as “the king of kings” in the above quote.

More importantly, though, was Kenny’s realization, near the end, that Wes is more in control of the game than he realized. Even though Kenny and his partner Laurel won the challenge (in which you had to retrieve a giant ball from a mud-pit in a blindfold), they sent Darrell and Cara Maria into Exile largely based on Wes’ suggestion. Then the rest of the cast voted Peter and Jillian to face them in Exile, pretty much at the behest of Wes. At that point Kenny realized that Wes, and not he, had assumed the “Godfather” role last held by Evan: People are listening to Wes about who to vote for!

And that wasn’t even the most surprising thing about last night’s episode. The biggest shock was seeing Cara Maria, who Darrell picked above every other female newbie, weigh down Darrell—arguably the best competitor there—so much that he lost the Exile. And now, on with the rankings:

Eliminated: Darrell and Cara Maria

I found out on the Aftershow that Cara Maria is, in her normal life, a dominatrix. I’m not sure if this should have helped or hurt her in Exile.

12. Jeff and Paula: Just like strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords is no basis for a system of government, asking, “Do you have a girlfriend?” as Paula did is no way to select a partner.

11. Ryan and Theresa: Both of these two seem more interested in drinking, hooking up, and having fun, than playing to win. But Kenny/Wes may want to keep Theresa around anyway.

10. CJ and Sydney: As a former NFL punter, CJ could probably be a good competitor, but the fact that neither of these two knows anyone else will hurt them when they need an alliance.

9. Danny and Sandy: I spent much of The Ruins doubting Danny, and he didn’t really prove me wrong. Now he has a partner who doesn’t like him.

8. Brandon and Katelynn: Look, I’m just going to say it: Doesn’t the fact that Katelynn used to be a man help this team at least a little?

7. Vinny and Sarah: Sarah was impressive by the end of The Ruins. She has focus, and now she is friends with Kenny. The only problem is that this Vinny guy seems, well, kind of dumb.

6. Noor and Jenn: Noor’s going to have to carry this pair, but I think he can do that for at least a little while.

5. Luke and Ev: Luke really lucked out by getting stuck with Ev—who didn’t get to pick in the draft because she was a late addition to the cast. Her presence puts this pair in the Top 5 automatically.

4. Peter and Jillian: Whoa, how did these two get so high? Winning the Exile may make other teams scared to go in against them, since they’ve now seen the course. Hence the high ranking

3. Kenny and Laurel: Letting Wes become the master manipulator drops Kenny all the way down to #3. Plus, his partner is a slut (even by Challenge standards).

2. Landon and Carley: I just don’t care who Landon is partnered with. I have too much faith in him in these challenges. He’s like the Albert Pujols of Fresh Meat 2.

1. Wes and Mandi: It pains me ever so much to put him here, but Wes is, right now, the man in charge. He picked which teams went into Exile, and he even lucked out in seeing his biggest threat, Darrell, go home early. Someone needs to end his reign of terror soon…

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10 responses to this post.

  1. […] Pun Intended- Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat 2, Week 1 Power Rankings Share and […]

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  2. Posted by James Schneider on April 10, 2010 at 9:58 PM

    kenny>Landon

    Reply

  3. Posted by Jen on April 11, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    Where is Evan????

    Reply

  4. […] event of the last week, though, wasn’t Duke-Butler, Opening Day, or The Masters: It was the return of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, with a draft Matt Millen would be proud […]

    Reply

  5. Posted by Rehan on April 15, 2010 at 2:30 AM

    I don’t understand y u want Wes to be “detroned!” He has honestly been the best and honest of competitors in the past challenges (or least the ones I’ve seen). And Kenny is a COMPLETE douche so I really want him to suffer- not go home yet, just suffer!! Btw I agree with u on your take on Landon- dude is just a total BEAST!

    Reply

    • Posted by John S on April 15, 2010 at 7:49 PM

      The main reason I hate Wes is his unjustified arrogance, not so much in terms of his performance — in which he’s proven himself — but in his intelligence: He’s constantly talking about how brilliant his often inane strategies are, like his “alienate the whole team” strategy in The Ruins. Plus, he’s never shown the dominance someone like Landon or Alton has. Kenny may be a douche, but at least Mr. Beautiful is funny.

      Reply

  6. […] our epigrams come from the same two sources as they did last week, but some people are just consistently quotable. It also makes sense to go back to that well […]

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  7. Posted by POLLY on April 26, 2010 at 4:01 PM

    where is Rachel, i miss her

    Reply

  8. Posted by serenity on May 2, 2010 at 11:11 PM

    wes should be used to coming in seccond,. HE wass theresas seccond pick! GO KENNY!

    Reply

  9. […] for Landon (and Carley, who managed to luck into $100,000 by falling to Landon with his last pick way back in the initial Fresh Meat draft), it was rough for Kenny and Laurel. For Kenny, it was a blow to his massive ego, as well as his […]

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