Archive for July, 2013

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 3 Power Rankings

These two are gone. One by choice.“I feel like we’re watching a very twisted version of The Golden Girls.” —Zach

 

“She’s obviously a quitter. I hate quitters. So now Trishelle is on my list of people I’m not feeling.” —TJ

 

Poor Sarah. None of the contestants seems to love the Challenge as much as she does—she has a Lou Gehrig-like streak of seven consecutive Challenge appearances going—and yet this is now the second time in three seasons that she’s been sent home for something completely beyond her control. Whereas her partner Vinny was kicked off for fighting in Battle of the Exes, her partner on Rivals II, Trishelle, abruptly quit after getting into a shouting match with Aneesa the night before.

Of course, I’m tempted to be as harsh on Trishelle as TJ was,* but it’s always strange when someone like Trishelle comes back to the Challenge after more than a seven year absence (Before Battle of the Seasons, her last Challenge was The Inferno, which aired in 2004, even before TJ started hosting). It’s possible she’s just too old for this shit.

*Man, I NEVER want to end up on TJ’s list of people he’s not feeling.

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Monday Medley

What we read while learning about quad strains…

Monday Medley

What we read while conceiving the next Dauphin…

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 2 Power Rankings

C.T./Diem or Romeo/Juliet?“It’s C.T. and Diem. That’s like saying Romeo never loved Juliet.” —Theresa

 

 

 

 

“Cara Maria tweeted at me once and it wasn’t very nice.” —Cooke

 

Let’s talk about C.T. Last week I said C.T. was the only reason I was back for another season, and while that’s certainly an exaggeration, there’s some truth behind it. But why do I like C.T. so much? Why is he the most interesting person on The Challenge?

C.T. is like the Achilles of MTV. He’s mercurial and short-tempered, but completely unstoppable. He’s hard to get along with and he disappears for long stretches at a time, but when he actually tries he does things like this.* Most importantly, though he seems selfish and cruel, he’s earnest and emotionally raw. Just like Achilles.

*I know I’ve linked to this like 100 times, but come on, how cool is that?

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Monday Medley

What we read while not wearing hoodies in THIS weather…

Aaron Sorkin’s Liberalism

HBO The Newsroom

The Newsroom, Aaron Sorkin’s fourth television series, debuts its second season tonight on HBO. And while the first season was something of a disappointment, Sorkin is still one of the most acclaimed writers on TV, with an Oscar and highly anticipated projects in Hollywood and on Broadway.

And yet The Newsroom seems to highlight all of Sorkin’s most annoying tendencies, from his inability to write women, to his smug condescension, to his love of self-plagiarism. But rather than repeat those complaints, I want to focus on what bothers me the most about Sorkin’s work—its lionization of a particularly virulent strain of liberalism.

I’m generally wary of the terms “liberal” and “conservative”, since they are often used to restrict the realm of acceptable political thought to the stances of the two dominant political parties. But Sorkin seems to represent a kind of liberalism that denotes a worldview rather than just stances on particular issues. Of course, on those issues Sorkin loves to parrot the most thoughtless talking points of the Democratic Party (the Christian right is silly; guns are bad; Islam is no more violent than other religions; etc.).* Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 1 Power Rankings

The-Challenge-Rivals-II“I hate Emily, but why would you not want Emily as your partner?” —Paula

 

“…You guys have had some serious beef on Twitter.” —TJ

Look, I was on the fence about even doing another season of these power rankings. After slogging through the dismal Battle of the Seasons, I thought perhaps it was time I finally quit The Challenge, after a decade of loyal viewership. Of course, once I found out C.T. was coming back, I knew I’d be back for at least one more.*

*And 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 asked…

And the new season reboots a format that has been successful before. The first Rivals season was generally successful, boding well for Rivals II.

I say only “generally” successful, though, because there are some problems, which were evident in Wednesday’s premiere of Rivals. First, since the format separates the sexes, as opposed to mixing them, it’s basically like there are two different games going on simultaneously, one for the girls and one for the guys. This season’s “solution” to that problem is to have the girls send male teams into the Jungle*, and the guys send female teams in. This is stupid. It makes absolutely no sense. The men aren’t competing against the women, so the only reason to throw any team into the Jungle is if you don’t like those players. But what makes the Challenge exciting is when personal relationships clash with competitive goals. By eliminating those competitive goals from the voting process, MTV has drained it of any real intrigue. Continue reading