“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?
It’s easy to joke about Theresa comparing C.T. and Diem to Romeo and Juliet, but that’s a relationship that obviously IS important in ways that go beyond the show. You can hear that in Diem’s voice when she talks about how important C.T. was to her when she was recovering from cancer the first time. And knowing that she was diagnosed again only makes her interactions with C.T. more loaded. It’s almost uncomfortable to watch the two of them, since it’s like spying on a real couple.
Compare that to C.T.’s relationship with Anastasia, who (understandably) gets mad when she starts to feel like she’s being used. She yells and slaps C.T.* and gets mad, but it’s all very childish. It plays out exactly like 1,000 Challenge relationships have.
*I’ve asked this before, but I’ll repeat it: What the hell is MTV’s fighting rule? Anastasia clearly slapped C.T. in the face multiple times. She also kicked him repeatedly in the behind. I can’t imagine a guy not getting kicked off for that if he did it to another guy, or a girl to a girl. I know that girl-on-guy violence isn’t as bad, but where does it end?!
It would be easy to that C.T. only got involved with Anastasia to make Diem jealous, because he’s still in love with her, but I’m not going to get into amateur psychoanalysis when it comes to C.T. That’s probably part of it, but his feelings for Diem—and hers for him—are probably more complicated than I realize.
As for the rest of this week’s episode, there were no real surprises. The big news was the arrival of Cara Maria as Cooke’s new partner. And, frankly, the montage of disappointment that greeted her was pretty funny. Nobody likes Cara Maria. It’s kind of sad, since the reasons seem very high school-ish. With that said, I kind of get it.
The challenge itself was kind of interesting. In forcing the rivals to get physically close—as in crotch-to-face close—it actually got two guys to give up. Neither Wes nor Preston wanted to be that close to his partner, and since it wasn’t a guy’s elimination, they were quick to forfeit. But joke’s on them: It turns out that a “penalty will be assessed” at the next challenge! Surprisingly, Zach and Trey ended up winning the guy’s heat.
None of the girls quit—since they were up for elimination—but several were pretty terrible at the challenge. Camila/Jemmye, Sarah/Trishelle, and Jessica/Anastasia were locked in an epic battle of incompetence, all trying to avoid finishing last, and thus being thrown into the Jungle automatically. Of course it was the rookies who ended up failing the worst, and so Jessica/Anastasia would face elimination. (It should surprise nobody that Emily/Paula won.)
And like I predicted last week, the vote for the Jungle was completely lacking in drama—MTV spent about two minutes on it. Since the guys aren’t competing against the girls, they have no incentive to send to a strong team into the Jungle. They’d rather just vote in teams that aren’t likely to be around long enough to return the favor.
Having said all that, somehow Cooke/Cara Maria got voted in, largely based on the “you just got here” logic. Once the guys realize—as C.T. already recognizes—the foolishness of that logic, it won’t happen again. Cooke/Cara Maria are strong enough that they easily won the Jungle, sending the rookie team home.
Now be good or you’ll get a ranking:
Jennifer gave a really nice pep talk before the Jungle. Shades of Coach Taylor.
14) Knight/Preston (-2): Facing a disadvantage after Preston’s forfeit, this pair is especially vulnerable.
13) Camila/Jemmye (-2): Jemmye already wants to kill Camila. We’re not even a week in.
12) Marlon/Jordan (+2): Strong showing from these two, but they’re still rookies.
11) Cooke/Cara Maria (+4): Cara Maria, despite her unpopularity, is a solid player, and the Jungle win bodes well, but they have few allies.
10) Leroy/Ty (-2): Not a great performance in the challenge. But note Leroy’s shrewd move of wasting his vote on a team not heading for the Jungle. He knows not to make enemies.
9) Sarah/Trishelle (-4): Just an abysmal challenge performance, and Trishelle already has C.T. mad at her.
8) Derek/Robb (+2): Did these two do anything this week? I don’t know, but they move up by default.
7) Jasmine/Theresa (+2): Theresa seems to have a lot of friends. They might stay out of the Jungle for a while.
6) Johnny/Frank (-2): Man, Frank is annoying. He’s already picking fights with C.T. and crying about it to his partner,
5) Jonna/Nany (+2): They got off to a really good start in the challenge, but stumbled in the second half.
4) C.T./Wes (-2): C.T. is making enemies and Wes is quitting and getting penalties. Not a strong start for what should be a strong team.
3) Aneesa/Diem (—): They really gave the #1 team a run for its money this week.
2) Trey/Zach (+4): They won a challenge! Good for them!
1) Emily/Paula (—): I was really hoping the new player would be Laurel, just so there was some drama on the girls side this season. Now these two might go undefeated.