Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

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.

Continue reading

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?

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

NCAA Tournament Preview: Jim Nantz calls your champion!

Filling out a bracket? I’m not 12 anymore.

Trying to predict the bracket? I did that before it was cool.

So how to fill the predictive void created when I watched less college basketball than ever before? Why, by trying to predict what terrible line Jim Nantz is going to use to announce a national champion!

Nantz’s line always becomes a topic of conversation during the championship game, but I’m diving in early. With a detailed knowledge of his punning tendencies and affection for history, I have come up with Nantz’s line in case any of the 64 remaining teams in the NCAA Tournament win their next six games.

You’re welcome.

Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, The Grand Finale

Stupid San Diego“Having Sam as part of a team is like having 140 pounds of fat stuck to your side. It’s a tumor. It sucks.” —Frank

 

“I would hate to hand over $250,000 to a bunch of bullies.” —Sarah

 

 

Well, our long national nightmare of a Challenge season ended last night and, without spoiling too much, I must say the ending was incredibly fitting for this season.

Even last night’s final challenge was kind of a letdown. It wasn’t bad, so to speak, but I’ve gotten accustomed to MTV outdoing itself with every new final challenge. Last night’s was difficult, but it seemed to be mostly a lot of running. There was no standout moment—nobody had to eat a boar’s head, or carry a teammate on his back, or puke uncontrollably until they were Medevac-ed.

Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 11 Power Rankings

Team San Diego

“Everyone’s puking. I’ve never seen so many people go to the medic in my life.” —Zach

 

“I have the endurance of a young, virgin colt.” —Chet

 

As is the custom for the penultimate episode of the Challenge, MTV relocated somewhere even more remote in last night’s episode, in this case Namibia. The contestants always get really excited when they find out where they are going, which makes sense, but from a viewer’s perspective, it’s like, Eh, one foreign country’s the same as the next.

On the other hand, the location of the final challenge always shapes its look, and Namibia seems to mean deserts. Last night’s challenge, though, was pretty basic, as they have generally been all season long: Called “Sling Shot,” the team’s were split in pairs, where one player rode a four-wheel ATV that pulled the other along a ramp and shot them into the water. Once in the water, that player had to swim to a bell and back. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 10 Power Rankings

Robb and Marie

“Realistically, I think Brooklyn is a strong team. Do I want to test that theory? Hell no.” —Devyn

 

“People in the house may think it’s me protecting Jonna. And, actually, that’s what it is.” —Zach

 

 

MTV is really drawing out this nadir of a Challenge. Normally, we’d be at the final challenge by now, ten weeks in, but there’s at least one more episode left, and possibly two. Throw in the two off weeks, for Halloween AND Thanksgiving, and this season will have been on for over three months.

And honestly, I’m sick of it. I can’t even figure out what they’re fighting about anymore. After last week’s hissy fit from Dustin about Trishelle’s refusal to volunteer for the Arena, he backed off of his threat to go home in a scene that took about five seconds. So last week’s big “cliffhanger” amounted to nothing. Instead, last night’s episode was devoted to Marie and Robb screaming about how the rest of the teams were all “corny” and “sleazes.” Continue reading

The Sports Revolution: And-One Penalties

PI's just like a bench press for Ed.Let me set the scene for you: A quarterback launches a long pass down the sideline toward an emergingly open receiver. The defensive back, sensing what is about to occur, prevents a completion through less than legal means. And yet, even while a flag is being thrown, the receiver makes a tremendous catch anyway. The penalty is declined.

Let me reset the scene for you: After the flag is thrown and the catch is made, our referee announces the penalty while his assistants march off additional yardage. How much exactly? Why, the amount gained on the play, to be precise.

That’s right: Football needs its and-one. A catch made in spite of pass interference shouldn’t render the interference irrelevant. The same penalty should be meted out regardless of the completion of the pass, and thus a 20-yard pass despite PI should become a 40-yard gain.

Pierre has argued this point before, in regards to that officiating shambles of an indoor winter sport. While watching my beloved Ligue canadienne de football this autumn, it has struck me that North American football does an even more piteous job acknowledging degree of difficulty than its indoor companion. Penalties that do not alter the final result of a play are simply declined—overlooked, ignored, erased from the annals of the postgame almanacs.

Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 9 Power Rankings

“A woman would at least be quiet and listen to her men.” —Alton

 

“There’s a fight in every corner of the house… Where am I?” —Chet

MTV’s fighting policy is weird. There’s zero tolerance for throwing punches, but apparently you get unlimited pushes and shoves, even when someone gets shoved to the ground for no real reason, like Sam was in last night’s episode.

I imagine MTV’s thinking is much like the NHL’s: They don’t want to be seen as condoning fights, but eliminating them completely would take something away from the game. Last night’s episode, in which everyone seemed to be fighting with everyone, showed just how fights and the game are interconnected. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons, Week 8 Power Rankings

“I didn’t do anything wrong in this game. Not one thing!” —Frank

 

 

“I love watching San Diego fight. It’s sort of like a television show. It’s great.” —Trishelle

 

 

 

Last night’s episode picked up where last week’s left off: With San Diego in disarray and Frank as the villain. Zach specifically wanted nothing to do with Frank, while Frank somehow insisted that he did nothing wrong in backing out of the Arena at the last minute.

Luckily for San Diego, last night’s challenge, “Hunger Games,” didn’t really require much in the way of communication: Set up like a 1970s game show (so that MTV could capitalize on the Jennifer Lawrence movie AND Richard Dawson’s popularity), it was basically an eating contest. TJ Lavin would announce a food item, the teams would wager on how much of it they could eat in four minutes, and whomever wagered the highest had to actually do it. Continue reading