Posts Tagged ‘rivals’

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 9 Power Rankings

Love story for the ages“She was about to tell me she loves me. Now she’s snoring.” —C.T.

 

“We ran circles around everyone that even attempted to do it… There is not a single person who’s not shaking in their boot.” —Wes

 

There’s a common fallacy in life that is always brilliantly illustrated on the Challenge—namely, the belief that if someone’s personal interests don’t align with your own, he is morally at fault. We saw this two weeks ago, when Frank took great umbrage with Jordan’s resistance to being voted in even though that’s what Frank wanted. It was as if Frank could not recognize that Jordan’s priorities might differ from his own.

On Wednesday, that same thing was on display, though this time it was two teams that were safe from the Jungle going at it. After Marlon/Jordan got voted in against Knight/Preston, thereby guaranteeing spots in the Final for C.T./Wes and Johnny/Frank, the two surviving teams went at it. Initially, it was all innocent trash talk, with Wes pointing out that Johnny nearly fainted after this week’s challenge, and therefore wasn’t much of a threat in the Final. Johnny responded by invoking Wes’ abysmal Final performance in the original Rivals season. Continue reading

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 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

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

“I know I don’t have a rocket scientist as a partner, so this is basically going to be the blind leading the blind.” —Johnny

 

 

“I just want to say: Johnny, you’re the worst person to motivate someone.” —Camila

Spreading the final challenge over two episodes has some obvious logic to it: It allows MTV to continue making them more and more difficult every season, and it led to a nice cliffhanger ending last week, with the shot of the three team’s sleeping on the mountain. The problem, though, is that it meant that last night’s episode was all one challenge. There was no foreshadowing or exposition or storylines being set up.

While I appreciate the leanness of an episode like that—as opposed to the filler included last week—it can diminish some of the payoff of the ending. So when Diem was trying to get C.T. motivated, or when Ty/Emily briefly took the lead, there wasn’t as much resonance as there should have been because the episode lacked any real personal moments in the house (like Abram declaring that he has “always been good at” final challenges before crapping out in Cutthroat, or Landon vowing to do whatever it takes before pushing his partner up a mountain in Fresh Meat II).

The finale began in the middle of a challenge, with TJ Lavin rousing our contestants at 5 AM to begin the second day of the final. Continue reading

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

“That’s one of the dumbest moves I’ve seen in Challenge history…” —TJ Lavin

 

“Robin is actually doing exceptionally well: She hasn’t totally freaked out and she’s not crying yet!” —Mark

 

One of the biggest factors determining whether or not a reality show contestant is well-liked has to be how entitled he or she seems. Players who come into the game acting as if they are somehow owed a pass to the finals come off as spoiled, whereas audiences will root for anyone if they feel he’s earned his keep.

Compare, for example, Camila and Paula in last night’s episode of Battle of the Exes. When C.T./Diem announced their decision to send Dunbar/Paula into the Dome—a puzzling decision that even TJ criticized—Paula took it in stride and didn’t complain, even though it pitted her against her new beau Ty. Dunbar was a little confused, but only because he didn’t understand the logic behind the move. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, Week 6 Power Rankings

Let’s make things interesting: The Power Couple will get $2500… and I will personally give you a pat on the back.” —TJ Lavin

 

Diem: “Wow, I’m excited for this one. The money’s cool..”

C.T.: “The pat on the back is cool!” 

Like Rivals, the most compelling relationship of this season involves C.T., but unlike Rivals—when C.T. and Adam seemed to follow a slow but steady path toward reconciliationBattle of the Exes has not renewed or repaired C.T. and Diem’s relationship. Throughout the season, they’ve been perhaps the most distant couple. They’ve rarely shared any scenes together, and when they have it’s usually been to talk about how they haven’t been talking.

It doesn’t take a degree in psychology to figure out that why: Unlike most of the other couples, they hadn’t seen or spoken in years, and unlike the other relationships in the house, this one was really important to both of them. Since they’ve been mostly polite to each other, and they haven’t lost or won a challenge yet, they haven’t had a lot of screen time; but based on their confessionals and brief interactions (and, of course, knowing C.T.’s history of dealing with anger), they’d always seemed one wrong word from being at each other’s throats. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Exes, Week 1 Power Rankings

“I know she’s a great competitor, but then there’s also the fact that I hate her.” —Ty

 

“We do not talk. We are not Facebook friends. Nothing.” —Diem

 

 

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we’re back!

MTV is back with another installment of The Challenge and this time, fresh off the success of the Rivals format, it’s embracing a similar concept: Battle of the Exes will pair players with partners who they hooked up with/dated/sloppily-made-out-with-while-drunk on previous challenges.

Of course, it should go without saying that I love this season’s format, but I feel the need to stress something: I love this season’s format. There’s the obvious drama factor—always-quotable Paula called this season “drama’s wet dream”*—but this season also addresses a lot of concerns I have about challenge format. First of all, I almost always prefer individual or paired competitions (like The Duel, Fresh Meat, Rivals) to team challenges (The Gauntlet, The Inferno, Cutthroat). They prevent players from skating by and force everyone to strategize. Continue reading