Posts Tagged ‘the Challenge’

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, The Grand Finale

Winners!“I’m always looked at as, like, I don’t know… not that good at shit. I’m not good at challenges. I’m not good at elimination rounds. But I never wanted to let Emily down, so I did the best I could.” —Paula

 

“Third place is not my destiny!” —Emily

 

It may be anticlimactic, but it’s always nice when the team that deserves to win actually wins. And for both the guys and the girls, the winning pair for Rivals II was the team that performed the best throughout the Challenge.

First of all, Emily/Paula were obviously the best female team. They may not have dominated as much as I initially expected—early on I said they might go undefeated in challenges, which obviously didn’t pan out—but they were clearly the alphas on the girls’ side throughout. Even when they did lose, it was a surprise. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 11 Power Rankings

Do they look like winners?“I really want to win this Challenge. I feel like I’m one of the best competitors to ever be on The Challenge, and at the same time I feel like the Dan Marino of The Challenge. One of the best quarterbacks ever, a Hall of Famer—doesn’t have a ring. I don’t want to be Dan Marino. I want to be Tom Brady.” —C.T. 

“I will be shot before I let Camila and Jemmye beat me to that yacht.” —Emily

 

People complain a lot about gimmickry in sports. Of course, what makes something a “gimmick” usually depends on your perspective. Baseball’s second wildcard certainly seems like a gimmick… until you’re a Yankees fan with no other hope of seeing the postseason.

Still, one gimmick I am decidedly against is eliminating players in the middle of a challenge. It seems to me that the whole point of devising these long, elaborate Final Challenges is so the teams have to be good at a lot of different things in order to win. That way, teams that fall behind after one event can make it up in the future. Conversely, teams that build big leads are always in danger of blowing it if they run into something they can’t do.

But eliminating a team after the first leg of a multistage challenge erases these possibilities. If the thing you’re weakest at happens to come first, then you are shit out of luck. This looked to be the case for Cooke/Cara Maria on Wednesday night, when Cara Maria, who had been violently dreading any swimming on the Final Challenge, had to swim her way to the first puzzle. And, indeed, Cooke/Cara Maria were the last team to start the puzzle, but luckily they were able to make up ground on the puzzle itself. Camila/Jemmye were not as lucky—their weakness was puzzles, and their inability to finish the puzzle on “Dream Island” got them eliminated  from the game for good. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 10 Power Rankings

Happier times...“No matter what, people will not be friends after this.” —Paula

 

Diem: “I’m really confused.”

Wes: “That’s an emotional thing.”

Diem: “I’m an emotional person!”

 

I have been watching the Challenge for many, many years—not quite since the beginning, but close. And I’ve watched half a dozen Real World seasons as well. Still, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the entire cast turn to the cameraman, point, and yell, “Go!” the way they did in Wednesday’s episode of Rivals II, after Diem followed C.T. away from the pool.

The confrontation itself was a bit of a letdown—they both just stuck to their guns—but it shows how invested everyone involved in the show—cast, crew, and audience—is in C.T. and Diem. The conflict between the two former lovers was pretty small—C.T. didn’t vote the way Diem would have liked—but it became a kind of Rorschach test for how everyone perceives C.T. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 8 Power Rankings

What a dick“We can only promise each other until the cards run out.” —Frank

 

“I’m the one person that never said a negative thing about this fucking piece of shit.” —Camila

 

Let’s talk about the shadow of the future. For those not familiar with the work of Robert Axelrod, the term basically means that, when two people face the possibility of interacting at some undetermined point in the future, they are more likely to cooperate with each other, even if cheating each other might be more advantageous in the present. In other words, you’re not going to screw someone over if you think you might run into that person again.

And I’m wondering if that affected Frank’s decision to vote in Jonna, a close friend he had promised to protect. His reasoning was that he didn’t have a choice—Camila/Jemmye won immunity, and Cooke/Cara Maria finished last in the challenge. This only left Aneesa/Diem, Paula/Emily, and Jonna/Nany, all teams Johnny/Frank were aligned with. So even though he swore “Jonna’s name will not come out of my mouth”—a promise he technically kept by letting Johnny vote for the team—he voted in his friend. Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 7 Power Rankings

Frank is unhappy...“I always say: All is fair in love, war, and Challenges.” —Johnny

 

“There will be blood.” —Cara Maria

 

 

Frank is ridiculous. That is the conclusion I’ve reached after watching him for two seasons now. He gets so absurdly, unjustifiably upset about such strange things—he’s like the understudy Jerry dated on Seinfeld.

In Wednesday’s episode, he lashed out at Jordan, multiple times, simply because Jordan accused him of campaigning to have him thrown into the Jungle, which is exactly what Frank was doing. But not only did Frank insist that such allegations “could not be more untrue,” he acted like Jordan accused him of violating the sanctity of the Sunday truce or something. And by getting so angry with Jordan—and borderline violent—all he did was make Marlon/Jordan, a strong team, more deadest on going after him.* Continue reading

Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Rivals II, Week 5 Power Rankings

Zach is mad“You want a show? I’ll give you a fucking show!” —Zach

 

“Leroy and his gang of girls are so caught up in burning votes to skate by that they burn themselves. I mean, it’s classic!” —C.T.

 

So that was interesting. I’ve been complaining about the stupid voting structure of Rivals II all season long, but it finally paid off in last night’s episode, thanks to the contestants’ stupidity. I knew I should have trusted MTV—nobody ever lost money betting on the inability of Challenge contestants to strategize.

The seeds were planted early in the episode, as we saw the flourishing love story of Leroy and Theresa. I like Leroy, and frankly, Theresa seems like a real upgrade from Jemmye, who Leroy was doting on for most of last week’s episode, so I was happy for him. Wes, on the other hand, was not happy for him. Wes and Theresa, of course, hooked up back on Fresh Meat II, and Wes didn’t like Leroy going after his “seconds”* or the fact that the did it on the bunk right above him. 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 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

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