Saturday, August 12, 2017

The Inferno Episode 4: Hollyday

Not much to say about this episode. Once again: I was not Team Katie at this time, and her hesitation at competing in the mission did not make me a fan. I probably figured, "Damn, at least Sarah didn't balk once. I mean, she didn't do Red Barron, but Road Rules had a three-person advantage, and Cara and Darrell sat out as well." And I really had enough of Trishelle at this point. Also Julie, but she wouldn't get her dismissal for another eight weeks, much to my chagrin.

Oh, and I really, really, REALLY regret likening Timmy and Holly to Judd Winick and Pam Ling from RW: San Francisco. While Timmy is more of an alpha guy than Judd, Pam had NEVER pissed me off the way Holly did in The Inferno. But I wouldn't start getting mad at her for a while longer.

Airdate: February 16, 2004
Recap Published: February 22, 2004

Meet Holly. Holly is Road Rules’ leader. Holly can talk Katie into performing. But can Holly take on Trishelle in the Inferno and live another day?
Previously on The Inferno: Mike had the absolute gall to dance with another woman in front of Trishelle, who got bitched out by Coral. Road Rules won Wreck 'n Roll, upping their bank to $20,000. Trishelle was shocked when Mike and Coral led an effort to nominate her into the Inferno. RR was stunned when Real World chose designated team leader Holly for the Inferno over perennial scrub Katie. Trishelle made her peace with Mike, but was still furious with Coral.

We open with Holly and Kendal on the hammock, joking about how Holly wants to go back to Colorado with a tan. Kendal interviews that Holly is more scared of the Inferno than she lets on. “As far as I’m concerned, she’s like She-Ra,” Kendal continues. “She can do anything. She’s like the most powerful woman in the world. So I think Trishelle should be scared.”

Inside the Villa, Julie and Trishelle have a similar conversation. The key difference? My skin doesn’t crawl when I watch Holly and Kendal. Julie says that she should have been more vocal at the meeting, and that it would be an enormous defeat if Trishelle lost. The thing about RW is that there’s no de facto alpha female. I don’t get scared by Trishelle or Leah, Coral is 80 percent mouth, Mallory’s soccer skills don’t translate to the missions, and Julie is borderline psychotic. I’m beginning to see why the genders are alternated. Julie interviews that Trishelle shouldn’t be going to the Inferno. She continues, “The fact that certain members of our team have that much influence in meetings is a little bit worrisome.” She tells Trishelle that she doesn’t want “Coral garbage” since Coral has problems with them. Trishelle is pissed that Coral manipulated the votes. Julie continues, saying that everybody who had a problem with Coral voted fairly. Yes, this team is a third-world nation, and Coral is the dictator. Shut up, Julie. Trishelle: “Last season, I didn’t say anything. And [bleep] that. I’m not going to let her walk over me and intimidate the [bleep] out of me.” I guess she forgot about stinking so badly that last season everybody but Mike voted her into the Gauntlet. Twice! Julie concludes that Coral will control the meetings unless she or Trishelle stops it.

Mission site. A giant wall dangles from a crane. Mike expositions that there is another mission before the Inferno, and the players have a chance to win the Aztec Lifesaver. Dave welcomes everybody to Climbing Wall. Yeah, that’s the name of the mission. The objective: climb the wall and secure the sponsor flag on the top. The team with the best average time wins $10,000 for their account. Should a player fall off the wall or drop the flag, that person gets the slowest time logged, plus a two-minute penalty. The fastest players on each side get the Lifesaver. Mike interviews that Holly and Trishelle are going to the Inferno unless they win the Lifesaver. It’s interesting that Mike’s hair is all messed up. My theory is that since he’s about to “see” Kendal, he wants to look like Blair, who she dated for a while.

The wall slowly spins around as Shane and Syrus get ready. They climb up, using the various ledges and nooks. As Syrus breathes heavily, Shane gets to the top first, but he takes his time putting the flag up. Shane finishes at 52 seconds, while Syrus comes in at 1:08.

Holly interviews that if she were the fastest person up the wall, it would change the Inferno. Her opponent is CT. Cut to Shane wearing a “MILF” t-shirt. Coming from a gay guy, I have no idea what that means. Holly gets up the wall quickly, but CT beats her, getting a 0:46 time to her 1:20.

Jeremy vs. Julie. He makes good time, but she slips. Unable to hang on, Julie lets go for the disqualification. Ha! If loving her failures is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. Meanwhile, Jeremy finishes at 1:25. Julie interviews that she was cocky going up, and that she’s an idiot. I can’t argue with that.

Veronica vs. Leah. Veronica gets up the wall as Leah slips and hangs on to a ledge. As Veronica finishes, Leah slips for the DQ. Veronica’s time: 1:33. Mike tells Leah she did well, but she doesn’t want to hear it.

Christena vs. Mallory. Christena slips twice, while Mallory slips and falls for the DQ. Christena follows suit, getting a DQ as well. Christena gripes that everything she tried didn’t work. Mallory thinks the mission sucks. Christena can’t believe Holly did it so fast.

Shot of the wall. Shot of Katie. After a dramatic pause, she announces that she won’t climb the wall. Shane asks why she came in the first place. She replies that she didn’t think it would be this hard. “Katie sees the climbing wall and she’s frightened,” Shane interviews. “She doesn’t like heights. She doesn’t like physical activity. If it doesn’t involve smoking or drinking, she doesn’t want to do it.” Katie says that ice cream eating and swimming pools don’t scare her. Maybe she would’ve been equipped if she hadn’t bitched her way out of last season. She interviews about not feeling confident when the team doubts her. You know what inspires confidence? Not drama queening about the stupid mission.

Back from commercials, Holly gets in Katie’s face, asking how she can believe in somebody that doesn’t want to be here. Holly tells Katie that she must prove herself. Katie says she wasn’t expecting a wall. Holly knows she can do it. Katie promises to try, but she isn’t expecting to do well. Holly interviews, “In terms of being the positive one and encouraging every single player on our team, I definitely have it in me to step up and be the leader.” Darrell playfully taps Katie on her helmet.

Katie vs. Coral. Holly shouts encouraging words. Veronica crosses her arms, a sour look pasted on her face. Katie struggles, while Coral falls for the DQ. Katie gamely keeps going, jumping to reach a ledge, but she falls as well. Her teammates clap and cheer her effort. “There’s a lit cigarette down here for you!” Christena shouts. Nice incentive. Holly tells Katie that she made it further than most people, and that she impressed her teammates. Cut to the jaw-dropping sight of Katie getting hugs from the others. Oh, sure… RR is all smiles now. Last season, it was all Adam and his cadre could do to keep from throwing Sarah down the stairs.

More races. David beats Kendal, finishing at 0:53 to her 1:35. Abram beats Mike to the top. “Hey, Mike!” he shouts while clipping his flag in place. “Who’s the big winner?” Heh… nice payback from their Gauntlet. Abram finishes at 1:00, Mike at 1:06. Leah reminds us that Trishelle will go to the Inferno unless she wins the Lifesaver. As Darrell goes up the wall, Trishelle grabs a ledge, but slips for the DQ. Ha! Darrell finishes at 2:27. I’m guessing that he bitched about the heights, but the interview was cut out. Timmy goes solo, scorching up the wall at 0:37.

Dave announces the average times. RW finished at 2:54, and RR finished with 1:57. Dave hands the cardboard check to RR, as they go up to $30,000 to RW’s $10,000. Dave also awards Aztec Lifesavers to CT and Timmy for their times, saying that they can save their teammates and sacrifice themselves. I’m confused… I thought that the Inferno was a same-sex affair. Wouldn’t the teams just reconvene to pick another person, like RW did with Syrus? Dave tells both teams that he’ll see them at nightfall.

Villa. Abram and Holly chat on the couch, thinking their team is solid. But Holly is worried about the Inferno. “It is a very daunting place,” she interviews. “You can’t help but wonder what it is you’re going to be doing, what if there’s an unforeseen variable and you lose, and you’re done.”

RW area. Coral asks Trishelle if she’s scared, or if she’s mad for going into the Inferno. Trishelle is mad, but she doesn’t want to talk about it. She interviews that her team was unsupportive, and the vote was manipulative. Coral brings up the club fiasco once again. “She wants to yell at me for going to the Inferno,” she interviews, “she wants to blame it on me? Whatever. I can take it.” Trishelle blathers about how votes were changed once Coral spoke up. Unless the editors misled us, I’m sure Mike got the ball rolling with that. But I guess Trishelle can’t bring herself to scream at Mike. Coral says that she believed in what she had to say. Trishelle accuses her of talking over everybody else. As Coral starts to rebut, Julie talks over her, causing her to snap. Trishelle looks at the camera, all “See what I have to deal with? Gawd!”

Back from commercials, Coral is still rolling. “It’s not my fault you’re going to the Inferno!” she tells Trishelle. “They picked you, not me!” Actually, “they” should be a “we.” Trishelle once again maintains that it’s all Coral’s fault. They go back and forth until Syrus breaks them up, telling Coral that Trishelle has to get ready. Coral leaves, muttering “copout” as she passes Mike. “I think I got what I was feeling across,” Trishelle interviews. “I’m not going to put up with your [B.S.], basically. I’m calling you out. It’s easier for other people to do the same thing.” Way to delude yourself, Trishelle.

As the bile in my stomach rages, Julie tells Mike that Trishelle stood up to Coral. Say what? Trishelle decides that Coral is to blame, and that’s stepping up? I saw paper ballots last week. I’m guessing that it wasn’t an open vote, where minds could be changed in a minute. And even if it was, Mike started bringing Trishelle’s name up. Not Coral. I feel that Coral can be shut down, but Julie’s celebrating like Trishelle did it. I wish that Coral had gone back to the room, grabbed their heads, and knocked them together. Julie and Trishelle totally deserve each other. If they get locked into a room with Adam, Katie and Puck for eternity, I wouldn’t be happier.

Inferno site. David: “I see five or six bowls line up full of really hot chilies. Based on looking at it, you can see it’s not a good time.” Dave welcomes everybody to Chili Counter. The object: eat as many chilies as possible within one hour. The winner stays, and the loser goes home. Dave asks CT if he’ll save Trishelle. CT declares that she will go, because she is confident and she’s from Louisiana. Is that the state with the hottest peppers? Remind me to ask Blair or Theo. Dave poses the same question to Timmy. He can’t say anything, and Holly has to speak for him, declaring her intention to go. Anybody else think Timmy still carries a torch for Holly? They would be a great couple… totally the Judd and Pam of RR. Shane interviews that Holly wants to go to the Inferno. Mallory figures that if Trishelle wins, RR will lose their best female competitor.

Inferno time. Dave bangs a gong to get things going. Trishelle munches on a larger pepper, while Holly pops a small one into her mouth. Trishelle holds her nose, obviously feeling the heat. CT tells her to “take a little sip of milk, have a little crackah, take your time.” It’s the accent that makes it funny. Trishelle interviews that she’s nibbling on one pepper, while Holly already has two down. Holly thinks she’s going to be sick. Trishelle shakes her head as she drinks.

Time remaining: 31:00. Holly has a 5-2 lead. She scarfs down another pepper, while Trishelle takes her time. Kendal interviews that Holly is confident.

Time remaining: 18:00. Holly is up 7-3, but she wishes time would go faster. Trishelle eats, wiping sweat from her brow. CT interviews that she looks ready to quit. Julie grabs her by the shoulders, giving her a pep talk. I don’t want to say what’s going on in my mind at that moment. CT yells that Holly isn’t as strong as Trishelle, prompting her to tell him to be nice. Coral: “EAT THE [bleeping] PEPPERS!” Who says she isn’t a team player? Holly complains that parts of her body are on fire. Wait until tonight, Holly. Trishelle is still feeling the heat.

Dave announces the five-minute warning. Julie cranks it up a notch, cheering on Trishelle. Mike joins in. Now the whole team chants her name, but she’s too busy sweating. The editors put things in slo-mo, inserting effects that make Trishelle look even more damaged. The team cheers in slo-mo. Voiceover: “There are decisive moments in all of our lives.” First of all, who the hell are you? Second, what is that supposed to mean? Maybe this is the moment when Trishelle decides to hang with the likes of Vanilla Ice and Tammy Faye Messner.

Dave bangs the gong. Game over. Holly wins, 9-4. Needless to say, I am a happy, happy camper. As RW stares in disbelief at a two-person deficit, RR celebrates Holly’s victory. Trishelle gets water bottles applied to her face. Holly says she’s on fire all over her body. Trishelle interviews that she’s disappointed in letting her team down, but she couldn’t make up the deficit.

Denouement. Dave congratulates Holly for her win and sends Trishelle packing. Leah gives Trishelle a hug. CT interviews that RW need to step up, and quickly.

Villa. Several RR members pamper Holly, who is lying down. Not for much longer, if those chilies kick in soon. “She’s like our team leader,” Christena interviews, “and we needed her to come back.”
Elsewhere, Mike tells Trishelle that he wanted her to win. He interviews that his relationship with her is like a roller coaster. Must be because throwing up is heavily involved. “As of right now, we’re on the ups,” he interviews. “We’re all good.” Trishelle interviews that it’s sad to go and she tried her best. As always, Coral has the last word. “Trishelle causes her own drama and she brought it on herself,” she voiceovers. “She didn’t want it that bad, and it wasn’t worth it for her. That means she needs to go back to L.A.” Unlike two weeks ago with Ace, Coral’s meanness coincides with my feelings. Here’s hoping she rids us of Julie in four weeks. Trishelle gets on the short boat, as Katie and Leah say their farewells from the dock.

Next week: With Trishelle gone, Mike’s free to wrestle and flirt with Kendal. Yes, Mike is on the prowl again. Long live Mizdal! Coral complains that, “This losing crap just ain’t cracking.” Dave welcomes everybody to Disco Domino Duel. Bad wigs, bad costumes, and giant dominoes. I have no idea.

That was the end of Trishelle as far as BMP shows were concerned . . . or at least that was what I figured. And then she showed up on the second edition of Battle Of The Sexes in 2012, on a team made up of housemates from the two Las Vegas-based seasons, alongside Alton, Dustin and Nany. To my shock, Alton went out along with Nany near the end of the season. In the following episode, Trishelle & Dustin defeated Marie & Robb from RW: St. Thomas to stay in the game. In the end, Trishelle & Dustin finished in second place, splitting $50,000. That was not a good season, since the rookie team representing the not-so-great San Diego season won, and Frank and Zach worked out their frustrations on Sam, who really deserved better. The team from RW: Brooklyn finished in third because the Challenge Gods -- if they truly exist -- were content to sticking it to Sarah Rice, giving her beta males in Chet and JD, and Devyn Simone, who did make for awesome television. Seriously, Devyn was the closest we'd get to Coral and Melissa back then.

Trishelle did not go out on that high. Instead, she followed up her only completed season with Rivals II, teamed with Sarah. Remember what I said about her and underwhelming teammates? Anyway, Trishelle got into it with Aneesa, and Trishelle wound up bailing on the game, never to return because host TJ Lavin HATES quitters. And Sarah was booted from her second Challenge in three seasons thanks to a partner being an asshole (fat fuck Vinny pulled Mandi's top off in Battle Of The Exes). Like I said: Challenge Gods did not like Sarah.

I leave you with what I would like Trishelle's ultimate legacy to be: popping up in the video for William Hung's cover of "She Bangs," fighting another woman over him. Yes, this really happened. Well, in a video, but you know what I mean. Also, when confirming Trishelle's appearance, I had it on mute. Because I may hate myself, but I don't hate myself that much.

Saturday, August 05, 2017

The Inferno Episode 3: Enter the Wiznitch

I'm going to start by saying that this episode might have the best mission in the history of the Challenge. I mean, I will badmouth the Infernos up and down, but Wreck 'n Roll looked awesome to play, and it was awesome to watch. In fact, that got reincarnated as a"Pit" in Battle Of The Bloodlines, where Mike Boise defeated Stephen Buell. This was a bit dramatic . . . basically, Cara Maria gave Stephen a "handful" on the bus, and she was going to keep her boyfriend Abram (Mike's brother; all-around psycho) out of the loop. And then Abram and Mike showed up, and Johnny -- being the small-dicked pot-stirrer that he is -- dropped a dime on Cara Maria. Abram got into it revving Mike up, to the point where he got a nosebleed, seemingly from the anticipation. It's stuff like that that has led me to theorize that the Bozo From Bozeman has been murdering hobos and drifters throughout the state of Montana for years.

The title? Well, The Inferno was running around the same time as the second season of The Surreal Life was wrapping up, with Trishelle as one of the cast members. One of the episodes centered around the has-beens and never-weres putting on a play for children, and Trishelle played "The Wiznitch." Because 2004, that's why. As much as I have disliked Trishelle over the years, I will say this: NOBODY deserves to be trashed by the likes of Sally Jesse Raphael the way Trishelle was in the finale. I attended a taping Sally Jesse's show. Afterward, the audience got served pizza before the next episode. I dug in, ate a slice, and got the fuck out of there.

Oh, and we get to an ongoing theme: "Katie Is Weak, And She Will Destroy Road Rules From Within." The funny thing is that Mike and Coral saw how RR treated Sarah in The Gauntlet, and they still won. Hell, they probably would have triumphed even if Coral didn't get bit by the spider.

Airdate:February 9, 2004 (two days before my essay on the season premiere got posted)
Recap Published: February 15, 2004

Think your last breakup was messy? Trishelle comes after Mike after he has the nerve to dance with another woman, and gets slapped for her actions. Meanwhile, the kids live like rock stars for a few minutes.
In case anybody was wondering, I did not write about the Fantasy Challenge. Basically, it’s the same set of rules as last season, with 10 points going to the Aztec Lifesaver winner. Going into this episode, I had my team (Team name: “In Brightest Day…”) picked out: Coral, Mike, Julie, Kendal, Veronica and Katie. But after seeing the commercials, I substituted Trishelle for Veronica. Would I reap the benefits? Let’s find out.

Previously on The Inferno: The players arrived in Acapulco, and got the lowdown from new host Dave Mirra: each mission is worth $10,000, and the final mission pays out $150,000. Road Rules won Grope the Rope, while Real World triumphed in Birdfeeder. Syrus bailed out of a date in the Inferno by winning the Aztec Lifesaver, and he sent Ace in his place. Sadly, Ace lasted all of eleven seconds against Jeremy in Bug Helmet, as he became the biggest joke in BMP history… at least until David Broom got busted for patronizing a prostitute. Damn, and he had been so good lately. Insert your own “Come On Be My Baby Tonight” joke here.

After the credits (Yellowcard, “Miles Apart,” underwhelming action), we hit the Villa, where Leah, Julie and Trishelle talk about hot guys. Leah goes with Darrell, while Trishelle likes CT. Leah always likes Mike. Trishelle reminds us that she went out with Mike during The Gauntlet, and they broke up when they got home. Oddly, she’s wearing a red Miz shirt. She tells the other girls that she dated him for his personality, not his looks. Have I mentioned that I hate her? “I didn’t break up with Mike because I didn’t care about him,” she interviews. “I’m really bad with relationships. I’m really not datable. I’m very hard to tame.”

Cut to Julie, with Mike and Darrell. Mike tells Julie about the day he and Trishelle broke up. Apparently, she had made out with five other guys in front of him. Julie laughs as Darrell counts it up. Mike interviews that Trishelle doesn’t know how to have a boyfriend, and she thinks the world revolves around her. “I can be her friend,” he adds, “but I can never have a relationship with her.”

Nightclub. Lots of dancing: Coral with CT, Mike with Christena, Leah backing into Darrell. Julie’s spastically dances by herself, which suits me fine. Cut back to Mike and Christena. It looks innocent by BMP standards. Trishelle looks pissed in every possible way. “I don’t necessarily like to see my ex-boyfriend hook up with other people in front of my face,” she interviews. It hurts my feelings.”

Trishelle yells at Mike. Since the party’s at full blast, the editors insert subtitles. Trishelle calls Mike an ass and bitches him out, but he walks away. “I’m gonna kick your ass!” she shouts. “[Bleep] you!” Mike doesn’t understand how her mind works. He adds, “Drama-filled night, once again, here we go.”

Coral reads Trishelle the riot act about her hurting Mike. I don’t know if its Coral concerned about her friend, or just wanting to bust on Trishelle. Either way works great for me. Cut to Mike looking on, and Abram dancing like a total spaz. Perhaps he should hook up with Julie. Wait, I take that back. More arguing. Trishelle insists she’s not serious. Coral tells her to chill out. Trishelle gets in Coral’s face, refusing to chill. I know Coral’s bark is probably worse than her bite, but Trishelle isn’t being smart here. Coral walks away, and Trishelle threatens to beat her ass. Jeremy tries to put a hand on Trishelle, and barely avoids her swipe. “[She] wants to beat us up, which I didn’t like,” Coral interviews. “I don’t really like when people talk crazy to me. The editors waste Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love” on Trishelle yelling, asking Mike what the problem is. Mike won’t talk to her, and walks away.

Night becomes day, and we got a new mission. Dave welcomes everybody to Wreck ‘n Roll. The mission: “decorate” identical hotel rooms by wrecking them like rock stars. Of course, everybody loves this mission, especially Abram. Dave introduces Yellowcard, which makes Julie really happy. The band will give a guy and a girl on each side a new guitar. As they play a song, both teams must use the guitars and their strength to smash everything. The ensuing rubble must then get shoved into three crates given to each team. Abram basically repeats everything Dave said in an interview, adding that the crates have eight-inch holes. In other words, stuff has to be broken down before it’s shoved into a crate. Dave adds that the team with the most debris by weight wins $10,000 for their bank account. Julie does another spastic dance.

Mike and Julie get their guitars. Julie has this crazy look in her eyes. I start fearing for the lives of her teammates. RR discusses strategy, as Christena gets a guitar. Holly recommends Abram for guitar-wielding duty. Darrell interviews that Abram is already strong, and the weakest male player – Jeremy – should get it. Interesting… Mike and Julie are the most aggressive people on RW, while Christena and Jeremy strike me as even-tempered. “I’m going nuts!” Jeremy shouts at the camera, Miz-style. “I’m amped! I’m charged! I’M GONNA BREAK EVERYTHING!” Shut up. You’re on the damn show already, so dial it down a few notches.

Back from commercials, Yellowcard starts playing “Way Away,” and both sides start grabbing stuff and throwing it down. “It feels so [bleeping] good to just pick that thing up and smash it on the ground,” Abram interviews. “It’s great. Loving this mission.” Timmy dumps a plant into a crate. RW has 39.0 lbs of debris, while RR has 46.5. Christena slowly hacks away at a bureau with her guitar. Katie interviews that she hasn’t been performing well, and she’s trying to concentrate. Jeremy starts wailing on drawers.

Over at the RW room, Mike does a 360 with his axe, chopping away. This display of lumberjacking would make Sean proud. One guy bashes a chair. Mike obliterates the drawers. More stuffing into crates, and Timmy still working plant detail. RW 76.0, RR 79.5. Timmy interviews that they’re doing great working as a team.

Jeremy busts a television with his guitar, and then stands in awe. Abram joins him, using a chair to deal his blows. Jeremy: “You have the opportunity to take a brand new guitar and smash it straight through a brand new television. I mean, this is a guy’s freakin’ dream.” For a record, I have two dreams: employment and doing commentary on a VH1 show. I can handle I Love the 90s. Abram shatters his chair, and Darrell finishes off the TV. Julie hacks away weakly with her guitar. Christena and Jeremy team up. More dumping. RW 115.5, RR 111.0.

Jeremy hacks into a table, while Holly carries debris away. Julie bangs some more. Mike grabs a mirror, throws it to the ground, and smashes it. First of all, he’s just guaranteed himself seven Challenges of bad luck. Second, the mirror probably weighs a few pounds. Third, he turns the shards into little jagged shards. He voiceovers that he’s beating stuff in time with the music. In other words, he’s having way too much fun with this mission. Julie hacks away. Darrell breaks stuff. RW 160.0, RR 169.5. Jeremy bashes a piece of a guitar. Julie yells at her teammates. Dumping. RW 236.5, RR 239.0. Christena throws her guitar on the ground. Julie is clearly wiped out, but still hacking. Abram interviews that every bit counts.

Syrus drags out the decimated drawers. The singer does a backflip off a speaker. Julie screams that the song is almost over. Christena breaks her guitar, obviously out of editing sequence. One of the RW guys shakes his foot out of a broken TV. More bashing. And finally, the airhorn sounds, signaling the mission’s end. In terms of watching, I think Wreck ‘n Roll was one of the best missions ever. Both teams come down from their respective highs. “Dude, that was the best experience of my life!” Julie gushes. “I can die a happy woman. Now I lived my dream fantasy!” Darrell interviews that he’s not feeling good, and he hopes everything will be fine.

Dave reads off the results: RR brought in 290 lbs, while RW got 266. He awards the cardboard check to RR, which Timmy busts over his knee and throws to the ground. That’s not gonna make the sponsor happy. Veronica updates that RR is up 2-1 on RW, and they’re sitting comfortably. Dave tells the teams that they must decide which two women are to be nominated for the Inferno. Jeremy shows off the check and his guitar.

RR meeting. Katie immediately offers herself up for nomination, since she stunk up the first two missions. Kendal interviews, commending Katie for volunteering. Holly also considers putting her name out. She is wearing a bandage under her eye; in her recap, she revealed that Shane took a victory swing at some shutters, and she nearly lost an eye. Holly figures that she can’t be beat if she goes into the Inferno. Darrell: “Holly, Holly, Holly, what is you doing? You’re too valuable for us. If we lose Holly, we’re gonna be in trouble.” Apparently, Darrell will love anybody on his team who isn’t Sarah. The team confirms the nominations of Holly and Katie.

RW meeting. Julie decides to vote on the times from the first mission, going with Mallory (disqualified) and Leah (slowest time). Mallory interviews that she knew she’d be on the chopping block. Trishelle agrees, adding that she can’t vote for herself, since she had the best time in Grope the Rope. She interviews, “I am thinking that there is no chance in hell that I’m going to get nominated for the Inferno. That’s not even an option to me.” David goes with Leah and Mallory. Leah interviews that she expects the nomination.

Now it is Mike’s turn. He votes for Leah for her slow time… and then Trishelle, who had told him, Coral and Mallory that she was going to beat their asses. “As a team, no one should get into fights with each other,” he says. “No one should be getting into any kind of drama.” I’m sorry, Mike… is this your first reality show? Trishelle gripes over Mike’s reasoning. “He felt that I was threatening the team,” she laughs. “I’m a huge threat, I guess.”

Mallory votes for Leah and Trishelle, as does Coral. She interviews that Trishelle brought the drama on herself. “If this is going to be a factor in your three votes every team,” she snipes, “you [bleeping] send me right now, because that’s not going to make me do this for our team.” Mike and Coral proceed to gang up on Trishelle. “That’s not cool saying you’re going to beat people up,” Coral chides. “That’s never cool.” I know… she’s going to come off as a hypocrite when she tells Julie that she beats bitches up. Seriously, I don’t care. Trishelle: “Coral is just so freakin’ manipulative. She does not want me because I am competition to her.” Yeah, because Coral is so afraid of Trishelle. Shut up. Syrus votes for Trishelle and Leah. CT reads off the totals, Trishelle has four votes, and Leah has six. She interviews that she’s pissed at Mike.

Trishelle bitches to Syrus about the vote. Being a man of peace, Syrus tries to calm her down, telling her not to get emotional, lest she get thrown to the wolves. She sighs, asking about her incentive. Syrus starts to say something, but she doesn’t want to hear it. “I’m on the most selfish team that I’ve ever been on in my entire life,” Trishelle interviews, “and I don’t intend on letting anyone walk all over me.” To review: she does some sketchy stuff to her peers, and acts surprised when she’s called on it. Suddenly, her being friends with Julie makes more sense than ever, since they can’t see that what goes around comes around.

Villa. Trishelle asks Mike if they’re on the same team. “You think?” Mike responds. “We’re wearing red, aren’t we?” Actually, he’s got his black Miz shirt, but I get his point. He brings up the threatening of teammates, telling her that she should have apologized. He interviews that she had done so, the vote might have been different. Trishelle doesn’t believe this. “If you’re going to vote for people on a personal note,” she interviews, “keep your reason to yourself. I do not think that’s being a team player. And it more hurt my feelings as a friend.” She tells Mike that she has a problem with him kissing other people. Mike rightfully throws that back in her face. I imagine Mike watches The Surreal Life, setting up his own drinking game with Trishelle in the center of it, and passing out before Vanilla Ice throws one of his hissy fits. He tells her that he was sorry to have voted her in, but all she had to do was explain her actions. As he says this, the editors bring in some music, which I instantly recognize from the song played during Coral’s flashback montage last season. Even though Coral can be a rampaging bitch, I sympathized with her back then. Trishelle? Not so much. She wipes her eyes before hugging Mike. “I had way too much pride,” she interviews, “and I didn’t want to admit any faults. When you really care about somebody, you have to put that aside. I guess I’m learning that now.”

 Dave announces the nominations: Leah and Trishelle from RW, and Holly and Katie from RR. Timmy thinks that RW has “more grudges, more he said/she said.” Julie interviews that RR has a good strategy of sending in the strongest and weakest players. Dave tells the teams to make their picks.

RW meeting. Coral doesn’t want to vote based on how RR will vote. She wants to ensure that the RW representative will stay by picking Katie. Trishelle wants to vote for Holly, since it would be better to get rid of her. Over at RR, Katie wants a weaker player, since she’s 99 percent certain that she’ll get picked. She interviews that Trishelle has a lot of pride.

Back at RW, Mike tells the team that Holly would kick RW ass in every mission. He figures that voting Katie would be easy. But, according to Mike, “we keep Katie in there, she’s gonna mess up every mission for the team. If she messes up every mission, we win every mission.” RW agrees to send Holly to the Inferno. On the other side, Holly suggests Trishelle, since she’s a better player than Leah. Her teammates concur.

Outside, the teams keep their plates hidden from each other before putting them up for display. You’ll be happy to know that the names are spelled correctly this time. Both teams hug and act cordial, but Timmy looks nervous. “There’s a huge fear in losing Holly,” he interviews. “I don’t want her to leave. She’s a strong female, possibly the strongest we have.” As Holly and Veronica hug, Timmy mouths at the camera, probably about how this is a bad move. Or he could be pimping his show. I really need subtitles. Veronica interviews that having Katie on the team helps RW, since they wouldn’t vote her into the Inferno. “In an ideal utopian world,” she adds, “Holly would win the Aztec Lifesaver, and she would pass that right on over to Katie.” Looks like Katie and Veronica still hate each other.

Trishelle asks Mike if the team will support her. She interviews that he’ll always be a friend, even though he pisses her off. “He thinks I might win the Inferno just to spite him,” she adds, “and I may just do that.” Coral: “There’s not one person on our team that would sacrifice themselves for Trishelle. Not one person. I’m looking forward to seeing her in the Inferno with some roaches on her head.”

Next time: We got a climbing wall suspended by a crane, and Katie doesn’t want to climb it. Shane: “If it doesn’t involve smoking or drinking, Katie doesn’t want to do it.” Holly: “How do you believe in someone that doesn’t even want to be here?” I don’t ever want to hear another word about Sarah being a quitter ever again. Coral and Trishelle argue. Dave lays out the second Inferno: eat as many chili peppers in one hour. Suddenly, the word “Inferno” takes on a new and scary meaning.

Postscript: Trishelle brought in 92 points for me. While Julie netted a disappointing six, the Coral/Mike juggernaut brought home 45, giving me a respectable 143 points to start things off. I’m getting that Saturn this year. I just hope Julie isn’t the one to award it to me.

Totally forgot about David Broom actually "servicing a ho" back then. For $10. I'm thinking he would've paid more if he got further than five missions in his two Challenges. Also forgot Kendall had a blog; luckily, Archive is able to bring it back.

I have to end by posting the video for "Way Away." I'm a little nervous; in the past month, I have brought up Danny Dias, who wound up overdosing. Then I posted Linkin Park's video  for "Numb," and lead singer Chester Bennington committed suicide. All I'm saying is that I hope nothing bad happens to anybody associated with Yellowcard. "Way Away" resonated with me, especially when my relationship with the recappers of Reality News Online became increasingly strained. Before I started recapping Inferno II, I opened a post with lyrics from that song. I liked the band, I liked that song, and I'm really, really, REALLY hoping my blog isn't some sort of Death Note. Oh, and I think the same guy does the sweet backflip in the final verse that he did in the episode.

Monday, July 31, 2017

The Inferno Episodes 1 & 2: Out Of the Frying Pan...

This is the official start of The Inferno. It was not a fun season. I mean, there were some nice moments, but it made me grumpy in the long run. The first two missions didn't make me hopeful, what with everybody questioning Ace's manhood, Syrus getting underestimated by his own team . . . and, yes, the time Julie scared the ever-loving shit out of Veronica. And I HATED Veronica. Once thing I do regret is harshing on the opening credits. Sure, they paled to Battle Of The Sexes and The Gauntlet,but they were fun in retrospect. These days, BMP has done away with those, which is a shame.

Oh, and I never tried to look for Piggy in the opening shots. Well, not that hard. Once again: she was cast for the Road Rules team (making that her third Challenge, but she had to leave, getting replaced by Christena. Needless to say, that turned out NOT to be an upgrade.

Airdate: February 2, 2004
Recap Published: February 11, 2004 (lame on my part; once again, hour-long episodes was not my specialty)

Welcome to Acapulco. We’ve got sun, sand, roaches, worms, and attempted murder. It's time for the latest Challenge!
Acapulco. We’ve got sun, sand, and women in bikinis. They’ve got their tops on... MTV only exposes stuff like that for special occasions. Anyway, the Road Rules team gets on a boat. Naturally, Abram is pumped. Some kid named Jeremy introduces himself. Once again: he was the guy who replaced Donell on Road Rules South Pacific, taking part in three missions. Seriously, why is he here? "There's $300,000 to win," he interviews. "I'll take that, thank you very much." Shots of the Real World and RR logos, followed by “$300,000 Challenge."

Real World Boat. You'll be happy to know that Mike now has a red Miz shirt. Yeah, whatever. Ace tells the others he can build a birdhouse out of popsicle sticks. He introduces himself, telling us that he's competitive. "I don't care if I'm playing tiddlywinks," he continues, "or if it's the last game of the season. I am all over it and I want to win." Trishelle updates us on her relationship with Mike: there isn't one. They broke up shortly after The Gauntlet. "Trishelle and I broke up because Trishelle doesn't know how to have a boyfriend," Mike snipes. "She thinks the world revolves around her." Since she's on this show and The Surreal Life, I think she might be justified in thinking that.

Road Rules Boat. Darrell is wearing a wig and fake teeth, joking about sending the women out. Like it isn't hard enough to understand half of what he says without the fake teeth. He introduces himself, saying he's back to whup RW ass. Veronica jokes about getting along with the others. She interviews, "I think it would be smart of me to be a good girl and stay out of some little romantic thing while I'm here." Naturally, there's a flashback of her and Abram in the shower. Ick. Timmy jokes about how people are going to get burned, and not by the sun. Abram: "You put this many people into one awesome house in Acapulco... it's gonna get evil!"

Credits. The credits are a bit of a letdown this time around. The good news is that the theme song is performed by Yellowcard, an up-and-coming band. I mean, do you see Midtown or Ill Kid being in the MTV2 rotation? The bad news: the credits are basically Dave Mirra riding his bike past the players. That's it. No wackiness, no playful slapping, nothing.

Dave jumps a fountain. Jeremy and Shane are on the roof, smiling at us. Dave whizzes by them. Dave goes down the stairs, past David and Trishelle. For some reason, David is listed as "Dave." Mr. Mirra scoots by CT (labeled as "Chris") and Leah right before they kiss. They just wink at the camera. Dave jumps a couch, nearly hitting Abram. He and Veronica turn around and smile. Dave passes the pool, where Mike and Coral are wading. Dave slams on the brakes, narrowly hitting a car. Syrus opens a car door for Julie to get out. They were in the video for Eminem's "Without Me," so it fits. Dave doubles back. Cut to Ace giving Mallory a rose. Fans of The Bachelor can make their own joke. Dave jumps the fountain again. Katie and Holly squeeze Christena between them, Another fountain jump. Everybody's dancing. Timmy looks like he's having fun. Why is he alone? He's too funny to be alone. More dancing. Kendal backs into Darrell. Dave jumps his bike onto the stage where Yellowcard plays. Quick highlights. Title. So underwhelmed.

Back to the RW boat. CT introduces himself, telling us that his relationship with his roommates has gotten better. Flashback to the time where he threatened to "work" Adam before shoving him. CT insists he's changed, adding, "I don't put myself in situations I really don't need to be in." Then why are you on this Challenge? The RW kids jump off the boat, toasting themselves and cheering.

RR boat. Katie interviews about not getting along with her teammates last season. "I don't hate anyone," she adds. "There's just people I don't care for particularly, like Veronica." Cut to Katie screaming, invoking the Tragic White Girl Head Bob. Kendal introduces herself, saying that since Campus Crawl, she's been pursuing acting, and she needs the money.

On land, Leah and Mallory chat. Leah introduces herself, admitting that her behavior in Paris was unacceptable. Cut to her season, where she got into a major fight with her roommates. She continues, "I think I can take criticism a lot better now." Mallory introduces herself. She has spent a lot of time with Ace, and they're dating exclusively.

David and Syrus check out "the three horsemen," the younger males on their team. David introduces himself. Today, he's a mortgage broker, and he's going back to school for his MBA. His hair's changed a little, but the Boston accent is still there. Syrus introduces himself. He admits the need to prove himself to the kids. "I'm old enough to be their dads right now," he adds. The camera pans to Trishelle and Julie chatting. Already, I'm nauseous. Julie introduces herself; she's moved to Huntington Beach, California and started a band called The Swerve. She adds, "I'm going to win because I got kicked off my last Challenge FOR NO GOOD REASON!" Shut up, Avril. Nice black fingernails, by the way.

The RR Boat nears the dock. Darrell taunts Mike, while Abram flashes two middle fingers. Coral prays for Abram to fall off the boat. Jeremy hops off and gets to hugging. Abram carries Coral around. Holly introduces herself; since Battle of the Seasons, she's been working at an international consulting firm in Colorado. Coral hugs Shane. "We all getting along," Darrell babbles, "everybody's happy-go-lucky charm. Everybody happy to meet everybody. It's about to change."

A helpful local directs the kids to their pad. They goggle in obvious awe over their new digs. Katie says she's not going home. "It looks like something Jimmy Buffet would live in," Ace says, "so I'm absolutely in love with this house." Syrus figures it's "too damn pretty to be true." Julie gushes about the bidet to Syrus. Shane wheels his stuff in. He introduces himself; turns out he's gone back to school to study anthropology. Syrus carries Timmy's bags up the stairs. Timmy tells us he's from "Road Rules Season Dos: The Prehistoric Years" Today, he hosts Guts and Bolts on the History Channel. Coral freaks out as she spots a lizard. She jokes about feeling like a jackass for coming back, after she got bit by a spider last time. Mike tells us that Coral lost the final mission last time. Flashback to the finale, with Coral dying and Mike yelling at her. Not good times. Mike: "It was kind of an unfair way to lose." Christena introduces herself. "This isn't a vacation," she interviews. "This is about winning, and winning a huge prize."

Nighttime. Lightning storm. Everybody heads to the Inferno site, with its torches and dark gates. Dave Mirra welcomes everybody to the new season. Mike gushes about how Dave has his own video game. Hey, so did Jonny Moseley! Abram: "I think he rides a bike better than he walks." Dave goes over the basics: ten players from RW and RR will compete in challenges. After selected missions, those teams must vote for two of their members to sacrifice to the Inferno, then pick one of the representatives from the other team. The two players chosen have a chance to save themselves by winning the Aztec Lifesaver in the follow mission. Turns out this "Plate of Protection" is an actual plate, and a good looking one at that. A player winning the AL can send somebody else into the Inferno. The two players competing in the Inferno will engage in a "battle of wills" to stay in the game. Dave adds that the first 15 challenges are worth $10,000 each, and the final mission is $150,000. Katie: "I'm not here for the fun anymore. I'm here for the money." Syrus: "Money makes the world go round. It won't make me crazy, it won't make me evil, but it does make the world go round." Christena: "We better enjoy ourselves tonight, because tomorrow, the pain starts." Oh, you have no idea, Christena.

Local shots. A clown juggles torches. Yeah, I don't know. Abram takes a huge dive, from what appears to be a balcony to the pool. Have I mentioned that Abram is somewhat insane? Jeremy and a female follow suit. Christena interviews that Jeremy wants to prove himself, since he came in so late on his season. Three missions, people. Leah and CT try to talk Syrus into diving, but he doesn't want to jump. "My whole team is full of stallions," he interviews. "All these dudes are cut, chiseled, and ripped. It's not easy being a team member on my team being the oldest and the heaviest." Can you say "recurring theme," boys and girls? Jeremy eggs Syrus on, but he doesn't jump. "No balls," Jeremy smirks to the camera. "He's got no balls." Shut up, fresh meat. Get back to me when you've grown hair on yours. Christena interviews that Syrus has arthritis, and he's 31 years old. In reality show years, he'd be dead.

Slow-motion walk to the mission site. Cool, so we don't have 30 minutes of drama before the mission. Mallory sees ropes connected to two high-rise buildings. Dave welcomes everybody to Grope the Rope, a mission that will test balance and endurance. The object: cross the rope way up in the air. Naturally, Darrell reminds us that he has a fear of heights. "This is fear," Syrus interviews. "Real fear. Shakin', that's me." Dave lays out the exposition: players from each team will race side-by-side. Mallory adds that the players will wear a harness, sliding to the middle of the rope. Then they get out of the harness, and climb the rope to the building. Dave adds that the only safety measure is the bungee. Players can knock each other off using their hands and arms, but not their feet. Should a player fall, that player gets the slowest time, plus a one-minute penalty. The team with the fastest combined time wins $10,000 to put in their bank account. "I might not be as physically strong as some of the other members," Julie foreshadows, "so I'll probably do anything that I have to do."

Round One: Abram vs. David. At the sound of the airhorn, they slide to the rope. Abram takes the lead, while Julie screams from the ground. Damn, I had forgotten how screechy she can get. Abram finishes at 18.65 seconds, while David logs in at 18.71. On the ground, Jeremy jumps around as if he skipped his medication. David figures it'll come down to the women.

Round Two: Leah vs. Kendal. Kendal takes the lead while Leah struggles. Kendal finishes at 35.07. Jeremy is still jumping around. Dude, save your energy! Leah finishes at 55.87.

Round Three: Trishelle vs. Katie. Ooo... roommate rumble! Katie immediately slips, hanging on to the rope before falling for the disqualification. On the ground, Julie and Coral celebrate. Trishelle finishes at 28.14. Syrus is pumped, since Katie got penalized.

Round Four: CT vs. Timmy. CT coasts to the middle, while Timmy frantically pulls with his hands. As CT takes the lead, Timmy slips, grabbing onto the rope with his hands. CT finishes at 22.70, while Timmy, climbing as fast as he can without using his legs, clocks out at 27.43. Timmy interviews that he got out of the harness wrong. "Trust me," he adds, "it's harder than you can even imagine."

Round Five: Syrus vs. Shane. Somebody mentions that Syrus weighs 235 pounds. Coral jokes about him breaking the rope. Because he's heavy, you see. Those jokes are only funny when the person deserves it, and Syrus doesn't. Shane interviews that Syrus is an old dog, but he has bark and bite. He manages to beat Syrus, finishing at 17.28, while Syrus clocks in at 18.38.

Round Six: Mallory vs. Holly. As Leah cheers her friend from the ground, Mallory interviews that this is her first mission and she wants to prove herself. She takes an early lead, but her legs slip off the rope and she falls for the DQ. Meanwhile, Holly finishes at 21.65. Jeremy is still jumping around. Julie doesn't understand how Mallory can fall when she's that close to the finish line. Current times: RW 3:20, RR 1:41. Don't try to add it up... the numbers didn't come out right for me.

Round Seven: Ace vs. Jeremy. Ace interviews that the only way to win is to pull Jeremy down. Attaboy! Physical contact! Jeremy interviews that he has to win, since he's the new guy. Has he mentioned that yet? Have I mentioned that Syrus is old and heavy? Jeremy takes a lead, but Ace grabs his ankle, attempting to take Jeremy out. The newbie kicks around, and Ace uses his foot, earning a DQ. Jeremy lets go of the rope, taking a DQ as well. What? That was Ace's fault. Jeremy should've had a fresh run. He gripes about how he can get support from his team.

Round Eight: Coral vs. Christena. Christena clocks in at 22.80, Coral at 28.87. Round Nine: Mike vs. Darrell. Darrell takes a huge lead, finishing at 17.03, while Mike gets 21.01. Timmy jokes about Darrell taking off like a lightning bolt. Not bad for an acrophobic.

Round Ten: Julie vs. Veronica. On the ground, CT and Mike encourage Julie to do whatever she can to win. She has that look in her eyes, like she's already thought of something. As the players slide on the rope, Julie grabs Veronica's harness, and they start tugging at each other. Veronica: "Hey, stop molesting my [bleeping] vagina, you Mormon!" Tasteless? Yeah, but only on this show can you get lines like that. They start arguing on the rope, with Veronica kicking wildly, trying to shake Julie. "She wants to get the win for her team," Veronica interviews, "and be the hero of the mission. I'm not getting out of my harness." On the balcony, Dave informs the ladies that they have one minute to get to him, or get disqualified.

Now the poop hits the fan. Julie reaches behind Veronica, tugging on her safety line. See, when I bashed Julie last year, it was because I liked Melissa so much. Here, she's just being stupid. By holding Veronica back, she's holding herself back as well, screwing RW in the process. While this is going on, Veronica's teammates scream for Julie not to touch the safety line. Veronica is panicked. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" she screams at Julie. "WHAT IS SHE DOING?" she screams to her teammates. On the balcony, RR flips out. Coral has no expression on her face. On the ground, Trishelle smiles and covers her mouth.

Back from commercials, Dave blows the airhorn, disqualifying Julie and Veronica. "You're [bleeping] crazy!" Veronica yells at Julie. Like she has to tell me that. Julie interviews that she had to get Veronica down. Yeah, but there's stopping her, and then there's making her fall eighteen stories to her death. "That's just the nature of the game," Julie continues. "I have nothing against the girl, but I'm going to try to win. It's ten thousand dollars!" On the ground, Jeremy recaps the events for Holly. She thinks that Julie has pent-up anger, Veronica bore the brunt of it, and RR is pissed. Anger from what? From when mean ol' Melissa and her friends kicked her out? Give me a break.

Inside the building, production people help Veronica out of the harness. Julie tells her that she was trying to win. Veronica tells her to shut up. Julie says that she couldn't get the cord off even if she wanted to do that. Veronica tells her to shut up. Julie then turns to the camera and makes crybaby motions. I swear, the longer Julie is on this show, the less fun it's going to be. If anybody knocks her out of the game, that person will be my new best friend. Julie isn't a punk. She's just sad. Veronica wipes her eyes in the elevator. "Did I feel unsafe?" she interviews. "Yeah, certainly. We're in the air, eighteen floors above the ground. Accidents can happen."

Time lapses to night. Back at the hotel, Dave gives the times: RW finished with 9:05, while RR got 8:25. As a result, RR wins $10,000 for their bank account. If Julie had found a way to knock Veronica off quickly, her team might have won. "Once you get used to winning, it's hard to lose," Darrell interviews. "Real World will never win, simple as that." Coral: "Losing sucks. I don't plan on doing that anymore." Dave gives both teams 30 minutes to decide who to nominate into the Inferno, dismissing them to their respective lounges.

Darrell drops the exposition: the teams will rotate between men and women in their votes. So lame. I understand that the fairer sex was much maligned during Gauntlet. But right now, most of the people I want to get off my screen are women, and they're not up tonight. At the RR meeting, Shane admits he's frightened at the prospect of going home. Timmy declares he has no problem going in, but the others disagree. "Timmy, what is you doing, Timmy?" Darrell interviews. "What's wrong with you? You don't need to go! Be cool!" Timmy figures that he isn't afraid of losing, since he has a positive mind-set already. Jeremy volunteers, confident that he can win. "My team responds," he interviews, "with pretty much huge smiles on their faces and gladful hearts." Gladful? Whatever. Personally, I think he's overcompensating for being the third substitute on his season. The team does the usual "one, two, three, ROAD RULES!" cheer.

RW meeting. You have to wonder if Julie or the Paris girls would be dead meat if not for the rotation. Ace figures that the five males should put their names in a hat. Coral asks if he'd volunteer. Trishelle wants to vote for Ace since he was disqualified. She interviews, "I just feel like people should go balls out and say exactly what they think and just be honest." Coral, Mike, and Julie vote for Ace. He doesn't think it's fair. David votes for Ace... and Syrus. "I don't see you work out that much," David continues. "After 15 missions, that's going to work out." Leah and Trishelle vote for Syrus. He interviews that the others see him as disposable. Somewhere in Colorado, Sarah mutters, "Welcome to my world," and changes the channel.

Dave goes over the nominees: Ace & Syrus, Jeremy & Timmy. Mike mentions that they don't know the finishing times. All he remembers is that Syrus got smoked by Shane. Yes, 1.1 seconds difference does count as a beatdown these days. Dave gives both teams ten minutes to make their picks.

RR meeting. Veronica expresses the importance of winning the first Inferno. Holly figures that the RR guys would win no matter what, so she picks Syrus. Jeremy interviews that Syrus got chosen because... get this... he's over 30 and not gelling well with his team. When did we switch to Logan's Run? Veronica interviews that the best strategy would be to choose Ace, but Syrus seems to be a sure bet for a win.

RW meeting. Coral figures that Jeremy is a safe bet, but she wants to leave RR weaker. Leah expresses concern for the team's representative going home. Ace wants to stay, and he figures on having a better shot against Jeremy. "I can understand why they would want Jeremy," Mike interviews. "Hell, I'd be scared to go up with Timmy in the Inferno as well."

Outside, both teams announce their picks. Actually, it's done by putting plates up on a stand. Very cool... like on The Joe Schmoe Show. Sadly, the plates spell out "Jeremey" and "Cyrus." Actually, given how it was spelled "Sirus" in the "Without Me" video, that isn't the worst typo in the world. Jeremy hugs Timmy, joking about how Syrus looks nervous. Syrus expresses that it isn't easy to be (in case you're just tuning in) the oldest and heaviest on his team.

Now the times are posted. Coral and Syrus take a look, and guess what? Syrus had the best time for his team. Seriously... check the times. I was shocked as well. "It's disrespecting the Godfather, man!" Timmy exclaims. Syrus can't believe it. "We had no idea what the scores were until after we voted," Coral interviews. "If we had, we certainly would not have voted that way." Coral tries to tell Syrus that, but he wants to step up and be the team's weak link, since nobody else will. Military drums play as Syrus goes into a rant about representing the team. "I will always be the best team player," he tells his teammates. "And I guarantee if I'm here, I will carry the [Oedipus Rexing] flag to victory." He stalks off, interviews that he's won before, and he'll have to win again.

Elsewhere, Mallory and Ace lie in a hammock. For some reason, Ace smells like chicken. Mallory is relieved that RR picked Syrus, and there's no possibility of her boyfriend going home. The happy couple kisses and snuggles.

Daytime. Roosters crow, and Syrus crows along with them. Jeremy expositions that there is another mission before the Inferno, and he has an opportunity to win the Aztec Lifesaver. Dave welcomes everyone to the next mission: Birdfeeder. He points out the giant baby chicks propped up on hay bales. The objective: feed those chicks as much seed and worms as possible within three minutes. Timmy is wearing a t-shirt that says "The 0." That's sweet.... he's paying Theo back for the "Where's Timmy" shirts. The team with the most weight transferred wins $10,000 for the bank account. Shane's t-shirt: "Where's Rachel." Answer: not here, and that's good enough for me. Dave then shows the worms, which excites and repulses the players. "See these crazy funky chicken suits?" Dave asks. "They're mine, and I'm going to let you use them for this competition." I'm finding out more about the host's personal life than I ever wanted to know. He adds that they have to transfer the feed and worms by mouth. Holly doesn't look too good. "Worms in your mouth?" she interviews. "Dried chicken feed in your mouth and regurgitating into another bird's mouth? That is wrong?" By the way, this is Holly's third Challenge. You'd think she'd get a clue by now. Dave mentions that those on each team with the best time will win the Lifesaver, which can be used to save oneself or a teammate. Both Jeremy and Syrus hope to win it.

Time to put on the chicken suits. I'm more at peace with this than the fat suits from last season. Syrus dubs his costume his "pimp gear." Where? On Sesame Street? Coral straps the chicken head on while Abram dry-humps her. Syrus shouts "Cock fight!" and Abram repeats the motions. "Dude," Syrus says, "you're humping my neck!"

Round One: Veronica vs. Trishelle. Veronica voiceovers that she is the pickiest eater ever. The ladies stuff their mouths with the disgusting stuff, spewing it into the chicks. Veronica starts making retching noises. This might be her worst Challenge ever at this rate. After the airhorn sounds to end the game, she's still dry puking. Trishelle transferred 12.4 grams, while Veronica finished with 12.2. Trishelle complains that she got feed in her nose and eyeballs, and that she was "hotter than balls" in the suit.

Round Two: Julie vs. Kendal. Surprisingly, Julie doesn't make an attempt on Kendal's life, which Mike will be thankful for in the weeks to come. Julie transfers 22.6 grams, while Kendal transfers 21.2.

Round Three: David vs. Jeremy. "I have a huge mouth," Jeremy interviews, "and I'm going to go and tear this up." Swallowing. Spitting. David finishes with 23.0 grams, while Jeremy does indeed tear it up at 24.8. Needless to say, he's proud. Timmy jokes that he can take the feed and worms home with him.

Round Four: Mallory vs. Katie. Immediately, Katie starts gagging, while Mallory makes her run. Abram gets pleasure in interviewing about how bad Katie sucks. Leah yells encouragement to Mallory. Katie dry-pukes some more. Veronica yells at her to spit it out on the other side. Final totals: Mallory 24.4 grams, Katie 7.2 grams. "Katie went about three laps," Timmy interviews, "and then started coughing up cornmeal, worms and Marlboro Milds." I missed Timmy.

Round Five: Coral vs. Darrell. "I'm the only black male on this team," Darrell jokes. "I gotta play this game like I'm running for my life like a runaway slave, and that's how I'm gonna do every mission." Great... NOW I understand what he's talking about. Coral finishes with 25.8 grams, while Darrell finishes with 25.6 grams.

The next few rounds pass without incident. Mike gets 25.8 grams to Timmy's 21.8, and CT and Shane tie with 23.4 grams apiece. Before Round Eight, Ace interviews that he's already gagging. He manages to work through it, transferring 22.8 grams to Christena's 23.4 grams. Holly gets 22.0 grams to Leah's 21.4. Trishelle compliments Leah for her big mouth. "I cannot get over what is in my mouth," Leah interviews. "Who does that?" Forgive her... this is her first Challenge.

Round Ten: Syrus vs. Abram. Syrus interviews that he has one chance to win the Lifesaver. Both players run. Mike interviews that Syrus is lighting the place up. Syrus finishes with 28.0 grams, while Abram checks out at 21.0. Syrus hopes that it's enough.

Dave announces the results: RW finished with 229 grams, while RR came away with 204 grams. He awards the $10,000 check to RW, pulling them even with RR. Dave then awards the Lifesaver to Darrell and, after a long pause, Syrus. Sweet... the old guy pulled off two first-place finishes on his team. Leah interviews that he deserved to win. Dave adds that the final decisions will be revealed in the Inferno.

Hotel. RW meeting. Syrus figures it's between David and Ace to replace him, and he thinks Ace could beat Jeremy, but he can't make the decision by himself. David wants to vote on performance, while Ace honestly doesn't want to go into the Inferno. Coral figures that the team should go with their second choice: Ace. "Maybe it's because they think I might do good against Jeremy," Ace interviews, "maybe it's because they don't like me. Either way, it's really hurting my feelings."

Night. Mallory and Ace share some quality time. Mallory thinks that he shouldn't take things personally, and she wants to stay with Ace as long as possible. Mike comes by to see how Ace is doing. Ace says that his spirits are low, and it's hard to get pumped for a team that voted against him. "We're all going to go at some time or another," Mike interviews. "You can't take things personal. You just have to live with it and hopefully you'll step up to the plate." Mike tells Ace that he has to show that he came to play.

Inferno site. Dave: "Welcome to your first Inferno: The Bug Helmet." Oh, BMX bikers are such kidders! It's more of a box than a helmet. Actually, two boxes, both full of bugs. Jeremy looks squeamish, while Coral laughs. Ace's mouth hangs open. "It's scaring the bejesus out of me," he interviews.

Dave lays it out: the player who stays in the helmet the longest wins. The helmets are filled with crickets and hissing cockroaches. I'm a guy who freaks when a fly buzzes my ear, so I'm squicked already. Before the contest, one member from each team will smear syrup on their opponent's head. "I love gross stuff," Jeremy interviews. "If it looks like it's messed up, like it really looks like it should not be touched, I'm the one who's gonna touch it."

Dave asks Darrell about what he wants to do with the Lifesaver. For some reason, Darrell has the wig on and the teeth in. He tells Dave that he has faith in Jeremy. RR cheers, and I swear I heard a bicycle horn. Is that this season's clapper? Jeremy interviews about getting to prove himself. Dave asks Syrus who he'll sacrifice. We already know the answer. Ace interviews that he'll do his best.

Inferno. Both players get nose and ear plugs. Coral applies the syrup to Jeremy's face, while Darrell works on Ace. Both players stick their heads in the bug-filled boxes. Dave tells Ace to "go to a happy place." Not even Disneyworld would be happy enough for me. The players sit motionless, insects crawling on their faces. But after eleven seconds, Ace has had enough, running off. Jeremy asks what happened. Ace's ex-roommates look at one another, while Jeremy jumps around some more by himself. Probably since nobody wanted to touch him.

Ace goes into the pool. I'll bet his friends will like the drowned bugs he leaves in there. He laughs about going home, and that there was no way he could keep his head in there. Coral bitches that Julie would've been there all night. Yeah, she would be insane enough. Syrus is disappointed in Ace. "Ace didn't want to be here," Coral interviews. "We had no idea that he was gonna put on Pampers and [bleepin'] run up the stairs like that." For somebody who got taken out by a creepy-crawly, I would expect some sympathy from her. What if Ace had to deal with spiders? What would Coral have said?

Denouement. Dave congratulates Jeremy. Timmy interviews that Jeremy can go up against anybody from RW. Ace shakes hands with Syrus. "I think he responded less than everyone thought he was going to," Syrus interviews. "Put up or shut up... he decided to shut up, pack up and go home." More shots of Ace shaking hands, while Coral looks disgusted. Syrus: "The Bug Helmet is pretty damn scary, but I would've done it."

Hotel. Katie and Kendal chat up Jeremy. Kendal loves how Jeremy set the tone. Jeremy interviews about how he's a strong competitor. He was trying to prove himself? No way! I would've heard about it! As Ace packs, Coral asks Mallory how she feels about staying here. Ace insists that Mallory will kick ass. "I thought you wanted to be here too," Coral responds. Ace says that he couldn't handle the bugs, and he didn't have much "morality." Coral snipes about how she thought Ace would be ready. "Then somebody puts a cricket on your head," she continues, "and you're done." I guess Coral has selective amnesia. "We sent him in there thinking he was going to destroy Jeremy," she interviews. "And that just goes to show you... you never know who's weak, and you never know who's strong." Didn't Nathan say the same thing in the finale? I didn't want to say it, but I gotta: shut up, Coral. Stick your head in a bug box for a minute, then talk to me.

Ace's Farewell. He shakes hands and hugs. "I'm a little disappointed in Ace," CT interviews. "He had a really bad attitude. He could've helped us a lot." Wow... criticism from Mr. Cry Me a Rivah himself. Ace walks down the pier with Mallory, where his short boat awaits. He interviews that he wants Mallory to do what's best for her. "This is so much sadder than it should be," he tells Mallory. "I'm on a boat!" He waves goodbye as the boat slowly sails away.

So what have we learned? Don't trust anybody over thirty. Jeremy wants to prove himself. And Ace is a big ol' scaredy cat for not keeping his head in the bug box for more than eleven seconds. The nerve! Never mind that if both genders were eligible for vote, he wouldn't have been considered. Forget that natural instinct makes a person get away from insects. And thinking that Ace had a disadvantage going up against somebody hellbent on proving himself? Poppycock! Seriously, with a team attitude like RW has, combined with Julie's chances of leaving being halved, it's going to be a long season.

Mike voiceover: "This season on The Inferno, you bring something nice to wear." CT wears a sombrero, posing with a local. Jeremy has a Miz fit. Guys bash the hell out of some furniture while Yellowcard plays. Wall climber. CT is doused in some white liquid. Julie: "Girls, fight this! I wanna fight like a man! Right now, on the lawn!" Hate her. Guys wrestle. More bashing. Katie screams at Veronica. Julie calls the bashing the best experience in her life. Mike and Kendal wrestle.

Mike and Kendal love footage. Trishelle: "I don't enjoy you kissing other people." Hate her, too. More footage. Kendal unbuttons Mike's shirt. Leah thinks Darrell is the sexiest man around. Hope she's got an English-to-Darrell dictionary.

Inferno footage. Close up of a spider, followed by a shot of Coral. Mike: "Every time we walk to the Inferno, it reminds me of hell." Mike and Jeremy hold torches. Trishelle complains about burning up. Timmy get white stuff poured on him. Mike: "So you did lie to me! Why would I kiss a liar?" Kendal, walking on a beam: "Because I'm a good kisser!" Mike should really lay off the on-camera hook-ups. Fast-motion clips, including CT and Shane on some kind of whirlygig. Katie: "This game is so [bleeping] nasty." Title. Who's up for 16 more episodes?

 In the long run, I never cared for Ace. Dude spent a lot of time in strip clubs while in Paris, and I'm thinking even CT got more out of the city that him. That said, I sympathized for him. Seriously, I don't think TJ Lavin would have blamed him for bailing out after eleven seconds. Then his team ripped into him, including the lady who got taken out by a spider in the prior season's finale. I know, spiders aren't insects, but I would have expected a tiny bit of empathy from Coral, even if she couldn't stand Ace. In her Challlenge career, I think that's one of the few times she was wrong. I realize she wasn't for everybody, but it did help that most of the people she clashed with was assholes and bitches.

As for THAT incident? For the past few years, I have suggested that Bunim-Murray Productions wants somebody to die on-camera. When that happens, the company will fade from MTV. Once again: why else would they put a guy with a compromised immune system with a jackass that looked to be oozing eight diseases at any given time. There have been a lot of close calls . . . off the top of my head, there was Neil getting his tongue bitten off in London, Mark's parachute not opening right way in the first season of Road Rules, Sophia almost getting herself and a Spaniard killed by way of bungee in RR: The Quest, a drunken Ellen coming close to getting flattened by a car in that same season, and Ty causing Andrew to fall and get a concussion in RW: DC. And that's the stuff I can remember. However, I would expect that the first mission would be tested to hell and back, because falling eighteen stories is an awful way to go. Also, it would be too obvious, and BMP would be open to bad publicity and lawsuits, even if the players signed away the right to sue to get on the show.

Veronica was safe. There was little chance that Julie could have killed her. But when you're up that high . . . and you're suspended in the air by a harness and bungee cord . . . and an insane bitch wants to make up lost time from getting bounced first two seasons prior . .. . can you blame Veronica for possibly pissing herself in terror? And one thing I didn't emphasize back then was Jeremy on the balcony, screaming, "DON'T TOUCH THE SAFETY LINE!!!!!!!!" That probably didn't help at all. Veronica would be in the middle of a lot of shady behavior, and she probably would have deserved to get torn to pieces by Katie, but I felt for her back then.

Also, I grew to hate Jeremy. In his career, Syrus struck me as a chill guy. The outburst after the Inferno announcements was only one of three times I saw him get mad. The others: James repeatedly hitting Julie with the paintball gun in Extreme Challenge, and Syrus not getting the calls against Derrick in Gauntlet 2. At the reunion (which I never recapped), we saw TJ Lavin call Syrus "motherfucker," and the big guy needed Timmy to hold him back. In brief: Syrus = yay; Jeremy = "who???"

 Finally . . . I couldn't find the credits for The Inferno online, so I managed to find an episode and cut out the full version of the credits which aired in the first week. Let me be clear that I do NOT own this, that I am NOT profiting from this, and that my lack of a life causes me to want to leave behind a legacy of sorts. That includes showing Dave Mirra (RIP) biking around Challengers while Yellowcard plays. If I have to take this down, I will take it down. I just wanted to provide a complete picture. Apologies if the audio isn't that great for you.