Monday, October 01, 2018

Battle of the Sexes 2 Episode 4: Meltdown

Rather than bitch about the state of The Challenge: Final Reckoning and how it will stink no matter what the ending, I thought it would be a good time to talk about ice-based missions . . at least heading to BOTS2.

2002 (actually 2001): The final six pairs had been determine to compete in the Battle Of The Seasons finale, but they continued to compete for points and prizes. In this case: Hands on a Saturn, where the players had to keep body parts on a car-based ice sculpture. Highlights included Timmy peeing on the "car," Kelley looking over to find that her partner Danny had quit and was sipping a beverage on the side, and Mike costing himself and Coral a pair of actual Saturns, giving to win to his girlfriend Tara and her partner Dan (from Road Rules: Northern Trail, which I consider to be the best season in that series' history. Afterward, Mike threw a few tantrums, and it was embarrassingly fake, as he went into his "Miz" persona. So sad. I'm honestly surprised that he turned that into an actual professional wrestling persona.

2003 (actually 2002): Hands on a Saturn must have been a hit with viewers, because BMP brought it back the following year on Battle of the Sexes. This time, in Freeze Your Butt Off, players had to sit on ice benches that simulated a roller coaster (seriously, I don't know) while wearing minimal clothing. That meant Speedos for the guys. A fun time was had by all . . . at least before the mission. The guys wound up dropping out quickly, and the girls won mountain bikes. According to Melissa, they also got welts on their butts from pressing against the ice. That did not happen to Melissa. No, she had to be pried off her bench after almost three hours, as her pulse rate dropped and she broke into shivering. I'd like to think that after seeing someone suffer like that, BMP decided to go back to the drawing board, lest they wind up with another girl weighing around 100 pounds almost dying. If you forgot about the mission, don't worry . . . that was followed up by the Women's Inner Circle (Ruthie, Ellen and Emily) elected not to vote off their respective friends, opting for Rachel instead, who was fourth-to-last. That led to her "This game is ugly!" rant.

Fast-forward to 2004. Battle of the Sexes 2. Melt With You. Enjoy!

Episode Aired: October 25, 2004
Recap Posted: October 30, 2004

The gap between the newbies and veterans increases, while the players find innovative ways to melt ice. Really innovative ways.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes: There was a pool party. Tonya sucked face with Ace. Actually, it was more of a kiss, but "sucked face with Ace" rhymes nicely. The veterans on the women's team took the lead. The guys won the first two missions. Ace and Cameran got voted out by their respective squads. "If the girls can just not argue over petty and stupid stuff," Cameran says, "I think the girls can honestly win." Silly Cameran… teamwork is for kids.

Nightclub. Lots of dancing. Tonya dances awkwardly on her own. "I'm here to have a good time," she interviews. "I'm gonna drink, dance and play. I'm young and single, I'm having fun." While we hear her saying that, she makes out with Theo. Damn, we never got to see Theo operate before. Cut to Tonya dancing with Angela, then back to making out with Theo. Ruthie interviews that she doesn't know if Tonya is here to party or to compete. "She's getting DQ's," Ruthie adds, "and that's not cool." Tonya and Theo move to the van. I don't know what's weirder: Cynthia being in the front seat while this is going on, or Cynthia not yelling at them to knock it off. Remember when she found out about the Mike/Melissa/Melody threesome in Miami? "Tonya and I are like two kids in summer camp," Theo interviews, as we see Tonya pull his shirt off, "sneaking across the lake in the middle of the night to go play crazy games with each other's body parts." Cynthia looks bemused. Two words to Theo: "shady ordeal."

Back at the resort, some of the players fool around in the hot tub. Kina interviews that she has a great team. She tells Mike that she doesn't think there's a conspiracy, and she doesn't care either way. He thinks there will be an alliance on her team… if there isn't one in place already. "There's always alliances on Challenges," Mike interviews. "If the new kids don't prove themselves, then they'll probably be the first ones gone."

Clue time! Angela reads off the sponsor phone: the mission will test endurance. Be ready to go at 10:15 a.m. Tina yells about talking on the phone as long as possible.

Daytime. Tina is in a snit. She interviews that Tonya commented about using the cell phone. "Sorry, sweetie," she snipes to us, "big mistake!" Tonya says that Tina is on the phone a lot. Tina calls Tonya the biggest liar in the lounge, and threatens to call her out. Tonya maintains a certain level of calm, while Tina yells and drops f-bombs. Coral takes this opportunity to officially "pass the torch" to Tina. "I'm happy that I'm not the first bitch to cuss somebody out," Coral interviews. "My money's on Tina, because she fights dirty." Wanna know the difference between Coral and Tina? Coral needs a reason to jump down your throat. I don't see her losing it over a phone. On the other hand, I now feel validated about calling Tina "Discount Coral" last year. Yay, me.

Mission site. Jonny stands in front of an ice block with the BOTS2logo carved into it. Today's mission: Melt With You. Production people reveal two giant ice cowboy hats. He tells the players that this mission will test endurance and strategy. Derrick has no clue what is about to happen. C'mon, man… you didn't see Freezing Your Butt Off in BOTS1? Research, man! [2018: . . . .and I got the mission name wrong. Damn.]

After commercials, Jonny lays down the exposition. In each hat, there is a cell phone wrapped in plastic. The object: melt the ice to get the phone, then call a nearby "central phone." Tina yells about having it "hook, line and [Oedipus Rexin'] sinker!" Jonny tells the players that they can melt the ice any way they can, except for urination. Everybody groans, and I get a nice flashback of Timmy relieving himself on the ice car during Battle of the Seasons. Good times. The winners get a Playstation 2 game system with two games. Honestly, I don't see any of these people getting into Hot Shot Golf: Fore!. It's like Mario Golf, but without the Mario. The prize package is worth $400 apiece. To the winners: if any of you aren't thrilled about the system and like my writing, e-mail me. We'll work something out. Brad interviews that the mission is crazy. Jonny gives both teams 30 minutes for the teams to pick leaders, and adds that those leaders would have a final say on team strategy.

The guys huddle up, and pick leaders: Dan, Shane, and Shawn. Fittingly enough, Dan won the ice mission with Tara in Seasons. His plan: put the guys on top of the ice and use them like a saw. The girls pick their leaders: Kina, Ibis and Aneesa. Ibis figures to have as many bodies on the ice as possible, interviewing that she have good leadership skills. Coral: "Some of the newer people volunteered themselves. It's just stupid. It's not a strategic move. You'll probably going to end up going home."

Game time. The women are in bikinis, and the men are in Speedos. I guess the “guys gripe about how their thangs can’t breathe” footage got cut. Immediately, Mark gets on top of Mike, and the others pull them back and forth on the ice. To anybody getting a cheap thrill and/or cheap laugh, be sure to thank Dan. On the other block, the girls rub with their hands and butts. Mike interviews that the ice will crack due to the pressure and heat. Now Theo is on top of Frank, while Eric backs himself up on the ice. Grind it, Eric! Grind it! Shane gets sawed solo, shouting, “Every one of my fantasies fulfilled!” So you’ve dreamt of being pulled on a cold surface? Whatever, dude. Shawn goes on top of Steven. Adam rubs his butt on the ice, interviewing that he doesn’t care where he rubs, as long as the ice melts. The girls continue to rub. Cynthia: “I have never been so close to other girls’ asses in my life!”
The girls rub some more. Tonya handles a rock, interviewing that she will do whatever it takes to win, and to prove that she’s a competitor. Her method: popping rocks into her mouth. Really, she does this to heat up her mouth. That’s about as “outside the box” as you can get. “[It] doesn’t surprise me,” Angela interviews. “I don’t think she really cares whatever goes in her mouth, so this is Tonya’s VIP mission.” Nasty! Tonya blows on the ice, as well as rub it with her hair. Aneesa feels that Tonya is redeeming herself.

Randy lies on top of the ice (whoa). Frank gets on top of Randy (Whoa!). Theo gets on top of Frank and Randy (WHOA!!) It’s triple-sawing action on the men’s side, and I think half the audience just fainted. Both sides work, forming small holes on the blocks of ice. And now, this verbal nugget from Veronica: “Our strategies are just so stupid. [huffing and puffing] Blow and suck! Blow and suck! Use your hands!” The other half of the audience fainted from Veronica giving such an easy line. The girls rub with their hands as Kina shouts instructions. “It’s basically a rap video with a big ice cube,” Dan interviews, as we see the women rub butts on the ice. “They’re doing every thing they can to get it melted. I kinda wish I was their cell phone.” What? I like you, Dan, but seriously ... what? Both sides get closer. Sophia interviews that the girls are so close to winning. Intense rubbing. Bruises develop on bodies.

A commercial for next week’s episode? Already? Bunim-Murray recycles the gross food mission from Road Rules: X-Treme, coupling that with blowing up cardboard cutouts of the players. Theo poses with Arissa’s copycat, telling us that this is the only chance he gets to make out with her. He adds, “Hell, I’ll take a paper cut!” He doesn’t kiss it, but rather rolls around and smothers it. I’m sure Mr. Arissa will be pleased. And we got a fight! Aneesa vs. Ayanna! “My ass is getting stronger!” Ayanna emotes. “Would you like to kick it some more? Here it is!” So much for Alaska not getting snow this year.

Back to the action: the guys crack the ice open and grab the phone. As the women keep working, Dan makes the call. The central phone rings, and the game is over. I’m getting tired of the guys winning, but at least Dan and Shawn are out of harm’s way this round. Shawn feels the men had “a lot of hot hands and a lot of hot asses,” and thnaks his mother for his own ass. The ladies feel that they did a good job. Tonya whispers to Aneesa that she’s not going anywhere. Kina compliments Tonya for her rock technique. Coral feels Tonya is crazy, since she’ll do anything to win.

Jonny awards the game systems to the guys. He goes over the voting procedure: men’s Inner Circle picks off one guy, women vote out member from their Inner Circle. Ibis interviews about bringing a lot to her team, but she can’t be certain.

Boys’ Inner Circle Meeting. The lads get down to Mike, Abram and Adam for past disqualifications. Shane ignores Mike’s DQ. Dan brings up Derrick, thinking that the newbie might be too flustered. Shane and Shawn are not willing to give Chris up. Shawn interviews that everybody on the team helped, and that it is a tough decision.

Girls’ Inner Circle Meeting. Rachel feels the team lost due to a lack of leadership. “I watch what everybody’s doing,” she tells her teammates. “As much as I’m participating, I’m constantly watching you guys and seeing how intense you are now.” Coral thinks Kina worked hard, but wasn’t leading hard. Katie interviews that the new girls are easily intimidated.. “Some of the older girls piss me off,” she adds. “I’ll gather all the new girls, and I’ll flip out and find alliances.” Tonya feels that Kina didn’t lead her. Robin feels Ibis did an amazing job. Sophia thinks Kina is a great competitor. Tina would rather vote out Aneesa than Kina or Ibis. Coral votes for Kina, while some of the others can’t make up their minds. Sophia interviews that the veterans are in an alliance and are running the show.

Elimination Hill. Time to send two players packing. Shawn comes up for the men. He says that it wasn’t easy. The Inner Circle based the vote on past disqualifications and experience. The victim? Adam, who looks disappointed upon hearing the news. Shane interviews that a DQ equates to a zero in his mind, and that Abram and Mike had more experience. Why do I feel that Shane will probably get voted off by either or both of them within the next few weeks? Given that the missions are for prizes, as opposed to money, wouldn’t it make more sense to dump some muscle in order to level the playing field? Adam tells the team that he is pissed, but he wishes them luck.

Arissa steps up for the women. Basically, the vote came down to two people, and Kina is the one to go home. Apparently, Kina can’t get a break when it comes to voting. [2018: defunct link to the RNO recap of X-Treme where the cast basically picks a random name to leave the game, and Kina wound up going home] The girls applaud, as Kina has no hard feelings. “Newbies are just gonna be picked off left and right,” she interviews. “Instead of forming these alliances, we should all stick together, because essentially, we are one big team, and we should act that way.” Jonny dismisses the troops, as Adam stalks off by himself.

Night. Adam gripes to Brad about the “rookie excuse” given by the Inner Circle. Brad gets upset over the veterans, saying he’s not impressed by team. Adam interviews that he stayed on the bag longer than Mike during Dangle Drop, but Mike has done Challenges before. He adds, “It’s hard to take when I feel that, for the first three missions, I’ve been a really strong competitor.” Brad asks Adam if he got disqualified during Snake Pit Poker. Adam replies that he didn’t. “I’m speaking for the people who aren’t standing up for themselves,” Brad interviews. “I feel like everybody’s in the same boat. Nobody’s better than anybody here.” Cut to Kina and Adam going through their respective farewells. Adam thanks Brad for sticking up for him, interviewing that he wanted to leave without feeling cheated, but he does feel like that.

Daytime. Tina talks to Angela, Sophia and Cynthia about cliques forming on the team. “People are afraid to speak their mind around here,” Tina claims, “because they’re going to get crucified for it.” Cynthia feels there wouldn’t be as much drama if the same people didn’t come back. I love Cynthia, even when she states the painfully obvious. Angela: “Basically, the girls who have done this for the last six years of their lives think that they have control over the house, and that they can bully people around. It’s a little shocking to them that the newer girls are outnumbering them.” She tells her comrades that she won’t back down. I get what she’s saying, but it there was any bullying, I bet we would have seen it. Remember Sarah? Or Katie? I’m probably dismissive since this is coming from Angela, whom I feel needs to go home, and soon. Sophia wants to be realistic, and she feels it’s impossible to be fair. Cynthia tells the ladies not to be bullied. “Don’t be afraid to confront,” she continues, “even if that means you gotta go home. You need to go home with your dignity.”

At the pool, Coral fools around with Tonya and Arissa, saying how great it would to win $60,000. “I play the game the way I play the game,” she interviews, “and everybody can kiss my ass.”

My thoughts? I do feel bad for Adam. Others hate him, but I got a soft spot in my heart for that knucklehead. That said, I like his ouster, because it proves that nobody is safe. In BOTS1, the men had a set system (lowest scorer goes home), and it resulted in minimal drama. With the new format, a team can perform perfectly in a mission, but would be forced to send somebody home anyway. This leads to drama, sabotage, anger, rage, and all the other stuff Bunim-Murray loves to give to us. I still miss the Gauntlet format, but I can live with this ... at least until somebody I like goes home.

Next time: Eating foul stuff. Blowing up cutouts. Aneesa vs. Ayanna, which is an extension of the battle that had in BOTS1 that never made it on air. Luckily, Lori managed to share with us, so you guys have something to gnaw on until Monday.

Wow. Definite high point. Dude on top of dude on top of dude. And the dude on top was Theo, who would have been considered in a "bromance" with James in Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour if that phrase had been coined. And nobody almost died!

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Battle of the Sexes 2 Episode 3: Slither

I know, I'm still taking my time with the recaps. I've been focused on work. And resting when I'm not working. And contemplating the fifty-car pileup that is Final Reckoning. Seriously, when I post these BOTS2 recaps, ask yourself this question: "Is there any point where Shane needs to be repeatedly slapped?" Needless to say, the boy is a disappointment in 2018. Back in 2004, he was tolerable . . . and probably not in the top half of people in this season that needed a beating.

Episode Aired: October 18 2004
Recap Posted: October 20, 2004 (wow, I think two days was my personal best)

We got snakes, we got drama, and we got Tonya going wild. Also, because nobody wanted it to happen: Coral and Abram get closer together.

After the high of the season opener, we need to unwind a little. Also, starts up their Fantasy Challenge. After lots of deliberation, fooling myself into thinking I knew what I was doing, I settled on Abram, Angela, Coral, and Tonya, with Mark and Tina warming the bench. My team name? "Broken Ox." I prefer to keep a little bit of The Amazing Race in my heart.

Previously on Battle of the Sexes 2: thirty-six former RW and RR cast members gathered in Santa Fe for fame and fortune. Okay, maybe just fortune. The guys won Dangle Drop. Brad interviews that he wants to win all the missions. The difference between him and Mark is that he wants to win, as opposed to Mark, who has probably emptied out a room in anticipation of holding the loot. The guys voted out Jacquese, breaking hearts in the viewing audience. Ruthie interviews that voting people off is the worst part of the game. The ladies voted off Genesis, which broke even more hearts. Ruthie thinks that her team has to start kicking ass.

Credits! I gotta make a confession. I can barely differentiate between the eighteen cast members from Survivor: Vanuatu. I can barely differentiate between the eighteen cast members from The Apprentice. On this show, however, I can tell all 36 cast members apart. I don't know if I should be proud or ashamed of that. To paraphrase an old saying, contempt does breed familiarity.

Resort. Pool party! A bunch of them are chilling in the people, others are playing deckside. In our first subplot, we see Coral and Abram close together. I start shuddering right away. Cameran thinks they're a weird sight. You and me both, sister. Nick doesn't know the deal with them and he's not about to pry. The couple seems strange to Theo. He probably hasn't seen Brigitte Nielsen and Flavor Flav together. Now that's strange.

More fun. Dan comes out of hiding, interviewing that Ace is the life of the party and a big smile and a big heart. Ace dances around like a dork. Adam interviews that Ace feels good about the relationships he has. Ace dorks it up some more. Adam reaches to pull Ace's pants down, exposing the territory south of the Mason-Dixon line. Ace: "As far as the girls go out here, they're all hot. I wanna hook up with all of them." Cut to Arissa, who's married and probably not interested.

Now we get to Tonya and her brief episode time. Seriously, the way MTV sold this installment, you'd think it was "Tonya Gone Wild!" She rubs herself on guitar-playing Dan. Shane interviews that she needs to "break it down" with Ace. Cut to Tonya and Ace coming out of a room (or closet), and she looks surprised. But then she gets over it and kisses Ace. Back at the pool, Tonya flashes her breasts. If she did that in Telluride during The Gauntlet, she would've knocked Matt into a coma.

Some of the girls ask Adam to do his "Real World Rap." No! Noooooo! Ladies, have you heard him rap? It's like opening up Pandora's Box. "I think the guys are here to have fun," Mark interviews. "When it's time to compete, we do. When it's time to have fun, we do that, too." And now... the rap:

Let's cut to the chase
I ain't got time to waste
I see that look on your face
When I walk in the place
You tell your friend, "Yo, this sounds dumb
"That guy right there, where do I know him from?
Yo, Paris, five months
What would you do, 23, overseas?
Spend weekends in a bathroom with a porno mag? Please!

Okay, maybe I'm harsh on Adam. On the scale of cruddy reality television poetry, that rates a 3.0 out of ten (the worst being "Blue" by Kaia from RW: Hawaii). But he is capable of worse, and we haven't seen him dance yet, so I'm holding off final judgment.

Arissa gets a clue off the sponsor phone. Derrick lays out the details: wearing bathing suit and shoes. Arissa interviews that the girls are pumped. "The boys are not going to take this from us," she adds. "We're really going to battle for it."

Daytime. "Snake Area" sign. The players take a long look at a case full of snakes big and little. Abram interviews that he hates snakes. I write that down, in case I ever meet him. The snakes hiss, while the players look really nervous. Adam: "God, are they really expecting us to get in this pit?" More hissing. For some reason, Ibis is wearing a ratty rainbow boa and tiara. Cut to shots of the smaller snakes biting human hands.

Jonny welcomes everybody to Snake Pit Poker. The two pits have approximately 125-150 snakes. Mike interviews that he almost peed himself. Jonny goes over the rules: each team appoints three leaders, one of whom will act as Pit Boss. Those individuals will stand by poker chip holders. The objective is to get in the pit, retrieve chips and get them into the holder as fast as possible. Each team has to have 175 chips in the holder, and players can only get five chips at a time, meaning everybody goes twice. The first to get all the chips in the holder wins. Jonny then goes into penalties: players can't start collecting while on a block then get on climbing into the pit. They can't go unless called in by the Pit Boss. Having more or less than 175 chips is also a penalty. All penalties result in one minute added on to the team's time. Sophia: "I hate snakes. I don't like them. I don't want to go in there, touching these rubbery things." Jonny shows off the spoils for the victors: bicycles priced at $600 apiece. He gives the teams 30 minutes to appoint leaders.

The boys huddle up. After debating, they pick Theo, Frank, and Brad to lead. Chris expositions that only the leaders talk while a player is in the pit. Brad feels comfortable about the mission. Abram remind us that the leaders are sticking their necks out, since one of them would go home should the team lose. On the ladies' side, Coral and Cameran step up. Cameran talks about if the team wins, and Ayanna doesn't want to hear "if." Cameran: "I think a lot of the girls take this way too seriously. It is a game, and we're supposed to be having fun." Once again: has she seen a Challenge before?

The snakes slither some more. The team leaders are announced, with Arissa joining Cameran and Coral as team leaders. "This is a sandbox, bro," Theo tells his team, "but there's no sand. There's snakes." It is true, you know. Coral instructs her team not to cheer or pay attention to the guys. She interviews that being quiet and having one communicator is important. That, and not riling up snakes. Steven: "I’m deathly, deathly, deathly afraid of snakes!" Once again, I make a note in case I meet him. You never know, right?

Jonny blows his airhorn to start things off. Abram and Aneesa go into the pits to get the chips. One of the girls gets bit. Mark stumbles climbing into the pit. Chris interviews that they have to take their time and not go fast. Veronica: "I see mouths and tongues coming at me. The snakes are looking at me like they want to eat me." Or proclaim you their queen. Ever think of that, Veronica? Theo trips over the glass, bloodying his leg. Jonny urges the women on. Coral interviews that her team is ripping it up. Steven interviews that his team went into the mission overconfident, and the girls have gone much faster. Ayanna slips coming out, and four teammates have to catch her. Abram interviews that his team has to speed it up.

Tonya goes into the pit, but she starts collecting chips while standing on the block. Jonny assesses a one-minute penalty on the women's team. She interviews that the penalty might bite her in the ass. Jonny indicates that she's still not off the box, and lays another penalty on her. Jonny sounds really irritated as he calls it out. Katie kneels on the box: one minute penalty. One of the guys gets bit. Coral shouts at Cameran to stop, but she barges into the pit unannounced. One minute penalty. Ace gets penalized for having a foot on the step. He interviews that he "absolutely sucks" in this mission. Abram charges in too early, earning a penalty. He interviews that the penalty "chopped [him] down a notch." Both teams finish up.

The referees count the chips. Robin interviews that both teams had penalties, and she hopes that guys counted wrong. Brad instructs his team to keep their eyes on the chips and not tip off the women.

Jonny announces the results. The women got four minutes in penalties and collected 176 chips, one chips over their limit. Their time: 15 minutes, three seconds. Coral tells us that she counted the chips, and she might be going home. For the guys: they got two minutes tacked on due to penalties and they collected 175 chips. Their time: 11:15. Both sides don't react until Jonny announces that the guys won. They celebrate. Mark: "I think the guys are gonna win every single mission in this tournament. Two-oh, baby! Two! Oh!" Man, shut up, Mark. Coral: "It sucks to lose to these cocky dudes that think they're always going to beat us. I just hate that." As do I, Coral. Jonny sends the teams back to deliberate who goes home: Brad, Frank, and Theo pick off a guy, while the ladies choose between Arissa, Cameran, and Coral. Ruthie interviews that it's hard to think about a friend going home. Shawn tells us that the guys vote on performance, which is subjective and difficult to do.

Main Lodge. The guys eat, deliberating what to do. Mike wants the best team in order to win every mission, and they have to trust each other to make the right decision. Sophia: "I want to see what ingenuous way they find to make it fair and objective." I admire the desire to see the boys sweat out a decision for once. But "ingenuous"? Has Sophia been hanging out with Theo? Mark foreshadows about looking at past performance. Eric adds that the guys should look at what happened in this mission.

Elsewhere, Abram lies on a bed with Coral nearby. It's not like that, although I still get squicked out thinking of them being together. Abram interviews that the penalty is a strike against him, but he doesn't think he'll be going home. "Abram is a wonderful competitor," Coral interviews, "and he is just a kick-ass guy."

Girls' Inner Circle. Rachel thinks there was nothing wrong with Cameran's leadership. Robin notes that Cameran was the only leader to be penalized. "Cameran was a safe bet," Katie interviews. "The newer people, it's easy to feel so emotional attached to them." Aneesa votes for Cameran. Sophia declares that she'll be a sheep, voting for Cameran. Most of the other ladies follow suit, with one of them actually bleating out her vote.

Boys' Inner Circle. The guys lean towards those who got penalized. Frank says he loves Ace, and that he's close to him. Brad reminds us that Ace and Abram were penalized. Frank says that it will come down to who did better during Dangle Drop. The guys look puzzled. Frank interviews that nobody did especially bad or good, so it is hard to determine who gets voted off.

Elimination Hill. Jonny calls for representatives to make the announcements. Robin comes up first to announce that Cameran is going home. Cameran wails in mock horror, so I guess she was expecting this. Robin adds that she's hoping to get the $60,000 prize money and share it with Cameran. Maybe they can rampage while dressed as Brad and Randy. Cameran tells the girls that they can win, and she has no hatred.

Theo steps up, with Eric's jump rope around his neck. I respect the neck to symbolize authority, but that's a disaster waiting to happen. He tells everybody that it was a tough decision to make. Is it Abram? Or Ace? It's Ace. There are no hard feelings among the guys, as they spray Ace down. Theo interviews that Ace went home based on his performance in Dangle Drop, falling off his bag early. "Last time, I went home first," Ace interviews. "This time, I went home second. Next Challenge, I'm gonna go home third!" Verily, Ace truly is the biggest dork who ever dorked. The guys hug Ace. Cameran declares that she's glad to go back home, where there's air conditioning and no snakes.

At the lodge, Ace gives Adam his straw hat, and they hug. The prevalent thinking is that Adam is a wee too attached to Ace, and who am I to dispute that? Adam interviews that this is the way Ace wanted to go out. Ace departs, and we have no footage of Cameran leaving.

Santa Fe. Blue Corn Café. Coral plays footsie with Abram. No, really, she rubs her foot on Abram's leg. I still can't believe this is happening. Abram interviews that his relationship with Coral gives him hope and joy. He continues: "There is no person that I ever met before that feels that there is much my equal and my match as Coral is. It's very challenging, but I like challenges." Coral: "Abe and I are extremely close. He is a very important part of my life. I'm very happy that he's here, and I want to spend as much time as I can with him." Ov vey. Now let's hear from Theo: "Coral and Abram seem to be getting along quite well, but come a couple more missions, it's not going to be possible. This is a shady ordeal, as far as the competition and elimination factor goes."

So ... why am I so turned off by Coral and Abram? It's all about him. Any time I think of Abram, I remember the bad stuff. The buttheaded behavior in South Pacific. The beatdown of Donell. The threesome with Rachel and Veronica. Getting a godawful Mohawk. Throwing a mission to get rid of Katie in the most humiliating way possible, then lying to her face about it. I understand that Coral isn't that much better, but she brings entertainment as she ranks on the hapless fools she meets. Do I want her to be happy? Sure. But I honestly don't feel that Abram is the right guy for her.

Next time: Nightclub! A girl takes off a guy's shirt in a car. Rachel talks to the girls, letting them know she's watching them for intensity. Mike thinks the girls will form an alliance. Tina calls Tonya a liar. The mission? Teams rubbing their bodies on giant blocks of ice, in what Angela dubs "a big gay porn."

My opinion of Abram hasn't changed much, though now I keep talking about him murdering and burying drifters all over the state of Montana. The thing with Coral seems a mystery . .. was he a substitute for Mike, since she couldn't wait for him forever? Then Abram gets into a relationship with Cara Maria. Cara Maria's original "hook" in Fresh Meat 2 was that she was a budding dominatrix. Could Abram have been secretly submissive? I mean, Coral probably would never put on any sort of "uniform" that goes with that position, but I can totally buy her being a "top." Abram is currently engaged, and you can see her on his Instagram. As much as I want to believe that he's better now, I really hope she has an escape plan. Or knockout gas. I don't see Abram murdering lovers, but if he's thrashing in his sleep, all bets would be off.

Ace would return in Gauntlet 2 lasting seven missions before Derrick bounced him out of the game. He returned three seasons later and -- miracle of miracles -- went the distance on the losing Good Guys team in Inferno 3. Sadly, he managed to duck out of an Inferno date, which lead to Timmy vs. Abram, leading to Timmy getting disqualified for not following the rules, and then announcing his retirement. Him, I miss. And he wouldn't come back like some people, MARK LONG. Cameran also did Gauntlet 2, quitting rather than face Kina in the Gauntlet. Now she's on Southern Charm, which I understand is a popular show.

Next time: an ice mission with no lasting injuries and maximum hilarity. Cue Veronica: "Blow and suck! Blow and suck! Use your hands!"

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Battle of the Sexes 2 Episodes 1-2: Follow the Leaders

It begins. One of the worst seasons in the history of The Challenge. Well, maybe it's just me. I'm posting this as Final Reckoning is airing . . . and that might be the absolute worse. I'm thinking of blogging abut that . . . but lets be real, I think about blogging a lot, but I seldom get around to it. Just a mess of twists and inconsistencies. Also, Shane is being a little bitch yet again. I miss Classic Challenge Shane. And there are Big Brother people there, and they can ruin anything.

Okay . . . shutting up about the present now. Moving on to the horror from the mid-2000s.

Episode Aired: October 11, 2004
Recap Posted: October 17, 2004

A new Battle brings new rules and new rivalries. Can the guys continue their dominance? Will the women be able to rebound? And what is Derrick doing with that frog?

Before we start officially forgetting the abysmal season that was The Inferno, I just want to thank you guys for reading my stuff. This is my fourth season; if I had a life, maybe I wouldn’t be doing this. Then again, making you guys happy after watching the Challenge makes me happy as well. Keep sending those e-mails.

We start with an Old West vibe, complete with rattlesnake noises. The guys are on a bus. Cut to a close-up of a man’s sandaled foot, tapping in anticipation. The girls are on another bus. Jonny Moseley, gold medalist and guy who really needs a career change, magically materializes. The buses arrive, and everybody piles out. Jonny welcomes everybody to the Vista Clara Resort & Spa in Santa Fe. Battle of the Sexes 2 is officially on.

Credits. This years theme is “Come Out Fighting” by The Vandals. The bad news: no ultra-cheesy opening sequence. It’s just eighteen pairs in front of a blue screen. There is cuteness, like Cynthia swiping Jacquese’s glasses, and Coral attempt to give Dan a noogie, but the lack of a third dimension bugs. If you want to try and figure out patterns, here are the pairs: Rachel/Nick, Adam/Ruthie, Frank/Kina, Ace/Arissa, Derrick/Katie, Jacquese/Cynthia, Veronica/Brad, Mike/Robin, Shawn/Ayanna, Mark/Tina, Sophia/Randy, Angela/Abram, Aneesa/Steven, Chris/Tonya, Coral/Dan, Cameran/Eric, Ibis/Theo, and Genesis/Shane. Take another look .... Coral and Mike aren’t together. End of an era, folks.

Back to the action: Jonny introduces himself. Coral’s wearing one of Mike’s “Miz” shirts, while Tonya’s top says “Boy Beater.” Make your own jokes. Jonny tells the kids that they’ll be competing every day foe $180,000 in prize money. The field will be narrowed down from 36 players to six. “I would do anything for this money,” Tina interviews. “I will stab a chick in the back if need be!” Good to know, Tina.

Jonny lays out the rules: once the teams find out what the mission is about, they appoint three team leaders who would be responsible for strategy. The leaders of the winning team decide who to send home. The losing team convenes to boot out one of the leaders. Coral cackles at the news. Rachel interviews that people are never safe in this game. Jonny dismisses the group, telling them to get ready for the first day.

As loyal viewers would expect, there’s a lot of awe as the players check into the lodges. Randy loves the ranch setting. Abram rides around on a bike inside. Dude, Dave Mirra was so last season. Eric lays claim to the “old guys room.” Jacquese interviews that it’s time for the new boys to step up.

At the main lounge, Cameran says hi to Coral, who doesn’t know who she is. Cameran interviews that she thought people would be friendlier. She voices her concerns to Robin, who interviews about not feeling the need to prove herself to anybody. Katie high-fives Kina. “I came back to do this Challenge,” Katie interviews, “because I won the last one, and it avoids getting a real job.” At least she’s honest. Veronica interviews that she and Katie don’t actively hate each other. Damn… so much for looking forward to their seasonal fight. It would’ve been tough for Katie to top her tantrum from last season.

Derrick starts yelling, clearly happy about his new surroundings. He interviews that being a new guy is a demerit since the veterans are in their cliques. The guys sort out their beds. Nick: “Can I sleep on top of you, Shane?” It’s the first day, Nick! Take it easy! Ace interviews that he’ll be going all-out this time. “If there’s going to be a safety cord,” he adds, “I’m like, ‘No safety cord!’” Can you say “overcompensation?” Guy gets ripped after he couldn’t handle a few dozen bugs to his face, and suddenly he’s Evel Knievel. Mark expositions that there’s a 200-yard dirt path between the boys and girls’ lodge. Theo contemplates getting naked in the pool.

At the girls’ lodge, Aneesa sings a happy tune about the number of lesbians on her team. “With girls, it gets a little catty, it gets a little petty,” she interviews. “I’m hoping it’s not going to happen.” Cynthia interviews that she’s a mother to a two-year-old son. To her credit, she didn’t bring the kid over with her. That only works if you’re Dutch and insane, like Belou. Kina interviews about moving into her first apartment and looking for a job.

Eric and Coral relaxing on massage chair. Mike and Coral indulge us in half-assed impressions of Dave Chappelle impersonation Rick James. “It’s a celebration, bitches!” is so old. How much do you bet that he’ll be doing Dave doing Lil Jon before he leaves? “Coral on the opposite team is going to be so great,” Mike interviews, “because she is going to just screw with all those girls’ minds.” Coral: “My motive is to win all the cash, all the prizes, and to cuss a couple of bitches out.” She’s gotta play to her strengths. Derrick shows off a beer funnel to Adam and Jacquese. Rachel: “You will see me on Senior Citizens Challenge when we’re all 60.” Some of the guys ride around in a golf cart, and they slam into Derrick. “Derrick is blunt and brash,” Nick interviews. “He’s a character.”

A time lapse shot segues into the sponsor phones ringing. Mark and Genesis read the clues. In the women’s lodge, you can see Sophia dancing. It’s her hair ... makes her easy to pick out. The details: get on the buses at 7:45 a.m., and wear bathing suits for getting wet. Jacquese tells us that he can’t swim. Oh, Ja. You never learned after being stuck in the life jacket during your season? It’s one of the first rules of reality television: learn to swim!

Girls meeting. Everybody debates on how to eliminate. Ruthie interviews that there’s a separation between the new girls and the veterans. Rachel and Angela go back and forth. “I think we all know who the ringleaders are,” Angela interviews. “They’re the bullies.” Sounds like something I’d say, but we’ll get back to that later. Ruthie tells us that Angela and Rachel got off on the wrong foot, since Rachel told her to take notes. Rachel lectures the women about “stepping out of your pride” to listen to the leaders. Veronica asks Tonya if she’d take her top off, an obvious dig at the Battle of the Opposite Sexes fiasco from two years back. Tonya: “I’ll eat it, suck it dig it, swim it!” She interviews about being a competitor, and she wants everybody to see that.

Guys meeting. Eric introduces the jump rope, which a guy must hold to speak. You’re thinking that Eric is a leader for making rules ... until you find out that he has starred in a number of jump rope exercise DVDs. [2018: is defunct, and that's probably for the best.] Trust me ... you will learn to hate the jump rope. Adam expresses the need to play fair. “I’m here to do three things,” he interviews. “Maintain old friendships [shot of ex-roommate Ace], make new friendships [shot of Chris, which could be foreshadowing], and win that [bleepin’] money.” Mike tells the new kids to prove themselves and have fun. Derrick goes on about respecting one another and “not be conniving little bitches.” At this comment, Shane looks shocked. Chris interviews that Derrick hasn’t left a good impression. Mark: “Unless the missions are Dust the House or Do Laundry or something like that, I think we’re going to win every mission.” I don’t know if this stems from Mark’s divorce, or if he’s just trying to rally the troops. But to me, this is the first sign that our love affair with Mark is coming to an end. Tina: “Those guys’ heads are so far up their own ass!” Cut to Mark breaking a stick off Eric’s leg.

Sunset. Derrick is having fun, bringing booze for the ladies. He talks to Eric about not getting hung over. Eric has the jump rope around his neck, like a scarf. Yikes. He interviews that Derrick’s drinking causes concern. “It shows signs of weakness,” he goes on. “This is a competition. We’re here to perform. Partying will affect performance.” Derrick gets away from Eric and Chris (wearing a t-shirt which says “no.”) to get some alone time. “I’m a rebel,” he tells us. “I’m a renegade. Whatever you want to call it.” He then engages in a classic outsider activity: following a frog around and talking to it. He even sings “My buddy, my buddy” to it. Cut to people in the pool having fun. “See?” Derrick sighs to the frog. “This is why I have you.” Sounds like somebody needs another heart-to-heart with Chris.[2018: I think the link originally went to a RNO recap covering the X-Treme/South Pacific face-off on Road Rules.]

Daytime! The kids roll into the mission site and pile out. Abram and Coral walk together, and I get a little nauseous. Jonny welcomes everybody to Cochiti Lake and the first mission: Dangle Drop. The deal: a contraption is set up over the water, holding nine punching bags. The players must hold onto the bags as long as possible. The winners of each of the four heats go on to the final to decide the mission’s winner. The prize: Student City Spring Break trips to Cancun, worth $90,000 ($5,000 per person). Eric seems enthused, even though he belongs at Spring Break as much as he does on Santa’s lap. Jonny gives the teams 30 minutes to decide who the leaders will be.

The boys huddle up, and Abram steps up to be a leader. He interviews that he needs to start things off right. Eric and Adam follow. Steven reminds us that if the guys lose, one of the leaders will be going home. And that’s all we get from Steven this week. Maybe the editors are ticked off that his hair is short and he’s not starting drama. Over on the women’s side, Genesis has ideas, so she volunteers. Tina steps up, having no fear of losing the mission. Rachel completes the leader list. “It’s good,” Coral interviews, “because if we lose, then we can vote Tina off.” Either she’s joking, or she wants a repeat of their Gauntlet, complete with Coral’s patented Evil Witch Stare.

Jonny calls up the team leaders, and they put their respective nameplates on a board. Jonny tosses a coin to determine who gets to set up position first. Genesis calls heads, but the coin lands on tails. As a result, the guys get first position and get to pick either four or five people on the bags in the heat.

Rachel starts picking people, going with Katie, Ayanna and Arissa. Genesis interviews that there are some people she can’t trust, naming Coral, Veronica and Rachel. Looking for filler, Rachel brings up Angela. Watch out, Rachel ... Angela’s packin’ adjectives. “It’s one thing to not like me for some obscure, jealous, bitchy, childish, high school reason,” she interviews. “But it’s another thing to make it affect me in the mission.” Maybe Rachel meant “filler” in the best possible way. Ever think of that? Theo thinks Derrick might be a liability. He adds, “This guy’s a contraption waiting to happen.” See, Theo can get nasty, but the way he says it is usually funny. Derrick volunteers for the first heat, looking to gain respect from his peers. Chris: “Hold your hats tight, because it’s gonna get crazy.”

The guys and girls hug one other as they prepare. Ruthie interviews that the guys have been talking smack, and the girls have to kick ass. Jonny goes over the rules again, adding that the players have 15 seconds to get positioned on the bag. Genesis expositions that holding the bag over the seam or grabbing the chain results in a disqualification, but players can rest their chins over the seam. Jonny blows his airhorn, and the players get on. A second blow, and the rig slowly positions everybody over the lake. The editors put cards on both sides of the screen to show who is doing the heat. It’s mildly annoying, but it’s informative. For the women: Ayanna, Veronica, Arissa, Katie and Robin. For the men: Steven, Eric, Derrick and Chris. Everybody hangs on, and those on the beach look on.

Veronica is the first to slide off. Yeah, that did make me happy. Shawn (who?) sees Arissa dangling from the bottom of the bag, ready to fall. “Arissa’s solid,” Coral spins. “I don’t know what Arissa you’re looking at. She’s just readjusting.” Arissa apologizes to her comrades before falling. Cut to a rafter shot of Katie. Cut to Theo: “If that was a big Marlboro, Katie would hang on all day.” The other guys laugh, as do I. Katie slips off ... but she’s officially one-up on Veronica today. Robin yells before falling. Ayanna struggles, climbing back up the bag, but she drops. It’s a clean sweep for the boys, and their sidelined crew celebrates. “I think the guys’ team is really, really funny,” Tonya interviews. “I feel like they’re constantly just trying to show off. I think they’re ridiculous. I’m hoping that was edited out of context, for her sake. The guys drop off. This heat’s winner: Derrick the Frog Whisperer. Mark interviews that he thought Derrick was abrasive. “The guy’s an animal,” Mark adds. “I think he’s going to be an asset to this tea,.” Eric declares that there’s no reason why every guys shouldn’t beat every girl.

Heat Two. For the women: Kina, Tina, Aneesa and Cynthia. For the men: Mark, Shawn, Abram, Brad and Ace. Kina drops right away, followed by Cynthia and Aneesa. “I don’t like to say it looks grim,” Coral interviews, “but [bleep] is grim.” Tina interviews that she’s trying to psyche out the guys by telling them she can hang on all day. Ace drops, followed by Shawn. Coral admires Mark’s legs before he drops. Brad drops. Now it’s a showdown between Tina and Abram. “I’m up there with a freak of nature,” Tina interviews. “It’s Abe!” She adds that she’s numb and sweaty. Sure enough, she falls off, giving Abram the second heat. Tina tells us that her sweat causes the fall.

Mark interviews that the girls don’t have a prayer to win the mission. I’m starting to lose my patience with Mark, and it’s only the first week. Genesis goes off to mediate. She interviews: “I think that now we’re just about pissed off enough to hang on as long as we can to take this home.”

Heat Three. Jonny demonstrates lifting on the bag, saying that lifting arms and elbows above the seam will be called. Coral interviews that her team has to prove to the guys that they can win. For the women: Ibis, Ruthie, Rachel, Sophia and Genesis. For the men: Theo, Mike, Adam and Frank. Coral talks trash at Mike from the beach. Ibis drops. Jonny hustles over to the pier, bullhorn in hand. Mike adjusts his position on his bag, only to be called out by Jonny. Sophia drops. Jonny tells Adam that he’s out. Adam lets go with his arms, hanging onto the bag by his legs. Adam is one interesting guy, I can say that much. Frank expositions that Mike and Adam were called out because they held onto their bags above the seam. Adam does a 360 into the water. Genesis slides off. The guys on the beach cheer, sensing another win. The remaining players hold onto their bags, and Frank smooches his. Genesis gets sympathy hugs from some of her teammates, and she tells Aneesa that if the team loses, one of the leaders will go home. Frank drops. Rachel adjusts her position, while Ruthie looks peaceful. Finally, Theo slips off his bag, giving the victory to the ladies. Ruthie drops from her bag, advancing Rachel to the final round.

Heat Four. For the women: Angela, Tonya, Coral and Cameran. For the men: Nick, Randy, Dan, Shane and Jacquese. Shawn yells encouragement to Jacquese, but he slips off. Mark notes that Jacquese fell faster than any of the guys. Cameran drops, screaming on her way down. She interviews, “I think a lot of the girls that have done this make you feel, in a subtle way, like they’re better than you.” Shane struggles before sliding off. Nick drops. The girls shout encouragement to Angela. And now it’s time for Out Of Context Theater. “I don’t think Angela’s a positive influence on our team,” Rachel interviews,” and I am a good judge of character.” This coming from a girl who was out to bulldoze Sarah in The Gauntlet. I’m not ready to let that go just yet. Anyway, Angela falls, followed by Randy. Dan holds tight, shaking hard. Coral interviews about telling Tonya to hold on, but she ends up dropping. So now it’s Coral versus Dan. Seriously, I’d put my money on Dan, since he’s been Superman throughout his career. Coral climbs up the bag. Dan shakes, then falls off. Coral advances, and she’s now 1-0 on Mike in this Challenge. Go figure. Abram goes over the winners and laughs, unable to believe that Coral won.

After commercials, Jonny brings in the heat winners: Derrick, Abram, Rachel and Coral. As they get on the bags to start the final heat, Rachel interviews that she and Coral had no time to rest. Both sides look on as the bags go over the water. Katie’s screeches for her teammates pierces the air. Unable to wrap her legs around her bag, Coral struggles and drops. The guys cheer. Rachel adjusts her position ... and sees that Angela and Cameran are playing in the water, not even watching her. As much as I don’t like Rachel, she has a legitimate beef. “If she doesn’t win,” Angela interviews with Cameran standing behind her, “maybe I see what I can do and get her to go home, because I know that’s her plan for me.” I hate them both now. Back at the mission, Rachel grimaces on her bag. The guys seem comfortable where they are. Derrick interviews that he wants Rachel to fall. Rachel tells us she has no strength in her arms. Sure enough, Rachel drops. Game Over, guys win. Adam sets a speed record trying to get to Abram and Derrick, and he nearly kills three other guys before falling in the water. Derrick and Abram hang from the rafters before falling off. Jacquese foreshadows that Derrick stepped up, and he would’ve been the first voted out. Rachel: “I think if somebody sends me home, you’re gonna see some broken noses tonight, that’s all I gotta say.” I reckon shouting “This game is ug-lay!” is passe nowadays.

Denouement. Jonny awards the prize package to the guys. The guys’ Inner Circle will be their three team leaders. The girls’ Inner Circle will be everybody but their leaders. He gives both sides one hour to deliberate.

Adam expositions that the Inner Circles go back to their respective lodges, while those on the chopping block wait at the Main Lodge. Tina interviews that the vote will come down to her and Genesis, and she thinks that performed well enough to stay on. Genesis feels it is difficult for her team to decide. Mike feels he performed like crap, since he rarely gets disqualified. Jacquese feels that it’s a Catch-22 trying to do good. Ace feels that it is tough to decide who goes home without a points system, and he adds that the new guys would go first.

Outside, Angela tells Derrick that the guys won last time because they weren’t catty. I would add that Emily did a lot of damage with her “bloody axe” before leaving her teammates in the lurch. Angela adds, “I never had to not trust 35 people.” Hey, welcome to my world. Derrick thinks it’s not about trusting people, but rather on performance.

Boys’ Inner Circle. Abram brings up Jacquese, and the others agree. Eric tells us that whoever didn’t “show up” in the mission had to go. Adam agrees, since Jacquese fell first. Abram adds that even the guys who got disqualified hung on longer than him. “I’m ecstatic to be here,” Adam interviews, “but it is kind of bittersweet, because you got to take a guy you know is a good guy, and give him his pink slip.” [2018: "Adam"? Looking at one headache, typing the name of a different one.]

Rachel tells us that there’s a battle of power in the Girls’ Inner Circle. Inside the lounge, the girls snack and get their meeting underway. Sophia feels that the vote is between Genesis and Tina, since Rachel deserved her spot on the team. The others agree, but Angela doesn’t. She feels that Rachel wouldn’t listen to her. She asks the others to give her more encouragement when they lead her. “I feel like Angela is dead weight,” Coral interviews. “She’s a nice girl, but she doesn’t know how to win.” As opposed to Coral herself, who has lost her last two Challenges. But hey ... if Coral finds somebody dumb enough to verbally smack around, then I’m happy.

Cynthia feels Rachel is a good player, but Genesis and Tina motivate her. Ibis feels goodness from Genesis. Ayanna feels that Tina stepped up, and that she loves Genesis, but Tina held on to the bag for so long. Veronica votes for Genesis. Katie feels that Tina wants it more. Cameran doesn’t have a vote of her own. Ayanna asks if anybody can abstain, and the others shout her down. Coral’s vocal opposition is so strong, Ayanna withdraws while shouting “daaaanng!” It’s all in good fun ... for now, anyway. Cameran: “Not everybody is here to win that money. Some of us are here to try and chill out, meet cool people, play a game and have fun.” Anybody else think Cameran should have stayed home to do those things? She votes for Rachel, and Coral thinks Cameran is crazy, given how Rachel beat most of the guys.

Tina gets votes from Ibis, Robin, Kina and Ibis.  Ruthie feels like throwing up and starts to break down. She interviews that she can’t vote out Genesis, but Tina had such a great performance. She is unable to make up her mind as we head for commercials.

Welcome to Elimination Hill. Jonny asks each team to bring up a representative to delivery the verdicts. The guys send in Eric and his jump rope/scarf, the girls go with Sophia. Eric explains that the vote was based on ability, and that Jacquese is going home. Jacquese smiles, which is basically in his character to do. The guys are all smiles and no hard feelings.

Sophia’s turn. She declares that the vote was “more than impossible.” She keeps going, on the verge of tears, and boots Genesis from the game. Genesis is more worried about Sophia’s well-being, and has to comfort her. Just once, I’d like to see the men break down in tears over a decision, for the sake of novelty. Genesis laughs in her interview, saying that she thought being a leader seemed to be the right thing to do. After a girls group hug, Jonny gives Jacquese and Genesis until 10 p.m. to pack up and leave.

Jacquese packs his bags. “We’re all going to be going home,” Theo drawls. “It’s just different days.” Jacquese jokes about getting a free trip. He says goodbye to Derrick (wearing a Miz shirt) and hugs Abram. “I’m not upset that I’m leaving,” he interviews. “It kinda sucks to leave first, but it’s all good.” I guess he’s too punk rock for this cast. Yeah, I don’t actively hate Frankie, but I couldn’t let that line go by.

Genesis packs up, as a piano plays a mournful tune. It’s kinda funny that the woman whom made thefirst elimination announcement at BOTS1 is the first to go home in BOTS2. “I’m really rooting on the fact that the girls are going to finally win this year,” she interviews. “Their energy is great right now, and I hope that they carry that with them throughout the rest of the competition.” She hugs Rachel and Aneesa. She and Jacquese get into cars and exit, stage right.

Night lapses into day. A snake slithers on the ground. Random animal shot, or blatant symbolism? Inside, Angela cries as she gets hugged by comforting females. She interviews about being a target after speaking out against Rachel. She tells the women about wishing to have the balls to be strong. Tonya cocks an eyebrow, but Sophia encourages her to let it out and not be intimated. Remember, the Challenge was filmed around the time Road Rules: X-Treme was airing, so there’s a chance Sophia never saw Angela in action.

Elsewhere, some of the veterans (and Arissa) chill out. Coral and Rachel talk about the number of Challenge they’ve done, then attempt to name all of Veronica’s Challenges. In case you’re keeping score: Challenge 2000, Battle of the Seasons, Battle of the Sexes, The Gauntlet, The Inferno and Battle of the Sexes 2. “The next time Angela is in a voting-off position,” Veronica interviews, “she will probably be the one to go. She doesn’t know who she’s messing with.” How bad is Angela? Bad enough to have me agreeing with Veronica.

Onto the lighter side of Santa Fe: Tonya and Ayanna plot to swipe one of the massage chairs at the guys’ lodge, since the women have none. Next thing, the guys try to hold off the girls, but she manage to grab one (with Mike still attached) and ride it off in a truck. Abram’s retaliation? Swipe the toliet seats in the girls’ lodge. He goes solo, slipping into the bathrooms and unscrewing the seats. That just screams “Abram,” wouldn’t you agree? He tells Mark, who loves it. Fade to black.

Two episodes down, roughly fifteen to go. What’s coming up next? Bicycle stunts. Tina to Tonya: “You’re the biggest liar in this [Oedipus Rexin’] house!” Players get bit by snakes. Eric: “The best guy in the world versus the best girl in the world, the guy is going to win every time.” Shut it, old man. Go down to Florida and watch the big dogs chase the bunny around the track. Angela cries on the cell phone. Adam and Brad grouse about the treatment of rookies. Wild West-like showdown with paintballs. Katie: “Yippie kay yay, [Oedipus Rex]!” Teams paddle with boards. Mike: “Girls suck at challenges.” Coral yells at Eric. Jonny reminds everybody of the no-violence policy. Cut to Shane with his head bowed. Somehow, I don’t think Shane would be going home. He learned his lesson in his season against Darrell. Ayanna: “I slept in my uniform last night because I wanted to win today!”

Club footage. Random dancing. Ruthie: “Half of the team is lesbians, and the others are bisexual.” Coral hugs a guy, and it’s clear that somebody is going home. That’s the question of this Challenge: who lasts longer? Mike or Coral? Teams rub their bodies on ice blocks. Stuff gets tossed into a wood chipper and the players catch it with buckets held on their heads. Mark gets covered in leeches. Ruthie and Sophia tug on chains. Sky diving. Tina: “You the only bitch who’s bitchin’ about [long bleep!]” Tonya: “When you watch the show, you’ll find out, okay?” Tina: “I’ll watch the show! We’ll see what they [bleeping] say about your white [Oedipus Rexin’] ass!” Yes, I can’t wait to see what I have to say about Tonya’s ass, either.

 Sophia breaking down would be a running trope that season. Once again: I had interviewed her in 2001, and I was rooting for her. Seeing her in tears was not fun here. It would get worse down the line.

I was spoiled on the first two sets of eliminations. Jacquese getting voted off first was sad. For me, he was the best cast member from Real World: San Diego. I mean, Brad was the dopey meathead, Randy was the dopey stoner-type, but I would've gotten along better with Jacquese. He was sane and funny, which I found was a rare mix on BMP shows. For the hell of it, I searched his name in Facebook, and I found this. He doesn't post much; my takeaway was his current picture. I never would have pegged him for a beard. I did miss him. Meanwhile, we got bug-eyed Brad on The Challenge, with the relationship with the younger Britni. Not unlike the Mark/Robin situation, as you'll see the the recaps to come.