Welcome back my friends, to the crap that never ends. MTV pulled a fast one on us…instead of previewing The Inferno 2, they decided to spend 30 minutes on Challenge history. There are too many clips, so I’ll try and skip some of them. You want to annotate this episode? Get your own blog. I got twenty pages of notes, so I have my work cut out for me as it is.
We cut to Mike getting off the plane in Telluride for The Gauntlet, bellowing, “Kiss my ass, baby!” Charming. Voiceover Guy goes on about “one part Real World.” Cut to Frankie screeching in San Diego. Yeah, I don’t know. “One part Road Rules.” We get the wind sailing mission, from the very first episode. The result? “The most unique reality show on television.” I honestly don’t know about that. Blah blah blah, RW alumni vs. their RR counterparts. We see the bungee mission from All-Star Challenge and the Heavyweight Hustle from Gauntlet. Blah blah blah, each season brings new rules and new teams. Voiceover Guy: “Players will do anything.” Cut to David soaking in crap in his Inferno, and Julie attempting to kill Veronica. More on that later. VOG: “Seriously … anything!” Cut to Mark in Battle of the Sexes 2, cover in worms and bugs.
Now we see the show as a documentary, as we see production people milling about. Turns out we’re going inside the Challenges for the untold story. We see Abram in the tub with Rachel and Veronica. Actually, I’ve heard that story before, and I don’t want to go there again. We also have Coral guarding the VIP Room in Battle of the Seasons. VOG promises us surprises. Cut to David Edwards spitting on Puck in Battle of the Sexes. No, that’s not a typo. We’ll see the Human Catapult. Cut to guys wrestling, and Katie’s meltdown on Veronica in The Inferno. Next, there’s random make-out sessions. And we get something from Inferno 2. Namely, Tonya grabbing a bag, taking it down the stairs (with a camera crew following her), and dumping it into a pool. Beth: “You’re gonna fucking die if my shit is damaged!” Go, Tonya!
After the credits, we see the opening credits to Seasons, with Mike in full-on “Miz” mode, shouting, “ARE! YOU! READY?!!?!” Such a freakin’ tool, I swear. VOG goes on about how it all started with The Real World back in 1992. We see Eric Nies getting interviewed about how can’t do this with other people. Eric was cute back then, before the supplements, hair recession and jump ropes. Since RW was a hit, the concept was taken a step further with Road Rules three years later. We cut to Los trying to christen the Winnebago, but finding himself unable to break the bottle. With both shows being “monster hits,” it was only a matter of time before their paths crossed.
Our first interview subject is Jonathan Murray, the grand poobah of the franchises. He says that one of the producers got the idea for the RR kids to do something to RW. We go to the Season Two kids scamming their way into the Miami house, and stealing the eight ball from the pool table. Clay Newbill (former RR producer/director) adds that the ratings were great, and the RW staff wanted payback. This lead to the first Challenge, between RR: Islands and RW: Boston, which was held in Puerto Rico. We cut to Syrus leaping from one platform to another, banging his leg in the process. Murray interviews that the crossovers provided big ratings. “It was pretty clear to us,” he adds, “that there was potential here to create a new series for MTV.” Of course, we’re talking about the Challenge, which was a “monster hit.” Cue up Challenge 2000, with mud football and Piggy trying to wrestle Heather B. VOG: “Viewers love seeing their favorites cast members put their lives on the line.” I love seeing humiliation, but that might be me. Cut to the bungee jumping of Stratos-Fear in 2000. Good times.
VOG loses creditability by saying that no Challenge was as “riveting” as the time Julie and Veronica went at it in Inferno. Lisa Fletcher (director) goes over the rules to Grope the Rope, where players had to climb a rope hand-over-hand, seventeen stories above the ground. When RW fell behind, Julie had to knock Veronica off in order for her team to win. Lisa interviews that somebody had told Veronica that Julie would jump her. We see the two psychos tugging at each other midway through the rope. Veronica interviews that they were there for nearly an hour. Lisa adds that Julie got more aggravated and frustrated. “Hey,” Veronica shouts at Julie, “stop molesting my fucking vagina, you Mormon!” The pair arguing and tug on each other’s ropes. Julie, her dyed blonde hair, and all 548 front teeth interviews that she was exhausted as well. We turn to ineffectual host Dave Mirra getting on the bullhorn, informing the girls that they ha done minute to finish up. Julie: “I had to win!”
We cut to Jeremy’s face as he waits on the balcony, his features going into “what the hell?” mode. Julie yanks on Veronica safety harness. Pizzi interviews that the crew was radioing each other, and nobody believed what was happening. Christine Reed (associate producer) adds that everybody is shocked that this is going on. Julie: “All I can hear is yelling, and I’m thinking they’re cheering for me to go on more. So I’m doing it harder!” Wow. Should I save my venom for next week, or start in right now? Julie shook on Veronica some more. Russell Jay (senior segment producer) confirms that Julie thought her teammates were encouraging her. Cut to Jeremy: “DON’T TOUCH THE SAFETY LINE!” Russell adds that production was waving their arms and screaming in order to stop Julie. Veronica goes on, saying that her fear was validated that the look in the eyes of the crew. Eventually, the pair broke apart. Veronica tells us that she was shaking five minutes afterwards. On the balcony, Coral yells to Veronica, insisting that she’s fine. Timmy and Jeremy look stunned by what just happened. Julie interviews that she wasn’t trying to kill Veronica. We get the clip of Julie telling Veronica that she was only trying to win money, and Veronica telling her to shut up. Julie: “If I was gonna try and kill Veronica, I’d just get a knife and stab her in the heart!” She says this with a big smile on her face. And she’s a member of the “nice” team this season? Oy. Cut to Julie turning to the camera, making crybaby motions. Hate her. Hate her so much.
We flash forward to Inferno 2, as VOG tells us that the crew tests missions beforehand. We see two people swing from a crane over water. Murray interviews that he has a “crazy group” of producers and kids out of college come up with missions. Given all the crappy missions in the last two seasons, I think that I’m entitled to names and addresses. One of the people drops into the water, trying to hit a target. Lisa Nielsen (associate producer) interviews that missions are tested before the cast gets to the location. Pizzi adds that they think of everything that can go wrong with the mission.
VOG tells us that missions deemed too dangerous are scrapped. There has been one exception: the Human Catapult in Extreme. Yes, it is what it sounds like. As James grins like an idiot and Syrus has a stunned look, we see people launched from a catapult into the safety of two nets. This was the only mission never to make the final cut. Pizzi: “God, we thought that was a good idea.” Matt Valentine (camera operator) interviews that half the contestants were interested, and most of them were shocked. We cut to Laterrian, begging to be the first one to go. Soon, we see two people come out; a lady on crutches and a guy in a wheelchair. Pizzi tells us they were folks who tested the catapult. Valentine: “We really didn’t want to kill any cast members.” They could have fooled me. Murray adds that he wasn’t convinced that the mission was safe enough. “The people that create these missions are only human,” Syrus interviews. “Mistakes can happen. They will happen.” We get a quick clip of a player diving for the rope in All or Nothing. Mike: “I always seem to go through them because danger’s my middle name.” When was the last Austin Powers movie? Shut up, Mike.
After commercials (and a few teasers), we move on to the “romance” segment, with appropriate clips. Theo compares going after girls to a buffet. Tonya: “When we get stuck alone for a month, everybody starts looking good.” More clips, including CT in a thong. There wasn’t anything romantic about that. Eric interviews that everybody just wants to have fun. “What happens at the Challenge,” he adds, “stays at the Challenge.” How orignal of him. Shaddup, Jump Rope Boy. After we see clips of James running around the RVs naked (also not on-topic, but funny nonetheless) and Dan and Yes making out (part of Truth and Dare, honest!), VOG tells us that the cameras are always rolling.
Now we go to the infamous threesome between Abram, Rachel and Veronica from Gauntlet. And I had just scrubbed it out of my brain. Abram gives the camera a big smile and two thumbs up. VOG tells us that the hottest action was left on the cutting room floor. Russell Jay interviews that the edited version didn’t do it justice. Rachel adds that her mother didn’t think it was that bad. We see cast members go in and out of the bathroom while the trio has their fun. Mike takes the time to order the girls to give “Mini-Miz” a kiss. Rachel adds that she didn’t realize at the team how open they were. We see Theo yelling for them to get out of the shower. Rachel: “I think it was innocent fun.”
VOG goes on about how the trio helped camera operators get a better look in the shower. Pizzi interviews that they didn’t try to hide things. “They were practically squeegeeing the shower,” she adds, “so we can get a better shot.” Lisa Fletcher: “It was fun, it was hot. They were okay with it being on camera.” Why am I not surprised? I wonder what Rachel’s mother thinks now. We see Adam laughing about how disgusting it is: “You guys should eat from a fucking trough, you’re so disgusting!” Shut up, Adam.
VOG segues into how some cast members go through great lengths to protect their hookups. Cut to Tara bailing from Mike’s bedside, trying to pretend nothing happened. Rachel: “If you think you see a lot on the show, multiply it three times that, and that’s how much hooking up is going on.” VOG goes into how Theo was oh-for-two hiding his Challenge romances. That would be his flings with Coral and Becky on Seasons, even though they never made it on air. But it turns out that he had something going on in Gauntlet with Sarah. Yes, that Sarah. I’m dying a little as I type this out. Theo interviews that their relationship wasn’t shown. He continues, “We spent a little bit of time behind closet doors, checking each other’s temperatures.” Okay, I know she’s a grown woman and capable of making her own choices … but did she have to do that with the swamp rat? Pizzi adds that the cameramen saw them hanging out, but never caught them doing anything more. Theo goes on about they fooled around at night. “If you wake up in the middle of the night in one of these Challenges,” he adds, “and just kinda peek around the beds around you, there’s always people moving around.” For some reason, the editors spliced in Alton and Irulan from their RW season.
While the cameramen couldn’t catch Theo and Sarah together, they couldn’t fool the others. Mike: “Yeah, those sheets were getting dirty.” This is killing me. We get a shot of the pair working on a crossword puzzle. Veronica and Rachel have an interview together, with big smiles on their faces. I want to throw up, you don’t even know. They interviews that “crossword puzzle” was code for something other. We cut to right before the threesome, where they were making fun of Theo and Sarah. At the time, this sickened me, since Theo had bailed Sarah out of a date with the Gauntlet, and I interpreted their little gossip as bitterness that the allegedly weak Sarah was still in the game. I’m just galled that Rachel was right about Sarah. On the other hand, at least Sarah tried to keep it off-camera, as opposed to thieving and butterfaced bitches who make their own adult movies with some Dennis the Menace-looking butthead. Can you tell that I’m taking this too seriously?
We go back to Seasons, and Hurricane Juliette halting production in Cabo San Lucas. Russell Jay interviews that the kids were locked up for a week, and they were antsy to get out. Theo goes on about how they decided to throw a toga party. Cut to scenes of wild toga fun, complete with Slappy Stephen and his wild palm crown. But it turns out that the real action went on in the VIP room, with Coral playing doorman. It was, in VOG’s words, “the wildest group hook-up in reality TV history.” Is that really something to be proud about? Mike interviews that the only way to get in was if Coral saw some private parts. Clip of Coral: “To get in the VIP Room, I need to see a body part, and we’re not talkin’ elbows, honey.” Mikes goes on about certain things would happen. He adds, “People were getting massages in cool, awesome places.” Theo interviews that he stuck a camera into the room and took a picture. “When I got it developed,” he adds, “let’s just say you can see all sorts of body parts. Totally not my speed, but at the same time, really surprising.”
After commercials, we get various missions: the paintball game from Extreme, Mudbath from Gauntlet, Mike kicking Abram’s butt in the Gauntlet, and the All or Nothing mission. VOG goes on about how competition can bring out the best and worst in players. We cut to Katie going up against Julie in the Inferno. “Wait til I get off this!” Katie snipes at Julie. “You think fucking Coral’s a bitch, wait til you fuck with me!” As always, Coral’s open-mouthed smile is priceless. More clips: Coral cussing out Julie, Steven smacking Shane upside the head, random wrestling from Inferno, Mike grappling with Abram, Puck spitting water at David Edwards, and Trishelle bitching out Coral. Mark interviews that there is going to be huge fights. Cut to Extreme, where Syrus comes close to pounding James into fratburgers. Theo: “You have some kids that are complete assholes, you have some kids that are complete idiots. Sprinkle in a little gunpowder, a couple of weird prizes, and one of these little assholes goes crazy and wants to cut somebody’s head off.” We then see the Gauntlet clip of Alton losing it and having to be held back by Nathan. The funny part was that Alton wanted to kill Theo, after he told Alton to help girlfriend Irulan pack following her loss in the Gauntlet. Blink and you’ll miss the 2000 clip of Amaya clotheslining Veronica. Good times.
As we see Sarah cry after beating good friend Rachel Braband in the Gauntlet, Jeff Oliver (story editor) interviews that they get the most drama when somebody is convinced they’re about to get voted out. We cut to Gauntlet where Katie yells at Veronica for voting her out. Rachel interviews that it was actually her who voted for Katie. The drama carried over into Inferno, where Veronica did everything she could to get Katie dumped. We see her scheming with her RR teammates, and that leads to the squad throwing the Balcony Swing mission. Katie interviews that the team sabotaged the mission in order for Veronica to get the Aztec Lifesaver, so she could send Katie to the Inferno in her place. Sure enough, Veronica makes the announcement, calling Katie the team’s weakest player. Julie turns to Katie: “She didn’t have to say ‘weakest’.” Just goes to show that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Russell Jay interviews that Katie had the right to be pissed off. Katie: “If you push me back enough and you keep pushing me, I’m going to flip out.”
Now we come to Katie’s greatest moment, as she goes insane on Veronica. Coral tells us that Katie was wasted. Damn, and I thought she was stone sober at that time. Katie continues to go apespit, as she cruses, flips double birds, and calls Veronica a slut. “I saw red,” Katie interviews. “I was out of my mind. I don’t even watch it, it makes me embarrassed.” Veronica adds that Katie “was foaming out of the mouth. She was having a seizure.” Here comes my favorite part … sing along if you know the words! “YOU ARE A SHORT! SCRAWNY! ACNE-FACED LITTLE [bleep] [bleep], AND YOU CAN GO FUCK YOURSELF!” Katie goes on about how she was getting madder, to the point where she would hit Veronica and it would be worth it to get kicked off the show. The fracas ends as Mike grabs Katie and escorts her to another room shooing Veronica away as he calmed Katie down.
VOG chimes in about Mike’s hidden motive: he wanted Katie to remain, because he thought that his team would have a better shot with her on the other side. In retrospect, wasn’t it dumb of RW to keep passing Katie over? It’s more important to ensure victories and keep the team strong than to hope a weak link dooms the opposition. Anyway, Katie ended up staying, but she ended up making it to the final mission and winning with her teammates.
VOG tells us that hostilities happen before the first mission. The good news: we don’t get to revisit Melissa vs. Julie. The bad news: we come back to Puck vs. David Edwards on BOTS1. Pizzi interviews that they started screaming at each other. Cut to David sniping, followed by Ruthie interviewing about how he was going crazy. David calls Puck a dick and lets loose a stream of profanity. Puck responds by spitting water at him. In retrospect, it wasn’t that bad. I hate Puck so much, but it was mostly water, and I think Colin (standing between the two) got the most of it. But David immediately starts calling for Puck to be banished. Pizzi goes on, saying that the act of spitting is tricky, since it’s in an area where it can’t exactly be called physical abuse.
Now we see Murray walking to the van. He interviews that the crew needed him. He then ejects Puck from the game. VOG tells us that the cast revolted, and threatened to walk out in protest. Let me get this straight: having an old media whore stay in the game is more important than winning $50,000? Are these people insane? They exit the van, while Puck eggs them on. Murray announces that his decision stands, citing the “no violence” clause in their contracts. Puck tells the others that if he goes, “there’re gonna fuck your whole show up over this shit.” VOG goes on about how a new solution had to be found. Murray interviews about how he had to talk with Puck and David to get their stories. Eventually, a compromise was reached: Puck would let David spit on him. These are adults, by the way. As Puck lies down and waited for the loogie, David tells that he wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction.
But there’s more! VOG tells us that David got his revenge during the filming of the opening credits. Mark interviews that they were filming the tug-of-war between the boys and the girls. Matt Valentine adds that the camera was going up and down the rope. David ends up hocking a loogie right in Puck’s face. It looks undiluted, delivered less than a foot away. Syrus: “The timing was perfect, if you’re trying to kick up some dust and embarrass somebody.” VOG begins to wrap it up, telling us that David would quit the show soon afterwards. Cut to David fake-apologizing to Puck, followed by him telling David Broom (who got no credit for the negotiations, by the way) that he’d go out on his terms. Murray: “It was not the trip to Jamaica I expected, but it turned out to be worth it.” I still think that the casting department couldn’t find a ninth RW male, so they brought in David to cause a ruckus with Puck, then leave on his own. Is that giving these people too much credit?
We see a plane land, followed by the Inferno 2 cast pile up. VOG: “Your favorite show is coming back bigger than ever.” We see the competitors line up, as well as the new Inferno stage, which seems to have two levels this time. I still miss the Gauntlet. Also, Jon still has his cowboy hat. It’s not like Eric’s jump rope, and it’s not like Jon should grow back his mullet. The format: Good Guys vs. Bad Asses. Clips: a girl drops from a cord, two girls fighting in the Inferno, some guy-on-guy wrestling, and one woman falling down while wearing spring-loaded shoes. Veronica: “I’ve experienced seven Challenges. This is the craziest Challenge I’ve been on.” Beth bitches about how throwing every mission. Tonya to persons unknown: “I’m a whore because I hooked up with a single man?” We see newbies: Landon jumping up on a tree, and Karamo and Darrell grind on a girl. Mike interviews that with new players, it is everything a Challenge should be. Guys throw dodgeballs at each other from floating platforms. Tonya dumps a suitcase into the pool, and takes the clothes out of it. Mike guarantees that this will be the best Challenge ever. We see Veronica yells at her female teammates. Tonya interviews that viewers will have fun watching it. Cut to Mike on the show: “I’ve never seen anything like it! This is amazing! This is the coolest Challenge ever, and I love The Inferno Part Two! Thank you for having me!” Eh, I’d rather have Coral.
That’s that. First episode airs Monday night at 10 p.m. Eastern time. Last one to watch has to sleep on Julie’s soiled bed.