Friday, December 16, 2005

Gauntlet 2, Episode 2: Delayed Karma

What a week we’ve had. Stephenie managed to burn down all her bridges and lose 6-1 to Danni. The Weavers broke down, finished third, and even lost the Internet-exclusive task to the Bransens. And while I swore off Donald Trump’s version of The Apprentice (though I do keep up via Reality Remix, which does have a use after all), I was stunned to hear than Randal wouldn’t bring Rachel into the fold. I checked the forums, and I can’t remember the last time that many people jumped off a bandwagon at the same time. So much for Randal being as cool a guy as Bill, Kwame or Troy. Oh, and there was what happened on Monday night, where I found out that karma didn’t have a statute of limitations. Read on!

Previously on Gauntlet 2: thirty-two former cast members from The Real World and Road Rules arrived in Trinidad & Tobago for fame and fortune. And sex. The players were separated into Veterans and Rookies. In the Royal Rumble mission, Alton and Jo became captains for the Rookies, while Adam L. and Ruthie claimed the top spots for the Veterans. The next day, the captains found out that they would get individual prizes if their respective teams won...but a loss would put them into the Gauntlet. The gang threw a wild party, but Jo flipped out big time.

We pick up Jo mid-freakout, with what appears to be Alton trying to pry her off of Ruthie. Continuing from last week, Ruthie wants to know what made Jo snap. Jo calls the police, telling them that she’s been manhandled and attacked, and that she has marks on her wrists. While this goes on, Julie tells us, “She’s crazy!” Yeah, Jo is insane for peeing on another person’s bed for petty reasons. Oh, wait...that was YOU. Shut up, Julie.

Jo is still snapping, going so far as to sue the island. Is she reading The Reality Star’s Guide To International Diplomacy by Colin Guinn? Anyway, she’s going to wait to get escorted out. Derrick interviews that he didn’t know what happened. “Did I do something?” he asks. “I know I didn’t do nothin’. I was sleeping.” He asks Jo what’s wrong, but Jo mumbles a response.”I don’t know what’s wrong with her,” Ruthie interviews, “but at the same time, it’s she drunk or is she just crazy?” A police car arrives, and Jo leaves the house. Ruthie: “Bottom line? She’s just crazy.” Jo leaves the premises with the police.

Ruthie delivers the news to the others, and they cheer. “The crazy bitch is gone!” she exclaims. But...but Julie’s still here! Cut to a gauzy flashback of Jo yelling and pointing at the camera. Alton interviews that it sucks for the Rookies to lose a captain, and he doesn’t think anybody will step up.

Before I continue, I have to ask: is it wrong of me to still think that Jo may not have been that crazy? It’s just sad that I still can’t completely trust Bunim-Murray Productions or at least half of the cast without question. Part of me hopes that there’s something bigger than anything a cast member would say in public. I just have this image of the police swinging by to arrest cast members. And if it’s during a mission? Even better.

New day. The players gather at the mission site, as we see two piles of coconuts, some of which are marked with skulls and crossbones. TJ welcomes them to Back Bay and today’s mission: Chock Full O’ Coconuts. He brings up Jo’s departure, then assigns Kina to replace her, since she was the last girl on the platform before Jo won. Kina interviews that she is excited, but she’s a little nervous because she’s more likely to go home.

Back to the preliminaries: TJ points out that each team has 200 coconuts and two large bamboo sticks. The objective: transfer the coconuts to a “deposit circle” using the sticks. If the coconuts are dropped or if they fall out of the circle, one person must put them in their proper place, while another carries the sticks back. The captain of the winning team gets $10,000 for the team, and a $1,000 gift card to a major electronics chain. I go there all the time just to mess around with video game demos. Yes, I have a problem. The captain of the losing team gets a date in the Gauntlet. Today will be a “Male Gauntlet Day,” so Adam L. and Alton are on the hot seat. Adam interviews that he’s accepted responsibility for his position. “I know that if we lose,” he adds, “Adam goes to the Gauntlet.” Speaking in the third person? That’s new. Alton interviews that he feels he’s the most likely to go into the Gauntlet, but that makes him want to win every mission. TJ gives both sides ten minutes to break into pairs.

Strategy sessions. Adam L. tries to figure out who gets partnered up and how to carry the coconuts. Brad foreshadows that the plan is to send the guys out first to get a feel for things before bringing in the girls. Over on the Rookie side, Jodi interviews that they’ll be in boy/girl pairs, so that the guys can carry the sticks back, while the gals collect loose coconuts.

TJ blows the airhorn to get the mission started. Both sides load up their sticks with coconuts. Brad and David start out for the Veterans, followed by Ibis and Alton. Both pairs carefully walk to the deposit circle. Two coconuts fall from the Rookies’ sticks, prompting Alton to tell Ibis to squeeze the sticks together. The Veteran pair drops off their coconuts, taking a 15-0 lead. The Rookies cut it down to 15-5, as Alton carries the sticks back and Ibis grabs the stray coconuts.

Both sides load up again. Mark & Syrus and Jodi & MJ set off. The Rookies lose a lot of coconuts on their way, as MJ spilts the sticks apart. He interviews that it’s his first mission and he’s already lost six coconuts, and that he’s not proving himself to be strong right now. The Rookies narrow the gap to 15-9, but the Veterans widen their lead to 28-9. Adam L. feels that the Veterans have a good technique. “We got them loaded way up,” he interviews, “so if we drop any, we got a problem.”

Montage! Landon & Jillian drop their haul in the deposit circle, followed by Adam L. & Timmy, Jeremy & Jamie, and Ace & Derrick. The Veterans are up, 38-29. Next up: Kina & Adam K., Aneesa & Jisela, and Jodi & MJ. Veterans still up, 85-80. Adam L. interviews that the mission is looking good, but the girls are going a lot slower than the guys. Sure enough, Katie and Ruthie slowpoke it, while Susie and Danny trot faster. Adam: “Speed is definitely going to be of the utmost importance.” Suddenly, we see that the Rookies are up 111-92. Ruthie drags her sticks, as her teammates scream for Katie to grab one. I think the sticks are bigger than Ruthie’s tiny body. She’s strong, but she needs help.

More running from Cara & Randy and Beth & Julie. Randy runs back with the poles, but ends up in the sand. Rookies are up, 134-100. Ibis interviews about not knowing if her team is ahead or behind, but they’re learning from each other. More running from Jeremy & Jamie, Montana & Robin, and Brad & David. Cara thinks they’re even, but she feels that the Veterans are putting more coconuts on their sticks. As we see Adam L. & Timmy motor, the Rookies’ lead goes from 171-153 and 184-183. Both sides load up. Adam K. expositions that both teams have one trip left. The pairs to decide who wins: Beth & Julie and Jodi & MJ. Nice...when you want to seal a victory, you definitely need the biggest liability andthe most insane person to bring you glory. Way to go, Veterans! Anyway, the Vets do an “OLD SCHOOL!” cheer, while the Rookies pull for Jodi & MJ.

Back from commercials, Jodi tells us that the first team to make it back with both sticks wins. Both pairs carry their loads. Ibis wraps her arms around Cameran as they both jump up and down like madwomen. Both sides drop their coconuts, evening the score at 200-200. We go slo-mo as MJ and Julie run with the sticks. Running...running....and MJ arrives first to win the mission and trigger a huge celebration. Julie staggers back as the Rookies keep whooping it up. Jodi interviews that it was down to her and MJ to win, and they pulled through. Doesn’t erase the shame of Veronica beating her in the Inferno, but it’s a start.

Over by the beach, Julie kicks the water in frustration and curses loudly. “What the fuck did we do wrong?!?” she cries out. Adam K. interviews that he’s lost the mission, the team prize money and the captain’s prize, and now his team will lose a player. Funny thing...Julie greasing the skids for Adam completes a circle. Way back in Battle of the Sexes, Julie got pulled from the first mission because she was partnered with Ellen, who had not lifted her legs high enough to stay in. As a result, Julie could only stand by as she saw Melissa & Amaya win the mission, get into the Inner Circle, and help vote Julie out. Why do I rehash all this? Because Ellen was from RR: The Quest, same as Adam. At this point, I thought how funny it would be if Julie got Adam booted from this Challenge.

Denouement. TJ awards the $10,000 check to the Rookies, and gives Alton his $1,000 gift card. Of course, Alton’s a happy camper about not going to the Gauntlet, even though he could take out at least half of his male teammates. TJ gives the Veterans thirty minutes to decide who faces Adam L. in the Gauntlet. Adam interviews that he doesn’t want to face certain team members because they’re too valuable. “To take them out of the game,” he continues, “or to take myself out would be sad.”

Scenic shots lead to the mansion and the Veterans’ Deliberation Meeting. Timmy reminds us that the team lost, so they have to figure out who faces Adam in the Gauntlet. Ace plays around with some sort of stick while holding his head down, probably thinking he’s dead meat already. Mark suggests voting, but Derrick isn’t hearing it, as he starts ranting and cursing. Apparently, he’s into how Real World did their business in the original Gauntlet with the open voting. Aneesa tries to rationalize it, but Derrick ain’t having it. “That’s bullshit!” he barks. “Fuck that, and fuck you, too!” Julie takes a cringing breath, while Derrick expresses his need to be told if he’s going in. Brad interviews that Derrick’s “testosterone factor” is out of control, causing tension on the team. Jisela wants to get the vote done.

The team writes down their picks and hands them off to Julie. Ace explains that they’re going with a secret ballot, since an open vote would make people go for a person who gets brought up. Adam tallies the votes as Derrick looks over his shoulder. Don’t you just hate that? We see that Derrick has three votes, Mark has two (one from Robin, perhaps?), and Syrus and Ace each have one.

Time passes. Adam announces that he won’t be announcing the figures, and that Derrick will be his opponent. After the pair share a brief man-hug, TJ pops up to confirm the match and to spin the wheel. Turns out I was totally wrong about the preset endgames. Instead, TJ gets to spin a nautical wheel marked with Gauntlets. Nice step up from the die roll in Gauntlet. On the other hand? Potential rigging. Anyway, the wheel lands on Name That Coconut. TJ tells everybody that he’ll explain the rules later on. “I can face Derrick, no problem,” Adam interviews. “And I’m not going to let him get out of the hot seat because he’s obviously run his mouth. He starts too much shit with the team for no reason..” Derrick interviews that he wasn’t expecting this, but he’ll give it his all. “I’m gonna brush my teeth,” he adds, “and get ready for the fuckin’ war.”

Ocean shot! Gauntlet! The Rookies whoop it up, while the Veterans are quiet. TJ calls out Adam and Derrick, then explains the rules to Name That Coconut. This Gauntlet has 32 trivia questions, the answers are on the coconuts, and each answer is a name of a Challenger. Julie expositions that TJ will ask a question, and then ring a bell. The guys will race down to race down the field, find the coconut with the correct answer, and bring it back. TJ indicates a safety zone, where no contact can be made. Once a line has been crossed, the players enter the battle zone. There, the players can root through the coconuts and knock them from each other’s hands to steal it. First player with five correct answers wins. If a player answers incorrectly, his opponent can go through the coconuts at his own leisure. Loser goes home, winner get the “pimp room” in TJ’s words. Adam interviews that he’s not good with trivia, and Derrick may have the advantage. “If he gets rough with me,” he adds, “I’m gonna fuckin’ kill him.” Derrick: “I’m focused, man. I’m determined, I’m ready to win.”

First question: “On his first Challenge, he was the first cast member to be sent home. On his second Challenge, he was the second cast member to be sent home.” TJ rings the bell, and the players dash to go coconut-grabbing. Things get a little tense, as TJ tells them not to wrestle. “The guys are tearing each other apart,” Cara interviews. “It is gruesome, and it is almost hard to watch.” Cut to shots of Kina, Jodi, Randy and Julie looking on, as the guys scrum their way into commercials.

Coming back, Derrick and Adam are still scrapping. Jeremy fills us in on what’s going on. “They’re not messing around.” he adds. “No one wants to go home.” Derrick tries to break loose, but Adam knocks the coconut out of his hand. Derrick recovers and gets into the safety zone with the correct answer: Ace. Cut to Ace’s farewells: waving from the boat in The Inferno and hugging Adam K. in Battle of the Sexes 2. Cara interviews that Adam L. losing would benefit the Rookies. “Not only is he their stronger players,” she adds, “but he is also the brains of the whole function.” Honey, you were on his team in Gauntlet. Did you really just say that?

TJ asks the next question: “This cast member was the final replacement in Tahiti.” While my brain tries to unscramble the clue, Adam and Derrick scramble. Derrick grabs the coconut, and Adam rips into his shirt on the way to the safety zone. “Please try to take me down,” Derrick interviews, “because I’m not gonna fall. And if I fall, I’m gonna get right back up.” He needs to get up now because his answer – Jillian – is wrong. Dude, she was on your season! Adam gets to root through the coconuts to grab the right answer: Jeremy. Cut to Jeremy getting welcomed to RR: South Pacific by Chris. Tie score, 1-1. Timmy interviews that he wants Adam to win, because they’ve been through a lot with each other (on the Eco-Challenge, presumably), and that Derrick mouthing off doesn’t equate to team unity.

Next question: “Who won the ‘Smell This’ Inferno in the first season of The Inferno?” Not to nitpick, but it’s “Smell Ya Later.” Adam picks up a coconut, but Derrick gets him and the answer from behind. “Derrick is just going crazy,” Adam interviews. “And once you yank it out from someone who’s lying down, they’re pretty much done.” As Adam hopes he can get the right answers, Derrick screws up again with Aneesa. Once again, Adam leisurely looks through the names. Once again, he comes up with the right name: Katie. Cut to Katie coming out of the liquid gunk as the winner. Wouldn’t things be more fair if any questions relating to cast members from the same season were pulled? Anyway, Adam is now up, 2-1.

Question #4: “During their season, which cast member had a relationship with a member from the casting department?” Is it wrong of me to want somebody to screw up, just so I can scream, “You don’t even KNOW!!”? Derrick comes up with David, and we get a few shots of David getting cuddly with Kira during RW: Seattle. David smiles on the sideline, probably grateful that his crying fit wasn’t included tonight. Tie score, 2-2.

Fifth question: “Which original male cast member never made in to Argentina on Road Rules 13?” More grappling. Once again, TJ reminds the pair not to wrestle. Adam comes up with Ibis. “Male cast member,” man. Is it stupidity or lack of observation that causes these mistakes? Derrick grabs a coconut and point to the Rookies, shouting, “Hey, you’re my boy! My boy, boo!” Danny doesn’t look that moved. Eh, it’s a step up from “earmuffs!” Cut to Danny saying goodbye on RR: X-Treme. Derrick leads, 3-2. Adam interviews that the game is still close, and he’s confident that he can hold his own against Derrick.

Sixth question: “Who was sent home for being afraid to rappel down a mountain?” What did I just say about cast members from the same season? There’s some light grabbing, as Adam grabs a coconut and falls into the safety zone. He blows a kiss to Jisela, and we’re treated to the freakout on RR: The Quest which got her voted off. Tie score, 3-3.

Next question: “Which cast member was accused of trying to kill another cast member during a challenge?” Adam gets on top of Derrick as they both look. TJ warns them not to wrestle. Adam gets the answer...Cameran. What?!? Does punching guys in the nuts constitute as attempted murder? Derrick tosses the right answer to TJ: Julie. Cut to the clip with Veronica. Sing along if you know the words! “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!? WHAT IS SHE DOING?!?” Does Veronica get paid royalties every time that gets played? Cut to Julie: “That’s the wrong answer, bitch!” Relax, people. Just close your eyes and imagine Ruthie making some homemade “Hawaiian Punch” for Julie in the Gauntlet. You know, the kind that knocks out sixty of her teeth. Derrick is up, 4-3. Aneesa interviews that she’s going to throw up, and that her team doesn’t want to lose either player.

TJ reminds Derrick that if he gets the next question, he’ll be the new team captain. The question: “Whose butt sent them home on Road Rules 13?” Oh, come on! Shuffle the deck, TJ! Derrick looks around as Adam waits on top of him. Once more, TJ doesn’t like the idea of wrestling. Adam tries to prevent movement from Derrick, but the pint-sized powerhouse falls intot he safety zone with the coconut. TJ examines it, and the answer of “Ibis” is correct. Cut to the mission where she and Angela get knocked off a pole by a bus, and Ibis landed on her rump, losing the mission for her team. Game Over, Derrick wins, and Adam’s going home. Needless to say, I’m a happy recapper. TJ compliments both guys for their hard work, and there are no hard feelings between the two guys. “I’m glad I’m at the top,” Derrick interviews. “That’s the best part abouyt it. I can be a jerk to whoever the fuck I want now because I’m all by myself. It doesn’t really matter if they vote against me or not.”

Day lapses to night. At the mansion, everybody applauds the outgoing Adam, who brags that Jo was the first to go home and not him. Shut up. Of course, everybody cheers at the expense of the crazy lady. Timmy interviews that Adam’s departure is detrimental to the team, and that he thinks Derrick has a lot to prove. Adam interviews that he has no regrets, and he’d become team captain all over again. He rides off into the night.

Derrick moves out of the bedroom and into the captain’s quarters. Why? “Because I whooped the fuck out of Adam today,” he tells us. He jokes around to another guy that he should be called “captain” now. “I just proved that I’m the best,” he goes on, “and I will continue to prove that I’m the best on my team. To be at the captain’s position now is just awesome, man. It’s good to be the king.” I doubt he’s ever seen History of the World, Part One, but I bet he’d get a kick out of it. He does kick a giant silver ball into the bedroom. David looks up, cowboy hat on his head and concerned look on his face. He interviews that the team lost a great competitor in Adam, and that Derrick’s ego and bravado will hurt the team. Cut to Derrick playfully slamming the ball on some girl’s head. Fade to black.

Looking back, I realize that Sarah probably has gotten over what happened with her and Adam during The Gauntlet. I doubt that Cara took a private moment to dance by herself, having seen first-hand what a colossal prick Adam was in Telluride. That said? I don’t give a damn. Honestly, I waited two years and four seasons for Adam to come back, and what happens? He lost. In the Gauntlet. He helped sent Sarah in five freakin’ times, and she walked back to the team every time. He did one Gauntlet, and he lost. Worse, he was the first person to lose. That’s hysterical to me. That’s just so rich, and I don’t care how petty it is to celebrate.

Next time: Kina is concerned that her butt’s on the line. She ended up doing some non-mission boxing with Ruthie. There’s a mission involving walking in skis and jumping over bars. Alton: “I’m strong, but I’m also human. I...can’t...move.” Cut to him faltering with Danny on his back.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't dislike Adam as much as you do so I was kinda hoping he'd stay around. Then again, it's hard not to admire Derrick's competitive spirit.

The season has been ok so far.


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