Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I wanted to talk about the new season of The Amazing Race tonight. I wanted to express my concern about the two roller-skating, liquor-serving babes in the teaser hail from my home borough of Staten Island. I wanted to draw comparisons between BJ and freakin’ Rupert Boneham. Instead, I want to reminsce about Challenges past.

Back in The Gauntlet, there was Steve. Steve was the wiseass from Road Rules: The Quest, the one who went east to New York instead of to Hollywood like all the other reality folks. In the third Gauntlet, Steve trashed Tonya in Perfect Fit, a puzzle-based game. He had bragged about how good he was with puzzles. Some time later, his team dumped him into the Gauntlet, this time against Trishelle. Once again, the game was Perfect Fit...only this time, Trishelle won. The little drama queen got to stay and make kissy-faces with Mike while Coral rolled her eyes at the whole thing, and Steve didn’t even get a farewell sequence.

One week passes. The Real World team sends Trishelle to the Gauntlet again. Road Rules opts for Sarah, their whipping girl. Trishelle rolls the die...and it’s Perfect Fit. Both girls get their puzzle pieces. Both tried to work it out. It was tense...but in the end, Sarah got her third win. I still got that on tape. Sarah slams the last piece in, raising her arms and giving a weird squeak. Some of her teammates mob her. There’s Theo hopping around the pile. There’s Adam, fuming that the one he considers a weak link is still in the game. There’s Sarah, talking about how her win was “the big middle finger to a lot of people.” And finally, there’s Theo telling us that if she wins once more, she should take the Gauntlet home with her. Good times.

Cut to today, and Gauntlet 2. The Veterans lose, team captain Ruthie gets forced into the Gauntlet, and Jisela volunteers...or she quits. Whatever. The spinner comes up on Reverse Tug-Of-War. Ruthie wins that, Jisela goes home, everybody’s happy. Two weeks pass...the Veterans lose, and decide that Beth needs to go home. The wheel lands on Challenger’s Choice, and Beth opts for Reverse Tug-Of-War. Ruthie’s strong, but she’s too small, and Beth wins. Not good times at all.

Tonight, I saw Beth basically give up on her team in a mission, chickening out on doing some tightope action with Timmy. So what do the Veterans do? They give her Montana. Why? Look, I totally respect the need to lose a weak player no matter that. But Montana was the one girl Beth craved to face in the Gauntlet. Nobody should be in the business of giving Beth what she wants, ever. Why not Robin? Or Aneesa? Julie’s always good for saying or doing something stupid in a Challenge...why not send her in? If she wins, we get the glimmer of a redemption arc. If she loses, we make fun of her.

TJ spins the wheel...and it seems to hit the line. The rational part of my brain thinks that it never hit the line, that the camera was set up at a wrong angle. Or maybe there was a rule saying that if the wheel hits the line, the game would be the last thing it passed. But there’s the nagging feeling that TJ just had to give Beth what she wanted. So she got Captain’s Choice, and she picks Reverse Tug-Of-War. I get a feeling of dread, but I’m thinking, “Okay, this is Steve/Trishelle/Sarah. Montana beats Beth, and things are good all over again.”

Montana tried. Oh, she tried. If she won, we could’ve wiped away most of her past sins. Then again, she’s probably done that already. She’s gotten a life, and she probably just wanted some extra scratch and a free vacation. She’s from New York...in my experiences, most ex-BMPers who live in the Big Apple aren’t that bad. When I went to Calico Jack’s back in 2003 for a reality event, I met Sarah, Rachel B., Roni, Antoine, Steve, and Elka. Now...even if you factor in Elka’s bitchiness at the end of her Gauntlet run, and the presence of Eric Jones (the All-American tool boy from Campus Crawl, do you really hate any of those people? Crap, I should have high-fived Eric for talking smack about David E. and Puck in Battle of the Sexes, but I was too sick to think of that.

Anyway...Beth won, and she got to talk shit about how Montana deserved to lose, and that karma bit her in the ass. Honestly, I hate this bitch. Beth stands for most things that I hate in reality television. The biggest fan of hers that I found was the guy who replaced me on RNO. You know...the one who started recapping Inferno II by trashing my writing style. This is the same guy who told me that if I ever ran into Mark Long, Eric Nies or Julie Stoffer, not only would I not abuse them like I did in my recaps, I would ask for their autographs. He came out on Beth’s side after Tonya dumped her clothes into the pool. I know Tonya isn’t right in the head, but Beth totally deserved it. And after dodging an attempt by the Bad Ass team to throw her into the Inferno, she freakin’ left. She’s a quitter...and so was her fan, because he couldn’t handle his workload and a personal life. Beth’s two Gauntlet wins makes this guy happy, and I don’t like that one bit.

Karma will catch up to Beth. Whether it’s Julie finally exorcizing endgame demons or Derrick performing a one-man Code Red in the middle of the night, Beth will get hers. As for Montana? Living well is the best revenge. If I ever met her, I’d shake her hand and wonder why she didn’t punch Beth in the mush before leaving. No matter how the results pan out, Beth will always be a loser.

PS: To the guy who commented on my last recap...Tonya's endgame record is 2-1, while Katie stands at 3-1.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 8: Clutch Performance

Previously on Gauntlet 2: Beth beat Ruthie in the Gauntlet. I'm still figuring out how that happened.

Nighttime. Cara and Susie are playing table tennis. Cara: "This is the clumsiest game of shenanigans that I've ever played." Susie quips about how Cara plays.

Elsewhere Kina is getting information from Jillian. Jillian looks up and around, making sure nobody is watching. Apparently, Cara had wanted to talk with Jillian. Jillian interviews that Cara and Susie had approached her about joining an alliance. In return, she would get to stay in the game. "I don't want anything to do with it," she tells us. She tells Kina that it's unsettling to have this information. “You did the right thing,” Kina replies. “They’d sell their souls to the devil.” Kina tells us that Brad, Timmy and David would throw missions where the female captains are on the line. In exchange, Cara, Susie and Jillian would toss the male captain missions. Does this make any sense to anybody? I get the part about throwing missions and putting weak ladies like Beth, Robin and Montana into the line of fire. But after Jeremy, the Rookie guys are really strong. Kina figures that the best thing to do is tell Alton, since it’s important for him to understand and keep his eyes open, because his butt is on the line.

Clue time! David reads about the clue asking if the players are strong. Syrus misdirects us, interviewing that his ass is on the line, and he could be the next to go into the Gauntlet.

Rookies meeting. Kina interviews that it’s her responsibility to tell the others to make up for Cara and Susie slacking. She tells her teammates to watch out for those two. Alton cannot believe it, since the team is trying to get everybody “over the line.” He interviews that he tries the hardest to win every mission, and he thinks the idea of alliances sucks. Kina gripes about the potential to mess with the team, and they can’t let it happen. Everybody looks anxious as we go to commercials...after four minutes and 23 seconds. Damn, that was a short first act.

Quick tangent: What’s more tragic? The fact that Dave Mirra shows more charisma in his Oxy commercial then in either season of The Inferno? Or that he shows more charisma in that ad than TJ Lavin after eight episodes?

New day. Mission site. We see pick-up trucks and fake boulders. TJ welcomes everybody to Plymouth Park for today’s mission: Team Strength. Really, that’s the name. TJ shows the trucks, boulders and stacks of cinder blocks. Each team gets two players to push (one male, one female) and one driver. The objective: push the truck to the finish line. Ace expositions that the teams have to move the boulder from one end of the field to the other, then run back. Then they push the truck down the field. After that, the teams load the trucks with cinder blocks, then push it back to the start. TJ notes that the first team to get everything done wins $10,000 for the bank account, and the captain is safe from the Gauntlet. Kina interviews that the Rookies do not trust Cara or Susie, and they have to pick up the slack of those two. TJ adds that the male captain of the winning team gets $1,000 in sweet sponsor money.

Strategizing. Ace wants to drive the Veterans’ truck. He foreshadows about how he’s been driving stick shift since he was born. As the Rookies huddle up, Alton interviews that the plan involves Cara and Susie getting minimal responsibility. He doles out assignments, as Cara tells us that she has seen others proving themselves, and she wants to add to that.

TJ blows the airhorn to kick things off. Both sides turn the boulders around before rolling. Soon, the Veterans’ boulder breaks apart. Call me crazy, but I think that was intentioanl on the parts of the planners. Timmy: “We’re pushin’ this S.O.B. as fast as possible, and it snaps apart like peanut brittle.” As the Rookies finish up, the Veterans grab the boulder fragments. Aneesa interviews that nobody is panicking, and everybody is getting the pieces and running. The team finishes up, just as the Rookies get loaded into the pickup truck

Randy and Ibis push the Rookies’ truck. Randy interviews that they’re in the lead, but the pushing is hard. The truck moves slowly, as the rest of the team is loaded in the cab. The Veterans start moving, with Beth and David pushing. Timmy interviews that they are behind, and they have to make up ground. In the cab, the Veterans push on the compartment, trying to push it. Both sides keep pushing. “Beantown, buddy!” Syrus yells at David. “Rep the bean, dawg! Right now!” I heart close-captioning. Rookies push. Veterans feel like they’re catching up. “Beth’s performance today?” Mark interviews. “Right on point. She’s one of our better girls on our team, and she should be proud of herself.” I hope he got paid to say that. She is pushing without complaint...but she’s Beth. The Rookies push in the cab. Randy interviews that his legs are burning, he can’t stand on them, and the Veterans are catching up.

Both sides continue to push, and the Rookies are whistled clear to start loading the cinder blocks. As Randy collapses in pain, the Veterans begin to load their truck. Robin interviews that her team is working like an assembly line, with no fighting. The Rookies load up. Kina tells us that they have one less man to work with, and they have to deal with Susie and Cara. Does anybody think Danny or Adam could have made the difference here? More loading. Beth interviews that the Veterans are smoking the Rookies, and that Mark and Julie will be pushing the truck back. The Rookies finish up, as Jeremy slides into the driver’s seat. The Veterans pile into the cab, as Syrus yells for Ace to put the truck in neutral. Ace insists that he has done so. Julie screams for her team to “rock it,” her insanity and immaturity coming out once again. Jodi and MJ try to push the truck, but there’s little movement. Jeremy interviews about praying that the Veterans don’t get into the swing of things. In the cab, the Veterans count down and jump at the same time. Can you really move something like a truck when the load is in the air for a fraction of a second? Doesn’t seem likely to me.

TJ informs that Rookies that he will blow his airhorn, and they can bring in two more pushers. Landon tells MJ that he and Alton will help out, then he barks orders to the rest of the group. Susie raises her arm, but Landon is having none of her help. She interviews that she and Cara are begging to push the truck, that it’s their time to shine, but Landon doesn’t want it.

TJ blows the airhorn. Alton and Kina jump off the Rookie truck to push, while Beth and Syrus help the Veterans. Once again, the remaining Veterans try to push the truck from within. Julie screams, Mark and Syrus push, and Beth doesn’t look like she’s helping. The Rookies push, and they actually get some movement. As the Veterans struggle, Timmy asks if the truck is in neutral. Ace looks around in the driver’s seat, not sure what’s wrong. Rookies continue to move back. Veterans? No real movement. Syrus pushes, hunched over on the hood. “The truck is just barely moving,” he interviews. “Something is wrong. Yes, the car is heavy, but there’s wheels. Wheels will roll if you push.”

Julie counts down, the Veteran pushers rush towards the truck to propel it. That’s a good way to get injured. There’s little movement, so Julie goes berserk, slamming on the windshield and cursing. The Rookies keep going, and the Veterans can only look on as the Rookies get the win. Cue the celebration, as MJ falls down and takes Landon with him, and Alton collapses near a fence. Robin interviews that the Veterans haven’t moved two feet from where they started, and something had to be wrong with the car. Syrus tells Ace to hold the clutch down...and finally, the Veterans get some movement going. Julie: “What the fuck?!? Are you freakin’ kidding?!? The clutch?!? The fucking clutch?!? Are you fucking kidding me?!?” There’s the batshit crazy bitch I know and loathe. I can hear Coral cackling three thousand miles away. Syrus mutters that he should have drove, since he was a valet for six months (not counting his one-day stint in Acapulco). Ace laughs in front of the camera, telling us that he’s going to the Gauntlet.

TJ wraps up the mission, noting that the Veterans had bad luck with the truck, and that he’ll see Derrick in the Gauntlet tonight. Brad interviews that they needed the win, they lost $10,000, and they don’t need to lose another guy. TJ awards the money to the Rookies, and gives Alton $1,000. Landon interviews that he’s relieved to save the guys from the Gauntlet, and they stopped Susie and Cara...that is, if they had an alliance. Susie tells Cara that she doesn’t know if there’s a conspiracy or if the team thinks the duo isn’t capable, but she’s offended either way, and she wants to convince them that she’s not a liability. Cara interviews that she wants to celebrate, but it feels like she and Susie got shot down. Cara tells Susie that it’s hard to keep quiet, abut she doesn’t want to draw attention to it. Tense music plays us to the break.

Veterans’ Gauntlet Deliberation. Ace wants to start things off, as Timmy gets off a hard laugh. Ace notes that he’s been driving cars since he was 16 years old, and he never saw one in neuttal that didn’t roll. He takes responsibility for the team’s loss, and volunteers himself to go into the Gauntlet. The team applauds Ace, and Syrus gives him a hug. Ace interviews that he might as well step up and take it like a man.

TJ comes in to get the decision. Derricks tells TJ about how Ace volunteered himself. TJ spins the wheel, and it lands on Captain’s Choice. Derrick mulls his options...and since there’s no event where Ace has to stick his head in bugs, Derrick chooses Beach Brawl. He gives an interview wearing a blue mesh cap. I hope he borrowed it from somebody, because it does not flatter him. “It’s not like a close friendship anymore,” he tells us. “I”ve got to turn that switch on, and that switch says, “Ace, you’ve got to go home’.” Julie: “I honestly think that Ace has a really great chance against Derrick in Beach Brawl because hello? He’s bigger, and it seems obvious to me that Derrick’s made a bad choice.” Julie was on Inferno II along with Derrick. She's seen how gung-ho he can get. Can she be that dim?

Gauntlet. Slow-motion shots of Ace and Derrick walking. TJ welcomes them, then congratulates the Rookies for their win. Susie sits on the floor, resting her head on a rail. TJ calls down Derrick. After leaping over the rail, Derrick announces that Ace volunteered himself. TJ goes over Beach Brawl; the objective being to get the opponent outside of the circle. Lathered in oil, yadda yadda yadda, best three-of-five, loser goes home.

The guys get oiled up. “It’s my time to shine,” Ace interviews. “I’ve been needing this for a while now. Now’s the time to do it.” Derrick tells us that he thinks he’ll win, and that Ace doesn’t have the wrestling skills to beat him.

Both guys get into position. TJ rings the bell to start the commotion. Thankfully, nobody flies out of the ring like Danny this time. The guys grapple, with Derrick staying low, pushing Ace out of the circle to take a 1-0 lead. The sand sticks to Ace’s oily body. “This son of a bitch is getting low as hell,” Ace drawls. “I’m six feet tall, he’s five-foot-six. He’s a pit bull. I can’t get underneath him!”

TJ orders them to go. More wrestling. Ace gets on top, and Derrick tries to lift him. Aneesa interviews that she wants Derrick to pull through. Ace manages to lift Derrick and throw him on his side and out of the circle. Tie game, 1-1.

TJ signals them to continue. The edits come fast and furious, so I’m guessing this bout lasted a long time. Ace is still on top, but Derrick gets him to stumble backwards and out. Derrick leads, 2-1. Julie reminds us that Derrick needs one more win to stay in the game.

TJ signals them to go. Both players are so low, they look like they’re digging a hole. Derrick gets on top this time, but Ace gets him on his back. Derrick manages to get underneath Ace. Soon, Ace’s foot is near the rope marking the circle. Derrick lunges his small frame at Ace, causing him to fall back. Game Over, Derrick stays on as captain. It wasn’t as easy as Alton makes it look, but Derrick did good. Ace remains on his back, taking a breather. As TJ announces Derrick’s win, most of the Veterans clap. Derrick lifts Ace up, interviewing ruefully that a “solider” had to go home, and that he gives Ace a lot of credit.

Denouement. TJ congratulates a still-wincing Derrick for his win. He then gives Ace twenty minutes to pack up and leave the house. The combatants man-hug as the Veterans applaud. “Losing in anything in life just sucks,” Ace interviews. “But [Derrick is] a great captain, and he will continue to be a great captain. He’s got going anywhere for a long time.” And a round of applause for Ace, who competed in seven missions this time, three more than his two Challenges combined. And he probably would have stayed on longer if he worked the clutch better.

Mansion. Ace walks through the door in a hurry, telling us he has fifteen minutes to “pack and party.” He calls for a party in his room. Quick shots of the players gathering in the room. Ace drawls about how this experience is about making the most out of life. “I guarantee,” he proclaims, “thirty years from now, you’re not gonna miss the 30,000 bucks, but you will remember the friendships.” Everybody cheers, and Ace gets hugs and handshakes for being such a gosh-darn cornball. “I put my heart and my soul into this one,” he interviews. “I came with some ideas. I did the best I can. I sacrificed myself for the team. Sometimes, the cards don’t fall right.” More hugs. David calls Ace “the social chair” of the house, since he keeps the party going. David adds that he’ll miss Ace, but Derrick will be “a benefit to my pocket.” Ace rides off.

Back to the drama with the Rookies. Cara tells the team that she feels they’re so successful because of their communication, drive and ability to listen to each other. She interviews that Susie and herself can’t let things blow over. She tells the Rookies that she was fired up and ready to push the truck. Alton interviews that he thought Cara would bring up the alliance with the Veterans, and that he sees Landon’s face go red. Landon asks the girls point-blank if they’re in an alliance. Susie’s jaw drops dramatically. There’s been rumors within the BMP community that Susie is quite the faker and drama queen. So how come I’m convinced she didn’t rehearse the reaction? She just has that face, you know? Cara looks pained. Shots of Kina and Alton looking on. Cara: “Forget it! N-O! Do you think I’m stupid?” She is shocked that the team is thinking that, and that she had no idea. Kina cracks a small smile. In an outside interview, Jillian thinks that Cara played it off, but if she and Susie went for the alliance, she would have been safe.

A pissed-looking Kina lets Cara and Susie know that the team is aware of what they can do. Susie understands why the team would be angry. “I’m absolutely blindsided,” she interviews. “I had no idea anybody would even think this.” MJ gives the pair a “fuck y’all” if they’re in an alliance, adding that it makes them look suspicious. Susie looks ready to cry, sobbing a little as we see the Rookies file out of the room.

Outside. Cara pleads to the team that she thought it was a joke when the Veterans approached her, adding that it was a miscommunication. She interviews that she doesn’t know how the team got the information about the so-called alliance. Susie sits down, looking very hurt. Cara loses her cool, angry that she feels punished for something that’s bull to begin with. Kina: “I believe not one word that is coming out of Cara or Susie’s mouth.” Susie still looks hurt. Cara looks exhausted. Fade to credits.

I do believe that Cara was right about not being in an alliance. After all, what purpose would it serve to help the other team, at the risk of her male teammates? I still like Kina, since she took Eric Nies’ jumprope in Battle of the Sexes 2, but I feel that she needs something only Randy can give her...or maybe Jamie. Actually, with her rampaging paranoia, I think she already got that something, and she’s in withdrawal.

Next time: Jillian tells Cara and Susie that she told the Rookies about the alliance. Kina is pissed off about having a conversation in regards to screwing the team. The mission looks like the “two people balance on ropes using each other” that was shown on Road Rules: Campus Crawl. And judging from the commercials, Beth looks like she’s Gauntlet-bound. Will she win? I refuse to believe she could wind up with the same 2-0 endgame record as Cara, Landon and Derrick.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 7: Horror & Disbelief

This was a rough episode to watch. Thanks to the previews at the beginning of the season, I knew Ruthie’s goose was going to be cooked by Beth, Queen of Bitches. Aside from the announcement of a fourth season of Last Comic Standing, I don’t know how things could get worse. In this recap, I will be bringing the Countdown to Disaster. This will let you know when the pigs start flying, when dogs meow, and when Rachel and Veronica act like human beings.

Previously on The Gauntlet: the pressure of the captaincy got to Kina and Ruthie. “In the Gauntlet, it’s business,” Ruthie said. “It’s you or me. Kill or be killed.” Kina called this the most difficult situation she has ever been in. The Veterans won Body Painters, upping their bank account to $30,000. Alton won his second Gauntlet, smoking Adam K. in Capture the Flag. Ibis interviewed that it sucks to lose two guys because the team needs them, and she hoped that the Rookies could step up their game. Countdown to Disaster: Sixteen minutes, twenty-three seconds.

Mansion. Beth and David hang out. Beth blahs about how she has never been voted off because she was in last-place. She’s actually right...in Battle of the Seasons and Battle of the Sexes, she was in next-to-last place when she got dismissed. But remember, she got booted in favor of somebody who was even less athletic than her (Sharon) and a pregnant woman who couldn’t compete in a mission (Gladys). That alone speaks volumes about the suck that is Beth. David thinks she’s been doing a fantastic job so far, and he jokes about her legacy. “My reputation kind of precedes me,” Beth interviews, “but this time around, I’m minding my own business and trying to stay out of trouble.” And by “stay out of trouble,” she means, “tell Robin about how Jodi said that Mark loved her.” She hopes to get a decent chance to compete and win, telling David that she never started a fight before with anybody. David jokes that her clothes won’t end up in the pool. Beth interviews that she was disappointed Tonya wasn’t coming to this Challenge. We flash back to Inferno II, where Tonya dumped Beth’s clothes in the pool. Good times. Anybody else besides Beth or the “mean girls,” and I would’ve dropped the hammer on Tonya. David interviews that he’s going to keep Beth at arm’s length. “She definitely gonna pull something,” he adds. “It wouldn’t be Beth if she didn’t pull anything.” Countdown to Disaster: 14:22.

Clue time! Alton reads the beginning: “Have you been pulling your own weight?” Jillian adds that the players will meet at Dwight Yorke Stadium at 9:15 a.m.

In the Female Captains Bonding subplot, Susie asks Ruthie and Kina if they dread the missions or if they get hyped up. Ruthie doesn’t dread, but she does admit to feeling pressure. She interviews tat she’s nervous about her head being on the line. Kina feels that she’s always prepared.

Over in the Veteran Ladies’ room, the gals try to decipher the clue. Aneesa doesn’t want any running. “Oh, my God,” Beth boasts. “I want to run because I will smoke 'em. That’s the thing I do the best.” Montana looks on, a slight scowl crossing her face. She interviews about how some people haven’t been feeling Beth, and how they didn’t get along during All-Star Challenge. Flash back to 1999. Hey, it’s Jason! And Nathan! No Dr. Neil, though. Anyway, Beth and Montana bicker over who would bungee first (result: neither did, and the Real World team lost the mission). “Beth is exactly the same as she was ten years ago,” Montana tells us. “You would think over the process of ten years, there would be a little bit of personal growth. But there’s been no growth with Beth, except for in her thighs.” Ha! I love Montana now. Countdown to Disaster: 13:14.

New day. Dwight Yorke Stadium. The players jog in, and we see two carts on the track. TJ welcomes everybody to today’s mission: Rickshaw Races. Each team gets their own rickshaw. Objective: get teammates around the track inside the rickshaw. Each team has six drivers, three men and three women. The first team to the finish line gets $10,000 to bank, and the winning female captain gets another $1,000 electronics store gift card. The losing captain goes to the Gauntlet. TJ informs the Veterans that since they have two extra players, they must sit out one male and one female...both of whom are exempt from the Gauntlet. Dun dun duuuuuuuun!

Skull sessions. Kina asks the Rookie guys who can really carry people in the cart. Naturally, they all raise their hands. She tells the team that if they can’t run fast, they shouldn’t be driving.

On the Veterans' side, Timmy asks how exemptions will be handled. Julie suggests Syrus sit out due to his weight. Robin figures that Beth and Syrus should sit out, but Montana brings up how Beth is a good runner. Beth bitches that she’s the heaviest female. Montana reminds Beth about how psyched she was to run. “Montana is flipping, out,” Beth blahs, “because she might actually have to prove herself and run.” Julie tries playing Good Cop, telling Montana to put personal stuff aside. Once again, Montana brings up Beth’s desire to run and how she wants an exemption. Beth doesn’t want words put in her mouth. Julie is still trying to settle things. Ruthie gripes about how the drama is “de-unifying” the team, interviewing about having to worry about the drivers lineup and the distractions aren’t helping the team. Beth tells Ruthie that Montana is trying manipulation to get the exemption, accusing Montana of not stepping up. Ruthie asks Beth if she’s trying the same thing. Montana interviews that Beth is scared of going on the chopping block. “It wasn’t the team’s best interest she has in mind,” Montana continues, “it’s saving her own butt, which is always her interest. Ruthie thinks this is messed up, and she wants to forget it. Shots of Beth, Montana and Ruthie. Countdown to Disaster: 10:34.

Back from commercials, we pick up with Ruthie cursing. Katie asks her to decide the runners. Robin: “The thing I love about Ruthie, she’s such a great team player. But as a captain, it’s hard for her to be heard, and it’s kind of upsetting to us girls because she’s our voice.” Ruthie gripes to Derrick about how her butt is on the line. Soon, Beth’s name is put into the lineup. I don’t care how things turned out...it was totally the right move. Ruthie tells Beth to forget the drama. Derrick: “She’s got it, she’s got it.” Ruthie gives Beth a hug, but Beth snipes in an interview about how Montana is a joke with her manipulations. Cry me a river, drama queen. Timmy rallies the Veterans. “Remember,” she says, “when the wheels literally fall off the wagon, just keep going.” I have a feeling that I should be collecting his quotes. It’s like reality zen.

Rookie Drivers: Kina, Alton, Jodi, Jillian, Landon, MJ. Kina interviews about being bervous, since she’s never done this before. Veteran Drivers: David, Robin, Beth, Julie, Timmy, Mark. David lets us in on the team plan: get as big a lead as possible and use the momentum.

TJ blows his airhorn, and we are off. Two players on each side pile into the rickshaw, and they start racing. David does indeed take an early lead. Ibis admits to getting nervous about the star. David finishes his lap, handing the reins to Robin.

Kina is done with her lap. MJ and Landon pile into the cart, as Alton pulls and runs. Wanna know why Bill Simmons not only mentioned Alton twice in his columns, but also thought to put in his last name? Because Alton is fast, to the point where you start humming the theme to Speed Racer. Also, MJ and Landon are a lot heavier than Spridle and Chim Chim. Meanwhile, Robin is struggling. MJ: “I think I can actually see smoke coming out of Robin’s ears right now. She’s puttered out under the first 100 meters Alton keeps running, as the Veterans yell for Robin to pick it up. Robin: “What I’m carrying behind me is killing my arms, and all of a sudden, I can just hear this massive train coming behind me...and sure enough, it’s Superman Alton.” The big fella whizzes by Robin, as the Veterans continue to try and boost Robin. Alton finishes his lap. Derrick interviews that Alton turned on the “turbo button,” and now the Rookies are kicking keister. Jodi gets the reins for the Rookies. Ruthie interviews about being dissapointed in Robin, and she starts hoping for a miracle. Countdown to Disaster: 7:58.

Beth gets the rickshaw and starts running. Katie interviews that Beth is doing an incredible job running. Jodi maintains the lead, with Alton cheering her on. Beth keeps jogging. Jodi finishes up, handing off to Jillian. Beth jogs, and we see that she’s not getting any type of support, if you know what I mean. She interviews that the 300 pounds she’s pulling is getting heavy. “But I’m not gonna give up,” she adds, “because I know everybody’s trying to point the finger at Beth, because Beth is supposedly a weak player.” Not to mention a player who refers to herself in the third person. That’s even more annoying than TJ’s “beautiful Trinidad & Tobago.” Jillian keeps running. Beth hands off to Julie, getting a post-lap hug from Katie. Beth thinks she did an excellent job. “They need me!” she grins at the camera. “These girls can’t even run a quarter mile!” Countdown to Disaster: 7:10.

Jillian is still running. She interviews that being a driver puts pressure on her, and one screw-up sends her to the Gauntlet. Julie runs, while Jillian struggles. Julie admits to feeling the burn, but adds that some girls were walking, so she has to make up the time. Jillian hands off to Landon. Derrick loudly chants Julie’s name. Landon takes off. Timmy takes over the Veterans rickshaw. Landon finishes his lap, handing off to MJ. MJ interviews that all he needs to do is not trip or break the rickshaw. Timmy hands off to Mark. Mark interviews that if he hustles and the Rookies have problems with their “chariot,” he would have a shot.

MJ runs. Mark runs. Fake suspense...fake suspense...and MJ finishes the lap, winning the mission for the Rookies. Cue the usual hugging and kissing from the team. Kina interviews that nobody has to go home, and the Veteran girls can fight. Ruthie looks on at the Rookies’ celebration. David interviews that the girls played “power politics” and that it distracted the team. Mark finishes his lap. Montana tells us that she didn’t want the exemption, but she didn’t want Beth to get it, “because she just sucks at being a person.” Tell this woman that she’s wrong. I dare ya. Countdown to Disaster: 5:21.

TJ wraps things up, noting that the Veterans started strong, but the Rookies passed them Kina does a cute princess act, as her team rolls her on the rickshaw to the $10,000 check and her $1,000 gift card. She interviews that she loves being a captain, and she wonders what she’ll get with her card. Jodi points out that the teams are even at $30,000 apiece, and she thinks the Rookies will pass the Veterans next time. TJ reminds everybody that Ruthie will be going to the Gauntlet, and he gives the Veterans 30 minutes to choose her opponent. Syrus tells TJ to be cool. Countdown to Disaster: 4:31.

Gauntlet Deliberation. Aneesa asks the girls if they have any issues. Shots of silent Montana and Beth. Mark asks Ruthie what she thinks. Ruthie just wants what the team wants. She interviews that Robin doesn’t push it that much, and that she’s not friends with Beth, who did good today. Beth speaks up, bringing up how Syrus was exempt because of his weight, and how she should have gotten the same thing for the same reason. She claims to have stepped up and proved herself, then she labels Montana as the weakest player, and how she gets to sit out. Montana doesn’t think that’s fair, and that she wasn’t trying to call Beth out. “Beth is just digging her own grave,” she interviews, “just like she’s done so many times before. It’s a last-ditch attempt by a desperate woman to keep from going to the Gauntlet.” Julie tells everybody to vote honestly, and to base it on who they want at the end.

Voting. Ace interviews that he’s not focuses on who goes to the Gauntlet, but rather who Ruthie could beat, since he doesn’t want her to go home. More voting. Derrick rubs his head. Ruthie tallies the votes. TJ ambles in, asking for the team’s decision. Ruthie starts to tell, and the producers shuffle shots of Beth, Aneesa, Robin and Montana to build suspense. Our lucky opponent...is Beth. TJ spins the wheel...and it looks like he slows it down. I had to check the tape, but I think he just points at it. The event: Challenger’s Choice. Uh oh. TJ asks Beth to pick an event. Ruthie and Julie have hands on their heads. Beth likes Reverse Tug-Of-War. Ruthie: “It’s like 2,000 pounds against two.” She adds that she has to think of something because “good hearts” on the team believe in her. TJ tells the Veterans that he’ll see them in the Gauntlet. Ruthie’s hands are still on her head, while Beth smiles. She interviews on the disbelief that she got voted in. “That was the stupidest thing they could have done,” she adds. “Now, you’ve got two strong girls up, and one’s gonna have to go home.” Beth is strong? Since when? That isn’t not funny. “Well, guess what? I’m not a weak player. I’m a very strong player, and people are going to be really shocked to see what happens next.” Eerie prophecy. Countdown to Disaster: 2:14.

Gauntlet. TJ welcomes the players back, bringing in Ruthie and Beth to the area. He goes over the rules of Reverse Tug-Of-War. There are flags on either side of the Gauntlet. The players are tied together by ten feet of rope. First person to get to the flag wins and stays in the game. TJ asks Beth if she wants the captain’s position, or if she’ll throw it. Beth replies that she would rather just walk away from the situation. Derrick stands up, his fingers crossed, and I wish I could read lips. Aneesa: “We are all thinking: Is Beth going to do this Gauntlet? Is she going to back down? Can she please back down so we can say Ruthie?” Beth tells TJ that her team doesn’t want her, and she doesn’t want to be part of the negativity. “You know how I feel about quitting, Beth,” TJ blathers. “You can’t quit on this. This is the Gauntlet.” Man, shut UP, TJ. And get a damn shave. Syrus: “I’m not a physics major. Not even good at math. But if you put little itty-bitty Ruthie against Beth, which is a whole lotta woman, we got a problem!” Countdown to Disaster: 0:56. The captain has turned off the “No Screaming” sign.

TJ rings the bell, and both players rush forward and stumble back. Derrick yells for Ruthie to move her feet. She zig-zags, but Beth is lurching forward. Landon yells from the sidelines, while MJ jumps around. “Ruthie is kicking ass,” Mark interviews. “She’s crawling, scratching, stayin glow, and I’m thinking, ‘Is she gonna pull this off?’” Ruthie continues to struggle to make forward movement. “She’s showing why she is Ruthie, and why people like her so much.” A comment from Mark where I don’t hate him afterwards. What were the odds? Syrus mutters that this is too close for comfort. TJ actaully yells for Beth to dig to become the team captain. What is your malfunction, man? Beth goes forwards, with Ruthie trying her best. Montana and Aneesa cringe, and Kina shouts, “Come on, captain! Come on, captain!”

Background music gets spooky. Ruthie whimpers “no,” seeing something horrible in her future. Beth keeps going forward, all those bon bons she’s scarfed down coming through her. Derrick yells to Ruthie that Beth is almost there. Ruthie claws and growls. We go to slow-motion, which is never good in this situation. Beth inches towards her flag. Ruthie struggles. On the sideline, David actually turns away. And...Beth grabs the flag. Game Over, Beth wins, we have the worst upset ever in a Challenge...and that includes Trishelle beating Steve. As Beth throws the flag to the side, the Rookies clap. I’m guessing it’s safe for them to start making plans for the $150,000 final mission money. Alton says this is that best he’s ever seen. The Veterans look shattered. Montana: “It’s a mix of horror and disbelief, and our team is stunned, shocked, silent for the first time ever, just thinking how are we going to pull this through when we have Beth as our captain.”

TJ congratulates Beth, spewing crap about how a lot of people questioned her heart. Beth: “I think I have a lot of people questioning me in general.” You think? TJ notes that Beth proved she had a lot of heart and strength. Ruthie: “And a lot of weight.” A tad ungracious, but considering that Beth got so lucky, I’ll allow it. TJ tells Ruthie that nobody ever questioned her heart, and he gives her twenty minutes to pack up and leave. “Oh, man,” Ruthie interviews. “I feel like I lost.” She gets hugged by her team. Robin covers her face with her arms. Timmy interviews that nobody on the team thouhgt Ruthie would be going home. “It’s a bad worst-case scenario,” he adds. That it is, man.

Once again, TJ congratulates Beth, and she gets a token hug from Mark and a handshake from Derrick. And now, it’s time for Delusional Bitch Theater. “Okay, I’m like the last person that anyone would ever think to be the captain. And now I’m the captain. And there is nobody on my team that can beat me. So good luck, ladies!” She’s still at the bottom of my list. I’m sure that any woman on the Veterans side can whip her. She gets lucky once, and now she thinks she’s all that. Honestly, how does she not get her ass kicked in real life? Montana comes over to congratulate Beth, insisiting that she’s serious. Beth claims she didn’t want to fight. Montana tells Beth that she likes her, and that they’re grown women. I’m trying to imagine Montana was sounding insincere, since I can’t picture her as a huge flip-flopper. Montana walks away, and Beth makes a “gag me” motion at the camera. Classy as always.

Mansion. Ruthie gets hugs from Julie and Alton. Derrick admits that sending Beth to the Gauntlet wasn’t a smart move. Ruthie: “It is what it is.” She interviews about being nervous for the people she’s leaving behind. “The only advice that I can give that team,” she adds, “is don’t stop fighting and beware of people who have, in the past, proven that they are manipulative.” Ruthie is packed up, and she walks down the stairs. Landon hugs her, telling her that they’ll be on the same team next time. I know we’re harsh to frequent Challengers, but I wouldn’t mind seeing her again. She walks out. Sigh.

“I’m the fucking captain!” Beth cackles, as she moves into the captain’s quarters. She interviews that she’s sitting pretty, and everybody underestimated her, and she showed them what she’s got. Body mass? Derrick: “Beth is the queen. That is a scary thought. I hope she doesn’t go on a power trip, because people will set her straight.” Long live the king, baby. Beth gets the other captains to do a toast. Kina interviews about the realization that somebody might move into her bed. I guess we can kiss the “captains bonding” subplot good-bye. Beth tells Derrick that she was the last person he thought would become captain. Derrick: “Definitely!” Beth cackles some more, telling Derrick that she’s a tough girl. “I’m a nice person,” she interviews. “Just work with me, and I’ll work with you. If you’re gonna fuck with me, I’m gonna fuck you harder!” That’s an image I don’t need....and it’s probably worse for anybody who saw her Playboy spread. She plops on the big bed. “If the girls’ team loses again...Montana, your ass is mine. And I can’t waaaaiiit to send you home!” Hey, genius? The guys can hurt you, too. And I’m hoping that if it comes down to you and Montana, she can and will kick your sorry ass so hard, the Botox will be undone. I believe in karma...and I know Beth ain’t gonna stay on for too much longer.

Next time: Something with pushing trucks. Julie’s screaming, inching her way to the inevitable mid-season breakdown. Alton isn’t happy with the idea of people forming alliances. Kina tells Randy and Jodi to watch certain people. Landon asks somebody if they’re in an alliance, and Susie’s jaw drops.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


January 16, 2005...a day that will live in Bunim-Murray Productions infamy. The day when Ruthie Alcaide, one of the strongest and most athletic women on reality television, got her ass handed to her by Beth Stolarczyk, one of the biggest wastes of spaces around. We're in a situation Colts fans experienced yesterday...who do we blame?

Do we blame Montana, who aimed to keep Ruthie from getting an exemption from the mission? If Beth sat out, there's a chance that Robin might have gone against Ruthie. Later, we saw Montana try and act like she could be friends with Beth, but it came off incredibly phony.

Do we blame the Veterans for voting Beth in? It's like she said...she has never been voted out for being in last place. Then again, it does speak volumes that past teams elected to keep a cheery pudgepot (Sharon, Battle of the Seasons) and a pregnant woman (Gladys, Battle of the Sexes) over her. I think the Vets made the right call at the time, and it just backfired.

Do we blame Jisela for bailing two weeks ago? If she didn't have to go home (as per the rumors), Beth would have gotten picked instead of her. And if the wheel had come out "Captain's Choice" for Ruthie, that would have been it for Beth.

Do we blame TJ Lavin? The paranoia creeps deep within our brains, as we see his hand near the wheel as it stops spinning. But what purpose would it serve to keep Beth? Yeah, she brings the drama...but so do Derrick, Brad, Aneesa, Katie, Jodi, Mark, Robin...and I'm still waiting for Julie's seasonal meltdown. It's the same way I convince myself that BMP wasn't out to "get" Julie in BOTS1, because the show would have been better with her and Melissa taking shots at
each other every week.

Do we blame Ruthie? She did agree to sit Montana. The best option would have been to exclude herself. The only real problem would be that she could have won a gift card without doing anything...but it would've kept the peace on the team. As for the Gauntlet? She tried. Man, did she try. Beth probably does minimal workouts and eats bon bons on the couch while watching E!. Her reward? The biggest upset since Trishelle smacked Steve out of The Gauntlet.

As I read the forums, I cannot believe people like the idea of Beth staying in the game. They talk smack about how the Veterans screwed themselves, and they go on about how they never liked Ruthie anyway. Unacceptable. You're not supposed to like Beth in any way, shape or form. She sucks as a human being. The only people who like her are frauds, phonies, and a certain RNO recapper who got all pissy after Tonya baptised her bags in the pool. And just like Beth, this guy bailed out of his stuff because it wasn't working for him. I knew that guy...he would be a Beth-lover. And trust me, you don't want to be in the same class as him.

As for Ruthie...she's a real sympathy case now. She lost her first Challenge when her team failed to disassemble a puzzle. As a result, the guys figured things out by disassembling the girls' puzzle, and they won the final mission. In her second Challenge, she didn't shine as brightly, and Coral and Arissa had to convince Sophia to cut her loose over Tina. And now...this. Is her legacy tarnished? Not as much as you'd think. She is an incredible talent in a teeny package...not unlike Jill Aquilino from The Amazing Race 3. And I'll say this...if Ruthie ever does TAR, she'd do no worse then fifth. Even better, she has a twin sister named Sarah. You don't think the producers love twins? They've cast three sets already!

There is one good thing about Beth becoming captain...the Veterans will probably throw every other mission until she's gone. Wouldn't $10,000 be a worthwhile price to pay to be rid of her? Remember, the current team voting system has them voting for her opponent, as opposed to her targetting Montana right away. Beth is still on the bottom of my list as far as winning a Gauntlet. You don't think Aneesa could kick her butt? Or Robin? If you smack Katie in the face enough times, she'd get mad enough to rip somebody another hole. Julie raises a red flag...she does have skills, but she's lost close contests to scrubs in the past. And I'm pretty sure Montana could wipe out Beth with some effort. Even kinkier is the threat of the double-throw from the Rookies. If one of the girls isn't "feeling it" anymore, the Rookies could force Beth to stay on the team, and then Kina could escort the departing gal out. What's the worst thing that could happen? TJ giving yet another lecture about how the girls don't represent? I'm sure they'll get over that.

Thirteen days and counting. We got through the Telluride threesome, Enily's bloody axe, and Eric and his friggin' jump rope. I'm pretty sure we can endure Osaama Beth Laden for a little longer.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 6: Brokeback Meatheads

Previously on Gauntlet 2: Derrick threw a fit at the first Gauntlet meeting, and he got a warning from Brad. You didn’t miss anything...BMP loves dumping unaired footage and label it “previously.” Brad interviews that Derrick’s testosterone could bring tension to the team. “Not here,” he told Derrick, “not with that volume, not with that tone.” The Rookies squeezed and humped their way to a win in Sponge Worthy, evening the teams’ bank accounts at $20,000 apiece. Ruthie totally demolished Jisela in the Gauntlet, and we’re spared TJ’s rants about quitting this week. Alton reminds us that his neck is on the chopping block every other day.

Club 330 & Diver’s Den. The usual alcohol-induced merriment...at least until we see Brad and Derrick arguing about something. Brad interviews that he thinks Derrick has been acting different after becoming captain. Derrick responds that he doesn’t need this from Brad, and he’s got enough stress. “YOU ARE SHUTTING ME DOWN,” he bellows, “FOR NO FUCKING REASON! FOR NO FUCKING REASON!” I’m not getting why this is happening. I understand how, but it’s like we’re expecting a sandwich, and we get two slices of bread with no meat. Derrick interviews, “You deserve to get hit in your fuckin’ mouth.” Cut to Brad telling Ruthie, “Hey, he’s not the smartest kid goin’.” Hello, pot. Have you met kettle? We zoom to Derrick, hunched over a table.

Mansion. Jeremy reads the text clue, taking time to read off the phone sponsor’s name. “Get ready to paint the town red and blue,” the clue begins. Kids gotta be ready to leave at 8:30 a.m. Jeremy figures that they’ll be “laying our bodies everywhere.” Mark interviews that it’s important for the Veterans to pull away and get a 3-2 lead. He adds that a men’s Gauntlet is coming up, and the guys have to step up because they can’t lose another male. The Veterans cheer, “One, two, three, RED!” The crowd disperses...and Derrick has a jumprope around his neck. Take it off! Two-to-one says it belongs to Mark.

Elsewhere, MJ, Alton and Jamie hang out. MJ tells Alton that he is leading the pack. Alton tells us that if the Rookies lose the next mission, he has to choose his opponent in the Gauntlet, and that is a lot of pressure. Jamie tells Alton that he’s the one making the tough decisions. He interviews that the captain’s role is to determine who he wants in the end. “I trust Alton,” Jamie adds, “and I think he has the ability. Ultimately, it’s his butt on the line.” He tells MJ and Alton that the Rookies’ nucleus is stronger than the Veterans’. Alton manhugs the guys.

A full moon disappears, as we lapse from night to day. There are the kids on the bus. Not they’re filing towards the mission site. TJ welcomes them to Canoe Bay, “in beautiful Trinidad & Tobago.” Maybe the local tourist board is a sponsor. I’ll have to check. Today’s mission is Body Painters. The keys to success: teamwork and artistic ability. Each team has six canvases. Each canvas has a color designated to it. The objective: paint the canvases wearing only Speedos. Always has to be one mission with the tight packaging. MJ expresses his nervousness about wearing a “banana hammock.” TJ goes on, saying that half the team will apply paint, while the other half gets painted. The appliers will put washable paint on the painters’ bodies, and the painters get the paint on the canvas. Once the canvas is completely covered, the team runs over to the shower to get all the paint off. Timmy expositions that the teams can transport paint in any way except for cupping with hands and putting the paint in their mouths. I’m putting the over/under on how many competitors would be stupid enough to try that at 5. The first team to cover all six canvases wins $10,000 for their bank. Since there’s a men’s Gauntlet on the horizon, the winning male captain gets another $1,000 electronic store gift card. I know that’s a better prize than a Nintendo DS, but couldn’t you imagine Derrick playing Nintendogs in his room, singing, “My buddy, my buddy, my buddy, my buddy”? Oh, and the losing captain gets an appointment to the Gauntlet. Derrick interviews that he has to bust his ass, as do the other guy. “I’m the captain,” he interviews. “You had better be hoping you’re not going against me, because I’m here to the end.” Cut to a close-up of Brad. Mmmm...this fake foreshadowing is so delicious!

Rookie strategy session, Randy suggests loading their backs with paint, squirting the stuff on the canvas and spread it around. Alton reminds us...again...that he’s Gauntlet-bound if they lose. “It’s my job,” he tells us, “to figure out who is gonna come and enjoy a Gauntlet game with me.” He makes it sound like a picnic date. The Veterans make plans. Let’s switch it over to Timmy. “This is going to be funny and hysterical, but we can’t go down that way. There’s going to be laughter when we’re hitting the showers, giggling, touching each other’s parts, but we’re running here.”

Speedo time! MJ giggles like an idiot, feeling sexy. Ace has a wedgie going, wondering if his suit is the right size. Landon stands around, looking snug. Ace wonders why his pair is fitting him like that. Adam also has severe wedging action. “It’s amazing what people will do for a little bit of cash,” he interviews. “We’re not completely naked, but we’re close to it as we can be.” He adds that some of the guys are stuffing their Speedos, and the Veterans look self-conscious. Ace shouts for a bigger pair. “Terrible,” Landon laughs.

And now we turn to Syrus. I like the guy, but having his body stuffed in a Speedo is painful. He complains about the Speedo cutting off all his circulation, adding “I’m turnin’ purple.” There’s a few rolls of flesh and a bit of moobage. Not as bad as Gus from The Amazing Race 6, but the big fella should have worked out. Slow-motion shot of Syrus dancing, fleshing glistening and jiggling, as he voiceovers about not having a swimmer’s back. “Sy’s a whole lotta man,” he tells us. “You can check me out at 976-WHOLE-LOTTA.” Sweet! And that’s why I don’t lump Syrus with Donell. Both have weight issues, but Syrus has never been a fat bitch. We didn’t need an actual fake phone number on the bottom of the screen, but it’s a nice touch.

TJ blasts his airhorn to kick off the carnage. Both sides get backs covered with paint. Katie informs us that being covered in paint isn’t as kinky as most people think. Landon slides on the canvas. Soon, the Rookies get a whistle signaling that their canvas is covered, and they run to the shower. Landon expositions that the team has to shower complete before moving on to the next color. While the Rookies frantically shower, the Veterans get the whistle. Timmy: “Shower! Shower! Shower! Shower!” The Rookies finish up, moving to the next canvas, and the Veterans close in. Adam interviews that the guys have big backs, so they would get the paint on the boards, while the women get it nice and even to complete the job. Ace interviews that he’s getting to liking the paint, and his team is working fast.

The Veterans complete the second canvas and run to the shower, followed by the Rookies. Randy interviews that they have to work with one tiny shower, and people are jumping in with no system. We see the Rookies scrub, while the Veterans run out. Randy: “It’s definitely the element that’s causing our team to fall back right now.” Veterans rub on the green paint. Brad tells us that it’s a close race. Adam interviews that the Rookies are trying to stay together, and one slip-up could cost the game.

Veterans complete the third canvas, and they rush to the shower, with the Rookies following close. David gets scrubbed down, exclaiming, “Wipe my ass, bitch!” Yeah, I don’t know. The Rookies run out, and the Veterans start yelling. It seems that Jeremy still has paint on him. Cara interviews that the team has to wait for him to finish up, and they’re cutting it close. As Jeremy wipes off, the Veterans get on the next canvas. “I’m just moving like a machine,” Derrick interviews, “back and forth, just workin’ it because I belong here, and I deserve to be here.”

Veterans get whistled for their fourth canvas, as do the Rookies. Showering. Alton interviews that his team is getting through the shower quickly, and he figures they’ll come out on top. Rookies get to painting each other purple. The Veterans finish their fifth canvas. David: “One more! This is where we bunch up!” Hopefully, he wasn’t talking about the Speedos. Rookies finish up. Both sides wipe off. The Veterans bolt from the shower area first. Derrick tells us that he sees the Rookies getting lathered up, and that his team has to stay focused and precise.

TJ looks on as both sides apply paint to their final canvases. Jeremy and his stupidly-moussed hair interviews that the teams are neck-and-neck, and he thinks the Rookies will get it. TJ looks left and right and blows his airhorn. Landon slams a bottle of paint down in anger, as the Veterans get the win. They run towards the shower before it occurs to them that the mission is over. Veterans celebrate, Rookies look stunned. Derrick interviews that they go up 3-2, and nobody has to go home from his side. He tries to continue, but David runs by, slamming a pair of shorts over his head. Derrick seems pissed at first, but he gets a good laugh over it. Jeremy isn’t laughing, interviews that the Rookies did the best they could, and nothing really went wrong. “I don’t know who’s going in,” he adds, “but I pray to Jesus it’s not me.”

Denouement. TJ: “This was a very challenging challenge, obviously.” When TJ goes bike-riding, does he land on his head a lot? He gives the $10,000 to the Veterans and the $1,000 gift card to Derrick, and adds that he’ll see Alton in the Gauntlet. Alton interviews that he’s trying to figure out what’s fair, and he doesn’t know who to choose.

Gauntlet Deliberation. Alton tells the team that he’s focused on winning first. Jeremy: “I’m at the edge of my seat. I’m sweating bullets over here, taking deep breaths, hoping that it’s not going to be me.” Let’s see...Jeremy looks weak, cost his team some time in the loss, and he’s done two fear-based interviews. In other words, he ain’t going in. A few random shots later, Alton tabs Adam. Why? I think it has somebody to do with what Danny was talking about on MTV.com, that Jodi hooked up with Alton and Adam (as well as Adam L.). Why pass Jeremy over like that, unless Alton wanted to get rid of the competition. I don’t know how true Danny was about Jodi giving the guys “jobs.” I do know that Danny’s bitter nobody bothers to give him an application to fill out.

Anyway...Adam is in the Gauntlet. He sighs, pulling his sunglasses down. Alton tries to sweet-talk Adam about being a strong competitor. Adam asks the question “Why not me?” in an attempt to not come across like Danny. He admits to being the smallest guy, and he hasn’t done a mission where he has excelled. Alton offers that Adam would make an excellent captain, which Adam agrees with. Everybody claps, liking how mature Adam is. Alton interviews that Adam is an awesome person and the “coolest guy in the house,” but the competition so far has favored the big guys.

TJ comes in to get the Rookies’ decision. He spins the wheel, and it lands on Captain’s Choice. Alton walks to the wheel, wanting to give Adam a good chance at winning. Adam tells him not to worry. Since there isn’t a “Bad Rapping” choice, Alton goes with Capture the Flag, interviews that Adam is a climber, and he can show he deserves to be here. TJ tells Adam that he couldn’t get a better game. Did nobody see Alton destroy Laterrian in Pole Climb? Oh, and TJ calls Adam “homie.” I’m really hoping somebody punches TJ before this season ends. Landon interviews that he has respect for Alton giving Adam a fighting chance, but he wants Alton on the team. Adam hugs Alton, noting that no matter what, he respects him.

Gauntlet. The players file in. TJ calls the last mission “the tightest race that I’ve seen on this Challenge so far.” He calls down Alton and Adam to the Gauntlet, then goes over the rules to Capture the Flag. Both players go up on either side on a cargo net to grab a flag. First one to get the flag gets to stay in the game. Adam interviews that Alton gave him a break, and nobody should think that he’ll lose. TJ tells both players to give it their all before ringing the bell. Both players frantically climb, as we head into commercials.

We return to the guys climbing the net. Adam is fast, but Alton is a lot faster, as he grabs the flag for the quick win. Adam hangs dejectedly from his harness. At least TJ won’t bitch about him putting up a fight. Jillian interviews that she’d be intimidated of Alton is she was on the guys’ team. Does she even know the format this season? “I mean,” she continues, “he’s just a freak of nature.” True, that. And while I’m thinking of it...where has Jillian been hiding this whole time?

TJ tells Adam that he put up a valiant effort before congratulating Alton for the win, admiring the speed of both guys. Seriously, Adam might have smoked any other Rookie guy, but he went against the wrong one. TJ gives Adam twenty minutes to pack up and clear out. Adam interviews that he went up against a great competitor. “I’m going home,” he adds, “but I still feel like I gave it my all.” Alton interviews that he is trying to lead by example, and it’s not easy for him to go to the Gauntlet.

Mansion. Adam is packed up, and he gets hugs from the others. Ace escorts him to the cab, because we have to keep up the “Adam is gay for Ace” speculation for as long as we can. Adam interviews about being unhappy to leave, but he got his chance in the Gauntlet, and he has respect for Alton and his team. Adam rides off into the sunset. Derrick and Alton exchange pleasantries, calling each other “captain” and go into a dorky handshake. “I wouldn’t want anybody else to be captain of our team,” Alton interviews. “It’s pretty rough, but I’m a good competitor. For me to go home is just not smart.”

Day lapses to night. Derrick is in the captain’s room, telling Alton that he’ll be happy to get some sleep. He interviews about being happy to not face somebody in the Gauntlet. Suddenly, Brad is up in Derrick’s face, going on about how Derrick has changed, making exaggerated arm motions. It’s like Brad wants to be the male, American version of Belou. Brad tells Derrick that if he sees him in the Gauntlet, he’ll see him in the Gauntlet. Ruthie tries to make peace between the meatheads. Derrick interviews he doesn’t want to hear about Gauntlets or how he’s changed, and his anger is building up. Brad is cursing up a storm about how he isn’t “scurred”of Derrick. Now he’s the son of Belou and Darrell. Derrick tells Brad that he isn’t scared. Brad: “I’m not. Oh, believe me, family, I am not. [bleep] Believe me, I’m not scared of you, bro.” Brad interviews that Derrick is getting defensive, so he’s getting defensive as well. Gee, I wonder why. Brad actually spits on the floor near Derrick. Brad is slowly losing me. Derrick is understandable pissed off. Brad wants to put the “sixteen ounces” on, which I’m assuming refers to the boxing gloves. Derrick: “PUT 'EM ON! LET’S DO IT!” Outside, Derrick interviews that he hates being told that he’s changed, especially when they have known each other for six months. “If he goes into the Gauntlet with me,” Derrick continues, “he’s not going to know what fucking hit him.” Back in the house, Ruthie tells Brad that Derrick loves him. In what way, we can only wonder. Brad: “He’s not acting like it.” Ruthie: “You guys are drunk!”

Outside, Derrick and Katie talk. Katie interviews that she’s trying to act as a mediator, and Derrick’s leadership might be confused with cockiness. She tells Derrick that he has been acting like a jerk. Let’s just nod and move to the final scene.

In the bedroom, Mark gets Brad and Derrick in the same area. Apparently, Brad wants things to stop between him and Derrick, since they’re “two grown-ass men.” Derrick has his face in his hands, looking like he’s tired, drunk, or both. Mark: “He loves you, you love him. End it.” Oh, the possibilities. Brad apologizes, interviewing that he can understand Derrick’s perspective, and he wishes that he had approached him differently. He tells Derrick that he might have been thrown off by Derrick’s behavior. “I love you like a brother, bro,” Brad says, adding that he always looked out for Derrick. Derrick’s face is still in his hands, in the “Yeah, whatever, can I please go to bed?” position. He interviews about being rational and keeping the unity alive, so he won’t fight. “But don’t test me, Brad,” he tells the camera, “cuz I will put you in the Gauntlet.” He tells Brad that he’s not mad at him, They manhug. Fade to credits.

Next time: Montana and Beth go at it. This time, it’s during competition, so it will probably go on through the entire episode. Beth feels Montana is flipping out over having to run to prove herself. Montana: “Beth just sucks as a person.” I think I’m in love. Oh, and the mission involves cart-racing, with players pulling the carts.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

You Changed, Man

Another week, another Gauntlet 2 episode, another letdown. Last week, I figured there would be more blood shed with the Mark/Robin/Jodi situation. Instead, it was bread. Drama to start, competition and Gauntlet in the middle, drama at the end. This week? Same thing...I start wondering who would win a Gauntlet between Derrick and Brad. They fight for reasons not explained. Then we see body paint, Syrus's glistening flesh (976-WHOLE-LOTTA, y'all), and Alton dismantle Adam in the Gauntlet. Then...right back to Brad acting like a jackass, and Derrick matching him. It's fun, but it's not that exciting.

I'm not bored by this season. Really, I'm not. I'm not feeling the pain that I did with Inferno and Battle of the Sexes 2, as reflected in my recaps. It's just that with the captains in place, I can't see too much supense going down, at least not right now. I'm trying to be fair...in the five Gauntlets so far, there has only been one where there was suspense on who would win: Adam L./Derrick. Compare that to the first five endgames in The Gauntlet. We had David/Sarah...thought that would be a blowout in Bishop Woo Woo's favor, but his big muscles killed him in Deadman's Drop. Katie/Montana was blah, and Steve's win over Tonya was preordained (he was a puzzle master, she had crappy luck). Skipping past Katie/Rachel B., you had Coral vs. Tina. Remember that? Real World team turned on Coral, and she broke down after Mike stabbed her in the back. Hey, I know she sucked at that time, but "Coral Betrayed" made for a better story (also: "Great Coral Grief," which was my recap title). She ended up staring down Tina, taking "Discount Coral" out of Telluride. All I'm saying is that the best is yet to come. Worst case, we get a middle-of-the-road season...and with Fresh Meat Challenge coming up, that's not a bad thing.

Let's take a look at the captains and their chances for staying to the end.


He's got one more sacrifice with Jeremy, who should have been buried in the Gauntlet. After that, Alton would have to face Jamie (two-time Challenge winner), Randy (was with Jamie and Alton on the platform at the end of Royal Rumble), Landon (still a tiny bit psycho, won a Challenge), and MJ (former college football player, takes competition way too seriously). I don't know if there's a stronger captain that Alton. He might slip a few times in Get That Coconut, but that might be his sole weakness.


If you're Cara or Susie? Start worrying. With Jo and Cameran won, four of the six Rookie ladies left are from Road Rules: X-Treme. While I don't know if there's any animosity between the girls, I'm pretty sure that Kinda would protect all of them. I can't get a proper read on the survival instincts of these women...but I'm sure Susie is the next to go. First of all, there's the crying bit we saw in the commercials. Second, you'd figure Syrus might be telling stories from Extreme Challenge. "Tough Guy mission? Susie had to be carried. Find out all the details at 976-HELLA-USELESS."


Think of him as the male version of Katie. The more pissed off he is, the better his chances of winning. He'd be the favorite against Ace (bad endgame luck), David (couldn't really get started during Inferno) and Syrus (knee issues, weight problems). Then you have Mark and Timmy...the old guard of Road Rules, guys who might see Derrick as one of the reasons why the show went off the air. Okay, probably not. Gotta make up a compelling story. And if Brad comes at Derrick in the Gauntlet? Awesome. I mean, I do like both of these meatheads, and I'd want them both to stay on the show...but their battle would be must-see television.


The fear still remains...what if Beth beats Ruthie? It's just this lingering concern...Beth is the weakest of all of the women from the start. She gives nothing to the team except drama. Meanwhile, Ruthie could take out half of the guys by her lonesome. But I'm scared that the Veterans will vote Beth in, and she'd win, forcing Ruthie to put a paper bag over her head for the rest of her life. If Ruthie does dust the bitch, Montana would be next on the chopping block, followed by Katie. The remaining girls (Aneesa, Julie, Robin) have shown signs of insanity in the past, but none of them will go in unless they hurt the team directly. With a format like this, you need your crazy chicks. I don't like the idea of Julie completing a Challenge, but everybody else has been acting more psycho than her.

I hope you guys will keep watching, and I hope you tellyour friends about my recaps. What else can you watch? The Bachelor? ABC threw The Mole under the bus for that?!? Please...I'll be tuning in to MTV every Monday night, thank you very much.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Gauntlet 2, Episode 5: Mark Smash!

Previously on Gauntlet 2: Mark and Robin started playing tonsil hockey all over again. Mark called it “a celebration of how much we care about care other.” I’m sure Robin’s family must love him to death. The Veterans won Moving Pyramids over a “volatile Rookie team,” according to the voiceover. Danny told Jodi he went six times, and invited her to kiss his ass. Needless to say, Danny was a bitch, a big fat bitch, the biggest bitch I ever known...you get the idea. And what does Alton like to do? Beat bitches up, as he sent Danny home in the Gauntlet. Cara interviewed that the team is better off without a loose cannon.

Day turns to night. Buses arrive outside Club 330 & Divers Den. Soon, David is behind the bar, taking drink orders. Random dancing shots. Aneesa shakes her butt, Beth dances near Julie. Jodi turns her head, presumably to see an edited shot of Robin and shirtless Mark. Jodi interviews that she dated Mark before this Challenge, and she doesn’t know why they stopped. She tells us that he told her that he loved her, and she doesn’t know who he is anymore. Neither do I, babe. Jodi looks sad, Mark acts like a tool. He interviews that he dated Jodi for three weeks, and he realized he couldn’t be serious with her. “She’s got to just to grips with that, I guess,” he adds. Shut up. And I’ve found another reason to hate Mark...the hair under his lip. It annoys me. I mean, I have that right now, but him having it gives me another reason to smack him in the face. Have I mentioned how glad I am not to be with RNO anymore? No way I could’ve said that last year.

Outside, Jodi cries in Susie’s arms. Susie insists that Mark is nothing, he doesn’t deserve her, and she asks why Jodi lets him upset her. Jodi doesn’t know, as she stumbles backwards a little, perhaps hindered by alcohol. Susie interviews that seeing Mark and Robin together is a little too much for Jodi. “Jodi’s fragile,” she adds, “Jodi’s vulnerable, and she got her heart broken.” Cut to outside the restroom, where we can here Jodi sobbing. Apparently, she told Mark that she loved him only because he told her the same thing, and that’s an emotion she never gives away. No word as to if Jodi said that to any of the guys she’s hooked up with so far this season. Susie: “He sucks, you’re great. Period.” She tells Jodi to go out and have fun. “She deserves better,” Susie interviews, as we see her and Jodi vacate the restroom. “She’s a great girl. It’s a shame that somebody like Mark, who’s 5,000 years old, is breaking her heart.” Oh, snap! Susie with the snark!

Cut to Beth and Robin outside. Beth tells Robin that Jodi grabbed her and told her that she schupted Mark. I know Jodi’s troubled and a teensy bit shady, but would anybody share that kind of information with Beth? Especially after last season? Rather than punching Beth in the gut, Robin smiles and claims she knew that, which raises a few red flags. “I’m not trying to be an intentional shit-starter at all, I swear!” Beth interviews. “But I feel that I have a loyalty to Robin. If somebody was messing around with my guy, I would definitely want to know.” I’d want to know who would date Beth. Then she ups the ante, saying that Jodi said that Mark said that he loved her. Robin grins and tells Beth to shut up. We’ve descended to junior high school, people. Robin interviews that it’s weird for her to hear about another girl in that situation. It’s Mark, kiddo. What did you expect? “I’m thinking you don’t know him on that level,” she tells us. “I thought he’d never want to see me hurt.”

Bus! Before we go in, we see Jodi crying. She tells the camera that she thought Mark loved her, and she’s an idiot for believing it. No argument here. “And Mark?” she snipes, flipping a blurred bird. “Go fuck yourself.” Now we’re on the bus. A somewhat soused Mark tells Robin that he doesn’t care, and he’s cool if she’s cool. Robin grabs Mark’s face, telling him that Jodi said that he loved her. Mark: “NO! I hear you, you [bleep]!” Julie stands nearby, looking unhappy while wiping her face. Robin reminds Mark that they lived together. Mark: “I don’t want to here it, dude! Deal with the fucking [stumbling for the word] future and the present! Don’t deal with the past!” The past...like how you were a cool guy with some control over your johnson? “It’s a waste of time, dude!” Maybe the real Mark is dead, and this is James Orlando in a Mark mask. What’s with the “dudes”? Jamie looks on in the seat behind Mark, while Beth doesn’t look as happy as I would have guessed. Robin is on the brink of tears, yelling at Mark that she doesn’t want to see him. Montana looks uncomfortable, probably wondering why the hell a woman of her maturity is on this show?

Money shot time. Mark is done with Robin. “You pop off, dude. You’re fucking pissing me off!” He then throws an uppercut that connects with the luggage rack. I hope he bruised a few fingers. Mark tells the driver (or whoever is in charge) that he needs to get out. He grabs the camera. “I NEED TO GET OUT OF THIS FUCKING BUS!” Beth hides her face and laughs. That’s the drama-happy bitch I know and loathe. Mark demands the driver open the door, or he’ll bust a hole out. He interviews, “It goes from Gauntlet 2 to the fucking Jerry Springer Show in about 2.2 seconds.” And whose fault is that? Mark gets off the bus, followed by other players.

Mansion. Mark is hanging with his buddies, bitching about how “she” doesn’t get it. Jamie gravel-voices that Robin is a young girl and an even younger Jodi threw out a “seventh grade reaction,” and that she sees him as “an Adonis.” Mark: “A god.” Flatter yourself much? And I’m starting to worry that we’re losing Jamie to the dark side. Jamie suggests Mark lets things air out a little. Mark interviews that he wants to win missions and squash any arguments.

Clue time! Susie reads off the first line: “Are you ‘sponge-worthy’?” Yadda yadda yadda, meet at Canoe Bay at 9 a.m. Usual cheers, and somebody yells out, “Spongebob!” Cara interviews that she can’t stomach three loses in a row, but her team did lose two weak players. “We’re going in with a positive attitude,” she adds. “We’re not going to lose another challenge.”

Elsewhere, Ruthie and Kina have some captain fun. Kina informs us that she always prepares herself for the Gauntlet. The captains arm wrestle, but it’s not effective with both of them on the same side of the railing. Kina adds that this is one of the most difficult situations that she’s been in. Ruthie admires Kina’s muscles. Kina notes that they’re not like Ruthie’s muscles. She asks Ruthie about being sized up, being the smallest of the Veterans. The camera zooms out from a close-up of Ruthie’s leg. “Not at all,” Ruthie answers. “My life has always been about the fight.” The ladies shake hands. “I’m a survivor. And in the Gauntlet, it’s business. Because you’re going against you own teammates, it’s like you or me, it’s like kill or be killed. Who wants it more.” Ruthie reminds us that if her team loses, she’s going to the Gauntlet...and if she loses there, she’s going home. Outside shot of the mansion. Fake-ass blue and red lightning bolts. Fade to commercials.

Mission site. The players get shin-deep in the waters of Canoe Bay. TJ welcomes them to the site in “beautiful Trinidad & Tobago.” They know where they are, TJ! Anyway, today’s mission is Sponge Worthy. The players will be wearing belts with sponges on them, and they will be taking water from the ocean to put into containers. Each side has to be divided into three teams: soakers, transferers and collectors. Any number of people can be put on any team. Susie expositions that the soakers take ocean water and go to the transferers, giving it to them. Montana adds that the transferers go to the collectors, where the water is put into the containers without the collectors using their hands. TJ notes that the team that fills their container first wins $10,000 for their bank account. Since we have a female Gauntlet today, the winning captain gets a Nintendo DS. Not bad...I screw with those all the time in electronic stores. The losing captain goes to the Gauntlet.

Strategy session. On the Rookie side, Kina figures that can transfer water quickly, but a lack of transferers would make the soaking pointless. Adam interviews that the plan is to have the same number of soakers and transferers, in order to get as much water out of the ocean as possible. Landon demonstrates a poistion, bending down onto a transferer in a humping position. Jeremy expositions that they have the brilliant idea to put sponges on the transferers’ backs and the soakers’ stomachs. The Rookies do a quick cheer.

On the Veteran side, Mark figures they need the most amount of soakers to get the water faster. Julie notes that if they lose the mission, it will be because they have people standing around doing nothing. Suddenly, team members start cursing and try to keep quiet. I didn’t get that. Were they worried about getting their plan stolen? Julie interviews that the Veterans have a crappy strategy. “No one is really throwing that much out there,” she adds. “No one is really giving tons of great ideas.”

TJ blows the airhorn to kick things off. Both sides rush out to soak up the water, then run to the transferers. Mark gives Ruthie a nice hug, and she runs to Syrus, who rams his bald head on her sponge. He repeats that on Montana’s sponge. Adam runs and does a hump motion on Susie, as does Kina. Landon and Alton collect the water with their heads. I guess bald is beautiful in this mission. The Rookies have 20 percent of their container full, while the Veterans come in with 15. “This is a ridiculously sexual challenge,” Jeremy interviews, as we see him squeeze on Cara. “This is for $10,000, but at the same time, you got guys humping girls [shot of Timmy on Jisela] and girls taking their butts and pushing them on other guys’ heads [shot of Montana and Aneesa hugging, squeezing the water out while Syrus helps]. I guess it’s one way for a team to bond.” Alton and Landon smash their heads on girl butt. Landon interviews that he has his head in the bucket under women’s butts, getting soaked in sand and salt water. Rookies maintain the lead, 48-42.

Time for some great quotes. Timmy gets his sponge squeezed by Syrus and Robin. “Squeeze my balls,” he quips as water pours from his shorts, “about two gallons will come out.” Cara hunches over. “Just waiting...to receive it.” Ha! Jeremy rushes in to give it to Cara. She interviews about the mission being perverted, then she apologizes to her mother. MJ runs from the beach to squeeze on a teammate. “I’m sopping wet,” he explains, “and I’m over Ibis, and I think we actually have a kid on the way.” Ibis runs off. Rookies are at 70 percent, Veterans at 62.

Veterans are still running. Beth hugs a guy, while Jisela is left hanging. Jisela interviews that nobody is there to take her water. The Rookies are still running. Cara interviews that they’re blowing the Veterans away, since everybody is working. Sure enough, they’re up, 85-75. More Rookies in the hump mode. Cara calls this “the most successful thing that’s ever happened.” Landon and Alton frantically work with their heads. Ruthie interviews about seeing the Rookies working harder than her team, and they could step it up. Veterans are still soaking. Syrus squeezes off some girls’ water, shouts “Menage!”then moves to Timmy. He interviews that the guys have sponges over their private parts. “I can taste the salt water,” he adds. “I hope there wasn’t no pee.” Cut to Timmy: “Just a little pee, Sy.” Classic.

The Veterans reach 90 percent. Alton and Landon squeeze out some more water. TJ and a referee look in on the action. TJ blows his horn, giving the mission to the Rookies. Cue the usual celebration, with the hugging and declaring that nobody is going home. Kina gets a kiss from Randy, then Alton picks her up and spins her around.

Everybody is shin-deep in the water for the aftermath. TJ gives the $10,000 check to Kina, as well as the Nintendo DS. I would’ve preferred a packaged DS...what if Kina drops it in the water? Anyway, each team has $20,000 in their respective bank accounts. The Veterans have to go back to the house and figure out who faces Ruthie in the Gauntlet. Beth interviews that her teammates will go after her. “People have preconceived notions about who I am,” she adds with a straight face. “They think I’m sneaky, they think I’m a bitch.” Lady, they know you’re a bitch. Ruthie has a sick feeling about going to the Gauntlet. I get my own sick feeling, as I remember a preview where Beth yells about being in charge. The thought of Beth beating Ruthie in anything...I can’t even begin to imagine it.

Gauntlet Deliberation. The players file into the room. Derrick has a bowl of something, as he expositions that it will come down to either Beth or Jisela. Suddenly, Jisela announces that she will go on her own, in order to “save the unity” on the team. She also vows that she won’t go out like a punk like Cameran did. Most of the team claps, thinking on how to get rid of Beth in two episodes.

TJ ambles in to get the team decision, then he spins the wheel. As nervous as Ruthie has proved herself to be, the wheel does her a favor by landing on Captain’s Choice. TJ asks “Ruth” for her pick. She goes for Reverse Tug-Of-War. As always, TJ will explain the rules at the Gauntlet. Did Ruthie just pick that game because of the self-explanatory title? Or do all the captains get the rules for each game along with their posh room?

Gauntlet. TJ welcomes everybody, congratulating the Rookies for their win. He calls down Ruthie and Jisela, who comes in with a big smile and announcing that she’s taking Ruthie out. “Why would you volunteer yourself?” Alton asks in an interview. “The game’s not even close to being over, and there’s still $150,000 waiting for you at the last mission. These people are crazy.” Maybe Jisela did decide to go home early. Or maybe she’s doing her thing with doing four missions in each season. Or maybe she’s feeling lucky. I’d feel better for her if she faced Julie. That girl loves to lose to scrubs.

TJ explains Reverse Tug-Of-War. Both players are connected to each other by ten feet of rope and a weight belt. Each player faces a galley, with a flag waiting on either side of the Gauntlet. First person to get the flag wins and stays in the game. Ace interviews that Jisela could win, and that makes him nervous, since Ruthie is one of best players on the team. TJ gets ready to ring the bell. Adam interviews that he’s love for Jisela to knock out Ruthie. “I love her,” he adds, “but it would definitely weaken their team.”

TJ rings the bell. Now...if Jisela did throw the mission, then I fell for it. Why? Because this is Ruthie we’re talking about. She takes off like a bullet, dumping Jisela on her cushy hinder. Jisela has the belt around her chest, but that doesn’t do anything, as Ruthie grabs the flag for the win. I’m happy...I like Jisela, but Ruthie went out in the worst way last year, and I’d want her to make a return to her dominating days on Battle of the Sexes. Jodi doesn’t think Jisela tried at all. “I know if I’m in there,” she interviews, “I’m not going to just fall over and let someone drag me across the Gauntlet.” Once again...maybe she shouldn’t be talking. Kina gripes about how Cameran got grief from Jisela for bailing out of the Gauntlet, then Jisela bails herself. MJ snipes that Jisela decided to go home without putting up a fight, and he can’t understand that. Note to the Rookies: Jisela was facing Ruthie. Odds are she was going to go home anyway, either today or two weeks from now. So shut your yaps.

TJ congradulates Ruthie for her win. Jisela: “Way to carry my big ass!” TJ then turns on Jisela, saying he couldn’t be more disappointed in her, and that he’s tired of quitters. “The women are disgracing the Gauntlet so far!” he says out loud. Man, shut up. Honestly, I don’t care if Jisela threw the game. Better to have a host with no personality than whatever TJ has. Ruthie raises a finger in protest. “I’m just telling the truth!” TJ keeps going. “Two women Gauntlets, and they both quit! You gave up!” Man, the only way Jeff Probst could have topped this displayed is if he set fire to Lydia. Jisela insists that she didn’t quit. “Go home!” TJ replies, turning Jisela around. “You got twenty minutes to get your stuff! Get out of here!” The Rookies chant TJ’s name. Jisela once threatened to choke Jonny Moseley. Why doesn’t she do something here?

Ruthie gets hugged by Beth and Julie. She’ll be showering for hours later. Julie interviews that Jisela made a sacrifice and she didn’t sit on the side. Jisela gets a hug from Montana. “It’s hard to compete against people that you’ve developed relationships with,” she interviews. “Maybe that’s one of the reasons that the Gauntlets have not been so cutthroat.”

Mansion. Jisela and Aneesa hug. “I just love the girl to death,” Aneesa interviews. “There’s some people in life that you meet and you instantly click with them, and have like an incredible bond. And that’s what I have with her.” More hugging. Aneesa tells Jisela that she lover her company, that Jisela is a good woman, and she doesn’t know what to do. Jisela says that Aneesa will be fine. Aneesa agrees, adding that she’s never felt this bond with anybody. Jisela: “Because we were meant to be friends, always and forever. And there goes an unexplored subplot: were Aneesa and Jisela a couple? I mean, they had similar looks in the first episode, and I saw them hold hands at one point. Listening to Aneesa, I keep hearing “I wish I could quit you” running in my head. Did Jisela at least call Sophia first before moving on to Aneesa?

Farewells. Jisela gets hugs from Jamie and Ace. Ace then turns on Jisela in an interview, saying she was dead weight for the team. “There’s not gonna be any more Gauntlets,” he adds, “where girls just quit. It’s going to be fighting time now.” We see an Aneesa/Jisela/Ruthie/Beth/Julie group hug. Julie interviews that she feels good not to be fighting, and Jisela’s departure will strengthen the team. Jisela gets into the car, saying that it’s not “goodbye,” but “see ya later.” She rides off. Aneesa: “I feel like my girlfriend just left me. That’s how I feel.” She then goes off to cut people with words.

Day turns to night. Players climb off the bus. More random dancing shots. Robin embraces Jodi, interviewing that they’re both cool. “She got fed a bunch of garbage,” Robin adds, “and it’s not the truth. You need to be able to see through it.” Jodi tells Robin that they’re fine. Robin goes on about feeling bad for anybody getting in the middle with her and Mark, since they get hurt. Of course, we see Robin rubbing herself on Mark. I hope Santa got her some standards for Christmas. Mark can’t explain his deal with Robin. “Alls I know,” he interviews, “is when I’m together with that girl, I like it. And I’m not saying it’s ever going to be boyfriend and girlfriend again, but I’ll love her forever. She will always be that someone special in my heart.” They share a light kiss outside. Robin interviews that she doesn’t know if this will work out, and that they’ll gravitate towards each other.

Jodi dances. She interviews that she has feeling that are hard to shut off. “It’s just a matter of just being that bigger person,” she continues, “and just knowing that there is somebody else out there that will love me and really mean it.” Cut to Jodi with Alton. Great choice, there. Bonus: if Jodi loses in the Gauntlet and the Veterans tell him to help her pack, he can flip out all over again. Alton interviews that Jodi is going to have a hard time seeing Mark with somebody else, but time heals all wounds. “She’s young,” he adds, “she’s intelligent, she’s going to figure herself out and she’s going to be great.” They walk off-camera. Fade to black. And remember, ladies...if Mark Long walks up to you? Run. Just run. Or maybe kick him in the nuts and run.

Next time: players have to don Speedos and roll around in body paint. But that’s nothing compared to the Main Event. Derrick to Brad: “YOU ARE SHUTTING ME DOWN FOR NO FUCKING REASON!” Brad interviews that Derrick gets defensive, so he gets defensive as well. He tells Derrick that he’s not scared of him. Derrick to camera: “You deserce to get hit in your fuckin’ mouth.” Awesome! See you then!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Stop The Bus, He Needs To Get Off

I watched one of the most hyped episodes of Real World/Road Rules Challenge in recent memory. And it didn't quite live up to its promise. I was expecting somebody to walk off the show. I was expecting fisticuffs. All we got were several things we knew already.

Jodi Has Problems

I hate to say it, but Beth may be right about Jodi...she is following Tonya's path in life. First of all, she believed Mark's jive about loving her. Then we see her fool around with Adam L. and Alton. Then I saw Mark on Reality Remix last night, and he threw in the other Adam. That's right...she fooled around with Adam King. To what extent is unknown, but that's just so freakin' random. I'm not going to be as nasty to Jodi as Danny, who probably wishes he got as many "job offers" as her. But I do want her to take stock of her life and get the hell out of the BMP dating pool.

Robin Is An Enabler

Is she dating Mark or isn't she? It's like she's Elaine and he's Puddy (which worked out great Seinfeld-wise this week, what with the sponges and Syrus rubbing his bald head on women). It's not something I can put in words, but I just don't like her.

Beth Loves Stirring The Pot

And by "pot," I mean "caulderon," because she's a witch. She started trouble last season, and she's at it again now. I honestly cannot understand why nobody beats her up in real life. How can she have friends? How can anybody listen to hear for more than three seconds without walking away?

Mark Is An Asshole

Quick note to the guy running the Challenge recaps on RNO: Mark is not the new Miz. First of all, Mark is a lot older than Mike. Even though Mike can be and has been a major tool, even though he's gotten as much Challenge action as Mark, I don't feel the need to bang my head against a wall thinking about him. Even if he becomes a WWE wrestler, Mike wouldn't automatically go to the dark side. Mark has been there since Battle of the Sexes 2, after he got divorced, when he started fooling around with Robin, when he gave up an all-but-guarenteed $60,000 to ensure a weak women's team, allowing Eric Nies to collect money he did not deserve. I don't care if everybody on the bus was stuck for 45 minutes (which he claimed on Remix). He broke Jodi's fragile heart, and Robin was giving him grief about it...and he blew up. Threw an uppercut pump and grabbed the camera. But he doesn't care. He's still working on Remix and whatever D-grade show will have him. He's probably having a threesome with Eric Nies and Margueriette "God Warrior!" Perrin as I type this out. If Derrick kicks his ass in the Gauntlet, I might have to erect a statue of the littlest captain. Mark sucks, end of story.

The Casting Bites

For the record: I'm not missing Mike, Tina, Abram, Rachel, Tonya or Veronica. I would love Coral to come on and talk smack, but I can wait. I'm talking about casting people who aren't totally in the game. When Ruthie beat down Jisela in the Gauntlet, I thought it was "real." I hated TJ for calling the girls out afterwards. Then I heard a rumor that Jisela had to get back to her job, and that she threw the match. Did the casting people learn nothing from Karamo? Last season, he had scheduled a speaking engagement at the same time as Inferno II. Facing a potential lawsuit, he basically gave the Good Guys a free pass, and Landon sent him home in the Inferno. Isn't the whole point of these kids coming on this show that they don't have lives of their own? After Battle of the Seasons, BMP cracked down on collusion. How about the Eubanks/Delgado Clause? "If you don't go out there and give 110 percent, if you run back home and leave us in the lurch...we take a finger. Our choice."

I don't hate Jisela. I hated that she was voted off The Quest, even though she did have it coming. It's just that I had a "Jisela Redemption Arc" in my head, where she decided not to do Challenges in order to train harder for them. Remember Rocky Balboa training in freakin' Russia to face Drago and avenge Apollo's death? Same thing. Maybe she didn't have to go home, and she did lose to Ruthie fairly. I'm just sad to see her go, while Beth the Human Albatross stays. Also: how close was Jisela to Aneesa? They had identical looks in the first episode, and I thought I saw them holding hands. Did Jisela turn? Was she and Aneesa a kinder and crazier version of Rachel & Veronica? Did she at least have the decency to call Sophia first when she came out? I guess we'll never know. On the bright side, with all the monkeyshines on this show and The Real World, few people will remember Jisela riding "the ho train," as Coral put it, when she made out with several people away from her boyfriend Malik. So she gave Blair a topless lap dance. Girls like Trishelle and Veronica are riding faster ho trains these day. Hocomotives, if you will.

At least next week's episode looks interesting. Once you stop being blind from Syrus in a Speedo, we'll have Derrick vs. Brad in the house. Who would you root for if they went into the Gauntlet? Derrick's tiny, but he did beat Adam L. and he seems to care about his team. On the other hand, Brad got eliminated in his first two Challenges, and he's due for some good luck. This could be the most intense endgame since Brad went head-up against Abram last season.

The next recap should be up in a few days. Also, I'll be posting something special before then, and I'm sure you'll dig it.