As I begin this essay, I'm at a Burger King in Manhattan. I managed to kill a half-hour on my own, but now I face about an hour's worth of time left on this computer. All this because I was on a date that ended early (long story), and I'm just passing time until the latest DWNY event. So I reckon this is about as good a time to talk about The Real World/Road Rules Challenge and what pisses me off about it.
I realize that it has to be all drama, all the time. The days of somebody like Roni, an athletic girl who got little camera time during The Gauntlet, appearing on the show are over. And we'll never have a heroic figure like Sarah and her five Gauntlet wins ever again. So we get stuck with mental midgets and scumbags galore. Bunim-Murray Productions managed to invite CT to two Challenges where he got into fights and had to leave before the first mission was even played. At the heart of this discord: three assholes who have made the game theirs.
It started with Fresh Meat, where experienced BMP hands were partnered with new recruits. One of them was Kenny Santucci, a Guido from New Jersey. He was paired with the noisome Tina (who hasn't been back since she smacked Beth in Gauntlet 3), and they managed to walk away with second place at the end of the season. Also new was Evan Starkman, who seemed to be a likable Canadian boy at first. It helped that he was teamed with BMP legend Coral, a chick who can't do wrong in my eyes. However, Evan wound up getting a hernia, and Coral hurt her knee, so they had to bow out midway through the competition, opening it up in the process. In subsequent Challenges, Kenny remained a woman-hating dick, while Evan crawled toward the dark side, culminating with turning his back on Coral in Gauntlet 3, joining the forces of evil that I labeled the Axis Of Ass. While most headaches from the past several Challenge seasons have been Fresh Meaters (Evelyn, Casey, Diem . . . Ryan and Eric to a lesser extent), there came a third loser who became a major player: John Devenanzio from The Real World: Key West . . . or, as viewers came to know him as, "Johnny Bananas." It's bad when one of them is on. It's another when all three appear at the same time, which happened in the previous season, The Ruins. They trashed the competition, ridiculed others, and sailed off with an easy win.
What bothers me is that there's never comeuppance for people like Kenny, Johnny and Evan. Things break their way, they manage to top the winners' list in money earned (toppling four-time Challenge winner Darrell), and they never get shit for treating others -- particularly women -- like crap. I keep expecting somebody . . . ANYBODY . . . to boo them at the post-season reunions, but that never happens. All I can do is impotently put the hammer down on them in the Television Without Pity forums and make insinuations about their sexuality. Other casts are in on the joke; they referred to Kenny and Evan as "Kevan" during The Ruins. I honestly believe that Kenny cannot have sex with a woman unless he tapes a picture of Evan on the back of her head. Am I wrong for saying stuff like that? Probably. I do not consider myself homophobic, but I get so angry seeing Kenny talk shit on Fresh Meat II, I drift off into my darker side, like I did with Beth when I recapped Gauntlet 2. He winds up with perhaps the strongest Fresh Meat girl from the stable (Laurel), they win one Exile endgame, then he engineers the destruction of Wes and Evelyn's alliance. And it's not that I like either of those headcases, but I get an earful of "Mr. Beautiful" (yes, this is what Kenny calls himself) pat himself on the back about it, doing everything but whip it out and yank it during interviews. And the worst part is that the others kowtow to him. There were times where Kenny and Laurel didn't win a mission, and they were vulnerable to going into Exile. Guess what? It didn't happen, because nobody had the brains or the spine to pull off the maneuver. Even worse, I find myself reading other forum posters' messages, where they stop looking at Kenny at his rotten core and notice how good-looking he is. So's most of the cast of Jersey Shore, but would you want to spend any time with those people?
This Wednesday is the season finale. I'm pretty certain Kenny will wind up winning $100,000 when it's all over. Of course, he'll get applauded for his actions at the reunion. When I found out about the date of the reunion at TARCon, I considered waiting to see Kenny come out, but I decided against it. Even if he knew he was a scumbag, getting told that he is one probably wouldn't affect him. And the next season will feature Johnny, so that's going to be painful to watch. Sooner or later, whether it's on-screen or off, karma will catch up to the likes of Kenny, Evan and Johnny. I'm hoping for "sooner" and "on-screen" myself, but I seldom get what I want.
PS: I managed to kill over a half-hour. I should visit Burger King more often for my blogging needs.