Friday, February 03, 2012

The Challenge: Fair Play Gone Foul

Like I said in my last post, it takes a lot of motivation for me to post here. I kept meaning to write a full essay on how two veterans of The Challenge alledgely took a toothbrush and put it in a woman's body where there were no teeth. To recap: Tonya's a mess, Kenny and Evan are scumbags, and I have to adhere to the concept of innocence before proven guilt, even if Evan never grasped that notion in whatever shithole in Canada he grew up.

I bring this up in light of the events showed in last night's episode of The Challenge: Battle of the Exes. It seems that in light of Tonya's accusations, Bunim-Murray Productions tried to step up their morals clauses. Sure, they stuff a few dozen social misfits in a mansion that's way too good for them, throwing in enough alcohol that would kill Norm Peterson five times over, but they probably wanted to show that they gave a rat's ass about the safety of their cash cows. The result? One person wound up getting sent home, but three others got royally fucked because of it.

For those just tuning in . . . this season's concept is bringing in teams of two to compete. Their common link? Regrettable hookups caught on camera. One of those pairs was Sarah Rice and Vinny Foti. Sarah was the inked-up tomboy from The Real World: Brooklyn. Vinny was her partner in Fresh Meat II . . . back then, he was a tatted-up, bargain basement version of (future alleged rapist) Kenny Santucci. I heard that Sarah had a massive crush on Kenny (bringing her mental health under scrutiny), and she probably projected that onto Vinny. Like 99 out of every hundred BMP hookups, it didn't work out. Also, Vinny came to the Dominican Republic with a little more meat on his bones. How much meat? It looked like he went on the Rob McElhenney Sunny Philadelphia Diet Plan. I'm guessing the other players would come up to Sarah and whisper, "Seriously, you let that fuck you?!?"

Now that we've met two of the central characters to BMP's latest fiasco, we can proceed to the mission: Hook Up. Ha ha hardy har freakin' har. The teams are thirty feet above the water, and they have to cross from one platform to another by hopping on beams. To do so, they have to use a hook to connect to rings above their heads, and use it to swing from one beam to the next. I won't bore you with the details . . . after all the teams took a turn, Johnny & Camila were the only team to pull it off. Sarah & Vinny made the most progress among the also-rans, so they went into a playoff against Johnny & Camila. Leroy & Naomi did the worst, so they were immediately sent into the Dome.

At this point, I have to take a tangent. Leroy made his Challenge debut last season in Rivals. The format was to pair up people who couldn't stand each other. Leroy got stuck with Adam Royer, his roommate from RW: Las Vegas [II]. They managed to win the first mission . .. but Adam, being a complete tool and asshole, managed to get booted off his second BMP show in a row by punching Ty. There was speculation as to whether Leroy would follow him, since he didn't have a partner . . . but he wound up staying, as Michael Ross took Adam's place. The main problem was that Leroy and "Mike-Mike" were really chummy during their stay in Vegas, with no bad blood between them. My objection was merely on general principle, as they provided a pleasant diversion from the show's permanant Axis of Axis that has run the show for years: Kenny (asshole, alleged rapist), Evan (flabby asshole, alleged rapist) and Johnny (asshole, sued HBO for "ripping off" the name "Johnny Bananas.") Keep Leroy in mind for later.

Anyway, Johnny & Camila face Sarah & Vinny in the final round . . . and amazingly, the latter team winds up winning. I was happy because I friggin' hate Johnny. I didn't love Sarah or Vinny, but at least things might be more interesting, even if it turned out Johnny threw the mission. I'd hate to give him any credit, but he has competed in about a million missions in his "career" (actual number: 55), and even the dimmest chimpanzees can learn the right way to handle a task if they keep at it long enough. Anyway: as winners of the mission, Sarah & Vinny are the "Power Couple," responsible for picking a team to go up against Leroy & Naomi in the Dome.

With the Dome slated for the following night, it's time to party. Since the mansion probably needs to be cleaned and  deloused, it's time for our cast to get shipped to a bar, while the BMP interns break out the mops and hazmat suits. The usual shenanigans commence: dancing, drinking, drinking, Aneesa the lesbian appearing to dry-hump Leroy while Naomi fumes, etc. Suddenly, there's a scandal. It seems that Vinny grabbed Mandi's top, leaving her topless. I figure this is par for the course for BMP. It wasn't like fists were thrown . . . like the time in The Ruins when Brad punched Darrell, and Pootie Tang responded with several dozen blows to Brad's face. Wes is fucking fuming . . . Mandi is one of several girls he's hooked up with, and he wants to defend her honor. The catch? If he lays a finger on Moby Prick's face, he's booted from the game. Wes strikes me as the sort to use "honor" as an excuse to cave somebody's face in, but I did get a sense that he really felt for Mandi. Vinny doesn't understand what he did wrong, as you'd expect with somebody who just developed thumbs.

Next day. Enter TJ Lavin, America's most ineffectual reality show host. This is his twelfth season, and he is as desperately in need of a life every bit as much as the BMP mainstays. The man brings nothing to the table. Don't get me wrong . . . I felt bad for him when he had a major crash at a BMX event and landed in critical condition. Not like I want any of these tools to die . . . I just want them to learn their lessons and go away. Or in Teege's case, get replaced by somebody who has a personality. Rob Dyrdek is my go-to choice, but that's another post altogether.

Anyway, TJ rounds up the troops to see which team Sarah & Vinny sent to the Dome. Since we're on a douchebag high tonight, it's Wes & Mandi. The usual yelling and anger occurs, with Vinny cracking wise about his little incident, and Wes wanting a chunk of Vinny's oily hide. Sarah admits to Wes that Vinny is a liability . . . a sweaty, inky, ugly liability.

Suddenly, Teege gathers the kids for another powwow. Turns out that Vinny actually broke a rule by swiping Mandi's top, and he's gone. Vinny stalks off, probably in the direction of the nearest beach. That would give Greenpeace volunteers an easier time of shoving him back into the ocean. But with Vinny gone, that raises an important question: does Sarah get to stay in the game. Like I said, Leroy was spared a premature ouster after one mission. Back in Gauntlet III, Tyrie wound up leaving the Rookies team due to a family emergency, and MJ replaced him in the fourth episode. Would BMP bring in somebody -- anybody -- from her past to replace Vinny? Hell, Eric Banks is about as heavy as Vinny . . . why not bring him in?


Sarah Rice is out. She is out because she did not bother to hook up with anybody else in her BMP career. She is out for not being a slut. The irony is staggering at this point.

Anyway. Sarah is crying up a storm. It's a bit over the top, but I can't blame her. She going home even though she did nothing wrong. I know it's a strong word, but "fucked" just about covers it. Most of the gang comforts her, and yells at Vinny that she is out of the game because of his fuck-up. Of course, he doesn't give a shit. Why would he? Iit's amazing that BMP tries to look like they give a shit, and Sarah winds up paying the price. I'm pissed off . . . and Sarah isn't my favorite Challenger ever. She's not even my favorite Challenger named "Sarah" ever, and I'm angry.

So . . . you would think that Wes & Mandi would get a break, since they were sent into the Dome by a "Power Couple" that was dismissed. Well, you would be wrong. The Challenge is where logic goes to die. Granted, if Johnny & Camila got the title, Wes & Mandi would still go into the Dome, on account that Johnny wants Wes to break into a million ginger pieces. I would've made the players vote for a sacrifice to the Dome. As much as it would've killed me, I would've thrown Johnny & Camila a bone by either making them immune from the vote, or sending them to the Dome only in the event of a unanimous vote. In other news, I think waaaaaaaaaayy too much about this shit.

The Dome. The game is X Battle. The players are given a metal "X" to grab onto. The goal: rip the X from the opponent's hands. Since BMP doesn't want the girls to get killed from the testosterone Wes and Leroy can generate, we get Wes Vs. Leroy and Mandi Vs. Naomi, best two-of-three for each. While Wes is an endgame veteran (10-2 record going into BOTE), Leroy manages to win two straight times. Now all Naomi has to do is win two times . . . and she winds up losing twice against Mandi. The dramatic conclusion? Coin flip. One side, the guys battle; other side, the girls fight. Now . . . am I the only person that sees the huge flaw in this situation? Once again: BMP loves logic the way Vinny loves vegetables.

The coin gives the deciding battle to Leroy and Wes. Here's where we stand: if Leroy wins, Wes is fucked for being outclassed in weight and manuevering. If Wes wins, Leroy is fucked because Wes would catch a lucky break, or because Leroy is gassed from the previous battles. Long story short . . . Leroy wins, he and Naomi live to fight another day, and Wes makes his earliest Challenge exit ever. As much as I like Leroy and hate Wes, I think Wes and Mandi got screwed. It's a general principle thing. Also . . . which guy's shorts get a lot less roomy with Wes gone? Johnny. After enduring seven-plus seasons of the "Johnny Bananas" experience, I can safely say that anything that gives that guy a chubby cannot be good for anybody. In worse news, Wes winds up going home without throwing a punch. The only way karma would be imagining Vinny watching his oily face in the airport bathroom, lifting his head from the sink . . . and seeing one Wesley Bergmann in the reflection behind him. You can finish that fantasy for me . . . I'm tapped out on rage at this point.

Damn, for somebody who seldom feels like blogging, I just blabbed a lot about something I should've gave up ages ago. And I'm leaving stuff out, like Naomi wanting to get closer to Leroy, Jasmine fighting with Tyrie (had to look it up . . .  sucks to have a "Ty" and "Tyrie"), and the fact that whatever power running the universe doesn't want Abram (my nickname: "Bozo from Bozeman") and Wes in the same place at the same time. But it's amazing that BMP looks like they're giving a shit after the alleged rape, and yet three people got boned through no fault of their own. It's just one loooooong slide to the inevitable ending, where Johnny wins his record fifth Challenge, and he gets greeted as a hero at the cast reunion by an audience that cannot (or will not) grasp what a jagoff he is. We need a happy ending right now . . . so here's CT humiliating the shit out of Johnny in Cutthroat.

Oh, "Bananas Backpack." Is there any bad mood you can't destroy? Bringing in a ringer to face Johnny in the Gulag was so wrong, but the result was so right.

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