Thursday, February 23, 2017

Hot & Bothered: The RW/RR Challenge Battle of the Sexes Reunion

This is the end . . . at least of our time in Jamaica. It's funny how wrong I was about certain people when I re-read the recap. I wouldn't think of Veronica as a human being for most of her tenure. Well, maybe I felt for her when Julie kinda/sorta tried to murder her in The Inferno, but I'll get to that eventually. I thought Emily was a heinous bitch, and I forgave her before the end of 2003. And at the time, I was okay with Eric. Then came Battle Of The Sexes 2, and he became "Eric Fucking Nies" to me. I'd also start referring to Mark as "Marky Mark" after that season. Puck wouldn't become a Challenge veteran, but he still sucked. At least I had that right. Anyway, here's the Reunion recap, as well as some bitching about MTV in general.

Airdate: May 12, 2003
Recap Published: May 21, 2003 (Honestly, I don't remember the gap. I swear this is not selective memory at work) 

MTV brought back as many of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Sexes participants as they could fit into one room. Let's flash back to some of those special moments and find out what the players have to say.
Before we start, I have a bone to pick with MTV. How come this special only got a half hour? The reunion for Extreme Challenge got an hour, as did Battle of the Seasons. Real World: Las Vegas? One hour. That's right… the most tedious, uninteresting season in the show's history, and they got a full hour. Meanwhile, there are a ton of questions to be answered and revelations to be exposed, but only a fraction of them were shown. For instance, Ellen is now engaged. Yes, Ellen Cho, athlete and screechy pain in the rear, is getting married. But that wasn't shown on the reunion.

While I'm at it, I should bring up the Road Rules marathons. Status quo dictates that for a new season, MTV runs old episodes. Even though half of the seasons are in syndication, I saw at least three installments that were to be run this weekend. At I write this, MTV is showing one and only one season: Campus Crawl, the most embarrassing season in the show's history. Yes, I think everything went downhill after Australia, but I would have liked to see some of that once more. But no, MTV has a need to dump some episodes of Punk'd on Saturday night, so who cares if I want to see James and Theo have fun in unnatural ways? Worse, they keep pimping the premiere for South Pacific this Monday, which is a load of bull. Monday is the preview special; May 26 is the start of the twelfth season.

I guess I'm ticked that I didn't attempt to attend the reunion. For some reason, I thought they'd squeeze in all 36 participants. That shows what a dummy I am. Surprisingly, Puck wasn't there, so there goes most of my bile. The only ones there who make my blood pressure rise were Ellen and Colin. Worse, Melissa had mentioned on her site that some of the contestants had gotten together with former Road Rules cast members, and I interviewed one of them a whileback. I hadn't met this person, and I wanted to see her up-close. I'm not a stalker or a hanger-on. I just wanted to see some cool people. And maybe have Veronica tell me what she would have said to Emily if given the chance.

Highlights. Colin: "You get 36 of these people in the same room, and something's ready to explode." Eric Nies dives into the pool naked. Syrus thinks the guys are going to kick the girls' butts. Dan: "All eighteen of us were beat by Amaya and Melissa." That's a favorite line. The girls scream and celebrate their surprise win. Of course, MTV hates me as much as BMP, so they show Melissa going verbal medieval on Julie. David E. is still bitching about Puck spitting on his face. James tears the clothesline. Rachel calls the Inner Circle ugly. Puck disses Ellen while his son is strapped to him. More highlights. Laterrian: "It's not the battle. It's the war." Poor LT. Julie and Beth got prizes, and he didn't. Ellen: "He just told me he's gonna kick my ass!" Anne disrespects Ayanna. I still hate Anne.

After the title sequence, we get to MTV Studios and a studio audience. Hey, it's Jonny Moseley! I thought they'd assign some no-name VJ to hold reign. He introduces the "toughest of the tough": Genesis, Ellen, Blair, Melissa, Lori, Mark, Shane, Antoine, Veronica, Colin, Ruthie, and Jamie. Some notes: Lori's hair is straight and short, which works for her. No more comparisons to Catherine Zeta-Jones. In a show of friendship, Colin and Ruthie wear caps with each other's names graffitied on them (see photo at the top of this article). Weird thing is, the "h" in "Ruthie" is upside-down, so it's "Rutyie." The good news is that Jamie finally shaved. The bad news? His hair is long, and it doesn't look right. There could be an upside: if Smallville ever needed a young Lionel Luthor for a flashback scene, Jamie's got it cold.

Jonny asks the guests about their wildest experiences. Mark chimes in, talking about how the guys stole the big chili. Cut to blue-tinted flashback. Sure enough, Puck, Mark, and Eric are carrying a huge prop chili. "Pepper's on the move," Eric says with authority. One of the girls asks where they're taking it. Hey, it's Beth! I haven't wasted a brain cell on her in a long time! Mark tells her that it's going to their Villa. Back in the present, Mark calls it a male-bonding moment. Antoine brings up the naked water skiing. Blue-tint. There's Antoine, happy face over his equipment, water skiing.

Jonny asks the ladies the about wild times. Veronica asks if they had any. Ruthie responds, "You were in the boy's villa most of the time!" The audience laughs. Melissa admits to "kickin' it" with Jamie, Mark, Colin, and Shane. "I like you ladies," Melissa adds, "but [bleep], that house was crazy."

Not content with the answers, Jonny decides to jog the memories. Cue the flashbacks. Eric dives into the pool, again. Jake wears the man-thong during Dead Man's Drop. The girls struggle with Tree House, and Jisela wants to hurt Jonny. Betty talks about how she and Puck were going to get married in October, but he wanted to do it in Jamaica. The guys wear tropical formalwear, and Jake is wearing that damn thong AGAIN. Dan keeps panning his camera from Ruthie to Blair: "Beautiful, Blair. Beautiful, Blair." Melissa interviews about how she doesn't think the girls should go to the wedding after he abused Ellen. Lori interviews about Antoine flirting with the female judge during Human Aquarium. Veronica and Lori strip during Battle of the Opposite Sexes. Christina: "I think all of us are here because our parents probably didn't pay enough attention to us." Jake rides his new bike while naked.

The audience applauds. Yay, Jake's naked bits! Jonny asks about hook-ups. Everybody demurs. "C'mon, Veronica," Jonny presses, "who were you macking down on?" The crowd goes nuts. Colin keeps repeating, "Oh no he didn't!" Shut up, Colin. Jonny asks her about Eric. "Who wouldn't want to make out with Eric Nies?" she asks. "You have to get it out of your system, and once it's done, it's over." Poor Eric. She goes on about how he brought her "the juices," and Colin tries to turn it into a euphemism. Blair mentions he hooked up with himself. I didn't need to know that. Jonny goes after Colin and Melissa, but they both deny it. Antoine talks about how he kept trying to hook up with Genesis on a regular basis. She adds that he tried to show his penis, and she keeps telling him she's a lesbian. He responds, "Do you want to tell me more after the show?" She playfully smacks him. No one remembered David and Ayanna? That's sad.

Jonny asks what missions they liked the best. Of course, Ruthie brings up Maximum Velocity. Cut to pink-tinted flashback: Ruthie stops on a dime while sliding down the rope. Ruthie admits she almost cried while watching that. Lori admits she did cry. Melissa: "I cried in my car! Big ups!"

Jonny focuses on the "crazier crap." Girls cheer: "Vaginaginaginaginagina!" Guys get psyched. The girls celebrate their Sergeant Says win. The girls celebrate their Dead Man's Drop win. Colin and Mark get excited after completing Seven Rings of Saturn. In Freeze Your Butt Off, Melissa really freezes her butt off. Christina: "She's completely blue." There's an inset of Melissa, smiling and grimacing at that highlight. Veronica dangles on the stirrup over the water. Jamie celebrates his finish in Stairway to Heaven. In the finale, both teams assemble their puzzles. Mark interviews about not feeling guilty over disassembling the women's puzzle. The guys get ahead and finish the mission for the grand prize

Applause. Yay, duplicity! Jonny points out that Melissa had a tough time with the missions. Cue the pink-tinted highlight of Melissa panicking during Stairway to Heaven. "I go, 'Melissa, are you afraid of heights, you don't like them?'" Mark says. "She says, 'Mark, I don't like missions'." Ellen thinks that the missions were skewed at times. She points out Stairway, where Mark is significantly taller than her. Mark: "I will come over there and beat you." Is that a promise? Everybody has a good laugh. Veronica notes that she finished it, and she's only 5'1". Ellen also thinks the final mission was skewed. Jonny asks if the boys cheated. Cut to blue-tinted highlight of Colin taking the girls' puzzle apart. Lori says that it was unfair for the judges to allow the boys to cheat. There were judges? Mark notes that the guys won by 45 minutes, and they would have had 45 minutes to finish the puzzle by themselves. Jonny brings up the E-word for the first time, asking if things would have been different had Emily been there for the women. Ruthie figures that Emily would have been the only one "demon enough" to knock the puzzle over.

Back from commercials, Jonny asks us what happens when you put 36 strong bodies and personalities together. Cue the highlights: Melissa rips into Julie. In an inset, Melissa has her poker face, neither cringing nor laughing. Colin: "Everybody who's ever been on this show is a freak." David E. keeps accusing Puck of wife abuse, and the Scabby One spits water on him. Now David is on the phone: "No, I'm gonna [bleep] him up and I'll have my ticket!" Please. I could blow hard in David's direction and knock him over. Puck and Ellen bicker about the wedding. Ellen cries about how Puck told her that he was going to kick her ass. James gripes about BOTOS, probably since his ever-so-innocent girlfriend might have to strip. Except she didn't have to strip. Do not get me started. Ellen curses out Melissa. I wish I knew the context; it's been established that the editors cut and pasted that on the first week. Amaya needs a partner. Anne gripes about Ayanna, and Ayanna goes passive-aggressive.

Jonny asks everybody about David E. Cue blue-tinted replay of the spit. "What people don't know is spit was spit back on Puck many a time by David," clarifies Mark. "It wasn't like one spit. It went on for the whole day." I got that from Colin's site, but it's good to have it out in the open. Shane mentions that David had spat on Ayanna. "He was spitting all over the place," Blair says. "Hey, random guy in Jamaica! Pppptt!"

Jonny asks Ellen about Puck. "Some people really milk everything for what it's worth and dry and act up, and I really think that's kinda lame." Suddenly, I hate Ellen less. I'm sure that will pass in time. Blair adds that Puck makes money by being Puck. Ellen continues, saying that she won't judge Puck, but she didn't appreciate how he treated her. Maybe if you didn't take the bait to begin with, everything would have been fine.

Jonny brings up the voting process, which was the "biggest drama." Cue the highlights. Ruthie interviews that the guys have their process set. In the first Inner Circle, Melissa wants to send Julie home. Christina: "I think the girls have constructed the team spirit, too be more of an evil cheerleading cult." In inset, Genesis laughs. Seriously, given that she spent time with Anne and Emily, Christina shouldn't have brought that up. Those three were on the sidelines, belting out cheers like "Sis Boom Bah! [Bleep] Veronica!" Back to the drama: the Inner Circle moves to vote Rachel off, as Ellen and Emily talk crap about her. The boot is made, and everybody is shocked. Jake says the "Who took my cheese" line, which is one of Blair's favorites.

Emily in flashback: "If people want to change the way things are done, they need to work their ass off and get into the Inner Circle." Ellen voiceovers that Emily is not making friends. Veronica shouts "Yeah!" in an inset. Emily drops the hammer on Veronica, who doesn't want to speak with her heart. Once again: Veronica, if you want to tell me, I'd like to hear it. On to the men's drama: Shane and James are tied for last place. James thinks he should stay, but Antoine chooses to keep Shane. Then Emily tells everybody she's leaving with James.

Applause. Yay, Emily's bitchiness! Jonny wants to shed light on Emily's beef with Veronica. She suggests that Rachel and her had bigger boobs than Emily, but Jonny isn't buying it. She says that she had been friends with James. Cut to Blair: "Did you ever make out with James?" Veronica playfully smacks him, then goes into how James helped her move during a weekend. Colin: "He brought you the juices?" Man, shut UP, Colin. Veronica denies any juice having. Ruthie says that Veronica's booting was hard since she didn't feel right about it, but Emily had said it was what the girls wanted. Lori is confused, figuring that the only ones aside from the Inner Circle, herself, and Melissa (both of whom liked Veronica) were Emily, Genesis, and Anne. Sadly, Ayanna is forgotten yet again. Ruthie rubs her eyes, probably fighting back the tears. Lori continues, saying that she respected the Inner Circle for doing what was thought to be best. Ruthie says it's not fun to vote off people you love.

Jonny keeps asking about Emily. Ruthie notes that she was surprised that Emily told her one thing and told the cameras another. "I hope that when she sees what she says," Ruthie adds, "I hope she learns something." Yeah, keep hoping. Jonny brings up Emily leaving. Blair drops a bombshell: Emily and James had agreed to leave when one was voted out. The girls are shocked. Ellen figures it would have been easier to dismiss Emily had she known that. Jonny mentions that Emily isn't here. Veronica: "She probably should never leave her apartment for the rest of her life." Nice! Laughs and big smiles all around.

(Side note: as a member of the legendary Berkley team, James went to the Collegiate Rugby Championships at the time of the taping. Of course, Emily went with him. I think that if the timing were better, both would have been in attendance to face the music. But I still think Emily is a bitch. If you're a BMP alumnus and are preparing to compete in a Challenge, remember this: dump Emily as soon as possible. You'll be doing me a favor, as well as yourself. Don't become the latest victim of Emilizzy Borden just because you stared at her or her boyfriend for a second longer than she liked.)

Before the commercial break, Jonny notes that the players weren't the only ones to win Saturns. Cut to the tape: Mark and Ruthie are outside, and he "decides" to drive to Minnesota to surprise the winner of the Fantasy Challenge. Ruthie adds that the winner beat out over 200,000 players. Me? I came in 11,817th place. Thanks for asking. Mark and Ruthie drive through Minnesota to greet Danielle, a.k.a. motherearth29. She hugs Mark and Ruthie. I think the boy running around is her son. She contemplates getting an "" license plate. She drives off. Yay, Danielle!

And now, please join me in a prayer for the soul of Jen Shrader, fellow recapper at RealityNewsOnline. The first Road Rules: South Pacific ad pops up. The only thing I can deduce is that this Donnell character is a big guy, and I'm going to like him. I thought that last year with Sarah, and her maladjusted butt was booted. When will I learn not to get emotionally attached? Anyway, if this season is anywhere near as awful as Campus Crawl (or Campus Limp, Stagger, and Bleed, as I like to think of it), Jen's going to need all the help she can get.

Back to the show, Jonny shows us unaired footage:
  1. The men chant, "String him up! String him up!" Antoine gets his ankles taped together and he gets strung upside down. Antoine in inset: "Anything for my boys!" The boys smack him with pillows.
  2. Preparation for the stirrups mission. Eric tries to explain something, but Ellen snipes back. "Shut up!" she says. "Wonk wonk! We're the first ones going, Eric. I think you might be a little concerned about what the rules are and what they're not. Oh, wait, I'm sorry… you're the Buddhist." Boy, that was random. But the forum dwellers were dying to hear "wonk wonk."
  3. In Razor's Edge, Jonny chastises somebody for taking the scooter off the platform… and his cell phone rings.
  4. In BOTOS, Shane takes his shorts off, and gyrates his naked body. Eh, let somebody else have that.
  5. Colin repeats Jonny's Human Aquarium spiel for Melissa. I think the point was that Jonny feels the need to stop for air every few words, making for a robotic delivery. Either that, or Colin wants to kill and skin Jonny, thus becoming the Olympic gold medalist. Melissa laughs. Since this was probably after Emily left, I'm guessing Melissa took her humor wherever she could get it.
  6. Theo teaches Julie how to dance, since she has "pa-dooka-dook." I think that means "junk in the trunk." Outside, he bends down, moving his butt. Bad move, Theo. It's not that he's talking to a pariah like Julie. It's just… well… the girl can't dance. Look back at the New Orleans season, and you'll understand. I can see the headline: "RW Girl Attempts To Bust Move; Dozens Injured."
  7. Dance montage. Antoine gets a few seconds with the camera. Antoine's increased fan base swoons.
  8. The guys have some fun. Mark plays straight man as Blair eats a plant, Eric circles around him making noises, and Colin does a halfway decent attempt at mimicking Adam Sandler's "Canteen Boy" character. Colin keeps asking Mark about the boom mike. "This is what happens when you're on a complex and can't leave," Mark tells us as Colin stares glass-eyed into the camera. "You start losing your mind."
Applause. Yay, mental defects! Jonny asks about the "human piƱata." The others correct him, referring to it as a "Toineyata." Colin says that they had to convince Antoine that this was done in America. I can see Colin's shirt: "I'm a New Ladies' Man." Great, he's pimping his book. Jonny asks Colin to do the impression, and Colin obliges, doing the Inner Circle spiel. The others laugh, knowing Colin wants to be Jonny so bad.

Jonny moves on to Shane, and how he wanted to leave. Shane says that he was only with his family and friends for a few weeks between Campus Crawl and Battle of the Sexes. Jamie adds that he had planned to leave with Puck, Eric and Colin to go to the Blue Mountains and "chill with some Rastafarians." Jamie? Just say, "I like ganja." We won't judge you, man. Colin notes that he had to weigh that option with winning the money.

Jonny asks if anybody has final thoughts. Veronica tells Ruthie and Ellen that she doesn't have any hard feelings towards either of them. She adds, "I just hope that [we] grow from this and we learn to deal with people in the future." On a less personal note, Blair wishes his little brother a happy birthday. The crowd applauds. Yay, Tommy Herter!

Jonny tells the women that he wouldn't feel right without giving them a chance at redemption. It's time for the last challenge, where one person from each team competes. At stake: a Game Boy Advance SP. Oh yeah, that's much better than a new car. Jonny adds that the game requires skill and strength. The mission? Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots. Fans with no lives remember that David Burns (the thickly-accented stud from RW: Seattle) played that with boxer Roy Jones Jr. during Challenge 2000.

Veronica vs. Antoine. The Belgian plays to the crowd, showing his bicep. The game is over before it starts, as Veronica knocks Antoine's block off. She playfully punches him, and they hug. And on that note, Jonny says, "No more fighting or tricky voting business until the next battle." If the rumors are true, that could be aired in September.

That's that. I got a few follow-up ideas, but I have a tendency towards laziness, so don't expect them soon. While I've had some rough times recapping the season, I did have a lot of fun, and I hope you did as well. I don't know if I'll be recapping any more Challenges for RNO in the future. If this is my last recap, it will be because I finally got a life, and I wouldn't have the time to review episodes. So thanks for reading, stay safe, and if you see Emily walking your way… run away as fast as you can.

I had to get one last dig in on Emily. Seriously, she was going to leave with James and vice versa? While I thought James was "whipped," I wouldn't have been surprised if his competitive nature (seen in full during Road Rules: Maximum Velocity Tour and Extreme Challenge) made him stay. To me, Emily was Public Enemy No. 2. Today, people on this show do so much worse, and they all pale to the horror that is Johnny Bananas.

And oh my shit, I was wrong about Donell. So wrong. He was a pantload-and-a-half. He probably shouldn't have gotten the beatdown from Abram (who makes his Challenge debut in The Gauntlet), but I wound up hating the asshole. The only people I liked a lot from that cast were Dave and Christena . . . and she wound up pissing me off during The Inferno. I probably didn't mention Sophia by name, mostly because I didn't want to come off as a name-dropper,even if "first openly gay Road Rules cast member" wasn't as big a draw as "Annoying girl" and "ADD-addled a-hole"). She would appear in Battle Of The Sexes 2. That would not be a fun time for her.

And this is the end of Battle Of The Sexes. Share the recaps. And if you were part of the show in any capacity, I'd like to know what you thought of my writing circa 2003. Leave a comment or drop me a line on Facebook. Keep an eye on this blog . . . I'll be posting my reaps of The Gauntlet soon.

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