Monday, July 24, 2017

Battle Scars: From the Gauntlet to the Inferno

Welcome to the start of my recaps for The Inferno. Sort of. In case you did not read the last few entries, MTV decided not to hold a reunion covering the events of The Gauntlet. Instead, they spent thirty minutes going over that season and hyping The Inferno, which would air the following week. Once again, the drama overlap seems so quaint as compared to the thirtieth season currently airing on MTV, where being "dirty" is an essential prerequisite.

Airdate: January 26, 2004 
Recap Published: February 1, 2004

We take one last look at The Gauntlet, one good look at The Inferno, and one lingering look at the various drama kings and queens who play the game.

Looks like my preview article wasn’t redundant after all. This episode abandons the old format, where the show’s host and a cast member talk up the season. Instead, we get a final look back at The Gauntlet, and a quick peek into The Inferno. Also, I get to tell some people to shut up one last time. I do that a lot.

Scenes from Gauntlet. Scenes from Inferno: Guys trashing a room with guitars, paintballs, bungee jumping, running on a wall, exercise bike, giant dominos, and David naked.

Voiceover Guy talks about sunny Acapulco and a $12 million house. “All quiet and serene,” VOG notes, “until The Inferno comes to town!” Players cheering upon arrival. Guys wrestling with each other, Katie going on a bitch fit. Coral and Mike argue. Guys do damage with guitars. Julie squirts lotion on Jeremy. Ace helps Syrus with his chicken costume. Abram wrestles somebody. Katie and Veronica fight. Katie: “This game is so [bleeping] nasty.” Zip line mission with Katie kicking and screaming. Bridge bungee. Guys with their heads in bug-filled boxes. Abram says he’s done. He’s wearing a mohawk for some reason.

Voiceover Guy tells us that before we get into The Inferno, we have to take care of Gauntlet business. Clips time! Theo V. tells Alton to help Irulan pack. Roni takes a picture of Abram, Rachel R., and Veronica in the tub. Coral can’t believe Mike sent her to the Gauntlet. Coral almost dies during Gold Rush. Theo G.: “We’re Real World. Keep it real.” I’m sorry... what show are you on, again?

Voiceover Guy drops by one last time to tell us to get to the source of the RW/RR rivalry. Cut to Day One and Mike saying, “Road Rules, kiss my ass, baby!” Upon reflection, I prefer Jisela’s opener from Battle of the Seasons: “MTV, kiss my ass, because I’m not afraid of heights!” Mike interviews that RW is full of drama kings and queens. Coral thinks RW is more popular and that RR is “the red-headed stepchild.” Rachel R.: “I think they feel superiority over Road Rules, and I think Road Rules has to continue to kick their ass in every single mission until they get it.” Trishelle figures that RW has more fun, while RR is more concerned with competition. Katie thinks that RR has more rivalry within itself.

Title card: “Boys vs. Girls.” Coral interviews that the guys voted off the women, thinking that would help them. Sarah thinks it was weird seeing Adam’s anti-women interviews. Cut to Adam telling Dave and Theo V. that they should vote off the women. Katie becomes the first person to tick me off by saying some women, especially Sarah, let it happen. She continue, “Me, I was like, ‘I went already. Eat [bleep].’” Hey, Katie? Maybe if you didn’t waste your energy bitching out your teammates, you would’ve beaten Rachel B. Rachel R. considers the women to be the backbone of the RR team. Clips of Veronica and Roni winning missions back her up. “I wasn’t trying to vote off the girls,” Abram interviews. “If I had a team of Amazonians [sic], I’d be like, ‘Make me some money, man.’” Veronica: “It’s not like they were trying to have all boys. I’m sorry, but not all girls are strong.”

Segue to the next segment: “Road Rules vs. Sarah.” In a nice touch, the editors pipe in “Where Is the Love?” by Black Eyed Peas. Sarah laughs about how there were three teams: RW, RR and herself. Cut to Jonny calling her up to the Gauntlet five times. Mike thinks that RR copped out by going after an easy target. Veronica: “If one of our weakest players - Sarah - keeps coming back because she wins in the Gauntlet, she’s still our weakest. It doesn’t change that.” Rachel R. snipes about Sarah getting disqualified several times. Cut to Sarah dropping the cat in Inferno. Rachel: “She was complaining.” Cut to Sarah telling the team that her back hurt. “She quit on us.” Cut to Sarah, unable to move up the rope in All or Nothing. How many Roadies actually completed that mission? One. “And those are characteristics that when there’s $150,000 on the line, you don’t mess with. You send that person into the Gauntlet.” Dear Lord! Sarah’s still out there! Her underachieving will destroy us all! It kills me that I saw Rachel love Sarah last week, and now she’s badmouthing her all over again.

Trishelle: “If I would have been on the Road Rules team, I would have put Sarah in the Gauntlet every single time, every time. She sucks as a competitor.” First of all, I have to laugh anytime I hear Trishelle say the word “suck.” Second, I’m guessing somebody is a little bitter over her Gauntlet loss to the sucky competitor. Third, notice that Trishelle says that exactly as Adam would have. More on that later. Coral is proud of Sarah. “Gauntlets suck,” Sarah interviews. “I can’t put it any more simply than that. They just really blow. They both suck and blow. I don’t like them, I don’t ever want to do them again, ever.”

Next segment: “Friendship vs. Competition.” In previously unseen footage, Nathan argues with a hot-tubbing Katie. “I swear to God,” she shouts, “if she fell down, I would help this bitch up in a second.” The camera pans past Adam to Trishelle. Mike interviews that he takes friendship out of the game and looks at performance. Katie claims that RR took issue with her friendship with Trishelle. “We’re roommates and friends first, way before the shows,” she continues. “Fortunately, I like Real World people better, not because they’re on The Real World, but because they’re nicer people.” Coral notes that Katie and Trishelle traded secrets. “As soon as the competition starts,” Katie says, “that’s when the friendliness dies.”

“Road Rules vs. Alton & Irulan.” Cue the Irulan/Sarah Gauntlet. Coral interviews that RR booed Irulan when she was announced, and that set the tone for the nastiness. Irulan falls into the water, sealing Sarah’s win. Coral adds that Theo V. yelled “Ding dong, the witch is dead!” That’s harsh. Clip of Theo screaming “Go home!” and Nathan holding back an angry Alton. “Alton was ready to beat Theo down,” Mike interviews. “Back in the house, we basically had to keep him in the basement because he was looking for Theo. He wanted to basically kill Theo.” Sarah says that Alton and Irulan had been yelling at production all the time. She didn’t bring up getting hugged by a production member for wasting Irulan in the Gauntlet , which she discusses on her web site. Cut to Irulan making noise with her clapper, then threatening to drop Veronica. Sarah adds that RR would lash out at RW. “After a while,” she continues, “it became this giant feuding extravaganza.” Rachel considers Alton and Irulan a team within a team, which she thinks wasn’t good. Trishelle: “You can definitely use relationships with people to manipulate the game.” The sad thing is, I bet she’s not even thinking about herself.

Cut to Abram getting greeted in the bathroom by Veronica. Oh, no. “Veronica & Rachel & Abram vs. The Censors.” Trishelle interviews that Veronica’s butt was on the line, and she had to do something. Mike figures that Veronica knows how to play the game. Veronica correctly points out that Abram had already been bounced out of the game. Cut to Abram and the ladies hitting the shower. “Maybe they were trying to get votes?" Abram ponders. “I’d like to think no. If they were, all the more power to me.” Rachel notes that Abram was already gone, and she and Veronica would never vote for one another. “For us to have sex with each other,” she says, “it didn’t really matter at that point.” Rachel adds that Dave wanted to join in on the fun. Abram thinks that the scene was kept “a little too PG-13.” Cut to Veronica in the tub, her arms positioned between Abram’s legs. That’ll give you nightmares. Abe says that he was so proud of himself. Yeah, he would be. “I would not take back one minute on that show,” Rachel concludes. “If you ask me if I regret the threesome? Never.”

After commercials, we move into rivalries. First up: “Katie vs. Veronica.” In previously unseen footage, Katie bitches out about Veronica to the guys. Mike interviews that he’s never seen anybody hate each other more. Trishelle notes that the rivalry started when Katie thought Veronica voted for her. Cut to the altercation, where Katie loses whatever cool she had. She claims that Veronica manipulates a lot of people. Veronica replies that it wasn’t true. Katie then sheepishly admits that she was told Veronica didn’t do it, and Veronica tells us that she wasn’t impressed by Katie’s off-camera apology.

“Coral vs. Trishelle.” “Coral?” Trishelle gripes. “What a bitch!” Turns out Coral talked about Mike and Trishelle having sex before their first kiss, after she got into the bike accident. Coral interviews that Mizchelle would be lying if they denied having sex during the season. She adds that Trishelle “just bit off more than she can chew with me.”

“Mike vs. Trishelle.” Say what? Mizchelle is no more? Do I want to live in such a cruel world? Anyway, Mike tells the story: the day they came back from Telluride, she told him that she wanted to flirt with two of her exes at a party, and he couldn’t get mad. Mike continues, “I look at her, and I’m like, ‘This isn’t gonna work, is it?’” Trishelle tells us that after the break-up, she got back with Adam, and that pissed Mike off, since Mike and Adam hate each other. I did read about Trishelle and Adam, but hearing it out loud makes me sick. No wonder Trishelle sounded like him while bashing Sarah. “Who goes out with Trishelle?” Coral wonders. “‘Trishelle is my girlfriend?’ That doesn’t really work.”

“Coral vs. Trishelle vs. Mike.” Coral claims she wasn’t mad at Mike for dating Trishelle. Trishelle figures that Coral was jealous that Mike wasn’t paying attention to her. Coral: “It was Mike being hypnotized by her vagina, and treating me like [bleep].” Trishelle insists she didn’t turn Mike against Coral. “He just liked me more than her,” she adds. Cut to Gauntlet voting, where everybody voted for Trishelle, while she and Mike voted for Coral. “It was hard to vote her off,” Mike admits with a comically pained look, “so I didn’t.” Coral: “He was more willing to let me, his friend for three years, go home than to let his free [bleep] go home.” Mike admits to making a mistake. “Coral just gives you an eye for a second,” he adds, “and that will affect you for a week.”

“Coral vs. the Spider.” Clips of Gold Rush and Coral’s breakdown. She interviews about going into shock and being unable to breathe. “For somebody who’s deadly allergic to spiders,” Sarah chimes in, “she made it really, really far.” Mike didn’t believe her, opting to wait to see the episode. Rachel claims that Coral filled out paperwork about her allergy prior to filming. “Give me a break!” Trishelle snots, not endearing herself to me in any way. “Everybody knew she was lying. And even if she could have had a spider bite, she made it more than it was.” It’s amazing that Trishelle never got into nursing. Mike claims that Coral manipulated the team, arguing how strong she was. Clip of her collapsing. “We were pissed,” he adds. “We should have won that.” Sarah figures that RW would have won if they left Coral behind at the very beginning. Coral interviews that if she knew about the bite, she would have told her teammates to leave.

Sarah adds that Coral needed shots, and her leg got swollen. “I didn’t see it,” Mike notes with a sheepish grin. “I was over at Trishelle’s hotel.” Rachel thinks that it’s mean how RW had no sympathy for Coral. Sure, but had Sarah been bit and affected, Rachel would have smacked her. Cut to Nathan bitching out Coral. For the last time: shut up, Nathan. Coral says that nobody visited her at the hospital, and Mike was sleeping with Trishelle when she got home. Actually, in the Inferno on his web site, Mike claims that a nurse called him and said that Coral would be released soon, so there was no point for a visit. Sarah giddily reveals that Coral didn’t get bit during the mission, but while she was taking care of business in the bushes. “So we learned a valuable lesson,” she laughs. “Don’t piss in the woods.” Mike interviews that Coral’s hands were shaking at the wrap party from all the adrenaline pumped into her, and thinks maybe she did get bit. Coral still loves Mike, and hope he’ll be at her side in Inferno.

Before the commercials, we get a look at the Inferno site, which looks like Torquemada’s meditation room, with the torches and darkness. Cut to Coral wearing a t-shirt that says, “Melissa Will Kill You.” More on that later. Coral: “I’m gonna make Trishelle one that says ‘Infern-ho.’” She cackles, and Mike busts a gut.

Enough Gauntlet stuff... it’s time to get burned! Cast members arrive in Acapulco on boat. Abram flashes two middle fingers. “If there’s a Lord in Heaven,” Coral shouts skyward, “let Abe fall off the top boat!” Roll call: Abram, Ace, Christena, Coral, Darrell, CT, Jeremy, Julie, Holly, Leah, Katie, David, Kendal, Mike, Shane, Syrus, Veronica, Mallory, Timmy, Trishelle. Leah notes that everybody is friends already, and they tell her to cherish the quiet moments which will be gone soon. Mike adds that at the beginning of every Challenge, people don’t fight. “I see this is going to be boring,” he adds. “Then about a week or two into it... oh. My bad. I almost forgot... this is The Real World and Road Rules.”

Cut to guys fighting. Mike: “So you did lie to me!” Abram curses. Julie: “When I hear her voice, it makes me want to go home.” I instinctively reach for my wallet, willing to pay for her departure. Coral: “She cannot be talking to me like that!” David jumps around naked. Weird note: David looks like Antoine now. Maybe Mr. Nascah went metrosexual on us.

Coral interviews that Inferno will be intense, since some people hate each other. Cut to Katie yelling at Veronica. Actually, “yelling” is too small a word. “SHUT THE [bleep] UP!” Katie screeches. “YOU ARE A SHORT, SCRAWNY, ACNE-FACED [bleep bleep]!” And she flips the bird. Oh, I get it... David’s trying to be Antoine, and Katie wants to be Belou. Abram: “They wouldn’t bring them back if they didn’t think they would get some good [bleep] on them, man. It’s gonna be good drama. Katie: “[Bleep] YOU!”

Trishelle interviews that a lot of tension was brought over from Gauntlet. Back to clips: Coral asks Trishelle what she should have done. “Keep your [bleeping] mouth shut,” she replies. Veronica interviews that she thrives on drama. Clip of a mission involving zip lines and not touching a safety line. Veronica is in front, kicking and screaming, while Julie is pulling behind her. I have no idea what’s going on. Afterwards, Julie tells Veronica that she’s just trying to win. Veronica: “Shut the [bleep] up.”

Trishelle doesn’t know why people don’t hate Julie. Cut to Coral wearing the “Melissa Will Kill You” shirt, telling Mike that she’s wearing it for Julie. This is my official position: I am disappointed in Coral. If Melissa was behind it, then I’m disappointed in her as well. The shirt is not needed, because Melissa already killed Julie. Last year, Melissa and Amaya won the first event, cracked the Inner Circle, and kicked Julie’s annoying self out. Also, Melissa is the least threatening person around. I would be intimidated by Coral before Melissa. And yet, I know people who would want that shirt. Heck, I’d buy it and give it to a friend.

Flashback time: MTV salivates as they show Melissa in full-on bitch mode at the beginning of Battle of the Sexes. Trishelle blathers about how it’s all high school bull. Oh, head cheerleader Trishelle has a beef with Coral and Melissa. I’ll be begging Sarah to come back and run Trishelle out again in about a month. Coral: “As long as you’re getting up that ladder, Julie, you can stay as long as you want and win me my money.” Cut to another scene: Julie is blathering about how ineffectually women fight, and she wants to fight like men. David recommends wrestling. Coral’s response? “I don’t wrestle. I [bleeping] beat bitches up!” That has to be the first great quote of the season.

Coral interviews that four people from RW: Paris are here: CT, Mallory, Leah and Ace. Veronica thinks that RR has the advantage, since the Parisians have never had a mission. This is in contrast to Veronica, who has done 37 Challenge events. CT, who looks like he was gang-made-over by the Queer Eye guys, says he profiled everybody, trying to be “behind the scenes.” Abram: “Me and CT get along really well. We’re both assholes.” CT adds that people didn’t know what to think of him, and they were careful what they said around him. Trishelle reveals that Ace is a poor sport. CT gossips about how Ace would change the rules in a card game. He does a pretty good impersonation of his old roommate’s Southern accent. Trishelle interviews that Mallory was bitchier than she expected. Leah says that she went to support Mallory. “When I found out that Leah was going,” CT says, “I kinda figured they’re doing this for the drama.” Cut to CT wearing a bikini and a thong. Immediately, I wash my eyes with bleach. So not a fan of a man-thong. Leah gushes that the ladies were in awe over “his fine ass.” Veronica thinks CT is hot.

Mike: “Yes, you can cross team boundaries to get a little ass.” He’s such a smooth talker. Turns out he’s talking about himself and Kendal; they were friends before Inferno. Cut to the couple kissing and dancing. Coral gets a dig in, saying that she can’t see Kendal screwing Mike over. Coral goes on about how Kendal and Blair (from The Quest) used to date, how Blair and Mike are friends, how Blair and Trishelle are friends... then Coral runs out of steam. Trishelle notes that Kendal used to room with her and Katie. Apparently, Kendal has a high tolerance for pain. “You would expect some sort of loyalty,” Trishelle snots. Oh, shut up and stick to your own love life. Mike: “I just create drama, don’t I?” Katie jokes that her roommates are attracted to the same type of guy. “I like both of them,” she laughs, “and I think if they both stop dating people from the shows, we’ll be fine. It’s so incestuous, it’s sick.”

Veronica interviews that Shane is a loving person. Cut to a topless Shane on the dance floor. Trishelle notes that it’s a challenge to get the gay guy to kiss her. Cut to Shane dancing with and kissing Katie. Veronica thinks that Shane will kiss the girl, but not have sex with her.

Clip of... Darrell and Leah? Say what? It’s not even a racial thing. It’s just the weirdest combination I could ever think up. Coral shares my surprise. Cut to the new couple in the pool, discovering a camera trained on them. Turns out Leah crushed on Darrell during his season. Katie didn’t see the coupling at first. “Yeah, I heard it,” she adds. “They liked my shower a lot.”

Mike interviews that Inferno will be a lot more dramatic than Gauntlet. Leah expositions that the teams vote for two of their own members to face the Inferno. Coral adds that the opposing teams pick each other’s representative to go into the Inferno. No mention of the Lifesaver or the alternating events; either the editors cut that out, or I interpreted the description incorrectly. Katie notes her excitement, since she has a lot of friends on the RW side. Abram reveals that RR alternates between voting between males and females; whether this is a team policy or mandatory is unknown. CT rolls his eyes, saying that RW didn’t want to get rid of the women. Leah says that the first Inferno took 30 minutes, and the last one went four hours. Shots of roaches poured into a box, followed by guys with their heads in the boxes. Abram figures that this season will be so much better, television-wise, than Gauntlet.

Closing montage! Close-up of a spider. Close-up of Coral. A guy dives off a balcony and into a pool. Roller skating. Players going up a spinning wall. Abram curses twice. Leah squeals in terror. Busting of furniture. Bungee. Katie is scared to fall. Coral is spinning on a platform, out of paintballs. Chicken suits. Syrus: “I will carry the [Oedipus Rexing] flag to victory.” Somebody gets slimed. Wrestling. Guy bungees. “I [bleeping] hate MTV, man!” Fade to black.

Once again: I was NOT a fan of Katie. Aside from her, Holly and Christena, I didn't change my opinions that much about this cast. I was dead-on about Julie, which you will see almost immediately.

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