Monday, July 31, 2017

The Inferno Episodes 1 & 2: Out Of the Frying Pan...

This is the official start of The Inferno. It was not a fun season. I mean, there were some nice moments, but it made me grumpy in the long run. The first two missions didn't make me hopeful, what with everybody questioning Ace's manhood, Syrus getting underestimated by his own team . . . and, yes, the time Julie scared the ever-loving shit out of Veronica. And I HATED Veronica. Once thing I do regret is harshing on the opening credits. Sure, they paled to Battle Of The Sexes and The Gauntlet,but they were fun in retrospect. These days, BMP has done away with those, which is a shame.

Oh, and I never tried to look for Piggy in the opening shots. Well, not that hard. Once again: she was cast for the Road Rules team (making that her third Challenge, but she had to leave, getting replaced by Christena. Needless to say, that turned out NOT to be an upgrade.

Airdate: February 2, 2004
Recap Published: February 11, 2004 (lame on my part; once again, hour-long episodes was not my specialty)

Welcome to Acapulco. We’ve got sun, sand, roaches, worms, and attempted murder. It's time for the latest Challenge!
Acapulco. We’ve got sun, sand, and women in bikinis. They’ve got their tops on... MTV only exposes stuff like that for special occasions. Anyway, the Road Rules team gets on a boat. Naturally, Abram is pumped. Some kid named Jeremy introduces himself. Once again: he was the guy who replaced Donell on Road Rules South Pacific, taking part in three missions. Seriously, why is he here? "There's $300,000 to win," he interviews. "I'll take that, thank you very much." Shots of the Real World and RR logos, followed by “$300,000 Challenge."

Real World Boat. You'll be happy to know that Mike now has a red Miz shirt. Yeah, whatever. Ace tells the others he can build a birdhouse out of popsicle sticks. He introduces himself, telling us that he's competitive. "I don't care if I'm playing tiddlywinks," he continues, "or if it's the last game of the season. I am all over it and I want to win." Trishelle updates us on her relationship with Mike: there isn't one. They broke up shortly after The Gauntlet. "Trishelle and I broke up because Trishelle doesn't know how to have a boyfriend," Mike snipes. "She thinks the world revolves around her." Since she's on this show and The Surreal Life, I think she might be justified in thinking that.

Road Rules Boat. Darrell is wearing a wig and fake teeth, joking about sending the women out. Like it isn't hard enough to understand half of what he says without the fake teeth. He introduces himself, saying he's back to whup RW ass. Veronica jokes about getting along with the others. She interviews, "I think it would be smart of me to be a good girl and stay out of some little romantic thing while I'm here." Naturally, there's a flashback of her and Abram in the shower. Ick. Timmy jokes about how people are going to get burned, and not by the sun. Abram: "You put this many people into one awesome house in Acapulco... it's gonna get evil!"

Credits. The credits are a bit of a letdown this time around. The good news is that the theme song is performed by Yellowcard, an up-and-coming band. I mean, do you see Midtown or Ill Kid being in the MTV2 rotation? The bad news: the credits are basically Dave Mirra riding his bike past the players. That's it. No wackiness, no playful slapping, nothing.

Dave jumps a fountain. Jeremy and Shane are on the roof, smiling at us. Dave whizzes by them. Dave goes down the stairs, past David and Trishelle. For some reason, David is listed as "Dave." Mr. Mirra scoots by CT (labeled as "Chris") and Leah right before they kiss. They just wink at the camera. Dave jumps a couch, nearly hitting Abram. He and Veronica turn around and smile. Dave passes the pool, where Mike and Coral are wading. Dave slams on the brakes, narrowly hitting a car. Syrus opens a car door for Julie to get out. They were in the video for Eminem's "Without Me," so it fits. Dave doubles back. Cut to Ace giving Mallory a rose. Fans of The Bachelor can make their own joke. Dave jumps the fountain again. Katie and Holly squeeze Christena between them, Another fountain jump. Everybody's dancing. Timmy looks like he's having fun. Why is he alone? He's too funny to be alone. More dancing. Kendal backs into Darrell. Dave jumps his bike onto the stage where Yellowcard plays. Quick highlights. Title. So underwhelmed.

Back to the RW boat. CT introduces himself, telling us that his relationship with his roommates has gotten better. Flashback to the time where he threatened to "work" Adam before shoving him. CT insists he's changed, adding, "I don't put myself in situations I really don't need to be in." Then why are you on this Challenge? The RW kids jump off the boat, toasting themselves and cheering.

RR boat. Katie interviews about not getting along with her teammates last season. "I don't hate anyone," she adds. "There's just people I don't care for particularly, like Veronica." Cut to Katie screaming, invoking the Tragic White Girl Head Bob. Kendal introduces herself, saying that since Campus Crawl, she's been pursuing acting, and she needs the money.

On land, Leah and Mallory chat. Leah introduces herself, admitting that her behavior in Paris was unacceptable. Cut to her season, where she got into a major fight with her roommates. She continues, "I think I can take criticism a lot better now." Mallory introduces herself. She has spent a lot of time with Ace, and they're dating exclusively.

David and Syrus check out "the three horsemen," the younger males on their team. David introduces himself. Today, he's a mortgage broker, and he's going back to school for his MBA. His hair's changed a little, but the Boston accent is still there. Syrus introduces himself. He admits the need to prove himself to the kids. "I'm old enough to be their dads right now," he adds. The camera pans to Trishelle and Julie chatting. Already, I'm nauseous. Julie introduces herself; she's moved to Huntington Beach, California and started a band called The Swerve. She adds, "I'm going to win because I got kicked off my last Challenge FOR NO GOOD REASON!" Shut up, Avril. Nice black fingernails, by the way.

The RR Boat nears the dock. Darrell taunts Mike, while Abram flashes two middle fingers. Coral prays for Abram to fall off the boat. Jeremy hops off and gets to hugging. Abram carries Coral around. Holly introduces herself; since Battle of the Seasons, she's been working at an international consulting firm in Colorado. Coral hugs Shane. "We all getting along," Darrell babbles, "everybody's happy-go-lucky charm. Everybody happy to meet everybody. It's about to change."

A helpful local directs the kids to their pad. They goggle in obvious awe over their new digs. Katie says she's not going home. "It looks like something Jimmy Buffet would live in," Ace says, "so I'm absolutely in love with this house." Syrus figures it's "too damn pretty to be true." Julie gushes about the bidet to Syrus. Shane wheels his stuff in. He introduces himself; turns out he's gone back to school to study anthropology. Syrus carries Timmy's bags up the stairs. Timmy tells us he's from "Road Rules Season Dos: The Prehistoric Years" Today, he hosts Guts and Bolts on the History Channel. Coral freaks out as she spots a lizard. She jokes about feeling like a jackass for coming back, after she got bit by a spider last time. Mike tells us that Coral lost the final mission last time. Flashback to the finale, with Coral dying and Mike yelling at her. Not good times. Mike: "It was kind of an unfair way to lose." Christena introduces herself. "This isn't a vacation," she interviews. "This is about winning, and winning a huge prize."

Nighttime. Lightning storm. Everybody heads to the Inferno site, with its torches and dark gates. Dave Mirra welcomes everybody to the new season. Mike gushes about how Dave has his own video game. Hey, so did Jonny Moseley! Abram: "I think he rides a bike better than he walks." Dave goes over the basics: ten players from RW and RR will compete in challenges. After selected missions, those teams must vote for two of their members to sacrifice to the Inferno, then pick one of the representatives from the other team. The two players chosen have a chance to save themselves by winning the Aztec Lifesaver in the follow mission. Turns out this "Plate of Protection" is an actual plate, and a good looking one at that. A player winning the AL can send somebody else into the Inferno. The two players competing in the Inferno will engage in a "battle of wills" to stay in the game. Dave adds that the first 15 challenges are worth $10,000 each, and the final mission is $150,000. Katie: "I'm not here for the fun anymore. I'm here for the money." Syrus: "Money makes the world go round. It won't make me crazy, it won't make me evil, but it does make the world go round." Christena: "We better enjoy ourselves tonight, because tomorrow, the pain starts." Oh, you have no idea, Christena.

Local shots. A clown juggles torches. Yeah, I don't know. Abram takes a huge dive, from what appears to be a balcony to the pool. Have I mentioned that Abram is somewhat insane? Jeremy and a female follow suit. Christena interviews that Jeremy wants to prove himself, since he came in so late on his season. Three missions, people. Leah and CT try to talk Syrus into diving, but he doesn't want to jump. "My whole team is full of stallions," he interviews. "All these dudes are cut, chiseled, and ripped. It's not easy being a team member on my team being the oldest and the heaviest." Can you say "recurring theme," boys and girls? Jeremy eggs Syrus on, but he doesn't jump. "No balls," Jeremy smirks to the camera. "He's got no balls." Shut up, fresh meat. Get back to me when you've grown hair on yours. Christena interviews that Syrus has arthritis, and he's 31 years old. In reality show years, he'd be dead.

Slow-motion walk to the mission site. Cool, so we don't have 30 minutes of drama before the mission. Mallory sees ropes connected to two high-rise buildings. Dave welcomes everybody to Grope the Rope, a mission that will test balance and endurance. The object: cross the rope way up in the air. Naturally, Darrell reminds us that he has a fear of heights. "This is fear," Syrus interviews. "Real fear. Shakin', that's me." Dave lays out the exposition: players from each team will race side-by-side. Mallory adds that the players will wear a harness, sliding to the middle of the rope. Then they get out of the harness, and climb the rope to the building. Dave adds that the only safety measure is the bungee. Players can knock each other off using their hands and arms, but not their feet. Should a player fall, that player gets the slowest time, plus a one-minute penalty. The team with the fastest combined time wins $10,000 to put in their bank account. "I might not be as physically strong as some of the other members," Julie foreshadows, "so I'll probably do anything that I have to do."

Round One: Abram vs. David. At the sound of the airhorn, they slide to the rope. Abram takes the lead, while Julie screams from the ground. Damn, I had forgotten how screechy she can get. Abram finishes at 18.65 seconds, while David logs in at 18.71. On the ground, Jeremy jumps around as if he skipped his medication. David figures it'll come down to the women.

Round Two: Leah vs. Kendal. Kendal takes the lead while Leah struggles. Kendal finishes at 35.07. Jeremy is still jumping around. Dude, save your energy! Leah finishes at 55.87.

Round Three: Trishelle vs. Katie. Ooo... roommate rumble! Katie immediately slips, hanging on to the rope before falling for the disqualification. On the ground, Julie and Coral celebrate. Trishelle finishes at 28.14. Syrus is pumped, since Katie got penalized.

Round Four: CT vs. Timmy. CT coasts to the middle, while Timmy frantically pulls with his hands. As CT takes the lead, Timmy slips, grabbing onto the rope with his hands. CT finishes at 22.70, while Timmy, climbing as fast as he can without using his legs, clocks out at 27.43. Timmy interviews that he got out of the harness wrong. "Trust me," he adds, "it's harder than you can even imagine."

Round Five: Syrus vs. Shane. Somebody mentions that Syrus weighs 235 pounds. Coral jokes about him breaking the rope. Because he's heavy, you see. Those jokes are only funny when the person deserves it, and Syrus doesn't. Shane interviews that Syrus is an old dog, but he has bark and bite. He manages to beat Syrus, finishing at 17.28, while Syrus clocks in at 18.38.

Round Six: Mallory vs. Holly. As Leah cheers her friend from the ground, Mallory interviews that this is her first mission and she wants to prove herself. She takes an early lead, but her legs slip off the rope and she falls for the DQ. Meanwhile, Holly finishes at 21.65. Jeremy is still jumping around. Julie doesn't understand how Mallory can fall when she's that close to the finish line. Current times: RW 3:20, RR 1:41. Don't try to add it up... the numbers didn't come out right for me.

Round Seven: Ace vs. Jeremy. Ace interviews that the only way to win is to pull Jeremy down. Attaboy! Physical contact! Jeremy interviews that he has to win, since he's the new guy. Has he mentioned that yet? Have I mentioned that Syrus is old and heavy? Jeremy takes a lead, but Ace grabs his ankle, attempting to take Jeremy out. The newbie kicks around, and Ace uses his foot, earning a DQ. Jeremy lets go of the rope, taking a DQ as well. What? That was Ace's fault. Jeremy should've had a fresh run. He gripes about how he can get support from his team.

Round Eight: Coral vs. Christena. Christena clocks in at 22.80, Coral at 28.87. Round Nine: Mike vs. Darrell. Darrell takes a huge lead, finishing at 17.03, while Mike gets 21.01. Timmy jokes about Darrell taking off like a lightning bolt. Not bad for an acrophobic.

Round Ten: Julie vs. Veronica. On the ground, CT and Mike encourage Julie to do whatever she can to win. She has that look in her eyes, like she's already thought of something. As the players slide on the rope, Julie grabs Veronica's harness, and they start tugging at each other. Veronica: "Hey, stop molesting my [bleeping] vagina, you Mormon!" Tasteless? Yeah, but only on this show can you get lines like that. They start arguing on the rope, with Veronica kicking wildly, trying to shake Julie. "She wants to get the win for her team," Veronica interviews, "and be the hero of the mission. I'm not getting out of my harness." On the balcony, Dave informs the ladies that they have one minute to get to him, or get disqualified.

Now the poop hits the fan. Julie reaches behind Veronica, tugging on her safety line. See, when I bashed Julie last year, it was because I liked Melissa so much. Here, she's just being stupid. By holding Veronica back, she's holding herself back as well, screwing RW in the process. While this is going on, Veronica's teammates scream for Julie not to touch the safety line. Veronica is panicked. "WHAT ARE YOU DOING?" she screams at Julie. "WHAT IS SHE DOING?" she screams to her teammates. On the balcony, RR flips out. Coral has no expression on her face. On the ground, Trishelle smiles and covers her mouth.

Back from commercials, Dave blows the airhorn, disqualifying Julie and Veronica. "You're [bleeping] crazy!" Veronica yells at Julie. Like she has to tell me that. Julie interviews that she had to get Veronica down. Yeah, but there's stopping her, and then there's making her fall eighteen stories to her death. "That's just the nature of the game," Julie continues. "I have nothing against the girl, but I'm going to try to win. It's ten thousand dollars!" On the ground, Jeremy recaps the events for Holly. She thinks that Julie has pent-up anger, Veronica bore the brunt of it, and RR is pissed. Anger from what? From when mean ol' Melissa and her friends kicked her out? Give me a break.

Inside the building, production people help Veronica out of the harness. Julie tells her that she was trying to win. Veronica tells her to shut up. Julie says that she couldn't get the cord off even if she wanted to do that. Veronica tells her to shut up. Julie then turns to the camera and makes crybaby motions. I swear, the longer Julie is on this show, the less fun it's going to be. If anybody knocks her out of the game, that person will be my new best friend. Julie isn't a punk. She's just sad. Veronica wipes her eyes in the elevator. "Did I feel unsafe?" she interviews. "Yeah, certainly. We're in the air, eighteen floors above the ground. Accidents can happen."

Time lapses to night. Back at the hotel, Dave gives the times: RW finished with 9:05, while RR got 8:25. As a result, RR wins $10,000 for their bank account. If Julie had found a way to knock Veronica off quickly, her team might have won. "Once you get used to winning, it's hard to lose," Darrell interviews. "Real World will never win, simple as that." Coral: "Losing sucks. I don't plan on doing that anymore." Dave gives both teams 30 minutes to decide who to nominate into the Inferno, dismissing them to their respective lounges.

Darrell drops the exposition: the teams will rotate between men and women in their votes. So lame. I understand that the fairer sex was much maligned during Gauntlet. But right now, most of the people I want to get off my screen are women, and they're not up tonight. At the RR meeting, Shane admits he's frightened at the prospect of going home. Timmy declares he has no problem going in, but the others disagree. "Timmy, what is you doing, Timmy?" Darrell interviews. "What's wrong with you? You don't need to go! Be cool!" Timmy figures that he isn't afraid of losing, since he has a positive mind-set already. Jeremy volunteers, confident that he can win. "My team responds," he interviews, "with pretty much huge smiles on their faces and gladful hearts." Gladful? Whatever. Personally, I think he's overcompensating for being the third substitute on his season. The team does the usual "one, two, three, ROAD RULES!" cheer.

RW meeting. You have to wonder if Julie or the Paris girls would be dead meat if not for the rotation. Ace figures that the five males should put their names in a hat. Coral asks if he'd volunteer. Trishelle wants to vote for Ace since he was disqualified. She interviews, "I just feel like people should go balls out and say exactly what they think and just be honest." Coral, Mike, and Julie vote for Ace. He doesn't think it's fair. David votes for Ace... and Syrus. "I don't see you work out that much," David continues. "After 15 missions, that's going to work out." Leah and Trishelle vote for Syrus. He interviews that the others see him as disposable. Somewhere in Colorado, Sarah mutters, "Welcome to my world," and changes the channel.

Dave goes over the nominees: Ace & Syrus, Jeremy & Timmy. Mike mentions that they don't know the finishing times. All he remembers is that Syrus got smoked by Shane. Yes, 1.1 seconds difference does count as a beatdown these days. Dave gives both teams ten minutes to make their picks.

RR meeting. Veronica expresses the importance of winning the first Inferno. Holly figures that the RR guys would win no matter what, so she picks Syrus. Jeremy interviews that Syrus got chosen because... get this... he's over 30 and not gelling well with his team. When did we switch to Logan's Run? Veronica interviews that the best strategy would be to choose Ace, but Syrus seems to be a sure bet for a win.

RW meeting. Coral figures that Jeremy is a safe bet, but she wants to leave RR weaker. Leah expresses concern for the team's representative going home. Ace wants to stay, and he figures on having a better shot against Jeremy. "I can understand why they would want Jeremy," Mike interviews. "Hell, I'd be scared to go up with Timmy in the Inferno as well."

Outside, both teams announce their picks. Actually, it's done by putting plates up on a stand. Very cool... like on The Joe Schmoe Show. Sadly, the plates spell out "Jeremey" and "Cyrus." Actually, given how it was spelled "Sirus" in the "Without Me" video, that isn't the worst typo in the world. Jeremy hugs Timmy, joking about how Syrus looks nervous. Syrus expresses that it isn't easy to be (in case you're just tuning in) the oldest and heaviest on his team.

Now the times are posted. Coral and Syrus take a look, and guess what? Syrus had the best time for his team. Seriously... check the times. I was shocked as well. "It's disrespecting the Godfather, man!" Timmy exclaims. Syrus can't believe it. "We had no idea what the scores were until after we voted," Coral interviews. "If we had, we certainly would not have voted that way." Coral tries to tell Syrus that, but he wants to step up and be the team's weak link, since nobody else will. Military drums play as Syrus goes into a rant about representing the team. "I will always be the best team player," he tells his teammates. "And I guarantee if I'm here, I will carry the [Oedipus Rexing] flag to victory." He stalks off, interviews that he's won before, and he'll have to win again.

Elsewhere, Mallory and Ace lie in a hammock. For some reason, Ace smells like chicken. Mallory is relieved that RR picked Syrus, and there's no possibility of her boyfriend going home. The happy couple kisses and snuggles.

Daytime. Roosters crow, and Syrus crows along with them. Jeremy expositions that there is another mission before the Inferno, and he has an opportunity to win the Aztec Lifesaver. Dave welcomes everyone to the next mission: Birdfeeder. He points out the giant baby chicks propped up on hay bales. The objective: feed those chicks as much seed and worms as possible within three minutes. Timmy is wearing a t-shirt that says "The 0." That's sweet.... he's paying Theo back for the "Where's Timmy" shirts. The team with the most weight transferred wins $10,000 for the bank account. Shane's t-shirt: "Where's Rachel." Answer: not here, and that's good enough for me. Dave then shows the worms, which excites and repulses the players. "See these crazy funky chicken suits?" Dave asks. "They're mine, and I'm going to let you use them for this competition." I'm finding out more about the host's personal life than I ever wanted to know. He adds that they have to transfer the feed and worms by mouth. Holly doesn't look too good. "Worms in your mouth?" she interviews. "Dried chicken feed in your mouth and regurgitating into another bird's mouth? That is wrong?" By the way, this is Holly's third Challenge. You'd think she'd get a clue by now. Dave mentions that those on each team with the best time will win the Lifesaver, which can be used to save oneself or a teammate. Both Jeremy and Syrus hope to win it.

Time to put on the chicken suits. I'm more at peace with this than the fat suits from last season. Syrus dubs his costume his "pimp gear." Where? On Sesame Street? Coral straps the chicken head on while Abram dry-humps her. Syrus shouts "Cock fight!" and Abram repeats the motions. "Dude," Syrus says, "you're humping my neck!"

Round One: Veronica vs. Trishelle. Veronica voiceovers that she is the pickiest eater ever. The ladies stuff their mouths with the disgusting stuff, spewing it into the chicks. Veronica starts making retching noises. This might be her worst Challenge ever at this rate. After the airhorn sounds to end the game, she's still dry puking. Trishelle transferred 12.4 grams, while Veronica finished with 12.2. Trishelle complains that she got feed in her nose and eyeballs, and that she was "hotter than balls" in the suit.

Round Two: Julie vs. Kendal. Surprisingly, Julie doesn't make an attempt on Kendal's life, which Mike will be thankful for in the weeks to come. Julie transfers 22.6 grams, while Kendal transfers 21.2.

Round Three: David vs. Jeremy. "I have a huge mouth," Jeremy interviews, "and I'm going to go and tear this up." Swallowing. Spitting. David finishes with 23.0 grams, while Jeremy does indeed tear it up at 24.8. Needless to say, he's proud. Timmy jokes that he can take the feed and worms home with him.

Round Four: Mallory vs. Katie. Immediately, Katie starts gagging, while Mallory makes her run. Abram gets pleasure in interviewing about how bad Katie sucks. Leah yells encouragement to Mallory. Katie dry-pukes some more. Veronica yells at her to spit it out on the other side. Final totals: Mallory 24.4 grams, Katie 7.2 grams. "Katie went about three laps," Timmy interviews, "and then started coughing up cornmeal, worms and Marlboro Milds." I missed Timmy.

Round Five: Coral vs. Darrell. "I'm the only black male on this team," Darrell jokes. "I gotta play this game like I'm running for my life like a runaway slave, and that's how I'm gonna do every mission." Great... NOW I understand what he's talking about. Coral finishes with 25.8 grams, while Darrell finishes with 25.6 grams.

The next few rounds pass without incident. Mike gets 25.8 grams to Timmy's 21.8, and CT and Shane tie with 23.4 grams apiece. Before Round Eight, Ace interviews that he's already gagging. He manages to work through it, transferring 22.8 grams to Christena's 23.4 grams. Holly gets 22.0 grams to Leah's 21.4. Trishelle compliments Leah for her big mouth. "I cannot get over what is in my mouth," Leah interviews. "Who does that?" Forgive her... this is her first Challenge.

Round Ten: Syrus vs. Abram. Syrus interviews that he has one chance to win the Lifesaver. Both players run. Mike interviews that Syrus is lighting the place up. Syrus finishes with 28.0 grams, while Abram checks out at 21.0. Syrus hopes that it's enough.

Dave announces the results: RW finished with 229 grams, while RR came away with 204 grams. He awards the $10,000 check to RW, pulling them even with RR. Dave then awards the Lifesaver to Darrell and, after a long pause, Syrus. Sweet... the old guy pulled off two first-place finishes on his team. Leah interviews that he deserved to win. Dave adds that the final decisions will be revealed in the Inferno.

Hotel. RW meeting. Syrus figures it's between David and Ace to replace him, and he thinks Ace could beat Jeremy, but he can't make the decision by himself. David wants to vote on performance, while Ace honestly doesn't want to go into the Inferno. Coral figures that the team should go with their second choice: Ace. "Maybe it's because they think I might do good against Jeremy," Ace interviews, "maybe it's because they don't like me. Either way, it's really hurting my feelings."

Night. Mallory and Ace share some quality time. Mallory thinks that he shouldn't take things personally, and she wants to stay with Ace as long as possible. Mike comes by to see how Ace is doing. Ace says that his spirits are low, and it's hard to get pumped for a team that voted against him. "We're all going to go at some time or another," Mike interviews. "You can't take things personal. You just have to live with it and hopefully you'll step up to the plate." Mike tells Ace that he has to show that he came to play.

Inferno site. Dave: "Welcome to your first Inferno: The Bug Helmet." Oh, BMX bikers are such kidders! It's more of a box than a helmet. Actually, two boxes, both full of bugs. Jeremy looks squeamish, while Coral laughs. Ace's mouth hangs open. "It's scaring the bejesus out of me," he interviews.

Dave lays it out: the player who stays in the helmet the longest wins. The helmets are filled with crickets and hissing cockroaches. I'm a guy who freaks when a fly buzzes my ear, so I'm squicked already. Before the contest, one member from each team will smear syrup on their opponent's head. "I love gross stuff," Jeremy interviews. "If it looks like it's messed up, like it really looks like it should not be touched, I'm the one who's gonna touch it."

Dave asks Darrell about what he wants to do with the Lifesaver. For some reason, Darrell has the wig on and the teeth in. He tells Dave that he has faith in Jeremy. RR cheers, and I swear I heard a bicycle horn. Is that this season's clapper? Jeremy interviews about getting to prove himself. Dave asks Syrus who he'll sacrifice. We already know the answer. Ace interviews that he'll do his best.

Inferno. Both players get nose and ear plugs. Coral applies the syrup to Jeremy's face, while Darrell works on Ace. Both players stick their heads in the bug-filled boxes. Dave tells Ace to "go to a happy place." Not even Disneyworld would be happy enough for me. The players sit motionless, insects crawling on their faces. But after eleven seconds, Ace has had enough, running off. Jeremy asks what happened. Ace's ex-roommates look at one another, while Jeremy jumps around some more by himself. Probably since nobody wanted to touch him.

Ace goes into the pool. I'll bet his friends will like the drowned bugs he leaves in there. He laughs about going home, and that there was no way he could keep his head in there. Coral bitches that Julie would've been there all night. Yeah, she would be insane enough. Syrus is disappointed in Ace. "Ace didn't want to be here," Coral interviews. "We had no idea that he was gonna put on Pampers and [bleepin'] run up the stairs like that." For somebody who got taken out by a creepy-crawly, I would expect some sympathy from her. What if Ace had to deal with spiders? What would Coral have said?

Denouement. Dave congratulates Jeremy. Timmy interviews that Jeremy can go up against anybody from RW. Ace shakes hands with Syrus. "I think he responded less than everyone thought he was going to," Syrus interviews. "Put up or shut up... he decided to shut up, pack up and go home." More shots of Ace shaking hands, while Coral looks disgusted. Syrus: "The Bug Helmet is pretty damn scary, but I would've done it."

Hotel. Katie and Kendal chat up Jeremy. Kendal loves how Jeremy set the tone. Jeremy interviews about how he's a strong competitor. He was trying to prove himself? No way! I would've heard about it! As Ace packs, Coral asks Mallory how she feels about staying here. Ace insists that Mallory will kick ass. "I thought you wanted to be here too," Coral responds. Ace says that he couldn't handle the bugs, and he didn't have much "morality." Coral snipes about how she thought Ace would be ready. "Then somebody puts a cricket on your head," she continues, "and you're done." I guess Coral has selective amnesia. "We sent him in there thinking he was going to destroy Jeremy," she interviews. "And that just goes to show you... you never know who's weak, and you never know who's strong." Didn't Nathan say the same thing in the finale? I didn't want to say it, but I gotta: shut up, Coral. Stick your head in a bug box for a minute, then talk to me.

Ace's Farewell. He shakes hands and hugs. "I'm a little disappointed in Ace," CT interviews. "He had a really bad attitude. He could've helped us a lot." Wow... criticism from Mr. Cry Me a Rivah himself. Ace walks down the pier with Mallory, where his short boat awaits. He interviews that he wants Mallory to do what's best for her. "This is so much sadder than it should be," he tells Mallory. "I'm on a boat!" He waves goodbye as the boat slowly sails away.

So what have we learned? Don't trust anybody over thirty. Jeremy wants to prove himself. And Ace is a big ol' scaredy cat for not keeping his head in the bug box for more than eleven seconds. The nerve! Never mind that if both genders were eligible for vote, he wouldn't have been considered. Forget that natural instinct makes a person get away from insects. And thinking that Ace had a disadvantage going up against somebody hellbent on proving himself? Poppycock! Seriously, with a team attitude like RW has, combined with Julie's chances of leaving being halved, it's going to be a long season.

Mike voiceover: "This season on The Inferno, you bring something nice to wear." CT wears a sombrero, posing with a local. Jeremy has a Miz fit. Guys bash the hell out of some furniture while Yellowcard plays. Wall climber. CT is doused in some white liquid. Julie: "Girls, fight this! I wanna fight like a man! Right now, on the lawn!" Hate her. Guys wrestle. More bashing. Katie screams at Veronica. Julie calls the bashing the best experience in her life. Mike and Kendal wrestle.

Mike and Kendal love footage. Trishelle: "I don't enjoy you kissing other people." Hate her, too. More footage. Kendal unbuttons Mike's shirt. Leah thinks Darrell is the sexiest man around. Hope she's got an English-to-Darrell dictionary.

Inferno footage. Close up of a spider, followed by a shot of Coral. Mike: "Every time we walk to the Inferno, it reminds me of hell." Mike and Jeremy hold torches. Trishelle complains about burning up. Timmy get white stuff poured on him. Mike: "So you did lie to me! Why would I kiss a liar?" Kendal, walking on a beam: "Because I'm a good kisser!" Mike should really lay off the on-camera hook-ups. Fast-motion clips, including CT and Shane on some kind of whirlygig. Katie: "This game is so [bleeping] nasty." Title. Who's up for 16 more episodes?

 In the long run, I never cared for Ace. Dude spent a lot of time in strip clubs while in Paris, and I'm thinking even CT got more out of the city that him. That said, I sympathized for him. Seriously, I don't think TJ Lavin would have blamed him for bailing out after eleven seconds. Then his team ripped into him, including the lady who got taken out by a spider in the prior season's finale. I know, spiders aren't insects, but I would have expected a tiny bit of empathy from Coral, even if she couldn't stand Ace. In her Challlenge career, I think that's one of the few times she was wrong. I realize she wasn't for everybody, but it did help that most of the people she clashed with was assholes and bitches.

As for THAT incident? For the past few years, I have suggested that Bunim-Murray Productions wants somebody to die on-camera. When that happens, the company will fade from MTV. Once again: why else would they put a guy with a compromised immune system with a jackass that looked to be oozing eight diseases at any given time. There have been a lot of close calls . . . off the top of my head, there was Neil getting his tongue bitten off in London, Mark's parachute not opening right way in the first season of Road Rules, Sophia almost getting herself and a Spaniard killed by way of bungee in RR: The Quest, a drunken Ellen coming close to getting flattened by a car in that same season, and Ty causing Andrew to fall and get a concussion in RW: DC. And that's the stuff I can remember. However, I would expect that the first mission would be tested to hell and back, because falling eighteen stories is an awful way to go. Also, it would be too obvious, and BMP would be open to bad publicity and lawsuits, even if the players signed away the right to sue to get on the show.

Veronica was safe. There was little chance that Julie could have killed her. But when you're up that high . . . and you're suspended in the air by a harness and bungee cord . . . and an insane bitch wants to make up lost time from getting bounced first two seasons prior . .. . can you blame Veronica for possibly pissing herself in terror? And one thing I didn't emphasize back then was Jeremy on the balcony, screaming, "DON'T TOUCH THE SAFETY LINE!!!!!!!!" That probably didn't help at all. Veronica would be in the middle of a lot of shady behavior, and she probably would have deserved to get torn to pieces by Katie, but I felt for her back then.

Also, I grew to hate Jeremy. In his career, Syrus struck me as a chill guy. The outburst after the Inferno announcements was only one of three times I saw him get mad. The others: James repeatedly hitting Julie with the paintball gun in Extreme Challenge, and Syrus not getting the calls against Derrick in Gauntlet 2. At the reunion (which I never recapped), we saw TJ Lavin call Syrus "motherfucker," and the big guy needed Timmy to hold him back. In brief: Syrus = yay; Jeremy = "who???"

 Finally . . . I couldn't find the credits for The Inferno online, so I managed to find an episode and cut out the full version of the credits which aired in the first week. Let me be clear that I do NOT own this, that I am NOT profiting from this, and that my lack of a life causes me to want to leave behind a legacy of sorts. That includes showing Dave Mirra (RIP) biking around Challengers while Yellowcard plays. If I have to take this down, I will take it down. I just wanted to provide a complete picture. Apologies if the audio isn't that great for you.


1 comment:

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