By now I think you are all aware that I’m a sucker for a reality television. There is one caveat associated with my reality television viewing however, it needs to be “competition based.” You’ll never find me watch a Real Housewives show on Bravo, The Real World or Big Brother.
Instead, I like shows like Top Chef, Survivor, The Bachelor/Bachelorette or The Next Food Network Star. This year I have begun watching The Challenge. Bill Simmons calls The Challenge, the fifth major American sport and it does not disappoint.
The Challenge is a Survivor like television show, only the contestants are not living in a tent. They are all former contestants on The Real World. This season, they are in pairs of two with one of their “Rival.” They could hate each other from being featured on another season of The Challenge, from a past season of The Real World or have some weird social media beef.
From now, until the show is over, I’m going to provide “Five Highlights” from each week. You can’t really have “Takeaways” from this show since it might be the most low-brow television show being broadcast.
Let’s dive into this week!
1. Marlon’s bisexual awakening.
Marlon was a contestant on the most recent The Real World: Portland and during the season we learn that he is bisexual. I think this unknown so far to the people on The Challenge. I am pretty sure the other contestants haven’t seen the season yet, and Marlon was taken to Thailand (where The Challenge is filmed) right after his season was over.
The episode starts with Derek and Marlon playing some strange game of basketball, while Derek explains that Marlon has gotten all “touchy feely” with him. It is unclear to Derek at that point whether Marlon is gay or bisexual. But Derek goes along with it.
We then see that the two had an interesting sexual encounter with at the pool. We learn about their shenanigans through flashbacks due prior scenes. Derek says how Marlon tried to separate themselves from the group went under “a bridge” and began to fool around.
The viewer has no idea what “actually” happened. Come on MTV, can’t we get some “actual” footage of this. It makes me wonder if they really have cameras following them at all times. It looks they simply spliced some scenes together, with no connective tissue.
2. Marlon’s fight with Knight.
Later, Marlon discusses with everyone that he is in fact bisexual and is really comfortable with himself (Good for you Marlon!) The group decided to play a game, sort of like charades, where you pick a card out of a hat with the name of a fellow cast member. When you choose your card, you’re supposed to act like this person until everyone else guesses who you are. One person picks out a card with the name “Marlon” and says they can’t pretend to be Marlon because they don’t really know anything about him
Knight looks at the card and with a shit eating grin on his face says he can do it. He then proceeds to pretend to give someone else oral pleasure, illustrating Marlon’s admittance that he’s bisexual. Marlon get’s pissed off. He feels like Knight is trying to embarrass him and the two start getting all heated with each other with Preston trying to separate them.
You need to understand that this show is like Survivor, only filled with testosterone filled 20 year-olds who are given alcohol to drink. Shirts come off, but no punches are thrown. If you punch another player, you are kicked out of the game.
3. Sarah & Trishelle have issues.
Trishelle might be on the most famous cast members from Real World. Affectionately known as “Trashelle,” Trishelle is also known for sleeping with most of the people in Real World: Las Vegas. I don’t really understand why she’s on the show. She doesn’t really seem that “athletic.”
This week she gets into some crazy fight with Aneesa. The fight makes no sense. Trishelle explains that she can’t make fun of any stereotypes being Aneesa seems to embody all of them. She’s a lesbian, she’s black, she’s Mexican. I really don’t understand why Trishelle even needs to make fun of stereotypes.
The next Trishelle leaves the show, leaving Sarah without a party. Because she has no partner, Trishelle has to leave also. It’s the second time she’s needed to leave the show because of her partner. Sucks to be Sarah.
4. The actual Challenge puts Preston & Knight in a tough place.
Each episode of The Challenge leads up to a challenge. The two genders alternate entering the “jungle” ever week. This week it was the men’s turn, meaning that whatever team did the worst in the challenge would have to enter the jungle along with a team selected by the women.
This week, the challenge was rope obstacle course 50 feet above a large body of water. Team members would need to climb a rope ladder and slide on their butts down to pieces of rope, ultimately ringing the bell. The team that did the best would be exempt from being voted into the jungle, while the losing team enters the jungle automatically. Preston & Knight and CT & Wes already at a disadvantage because they failed to compete in last week’s challenge so they received a 30 second penalty.
Knight & Preston can’t even finish the challenge, while the other guys complete it without incident. Johnny and Frank have the best time, so they cannot be voted into the jungle. On the ladies side, Emily and Sarah end up getting the best time.
5. Robb & Derek vs. Preston & Knight
The jungle is very intense. These challenges are much more intense than anything you’d see on Survivor because the contestants can eat like actual humans and are not old. They are all between 23-33 years old.
The challenge this is this week is a fencing match, except that fencers are blindfolded. They have bells in their shoes and carry wooden rods. The fencer’s partner can shout out directions to their partners. The winning team has to win two rounds. They win a round by breaking their wooden rod in half on the person they are fighting. Robb & Derek win the first round, pitting Robb against Preston.
Derek then fights Knight. Knight & Preston develop code words, that has Knight getting lower. This strategy works out and Knight wins the second round. Then the third round is between Knight and Robb. Knight wins, Robb and Derek have to go home. There goes Marlon’s gay make out partner.