Total Eclipse of the Heart aka The Return of Banany (The Challenge: Battle of The Exes II Recap)

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I loved this week of The Challenge, while I haven’t always been his biggest fan, things just don’t feel right without Johnny Banana’s in the house and we finally got him back this week.  But before we can get to the return of Banany, we’ve got some other things to cover, so let’s get started.

Wes is feeling great at the beginning of this week’s episode.  After eliminating his nemesis Johnny Banana’s earlier in the season, and pulling some Jedi mind tricks on Leroy to get him to throw in Zach last week, Wes feels like he is controlling the game, he just needs to make one more move.  Wes goes to Leroy and Jordan and asks them to agree to throw in Jay and Jenna for the final elimination.  Leroy will take virtually any deal offered to him, and is immediately on board.  Jordan and Sarah on the other hand are not so trusting of Wes and decide this isn’t something they can agree to.  Jordan also decides to mention Theresa being a bitch, which while true, doesn’t help him and Sarah much in the house.  Jordan also brings up that Wes is not the same “roided up” guy that he was in the past.  (Between this comment, winning the challenge, and admitting that he doesn’t need to get any “douchier”, it was a great performance by Jordan all around this week).  Just when it is looking like Sarah and Jordan might be heading into all remaining elimination rounds the group gets a message from TJ, and it’s time to make a surprise trip to the dome.

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You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling (The Challenge: Battle of the Exes 2 Episode Recap)

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As with The Real World, I am way late with my entrance to the blogging game for this season of The Challenge, but don’t worry!  I have been watching closely all season, and am excited to start sharing my thoughts with you as we approach the end of another quality run of The Challenge.

-Biggest take away from this episode: is it possible for Zach to be a bigger asshole.  I didn’t watch the second San Diego season, so my introduction to Zach was on Battle of the Seasons, and he didn’t make a great first impression.  The way he and Frank treated Sam, particularly during the final mission was disgusting, and quickly turned them into some of my least favorite challengers.  However over his last few appearances on The Challenge, Zach had really been growing on me.  He still acted like a douche occasionally, but generally speaking he seemed like a nicer, calmer guy, and he was even good for a funny soundbite from time to time.  This season has made me realize I was right the first time.  I wouldn’t ever say Jonna is my favorite person on these shows, but she’s far from my least favorite, and Zach has treated her like trash from the moment they stepped into the house.  This week, not only did Zach berate Jonna when she did nothing wrong, (her jumping off the truck at the end did not result in a DQ) he also cost the team a victory when he jumped too soon.  That night Zach makes a very half-hearted effort to apologize, but the apology quickly turns into another attack on Jonna who FINALLY says she’s done with him (I doubt that’s really true, but still nice to hear).

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Love in the Fast Lane (The Challenge Free Agents Episode 2 Recap)

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I want to start off this week’s recap by saying I’m loving this season of The Challenge so far.  The draw has really put in an added dimension of suspense about who is going home that week, and instead of just watching Johnny Banana’s pick off rookies, we got to see challenge heavyweight Frank go into elimination for the second week in a row.  It’s possible that I’m just loving this format because none of my favorites have gone home yet, or because Dustin got sent packing this week and I was saved from watching another Jessica romance play out on-screen, whatever the reason, the point is that I’m in on this season.  This week we got our first big fight of the season, some stomach turning courtship between Jessica and Dustin, and the always suspenseful elimination round, so let’s get started.

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We open the show with Jessica and Dustin cuddling on the couch.  Dustin tells Jessica that everyone in the house keeps telling him how much they like her.  WHAT?!  I’m sorry, I try not to be overly judgmental, but Jessica is just SO annoying, I can’t understand how the people in the house like her.  I give her tons of credit for getting into shape for this challenge, that takes a lot of work and I was impressed.  However, it looks like she spent so much time working on her body that she had no time left over to work on her incredibly annoying personality.  Despite that fact that other people on the show do seem to genuinely like her, as was evidenced by them going to bat on Twitter for her against her attackers, so maybe there is some part of Jessica that I’m missing.  The only thing I was really looking forward to with Jessica on this season was seeing if she would stick to her vow of purity that she took during her Real World season, but with Dustin gone I think that story line is pretty much dead.

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Live Free or Die (The Challenge: Free Agents Premiere Episode Recap)

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It’s finally here, season 25 of The Challenge is upon us!  If last nights hour and a half premiere taught us one thing, it’s that this will be the hardest season to predict the outcome in the history of The Challenge.  I went into this season believing that despite what the previews had said, there was no way this would legitimately be an individual challenge, but after watching the first episode it truly is an every man for themselves format.  Each week the contestants will compete in either a group, pair or individual challenge, the winners on that day get to pick one male and female to go into the elimination round.  The twist that makes this an individual game is that the selected persons opponent is determined by all other losing players from that day flipping over a card.  If the card you flip is blank your safe, but if you get the “kill card” you are heading into the elimination round.  This twist proved it was going to stir things up right away when vets Jemmye and Frank were sent into elimination on night one.  I think everyone really needs to give kudos to the creative team at Bunim/Murray, they have pulled off legitimate game changing twists two series in a row, first with The Real World Ex-Plosion, and now with this new format for The Challenge.  Despite the fact that this twist has the potential to blow up my predictions for this season, I’m still super excited to see this show play out, so let’s get right into and talk about what happened last night.

As always, to kick the show off the entire cast meets up with TJ in the elimination arena to learn what the theme of this season will be.  The best part of this is watching all the people who have always used alliances to hide their limited abilities, and seeing how worried they look when they find out this is an individual game.  Another highlight from the opening segment of the show was the always entertaining Jasmine declaring that she is single for the first time on The Challenge, and that she wants to be “the whore of the house.”  (a title she is trying to steal away from her Real World Cancun cast mate, Jonna.  Also doesn’t Jasmine always hook up on The Challenge? Since when does it matter if you’re single on this show?)  Now for a few other quick takeaways from this opening segment:

-If this was a basketball competition Theresa would be the favorite, as she almost beat CT in a game of strip bball.  Unfortunately for her I don’t think there’s going to be much basketball involved in the actual challenges, so she’s probably in trouble.

-Laurel is back, which is awesome, but she said she was going to be nicer this time around.  Who wants a nice Laurel?  That sounds like a terrible plan to me.

-Oh Jessica, you are such a crazy b*tch.  Jessica declares that she didn’t come on the show to find a boyfriend, but then immediately follows that up by talking about how great Dustin is.  Dustin better watch out, his picture could be in a “family” picture frame next to Jessica’s bed any day now.

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The Challenge: Free Agents (Preview of the Girls)

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And we’re back.  Earlier I chimed in with my opinions on how I think the guys side of things in the latest season of The Challenge will play out, and now I’m back to give my preview of the girl’s side of things.

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Aneesa Ferreira, The Real World Chicago

Physical Game: 6

Mental Game: 6

Social Game: 6.5

Overall: 6

I’ve always been an Aneesa fan, but I think we all know this isn’t going to happen for her at this point.  Aneesa’s best finish in The Challenge did come in an “every man for himself” duel format, so that gives some hope, but Aneesa just isn’t in good enough shape physically to win a final. (not trying to hate, I couldn’t run that final either, just sayin).   That being said, I still like having Aneesa around, she always provides some good soundbites, and it’s been interesting watching her progression over the years from a person in the middle of fights to the person breaking them up.  (She did just get in a fight with Trishelle last season, but in her defense Trishelle is crazy, so who can blame her).  Aneesa has no chance to win, but she has made quite a few friends  through her many years on the show, and I think she has a good chance to make it late in the game.  Honestly with how weak these seasons girls are I wouldn’t be shocked to see Aneesa make the final, I just can’t see her winning.

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Camila Nakagawa, Spring Break Challenge

Physical Game: 7.5

Mental Game: 5.5

Social Game: 7

Overall: 7

Another cast member I have always liked, and this one has a much better chance than Aneesa.  Camila may be small, but she is a pit bull, and that has helped her be very successful on these challenges.  Camila’s determination, along with her relationship with Johnny Banana’s mean she will probably do well on this show.  There are really only two other strong female competitors, (Laurel and Cara Maria) and as long as Camila keeps her patented drunken freak outs to a minimum, I think she has a great shot to make the finals.

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Cara Maria Sorbello, The Challenge: Fresh Meat II

Physical Game: 8.5

Mental Game: 5.5

Social Game: 2.5

Overall: 7.5

Moving on from likeable cast members, let’s talk about Cara Maria.  I try to feel bad for Cara Maria, as she is frequently the target of harassment from her fellow cast members, but if there is a big group of diverse people and they all don’t like you, there has to be something behind that.  I think the tipping point for me was last season when Cara Maria managed to get into it with Emily Schromm, one of the nicest and most likable cast members in this shows history.  Also it’s hard to feel bad for Cara Maria when she keeps signing up to come on these shows, if these people really make you so miserable why don’t you avoid them?  The good news for Cara Maria is that she has one of her only allies in the history of this show, Laurel, around to help her out during this season.  The other good news for Cara Maria is that as I’ve already mentioned, this season has an especially weak group of girls.  Even though I find her incredibly annoying, I can’t deny that Cara is a great athlete, although she does have a history of under performing on these shows.  The only thing I can see keeping Cara Maria from the final is her being thrown into the elimination round every week, which tends to happen to her on these shows.  Cara’s biggest obstacle keeping her from winning for the girls (other than Laurel) is that despite her claims that she has taken lessons, she is a terrible swimmer, and swimming often plays a role in the final challenge (Cara Maria’s swimming is like Shaq’s free throw shooting).  Right now I’m feeling a second place finish for Cara Maria, but I could see her going out early if she gets thrown into elimination repeatedly and gets upset.

 

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The Return of Old School Johnny Banana’s (The Challenge: Rivals II Episode 7 Recap)

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I finally feel like we’re getting somewhere after this week’s episode of The Challenge: Rivals II.  We got a taste of the old Camila and Johnny Banana’s, and we got to see Frank make good on his promise from last week to start letting his “beast” out of its cage.  There is a lot to cover this week, so let’s get started.

This week’s episode opens with Frank talking some sh*t about the “new kids” (aka the people who have done the same number of shows as him).  Frank is talking to Jonna and is focusing most of his trash talk on Jemmye, who Frank is clearly not a big fan of, based on some interviews he’s done.  Frank says Jemmye and the new kids would throw themselves under the bus if it meant winning some money.  This is an interesting quote from Frank, since the whole conversation started out as Jonna wanting to know if Frank had her back, and in the end of the episode Frank votes her into the jungle.  (So I guess even Frank isn’t above throwing people under the bus for some money).

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I’m Glad we Finally got to see Some People get Electrocuted this Season (The Challenge: Rivals II Episode 7 Recap)

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The number of teams left in the house is dwindling, and with that being the case the tension is really ratcheting up amongst the cast members.  This week’s episode features a challenge that finally involves some electrocution, (after TJ just teased us in that jungle) and the return of the overly dramatic Frank and Jordan we all know and love, so let’s get started.

This week’s episode opens with the further breaking down of the partnership between Diem and Aneesa.  Diem is frustrated because Aneesa doesn’t want to spend all her time running the little circuit around the house that everyone seems to enjoy.  After their fight Aneesa says she and Diem are rivals more now then when they first arrived in the house.  I really want these two to make it to the final just to see what a train wreck it will be.

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The Challenge: Rivals II Updated Power Rankings

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Seeing as how we just officially hit the half way mark for this season of the challenge, I decided it was time to do an update on the team power rankings.

Girls Teams

1. Emily and Paula (Previous ranking: 1)

Environmental Portraiture On The Set Of MTV's "The Challenge" - Phuket, Thailand

I’ve been having a hard time trying to come up with a more dominant team in the history of this show.  They “kill it” so often that TJ is practically beside himself, and we’re only half way through the season.  They’ve only lost one challenge this season, and that was because they decided to just let another team win.  I just wish there were some better girls (Rachel, Ev, Laurel) here to help judge how good Emily really is physically, because right now she looks like Michael Jordan playing against a junior high team.  I still can’t see anyway this team doesn’t win for the girls, so they’re staying at number one in the rankings.

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Revenge is a Dish Best not Served (The Challenge: Rivals II Episode 6 Recap)

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Opening up this week’s episode of The Challenge: Rivals II, Theresa is still feeling a little miffed by Diem.  Theresa still seems to think that Diem should have saved her ass, and not voted for Leroy and Ty after Theresa foolishly voted for them first.  This is all causing a lot of tension between the girls in the house, as Theresa and Jasmine are forced to realize they have even fewer friends in the game than they thought.  While drama like this is par for the course on this show, the real highlight of this week’s episode was this week’s challenge.

The challenge this week is called “frenemies” and is a trivia game about how well the players know their partners.  The players are all asked a series of questions, and their answers have to match the answer their partner gave.  If you give a wrong answer you get a strike, after your second wrong answer the teammate that is hanging above the water is dropped, and your team is out of the game.  This is a girls elimination week, and there is a lot of pressure on Theresa and Jasmine, who, lucky for them, get to pick this week’s order. Theresa decides to stop playing both sides, and make it clear she is siding with the “rookies,” when she puts Aneesa and Diem and Emily and Paula first.  Some of the questions and answers in this game are really classic, and since I’m a nice person, I’m going to share the best response’s with you here.

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What the Phuket?! (The Challenge: Rivals II Episode 5 Recap)

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This week’s episode of The Challenge: Rivals II featured hook ups, hurt feelings, surprise endings, and some of the worst throw away voting in history – in other words basically all the things that make this show great.  We’ve got a lot of ground to cover this week, so I’m not going to waste too much time with the set up, let’s get right into it.

This week we pick up with the blossoming romance between Leroy and Theresa that was hinted at towards the end of last week’s episode.  (After Knight ruined Leroy’s plans to hook up with Jemmye).  Leroy and Theresa are just trying to celebrate the fact that Theresa didn’t get electrocuted in the elimination round with a little coitus, when Wes has to go and ruin their fun.  Wes happens to be sleeping underneath them in the bunk beds, and isn’t enjoying their tryst as much as the other cast members who are watching through the windows.  Wes  thinks this has something to do with the fact that he and Theresa hooked up before on Fresh Meat II, but since Wes is the only person who even remembers that happened, I think he might be reaching a little bit.  Ultimately Wes decides he’s had it with Leroy’s disrespectful ways, and decides to move to a different room.  (But never fear, Johnny Banana’s helped build a Wes Dummy so he wouldn’t be missed too much).

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