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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