This Season is Rigged, The Challenge: Battle of the Bloodlines Recap

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Well, looks like I’m running a little behind schedule on my recaps, but better late than never right?  Since it’s almost time for this weeks episode I’m not going to go too far into things from last week, but there are a couple of things I need to get off my chest before we go any further on this season.

The most important thing we learned last week?  This season of The Challenge is fixed!  For seemingly the ten-thousandth time in challenge history Johnny Banana’s was able to somehow save himself when it seemed like the game was finally turning on him.  After being put into the elimination round for the third time, with Vince being a leader in the voting each time, Jenna decided she was finally done being a pawn for Banana’s and his creepy cousin.  Jenna even makes a deal with Cara Maria and her cousin Jamie that they will watch each other’s backs.  Even though Cara Maria was clearly lying when she said Jenna and Brianna would be their number one alliance, (clearly Abe and his brother were her top partnership) I still hoped that this would be enough to convince Jenna to actually turn her back on Banana’s.  Unfortunately, as we’ve seen frequently during her time on this show, Jenna can easily be swayed by almost any assertive male cast member.  Johnny convinces Jenna that they need to get rid of Cara Maria because Jenna wouldn’t be able to beat her in a final.  You know who else Jenna can’t beat in a final? Johnny Bananas!  Honestly at this point the only team Jenna and Brianna could probably beat in the final is Aneesa and her cousin, and even that is up for debate.  Despite how shady he has been this season Banana’s is still a better ally than Cara (just ask Tom about how good she is at saving teams in her “alliance”).

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Bitter Banana’s The Challenge Bloodlines “Blood is Thicker than Mud” Recap

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Is this the least likable version of Johnny Banana’s since The Island, is Aneesa the lamest lesbian ever?  Have Thomas and Cara Maria been murder by Ab yet? I’m making my triumphant (and possibly very brief) return to discuss all these topics and maybe more as I break down the latest episode of The Challenge: Bloodlines.

On last night’s episode of The Challenge we saw Johnny Banana’s screw over yet another member of his seriously dwindling alliance.  Banana’s comes up with the always controversial plan for the red team to throw this week’s mission in an attempt to place nemesis Cara Maria in an elimination round and hopefully send her home.  (Although honestly what girl on the red team could possibly beat Cara Maria in an elimination, getting rid of Jamie, Cara’s cousin seems like the much easier plan).  After the blue team puts in a fairly poor performance in a challenge that is essentially just crossing a cargo net over a big pit of water, Johnny puts his plan into place.  Johnny decides he and Anthony, his new bff will both fall, and in a particularly dirty move, essentially rips Rianna off the cargo net so she falls as well.  Banana’s lets himself fall immediately, but Anthony really goes for the academy award, putting up a long struggling battle before letting himself drop just before the finish line.  Despite their best attempts to take longer on the challenge,(both teams lost three players) the red team still claims victory over the lowly blue team.

Following their loss the blue team must decide which female player they will select for the elimination round.  The vote comes down to Kelly Anne and Jenna, and with the deciding vote Mitch inexplicably decides to send Jenna in instead of Kelly Anne.  (Someone really needs to help Corey and Mitch out, it’s never a good idea to help Banana’s alliance when you have no alliance yourselves).  However it doesn’t really end up mattering that her own team didn’t send her in, because moments later the red team votes to send Kelly Anne in as the second participant in the elimination round.  The “shocker” (if we can call it that at this point) is that Banana’s goes along with his team and votes in Kelly Anne, despite his supposed alliance with her cousin Anthony.  This is the second time this season Banana’s has not only done nothing to defend a “friend,” but has only personally thrown them in to the elimination round.  Obviously the betrayal of Nany, someone who has seemingly been close to Banana’s for years, was much more egregious than what he did to Anthony this week, but both were underhanded moves.  While Banana’s offered Nany some weak excuse about his girlfriend from home, and not wanting to look like he was favoring Nany too much, I feel like maybe this is just a return to the Banana’s of old.  The past few seasons we had seen a kinder, gentler Johnny Banana’s.  That fact ultimately came back to bite him last season when he was out played by Sarah and ended up going home just before the final.  I was left wondering if Sarah’s betrayal (which I personally greatly enjoyed) has turned Banana’s back into his old self, AKA the Banana’s from The Island that screwed over Paula, and essentially refused to feed any of the girls in response to limited food rations.  Whatever is happening with Banana’s this season, it doesn’t seem good for his game in the long run.   With the elimination of Kelly Anne and Anthony last night essentially the last piece of Banana’s alliance is off the show.

Speaking of alliances, let’s step away from Banana’s for second and talk about Aneesa, who could be in every alliance or no alliances at this point as far as I can tell.  I want to start out by saying I’ve always liked Aneesa, (actually I didn’t like her much on her original season of The Real World, but since then I’ve liked her) that being said I have no idea what is going on with her this season.  Aneesa, who until this season I was pretty sure was a pretty full time lesbian, ended up falling for Corey, who I’m pretty sure is a full time douche.  Corey just does not seem to be a nice guy.  Aneesa is the third woman we’ve seen him with on television, ans he’s basically treated them all like crap.  I get that he’s good looking, but come on Aneesa, he’s basically put you on blast every chance he’s gotten for the past couple of episodes and you still seem to have his back.  Corey pulled a Banana’s and went out of his way to vote for Aneesa this week when he easily could’ve just gone along with the rest of his team and voted for Kelly Anne.  I’m begging you Aneesa, get over this lame crush and put Corey in his place, and get back to being the lovable lesbian you’ve always been.

Following the departure of Kelly Anne and Anthony it’s unclear where things will go from here this season.  Cara Maria seems to be in a good place to finally get her first victory with a solid alliance of her cousin Jamie and Abram and his brother Mike.  It seems like things didn’t really turn south for Cara and Ab until they got back home, and possibly until they went on The After Show last week.  It will also be interesting to see what decision’s Jenna and her cousin make, as they are yet another team that feels betrayed by Banana’s.  (Side note, I really love Jenna, I don’t even know why really, but she’s usually good for at least one good one-liner each episode and she’s kind of a lovable underdog.  Unfortunately I think she could have some trouble when Zach shows up this season).  While I don’t know the outcome of this season, based on things I’ve picked up during The After Show, it seems like Banana’s might have burned too many bridges to pull off a victory this year.  Could we be seeing the end of Banana’s reign on The Challenge?  Could this be the year Cara Maria finally claims victory?  Could Abram maim the entire cast and cause the final to be cancelled?  I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.  I hope to be back next week to talk more about The Challenge, and possibly get into some Bachelor talk, but not making any promises, see you next time.

Thoughts/Questions/Comments: I can be reached on Twitter @NoOneGoesToClev

 

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 Guys)

 

 

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It’s almost time folks.  In just a few short weeks time America’s fifth major sport will be returning for a new season.  After several team and partner themed seasons, this year marks the return to an “every man for himself” challenge, similar to The Duel.  The two seasons of The Duel are some of my favorite in challenge history so I was excited to see this format return, even if the claim that there is no alliances is total bs.  Free Agents is a little different from previous Duel seasons, as there will apparently still be partner and team competitions, even though it is technically still an individual game.  This season after each competition the male and female winner will choose a member of each gender to compete about the male and female loser on that day in an elimination round called “The Draw” (possibly the least scary sounding elimination round in challenge history).  The show kicks off on Thursday April 10th at 10 pm, and to hold you over until we get to the premiere, I’m going to evaluate all the male and female contestants on their chances of winning this season of The Challenge.  I’m going to look at the guys side today, and I’ll be back with a preview of the girls on Friday.

The Guys

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Brandon Nelson, Fresh Meat II

Physical Game: 5

Mental Game: 3

Social Game: 4.5

Overall: 4

Overall:  Like in every other challenge he has done, Brandon has no chance here (sorry Brandon).  He isn’t athletic enough to win any challenges by himself, and he doesn’t ever seem to have a ton of friends in the house.  The one area Brandon does a decent job is in elimination rounds, and while he isn’t super popular he isn’t hated either.  I see an early to mid show exit for Brandon.  While I think he should have a mediocre finish like he always does, based on some Twitter messages it seems like Brandon has been hanging out with Knight a lot, this is something that could hurt him as Knight is not a very popular guy with other challenge contestants, but their bonding may have started after this show filmed.

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Brandon Swift aka Swift, The Real World St. Thomas

Physical Game: 7

Mental Game: 5

Social Game: 3

Overall: 3

Ok, so confession time, I didn’t watch The Real World St. Thomas so this was a tough one to evaluate.  Obviously based on his picture he’s in great shape, but that doesn’t necessarily equate to doing well in the challenges.  Also the only person from his season on the show is fellow rookie LaToya, who he apparently was interested in at one point in their season, but ultimately decided he’d rather go after other girls, so I don’t see them being great friends.  He also seems a little cocky, which is never good for a rookie.  This feels like a classic case of rookies go home first, unless he can find a way to save himself through winning some competitions and stick around long enough to gain some allies.

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Chet Cannon, The Real World Brooklyn

Physical Game: 6

Mental Game: 6

Social Game: 7

Overall: 6.5

Chet typically does pretty well in these challenges.  Despite his hipster nerd appearance, Chet is solid in physical competition, and his social game is always solid.  The only person from his season on this challenge is Devyn, and the two have never really been best friends.  I don’t see that hurting Chet much though, as Devyn probably won’t be sticking around too long, based on her weak physical game, and the fact that other than Big Easy, no one ever seems to like her that much.  I think it’s possible Chet could make the final, but it’s more likely he will be one of the last people eliminated before the finale.  Even if he does make the final I have a hard time seeing Chet beating guys like CT and Zach in a physical competition, so a puzzle would have to seriously come in to play for him to have a shot at winning.

 

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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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Man, TJ is Tricky this Season (The Challenge: Rivals II Episode 4 Recap)

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This week’s episode didn’t quite have the fire power of last week, but we did get one quality fight involving Jemmye’s Ketchup phobia, and we got some other fun moments, so let’s get right into this.

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It took her a minute, but Jonna figured out who to sleep with to help get her to the end again this season.  With Sarah getting sent home, and Jordan performing well in the challenges, it looks like Jonna saw an opportunity to hook up with a strong guy and she went for it.  My favorite part of Jonna and Jordan’s exchange in the club is when Jordan says, “I’m like The Great Gatsby,” and Jonna responds by saying, “what the f*ck does that mean?”  (Jonna doesn’t know what The Great Gatsby is Jordan, don’t confuse the girl she just wants to make out).

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Crazy Trishelle has Returned and All is Right with the World (The Challenge: Rivals II Episode 3 Recap)

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Last fall during Battle of the Season’s I wrote a post about how much Trishelle seemed to have matured since her season in Vegas (you can read it here).  I’m pleased to say that after watching her performance on this season of The Challenge (and later portions of Battle of the Seasons) that I was totally wrong, and the crazy ass Trishelle we all know and love is alive and well.  While it was a little sad to see Sarah get sent home early again, I wouldn’t trade a classic old school fight like that for anything, so sorry Sarah but as TJ say’s, “I’m sure we’ll be seeing you again soon.”  (Sarah did express some doubts about her return to The Challenge during the after show, but I’d be very surprised to see her sit out more than maybe one season).  I’m getting ahead of myself here though, before we can really talk about the fight between Trishelle and Aneesa we need to deal with the earlier drama from the episode, the fight between Knight and Marlon.

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