Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Shop Talk: The Challenge - "Like The Hunger Games…"

I love The Challenge. I love it in the Fall, I love it in the Spring. I love watching it live, I love watching on-demand. I love it in my hair when I'm having a bad day. Like Bill Simmons, I consider it America's fifth major sport, and I vow to watch every season. I am going to be using this Shop Talk label to share my thoughts and predictions on this season -- which is titled "Free Agents", meaning it's everyone for themselves -- as well as other relevant events that deserve a good ole fashioned shop talk. For purposes of my write-ups on The Challenge, I'm just going to categorize my thoughts into three areas: The Juice, which is anything that happens in the house/club/anywhere other than an event; The Challenge, the individual/team challenge that happens in the middle of the show; and The Elimination, the one-on-one competition at the end to see who goes home. The Challenge is no place for narratives.

The Juice

- The "Free Agents" model is fantastic. Somebody said it was like the Hunger Games, and that's partly true, only difference being The Challenge throws booze, grudges, steroids and sex into the mix. Katniss wouldn't make it to week 2.

- This is the 25th season of The Challenge. 25 seasons! Show premiered in 1997, meaning it's been on the air for 17 years. Outrageous that our generation can support such beautiful trash. Well done, generation. Well, done.

- The producers had to dig DEEP into the archives to bring in enough people to fill up the cast of 28. What resulted was old Isaac, two Johnnie's and something called a Cahutta.

- Speaking of Isaac. How bout him busting out the factoid about lemons in Uruguay? I bet he tells people that's the secret to getting huge, but really he just sucks down syringes of HGH like I used to handle freeze-pops. 

- CT. He's back. Thank God. However, within the first 15 minutes of the episode we learned two very new and very important things about CT:

1. He's a beanie guy. 
Wears beanies indoors. Wears it on the back of his head so it doesn't actually perform the function of a beanie. Big time douchebag move. Big time setback.

2. He's got a jumper.
 CT played strip 1on1 basketball with Theresa and we learned that CT isn't just a meathead. He can actually produce in a real sport. Not going to lie this was kind of dissappointing  because it just widened the gap between CT and the rest of mankind. Lookin' like Steve Kerr out there with a game winning jumper. Yeah, it was against a girl, but every good guy player knows it's never a good idea to play a decent girl in 1on1 because there is no upside.  Makes up for him being a beanie guy. 

-  Show me a fit MTV alum who hasn't spent at least a short stint as a personal trainer, and I'll show you a mirror, which will show you a liar. 

The Challenge

- Kicked off the first challenge with a schoolyard draft. Loved it. Preston getting picked last probably poked some demons. Poem material.

- Johnny Bananas gassing out on Floor 6 then putting a girl in a chokehold to screw over everyone else is everything this show is about.

- Although this is not proven by science or theology, some say a Sinners' afterlife is a continuous staircase where you are chained to Frank who is screaming at you to catch up to him, despite the fact that your path is blocked.

- The race to the top of the building was really the only thing worth punching keys about.

-  We got a casualty! LaToya got a lil dehydrated. Those eyes were rolling into the back of her head like she just had a round with Eric Northman.

- Before the season started, I predicted Jordan to win it all. I think this Challenge is going to come down to a guy that has a ton of endurance and is strong enough to not get bulldozed in particular events. Jordan seems like the fastest and in the best shape. However, Jordan doesn't have one of his hands. Just a nub. So having Jordan do the task where you have to balance on a rolling log thousands of feet in the air and bend over and pickup a flag was an interesting choice for a guy who needs to grab a small object. Never know which hand will be the one to snag it. Anyways, if he volunteered to do that I don't like where his heads at and I'm already questioning his ability to win. 

- And by the way, I'm not even going to bother picking a female winner because I don't care.

The Elimination

- I'm not sure the guys quite understand the makeup of this game yet. They are free agents. If you are not going to the elimination you should send the two biggest threats up against each other. Just baffling logic. Instead, the guys opted to vote in a fluffy hipster, Chet. 

"Where's the coffee shop?"
- Once one person gets voted in, the rest of the losing team has to flip these cards. Whoever flips the kill card goes in to face the person voted in. You want to talk suspense? This was probably what Davey Roberts was feeling right before he swiped second. Exhilarating stuff. Anyways, Frank flipped the kill card and was given the honor of beating the shit out of a hipster on live television with no ramifications.  

- Chet, Chet, Chet. The man cuts his chin and we have a little blood. Rather than tape it up and go finish the challenge, Chet opts to not risk having a scar on his face, and quits. Chet, let me tell you the number one rule in The Challenge and life, "You got to play hurt." I sincerely hope I never see you on my television again. 

- Here's Chet's rationale for quitting, "I care about me more than the idea of money." Who are you George Jung's Dad? Ray Liotta? Karl Marx? The Blob? 

- Couple nuggets from the girls battle: LaToya v. Jemmye. Matchup came down to the final round, but LaToya pulls a Navarro Bowman and gets that goal line stand to stay in the house. Afterwards, Jemmye keeps saying LaToya "proved herself" as if this is one long gang initiation. Only on The Challenge. 

Next episode new episode is Thursday April 17. 

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