Welcome to The Challenge: Rivals or, as a fellow old-school Real World/Road Rules Challenge friend of mine calls it “That show with all those annoying new people and CT.” We’re three episodes in, but not all the contestants have figured out that this whole “work with your worst enemy” thing is the conceit of the whole season and not a practical joke. This is why they need to bring back the spelling bee and trivia game challenges, because I love watching this brain trust have to break a sweat. Anyway, where were we?
Best romantic strategist: Mandi
Most of the new Fresh Meat people are indistinguishable to me except for Fucking Kenny, but Mandi is endearing herself to me by choosing CT over Wes as boyfriend material. Both guys are roidheads with rage issues, but CT was a much better boyfriend to Diem than Wes was to Johanna, and he’s a better strategic pick since he can kick the crap out of every other person in the house. Wes put a giant swan in her bed, CT removed it. Who would you choose?
Person who most belongs on an old-school Challenge: Mike
At the beginning of the episode, Mike entertains everybody by dressing up as Tyler and doing an impersonation. It reminds me of the old Battle of the Seasons when the cast got rained in for a couple of days and they had a toga party costume contest. I miss when the off-time on Challenges was for goofing around and being funny instead of having drunk sex and getting in fights. And now I feel old.
Most overinflated sense of self: Paula
As I said earlier, the Paula/Ev pairing is one of my favorites this season, and I think they’re the girls’ team to beat. But Paula gives a really annoying voiceover about how people walk up to her on the street and ask her why she hasn’t won a Challenge yet and tries to make it sound like she’s some kind of celebrity. It is possible that that happens, but nobody on this show should ever claim to have “a public” or “fans.”
Worst strategist: Wes
I love how brilliant Wes thinks he is. On a typical Challenge, Wes usually is one of the better players, but he is scared of CT and it shows. He tries to pit Adam and CT against each other, telling each that the other one is their weak link. Here’s the thing he isn’t understanding: CT wants to win more than he hates Adam, and these two are communicating on this challenge. When Wes tries to talk to CT, CT says that he’s there for the money and the longer he stays around the more he wins – which, that’s why everyone is there, and Wes is an idiot to think it’s all about some nonexistent honor code when everybody’s just there to win money so they don’t have to ever get a real job.
Best threat: CT
“I am going to eat your face off!” – CT to Wes (Spoiler alert: he does.)
Best strategist: Cara Maria
Cara Maria may hate her partner, Laurel, but she seems to understand that they have to communicate with each other or else. Laurel does not seem to have gotten the message, though. Also, did Cara Maria and Abe get back together? I heard a rumor that they did, but since he’s not on this Challenge we’re probably not going to hear anything about it.
Best commercial: Trojan
It’s about time someone realized how perfect this show is for contraceptive ads. And considering that Magnums got a free shoutout from Tyler last week, maybe somebody in the Trojan marketing department saw an opportunity. Nicely played! It’s not quite up to the awesomeness level of those NuvaRing ads that sometimes come on during 19 Kids and Counting, but nothing ever will be.