‘The Challenge’ Awards: Crushing On the Enemy

Best edit: Jonna and Jasmine falling

During the challenge – something involving being in these huge boxes full of sand, throwing the sand out, and then reaching a zip line and jumping into the water and swimming to a finish line – Jonna and Jasmine are way behind their rivals, Camila and Theresa. Jonna voiceovers that their best chance of winning is to hold onto the zip line and try to get ahead of them in the water. As soon as she says that, the editors cut to her and Jasmine grabbing the zip line and immediately falling. I rewound and watched it twice.

Most inexplicable contestant: Katelynn

Katelynn voiceovers that she is afraid of both water and heights. She has been on this show before, so she should know that almost every challenge involves one of those two things. I get that the money’s enticing, but why the hell would you even go on this show knowing you had two major deficiencies like that?

Most unintentionally funny voiceover: Sarah

Although Katelynn and Sarah’s time is really slow, Cara Maria and Laurel disqualified. Sarah announces that even though they didn’t win, the other team’s DQ means they didn’t lose, either. Thanks for teaching us the meaning of “disqualification,” Sarah.

Best underdog: Mike

He knows that he’s not the most athletic guy in the group, but Mike makes up for it in sheer drive. After taking a nasty fall off the zip line, with Leroy falling onto him in the water, Mike manages to swim through the pain and beat the other team to the finish line. Even Johnny is impressed and says that Mike has a lot of heart. Mike is coughing up blood and EMTs come to get him out of the water. He asks if Leroy can come with him to the hospital, and it’s the cutest thing ever. They’re such a good team.

Best moment: CT and Adam smoking the challenge

CT and Adam are the only team that successfully gets ahold of the zip line, and they coast easily to the end, getting the best time of everyone. This is what I keep saying – these boneheads can strategize all they want, but the single best way to stick around on this show is to win the challenges. Period. And CT keeps doing that, while Wes just keeps running his mouth. Sure enough, we cut to Wes talking about how Kenny fucked up and lost the challenge for them, not acknowleding that they both had a role in it. “I don’t know what’s sweeter,” CT voiceovers, “winning two grand [prize money] or shutting Wes’ big mouth.” Me neither, CT, me neither.

Most interesting potential couple: Mike and Paula

When Mike comes back from the hospital, Paula hugs him and says she’s glad he’s better and then says she “promised” (to whom?) to have sex with him if he was okay. I can’t tell if she’s flirting with him to get camera time or if she genuinely thinks he’s cute, but it’s kind of interesting to see this side of her. That said, I don’t know if I actually want them to hook up, since Mike might not want to wade into the STD pool that is this show.

Most logical: Mandi

Two weeks ago I had no idea who the hell Mandi was, but I like her. When Theresa is bitching about being chosen to go into the Jungle, Mandi points out that the best way to deal with her anger is to go beat the shit out of her opponents. Channeling your anger is a very good skill to have on this show, and I’ve seen pure adrenaline/fury work for people before, especially when they’re outmatched physically (Svetlana defeating Beth, anyone?). Instead, Teresa just wants to quit. Is this a face-saving thing so they don’t have to lose in the Jungle, or just bitching? I can’t tell.

Does making out with CT make you better at this game by osmosis? Those are odds I’d be willing to try out.

Worst example of sexism: Wes

Wes is clearly jealous of Mandi’s crush on CT, so he pulls her aside and gives her this patriarchal-bullshit lecture about how CT is the worst person in human history and will burn down her house or something. She correctly voiceovers that Wes’ real problem is that CT keeps kicking his ass in challenges, and she’s an adult who is free to make her own choices. The way that Kenny, Evan, and Wes try to run the game by bossing girls around and mansplaining all the time is really gross, and it’s nice to see someone for once who isn’t going along with it. Mandi doesn’t need Wes to take care of her or make decisions for her, and if a guy pulled that “I’m just trying to protect you” shit on me because I had the audacity to flirt with someone he didn’t like, I’d blow him off too. Johnny gets an honorary mention in this category for announcing that girls make all their decisions based on their emotions, then implying that they need guys to tell them what to do. While this particular decision is one that Camila and Theresa are being emotional about, quit tarring all women with your sexist brush, Mr. “I changed my last name to Bananas.”

Best reconciliation: Cara Maria and Laurel

Although they’ve had a rocky relationship, they pull out a win in the Jungle against Camila and Theresa. They’re both so relieved and share a big hug, which seems genuine. Each credits the other for being why they won. I hope this bodes well for them the rest of the Challenge, and I hope they’ve learned how important it is to work together. Cara Maria calls it “couples therapy.” And goodbye Camila and Theresa, who I never really learned to like or identify anyway.

Worst idea: Evan

Evan volunteers to throw the next challenge so that he can pick CT/Adam to go against him in the Jungle. First of all, he hasn’t even asked his partner Nehemiah what he thinks about that (probably because Neh would tell him it’s stupid, which it is). Also, Evan has been a lousy competitor so far this Challenge, and he’s probably going to lose. Wes voiceovers that he might as well get rid of Evan. Oh, Wes. You’re a bonehead, but at least this time you’re picking a fight you can probably win.

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    • Lindsay Cross

      You are CT obsessed! And I like it.

      And Mike asking if Leroy could come to the hospital almost made me choke up.