Casting Internets

You might have noticed a lack of Casting Internets posts lately. That’s less because I kept forgetting to do them and more because I haven’t been going through my Pocket app for ,well, most of this year. Anyway, here’s a bunch of stories from the past few months that tickled my fancy. manziel browns draft

I’m pretty excited about Johnny Manziel heading to the Browns. They’re not my main team, but I have a special place in my heart for them because my mom’s from there and my grandma was a fan her whole life. (via ESPN)

Rivers Cuomo called Rolling Stone to talk about his love of Nirvana and how the band changed his brain. Fun read for Weezer fans, especially the ones who’ve been hearing for years that he converted Kurt Cobain’s songs into an equation and then wrote his own songs with that formula.

I’m not much of a Buzz Feed fan, but I really dug Kate Aurthur’s interview with Real World San Francisco‘s Rachel about her time on the show.


I don’t know if I’ll ever have time to go through this entire post of on about Ralph McQuarrie’s Star Wars art, but maybe you will!schleprock america's dirty little secret

My buddy Jesse sent me this link to Jason Heller’s AV Club piece on punk in the 90s because he talks about that band Schleprock I reviewed a while back. Even without that, it’s a really solid read on a subgenera of music I still love.

Esquire‘s Jennifer M. Wood talked to director Walter Hill about his classic The Warriors. As you might expect, this is a thing I love.

I’m a big fan of Michael Ruhlman and Anthony Bourdain, so when the former interviewed the latter about modern chefs on his blog, I was interested. Personally, I like how conflicted Bourdain is about things like authenticity. It points to the fact that these issues are trickier than some might otherwise present.

Jimmy Page told Rolling Stone that he’s going to start working on his second-ever solo album. Also, I fully support the idea of a Jimmy Page/Jeff Beck tour. Yardbirds Revisited?

What We’re Watching: Wednesday & Thursday

As it turns out, our Wednesdays and Thursdays are mixed between longtime favorites and brand new shows that are tickling our fancies these days. This batch includes mostly half hour comedies as well as my personal favorite comic book TV show Arrow. My wife also enjoyed this season of Cover Affairs, but I usually read or watching the other TV when it’s on because it just never quite grabbed me. If you’re interested, I covered Mondays and Tuesdays in a post last week.


Arrow (8:00 PM, The CW)

arrow season 2 banner

Arrow is one of my favorite shows on TV and probably one of the ones I look forward to the most in any given week. I was cautiously optimistic when it kicked off last season, but got sucked in with the story of spoiled rich kid Oliver Queen trying to make things right in his city while also flashing back to his time on a crazy island. Sure there’s a ton of melodrama involved in the proceedings (it is a CW show after all), but I love the solid mix of action, fun stories and deep cuts when it comes to comic book references. I couldn’t help but compare Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Arrow and in nearly every way, Arrow came off better.

Modern Family (9:00 PM, ABC)Modern Family - Season 5

I’m not really sure what to say about Modern Family that hasn’t been said a million times. It’s so intricately written and perfectly acted that it’s impossible not to fall in love. We’ve been watching the reruns on Fox at 7:30 every day after Jeopardy and even though there aren’t a ton of episodes, it’s a welcome addition to the syndication rotation.

Super Fun Night (9:30 PM, ABC)super fun night

I wanted to like Super Fun Night, but the first episode just killed all the excitement I had going in. The basic concept of the show is cool: three 30 somethings put a bunch of ideas for ladies night in a hat, pull one out and that’s what they do that evening. The problem? Star Rebel Wilson puts on a terrible American accent throughout the entire thing. There are pretty much three things everyone knows about Wilson after watching Pitch Perfect: she’s not America, she’s super funny and she can sing incredibly well. The first episode of this series tried to get you to forget two of these things as her character is nervous about karaoke. I was pretty much done at that point and tend to flip around or read during this time slot. I really think I would be back in if they just had her speak in her regular voice.


The Big Bang Theory (8:00 PM, CBS)big bang theory season 7

We’re still big Big Bang Theory fans. I love how they’ve expanded the group to fully include Bernadette and Amy. It does kind of seem like the writers aren’t quite sure what to do with Penny lately. She and Sheldon work so well together, but they seem to be writing her a bit dumber than before. It’s a minor problem and I think they’re probably ramping up for something big at the end of the season, but we’ll see.

The Millers (8:30 PM, CBS)the millers

The Millers was a big surprise for me. We’ve liked previous Greg Garcia shows like My Name Is Earl and Raising Hope, but got burned out on the latter. I also didn’t much like Will Arnett’s two previous shows, Running Wilde and Up All Night. But I think this is enough of a departure for Garcia — it’s not about dumdums in a mysterious western town — and it allows Arnett to play awkward and put-upon in a way we haven’t quite seen before. I think it’s funny that last season saw all kinds of “adult kids moving back in with their parents” shows and this seasons has the reverse. Even though it’s not super original, I’m still enjoying two shows like that this season between Millers and Dads. As a nice bonus, the show features Jayma Mays who deserves a show better than Glee and Nelson Franklin who I’ve enjoyed on Traffic Light and his brief stint on New Girl. I hope the show succeeds just so I can keep seeing them all!

The Crazy Ones (9:00 PM, CBS)?????????????????????????

I’ll be honest, I wish Parks & Rec was on at 9:00 PM on Thursdays. I love that show and really miss it, but since we’re full-on into BBT, that’s the show we watch. Plus, it sounds like the schedule’s going to be all over the place. Anyway, since NBC doesn’t have much to offer, we’re watching The Crazy Ones, an ad agency comedy starring Robin Williams and Sarah Michelle Gellar as well as the guy who played Bob Benson on Mad Men and the former secretary from The Mindy Project. The dynamics on this show are a ton of fun and really carry it through. This is one of two shows that I could probably just watch the outtakes of and have a great time. New Girl is the other for what it’s worth. Still, as enjoyable as the show has been, I’d drop it in a heartbeat if it meant I could watch Parks & Rec.

The Michael J. Fox Show (9:30 PM, NBC)MichaelJFoxShow1

I think The Michael J. Fox Show is the only show we watch on NBC these days which is crazy because it used to one of the main stops for us, especially on Thursdays. As a dyed in the wool child of the 80s, I have an almost inborn love for all things Fox going back to the days of Family Ties on through Spin City. The fact that the show puts his Parkinsons right on front street and just deals with it as part of the ongoing story is an ingenious move that brings everyone in on what’s going on and deals with it honestly.

What We’re Watching: Mondays & Tuesdays

It’s been a crazy-long time since I’ve talked about TV here on UM, but that doesn’t mean we’re not watching. It’s an interesting season because there are a good deal of shows I’m really into, but also a lot of slots in the schedule that are left open. For what it’s worth, we’re still in the dark ages when it comes to cable and don’t have DVR, so all of our viewings are done the old fashion way, “live.”  Continue reading What We’re Watching: Mondays & Tuesdays

The Challenge Rivals II Episode 11

The newest installment of The Challenge: Rivals II picks up where last week’s left off. As a reminder, Cooke and Cara Maria won the challenge, so they’re going right to the final. Meanwhile, Diem and Aneesa lost which meant they’d be going up against either Jemmye and Camila or Paula and Emily. As you might expect, Diem and Aneesa wanted to go against Camila and Jemmye. Even though they wound up getting what they wanted, Diem was still peeved because CT and Wes voted for Emily and Paula to go in because they’ve had an alliance with the other team. Diem got in several different fights and acted like a crazy person, falling in my esteem a bit. Then again, I wasn’t super impressed with how CT handled their relationship either. We’l call that a draw, I guess.

We pick back up at the Jungle which is called Hanging By A Thread which, like the past five-or-so-Jungles we’ve already seen. Both teams hang upside down and have to cut through two big, thick ropes. Whoever gets done first actually drops the other team into a small pool of water. Much to my surprise, Jemmye and Camila actually come up with a pretty solid system to make up for the fact that Camila’s much shorter than her partner. Jemmye actually put her saw under the rope, grabbed both ends and pulled it up so Camila could saw through. Diem also couldn’t reach the rope with her saw, but started freaking out instead of coming up with a solution. The guys tried explaining this to them and finally she got it, but it wound up not being enough and the unlikely team of Jemmye and Camila earned their spot in the finale.

At the end, CT and Diem both say they still have feelings for each other and TJ says they have a few days to relax and also hints that it sure is getting hot in Thailand. Back at the house there’s plenty of talk about what that means and where they’ll be going. Emily told Paula she’s worried about failing. Cara Maria practiced swimming. Paula gave Jordan and Marlon a bit of advice. And then they got the almighty text telling them they’re heading off to Tokyo. As usual, they get super excited about all this which always strikes me as odd because it’s not like you get to really enjoy the place you’re going. At this point the talk turned to how a Final in the city could actually put everyone on equal footing, something that Wes doesn’t like because he and CT have been training for the Thai climate. That’s pretty dopey considering every Finale we’ve seen in the past several years has been in a different location than the thrust of the season.

The next day everyone’s all packed up, wondering about Tokyo and getting on the bus to head to the airport. At this point, I noticed that the music was getting pretty weird. Something was clearly up. Then another van pulled up and dudes in black masks busted out on the bus. Everyone’s understandably freaked out by this, but after they come back from a well-placed commercial, we discover that it’s actually TJ and they’re not going to Tokyo.

Instead, everyone’s taken to a dock and TJ breaks down the first half of the Final for them. First, you’ve got to swim a mile from a boat to a place called Dream Island. Once you’re there, you have one hour to solve a puzzle that’s like 3D Tetris, but you have to recreate one of three shapes. When you finish the puzzle or your time is up, you can unlock a kayak and paddle out to a super yacht (if you drank every time you heard those words together you probably still have fuzzy vision). The big twist of this part of the game is that only two teams of each sex can make it on the super yacht (drink!), the other two get $15K each, but have to go home.

As it happened there was one weak swimmer of each sex: Marlon and Cara Maria. The women hopped off the boat first. Paula and Emily took off pretty quickly with Camila and Jemmye too far behind. Cooke basically had to drag CM through the water, but they were only about two minutes behind the other two teams. The guys then came out and did their thing. They were in a clump until Marlon fell behind.

The puzzle itself wound up being tough for all the teams. CT and Wes got done with it first and made it out to the super yacht (drink!), impressive considering they had to be a few minutes behind the ladies. It seemed like no one else was actually going to get done with this thing until Cara Maria and Cooke nailed it and became the first female team on the super yacht (drink!).

With four teams left, things sped up because they were fighting for their place in the next part of the Final. It seemed like it was going to be a race once the time ran out and then Paula and Emily figured theirs out, leaving Camila and Jemmye behind to feel disappointed. Seeing the two angriest people left on the Challenge lose is kind of fun. Camila kicked the crap out of those boxes, you guys! The guys couldn’t figure out the puzzle, so Jordan and Marlon worked out a plan, knowing that Johnny and Frank would be leaving first. It wound up being about a 40 second head start and, of course, it ended in a To Be Continued. But, it looked like one of the teams — we couldn’t see which — actually tipped their kayak over, which will definitely change things up. I’m actually pretty excited to see what happens next week, you guys!

The Challenge Rivals II Episode 10

Boy oh boy. This episode of The Challenge: Rivals II got pretty bonkers on the way to figuring out which three female teams would make it to the final and which would get sent home. The beginning of the episode kicked off with more flirting between Diem and CT which lead into another scene featuring Diem being told by Johnny, Frank and Camila that he’s no good for her, that he’s just using her. No shocker here, but that will come into play later.

The challenge itself is Color Correction, which made the teams run a mile while chained together, get to a board featuring four colors, memorize the flashing pattern, run back and recreate the pattern. According to some tweets I saw, they actually did this three times instead of the two shown. I’m guessing they cut the middle one out because this isn’t the most thrilling game to watch and there was a heckuva lot more shouting which we all know is more interesting.

The first race saw Paula and Emily getting a nice lead and Jemmye kind of anchoring Camila, which is no real shock. All the female teams got to the light board around the same time, but it was Cara Maria and Cooke who left first, but are closely followed by Emily and Paula. The former finish first, but it doesn’t take the latter long to meet them in the winner’s circle. Jemmye and Camila wound up leaving before Diem and Aneesa. Basically, Diem kept going back to the color box, not trusting herself or her partner. In a minor shocker, Jemmye and Camila get the pattern right first which automatically sent Aneesa and Diem in to the Jungle.

This left Paula and Emily racing against Cara Maria and Cooke for a ticket directly into the finals. Paula and Emily get out to an early lead in the race and even get to the light box a full cycle before their competitors. But, Cara Maria thinks she gets the pattern after what looks like just one cycle, so she and Cooke take off. Both teams wound up stacking colors at the same time, but it was the underdogs who got the win! With Cooke and Cara Maria no longer acting as whipping girls, the guy teams had to think a little harder about who they were throwing in.

All of which lead to mountains of drama back at the house. Actually it started right after the losers were announced in front of that big Rivals sign as Johnny mentioned throwing Jemmye and Camila into the Jungle to Diem as Camila was standing right there. Back at the house, Diem’s got into something of a crazy rage — not a great look for her, but it got so much worse — talking about how she doesn’t like Cooke and wants to beat her in a final. Later she tells a group that includes Frank and Johnny that she’s disappointed that CT and Wes hadn’t asked who she and Aneesa wanted to go against in the Jungle to which Franks responds with some oddly personal stuff (“When was the last time he kissed you?”). That was a gross move, one that Frank couldn’t have possibly known the answer to, I don’t care how close the quarters you’re living in with other people.

Eventually, Diem does pull CT and Wes aside to talk about things. CT explains that he wants to save Jemmye and Camila because they’ve been watching each others’ backs. He also tells Diem that they can’t carry her team forever, which was a pretty crazy statement. Also, not for nothing, but what’s more important, the good, influential team that’s been watching your back or the weaksauce one that’s been doing the same? I’m not in the camp that thinks CT was using Diem the whole time — I actually think he had an interesting point when he said she’s super controlling, which is one of the reasons she got so upset — but I also don’t think he’s necessarily the right guy for her at this point, much as that pains me to type. I love those two idiots together. Seems like they could make it work if they both shed some bullshit, but maybe that’s not something either of them want right now.

Anyway, the only truly interesting talk at the house was between Paula and Emily and Marlon and Jordan. See, the guys wanted revenge on the women for voting for them twice. Paula and Emily were standing there begging and crying which was kinda gross. You’re strong competitors who won nearly every challenge set in front of you, don’t start bawling. Jemmye actually walked through this scene and said something along those lines which was hilarious. At least she’s good for something still. There’s more arguing, but it’s boring.

The actual voting found CT and Wes sticking to their guns and voting for Emily and Paula. They were followed by Frank and Johnny who voted for Jemmye and Camila. That left Jordan and Marlon with the deciding vote. Marlon even made a great speech about wanting to send a team in so they could prove themselves and then…commercial…and THEN, he said he voted for Jemmye and Camila. What caused the change of heart? Jordan explained to the camera that they respected Emily and Paula for winning something like 80% of the challenges. This seemed like an out-of-nowhere flip that could have gotten more screen time, but…

Diem went bonkers, which required more screen time. After voting there’s this great scene as a camera man is just running through the house towards the kitchen/argument between Camila and Diem. It’s not really about anything aside from Camila saying that Diem’s fake. Then Jemmye gets into it and drops some bombs about CT and whatnot. Diem gets even more pissed and spends most of the rest of the episode wandering around with a goblet of wine looking like a crazed salamander reading to strike. She gets into it with Camila, Jemmye, even Cooke for a bit which seemed odd.

Then, there was one of my favorite moments of the season because it felt really real. Diem’s sitting near the pool (with her goblet) talking to a group of other castmates hanging out in the pool. CT walked by and said something I didn’t quite catch and Diem goes after him. At that moment, all the other cast members looked directly at the camera with worried looks on their faces and pointed in the direction Diem just walked off. If I remember, I’m going to grab a screen cap from the MTV site tomorrow, but it was the kind of thing you don’t see often: true emotion aimed directly at the camera (or rather the producers)/concern for a fellow cast member. Good for them, I guess, but none of them actually got out of the pool, so not GREAT for them. In the actual conversation CT basically says he’s done playing the girlfriend game with Diem, which wasn’t cool.

The episode ended on a not-too-surprising cliffhanger with Aneesa and Diem ready to face off against Jemmye and Camila in Hanging By A Thread, the game where the teams are hanging upside down and have to cut through a huge rope with tiny saws. This will be an interesting one because size and speed don’t really come into play. It’s basically whoever can figure out the best technique and stick to it. Who will it be? I’m thinking Diem and Aneesa. Sure, Diem came off as a bit loony, but she’s also got a bunch of rage to focus right now and, so far, gets a lot pretty well with her teammate. Jemmye and Camila, meanwhile, seem to go back and forth on the ol’ hating each other scale.

The Challenge Rivals II Episodes 8 & 9

AI take more pride in these Challenge write-ups than I probably should. It might sound a bit silly, considering the subject matter, but I try to cover them like I would a sporting event that has more and more drama sprinkled in with each successive season. And yet, sometimes the review just doesn’t jump from my notes to the site, hence the lack of a post last week. So, to make up for that and keep some semblance of continuity here, I’m going to do a much quicker summation of Episode 8 and then get back into the usual detail with tonight’s latest addition to Rivals II. Read on if this is your bag, gang!  Continue reading The Challenge Rivals II Episodes 8 & 9

Casting Internets

shootfirstIf you don’t buy my friend Justin Aclin‘s upcoming Dark Horse comic S.H.O.O.T. First, you suck.

I recently discovered a site called Humans Of New York that I can’t get enough of. A photographer walks around NYC, snapping pictures of people and asking them questions then presenting them on the site. Sounds simple, but that’s why it’s so interesting.

Oh my goodness, you guys, this Screen Junkies Honest Trailer for Batman & Robin is super-great-fantastic. Thanks to The Mary Sue for bringing it to my attention!

As a kid, I read The Giver more than any other book. The adaptation is shaping up to be quite a film. Jeff Bridges is in it and according to Deadline, Meryl Streep’s on board too. I will certainly see this flick.

Not quite sure what to think about the CBGB movie. If it’s got even a fraction of Please Kill Me in it, it should be alright. The Ramones look like gods in the first trailer over on THR, so that’s a step in the right direction.

Variety‘s telling me that there’s going to be a Disney Imagineering documentary. I went on the Behind the Magic tour at Disney World which was fascinating, so this should be even better.ace mccloud centurions custom

Not too long ago, I talked about how much I enjoyed the concept of Centurions and wondered why it never made a comeback. Now there’s a killer custom of Ace McCloud by Hemblecreations as posted on ToyNewsI that looks all kinds of rad. That’s internet synergy, yawl.

Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer is hilarious, you should check it out. I will definitely check out her Judd Apatow-produced film, Deadline reports.

Transworld Business, an action sports website I recently discovered, tells me that Oakley’s doing a 6-part web series featuring skateboarder Bob Burnquist showing off his own personal skatepark. The part where he skates around a helicopter made me super nervous.

Right after the X-Games, Nyjah Huston wrote this fantastic column for THR about the greatness of his sport and its potential for inclusion in the Olympics. I’ll throw my vote in for that idea right now.

Danny Way told ESPN might return to the X-Games, bringing a whole new gigantic ramp thing to the proceedings. Yes, make this happen.

I’ve always been interested in how Alice Cooper balances his normal life with his stage one, something he talked to Esquire about

Web Urbanist posted these amazing pictures of a Texas Walmart that was converted into the largest single floor library in the country.

I picked up The Tom Tom Clubs’ latest record Downtown Rockers this year and have really grown to dig it, so I’m glad to hear they told Rolling Stone they’re likely to get back together and record later this year.

Brilliant physicist Neil deGrasse Tyson talked about science and how it needs to be more prevalent during SDCC. (via Spinoff).

If you’re like me and wondered why the producers on Real World and The Challenge don’t seem to be interfering as much when things get violent, Variety did an interesting write-up on why.sam bosma-lisbon

Finally, go check out the larger version of Sam Bosma‘s Lisbon drawing. It’s wallpaper-worthy, no doubt.

The Challenge: Rivals II Episode 7

This week’s episode of The Challenge: Rivals II is an interesting beast. Sure there was some tacked-on drama in the beginning between Aneesa and Diem, but there was also a pretty hilarious challenge followed by some made-up drama revolving around Frank (huge shocker) and one of the closest, craziest Jungles I’ve ever seen.

Four minutes into the episode, we were already at the challenge which usually means it’s going to be completely insane or there’s going to be some significant fighting later on (especially considering we’re a handful of episodes away from the finale). Instead, the challenge was just funny and worth spending some time on.

Called Blind Leading The Blind, the pairs were shackled together, blindfolded and tasked with going through a bamboo maze. The catch? They had electric dog collar zappers attached to them. Now, you’d think this form of yard-control would be utilized to keep them from leaving the course, but instead they get zapped when they’re going the right way, something some teams seemed to forget in the process of the game. It sounded like each team was going to have the course to themselves at first, but since it was hot one team of each sex went at the same time. Oh, also, they had to finish in 30 minutes.

Ty and Leroy had control of the order after winning the previous challenge, so they went with CT and Wes and Diem and Aneesa to go first. CT and Wes actually did pretty great, with Wes taking control. Diem and Aneesa basically just followed their voices — or cries of pain, really — all the way to the finish line earning them both quality times. It might seem like going first would be a disadvantage, but considering the teams can’t see the course ahead of time and you get to watch everyone else writhe in pain through this course, it actually seemed like a bonus to me.

Cooke and Cara Maria were up next along with Jordan and Marlon. The guys jumped out quickly as Cara Maria begins to lose it. The guys are doing well, but then get tricked up. Both finish, but not quickly. Leroy and Ty went after them alongside Paula and Emily. The ladies do really well, but the guys get turned around and head all the way back to the starting line. Ty eventually took over and got them to the finish.

Frank and Johnny tear through the course and get a really great time while Nany and Jonna huddle together a few feet away from the beginning for the entire 30 minutes. It’s a really hilarious situation because they’re gesticulating wildly about not wanting to get shocked which actually puts their collars closed to the walls, leading to more shocks. Awesome.

Finally, two teams I almost completely forgot about, Preston and Knight and Camila and Jemmye went. Essentially, Camila drags Jemmye — and then Preston and Knight — through the course and across the finish line. For the women it came down to Jemmye and Camila and Aneesa and Diem with the latter team coming away with the win. Oh, hey, THAT’s why they focused on them in the beginning. One of these days I’m going to start seeing the Matrix on these things. Today was not that day.

For the men, the winners were between Johnny and Frank as well as CT and Wes. As it happened, the former team got the W while the last place spot went to Ty and Leroy over Marlon and Jordan. Back at the house the women are talking about voting for Knight and Preston again because they’ve already been voted for. This is still pretty sound logic considering how few teams are still around and how useless those two are in everything but breaking sticks over people.

Johnny talks to a group of the ladies about their plan which he disagrees with. He wants to throw Jordan and Marlon into the Jungle because they want to keep a weaker team like Knight and Preston around to beat/throw in later on. Frank jumps in, reminding them that Jordan and Marlon admitted to breaking their word in the voting last week. Meanwhile, Jordan’s in the other room hearing all of this.

Out in the kitchen, Jordan makes an offhanded comment to Frank asking how the campaign is going. For whatever reason, this sets Frank OFF. He keeps circling around and then yells at Jordan, saying he and Marlon wouldn’t be there if it wasn’t for him (not sure how that works). Frank then says that Jordan’s afraid of him before running away from him and slamming a door in his face. All the while, Jordan just stands there eating pudding.

Cut to the actual voting. Everyone except Jonna and Nany vote from Marlon and Jordan. They threw out Preston and Knight’s names, though I don’t see that coming back to haunt them. After that, there’s more yelling. Jordan keeps talking about getting screwed over by Frank and Frank keeps getting INFURIATED by these wild accusations which are completely founded, by the way. Frank just keeps going after Jordan who, while certainly instigating things, isn’t getting physical whatsoever or being overly rude or mean like Knight would be in a situation like this. He just wants to walk to a different part of the house and Frank just keeps getting in his face. I’m actually surprised it took this long for Frank to snap and show this group his insane-ness.

The Jungle is Last Chance which we first saw in the first episode. This is the one where one player blocks while the other one is on offense, trying to run through and rings a bell on the other side. Best two out of three wins. Leroy and Marlon square off on D with Ty and Jordan running. Marlon played Division One football in college. The first round is really close with both runners getting to the bells at nearly the same time. The video tape shows that Jordan, in fact, got there first.

The second round was much more one-sided with the entire group getting clumped up at one end and Ty popping through, easily hitting the bell. With everything all tied up they line up for the third attempt. This one looks like it’s going to go Ty and Leroy’s way right off the bat, but it gets more complicated. Ty’s right there by the bell, but Marlon’s all over him. At the same time, Jordan’s trying to get around Ty which doesn’t look easy. The episode cut to a commercial showing an ominous bell ringing. What are we to think! As it turns out, Jordan got away from Leroy and took a flying leap through the bell. Bam, they won! Were I a more excitable person, I would have been cheering from my seat, possibly standing.

Before leaving Leroy tells the camera that he loves Ty like a brother now. Good for them. Back at the house Marlon says that they’re gunning for Frank and Johnny now. Getting rid of them actually seems feasible at this point, but not completely easy. Depends on who gets sent home on the women’s side next week for sure. Anyway, Preston tells Jordan that Frank was freaked out when they won. We end the episode with Frank talked to a room full of women explaining that he’s going to start letting his inner beast out. Johnny’s in there and then tells the camera that Frank might be shooting them in the foot with this crazy person talk. Will it matter? I doubt it, there’s a scene they keep showing of Frank and Johnny running with Camelback-type backpacks which HAS to mean they’re in the final. Thanks for keeping the suspense alive MTV!

The Challenge: Rivals II Episode 6

After last week’s hilariously dumb episode of The Challenge: Rivals II, we were treated to one of the least interesting of the bunch so far. You know how some episodes focus on a lot of house tension and how difficult it is for a group of people getting along together in these crazy situations? Well, this one was about how clueless Theresa is about, well, pretty much everything.

She starts the episode off complaining about Diem…to Diem’s partner Aneesa. She then switched gears and said much of the same with her own partner Jasmine. Theresa’s the kind of Challenge contestant who apparently doesn’t understand how the show works. She thinks it’s clever and original to say things like, “No one’s got my back but my partner” and “Everyone here’s out there for themselves.” I understand that you can get caught up in the augmented reality of these shows when you’re filming, but how can you possibly stand letting yourself say such mundane, silly things as if you’re spitting gold from your gaping maw every time you open it?

Oh, Jonna and Jordan are kind of talking or something. You can tell this is semi-important because immediately after showing them hanging out, we jump right to the challenge called Frenemies which is basically The Newlywed Game, but with one teammate suspended 30 feet in the air over water. Half the women are asked to answer questions and are then hung up over the water. The other teammate then has to guess how the suspended player answered the question. After getting two wrong, you fall. The first team to hit the water automatically goes to The Jungle while the last one is safe. You know, the usual.

Since it’s a women’s challenge, they go first. Theresa gets to pick the order and places Diem and Aneesa at the front of the line. We start off with a pretty mundane “What’s Your Best Body Part,” question that stumps a few people. The problem for some of the teams is that, since they’re still rivals, they’re not on the same page with just about anything. As such, it’s not a big shocker when Jemmye gets the first and second questions wrong and Camila falls, dragging them both into the Jungle. Later questions include “Who’s The Biggest Fake Still In The House?” “Who Needs The Most Attention In The House?” and “Who’s Most Likely To Get Arrested For Indecent Exposure?” As it turns out, Emily and Paula are still super-in synch and won for what seems like the millionth time, beating Cara Maria and Cooke by one question.

For the men, the questions are different which made this nearly complete waste of time slightly entertaining. CT lets Wes fall because he doesn’t want to answer “Which Girl Is The Trashiest?” Smart man. Leroy and Ty wind up walking away with the cash and control of the order in the next episode. In theory, this challenge would have created a lot of bad blood, but it didn’t really seem to play out that way. Sure Jemmye was surprised when several people called her fake and said she needs attention, but overall, it’s not like everyone went back to the house shellshocked.

In fact, the game had almost no noticeable impact on the rest of the episode because everything was so focused on Theresa trying to get the guys to vote Diem and Aneesa into the Jungle both because she doesn’t like Diem, but also to deflect votes from herself. I mean, I get it, on some level Theresa knows she’s got no real game or business being on this show and she loves attention, so she spends as much time as she can being loud and causing a ruckus, but it winds up not doing much of anything, even though she thinks she’s got Jordan and Marlon on their side. And yet, I still had to suffer through an episode with this fool talking to me for the majority of the run time.

Let’s cut to the voting. For some reason, Leroy and Ty kick things off by throwing in Diem and Aneesa. They’re followed by CT and Wes who vote for Theresa and Jasmine literally in unison, which was amazing. Johnny and Frank stick to the plan they’ve been going with since the beginning and go for Cooke and Cara Maria. Then, when it’s up to Jordan and Marlon, Jordan does this whole speech and eventually tosses Theresa and Jasmine’s names out. This is hilarious because Theresa is shocked that someone on one of these games could be shady, but as Jordan explains to camera, Diem and Aneesa have had their back since day one, which trumps a silly little alliance talk that went down a few minutes before voting. Smart play, gents!

To avoid any possible anger or wraith, Knight and Preston completely deflect by voting for Nany and Jonna. So there it is, a Jungle of Jemmye and Camila against Theresa and Jasmine. Could this be any more of a “battle of the useless?” This season seems particularly lacking when it comes to female teams who can actually compete.

Anyway, the Jungle is called Catch 22. Both members of the team are running on treadmills and need to throw one of 22 balls to their partner. That catcher not only needs to snag the ball, but drop it in a nearby barrel. If you fall into the water (of course there’s water, mud more accurately) you’re done and the other team can keep going until they either beat the score or fall in the water themselves. Whoever has the most balls in the barrels wins.

At first it seems like Theresa and Jasmine are doing well, but Jasmine proves what we all assume: she’s got very little physical skill and winds up tripping and falling into the muck. This gives Jemmye and Camilia the opportunity to take the advantage which they do. In the second round, Jasmine starts throwing way too many balls, which makes Theresa fall. Once again, the other team surpasses their ball count and walks away victorious.

Again, this is a battle of who could care less. I don’t buy what Ty said to camera about this time offering Paula and Emily a run for their money. There’s just no way. They might be more physically capable than I thought, but they both lose their cool quickly and still seem to hate each other. Then again, there’s probably only going to be two more female eliminations (if my finger-counted math is right) and this game still has teams like Jonna and Nany who, well, are right up there with Theresa and Jasmine.

The Challenge Rivals II Episode 5

Wow, you guys. I’ve watched more seasons of The Challenge than I can count and I’ve never seen one with such wildly stupid voting as this one. Of course, it’s far too early to get into that just yet, so let’s hop right in. The top of the show featured two interesting bits of news. First off, Leroy and Theresa are hooking up. Not a big deal in and of itself, but they do it right over Wes who hooked up with Theresa on Fresh Meat II. Because of this, Wes changes rooms, so Johnny creates a Wes effigy and people write silly things on it like “Low Self Esteem,” a hilarious statement when you think about it. Still, this causes some tension between Wes and Leroy, Leroy thinks Wes needs to be a man and talk things out, but Wes has the best line. “Leroy’s a trash man, he’s used to picking up another man’s garbage.”

Later, Zach talked to his mom and found out that his sister had a baby. Everyone was good and healthy, but he was getting weird and angry. He was also feeling sick which lead to a bit of a tantrum on Zach’s part where he yelled at people and slammed the door on one of the camera man. In a strange move, Knight sidled up to him and instigated him into doing stupid crap like breaking things instead of doing what Frank suggested and going inside to wait for the doctors (who didn’t really find anything wrong with him, by the way).

With the shenanigans over, it was time for the challenge. It was a pretty good one called Frog Smash where one team has to try and run across a beam 30 feet over the water while all the others are in these large swings trying to knock them off. You’ve also got to stay within two swings of your partner during the process.

It was a men’s day, so the ladies go first. Cooke and Cara Maria go up first with the former making it and the latter falling. There’s some kind of alliance between Cooke and Cara Maria, Nany and Jonna and Jasmine and Theresa, so they talk about not swinging on each other. Diem and Aneesa doesn’t know this and also decide to let them run across. So, absolutely no one swings on Jasmine and Theresa so they make it across with a quickness. When Paula and Emily go, Paula falls and Emily winds up running right off the end which doesn’t count as making it. Diem also falls pretty quickly, but Aneesa makes it and holds on. Camila books across followed by Jemmye, but not close enough. Finally, Nany falls off just from looking at someone swinging in her general direction.

For the guys, Trey and Zach are up first. Zach falls up a few steps from the starting line, Zach does better but still falls about two swings from the end. Leroy does an amazing save, slipping at one point, grabbing onto a nearby rope and pulling himself back up…only to fall off the other side. Ty does his own gymnastics moves to get to the end only to run right off at the very end. Marlon and Jordan both make it, but Jordan was way out in front. There’s talk of letting Knight and Preston through. Zach and Trey make a deal with Johnny and Frank to swing on Knight and Preston in an effort to make them have a worse time than Zach and Trey. Preston falls and Knight makes his way across only to fall off at the very end. This is more important because Zach’s pissed at Johnny for not keeping their deal. No one swings on CT and Wes, so they have a nice stroll. At the end it’s Frank and Johnny who only get swung at by a few teams and both make it.

TJ explains after the festivities that  Camila and Jemmye would have won, but Camila went way out ahead of her partner, so the win actually went to Theresa and Jasmine. For the guys, Trey and Zach were the clear losers while Wes and CT had the obvious best time. Once again, I’m a little bummed that the set up of this game means that the winners actually play no role in the rest of the episode. It’s like getting the most excited about the Bronze Metal basketball game at the Olympics instead of the Gold/Silver match.

As far as vote talk goes, Zach tells Frank point blank that he doesn’t trust Johnny and wants him gone. When Frank points out to him that that means he’d go too, Zach tells him that he doesn’t care. Oddly, later when he’s talking to one of the women, Zach says he doesn’t want Knight and Preston thrown in because Knight’s his pal. Huh?

Earlier in the episode, before the challenge, Diem and Wes had a little chat about voting Leroy and Ty into the Jungle. Wes had his reasons while Diem understood that there were basically four teams ahead of hers that they had relationships with.

All of which brings us to the stupidest round of voting I’ve ever seen in the history of The Challenge. Seriously, you guys. This is bonkers. Theresa and Jasmine vote first. Theresa explains to the camera that she’s going to vote for Leroy and Ty. Yes, the chick votes for the dude she’s sleeping with. So then Cooke and Cara Maria are up and they vote for Frank and Johnny because that’s what Zach said he wants. Camila and Jemmye then vote for Marlon and Jordan because they’re rookies (and a safe vote at this point). Nany and Jonna go for Leroy and Ty because they think the next two teams are going to vote differently. They apparently don’t know that Diem already talked to Wes, so she votes for Leroy and Ty, seemingly against Aneesa’s wishes. At this point, it’s over because Leroy and Ty have three votes to every other teams’ one. Emily and Paula vote for Knight and Preston and completely avoid being the bad girls.

Bang. So, because Theresa doesn’t understand the nature of this kind of voting (it’s like dominos many times, one vote leading into another) and because she comes off as a generally foolish person, she winds up helping to send in her bang buddy. Of course, she can’t take responsibility for any of this and starts going around telling others that they screwed up, including Diem. Diem says she stuck to her plan and isn’t there to fix others’ mistakes. True that, Diem. Meanwhile, Wes and CT are practically falling all over themselves laughing at this. I’m with them, it’s hilarious.

The Jungle is called Break On Through. There’s two three-story towers each with a section you can break through using a particular tool. You’ve got to take turns breaking through the barrier, get down to the ground, smash through a door and then ring a bell. Ty and Trey are assigned to go first, but as my wife pointed out, Zach smashes through the first thing and then cuts through a barbed wire barrier before Trey can smash through a glass one. Leroy has a lot of trouble getting through the wire, but they both wind up on the ground floor going at the door at the same time. It looks pretty close, but then, BAMMO, Zach and Trey ring the bell.

In a fit of crazy-person rage, Zach yells things and throws his helmet at the crowd, nearly hitting Jordan in the face. When TJ gets everyone calmed down, he lines the contestants up and says that Zach and Trey clearly got through first, but…commercial. When we come back, he points out what my wife noted about Zach. Essentially he broke the rules and that’s that, they’re actually getting sent home. Zach tells him he’s wrong, but the leave anyway. It still happened, though, we saw it on the tape.

So that’s what happened, gang. It was a wild episode packed with craziness. Leroy hooked up with Theresa again before the end of the episode and already said he forgave everyone, but there’s still got to be some bad blood between them and Diem. Theresa’s still pissed at her for sure, so now she and Aneesa have at least one male team looking to take them out. There’s also going to be some more beef between Wes and Leroy potentially.

There are three things that surprise me about this season. First, the rivals don’t seem to dislike each other very much at this point. Aside from comments made to camera, the actual title of the show doesn’t seem to be coming into play very often. Second, some of the biggest powder kegs on the season haven’t blown up. Wes is generally keeping his cool. CT is too. So is Paula. What’s happening?! Looks like things are set to go up later in the season — I’m particularly interested in what looks like CT jumping in to defend Wes after Johnny pushes him — but at this point, things are relatively tame. Lastly, there is still an obscene amount of fat to cut when it comes to these teams. Guys, Knight and Preston are still there. So are Jonna and Nany. What is happening?!