The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 10 “Czechmate” AND The Reunion

Call me Murtagh because I’m getting too old for this shit. Not the Challenges, I still love them like people love their stories, but this “showing the finale PLUS the reunion” stuff sets my whole evening out of whack. I should be playing video games right now! Anyway, enough complaining. The previous episode ended with Tyler and Derrick, Paula and Emily or Red and Blue respectively waiting to play Pole Me Over a game in which the contestants are tied to a opposite ends of a pole and have to push their opponent into barrels, knocking them over to win. Not once but twice. I was wondering if they’d bring the man and woman in black CT and Tina back out to battle the finalists, but alas, it was not meant to be. I’m still shocked and pretty puzzled as to why they bothered to bring those two on for one single episode, well, they stretched it out to two, but you get the idea. And no, they had nothing to do with the finale. So, Gulag time. Boys are up first. Everyone was talking about how big Tyler is, but I still assumed Derrick would win because, well, I always assume Derrick will win, dude’s TOUGH. But, I was wrong. No sense burying the lede I guess. Tyler started off strong and just kept pushing Derrick down and back. Both times he scored, he got D so far back as to hit the barrels but not knock them over and I half expected a power surge and the little scrapper to pull out a win, but it wasn’t meant to be. Him losing meant that Blue could only have a maximum of two players in the finale and possibly one because Emily was still on the chopping block. Of course, no one really thought Paula was going to beat her did they? She put up a pretty good fight, but Emily kept knocking her back and was close to a legit win when Paula grabbed the chains a second time (a third really if you were watching) and got disqualified. TJ had warned her about that, but it didn’t stop her from doing it again. Them’s the breaks, you gotta follow the rules. As you might expect, Jenn was ecstatic that Emily won because otherwise it would have been her unproven ass all by herself. Actually, after seeing the final challenge, it would have been interesting to see how they would have handled her being by herself. Even with two people they had to make a few alterations. More on that later though.

First a few comments about the players that made it to the end. Luke, Abe, Cara Maria, Sarah and Laurel proved that you don’t have to like or respect your team to make it work and bring in huge amounts of money. I hope Sarah and Laurel learned a lesson about being bitches, but I think only one of them did. As always, Luke played the game to his best ability and with honor, which is impressive. Blue was just Jenn and Emily. I think Emily really kicked ass and earned her spot. I believe she was a rookie this time around though I can’t remember for sure. Jenn on the other hand never went into the Gulag once and seemed to just scare everyone else into not voting for her. When will these young kids learn that they can band together and work against the old meat? Red was interesting because I wanted to see Tyler make it and prove that he’s a great competitor. I think he’s made it further than any other out gay man on one of these challenges. I really don’t mean to throw any accusations around, but gay dudes have a tendency to get thrown in very quickly on these things. Paula didn’t deserve to be there and proved that by losing. Dunbar played the game well by allying himself with the married couple and didn’t have any real freak outs. Long time viewers will remember that he’s had some anger management issues in the past. That leaves Brad and Tori. Tori really talked a lot of shit and basically said she didn’t want to be there, but then flipped the script and stayed around. At least she won her Gulag and proved herself. Brad on the otherhand kind of skated through. I like Brad, but he didn’t impress me much this season and played the game behind a wall of people who were deemed expendable, riding them to the finish line. But hey, I guess that’s how the game is played, right? They still should have chilled out and kept Camilla around. Just saying. Okay, so after the Gulag, we go back to the house where everyone’s hanging out and having a seemingly fun dinner. Jenn and Tyler decide to have superlatives for the remaining cast members. Here’s how they broke down. Abe won something about being the best mutilator. Cara Maria got Most Likely to Die in a Sex Act Gone Wrong (that should get some interesting and confused search results on Google). Emily got Rookie of the Year and Most Patient. Laurel and Sarah got Most Likely To Still Be Hated by Their Team in 20 Years. And Brad and Tori got King and Queen of the Challenge. Blech. Before that, Brad, Abe and Dunbar were talking about the final and Abe said he wants it to be long and grueling. Brad said this will be his last challenge and he wants to win. Both are prophetic. There’s also some nonsense after dinner between Abe, Laurel and Sarah about motivation, but it’s all the same shit we’ve heard a number of times so who cares.

The day of the race, we’re reminded of the stakes. Red and Blue have earned $40K apiece, so no matter what place they come in, they get that money. Gray has $100K. Then there’s the prize for first place which is $120K itself. No additional money is given for second or third place. We’re also told that it’s a 12.7 mile long race with a series of obstacles and smaller challenges thrown in that must be completed before moving on. Before the race, big tough Sarah starts freaking out and getting teary eyed. The missus and I were none too impressed by this and hurled “Oh shut ups” at the screen. Don’t expect sympathy when you hitch your car to the bitch train all season. The finale starts with your basic footrace. At first everyone seems to be going about the same pace. Red gets a bit of a lead, but they have to slow down because Tori can’t handle it. This allows for Blue to move ahead. Gray seems okay with staying in the back of the pack for the time being. Blue gets to the first mini-challenge first. It’s called Seeing Spots and the idea is that one person stands in front of a wall with five circles around the outline of their body and the other person has to shoot paintballs to hit those targets. The other two teams catch up pretty quickly, but no one seems to have great aim and Red actually comes out of it first followed by Blue and finally Gray. The next challenge is called So Tired. Each team has to roll two giant tires. This of course really screws Blue over because the other teams have more players to push those big bastards around. Now’s when the fate of the game is pretty much sealed. Blue falls way behind, leaving Red to get a pretty healthy lead with Gray behind them. Down and Dirty is the next challenge, though it’s more like a Double Dare game. They had to climb a ladder, go through a small square, go down a lubed up slide, land in a big box of what looked like dirt or sand but they said was feathers, crawl under a bar (to get good and trenched) and then let the next person have a turn. This might not have been the most physical of challenges (see what I did there?) but it definitely looked like a pain in the ass. Red gets this done first followed by Gray. This is when things start getting a little weird because Abe isn’t feeling great. After Down, there’s more running to Free Ride, which involves one teammate getting on a stretcher and the others carrying him or her. Red instantly throws Tori on top and they’re off. When Gray gets there, Abe really starts looking woozy. He collapses. After he seems a little better, they throw him on the stretcher and start walking. Meanwhile, Blue finally gets to Down and Dirty. We cut back to Gray team carrying Abe until they have to put him down because he starts vomiting profusely. At one point it looks like he’s completely lost control of himself and is just convulsing while he pukes. It’s not a pretty picture. TJ Lavin, who has been riding his BMX bike between teams giving them words of encouragement, tells him he’s not medically well enough to compete and tells Gray to carry on. But that’s not the end of Gray’s medical problems as Sarah starts losing it. First it looks like she’s just tired, but then SHE starts throwing up all over the place. I’m wondering if something was in those victory dinners they enjoyed the last few episodes. She got pulled too, so now Gray just had three players. I wonder how Laurel feels about talking such shit about CM and Luke while her partner in crime gets bounced. By the way, they had to convince her to call for medical help, saying that the longer she waits, the worse it will be for them in the race. CM brings up the good point that Sarah was super impatient with pretty much everyone the entire time and now she expected patience from her teammates while she was actively losing them money. The next challenge was called Hard Wood and involved transporting a pile of firewood to another spot up a hill. This didn’t seem to slow Red down much, but we are made to believe that Gray isn’t far behind. They take care of the challenge too and move on. Blue’s a non factor at this point. Just when you think Red’s got things pretty well wrapped up, there’s a pretty damn complicated challenge called Sign Language. There’s one of those signs with arrows pointing north, south, east and west with the names of different countries or cities on them. The team has to memorize the placement and orientation of the signs and recreate it. But, it’s not just that. They then have to run, go under barbed wire, swim through a lake and then put it back together the right way however far away that is. Plus, there’s another catch: there’s one more piece in the pile and it’s only one letter different than the correct place name. The team can put the puzzle together and let it be judged, but if they’re wrong, they have to go all the way back and do it again. Red seems very unsure of themselves and we’re lead to believe that Gray’s hot on their backs. As it turns out, though, Tyler took Russian, the extra sign is in said language and he’s able to figure it out. They continue on with the race.Gray has the same problem, but also come away with the correct answer and continue on, but at this point, it’s game over man. And that it is. Red wins. Brad talks about his Challenge montage in his head and then we’re shown that exact thing. Tyler says he’s going to pay off his student loans. Yadda yadda yadda. Meanwhile, Blue and Gray meet up on the course and Jenn can’t believe that two Grays got sent home. She calls Laurel out on doubting CM, which was kind of awesome. And there you have it.

It was hard really rooting for any one team in this thing because each one had contestants I didn’t care about. Laurel and Sarah were such asshats, that I didn’t want to root for them, but with Abe, Cara Maria and Luke they helped balance things out. I disliked Blue from the get go because of Johnny, but they really played the game well. Then you’ve got Red who was a chaotic mess with weird energy because of Paula and Dunbar, Brad and Tori. In the end, the obvious team won and I hope Laurel and Sarah feel stupid for thinking that fewer people in the final would help them. I was a little surprised that, according to the math shown on screen, Abe and Sarah got an equal cut of the money that the people who actually competed the whole time did. I guess once you started you were guaranteed a certain amount. Eh, overall, I really liked the set up of this Challenge and hope to see more like it instead of something like Nice Guys vs. Bad Guys or whatever bullshit that was a few seasons back.

Which of course brings us to the amazingly awkward reunion episode. Highlights include Laurel still being mad about having to share money with CM and Luke, Brad confronting Johnny about calling his wife a bitch in an interview, host Maria Menudos actually yelling at Tyler and Big Easy confronting Laurel about not trying to get ahold of him to apologize for being a completely gross drunk jerk to him. In attendance are Luke, Sarah, Brad, Tori, Paula, Tyler, Dunbar, Derrick, Emily, Laurel, Abe, Cara Maria, Johnny and Jenn. Like assholes they do a freaking recap of the finale we just saw before we get into Paula/Tori drama and then Laurel saying she’ll never do another challenge unless she can go to the finale with her friends which is a stupid argument because you can’t control that kind of nonsense. I hoped she would have learned how much of a bitch she is from watching herself, but that doesn’t seem like the case for the most part.

Here’s some highlights. Sarah apparently apologized to Cara Maria and they’re cool now. Derrick thinks that Tyler and Johnny should have faced each other in the Gulag. Tyler revealed that he actually went up against CT for 40 minutes in that Gulag before quitting because he knew he had won at that point and had another challenge the next day. Johnny calls Laurel out for questioning Abe’s game because she’s still a rook. Paula sucks and she knows it. She also seems drunk. Speaking of that hot mess, Dunbar said Paula acted really freaking weird to him after the letter was written. Johnny actually wasn’t too sneaky or back stabby this time around, he just knows how to play the game. I still don’t like him though. For some reason Abe started the episode wearing a polar bear hat and shirt along with a super ugly blanket with a huge star over his crotch. Abe and CM are still together though not Facebook official. I wonder, and Maria questions as well, whether Laurel had a thing for Abe going into this (like she wanted to become a power couple) and she didn’t like CM because he had a thing with and for her. Camila apparently had a habit of getting drunk, mouthing off to her team and then going to talk to Johnny which is where all those rumors of them having an alliance came from.

The most time seemed to be spent on showing Laurel the footage of her being a complete and total bitch to Eric aka Easy. Laurel claims that she apologized to him on the stairs the next day, but he didn’t respond and that she talked to Katie as Eric’s friend. As you might expect, they bring Easy out and he’s pissed because Laurel apparently went on MTV.com to apologize, but didn’t actually contact him. He thinks she was doing everything for the cameras. Laurel says she called Katie to get Easy’s number and that she never got back to her, which Easy says is a flat out lie. For whatever reason, Tyler jumps in to say they need to move on and not rehash the past which brought Maria’s claws out. She yelled at Tyler, asking him to be quiet, let them talk and said that the whole point of a reunion show is (duh) to rehash the past. It’s the first and probably only time she’s seemed like a human instead of the pretty question asking robot I’ve seen her be on reunions past. They get back to it, Laurel apologizes to Easy and he accepts it, but he won’t shake her hand. Laurel says this whole thing because she feels like it was all very gross and vile and wasn’t proud of herself. At least she has a soul, but was it all for the cameras? Who knows.

The reunion ends with a nice message from TJ Lavin. He looks pretty rough, but he’s home from the hospital, surrounded by his family and friends and seems to be on the road to recovery. Good for him. I know I’ve questioned why he’s there, but it sounds like the contestants hold him in pretty high regard. It also seems, according to a montage, that he’s a lot cooler than they show on screen. By the way, I’m finishing the first draft of this at 1:21AM and watching The Miz on Jimmy Fallon talk about being in some Nintendo championship in Cleveland back in the day. I want to see him come back and have an “Everyone vs. the Miz” season of Challenge. Make it happen MTV!

The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 9 “Always A Bridesmaid…”

Man, the penultimate episode of Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Cutthroat really got me worked up. I’d like to say I laughed and I cried, but really I just got nervous and angry. As you may or may not remember, the last episode ended on a cliffhanger. After revealing that instead of facing each other, the Gulagers would actually have to face off against black-clad vets CT and Tina. We saw Theresa actually drag Tina to her barrel in a little under 14 minutes and win and ended with CT and Johnny tied back to back with Johnny looking terrified and CT looking hungry. This episode picks up right there and boy was it a doozy. Once the horn blew, CT struggled for about a second and unlike everyone else we’ve seen play this game actually stood up and carried Johnny like a back pack across over to the barrel. But CT didn’t just knock the barrel over, he spun and fell, letting Johnny hit the barrel and cushion our winner’s fall. It. Was. Epic. And I’m not the only one who thinks that. The interview reactions and real life ones after the Gulag were over were priceless as everyone talked about how crazy of a moment that was. Did I mention that whole thing took 19 seconds?That left Tori to go up against Tina. Remember that Tori was basically talking about throwing the Gulag in the last episode and looked like she was about to poop herself when she heard she had to go up against Tina. Even with that in mind, Tori ALSO beat Tina, dragging her across the mud and knocking her barrel over, but in less time than it took Theresa so Tori came out with the unexpected victory. I wasn’t too happy with this outcome because Tori was practically quitting earlier that day and now came back with a win. She’s also super annoying and Brad has been a punk because of her all season (more on that in a bit). Also, I was hoping Tina would be a little more of a threat and clearly she wasn’t worth the wait. Meanwhile, Tyler had it pretty easy because he only had to outlast Johnny’s paltry 19 seconds, which he did. It even looked like he might have been able to put up a better fight, but they called the game once he surpassed Johnny. Fun fact courtesy of Tyler: Johnny has never won a Challenge that they’ve both been on. Very interesting. Also note that Blue now only has three people: Derrick, Emily and Jenn. Like I said, back at the house the initial talk (that we’re privy to) is all about how handily CT beat Johnny. All that’s put to a stop when Sarah busts in with a text about the next challenge which is, itself interrupted by Abe and Cara Maria jumping out to scare everyone dressed in face paint. Anyway, after the usual vague hint we get into the real conspiratorial shit. We start off with the three remaining Blue players talking about making a deal with Laurel and Sarah because Jenn knows they have a mad on for Cara Maria. Their idea is to team up with Gray to beat Red (who has five players: Brad, Tori, Paula, Dunbar and Tyler) and then arrange to have Blue win so Laurel and Sarah can scheme to throw CM into the Gulag. Blue’s looking for safety from the Gulag which is smart, but this really doesn’t help Gray unless you’re crazy and spiteful, which, luckily for Blue Sarah and Laurel are. Blue brings Sarah into their room and lays it down for them, she seems to be down with it and then tells Laurel who likes the idea. I’m sorry, I can’t help but say, once again, how stupid and vindictive of an idea this is. Not only does throwing a challenge lose you $20,000, but it also brings down the number of players on your team for the final, which is a complete mystery to everyone. They seem to be thinking that fewer people to get across the finish line will help them, but also that it will allow them a larger chunk of the winnings. But, here’s another way to think about it, not only are you throwing the 20K from the challenge away, but you might also be sacrificing your place in final. You’ll feel pretty damn stupid if you come in third in the finale with fewer good people on your team. I also mentioned earlier that this scheming will be seen by current and future Challengers which will paint these dimwits in a very poor light. You’re also sowing seeds of dissension and hatred WITHIN YOUR TEAM, THE PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSED TO HELP YOU MAKE MONEY. And my final piece of outrage revolves around the fact that they’re assuming the final Gulag will follow the rules set up previously in the season, but that is almost never the case. Remember, this is the show that started off by making the last people to win a footrace the team captains who got to chose the teams. Anything can happen. Okay, I’m good for now, but I reserve the right to come back to this topic. All of which brings us to the actual challenge which is called Riot Act. You’ve basically got contestants wielding riot shields trying to knock opposite team members off of a raised square of dirt into a mud moat with women going against woman and men against men. Whichever team has the last remaining player on the dirt wins. If one team wins the men and another wins for the women, the two strongest people from each of the winning teams is chosen and have to go one on one to see who takes home the victory. The women are up first and it wasn’t particularly exciting. As it turned out this was the perfect challenge for Blue and Gray to work together against Red and that’s exactly what happened. Jenn and Emily from Blue and Laurel and Sarah from Gray immediately targeted Paula and Tori which resulted in Tori getting a bloody nose and FREAKING OUT (as did Brad, but I can relate, I’d be freaked out if something like that happened to the missus on our next reality show competition). Anyway, that just left Paula from Red and these geniuses decided the best way to get her was to attack from all sides which essentially squishes her, but doesn’t get her anywhere closer to the edge. Finally she gets knocked off leaving just Blue and Gray which immediately reveals that Laurel isn’t trying because she’s literally just standing there and watching. Abe starts yelling from the side that if she doesn’t start performing, she’s going in. I can’t quite see what Sarah’s doing at this moment, but she soon gets knocked off which leaves enemies Cara Maria and Laurel against Emily who’s actually a threat and free ride-enjoying Jenn. The missus said she could see Laurel’s insanely competitive nature warring with her insane hatred of CM and Abe. Competition won out and soon, CM and Laurel knocked first Emily and finally Jenn off the mound. The odd thing is that this breaking of the pitiful alliance is never mentioned again on the episode by Blue. The men were a different story because Red had the same number of players as Gray and Blue put together. Surprisingly Abe got knocked off first. The problem was that every time a non-Red got a Red close to the edge, another Red would swoop in and knock the non-Red off the mound. Surprisingly smart on their part. Luke was next off which left Derrick against Dunbar, Brad and Tyler. Man, D got pretty beat up (looked like he went through a dull woodchipper when we saw him later) and of course he lost, but he took Tyler with him which is pretty rad. Since Red won for men and Gray won for women, they had to choose their champions which wound up being Abe (who volunteered) and Brad who, frankly, hasn’t done anything this season. It was a hard fought battle, but at the end Abe basically just backed Brad up to the edge and then took his legs out before doing a flip into the mud himself. On the bus ride back to the house, Abe asks Laurel and Sarah if they tried to throw and Sarah will not answer. I’m not sure why Sarah has gotten so mouthy recently, though I’m guessing it’s because she slacked her way to the final, keeping Laurel as the figurehead of bitchiness on their team and not really having to do anything. At the victory dinner, Luke says very much the same thing to Sarah, which I thought was awesome. Anyway, on the bus, Laurel fires back at Abe that this might not be the best time to make her mad. Seriously? Isn’t that what you’ve been doing to the majority of your team? It’s been pretty obvious to everyone that Luke’s on Abe and CM’s side dummy. The Gray victory dinner is very tense and eventually leads to words between CM and Laurel at the table and again later by themselves. Laurel tells CM she doesn’t think she deserves to be there and that makes her nervous, also saying that she helped make CM money on the previous challenge. Remember, she was teamed with Abe on that challenge and was also planning to throw it. This is going to be a very interesting reunion episode. Anyway, nothing is resolved and the end result is that Laurel and Sarah are not making things nice for their team before the opportunity to make huge piles of money together. Meanwhile, Red and Blue don’t get a chance to deliberate and have to go right into voting. I need to rewind a bit actually. On the bus ride back, Paula saw Dunbar being chummy with Brad and Tori which set a warning flare off in her tiny, easily fooled brain. Apparently she thought she was going to be safe all the way through to the final, especially after Tori revealed that she didn’t really know if she wanted to be there. She confronts her teammates about this on the bus, but of course is an emotional mess and just comes off as crazy. So, when it comes to voting, things get all over the place for that team with everyone getting votes. For Blue, it’s obvious that Derrick, the last Blue man (hehe) will be going in so the real question is who will be the female? Turns out it’s Emily who has already gone into the Gulag and won while Jenn has done jack shit this whole time. She even volunteered herself. Ugh. Stupid rook. Over on Red, Tyler gets sent in again and so does Paula. Neither of these were very surprising as a viewer, but Paula is outraged because Dunbar wrote her a note saying that he’d had her back all the way through. She even says she thought she’d have a ride all the way in. Seriously? You’re on a team with a married couple one of which is your fellow surviving female. Do you not understand that two people coming home each with their own piece of the pie puts two pieces of pie into their shared bank account instead of one? Duh. After the voting we get bitch and moan time, but only from Red and Gray. Blue seems cool with their choices in life (maybe it’s because Emily thought she’d have a better chance of beating either of the Red women or Tina and would then return to her team while Jenn might not be able to do the same). On Red Paula continues to freak out on Dunbar, going so far as to actually post the note he wrote her on the refrigerator for all to read (which Derrick does) while Brad talks a good game upstairs to Dunbar and Tori about how she should have known this was a business trip. I feel bad for Paula getting screwed over again especially by yet another person she thought of as a friend (Dunbar claims he wrote the letter because she was being annoying which I doubt), but this girl is really stupid and needs to learn her lesson on one of these things. There’s also a moment of tension between Tyler and Brad where Tyler explains that he voted for Brad because Brad had yet to go in, but Brad gives Tyler shit for not volunteering to go up against Abe in the challenge. Really, Brad has played this whole game like a punk hiding behind his wife’s legs. He blamed her for him not throwing himself into the Gulag earlier, but I’m wondering if the whole Tori/Brad dynamic has been played up for the cameras. Tyler says that he’s not afraid to go into the Gulag like Brad is, which was pretty awesome and then tells the camera that he’s playing the game like a man and that his teammates are boys. Can’t disagree with that as neither Brad hasn’t really proven himself and Dunbar proved himself to be shady. Shouldn’t be surprising considering he was kind of a psycho on his RW season. There’s a few more tidbits from before the Gulag. Paula tells Emily that she should take it easy on her in the Gulag because Emily has more Challenges in her than Paula does. You’re not just whistling “Dixie” there, sister. But, like Emily says, it’s really just pathetic. We also get another moment of Laurel and Sarah bitching to each other when Abe walks in. Abe tells us in an interview that he’s actually happy having people on his team who think that other members don’t deserve to be there because he thinks it will make them compete harder. He throws in some jabs about making sure that CM doesn’t beat either of the schemers and also says he wouldn’t be surprised if he has to carry Sarah across the finish line. As if he wrote the scene himself, Abe walks away with the girls even more fired up. Well played. All of which brings us to a glimpse of what the final Gulag will be which is called Pole Me Over and sent Ty home on a stretcher. Fade to black.

I’m left with many questions, but also a few peeks at the finale. I’m pretty sure that part of the final challenge involves the teammates having to carry each other on medical-looking stretchers, but it also looks like a Gray female players gets rolled off on a stretcher with the medical guy we saw looking at Tori in this episode in the shot. I’m wondering if it’s Sarah because we also see her vomiting in the clip (thanks MTV). How beautifully karmic would it be if Sarah lost her team the final because she turned out to be an untested punk? Alas, that’s not the only question I’m left with, There’s more! Was Tori faking last episode with worrying about the finale? If so she certainly duped me. Lulling Paula into a false sense of security could have been a genius move, but I just don’t know if Tori’s that good of an actress. That would also take a lot of forethought on Brad and Tori’s part because there’s whole scenes of them worrying about whether she’ll compete in the Gulag or not and then she turned out to kill it. I’m also wondering if CT and Tina will return for the final Gulag. I freaking hope so. If the producers really teased them all season just for one episode, that’s pretty damn cheap. I’d also be completely down with them showing up in the final. Aside from that I’m just curious to see how these final teams work together. As the missus pointed out, Blue could end up being just Jenn which would make things interesting, especially because she hasn’t done much all season. While I’m sad to see the end of the one show I’ve been looking forward to all season, I’m also really excited to see what happens. I can’t believe this thing has only been 9 episodes so far!

The Challenge: Cutthroat Episode 8 “Back With A Vengeance”

I would have bet cold hard cash after seeing the previous episode of (deep breath) The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Cutthroat which ran not last week but the previous week, that this week’s was going to end with a To Be Continued. Not only are they low on players, starting with five on each team this episode, which significantly lowers the amount of drama (in theory, but we’ll get to that soon enough), but also they teased that this episode would finally see the reveal of CT and Tina as characters dressed in black. Well, unfortunately, I was right about the TBC, but way off on the drama which took up more of the episode than either the challenge or the portion of the Gulag we saw and was, frankly both more interesting and annoying. Let’s deal with the drama first.

The episode really focused on Gray’s Laurel and Sarah and their utter stupidity and vindictiveness. If you haven’t been paying much attention or, like me, had trouble remembering some of the details thanks to there not being a new episode last week, Laurel thinks that her teammate Cara Maria is worthless even though they’ve been performing at about the same level. Laurel thinks that CM is worthless and is only still around because she has a thing going with Abe. As Abe has stated several times and says once again in this episode to his teammates Cara Maria and Luke, he knowsLaurel’s a good competitor, but he just hasn’t seen her live up to the hype. Sarah has glommed onto Laurel. I think this is because she’s still in love with Kenny and Laurel was Kenny’s partner on the previous Challenge, plus Laurel thinks she’s playing the game like Kenny, but instead she’s being a bitch to everyone, nice to one person who holds no sway and is not performing up to her potential. Oh, she also has a tendency to be a real bitch and just go off and people who have done and said nothing to her. She’s kind of a female Ty. Okay, enough catching up. Last episode, Laurel got voted into the Gulag by her team and she won, knocking out Red’s Camilla who got sent in and won a number of times before that and was, without a doubt their strongest remaining female. Instead of seeing her win as a way of proving herself to her team, Laurel’s now fueled by anger and revenge instead of the real reason they’re all there: TO WIN MONEY. Over and over Laurel says she doesn’t want to share money with Cara Maria and has basically become obsessed with it. Sarah has jumped on this bandwagon because, aside from the reasons I mentioned above, she also doesn’t want to get sent home. With Laurel hating CM and the rest of her team disliking Laurel for being loud and awful, that leaves her in the clear, especially with only one challenge left after this one before the finale. So, these two tactical geniuses decide they’re going to throw the challenge, thinking, somehow that they will be able to throw it but still outperform Cara Maria. If that makes sense to any logical person, I’d love you to explain it to me. I’m also not sure where they think the magical third vote for CM would come from. She’s certainly not going to vote for herself, neither is Abe. They think they can sway Luke, but he and Cara Maria are pretty tight. The girls also go on about not wanting to share money with their nemesis, but the teams win $20,000 every challenge they win and throwing a challenge would take that much out of their bank account. Abe walks into the room while they’re scheming (yes, they were having this conversation while sharing a blanky on a couch in the main room of the house). He says he’s keeping an eye on them. The other bit of drama comes from Red and revolves around Tori and Brad. Do note that Tori has mostly coasted through this season, not really performing well and not having her name voted much because she’s Brad’s wife. Also, some-friggin-how, Paula is still around. Man, they’re so lucky they had Camilla around to throw in for so long. Brad reveals this episode that he actually wanted to go into the Gulag earlier on in the season, but Tori told him not to. Brad’s playing the game super careful basically because he wants to keep things okay with his wife after the game is over because marriage generally lasts longer than a Challenge, just ask Melinda (ouch, low blow). There’s lots of awkward bickering between them but it gets far more interesting and infuriating after the challenge. Oh, real quick, the night before the challenge, Derrick had a dream that Tyler sent him home in the Gulag. That will be interesting later on, though not for the obvious reason. The challenge was called High Ball and it’s somewhat hard to describe. Luckily there’s pictures. See, two people have to hold that metal contraption which is, as TJ Lavin mentioned, shaped kind of like a martini glass, while a third has to throw a ball on the flat top part. Once the ball is on the top part, the two players have to walk the contraption up the hill without dropping the ball and then sink the ball in a large basket. Before the challenge began, both Laurel and Sarah talked about throwing it. Abe didn’t say anything about being on to them, but he immediately paired himself with Laurel as carriers. So, after all that big talk about throwing the challenge, once she’s in the moment, Laurel says she’s too much of a competitor, can’t throw it and wants to win. The game kicks off and all the teams have a hard time just getting the ball on the top part, forget about taking steps. Then, some of the pairs started getting into a groove, but none moreso than Laurel and Abe who scored the first basket. Derrick and Johnny got one themselves, so it seemed like there might actually be some competition. Not so. Gray kept racking up points. Meanwhile, Johnny and Derrick, had a a good method, but kept rushing and dropping balls. Red wasn’t an issue whatsoever, they might as well not have even shown up. Gray wound up getting four baskets just before the 90 minute timeframe was up. So, big time celebration right? Well, kind of. Abe was super happy, but Laurel yelled at him for throwing her into the Gulag with Sarah chiming in too like a bully’s crony. Good sportsmanship. She acted the same way at the victory dinner and wouldn’t even speak to Abe. The end of this story for this episode is that Laurel’s still all butt-hurt and brings up the idea of throwing the next (last) challenge to Sarah who seems enthusiastic about the idea. Hey, ladies, there’s no way Luke is going to vote for his GOOD FRIEND Cara Maria. These broads make my head hurt with their stupidity and they’re really just making things worse and worse for themselves when it comes to future Challenges. Who’s every going to trust them again? Get ready to get thrown in every time until you lose. Also, Gray has twice as much money in their accounts as the other teams, so don’t worry about the money, worry about winning. Enough of them, let’s get back to the losers. In a surprise move both teams had people offering themselves up to the Gulag for both men and women. For Blue it’s Johnny (I was shocked) and Theresa (probably would have been voted in anyway). Over on Red Tyler threw himself in, later explaining to Abe that his team is so afraid of everything and that he wants to show them they don’t have to be such pansies (my word, not his). Almost as shocking as Johnny’s self offering was Tori’s. Brad confirmed with her that she in fact wanted him to vote for her and she said yes. So those wound up being the people voted in, unanimous on all counts. This is when things get frustrating on Red because Tori basically tells Brad she’s not a good runner, has no stamina and doesn’t want him to lose because of her which means she wants to quit like a punkass. The worst part is that, at least as far as we’re shown, she never tells Brad what she’s going to do. Actually, that’s not the worst part, that would be the fact that she could have lied down and died in an earlier episode to save a better player like Camilla, this making her team more viable and helping to ensure that her husband would make more money in the finale. I get that she wanted to stick around to be a voice of positivity for Brad, but this reeks of poor game playing. She clearly just wanted a free vacation with her hubby where she could travel, stay protected, have some fun and not do any work.

Okay, so a few funny bits before we get to the craziness of the Gulag. Remember me mentioning Derrick’s dream? Well, as it turns out, it’s not Derrick vs. Tyler, but Johnny vs. Tyler. I’m hoping it’s prophetic because I don’t like seeing Johnny win. Another humorous note is that after the voting, Johnny says there’s bad blood between him and Tyler because Tyler sent Johnny home in an end-of-episode challenge once and Johnny schemed to get Tyler sent home on another. Soon after Tyler’s talking to someone and says that everyone in the house hates Johnny, but he’s got no problem with him.

Chuckles aside, let’s get down to brass tacks. Our heroes and villains file into the Gulag, with the competitors in their battle garb. TJ Lavin announces that the game is Back Up Off Me, which we haven’t seen since the second episode. By the way, it’s so lame that they’re reusing Gulag challenges. Anyway, this one involves being tied back to back to each another, dragging the other person across a bunch of dirt and knocking over a barrel. Whoever does so wins. Pretty simple, really. But then TJ throws in the twist, saying that the challenge will still be the same, but they won’t be facing one another. That’s when two shadowy figures come out of the darkness like slashers and reveal themselves to be CT and Tina, two characters we’ve been waiting to see since the first friggin promos for this show were released. Cut to commercial. Back from the break (well played MTV) TJ reveals that the contestants will be facing off against these guys and that whoever does the best (either winning or lasting the longest) will go back to their team. TJ straight-up says that he thinks these two could take out all four challengers. Tori completely agrees as we can all see by the terrified look on her face. Seriously it looked like someone killed her puppy right in front of her and she just didn’t know how to respond. I wish MTV would have posted a picture of that instead of three freaking team shots (two of which I used for filler). Anyway, TJ flipped a coin with Red and Blue on both sides, whoever won got to choose whether they’d go first or not. The ladies had first call, Tori won the toss and had to look to Brad for her answer which was clearly: let Theresa go first. This girl has no business within four countries of a Challenge. Tyler won the toss for the guys and immediately voted for Johnny to go first, telling the camera that he didn’t have any strategy, but just wanted to delay a potentially brutal beating. I picture CT carrying him around like Chewbacca carried the dismantled C-3PO around Cloud City. We get a little bit of info from CT and Tina before the match. Tina just says that she’s not there for money or prizes, but for pride which I don’t entirely believe. CT says, and I quote, “I don’t even know what’s going on, they just let me out of my cage and I haven’t eaten yet.”

Of course, I was keeping my eye on the clock as this information was slowly given to us and just knew that the three most dreaded words in television were going to “grace” my screen, it was really just a matter of time. I thought they might end before the first Gulag challenge started, which was between Theresa and Tina. The missus and I both expected Tina to just carry Theresa over to her barrel, but that was not in the cards. It was a down and dirty fight with Theresa dragging Tina across the mud and kicking over her barrel, getting the victory. I didn’t catch how much time she did it in, but if Tori even competes, which I doubt, I don’t think she stands a chance. I give Theresa a lot of credit for not pooping her pants at the site of Tina like Tori did, though I’m guessing it’s because she had no idea who the elderstateswoman was. Then it was up to the first round of guys. We get a shot of Johnny and CT sitting back to back and then, bam, the words. To Be Continued. .

It’s hard to throw too much more commentary in here without knowing how this Gulag ends and without knowing how much of a role Tina and CT will play in the the last challenge and then the finale. I can’t imagine the producers would bring them in for just one episode. At one point, the missus hypothesized that the black clad newbies might actually take the places of whoever they defeated. That would have been rad, but it doesn’t look like that will be the case. I do hope they will be able to somehow compete in the finale and take some money from a few of these scrubs. We shall see. All I really care about is CT sending Johnny home. I will say that there’s no other show that I look forward to more than Cutthroat and I haven’t been this sucked in by a cliffhanger since Lost went off the air, so good on them and I probably need some help.

 

 

The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 7 “Hell Hath No Fury”

I gotta say, there were a few things this episode that surprised me, which was nice after last week’s kind of lackluster episode. Plus it was a generally tense episode even though it kicked off with a fun surprise party for Dunbar who celebrated his 26th while in Prague. After the party, folks are hanging out in the hot tub, Cara Maria gets in with a tank top on and underwear. Laurel–of course–gives her shit for it and then literally rips CM’s shirt off. Then some of the other cast members start a pillow fight. The fun continued inside where someone offered Laurel $100 to give Dunbar a naked hug, which she did. Then, somehow, Paula and her started wrestling and Laurel ripped HER shirt off. Everyone just kind of stared dumbfounded as two topless women wrestled for no apparent reason.

Of course, none of this has anything to do with the actual challenge, which was called Gimme A Hand. The contestants were attached to their partners at the hip and ankle side by side and then had to work their way across a tightrope assisted by several other ropes hanging down above them. The team to get the most people across in the shortest amount of time, wins. Gray set the order up as Blue, Red and then themselves. Since Blue had an odd number of people one person had to go twice.

In a surprising move (to me at least) Johnny offered to go twice. He and Theresa were first across and they took around 17 minutes because Johnny had to really keep her focused, but he did and they didn’t fall, so that was good for them. Jenn and Emily go next and then Johnny went again with Derrick. They had some near falls, but each successive team made better time than the previous, so they did well.

Red had Tyler and Camila go first, both of them were pretty wooden up there, but they made it across in under 7 minutes. Paula and Dunbar went next. As you might remember, Paula hates heights, so Dunbar has to calm her down and tries dragging her across the rope. Paula’s shaking like crazy which throws Dunbar’s balance off. It looks like he might be able to salvage it, but Paula yanks him right off the rope. Since Blue got everyone across, Tori says there’s no point in her and Brad going across. Her thinking is that, if they fall, it will give the team ammo to throw them into the Gulag. Brad said he’d do it, but didn’t because Tori didn’t want to. I can see where Tori’s coming from because there’s no actual point to doing it, but I can also see how it would look bad to the rest of the team.

Gray didn’t do a whole lot better and looked a lot sloppier doing it. Abe and CM went across with Abe trying to muscle his way through the challenge. Luckily for him, CM calmed down (she also hates heights) and basically acted as an anchor who literally kept Abe from falling off the rope. Of course, Laurel and some of the others were complaining that Abe did all the work and dragged her across. I think that was just cattiness because CM did a good job. Laurel and Sarah went next and this time Sarah basically dragged Laurel across, but they seemed to keep each other calm. Then it came down to Dan and Luke. As someone pointed out on the show, this wasn’t a great match-up because Dan hates height (what’s with these people?) and Luke doesn’t have much reach. They got about halfway through the course, then Dan seemed to stop moving which prevented Luke from grabbing the next rope. Dan kind of spaced out and dragged Luke right off the ropes and they just hung there awkwardly.

So, with Blue getting the W, they went back to eat their awesome dinner while the other teams talked about who to send in. While Camila was in the room, Tyler said he didn’t think she should go in because she did well, but Brad and Tori said they didn’t trust her and wanted her to go in. Camila just fumed. I really wish she would have called Tori and Brad out for not doing anything. There’s only two of them and if they continue to think with their hearts and not their heads, that could cast suspicion on them from other teammates. Wouldn’t take much to get them tossed in at that point. Gray also sat around talking. Dan said he’s go in, so it really came down to the girls. Laurel is absolutely flabbergasted that her name is even on anyone’s lips because she thinks of herself as this superwoman. I see her as an upstart rookie who doesn’t know her place and doesn’t seem capable of seeing Cara Maria’s value OR the value in keeping Abe happy. After voting time, TJ tells us that everyone got votes on Red except for, wait for it, PAULA. Seriously? PAULA, the weakest person on any team? Stop infighting and start cutting the fat, there’s only one more challenge before the finale. Anyway, the real shocker here was that Dunbar got voted in as did, no surprise here, Camilla. For Gray, Dan got all the votes for the guys and the ladies came down to CM and Laurel and, much to my utter delight, Laurel actually got voted in!

Post voting, Camila is understandably outraged, which is when Johnny finally decides to make the shady move we’ve all been waiting for him to make. He told Camila that she should go into the Gulag, win, come back and then throw the following challenge. Derrick happens to walk into the room and also tries to encourage her. Meanwhile, Dunbar’s talking to Brad and Paula and confused about how he got thrown in. Paula says she thought the votes would be split, which means she couldn’t bring herself to vote for her pal Tyler. Oh, and of course, Laurel’s still complaining about being sent in and not CM as if she’s God’s gift to challenges. Not the case. Do note that even though Sarah agrees with Laurel after the voting, she didn’t say a word (that we saw) when they were deliberating.

The Gulag was Die Hard, which didn’t seem very exciting at first because we’ve seen it before, but turned out to be kind of a nail-biter. Plus, the thing about Die Hard (which has the contestants on top of giant dice that they have to, for lack of a better word, roll the giant cube into a box and get the correct number facing upwards. The fellas went up first, with Dunbar getting off to a much better start than Dan. It gets a little closer towards the end, but Dunbar kind of handily defeats Dan. I liked Dan a lot so it was a bummer to see him leave. The ladies’ race was actually much closer with it literally coming down to the final roll of the dice and Laurel just barely sneaking away with the victory and going back to her team all pissed off.

At this point the teams are all even with five players each, but as Johnny mentioned to his team, Blue is the only one without any kind of turmoil. Laurel seems to be making being on Gray team a nightmare and, with everyone but Paula getting votes this time around, I’m sure Red are all watching their backs. I believe there’s only one challenge left before the finale and next week there won’t be a new episode because it’s Thanksgiving Eve. According to the next episode ad, it looks like CT and Tina will finally be showing up next week which brings a few things to mind. They might have a guy and girl from each team go into the Gulag next time with these two new players taking on the odd team. Or they might have CT and Tina competing against the other teams either in the challenge, Gulag or finale. It’ll be interesting to see how things play out next episode. Seems to me like Red is dead in the water and it will really be between Blue and Gray to take home all the money. I mean, Red routinely threw in quality players and let dead weight like Tori and Paula stick around without proving themselves in any way whatsoever.

Holy crap, I just had an even crazier thought, what if they make all the remaining players go up against CT and Tina just to get into the final challenge? That’d be pretty wild and out-of-nowhere and SUPERCRAZYAWESOME. Sorry, sometimes I get over-excited.

The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 6 “Where The Red Team Blows”

While tonight’s episode of The Challenge: Cutthroat was the usual 60 minutes with commercials, the episode felt awful light to me without a whole lot going on. Part of the reason for that is that there were so many boring, foolish decisions made at various times by various people, none of which where very surprising. The episode kicks off with Chet’s triumphant return to the house. He has just enough time to tell his teammates how bad Czech hospitals are, that he gave himself his own suppository and that he might need a day to compete before TJ Lavin comes in and tells him he’s got to go home thanks to the concussion he incurred. It’s a bummer because I not only like Chet a lot, but he seemed to be proving himself pretty well on Red, which was a lot easier with Brandon always going into the Gulag. Chet is actually the first male to be sent home from Red, which is interesting. Better luck next time Chet. Hit the jump for the full report. Continue reading The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 6 “Where The Red Team Blows”

The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 5 “Crouching Tyger, Hidden Danimal”

Ty continues to cause trouble, getting his teammates in the middle of things.

First off, wouldn’t “Crouching Tyger, Hidden Brandon” be a much better episode title, especially considering the tension between the two? They not only got into an argument and almost a fight, but wound up facing off in the Gulag. Come on, MTV, that was a soft pitch you completely whiffed on. The only thing Dan did in the episode was perform well (as always), throw out his snarky dead on interview commentary and call his mom to get his head on straight with being sober in a house full of drunken animals (good on him for that, by the way, I don’t mean to undercut it, but that’s in the first 5 minutes of the episode). Anyway, as you can tell by my graceful into, this episode was kind of all about Ty. The beginning of the episode finds Brandon and Ty getting into it after Brandon bets Ty he can’t sink a ping pong ball into a glass across the room. The bet is that Ty wins money if he makes it and has to perform a homosexual act on another player in the game, Luke I think. He misses and then tells Brandon they can do anything in the world together. I can’t tell if that’s an invitation to mess around or fight. As usual with Ty, it goes nowhere, a bunch of other housemates get in the way and both combatants walk away.

Air surfing actually looks pretty awesome, want to try.

None of which is actually important, but does add drama to the episode and evidence in the eventual court case against Ty when he snaps and starts battering woman and children (I’d put money on that happening with a side bet that it might be me for writing shit like that about a clearly unstable man with muscles that might only be for show, more on that throughout the post). The challenge, this time around, was called Surf’s Up and was basically a swimming race, but instead of diving into the water normally, you and another person from your team have to jump on a surfboard suspended 40 feet on the air and try to balance your way all the way down. Whether you succeed in that initial task or fall, you still have to do two laps and ring the bell on land after both teammates make it to the finish line. If you have an odd number of players, one person will have to go twice. Since read won the previous challenge, they got to choose the order which went Blue, Gray and then Red.

Brandon loses it.

The Blue pairings broke down to Johnny & Derrick, Emily & Jenn, Theresa & Katie and finally Ty & Derrick again. The first pair goes through without any real problems. The second makes its way down the surf line to the end, but Emily doesn’t do so well on the swim. Katie nearly knocks Theresa off the board, but Theresa actually backs her mouth up a little and holds Katie on and then basically drags Katie through the water. Finally, right after telling the camera that he’s probably the best athletic person on the team (remember, he came in last in the challenge last episode and tied with Easy for the Gulag), he jumps on the board with Derrick and immediately pulls him off so the pair go tumbling. The Gray pairings include Luke & Abram, who have no problems with it, Laurel & Sarah who also do well but of course Laurel complains to the camera about Sarah being such a fast swimmer (huh?) and finally Cara Maria & Dan. CM screws up and Dan basically drags her through the water, but this is when having so few people is an advantage (they only had to do three pairs instead of four like Blue or five like Red).

Chet on his way to the hospital.

Red did not have a good time with the challenge. Every single pairing fell off the surf board and two players got hurt. Chet & Dan kicked things off, but Chet didn’t look so good after the fall. He wound up going to the hospital and was gone for most of the rest of the episode. Tori & Camila and Paula & Melinda both fall but make it through unscathed. It’s not until Brandon & Dunbar jump in that things get really bad. Brandon starts freaking out like he’s drowning and quits the challenge. Turns out it was a bad leg cramp and he panicked. The DQ added 20 minutes to their time which, combined with the bad surfing and more teams pretty much put the nails in the coffin before Tyler & Brad even had their turn. Unsurprisingly, the contest came down to Blue and Gray with the lean, mean Gray taking home the victory and getting the fancy dinner.

Three out of four of the Gulagers have gone in and won already.

An interesting thing about this episode is that we weren’t shown the teams talking about who they wanted to send home before the vote. The scene opens in the sitting-before-voting-and-finding-out-who’s-going-into-the-Gulag room, TJ comes in and tells them that Chet will be at the hospital, that he won’t be up for the Gulag and that it would be cold to send him in anyway after being hurt (didn’t seem to bother Blue when Katie got that shiner) and then he sent them down to vote. Blue’s votes were unanimous on both sides, though we didn’t see anyone talking about it, with Ty and Katie both going in and obviously voting for themselves. Meanwhile, everyone on Red voted for Brandon to go in for the guys and it came down to Melinda and Camila for the girls, with Camila getting the most votes. That night, Camila and Paula had a conversation where Paula brought up the general team distrust with her seeing Johnny and that if she comes back this time, Paula at least won’t vote for her next time (we’ll see about that).

The People Vs. Ty evidence photo #495.

The real, post-voting drama came thanks to Ty being a ticking timebomb and sociopath who takes things far too seriously without understanding why what he’s doing is wrong, even after the fact. It all started with some joking between him and Emily who eggs him on. Emily sprays Ty with shaving cream, so, naturally, he retaliates by throwing a plant in her bed, smashing it against the wall and eventually pulling the entire bunk bed down on what looks like Emily’s legs. The next day Johnny tells Ty he needs to relax, but Ty tells the camera he’s never sorry for what he does. Sociopath.

It's like jousting but with one stick and no horses.

You’d think it’s time for drama to end and competition to begin with the Gulag, but that was not the case. This time around the Gulag was called Pole Me Over. Both contestants were connected to opposite ends of a pole and had to push their opponent into barrels behind them. Doing this twice wins the match. Ty and Brandon were up first and things didn’t look good for Brandon as Ty made fairly short work of him in the first round. It looked like that would be the case the second time around, but Brandon stopped him about three feet in front of his own barrels and tried pushing back. Instead of actually forcing Ty back, he fell over the chains and didn’t get up right away. TJ told him to get up, he didn’t, then TJ counted down from five, blew the horn and that round went to Brandon. We all expected Ty to get back up for the third round, but he never did, even with everyone on his team shouting at him like animals. Soon enough he was DQed and Brandon walked away with the upset, proving that Ty is all talk.

Ty's peformance for the Best Supporting Actor nom.

Ty gave a great performance of being hurt and not able to stand, explaining in his interview that his body couldn’t do it. I call bullshit. I don’t know why he quit on the game, but it seems like he was just trying to garner sympathy. In his mind, it might have worked, but as the missus pointed out, none of these Challenge regulars are going to forget the way he just lied down and died. It’s ironic that he’ll now be remembered much like Easy who he went after in the previous episodes. SUCK IT! The girl’s Gulag wasn’t super interesting. Camila won in two rounds. It looked like Katie tried, kinda, but I think she was tired both mentally and physically. She’s not crafty enough to form an alliance and I don’t know how many times she’d have to go into the Gulag to prove himself. At this point, it was kind of like putting down a wounded animal.

Get well soon, Chet!

So, at the end of the episode Red and Gray maintained their numbers, though we’re still not sure what’s up with Chet (they show him at the end of the episode in the hospital and bring up the sound of the heart monitor super loud), but Blue’s down two players. That leaves Red with nine (possibly eight if Chet has to go home), Gray with six and Blue with a measly five. The most interesting thing we’ll see going forward is how the supposedly leaner and meaner Blue reacts when/if they lose another challenge, specifically when it comes to guys. They’ve only got Derrick and Johnny as far as guys go and then two rookie women (Theresa and Laurel) and old dog Jenn. Jenn will probably luck out unless the other two girls get smart and vote for her. We’ll see about that, as the voting has still been pretty obvious. Camila did pretty well for Red, yet this is the second time she’s gone to Gulag (same for Brandon actually). Why not Paula? Man, she’s lucking out that Camila’s been there, but that won’t last forever. They’ve got to learn soon enough that she’s dead weight. Tori seems to be benefiting from being with Brad because no one has voted for her, though I can’t remember her being a particularly strong contestant ant any point. But the real question is WHEN IS CT GETTING THERE?!

What We’re Watching: Wednesday & Thursday

Last week I went through what the missus and I watch on Monday and Tuesday. I intended to write them throughout last week, but with all the work I had on my plate and the Halloween Scene double features to write about, it fell to the wayside until today! Here’s what we’re watching in the middle of the week.

WEDNESDAY
9:00pm – MODERN FAMILY (ABC)
During the 8 o’clock slot on Wednesdays the missus watched America’s Next Top Model. Seeing as how I hate Tyra Banks, I can’t be in the same room as that show. I watched the first few episodes of Undercovers, but the show didn’t really capture my attention, so I usually spend this time reading books or blog posts. Anyway, after that we watch Modern Family, a show I’d heard a lot of good things about but didn’t watch last season thanks to a scheduling conflict (Lost, I think? How soon I forget…). For once in a long time, all the hype was right and I completely see why people love this show. I laugh so hard at this well written comedy that it hurts sometimes. MF is up there with my favorite comedies and might be the best written one on TV right now. 9:30pm – COUGAR TOWN (ABC)
Whereas I instantly fell in love with Modern Family, it took a little while for Cougar Town to suck me in. I think the problem with the show is that it’s not immediately obvious who these characters are and how they’re related. After looking a few things up on Wiki, I had a much better grasp of what was going on, which made it easier to laugh at. Basically Courtney Cox is a real estate agent with a son who’s just gone off to college. She’s dating one of the guys from Swingtown, her assistant is Busy Phillips, her ex husband/father of her kid hangs around and then Christa Miller and her husband hang out. They do a lot of drinking and jamming, which is awesome. It’s well written, though maybe a little too insidery, but once you get the relationships down, you’re good to go. 10:00pm – REAL WORLD/ROAD RULES CHALLENGE CUTTHROAT (MTV)
It’s pretty well documented that I like The Challenge. To me, a lot of these people are like the comic book characters of my youth. I spent a lot of time with them and still like seeing them carted out every now and then for my amusement. They’re just way worse at puzzles than Batman.

THURSDAY8:00pm – BIG BANG THEORY (CBS)
Still digging this show as anyone who reads my live blogs knows. I miss Penny dearly and there seem to be a lot fewer point-outable geek moments in the episodes, but that’s cool by me. Not looking forward to Eliza Dushku’s appearance because I’m not a fan of hers, but if she can be good on anything (I’m doubtful), it should be BBT! I’m still bummed that CBS moved this one against Community, which I also miss. 8:30pm – THE OFFICE (NBC)
I’m digging this season of The Office more than last season. I think they’re pulling out some of the stops because it’s Steve Carell’s last season. We’ll see how things play out. I’ve often said that the show could survive without Carell, that the secondary characters have been beefed up enough to support the show (one of the beauties of setting a show in a place is that you can stay with the place when people leave, just ask ER). Even with that, I wouldn’t be surprised if the show bowed out at the end of the season. Either way, it’s good with me. 9:00pm – 30 ROCK (NBC)
Hmmm, I’m not sure what to say about 30 Rock. I still dig the show, but I don’t get excited about it anymore. I dug the live episode and still have a lot of fun watching all the twisted relationships continue on in the weird hyper-real world the show is set. It’s still a solidly written and incredibly funny show, I just don’t know where it’s going, if anywhere. Ah well, I’m still along for the ride. 9:30pm – OUTSOURCED (NBC)
Outsourced didn’t really impress me right away with it’s premise of an American guy getting transferred to India to head up the call center that has been relocated to that now customer service friendly picture, but I’ve been having a pretty good time with it since then. Part of the reason I like the show so much is that I had a lot of friends who were from India in college, in fact, my first week at school I knew International students almost exclusively and there’s lots of bits in the show I experienced. Todd (the American) does need to tone down his ignorance when it comes to Indian culture a little to make the show more palatable, but I’m digging this one otherwise.

10:00pm – ?
With Jersey Shore ending last week, I’m not sure what we’ll me watching on Thursdays at 10pm. Anyone got any suggestions?

The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 4 “Swat The Hell?”

 

About to get dirty.

Tonight’s episode of The Challenge: Cutthroat actually got a rise out of me. By the time the first challenge started, I was pretty into what was going on. The challenge was pretty intense and basically came down to a matter of strategy, while the Gulag was completely crazy and out of nowhere. There were, of course, healthy doses of drama with TJ showing up at the house hours before the Gulag started, the usual voting shenanigans with a first ever occurrence and even a cross-team romance that has some of the players raising their eyebrows. Hit the jump for the full report. Continue reading The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 4 “Swat The Hell?”

The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 3 “Karma’s A Bitch”

Right off the bat, I just found out about TJ Lavin’s recent accident and feel really crummy for bad-mouthing the guy in my previous Cutthroat posts. My thoughts are with his friends and family and I really do hope he pulls through. Good luck man.Now into the drama of the episode, and this one was full of it from really close challenges to team members nearly coming to blows. As the kids say, shit has gotten real, people have black eyes and I’m reminded of Ty’s violent side, though he’s not responsible for any of the aforementioned injuries. The episode starts with the gang out at some bar in Prague and then cuts back to the house where some folks are hanging out in the hot tub. Big Easy comes out and out of nowhere, Laurel starts ragging on him (I liked to the clip in last week’s post). As far as the overarching story of the episode goes, this makes Easy sad and he starts talking to Dan about how hard he’s trying to prove everyone wrong for being too fat to finish the Gauntlet III. This is basically his episode. Oh, but before the Laurel is a Drunk Asshole Show started, Paula told Emily that she’s obsessed with her and the two start making out in the hot tub. This continues while Laurel berates Eric for a bit until most of the hot tub clears out from sheer annoyance. They also probably didn’t want to get any blood on them if Easy unhinged his jaw and just ate Laurel in one bite snake-style. Soon enough we find ourselves at the Challenge, which is called Bed Head and consists of these five bed platforms hanging 40 feet above the water. The idea is that the whole team has to jump from this cliff onto the bed. Once everyone has either made it or fallen into the water (thus getting disqualified), they can start moving to the next one. The beds get smaller as they get towards the end, so there’s a certain amount of planning that goes into who can jump, when and where. Oh, there’s also a rule that says that you have to have your hands off the mat when the next person jumps. So, if you’re pushing yourself up to a standing position when the other person jumps onto the mat, the jumper gets DQed. However, you can grab onto your teammates once they jump to help pull them up.

Since Blue won the previous challenge, they chose the order: Red, Gray and Blue. Red gets Brad, Tori and Dunbar to the first platform with no problems, then Paula falls (no surprise there). Melinda takes a dive too, but it looks like everyone else makes it. There’s no more problems until the last one when Brad yells for Chet to jump over, which he does, but Brad still has a hand on the bed. Chet’s DQed and they finish up at 5 minutes and 40 seconds with three DQs. Gray starts out with what they think is their strongest girl, Laurel, but she totally face plants and falls into the water. Serves her right for being an ass bag. Everyone else but Shauvon makes it onto the bed, but she’s freaking out because she got hurt pretty bad on a high water challenge in a previous season. Abram actually jumps back to land to talk to her, but she’s not budging. I didn’t really get why they were even bothering after a certain point because even without knowing the exact time the previous team took, they should have had a pretty good idea that their time was almost up. Abe can’t convince her to jump and the whole team is DQed. Sarah lays into Shauvon, telling her she’s sick of being on her team and losing because of her. It’s understandable but also a bitch move to make. That being said, clearly she’s up for Gulag noms.

Finally, Blue is up. Ty, Emily and Johnny make it across the first gap, but Theresa bites it. Now, everyone’s waiting for Katie to make the jump, which she does, but comes nowhere near landing it. She smashes her face into the bed and falls into the water which results in not only some sickening POV footage (girl went ass over elbows) but also a black eye for her. The team soldiered on and was doing pretty well until Johnny jumped to a bed while Ty still had a hand down, thus getting DQed. The finished fine after that, but in the end it was the Red team who came through with the victory and got to enjoy a nice meal while the other two teams “deliberated.”

Now, I’ve got a problem with them saying they deliberated and I have an even bigger problem with people on the teams going along with plans they might not agree with. Don’t they get it that it doesn’t matter what you say to someone’s face, that you can vote for whoever you want without repercussions (at least for now, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was some twist towards the end where the votes were somehow revealed). If enough people want to vote Johnny Bananas off, VOTE FOR HIM. More on that in a second.

So, it’s “let’s talk about who we’re going to vote for time.” Shauvon threw herself in and asked her fellow Grays to vote for her, so it was just up to them discussing who should go in for the fellas. Somehow Sarah has become the ringleader for this team this episode (maybe Abe is hanging back after blowing the challenge with his failure of a plan last time). She’s very awkwardly trying to ask Vinny to throw himself in, which makes Vinny angry. I don’t like Vinny when he’s angry, not because he’s Hulk-like, but I hate his voice and just want him to shut up. Meanwhile, Blue’s talking outside and out of the blue (no pun intended, no pun removed), Ty says it’s probably between him and Eric, which pisses Eric off because he didn’t fail on this challenge. Johnny tries to say some nonsense about hurt feelings when Katie brings his name up as someone who maybe should go in for getting DQed. For some reason, no one else jumps on this point, even though it’s pretty clear as a viewer that it was his fault and not Ty’s. Dude probably saw that as a possibility and tried to smoke screen. For girls, it’s basically down to Katie and Theressa as the two who fell. I want to pet their foolish heads and tell them he’s not such an asset to their team, but then they’d have to listen to logic and reason.

After the voting montage TJ comes in with the numbers. Blue only voted for two guys: Ty and Eric, with Eric getting the most. I’m kind of surprised that people aren’t throwing random names around. These votes have been pretty damn uniform across the board so far. Emily, Theresa and Katie all got votes but Katie’s black and blue ass (face rather) got the majority. Shauvon was a unanimous winner for the Grays (first time ever, apparently) while Vinny and Luke got the most for their team, not surprisingly. This one basically came down to having rookies prove themselves after they all competed equally in the challenge.

Post voting is when things really heated up. Paula got drunk and started shit talking Johnny which is strange because they’re not even on the same team and she really shouldn’t care. But, hey, the show wouldn’t be what it is without a drunken emotional train wreck. Or three. For some reason Shauvon goes on about loving and hating Johnny, throwing tons of food at him (wasteful), but culminating in what looks like a glass beer bottle that misses him. Meanwhile, in another room paranoid and possibly drunk Katie is yelling at Emily because she thinks Emily somehow planned for everyone to vote for her which, as far as we were shown, wasn’t the case at all. Unwarranted emotional outbursts from Katie are like Double Jeopardy questions on Jeopardy: you’re never sure where they are, but you know they’re lurking somewhere in the background, ready to jump out at you. For whatever reason, Ty jumps in to defend Emily and we’re reminded that he’s just a few cocktails away from battering a woman. He gives her a tiny shove, looks to want to go after her, gives her a mountain of shit and actually does threaten to hit her at one point, saying he only threatens ugly girls. This was on television. Before Katie can rip Ty’s eyes out, Brandon grabs her. Holding an angry Katie is like holding a tsunami, I have no idea how he did it, but Brandon can’t seem to catch a break. Doesn’t have to go into the Gulag for the first time, yet still gets beat on. Then Katie sloppily pours her heart out to him which was kind of touching, but then I remembered that she really started all this nonsense. Girl needs to get right before she’s going to win one of these things, which is essentially what Johnny tells his in the kitchen after she goes off on a tangent about him. Much as I hate to agree with that guy, he’s right.

Before the commercial break we’re teased with some crazy stuff including Johnny with a bleeding eye (for a second it looked like his eye was completely gone, but that’s not the case). Here’s what happened. A big crazy storm was brewing, so the Gulag was canceled and moved to the next day. Instead of stewing in the house again, the producers sent the whole gang down to the bar again. Everything seemed to be going all right and they were leaving to get on the party bus when we see some kind of scuffle, hear a bottle breaking (I’m guessing that was an added sound effect) and Sarah outside saying she knew they couldn’t just leave peacefully. Apparently what happened (there’s no solid footage of it that we’re shown), Johnny was in the bathroom on the second floor when some dude punched him in the head (hence the blood). Johnny claims that he threw that dude down the stairs and then took on his two friends. He says this on the bus, as if the producers asked him to do it or his ego couldn’t stand not announcing his awesomeness for the past five minutes. It’s hard to tell with that douche.

We finally get to the Gulag (Johnny’s fine by the way, as if anyone cares, he got stitches, whatever) and it’s a weird one. TJ rolls a dice and whatever number he rolls, the contestants have to get a much larger dice to the same number within a defined box. The trick is that they can’t touch the ground, so they’ve got to balance themselves while flip/rolling it from where they start off to the box. It looks ridiculously hard, but at least not obviously one sided. The battle between Vinny and Eric is actually pretty epic and comes right down to the wire with Big Easy winning it. Being an ass that no one likes, Vinny is a sore loser and starts throwing insults at Eric who is not having any of it. They do not fight and Vinny is gone. Excellent. Then, Shauvon and Katie are supposed to go at it, but Shauvon up and quits. Oh, I forgot to mention, right before the Gulag, Sarah pulled her aside and basically asked her to throw the Gulag because it would be better for their team to lose her and keep Katie on the Blue team. Shauvon tells the group at the Gulag that she doesn’t want to be a part of her team anymore and is just going to quit, but also wanted to be up front and not throw the mission. Katie’s glad to still be around, but she wanted to actually compete and prove something to her teammates.

The episode ends with Gray now down two players. Sarah says that they’re lean and mean and claims to be happy they lost a strong player because it means that Easy’s still on the other team. I’m all for finding silver linings girl, but you guys are not looking good. Abe’s only going to keep his cool for so long. Red obviously stayed the same as did Blue as far as numbers go, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Eric and Katie start trying to mess with the seeming stranglehold that Johnny and Jenn have on the team. All they’d really have to do is try and get the Ty/Emily pair on their side and they’d have a fighting change of ditching Johnny (you KNOW Ty doesn’t like playing second fiddle to this doofus). For the first few episodes I was rooting for Gray to take it because I like Abram so much, but now I’m leaning towards Chet and Red. I think they might be more stable. Abe really lost the faith of his troops after the last challenge I think. If he could get rid of the Asshat Sisters Sarah and Laurel and somehow still be competitive, I’d be all for that.

When the hell is CT showing up?! Also, why does TJ look so worried/concerned when he shows up at the house in the next episode? These answers and more NEXT WEEK (well, at least the latter).

The Challenge Cutthroat Episode 2 “Newbie Doobie Doo”

It took me a while to figure out where to start with this week’s post about The Challenge. Last time, I went through the basics of the game, then the challenge, followed by the Gulag and finally the drama of the episode, but I think I’m going to have to go more chronological this time around as the drama stuff works its way into the challenge and Gulag portions of the episode. But before jumping all the way in, holy crap the intro for this season is long, boring and stupid. I missed it last weekend, but seeing each of the 30 original players get out of some kind of vehicle is just dumb. Before the teams are supposed to start fighting, we’re told that Abram and Cara Maria have a thing for each other. We got a little taste of this last week, when they did their weird warpaint schtick. Anyway, Cara Maria talks about the scratches they’ve given each other, but we’ll get to more of that at the end. On the flipside, Chet (love him) and Mandi seem to be having a little thing going. Out of nowhere Laurel starts giving Mandi shit though for supposedly hooking up with Chet when the two were upstairs. This seems to come out of nowhere and is completely unprovoked, but Chet jumps to Mandi’s defense and gets some good burns in on Laurel who tells the camera she’s trying to get inside Mandi’s head. Here’s my take on the whole thing: Laurel’s an asshole who drinks too much. When she drinks too much she starts messing with people for no reason. She might also be an asshole who just wants more screen time. I’m not sure about that, but every time we’ve seen her making fun of another contestant, she’s wasted. Just look at this preview clip from next week where she lays into Big Easy seemingly for just walking over to the hot tub. Here’s the other thing, calling one of the chicks on these shows a slut for hooking up with someone is like saying a football player likes getting hit. Sure it’s not true for all of them, but odds are it’s a statement that applies to the majority.

Eventually we do get to the actual challenge which is called Brain Busters. Eight of the contestants are hung from their legs in two rows. At the end of each row is a pair of color coated pedestals with beer steins on them. The idea is to get the steins from one pedestal to the other by swinging back and forth and passing them to your teammates in a certain amount of time. It seems fairly simple, but was apparently much more complicated. With Red and Gray having 10 people on each team, they had to make two people sit out. Abram and Shauvon sat out for Gray while Mandi and Camila sat out for Red. Since Gray won the previous challenge, they got to choose the order which turned out to be Red, Blue and finally Gray. Red didn’t do so hot, only getting one stein across. Then, while Blue started doing their thing, Abram pulled the Gray team aside to work on strategy. Abe’s idea for sitting out was that he would help coach them from the sidelines, but that didn’t turn out so well. Blue got all four across with a few minutes to spare. Then, Gray went and it turned out that Abe’s plan didn’t work so well in execution as it did in paper. Like, at all. Of course, he spent the whole time screaming like a football coach which just lead Blue lead by Johnny to hoot and holler the whole time. As you might expect, Blue took home the victory.

So, as Blue went back to their nice looking dinner, the other two teams were left with deciding who to vote in. Abram offers to be thrown in for his team because he screwed up the plan, but his teammates have other people in mind who didn’t seem to do much of anything. Then we got the montage of people voting without getting a clear idea of who would get sent, but for a minute I thought it might come down to an Abram vs. Dunbar Gulag which would have been pretty epic. Personally, I would have voted Abram in so he could easily take out a member of the other team, but I can see not wanting to risk your best player. As it turned out Brandon got voted in again which he’s not too happy about because the team keeps feeding him lines about unity when in reality it’s just people looking out for their friends, but Dunbar did get a good number of votes, so hopefully he’s watching his back. Far more dramatic was the Red vote for the female because Chet voted for Mandi. He straight up told the camera and later some of his teammates that he did it to show them that he wasn’t emotionally attached and he was there for the money. Cold, but decisive bro. For the Gray team, JD and Cara Maria got voted in for not doing their part in the challenge. Hilariously, Cara Maria told the camera she was bummed out that people were voting for her because she had one bad challenge. Hey chick, not only are you a rookie, but one bad challenge is all it takes to get thrown in.

There’s a pretty funny moment where Mandi asks Chet if he voted for her, saying that she heard he did. He doesn’t say that’s the case, but we all know it is. It makes me wonder how honest people are about telling other people who they voted for. I would lie my ass off to everyone involved to get closer to that green. The Gulag itself was surprisingly straightforward with the contestants tied to each other back to back with a barrel in front of each of them. The idea is to drag the other person to your barrel and knock it over. The match-ups were pretty uneven so it should come as no surprise that Brandon easily carried JD on his back like a baby and that Cara Maria didn’t have too much trouble dragging Mandi across the dirt. I’m still not a fan of TJ Lavin or his increased number of insults flung at the contestants. Not that they need coddling, but who are you to say anything? Back at the house Brandon’s pissed with his team some more while Abram and Cara Maria go outside to get down, breaking a hammock in the process. They then move into the bathroom and we get to see the scratches on Abe’s back. Damn.Overall it was a fairly solid episode. I don’t care much about Abe and Cara Maria, partially because I don’t remember CM ad partly because Abe said something like “I’m not married yet,” which seemed like a weird and potentially slimy thing to say. Does he have a fiance back home waiting for him? He said he wasn’t married anymore in the previous episode, I believe, so it seemed like a strange thing to say. I like Chet, so seeing him learn to play the game early is good because it means he might stick around a little longer. Mostly I’m curious to see how the usual bag of tricks that these masterminds bring to the game play out this time around. With the secret vote to see who goes into the Gulag, you can talk a great game to peoples faces and then just go do whatever you want to do and not really have to deal with it. How hard is it to cast suspicion on someone else? Next week’s challenge with some kind of giant leap over water looks awesome, but I’m not looking forward to another Laurel outburst. One of the OG broads in that house need to set her straight.