Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MTV's Cut Throat: Are You Up For The Challenge?

Tonight marks the premier of the 20th season of MTV’s Challenge, a Survivor meets Amazing Race meets Temptation Island reality show pitting former cast members of MTV’s The Real World, Road Rules and some also-rans. Is it a little juvenile that I’m 33 years old and the only other people in my age bracket I know who watch this are my wife, my brother and his wife, Bill Simmons and some guy named Jacoby? Perhaps, but if Edward Stratton III could dress like an engineer and ride a train around his house then I can spend my Wednesday evenings watching a bunch of people afraid to get a desk job compete in challenges that would put me in the hospital in less than three minutes.

Past versions of The Challenge include The Gauntlet, Inferno, Battle of the Sexes and others. Every year the same group of people comes to an exotic part of the world to spend three weeks to a month playing hard during the day and even harder at night. It’s like the Olympics, if only the men and women stayed in the same house and were allowed to collude on who would make it to the gold medal round.

This season the show is titled Cut Throat. Instead of the normal two teams there will be three. Each team will have ten members, five men and five women. There will be daily competitions to determine what team gets a bye, and the remaining two teams will have some members compete in an elimination challenge called The Gulag. The loser of The Gulag goes home and the winner lives to fight another day.

Nothing drives home the importance of stay or go home than comparing an athletic competition to something that makes Russians who can remember the 1930s thru 1950s shit their pants in terror. I thought MTV was a politically correct channel? Then again, if any of The Challenge contestants know what an actual Gulag was I’d be more surprised than John McCain was when his campaign told him who his Vice-Presidential candidate would be.

The Challenge is hosted by TJ Lavin, an X-Games champion BMX biker who takes quitting very seriously. If you want to see someone’s self-worth destroyed on national television watch The Bachelor Pad. But if you want to see someone not give their best effort and be called out for it, watch The Challenge. TJ doesn’t tolerate quitters.

I could only imagine how TJ would have treated Nixon shortly after he resigned.

TJ: “Tricky Dickie, you’re a quitter. You let those spineless Dems and 4th estate chattering class push you around and you quit.”
Nixon: “But I am not a crook!”
TJ: “I’d rather be a crook than a quitter. That’s all for you now. I hope you enjoyed your time in Washington, DC.”

Just as he likes to berate those who quit, TJ also praises a good effort from the cast. If you win an event and TJ tells you “You killed it” you know you kicked some ass. In the best man speech at my brother’s wedding I almost told him, “Great job on picking a mate. You killed it.” But as I said before, only three other people in the room would have got the joke.

The cast for Cut Throat brings back some of the usual crop of people. However, it seems the bar/hosting circuit isn’t paying what it used to and some familiar faces of old are making returns. Since there are 30 cast members, I’ll highlight a guy and girl from each team.

Red Team:
Brad is back after taking a season off to let his eye recover from the trauma it received at the hands of Darrell.  In what was one of the dumber moves I’ve seen Brad do, he got drunk and picked a fight with a boxer. There are some things people should never do. Don’t drive drunk. Don’t believe a girl when she says I never do this type of thing. And don’t get into fights with boxers.

Paula is back yet again for another bite at the apple. Paula is probably the most sympathetic yet dislikable characters on the show, which is tough to pull off. You feel bad for her because she is constantly being used and manipulated by smarter teammates. You hate her because she thinks she deserves to win when she really has the athletic prowess of Steve Martin’s son in Parenthood.

Blue Team:
Johnny Bananas, like Brad, returns after a season away. If someone could be arrested just for being a dick, Johnny would have been locked up years ago. He is about as misogynistic as anyone this side of Ike Turner and yet the girls on the show flock to him. I will never understand women. I hope Johnny is the first one eliminated. It bothers me to no end this prick has made more money from this show in a few moths work than I will in five years. Study hard kids!

Katie reminds me of Lindsay Lohan. She smokes, drinks and swears like a lounge singer. She has no talent other than her abrasiveness. She gets by on name alone. She’s been doing this for years and has got to be on the wrong side of 30, which will come back to bite her. Trust me.

Gray Team:
Abram is back for another go around on The Challenge. In his day there was no one more fearsome than Abram. Then CT emerged as the drunken Masshole everyone who’s ever lived in Boston and gone out in Faneuil Hall or The Alley knows all too well. Abram also used his general bad-assery to pull off a three-some with Veronica and Rachel a few years back. So he has that going for him.

Shauvon re-emerges after two memorable stints on past challenges. In one she was caught having sex on the roof with the aforementioned Masshole, which in a roundabout way led to a fight that might have resulted in a murder charge had CT actually gotten Adam in his grasp. Shauvon’s other claim to fame/infamy is she popped an implant on a challenge. I hope they were insured.

A lot of the cast is made up of Real World veterans from Washington, Cancun, and Brooklyn. I don’t watch The Real World anymore because, well because it’s just not very good anymore. If I want to watch a bunch of people get drunk, fight, hook-up with strangers and each other and try to milk fifteen minutes of fame for all its worth, I’ll watch Jersey Shore.

Some people hope for world peace. Others hope for their team to win the World Series. I hope one day MTV comes to their senses and pits Jersey Shore against some Challenge All-Stars. There is no way The Situation is athletic and JWoww needs a chance to be allowed to show off her aggressiveness. Plus who wouldn’t want to see Snooki and her giant slippers trying to do an obstacle challenge?

I think if TJ heard about that, he’d say “you killed it.”

UPDATE: Read my week two re-cap here 
                 Read my week three re-cap here
                 Read my week four re-cap here
                 Read my week five re-cap here
                 Read my week six re-cap here

4 comments:

  1. I'm 28 and the only person I know who watches The Challenges. My husband hates it. I too hate The Real World and never watch it, but I just can't get enough Jersey Shore. Maybe there are more of us out there than we think!

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  2. "Paula also makes her return after a season away."

    Actually she didn't take a season off. She was part of the last season, Fresh Meat II.

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  3. My husband and I are both 33. Yep...we're watching, too. Won't admit it in public, but uh, yeah. It's the truth. To make myself feel better, I thought I'd research how old some of these contestants are. I'm guessing there are some our age because I remember them on The Real World when we were younger. But I can't seem to find them online (read: I'm too busy/lazy to do too much research). Do you have any idea about ages??

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  4. I'm a 35 year old man who works in construction, and I love this show. My fiancee claims to hate this show, watches it with me to make fun of what is going on, but gets pissed at me if I delete it from the DVR without her seeing. Guess that makes two fans in our household.

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