Wednesday, October 13, 2010

News and a Review

Up to this point I’ve written on basically anything I can come up with. Mostly television, but a little bit of politics and sports mixed in to spice things up. People aren’t really sure what they are coming to the site for besides attempted dry humor, cynical observations and occasional tangents. Based on feedback for a recent column where I praised MTV’s The Challenge, including a "You Killed It" from the host, I’ve decided to write a weekly recap of the show. Apparently I’m not the only viewer over 30 of the program. Some people speak for those less fortunate than them, others speak for groups that pay them, and some just speak to hear themselves, but today I speak for those in their 30s who watch a program targeting teenagers.

This weekly column will debut today with a recap of episode two. I’ll still write about other shows and topics, but I’m going to try this weekly review and see how it goes. As Al Bundy would say, “Let’s Rock.”

The episode kicks off with Abram saying the house is haunted. He knows this because he said he saw a little girl standing next to him in the shower. I didn’t know R. Kelly morphed himself into a pasty white guy.

There are insecure people and then there’s Laurel. For no reason at all she ripped into Mandi, a cute blonde who is about as confrontational as my dog during a thunderstorm. Maybe the oxygen is worse for those who can see the tops of trees in a rain forest.

Mandi decided to take the hurt from Laurel’s attack and crawl into bed with Chet. To which Chet said something along the lines of “I’m a gentleman…if a girl jumps in my bed, who am I to kick her out?” Rhett Butler wishes he had as much class as Chet.

The team gets notice of the pending challenge the next day by a text on their T-Mobile. T-Mobile has been a sponsor of The Challenge for years. Does anyone still use T-Mobile? There are more rotary phones in circulation than T-Mobile users.

It’s challenge time. This one was called Brain Busters. TJ said it’s not called that because the cast is going to be thinking too much but because they’d be swinging upside down. That’s a relief. There was already one Manhattan Project, no need to embarrass Einstein and Oppenheimer on national TV by having these mental giants re-invent nuclear fusion.

Hanging upside down, the teams had to move beer steins from one end of the area to the other. The team with the best time got exempted from the next Gulag.

The Red Team was up first. Brad said he had a hard time getting the steins to Melinda. He went so far as to say she wasn’t really moving much. No wonder she and Danny are getting divorced. Speaking of which, if those two can’t make it work, what chance do the rest of us have? The Red Team placed one stein out of four in the time allotted, then they all clapped. There’s nothing like being content with mediocrity. It’s like they work for Kruger Industrial Smoothing or voted for governor in Alaska.

The Blue Team was up next and they actually finished the challenge. Nothing of note happened. It was like watching CNN.

The Gray Team finished the day pretty unimpressively. Since they got to go last you’d think they’d be a little more prepared since they saw the previous teams’ efforts and their methods that worked or failed. But then again Look Who’s Talking Too got made so it goes to show watching something suck doesn’t mean you learn your lesson.

After getting back to the house, deliberation for the Gulag began.

Chet voted Mandi in, even though he was a gentleman that kindly placed part of his body in hers not too long before the vote. It looks like he’s more of the untrustworthy Daffy Duck type than the Southern gentleman of Foghorn Leghorn. Either way, he’s loon for voting in Mandi. He’s throwing away an attractive girl who likes him. Given he looks like Anthony Michael Hall from The Breakfast Club and wears glasses that could be mistaken for Dr. Bunsen Honeydew’s, I can’t imagine he’s beating the women away with a stick. Trust me, we can smell our own.

Cara Maria and JD were voted in from the Gray Team. Cara Maria, upon hearing the news, said essentially “I had a bad challenge don’t hold it against me.” She's right. I mean, if the cast has to be judged on their merits, how fair is that? This is like Hoover saying “If you elect FDR because of one bad term, that is bullshit.”

Brandon and Mandi were selected from the Red Team. This is two weeks in a row that Brandon got picked even though he’d done nothing to warrant it other than not being part of the Alpha Betas.

Onto the Gulag. I think TJ should have grown a thick, Stalin-esque moustache for this challenge, just for emphasis. The contestants are strapped to each other and have to get to their side to knock over a barrel. If the challenge was called Chernobyl would those barrels be full of green toxic waste?

The match-up between Brandon and JD was as competitive as the rivalry between a dog and a fire hydrant. Brandon kicked JD’s ass like trying to get a JD kicked mine.

The battle between Mandi and Cara Maria was a little more competitive, but not much. Perhaps like the dog and a stiff breeze - some occasional brush back but the job gets done. Cara Maria, who won, said “this is a physical one-on-one type of Gulag”. Aren’t they all one-on-one? It’s like saying the 76ers-Knicks game is a special kind of basketball game where it’s 5 on 5 and the ball has to go in the hoop. I’m starting to think Cara Maria isn’t the sharpest knife in the drawer.

After the Gulag it was time to drink and make bad decisions.

Sarah, seeing Abram and Cara Maria go into the bathroom together, said “when two people go into the bathroom together and shut the door that can only mean one thing.” Blumpkin, right? She had to mean a blumpkin. When Abram came out of the bathroom he had more scratches on him than a record in Pauly D’s arsenal. I hope he got a tetanus shot before going to Europe.

Next week looks like another week of difficult challenges, empty promises and putting off a real job.

Y’all come back now you hear?

UPDATE: Read my week three re-cap here 

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