Grantland Reality Fantasy League: Hang in There, Don’t Be a Quitter

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The same way it’s nice to come home at Thanksgiving and see that your old bedroom is the way you left it, it’s nice to see the same old reliable insanity on reality television. So much has changed on Jersey Shore and The Challenge over the years, yet so much remains the same. Deena is still morning drinking, Camila is still possessed by evil demons every so often, and T.J. Lavin, well, he still hates quitters. A lot. Like, for real, don’t quit anything around T.J. Lavin unless you want to hear about it (see Easy, Big).

Top Scorers:

Big Easy (The Challenge), 60 points: When you’re in a competition and carrying Camila’s weight on your shoulders under the watch of T.J. Lavin … anything is possible. The fear of their wrath upon failure alone could motivate you to accomplish superhuman feats. You ever hear those stories about people lifting cars to save loved ones? The power of love and the chemistry of adrenaline that brought out that supernatural strength in them is nothing compared to the fear the wrath of T.J. Lavin and Camila would bring you were you in Big Easy’s shoes this week on The Challenge. Nothing. Big Easy’s challenge was to lift Camila off the ground with a rope so she could do a puzzle. The lifting got hard, Camila got demonic, and Big Easy had enough. Big Easy quit on Camila. Yep, you read that right, in front of both T.J. and Camila, in the middle of an elimination Challenge, these words came out of Big Easy’s mouth: “Camila, I am done” (30 points). Now, before we even get into her response, let’s consider the repercussions of that statement. Big Easy quitting in the middle of an elimination means that Camila is also eliminated, it means that he quit in front of known quitter-hater T.J. Lavin, and it means this is the second time that Big Easy’s lack of determination and badass juice has cost his team a win. As you can imagine, it did not go over well with Camila (5 points):

Camila: “You are not done! This is not fair. He is quitting, NOT ME! I am going to climb this motherbleeper if I have to, you son of a bitch. I am going to climb this bleep — I AM NOT GIVING UP BECAUSE OF YOU. I am not losing because of you. It’s not fair. He is done, I am not, so what do we do now [looks off-camera to producers]? I’ll go in the bleeping water. You want me to go in the water? I’ll go in the water. Bleep you, you piece of bleep. You ruin our team. You are a disgrace to the human kind. You are a loser. You are a selfish little loser. You are a selfish mother bleeper, you are a piece of bleep, yeah, bleep you, dude. Go to bleeping hell.”

Naturally, Big Easy cried (20 points). Although it would be reason enough, I don’t think he cried solely due to the words that Camila spoke to him. He cried because he doesn’t belong. Season after season, year after year, this show has been morphing from goofy entertainment into a sporting event, and, try as he may, Big Easy just can’t evolve along with it. So much so that GRTFL favorite (read: Jacoby favorite) Cara Maria had this to say about how Eric was viewed by his potential teammates: “For the record, think Laurel and Evelyn got wind of the fact that Big Easy might be on Fresh Meat team … and as soon as they heard Big Easy, they’re like, ‘I’m not doing this show.'”

After being out-masculined by Camila and comforted by Devyn (5 makeout points), there was still one more thing that Easy had to face: T.J. T.J. really hates … well, let’s go to the tape:

T.J.: “There is one thing I hate worse than anything else in the world … and that’s quitters. Big Easy, man, why did you quit?”
Big Easy: “Couldn’t fight an uphill battle, man. It wasn’t going our way, and it didn’t look like anything was going to change.”
T.J.: “When the chips are down, bro, don’t you think you should just give it to ‘em?”
Big Easy: “I’ve been givin’ it to ‘em since I got here and I’m over it.”
T.J.: “You gonna let your teammate down like that?”
Big Easy: “She is not my teammate, we have been playing a single person’s game ever since I got into this house. It is what it is, words are words.”

Full disclosure, I have no idea what “when the chips are down,” “givin’ it to ‘em,” and “words are words” mean, but I do know that we will never see Big Easy in a Challenge again. T.J. does not forgive.

Dana (Survivor, Kang), 55 points: Have you ever been busy at the office and gone without lunch until, like, two o’clock and your stomach starts eating itself and you turn into a shell of what you used to be and you can’t form a coherent sentence? Yes? Well, imagine being on Survivor. These people don’t eat, they don’t sleep, they don’t have shelter, and they don’t change their clothes. If you get all crazy after not having lunch until two, imagine how you would feel not having lunch until, ya know, forever. I heard they give the cast supplements and stuff, but I am honestly curious how only one or two people every season goes down due to injury, health issues, or simply getmethefuckouttahere-itis. When Dana announced, “I can’t stop shaking, I can’t get that aching pain out of my stomach, and I can’t hold anything down,” I was relieved. Finally someone was reacting to the environment rationally. When the medics came (25 points), they touched her belly a couple times and told her that she could carry on with the show because her condition was not life-threatening. She again acted rationally. She quit the stupid “Who can solve some puzzles while not starving to death first” game by declaring to her team, “I tried to hang” (30 “threatening to leave and following through” points) and then bounced. Dana, don’t worry, you’re not supposed to be able to hang. Sure, even Ms. Delaware could hack it, but fear not, Dana, I’m with you; humans should be sitting in chairs and watching people starve on beaches, not starving on beaches. I have absolutely no idea how this doesn’t happen more often. I think when Mark Burnett originally came up with this show, there was no tribal council, he was just like, “The cast will eventually get sick, go crazy, or die … the person left standing is the winner,” then lawyers got involved and tribal council was born. Too bad, really.

Deena (Jersey Shore, Kang), 47.5: When you wake up still drunk after a big night, there are two ways to play it. You can either (a) get some fluids in your body, eat some greasy food, turn your phone off, and recover for a few hours, or you can (b) adjust your boobs (7.5 points) and just keep on drinking. Anyone who has ever attempted Option B will tell you that while it does provide immediate relief, it has, well, diminishing returns. Let Deena from Jersey Shore demonstrate:

(All times approximate/totally guessed.)

11 a.m.: Deena attempts to wake up sleeping couple Sammi and Ronnie for a “Meatball Day.”
11:30 a.m.: Deena heads out alone to a bar on the boardwalk for shots.
Noon: “So I am going to have shots with these random girls and pretend they are meatballs.”
1 p.m.: Deena continues to “audition” potential meatballs at the bar (read: drink shots with strangers).
1:30 p.m.: Deena starts to cry (5 points).
2 p.m.: Deena stumbles out of the bar and announces, with a troubling amount of surprise, “Oh, the sun is out.”
2:30 p.m.: Deena goes to her job slammered (10 points) and recruits some bro named Steve who works at the Shore Store to audition as a meatball.
3 p.m.: Ronnie and Sammi find Steve and Deena at a boardwalk bar.
3:30 p.m.: Deena falls on her face (10 points).
4 p.m.: Deena is being followed by a camera crew, the police, and a bro named Steve as she leaves the bar.
4:05 p.m.: Deena refuses to not dance in the middle of traffic.
4:10 p.m.: Somehow Steve has lost Deena.
4:15 p.m.: Deena is in the back of a police car and Steve pleads to the cops, “I’ll bring her back inside (a bar), I’ll bring her back inside (a bar)” (20 points).

Now, the lesson here is that when you wake up still drunk from the night before, there will be a “you from last night” on one shoulder and the “you from four hours from now” on the other. You will be at a crossroads. At this crossroads, always listen to the “you from four hours from now.” I know, I know, he isn’t nearly as much fun as the “you from last night,” but at least you won’t be in the back of a police car with some drunk dude named Steve trying to convince the cops that all he has to do is bring you back to the bar and everything will be fine. Trust me, you never want to be found slammered dancing in the middle of the street with some dude named Steve trying to vouch for you. Unless that dude named Steve’s last name is Seagal, then, by all means …

Devyn (The Challenge), 15 points: Devyn won an elimination (10 points) and kissed Big Easy The Quitter (5 points), but none of that matters. All that matters is that they had the trivia challenge this week. What’s the trivia challenge? It’s when the cast gets suspended over water and asked simple questions that test their intellectual prowess. They all fail. This week’s Top Five (really seven — I mean, who could stop at five?) is the top five (seven) tremendous things that happened on this week’s trivia challenge ranked from “That sounds cool” to “Oh my god, is it possible to get a tattoo of a GIF on your body?”:

Top five (actually seven) things from the trivia challenge:

7. T.J.: Who did Prince William marry?
Knight The Sociopath: “I have no idea”
Jemmye (his ex): “Knight, we watched it … ” [Granted, this doesn’t sound tremendous, but the idea of the conversation that Jemmye and Knight had while watching the royal wedding really entertained me.]

6. T.J.: “What is the capitol of England?”
Jasmine: [after careful consideration] “Liverpool”

5. T.J.: “Which basketball player was married to Kim Kardashian?”
Alton: “Kris Duncan.”

4. T.J.: “In basketball, what city are the Suns from?”
Preston Who I Have Never Seen In The Same Room As Rajon Rondo: “Utah.” [How does Rajon Rondo not know where the Suns play?]

3. T.J.:The Challenge has been produced on how many continents? Don’t have to name the continents, just how many?”
Ashley: “21.”

2. T.J.: “In what country was the very first Fresh Meat filmed?”
McKenzie: “Europe.”

1. Dustin: [after Nany gets an answer right] “I couldn’t be more proud of Nany if I was her father.”

Now before you say to yourself, “What was so tremendous about that last one?,” consider how proud her father is of her …

Camila (The Challenge, House), 10 points: Camila got all demonic (5 points) and cry-y (5 points) during her tirade against Big Easy The Quitter and inspired Trishelle to add her two cents: “Camila says the most horrible, degrading things to Big Easy. I don’t think anyone deserves that. I don’t think anyone deserve to be treated like that.” I have no idea how it happened, but Trishelle, the girl from Playboy Cyber Club, has become the moral center of this show.

JD, Chet, and Sarah (The Challenge, various GRTFL Teams), 10 points: Each of these folks won an elimination Challenge (10 points) but each of these folks also found him- or herself at an unfair advantage on the path to victory. Allow me to explain:

JD: See, for a living, JD trains whales and dolphins and was a competitive swimmer. In the elimination challenge when he faced off against Big Easy, half of his role was base on ability to be submerged in water. Unfair.

Sarah [upon hearing there was a trivia challenge] “I love trivia. It is even on my business card. It says speaker, artist, trivia master.” Dear Sarah, none of those things that are listed on your business card are actual businesses. Let’s be honest, your card should read, “That chick from The Challenge who looks better this year but you can’t determine exactly why.”

Chet: Chet went up against Preston Who I Have Never Seen In The Same Room As Rajon Rondo in a challenge that involved height, agility, ball handling, and quickness. Chet won. I’m starting to get the feeling that Preston from Real World New Orleans and Rajon Rondo are two different people. Crazy, right?

McKenzie (The Challenge, Lisanti), 5 points: McKenzie’s teary (5 points) exit speech from The Challenge contained by far the funniest line of the week: “I feel awful leaving Knight and Jemmye as a two-person team. Coming into this house I had looked at Knight, Jemmye, and Preston [who I no longer think is Rajon Rondo] as just my roommates. Now I actually consider them my friends. I really hope they can make the city of New Orleans proud.”

News flash, McKenzie: You’re some chick who blacked out on Bourbon Street for 45 nights in a row. You aren’t a backline band, the Saints, or a flooded neighborhood. New Orleans couldn’t give less of a fuck about you.

Dawson and Denise (Survivor, undrafted and Lisanti), -10 points: Dawson and Denise both put a little flair on their vote cards as Dawson was eventually voted off (-10 points). Jeff Probst does this thing at Tribal Council where he knows who is going to get voted off each week and gives them the opportunity to make a case for why they shouldn’t be. Here is how Dawson reacted: “Um, I try to keep the spirit of a camp up, I try to be optimistic and empowering, being positive in this weather in 13 days of rain. That goes pretty far.” Dear Dawson, in the midst of a “who can solve some puzzles while not starving to death first” game, you need a foxhole alpha chick, not a cheerleader. Thanks for playing.

Check back next week for more meticulous analysis of inslopsicated weirdos.

Filed Under: Jersey Shore, Reality TV, Reality TV Fantasy League, Survivor, The Challenge

David Jacoby is an ESPN producer who somehow became a writer and editor for Grantland.

Archive @ djacoby