Grantland Reality Fantasy League: A Finale As Smooth As Sour Camel Milk

Courtesy of MTV Challenge

Is Frank from The Challenge a heartless woman abuser? Will a Beverly Hills Housewife save her marriage with squat thrusts and lamb fetus injections? Are they eating Andrew Bynum boogers on Survivor? Am I the only person still watching Jersey Shore? Just imagine, if the world ended this morning, you would’ve never read this column and never known the answers to these questions.

Phew! Now that we know Earth wasn’t eaten by the planet Nibiru, we should all just take a moment to appreciate the gift of life, our families, and, of course, Frank The Alcopsychoholic. Especially Frank The Alcopsychoholic.

Frank (The Challenge, Simmons), 80 points: Dirty secret, The Challenge finale always sucks balls. The final challenge every year is a combination of endurance running, puzzle-solving, and being a dick to your teammates. There’s a reason that none of those activities are televised (unless you count Kobe during every Lakers game). This particular challenge took place in the African desert. Before I start in on how uncomfortable it got watching this unfold, let me just give a shout-out to all the contestants for finishing it. If you drop me out of a plane into the desert and say “keep running that way over the dunes until you see something,” I’m not taking a goddamn step. I mean, look at this:

Desert Vistas

Do you see a finish line? Do you see water? Do you see food? Do you see anything besides miles of sand, torture, and death? I don’t. This challenge is hard. Like, super fucking hard. But for Frank The Alcopsychoholic, crossing the mountains of sand, carrying tires across the desert, and chugging sour camel milk wasn’t the issue. The real challenge was treating his teammate Sam like a fellow human being.

I understand that, in the heat of competition, things can get a little agro and weird — and we’ve all done things we regret on a pickup basketball court or after landing on a hotel in a tense Monopoly showdown — but the way that Frank and Zach were berating Sam during the final Challenge made for some real uncomfortable television (5 points). So uncomfortable that this week’s GRTFL Top 5 are the Top 5 Things That Frank the Alcopsychoholic and Zach Said to or About Sam That Made You Feel Like Changing the Channel Just to Make It Stop. They’re listed from “Oh, that wasn’t that bad” to “Is the only reason that they weren’t immediately arrested because there are no police in the desert?”

1. Frank: “Sam, come on, you look like an idiot.”

2. Zach: “Come on, come on …”
Sam: “It’s sinking.”

3. Frank: “Come on, Sam!”
Sam: “I’m trying.”
Frank (to teammates, in front of Sam): “I swear to God I am going to strangle her.”

4. Frank: “Having Sam as part of your team is like having 145 pounds of fat slabbed to your side. It’s a tumor. It sucks.”

5. Zach: “You stop one more time, I am going to bite your fucking face off!”

See, that sucked to even read, ya know? You feel bad for Sam right now, don’t you? You wish she snuffed them both in the face and quit the show right in the middle of the finale, huh? I respect her for finishing such a grueling trek across the desert, but I would’ve respected her more if she told them to go fuck themselves. I wonder if, at some point, production stepped in and told them to cool it. I think I would have. I mean, just in the above list you have verbal harassment and two threats of physical violence. And then, this happened:

Ugly moments on the dunes

Frank was behind her pushing her up a hill and pushed her with enough force that she landed on her face (25 points). A line was crossed. A weird line. This is the conversation they had about it during the reunion show:

Horrible Host Jonny Moseley: “Frank, when you physically pushed Sam …”
Frank: “No, I didn’t actually, no, I didn’t …”
Horrible Host Jonny Moseley: “…to the ground.”
Frank: “No, I didn’t shove her to the ground …”
Sam: “Is there a video clip? Can we can see? Is there a video clip?”
Frank: “Jonny, I am going to tell you without you interrupting. I was pushing everyone up the damn hill. She can’t hold her herself up. I did not push her down, throw her in the mud, and stomp on her face.”

It takes a weird breed of delusional Alcopsychoholic to look at the overwhelming videotape evidence and stick to a stance of denial. And it takes an even weirder one to back it up with a “Well, at least I didn’t stomp on her face” defense. Who is this dude? I think for these reasons, and the 7,385 arguments that he caused in previous episodes, we’ll see a lot more of Frank and his Championship San Diego team (50 points) in future Challenges. I just hope next time Sam punches him.

(Whoa, what just happened there? Did we just spend the whole first section of this column on a huge downer? Now you see why I say these finales suck balls, right? Anyway, I apologize. Let’s make some poop jokes.)

Sam, Zach, and Ashley (The Challenge, Various GRTFL Teams), 50 points: OK, I feel like we need to wash the stink of Frank The Alcopsychoholic’s deplorable behavior with another GRTFL Top 5. It’s only right. This time we’re going the other way with The Top 5 Dopest Things That Happened During the Final Challenge, listed from “That’s kind of cute” to “Yeah, I watched that seven times, made a GIF of it, and now it’s my avatar”:

5. “I’ve played this before”: When Dustin and Trishelle had to throw a ring on a swing onto a hook on a pole, and if they missed the hook, they had to take a shot of sour camel’s milk, Dustin declared, “I’ve played this before.”

4. TJ’s hat: Out of nowhere, TJ rolls up in an ATV and is wearing a long-sleeve black button-up and a black winter hat. I’ll spare you my 4,000-word essay on how West Coasters abuse the use of winter hats, but Teej, the African desert? Really? Were you trying to class it up for the finale? Is this your version of black tie? Were you cold? Are you an alien?

3. Reinventing the Wheel: If you’d just run across the damn desert and someone gave you some old tires, rope, and metal pipes, how would you get those tires through the rest of the desert? You’d roll ’em, right? Why? Because they’re tires. Because tires roll and birds fly and that’s the way the world works. What did The Challenge contestants do? Carried them. They carried tires, in the air, with their hands.

2. Math: When Ashley arrived at the Sodoku part of the challenge, she immediately took control and barked, “8, 5, and 3 — that’s 15.” She said it with such authority, I had to watch it twice to make sure she wasn’t right.

1. Deuces: At the reunion, Devyn was forced to retell the tale of nature calling in the middle of the desert, digging a hole, and taking care of business. If this doesn’t make the “Sh#t They Didn’t Show” episode, then they need to rename it.

(Just got a poop joke and a pun in there. I’m officially back!) All right, let’s keep it moving.

Denise (Survivor, Lisanti), 50 points: I’m sick of watching a season of Survivor and breaking down “Who deserved to win?” “Who played the best game?” “Does honor matter?” Blah blah blah biddy blah. All I want to talk about is this season’s winner, Denise, (50 points) and her profession. Denise is a sex therapist. The following is a stream-of-consciousness list of questions I have about Denise and sex therapy:

1. Do they make good money?
2. Where do they get their clients?
3. What do they diagnose?
4. What do they cure?
5. Is this just a hustle and they just get paid to write Viagra prescriptions?
6. Are they called “shrinks?” I don’t think I would like that.
7. What type of art is on the walls in the office?
8. When I imagine a sex therapist, this is not the face that comes to mind:

Denise the Sex Therapist

9. How much does it cost?
10. Does it cost more or less an hour than an Olympian escort?
11. Would it be intimidating to sleep with a sex therapist? (Asking for a friend.)
12. Where does one study?
13. What percentage of sex therapists are creepy dudes just trying to get laid?
14. Can you tell that ever since I pasted that picture into this post, it’s totally ruined my flow?

Brandi (Real Housewives, Simmons), 35 points: What Frank The Alcopsychoholic is to The Challenge, Brandi is to the Housewives franchise. They both bring to their shows some much needed youth, insanity, and “I will say whatever the meanest thing I can think of about you if you look at me the wrong way” juice. Brandi started this week’s show all dressed up and being dressed down by Adrienne’s husband, Paul, in the middle of a big ol’ party (5 points). The next day, a story on Radar Online came out about her partying, and she accused Adrienne of planting it (25 points). Mind you, it could have been one of a kabillion other people at the party. Brandi then followed that up by accusing Adrienne of “buying” a book deal after learning that Brandi had one of her own.

Later in the episode, all the ladies regrouped (sans Adrienne) at a dinner that included a relative newcomer to the Pouty Plastic Posse, Faye Resnick. If that name sounds familiar, it’s because she was a friend of Nicole Brown’s who testified against O.J. during the trial and then, of course, posed for Playboy. At this dinner — and for no reason in particular — she went in on Brandi (5 points) hard. First, she questioned Brandi about her accusations from the night before — and then, after Brandi mentioned her repaired relationship with Kim, Faye dropped the ol’, “Darling, really? Kim and you are fine? After you called her a meth-head? You just throw things out there at random. You get backed in a corner and just say things.” Two things about this:

1. None of this is Faye Resnick’s business. Who goes to dinner parties and starts telling strangers about themselves?
2. I think Faye might be right. Brandi has no idea who hipped Radar Online to the story, she has no idea when Adrienne got a book deal, and she has no idea if Kim was a meth — well, to be fair, there were some warning signs on that last one.

Malcolm (Survivor, Connor), 25 points: Malcolm should have won Survivor. He’s likable, honest, won tons of challenges, and is a friend of Rembert’s. What more do you need to know? He should’ve won. This is probably why he dropped a catty “Congratulations, Denise!” while extinguishing his life flame (25 points) torch thingy.

By the way, there are a brapillion reasons that I’m not going on Survivor, but here’s the biggest one. I am not eating this:

Sea Urchin

No chance. I don’t care if it is a sea urchin and it’s a delicacy in Japan. I am not eating something that looks like a gigantic Andrew Bynum booger.

Kyle (Real Housewives, Jacoby), 15 points: Kyle and her sister Kim got into it this week (5 points) about the whole Adrienne vs. Brandi beef that forced Kyle to invite Brandi to dinner against her will (10 points). Kyle was also upset at Kim for snitching on Brandi to Adrienne at her husband’s “I am trying to sell overpriced condos next to the Grantland offices” party.

About her sister’s behavior, she had this to say:

“I am extremely happy that my sister is sober, but I don’t think that she is making a clear decision on wanting to all of a sudden address these issues with Adrienne”

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait.

Did she just say, “I am extremely happy that my sister is sober BUT …” It’s almost like she’s saying, “Its cool and everything that my sister is off drugs and alcohol, but drugs and alcohol really did help her decision making.” Oh, wait. It’s not almost like that; it’s totally like that.

Also on Housewives we checked in on Yolanda, who had a trainer come over so she could “keep that ass tight” for her husband. Her goal is to be married to him longer than any of her other wives had been. She does this with a combination of push-ups, stair climbs, and lamb fetus injections. Naturally.

Zach (The Challenge, Lisanti), 5 points: Zach, you can be gigantic, you can be aggressive, you can work out, you can be dumb, you can hook up with chicks on the show, you can do almost anything. You know what you can’t do? YOU CAN’T THREATEN TO EAT PEOPLE’S FACES OFF! Cannibalism is a CT thing, stay off of CT’s cannibalism corner.

(Side note, I feel a Rookies vs. Veterans challenge season coming on, and I like it.)

Cast of Jersey Shore (Jersey Shore, Various GRTFL Teams), 5 points: Boyz II Men was wrong — it’s not hard to say good-bye. Saying good-bye to this show is actually quite easy. So easy, in fact, that I can’t find a single person aside from myself that hasn’t already done so. And finding out that damn near every cast member from this show is going to have a spin-off instead of bowing out of the limelight gracefully is like finding out that Tracy McGrady is playing on a winless team in China and getting sonned. Tracy McGrady, it’s over; come back to America where you belong. Jersey Shore cast, it’s over; go back to obscurity, where you belong.

Have a wonderful holidays, everyone. The GRTFL will be back the first week of the new year with the second annual GRTFLies Awards.

Reality TV Fantasy League Standings

Filed Under: Bravo, CBS, Jersey Shore, Mtv, Real Housewives, Reality Television, Reality TV Fantasy League, Survivor, The Challenge, The Decline and Fall of American Civilization

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

Archive @ djacoby