Grantland Reality TV Fantasy League: Everybody Pukes!

MTV The Challenge

Remember when The Challenge was full of absinthe-fueled arguments between sociopaths, dudes getting eggs smashed on their faces, and subtextual sexual tension between an ex-gay porn star and an alcopsychoholic? Well, kiss that The Challenge good-bye, ‘cause this week’s episode and next week’s finale are when America’s fifth major sport morphs into something that is much more sport and much less “let’s put some lunatics in a house, give them alcohol, and giggle as they hurt each other’s feelings.” Basically the difference is that now they are vomiting due to physical exertion when before they were vomiting due to one too many cocktails comprised of two parts Everclear, one part Red Bull, and four parts insecurity. To be honest, it’s kinda fun to watch them vomit regardless.

Sarah (The Challenge, Simmons), 30 points: Have you ever swum as fast as you can? Like, blood in the water, fins everywhere, and you have to get back to the boat as fast as you can? If you have never shaved your arms and worn a robe over your Speedo you have never done this. There is no reason to do this; swimming is fucking relaxing. This week on The Challenge, the contestants were strapped onto a tarp, dragged down a plastic tube, shot in the air, forced to swim to a floating platform and then swim back to shore. Sounds like a chill sunny suburban afternoon, right? Guess what? Everybody puked (10 points). Sarah puked so much she ended up in a damn ambulance:

Sarah ambulance

Every season on The Challenge they take a turn, get all serious, stop drinking, stop making fun of each other for being gay porn stars, and focus on, like, winning the show. While this stage of the evolution of America’s fifth major sport lacks that je ne sais quoi before it emerges from its boozy cocoon, it does provide its fair share of unintentional comedy. Like when Trishelle got all serious-faced before The Challenge with her helmet on backwards:


She means well.

Pauly D (Jersey Shore, Connor), 25 points: It has been far too long since we dished out some good ol’ fashioned coitus points here at the GRTFL. Thank god for Pauly D (25 points). Now that Jersey Shore is a full-on worldwide phenomenon that has cannibalized its own popularity, I have no idea what the young ladies who stumble home with these men stand to gain from the exchange of undercover fist pumps. What are they thinking? When they call their confidant after they’re immediately shown the door post-coitus, how does the conversation go? I imagine it goes something like this:

Hey girl, I am so glad you picked up the phone, you wouldn’t believe what happened last night! No, no, no, I didn’t join that cult again, I spent the night in the Jersey Shore house. Yeah, the Jersey Shore house, the one from MTV. What? Yeah, I went home with one of them. Pauly D, the one with the hair that looks like an Afro that was hit with a asteroid. Yeah, he’s cute, much shorter than I expected. Matter of fact, I don’t think any of them are over 4-foot-6, no joke. It’s like Oz in that place and I was Dorothy. Did I what? Maybe. OK, fine, I did. He had a Prince Albert, so weird. A Prince Albert is like an earring but … yeah, exactly. What is a release form? I signed something. I forget, I was slammered, we did like seven Jäger and HGH shots. Paid? No, I didn’t get paid, I just met a guy at Karma and went home with him; don’t act like you’ve never done it. I guess you could call it doing porn for free, but that isn’t how I see it. Anyway, I thought you would be proud of me. I thought you would be excited — instead, you are just blowin’ my buzz. I am hanging up the phone now, Mom.

Yes, I know what a cheap joke that was at the end. No, that did not stop me from making it.

Deena (Jersey Shore, Kang), 17 points: Dionysian Deena got slammered, fell down (7 + 10 points), but had no day-drinking partners so she held “meatball auditions.” The first event was “taking four SoCo lime shots in a row.” Now, I am a 205-pound dude (fine, 213-pound dude), and I would not take four SoCo lime shots in a row because I know it would lead to me, like, freestyle rapping or something equally horrific. For Dionysian Deena, four SoCo lime shots is breakfast. The next Meatball event was doing tequila body shots off some dude, the third event was dressing up like a bearded clown and waving a magic wand at strangers, and the final event was accompanying Deena to the nightclub. When the contestants heard about the last one they were all like, “Are you kidding me? I’m not going to embarrass myself like that. Who do you think I am?”

Dustin (The Challenge, Simmons), 10 points: Dustin puked, too (10 points). What is it with the puking? HOW HARD DO YOU HAVE TO WORK OUT TO PUKE? These people didn’t sprint up Mount Kilimanjaro; they swam from a float in a swimming hole. The puking was entertaining and everything, but there was another moment from this episode that was particularly rewarding from an unintentional-comedy perspective. When Jonna and Derek were bounced off the show they had to do that thing where they walk off into the horizon. BUT THIS TIME THEY WERE IN AFRICA:

Jonna and Derek

What is the insinuation here? That they’re left to fend for themselves in the desert? Where are they going? They couldn’t untie a stupid rope on a TV show so now they are going to be eaten by the African wildlife? Do they have cell service? Sunscreen? Water? Are they still alive? Did one of them eat the other? How did that one green bush get there? Why do chicks roll over the top of shorts like that? At what point do they stop and ask, “For real, you bought us plane tickets home, right?” I need to know these things.

Ashley and Frank (The Challenge, Jacoby and Simmons), 10 points: Lady Ashley of Amazing Assington and Frank were the ones who sent Jonna and Derek off the show (and seemingly to their death; 10 points). If you think that just because there is $250,000 on the line and it is all serious on The Challenge now that Frank the Alcopsychoholic isn’t still inexplicably insulting everyone around him, you don’t know Frank the Alcopsychoholic:

Sam hasn’t done anything, like, the whole time she has been here and I just like don’t like her. It just pisses me off. I just, like, can’t be around dumb people who deserve to, like, shine my shoes, at the very most. That is where my head is at.

OK, OK, OK, I think I feel this week’s GRTFL Top Five coming on. This week’s GRTFL Top Five: My five favorite aspects of this one statement from The Challenge rookie of the century Frank the Alcopsychoholic, listed from “Yeah, that was impressive” to “Obama should hire this guy as a speechwriter”:

1. “I just, like, can’t be around dumb people.” Any intelligent person has enough perspective and experience to understand that the majority of life is spent around dumb people. Also, people that “just, like, can’t be around dumb people” don’t sign up for MTV’s The Challenge.

2. “That is where my head is at.” I just love this little bow he puts on it so much. I am finishing the rest of the top five with “That is where my head is at.”

3. “Sam hasn’t done anything, like, the whole time she has been here.” I respectfully disagree, Frank the Alcopsyhoholic. So far Sam has won an elimination challenge, been degraded by you and Zach, and had her head smashed into concrete. I think she has done plenty. That is where my head is at.

4. “I just, like, can’t be around dumb people who deserve to, like, shine my shoes.” I don’t even know where to start with this. It is so … so … such a throwback of an insult. So weighted with weird history, so Goodfellas-ish. I honestly don’t know how he came up with this one, but, ya know, that is where my head is at.

5. “… at the very most.” He wasn’t even sure if she “deserved” to shine his shoes. She is borderline deserving of that type of responsibility at very most. That is just where Frank’s head is at.

Abi (Survivor, Jacoby), 5 points: Abi cried because everyone despises her on this show and she was voted off (5 points). To be fair to the rest of the cast, she is kind of a heartless Über-bitch who preys on the emotionally weak and has no respect for common courtesy. During the final tribal she called out Lisa and Skupin, saying they “are not winning this game,” and called them idiots and morons. To be fair to Abi, they aren’t winning this game and they’re both idiots and morons. So, ya know, it all comes out in the wash.

What I found most interesting about Abi’s Über-bitchiness is how she rationalized everything in her own head. No one truly thinks they are evil. It just doesn’t work that way. Evil people have to rationalize it in their own heads somehow. Here is Abi’s rationalization:

Unfortunately, things didn’t go my way after the merge. I was targeted as the crazy Latina, and sometimes I come off as really direct and straight to the point. But that is the kind of person I am. I don’t beat around the bush. I just say it as it is, like it or hate it; but I guess it bit me in my big Brazilian ass.

She is not disrespectful to those around her; she is “really direct.” She is not condescending; she is “straight to the point.” She is not disliked because she treated everyone else at camp as some sort of secondary human; she was “targeted as the crazy Latina.” Abi’s delusion is just an extreme example of the lies we tell ourselves to protect ourselves from the truth. Face it, the truth sucks; none of us can really deal with it, so we lie to ourselves. It’s not as big a deal as it sounds.

Jonna (The Challenge, Simmons), 5 points: As Jonna walked off into the African desert, she gave Zach a kiss, cried (5 points), and explained, “Before I got to this Challenge I was in the worst place I have ever got to in my entire life and it is really crazy because the best thing that ever happened to me on this Challenge is meeting Zach.” Aw. Zach returned fire in his interview: “Jonna and I are close enough and our relationship is strong enough and we both understand it is a game and we are going to be together when this is over and we are going to get past this.” I have no idea if they are still together, but my money is on either “no,” or “yeah, but she is totally cheating on him with some dude covered in tattoos.” I could find out via Twitter, but I know better than that. Once you open up that former Real World–er Twitter account box you are stuck in an Internet sinkhole for like four hours. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Sammi (Jersey Shore, TK), 7.5 points: Sammi boob-giggled in the mirror (7.5 points) and inspired Ronnie to evaluate how their relationship was progressing: “Me and Sam, I feel like we have grown up, we have matured, and I feel like we have finally gotten to a place where it is a feeling of comfortableness, a feeling of wanting to be with each other.” Dear Ronnie, are you telling me that after three years of dating you are just now establishing a feeling of “wanting to be with each other”? I can’t tell if I am more shocked about that or the fact that “comfortableness” is an actual English word. Wait, totally lied, way more shocked that “comfortableness” is an actual English word.

Skupin (Survivor, Connor), 5 points: Skupin got drunk on soda (5 points). Like, full-on Deena-drunk, slurping soda pop on a boat. He was so soda-slammered that he climbed to the top of the mast and got all Captain Ahab-y:

Skupin and soda

Abi is totally right, this dude is a moron.

Brandi (Real Housewives, Simmons), 1 point: Brandi scored one point in the GRTFL for making a joke about coitusing Lisa’s husband, Ken (who I once said looks like a Senior LPGA golfer, which is 1 kabillion percent a stolen joke from Bill that I still feel guilty about), and made everyone in America Google “Secret Brandi Housewives Adrienne” when she revealed something about the Maloof-y one that got edited out of the show. Turns out she may or may not have alluded to the fact that Adrienne didn’t carry her babies or something. Honestly, after last season’s “At least I don’t do crystal meth all night long in the bathroom, bitch,” I was expecting a lot more out of her. Now, does anyone know how to erase “Secret Brandi Housewives Adrienne” from my Google history? No? Shit.

Check back next week for the finale of The Challenge, the finale of Jersey Shore, and some year-end wrap-up type of crap that I haven’t really thought of yet. Happy holidays.


Filed Under: David Jacoby, Real Housewives, Reality TV Fantasy League, Survivor, The Challenge

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

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