I’m intimidated and a little nervous. When there is a The Challenge episode like the one on Wednesday night, I feel pressure to offer an appropriate GRTFL writeup. I mean, when you get the kind of violence, unbridled misogyny, and rampant lunacy this one episode provided, you owe it to the cast, crew, and audience to honor it. Look, nothing I can possibly write will be worthy of this episode of The Challenge. Nothing. But I will do my best.
OK, fine. I will do my kinda-best. Let’s get into it.
Dustin (The Challenge, Simmons), 60 points: Watching this episode of The Challenge, you felt like Bruce Willis during the 12 Monkeys insane asylum scene — searching for any hint of reason or rational thought and finding none. The best way to understand just how nuts this whole sequence was requires tracking its origin.
This debacle began with a goblet filled with green liquid being topped off with blue liquid. I have never tried seven ounces of absinthe with a splash of antifreeze before, but I imagine it packs quite a punch. We then hear Nany explain, “I just wanted to relax and enjoy my night, but I have just had it. I am fed up.” She then accuses Derek of … something — it’s unclear what she accuses him of, really — and declares, “You’re not my friend. So when all the mother bleepers talking bleep about me … ”
Now, this is all par for The Challenge course save for one little action on Nany’s part that led to gay-porn insults, heroin-use revelations, and a human skull being smashed against concrete. What was that action, you ask? She pointed at Frank the Alcopsychoholic.
All Frank the Alcopsychoholic needs is the extension of a single digit in his direction to go nuclear. Upon seeing that finger, he immediately attacked with a slew of nonsense insults that started a fight so grand in scope yet thin on intelligent behavior that I can only attempt to break it down by introducing the players in this psychotic theater one by one and guesstimating their motivations. This is not going to be easy:
Enter Nany: Accuser of Derek, simultaneous carrier of four tallboys, finger pointer at Frank the Alcopsychoholic, recipient of Frank the Alcopsychoholic’s verbal wrath.
Enter Derek: Screamer at Nany, pusher of Rob With Two Bs, recipient of Marie’s physical wrath.
Enter Frank the Alcopsychoholic: Creator of chaos, destroyer of peace, master of conflict, recipient of a mush from Dustin.
Motivation: Insanity/alcohol/more insanity/more alcohol
Enter Alton, Devyn, and JD (in background): Observers of all, sayers of nothing, recipients of airtime.
Enter Robb: Holder-backer of Derek, drinker of the absinthe and antifreeze cocktail, recipient of Derek push.
Motivation: Absinthe mixed with antifreeze. Duh.
Enter Marie: Defender of Rob With Two Bs, pusher of Derek, accidental murder-attempter of Sam, recipient of Sam’s attempted retaliation.
Motivation: Defense of “her man”/insanity.
Enter Sam: Holder-backer of Derek, calmer of nerves, recipient of head smash against concrete column.
Motivation: Peace. (So, of course, she is the one who almost dies.)
Enter Chet: Caretaker of Sam, wearer of hat that says “Chet,” recipient of airtime.
Enter Zach: Possessor of gigantic muscles, holder backer of Frank, recipient of Frank hug.
Motivation: Frank hug.
Enter Trishelle: Defender of Nany, drinker of tallboys, recipient of verbal attacks from Dustin throughout the episode (15 points).
Motivation: Unclear. Like, super unclear.
Enter Dustin: Defender of Nany, self-puncher, empty threatener (15 points), musher of Frank, recipient of many “you used to do gay porn” insults.
Motivation: Insanity, and … nope, just insanity.
Dustin and Frank provided the climax of this event. After building the tension with escalating “you did gay porn” and “you are crazy” insults (5 points), they got nose-to-nose in a “what are you going to do about it?” standoff during which Dustin screamed at the top of his lungs, “Hey, Catholic schoolboy! You wanna get street, bitch? Come and get some! You don’t know me! You don’t know me!” I can’t decide if I enjoy “Hey, Catholic schoolboy!” “You wanna get street, bitch?” or “You don’t know me” more in that sentence. It was the turducken of sentences.
Then Dustin took it upon himself to mush Frank and declare, “I got hands all day.” The only thing more surprising than all of this erupting from Nany attacking Derek for no reason was that Frank the Alcopsychoholic didn’t turn “I got hands all day” into a “you did gay porn” pun.
Frank the Alcopsychoholic (The Challenge, Simmons), 35 points: Frank the Alcopsychoholic has a way with words. He will not hesitate to go for kill shot after kill shot when engaged in a verbal (10 points) or physical (25 points) spat. Matter of fact, this week’s GRTFL Top Five list is the Top Five Insults That Frank the Alcopsychoholic Doled Out, listed from “That wasn’t nice” to “Does he have a writing staff that feeds him lines?”:
1. “I want to take this kid out. He thinks he has all these big, bad muscles, those are just porn muscles. That is all it is.” (Note to self: film, edit, and market “porn muscles” workout video.)
2. “How is weak when you’re your bleep, bro” (I have been trying to figure out what the “bleep” was for two days and still have no clue. Ideas are more than welcome in the comments).
3. “You are not but second bleep fast, you bleep flatfoot.” (Another mystery bleep, but more importantly … flatfoot? Is “flatfoot” code for something or is he just going after Nany’s flat feet? Please tell me it is the latter.)
4. “When you don’t act like a lady, you are going to get berated because you are being a fat bleeping bitch.” (Nany is not fat, but I feel like you can call any girl fat and she will lose her shit. Frank knows this.)
5. “Have fun in Buffalo, tell your sister to inject one more time.” (How in the world does Frank know that Nany’s sister is a heroin addict? Is he a demigod?)
Marie (The Challenge, Jacoby), 30 points: During the fracas, Marie pushed Derek, who bumped into Sam, who hit her head on a concrete column and almost died (25 points). But that was nothing compared to the verbal evisceration that she gave “her man” Robb after he couldn’t dive 25 feet deep to retrieve a buoy during the challenge (5 points). After a full season of her toying with Robb in St. Thomas, I can’t watch this lopsided relationship anymore without cringing and wishing that Robb would say terrible, hurtful things to her and then hook up with half of the women on the production staff. Alas, he did not. He simply responded, “You know, I deserve better than this, I deserve better than bleeping you.”
I hope this moment really was the end of their romantic relationship just so that when he gets back home and his sister is all, “Why aren’t you with Marie anymore? I really liked her,” he can answer, “She yelled at me for not being able to dive 25 feet down to get a buoy that would have released our lifeboat so we could then paddle over to T.J. Lavin. I don’t want to talk about it.”
Team San Diego (The Challenge, Various GRTFL squads), 25 points: T.J. doled out another “you killed it” (25 points) and appeared in at least two scenes without wearing a fitted. Teej, put the hat back on. You’re freaking us all out. You without a hat is like seeing Alice Cooper on the golf course.
Trishelle (The Challenge, House), 20 points: Trishelle is teammates with Alton and Dustin. Alton and Dustin are constantly arguing with Trishelle (4 x 5 = 20 points) and are also super misogynistic when they do it. Check this out:
Alton: “Spoiled … ”
Alton: “little … ”
Dustin: “Totally. A woman would have said, ‘I gotta go.’”
Alton: “Exactly, and a woman would at least be quiet and listen to her men.”
Oh yeah, don’t think Dustin didn’t return fire with his own brand of “aw shucks” subtle misogyny:
Dustin: “I’m sorry for getting upset.”
Trishelle: “But you don’t mean it.”
Dustin: “Every time that I say anything that isn’t like, ‘Trish, it’s OK, it’s fine,’ you get defensive.”
Trishelle: “Because I am not used to being spoken to in a disrespectful manner.”
Dustin: “Disrespectful? That hurts.”
Trishelle: “You were like, ‘Sit your ass down.’”
Dustin: “I said ‘ass’? I said, ‘Sit your ass down?’”
Trishelle: “Yes, several times.”
Dustin: “Those exact words, Trishelle?”
Trishelle: “Dustin, that’s why I can’t talk to you.”
Dustin: “I am a Southern man and you know I don’t speak to women that way.”
I love him playing the “I am a Southern man, I would never do that” card. I am going to start using “I am a Southern man, I would never do that” as an excuse for everything.
Kim (Real Housewives, Jacoby), 15 points: Kim notched 10 “inviting someone you openly despise on a trip” points and 5 cry points for when Brandi hypnotized her during a weird dinner in some town named Ojai. I would break it down, but Emily Yoshida bodied the whole scene on Tuesday. I do want to see if I can dance around the topic of the state of fresh-out-of-rehab Kim’s sobriety without getting this part edited out by Grantland overlords. [Ed note: Air raid sirens and klieg lights just went off in Grantland Headquarters.]
The first piece of evidence I would like to present is the following quote from Lisa: “This time I feel I don’t know Kim, because I think I saw her through this kind of fog, you know? I want to know who the real Kim is. She is kind of sober.” YOU CAN’T BE “KIND OF” SOBER. That is like being kind of dead, or kind of pregnant, or kind of human. You either are or you aren’t.
The second piece of evidence I would like to present is every single fucking thing that Kim has done or said on the show this season. Case closed.
Nany (The Challenge, Simmons), 10 points: My feelings about Nany are so conflicted. On one hand, she was the innocent victim of Frank the Alcopsychoholic’s rage (5 points) and was driven to tears (5 points). On the other hand, she is an attention-seeking pot-stirrer who argues herself to sleep every night and people only put up with her because she is hot.
I mean, I don’t even know if she is hot because I wouldn’t objectify her. I am a Southern man. I would never do that.
Brandi (Real Housewives, Jacoby), 10 points: While Brandi was hypnotizing the “kind of sober” Kim, she mentioned that her ex-husband, Eddie Cibrian, cheated on her with Leann Rimes. I awarded her 4 name drop points for a B List name drop (Leann) and 6 points for a C-list name drop (Eddie), but full disclosure: I had to ask my wife for official scoring because I don’t know who either of those people are. Were they ever on Real World? Bad Girls Club? Who are these people?
Alton (The Challenge, Connor), 10 points: Alton, you disappointed me enough when you turned into a quitting, driveway rock climbing, sleeveless button-up wearing shell of your old self, but going, “women should shut up and listen to their man” on Trishelle (2 x 5 = 10 points)? That is just waaaaaaay out of pocket. I look forward to never seeing you again. Wait, what?
Snooki (Jersey Shore, House), 5 points: Snooki scored five points for talking about her bowel movements, making this the perfect excuse for this week’s “Actual Story Lines of the Week on Jersey Shore“:
1. Ronnie wore a gorilla suit.
2. They talk about Ronnie wearing a gorilla suit.
3. Deena sleeps in underwear.
4. The go-go dancer is not a good dancer.
5. JWOWW ripped her pants.
6. Everyone wears T-shirts in Jersey.
Make sure to tune in next week! You wouldn’t want to miss “Mike asks Snooki to sit down and say hello!!!!”
Robb (The Challenge, House), 5 points: Robb got yelled at by Marie (5 points) and stayed on the show by winning the “Balls Out” challenge. I have to hand it to the producers for the naming of the “Balls Out” challenge and this episode, which they titled “The Chronicles of Nanyia.” I see you, punny producers.
Derek (The Challenge, Undrafted), 5 points: Questions still left unanswered from this week’s full cast dust-up:
1. Why did Nany yell at Derek in the first place (5 points)?
2. How did no camera catch Derek pushing Robb down?
3. Did Derek push Robb down?
4. Why is Chet wearing a “Chet” hat?
5. Were Jonna and Sarah really sleeping through the whole thing?
6. Is it possible to sleep through this whole thing?
7. Why is Zach wearing a purple shirt and a ponytail?
8. Am I the only one that noticed Frank acting all tough guy ‘bout it and then being all, “C’mon, Zach, let’s go” when it came time to confront Dustin?
9. Did someone really use the term “jerk hole”?
10. Is “jerk hole” a term?
11. Are the kids saying “jerk hole”?
12. Why didn’t anyone get kicked off for physical violence? If mushes are in play, then I expect a ton of mushing in upcoming seasons.
13. Seriously, how did Frank know that Nany had a sister with a drug problem?
14. Again, why did Nany yell at Derek in the first place?
Abi (Survivor, Jacoby), 5 points: Nobody likes Abi. Nobody likes Abi because she was super mean for the first month they were on the show and then at last week’s tribal they all went in on her for being super mean and she flipped it on them by playing the guilt card. Uh-oh, is this another GRTFL Top Five I feel coming on? Yes, yes it is. This week’s second Top Five is the Top Five Things That Abi Said in an Attempt to Garner Sympathy From Her Castmates, listed from “I don’t feel bad for her, remember when she went in on Blair from Facts of Life?” to “Oh my god, I am now hugging my television screen because maybe that will help her feel a little better”:
1. “Yesterday you guys were brutal to me. I never felt anything like that.” (5 crying points)
2. “It was horrible, it was the worst day of my life.”
3. “I am the most unliked person at this island right now.”
4. “There is no compassion towards me here. I have to have compassion towards myself.”
5. “For destroying me at tribal council yesterday. I was demoralized, I was ganged up on, I left there crying, I was generally crying, I just want to hear how you felt.”
None of this, ya know, worked. The cast was all set to vote her off, but anyone who watches this show knows that when it is clear without question who is getting voted off, they win immunity. Next week we meet everyone’s family; I really hope no one shows up for her.
Blair From Facts of Life (Survivor, Connor), 5 points: Yeah yeah yeah, Blair from Facts of Life cried (5 points). Who cares? All I want to talk about is how Jeff Probst pronounces potato. Instead of “Poe-tay-toe” he says “Poe-tay-tah.”
To get to the bottom of this I did some research and found out Jeffy is from Wichita. Is this a Kansas thing? Someone get me Probst on the phone.
Skupin and Denise (Survivor, Connor and Lisanti), -10 points: Skupin and Denise both wrote flair on their vote cards but nothing was better than Penner writing “Denies” instead of Denise. Even though it was written with a Sharpie, I would blame autocorrect.
Vinnie (Jersey Shore, Simmons), -10 points: Vinnie was on his way home from the club when he met two young women standing in the “Thank You MTV” parking lot. No, for real, the parking lot was titled, “Thank You MTV.” Anyway, he was all set to have a threesome with them until one abandoned ship (-10 points). Note to all single people: If they get in bed wearing a bedazzled trucker cap, get out of bed. Nothing good is going to come of that.