I hated Juan Pablo’s season of The Bachelor and everything, but I can’t lie, I kind of miss him. At least he gave me plenty to write about. This week, the GRTFL rotation consisted only of Survivor and Real World. Plus, we did Grantland Live yesterday, which took up all of my time. So I enlisted the help of GRTFL Super Scorer and Grantland Senior Bachelor Historian Caitlin Mangum to tackle Survivor while I wrote about Real World.
Real World was pretty good this week, but The Challenge trailer MTV kept airing was easily the best part: There was a lot of butt shaking and drink shaking, leaving my head shaking, as I wondered if this would actually be a tame season or if they’re simply resisting the urge to put the best moments in the promos. I find it impossible to believe that Camila made it through an entire season without trying to murder anyone. That just can’t happen. The Challenge starts on April 10, but before we get to enjoy that, we have two more episodes of this weird, excellent Real World season.
Jenny and Jenna (Real World, 122,812,718,278,127 points)
Jacoby: On this week’s episode, Jenny and Jenna had the greatest exchange in the history of television. I watched it 17 times. Jenna is outside a club, while her (kind of) boyfriend Jay flirts with a cocktail waitress inside the club.
Jenny: “You’re a hot bitch; I would have to say you’re the hottest bitch in this house.”
Jenna: “Why are you tawkin’ to the bottle waitress in front of me?”
Jenny: “You are hotter than all those girls, and I’m telling you this because I’m being real with you. I don’t lie, and I’m not fake. I’m real as Colby cheese, I am real as fuck.”
Jenny: “I just made that up. I don’t know how real Colby cheese is.”
I loved this exchange so much that this week’s GRTFL Top Five is the Top Five Things I Love About Being As Real As Colby Cheese:
5. Colby cheese is fucking REAL: I did some research on the delightful www.cheese.com and learned that Colby cheese is, in fact, real. It was created by a gentleman named Joseph Steinwand in Colby, Wisconsin. Joe wanted a creamier, milder cheese than cheddar. Colby is often compared to cheddar because they’re both dyed, and Colby was originally called Colby Swiss cheddar. So Jenny is not incorrect when she says she is as real as Colby cheese. But Colby is just as real as American, Swiss, Monterey Jack, blue, feta, and other cheeses. That Jenny immediately went to Colby when she opened the “types of cheeses” manila folder in her mind blows me away. If someone put a gun to my head and asked me to list as many cheeses as I could, I don’t even think I’d get to Colby. I’d probably just say, “This is weird, man. Why did you pull a gun on me and ask me to name cheeses?”
4. The self-awareness: Jenna isn’t the brightest, and she doesn’t care about Jenny’s statement. She just cares about her boyfriend and the cocktail waitress. No one was going to point out how dumb the cheese thing was, but Jenny went ahead and called herself out anyway.
3. The “you’re so hot, now feel better” technique: Next time one of my buddies is bummed out, I’m just going to tell him how handsome he is to brighten up his day. “Don’t worry about all that credit card debt. Just think about how handsome you are.”
2. “Right.” Jenna’s confirmation of Jenny’s realness was an understated bit of excellence.
1. “I don’t know how real Colby cheese is.” How does one even determine the varying degrees of cheese realness? Are some cheeses more real than others?
I need to get some Colby cheese this weekend and do some more research.
Former Brain Tribe (Survivor, 30 points)
Caitlin: Until this point, the members of the Brain tribe had performed so poorly that they made the 2008 Detroit Lions look semi-competent. Kass summed up their first 11 days perfectly: “We’re not the Brains tribe. We’re the Crap for Brains tribe. I mean, just a rolling logjam mess with a couple of nerds on top.”
This week, however, they were spared the indignity of officially becoming the worst tribe in Survivor history, thanks to a timely merge. Everyone acted shocked, even though there were only two challenge courses in front of them. Even so, divine (or producer) intervention kept the remaining three Brain members together, on a tribe with three former Beauty members and Sarah, one half of the former Brawn tribe’s Cops-R-Us alliance.
The Win a Bunch of Pastries challenge that followed was a glorified wrestling contest, in which a member of each tribe had to cling to a pole while two opponents attempted to rip that person off and drag him or her across the finish line. Tasha was really, really good at holding onto the pole (note to self: no jokes, Caitlin; don’t get fired), and dominated early.
Of course, Tasha’s tribe ended up losing, because the Brains always lose … and because the opposing team put Cliff Robinson out there twice in a row.
The Immunity Challenge also featured a pole, which the teams had to ram through some things and push through a maze before using it to strike a gong (note to self: no jokes, Caitlin; don’t get fired). This challenge looked tiring as hell, but somehow the Brains defeated the bigger, brawnier tribe.
Good for the Brains. They deserved a win. In fact, I’m picking Spencer to win the whole thing.
Tom’s Twin (Real World, 47 points)
Jacoby: Identical twins are weird. If there were another person who looked just like me, had experienced the exact same upbringing as me, and hung out with me all the time, I think I would get jealous and murder that person. Tom did not murder his twin, Stephen. He was actually quite nice to him. But he did say, “I’m better-looking, but my brother is a gorgeous man.” Here’s the thing. Tom’s right:
Tom is better-looking. When I learned Tom had a twin, it completely changed how I thought about him. Oh, wait, no it didn’t; it just made me ask a bunch of questions, which makes Tom’s Twin this week’s GRTFL Questionable Moment:
Why do some identical twins look exactly alike and some look just sort of alike? If you had an identical twin, would you intentionally get a different haircut to set yourself apart? Can’t Tom and Stephen steal each other’s driver’s licenses and commit crimes carefree? Wouldn’t you totally speed, jaywalk, shoplift, and drink in public if you had your twin brother’s ID? Aren’t they super competitive? Why don’t they make next season’s plot twist seven sets of twins? Did anyone else get tripped out when Stephen spoke with the exact same weird accent as Tom? Is this dude also a professional tennis club guy? Is one smarter than the other? Nicer? Are parents-to-be happy or freaked out when they find out they’re having twins? Do sets of twins ever date other sets of twins? Do they get annoyed when everyone asks who’s who? Why do they always hate each other’s significant others?
Trish (Survivor, 24 points)
Caitlin: The Brawn tribe was in a great place after the merge. The Brawnies had the numbers, with five former members paired up with two Beauty members, Jefra and LJ.
After losing the Immunity Challenge, the five Brawnies had a date with their first Tribal Council of the season. Voting out LJ should have been a no-brainer. If 28 seasons of this show have taught us anything, it’s that you have to make a move, but you have to wait to make it. Stage a blindside too early, and you’ll buy a one-way ticket to Fatten Up Camp Ponderosa.
But Trish developed a little Mrs. Robinson thing with LJ, the perma-shirtless horse trainer who we learned this week decided to get into the whole horse training thing after he “got single.” Maybe he should have purchased a grammar handbook instead of a 1,100-pound animal.
Despite LJ’s poor verb conjugation, Trish was so enamored with meeting a fellow Bostonian that she decided to flip on her Brawn alliance and vote for Cliff instead of LJ.
What? Why? How? How could she do that to Uncle Cliffy? Even LJ didn’t understand why Trish wanted to flip: “I talked to Trish, and she said that she wants to get rid of Cliff. I was shocked. Apparently Trish and Tony don’t like Cliff. It just doesn’t make sense to me. You’re 5-2, you don’t need to talk anything.”
So, of course, Trish voted for Cliff and somehow convinced Tony to do the same, giving us the first blindside of the season. Unfortunately, we didn’t get this ejection-worthy response from Cliff, but we did get what is perhaps the greatest tribal council reaction of all time:
You ARE the father!
On behalf of everyone here at Grantland, let me say that we’ll miss you, Uncle Cliffy. At least until pilot season, when Cliff and Woo are bound to star in CSI: Surf Colony.
Brian (Real World, -270 points)
Jacoby: Last week I wrote about how much I enjoy Brian, namely his extensive vocabulary, his weird hair, and his Thought Records. I even apologized to him for thinking he was dumb. He ruined that this week when he pushed Jenny:
She was manipulating him and provoking him and pushing him to push her, but you can’t put your hands on a woman even if she repeatedly threatens you with a knife:
Twerking (Survivor, -98 points)
Caitlin: Twerking was mentioned no fewer than 417 times this week, which means I died a little bit inside no fewer than 417 times this week. I hate that word/dance/Miley Cyrus so much.
The culmination of this week’s twerk overload came when LJ was telling Trish about Alexis’s skills in this area.
Trish: “I’ve got to get out more. I’m like, ‘What’s twerking?’”
LJ: “I’d like to see Trish twerk.”
The mere thought of Trish popping and locking it caused the weird girl with the dreads to contort into some sort of cross between Lloyd Christmas and an emo beaver:
I was all set to make fun of the weird girl with the dreads until my roommate told me that I’d made the exact same face during this exchange between Trish and LJ.
Please, on behalf of GRTFL, the weird girl with the dreads, and emo beavers everywhere, just make this whole twerking thing stop.
Hailey (Real World, 35 points)
Jacoby: “I drank too much and I don’t remember everything. I had a security guard following me around all night.” —Hailey
There’s “I drank too much.” There’s “I drank too much and I don’t remember everything.” And then there’s “I drank too much and I don’t remember everything. I had a security guard following me around all night.” I’m going to miss this season of Real World when it ends. If you want to drink too much, forget everything, and have a security guard follow you around all night, it’s not too late to get on the next season.
John Kirhoffer (Survivor, 1,276 points)
Caitlin: Who is John Kirhoffer, you ask? Well, after doing a deep dive through all the behind-the-scenes videos on the show’s website, I learned that John is the Survivor challenge producer. This means he spends all day dreaming up new objects for these people to run across, new jigsaw puzzles for these people to solve, and new gross stuff for these people to eat.
Wait, hold on a sec. You’re saying this is an actual job? Like I could be hanging out for a month and a half on a tropical island creating giant Jenga games and duck-embryo eating challenges and getting paid to do so? This has got to be the second the GRTFL Questionable Moment of the Week:
What are the qualifications to be the Survivor challenge producer? How much thought goes into these challenges? Do you have to be good at puzzles to have this job? What’s the over/under on the number of hours John works per week? Four and a half? How does he come up with new things after 28 seasons? Can we stop having challenges where people have to stand on a tree stump for five hours? No one wants to watch someone stand on a tree stump for five hours. When can we get a spelling bee challenge on Survivor? Why haven’t we gotten an MTV/CBS Challenge/Survivor All-Stars crossover season? Does Russell Hantz have a day job, or is he just sitting around waiting for the call to be on the MTV/CBS Challenge/Survivor All-Stars crossover season? Would putting CT and Russell on an island together cause the earth to implode? Seriously, how do I become the Survivor challenge producer?
However he landed the job, it’s safe to say John is living the dream.
It’s also safe to say John spends his time off touring college campuses as the frontman for an ’80s cover band.
Jacoby: Enjoy your weekend, and keep it as real as Colby cheese.