Battle Of The SeasonsWhile I would watch MTV’s The Challenge (originally Real World/Road Rules Challenge) from time to time simply because I was an on-and-off Real World watcher, I became a much bigger fan of MTV’s The Challenge because of The BS Report, ESPN’s own Bill Simmons’ podcast. He and David Jacoby talked about The Challenge being America’s fifth sport after baseball, football, basketball, and hockey. I haven’t missed a beat on the last three years of shows, though I wish Netflix would stream the early seasons so I could watch them all.

Over the years, the MTV producers have dialed up the difficulty level and the show is now like a savage version of the old Battle Of The Network stars. Instead of Scott Baio running in high shorts, you have Alton and Dustin from both Las Vegas versions of The Real World slapping people with fish or trying to hold their breath underwater on a pulley so their partners can finish a puzzle.

(By the way, Alton, who is a Challenge Hall Of Famer, disappointed most during this season. He either cowered to San Diego’s Frank and Zach’s antagonism, or he got tired of the shenanigans. Because Alton is a legend, I’m going to lean toward the first. Being in the house with Frank and Zach had to be analogous to living with two frat boys who would get in your face yelling, “Punch me bro!” knowing full well that if they were punched, the other team would go home. Truly, MTV has found the perfect recipe of competition and alcohol. Imagine if the Miami Heat and Oklahoma Thunder had to all live in the same house during their series fighting over the same women and alcohol was flowing like a waterfall.)

This season, rather than grouping teams based on prior relationships or putting two players together who hate each other, they grouped teams based on previously being on shows together. It meant that you had old favorites together again like Danny and Melinda (the love of my life) who were married (and divorced soon thereafter) after their Real World Austin season. Trishelle from the first season of Real World Las Vegas who is the only person from this cast to have her own Wikipedia page is someone everyone remembers.

But there were definitely some favorites missing like Mr. Beautiful, CT, and Wes. No, wait, Wes was eliminated during the first episode this season.

Here’s how Wikipedia described the rules:

During each Challenge, teams will compete in order to become the Power Team, who will have the ability to place one team of their choosing into the arena. The other couple going into the arena will be that day’s Challenge losers. Once in the arena, a team must decide one male/female pair to compete, and have the potential to go home with no money. The losing pair in the arena will go home, and leave their team short two players. Teams can compete with only two players, and have potential to make a greater share of the final’s $250,000.

The reason I posted that is because I had no idea how to describe it. All I know is there were eight teams of four, teams lost players by two, and there are three teams remaining in the finale.

Those teams are: San Diego (all four players), Brooklyn (all four players), and Las Vegas (just two players).

San Diego features Frank (narcissistic and while he says he loves girls, mostly kisses dudes), Zach (who was hooking up with a newly departed Jonna), Ashley (pretty blond who is rarely shown because she’s boring) and Sam (butchy sweetheart who gets yelled at all the time). Frank described her as a 145 pound slab of fat/tumor attached to your body.

Brooklyn’s team is Devyn (master of the weave who found a way to fall in love with Big Easy), Chet (nerdy guy who could’ve been on The Breakfast Club if he was born 20 years earlier), JD (who is pretty flavorless), and Sarah (tattooed blondie who wanted her some Alton).

Las Vegas only features the afore-mentioned Trishelle and Dustin (who is most notorious for being heterosexual except for the time when he did gay porn online when he was in college).

The Challenge final consisted of skydiving into the desert and running from check point to check point in said desert. Brooklyn had to deal with Devyn diva-ing it up and immediately injuring herself. But they generally worked well as a team and don’t cut each other down. I think the worst put down was when Chet called Devyn a “dumb-dumb”. San Diego’s Frank and Zach enjoy picking on Sam who just takes their punishment. There’s some evil karma headed their way for being so mean to her. Zach is probably the strongest person on the show and Frank, even though he’s a jackass, is a really good player too. If it was Dustin and Alton instead of Dustin and Trishelle, they would’ve had a shot. Consider Brooklyn as smart and San Diego as strong. Las Vegas is simply the engine that could.

Station three was just ridiculous. Three of the teammates had to stand in a box together attached to a camel while one got to sleep for a short while. For Las Vegas, it was just one. Devyn stepped outside of the box and was penalized. And Sarah just cried the whole time. Zach bitched at Sam because she got to sleep more than he did.

All of that led to the final part of the challenge. San Diego had an 11 minute lead on Brooklyn, while Las Vegas had a 6 minute lead on them based on the previous checkpoints. They had to race up a sand hill and through the desert which looked like Tatooine, where Anakin Skywalker grew up.

In the end, it was all San Diego. While you wanted to root against them throughout because of their narcissistic male leaders, they were the best team. Frank even pushed Sam down near the end to try to get her to go harder and you could tell that Sam wanted to turn him into the police, even though it made her some $60,000 richer.

Las Vegas made a run for it and finished in second. They worked together in the end and made a last minute push. This was with Trishelle stating that she wanted to bury Dustin in the desert only the day before. I just hope they don’t end up hooking up.

Brooklyn petered out in the end thanks to Devyn’s non-athletic ways. But they really needed an alpha-dog to push them and while Chet tried, when you look like a nerdier version of Anthony Michael Hall, it’s not happening captain.

Though the ending was a bit anticlimactic because of who won, it was yet again another fantastic season of The Challenge. To the winner, go the spoils. And now, go drink.

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