Why is it so satisfying to watch people in their twenties act like five year olds? Once upon a time, the Real World was almost like social experiment. In college, I took a class where one of the professors lectured a couple of times on Pedro Zamora and what his time on the Real World did for both HIV/AIDS awareness and gay rights. Needless to say, those days are over. The Real World quickly became a franchise, adding Road Rules and then the challenge seasons. Every person is now a caricature, and that is what makes this season of the Real World/Road Rules challenge so great. They no longer have anything to teach us, but they are still entertaining. To sum it up in one sentence, we have gone from social experiment to atomic wedgies in just a little over ten years.No good reunion shows is complete without the obligatory shots of the beautiful young people as they are out getting drunk, grinding bodies, and just plain having fun. Anybody who has had a little too much alcohol on occasion knows all of the foolish things you do when you are drunk, whether it be random nudity or the innocent prank. You might do something stupid, but you get over it and usually have a pretty good laugh after it is all said and done. So when Mike gave Brad a wedgie, he probably thought it would just go down in the annals of the Miz as just another hilarious notch on the Miz belt of goofy life experiences.
Well, the Miz doesn’t give anybody any ordinary wedgie. A Miz-delivered wedgie must be of the atomic variety. For those of you who don’t know what an atomic wedgie is, it is a wedgie that’s pulled so hard and so far that you rip the elastic off the underwear of the poor victim. If you get a good grip, you can rip the underwear off completely. At first, it looked like Brad was completely OK with it, but after a while, a little light went off in his head that said “somebody just pulled your underwear off, it didn’t involve a woman, and there was no possibility of sex”. When you take that information into account, suddenly it’s not so much of a game anymore.
Brad went completely ballistic, but the problem was that everybody was so drunk, they couldn’t tell if he was serious or not. He was acting like an ass, throwing people around and yelling at his teammates. Unfortunately for him, the more of a scene he made, the more people just started laughing at him. Brad was completely serious and continued to ask for an explanation when everybody was back at the house. For his part, Mike did try and talk with Brad and calm him down, although Brad didn’t want to listen. “Congratulations son, you’re a meathead, but don’t ever put your hands in my udnerwear”. Derrick eventually came to Brad’s defense, saying “We’re not in seventh grade anymore, you don’t need to be giving anybody wedgies”. The good guys really have no hope if they are starting to take behavioral advice from Derrick. That’s sort of like taking grooming tips from the homeless.
Despite all of their debauchery, the teams make it to their next challenge. David Mirra is in a hot rod and racing down the road, about to run into what looks like a pyramid of margarita glasses (certainly not as impressive as the pyramid of champagne glasses I constructed for New Year’s 2000). But right before the Mirra-cle man looked like he was going to break through the wall of margarita glasses, he hit the breaks and stopped short (that’s my move!). He was doing a demonstration of that day’s challenge, called “What A Drag”. As the name implies, one member of each team would get in a hot rod, and race down a drag strip. Their scores weren’t based upon top speed, but best time. The trick was that they would have to stop their car somewhere after a blue line and before they ran into the margarita glass wall. The barrier was only several feet away, barely giving enough room to get the front tires over before you knocked anything down.
It didn’t look that hard, but there was a five minute penalty for knocking over any of the glasses. Considering most of these runs were going to be under 30 seconds, that is an absolutely huge time difference. If one team messed up, they would effectively write the check to the opposing team.
The competition started off with basically nothing exciting happening. People weren’t going that fast, and I thought there would be a lot more of a rivalry going on. What was turning out to be a drama-free episode got even a little more tame when CT somehow blew out the engine of his hot rod. Instead of going head-to-head, side-by-side, members of each team would alternate their runs, meaning they were racing against their own internal clock and not an actual opponent.
While the producers tried to make things interesting with all sorts of revving engine sounds and accelerating the tape, there didn’t seem to be all that much drama. The Bad Asses did change their strategy a little bit and actually congratulated Tonya on her performance and told her she did a good job even though she had one of the worst times of the field. The girls said they didn’t want Tonya to be the source of all the drama, but shouldn’t they have said “we aren’t going to cause any more drama over Tonya”? Tonya has been a catalyst on other reunion seasons, but she just wants to show her boobs and hook up. I am also beginning to wonder why Tina is on the whole Veronica/Rachel vendetta against every other woman on the planet. Veronica did have a very close call during her attempt, as the bumper of her car actually hit the glasses, but didn’t knock them over. Most everybody else simply went fast for a bit, then creeped to the edge of the line until their teammates’ told them to stop.
There was a little bit of intrigue as people were wondering if Mike would be able to win the lifeshield, and Brad was trying his best so Mike wouldn’t win it. The Good Guys built up a slight lead, but all of that effort was rendered worthless during Landon’s final run. Going into it, he didn’t really need an awesome time, but was going for that lifeshield and knocked over some of the glasses. There was a five minute penalty, and since none of the Bad Asses made a mistake, it meant the Bad Asses won quite easily. They added another $10,000 to their total giving them $60,000 compared to the Good Guys total of $40,000.
Amid all of that aftermath, Mike ended up winning yet another lifeshield, meaning that he would be saved and another member of the Good Guys would head to the inferno. This time, none of the men were willing to sacrifice themselves to the Inferno gods like John did. Instead of doing a vote, the Good Guys decided that they would do it the equal opportunity way and draw names out of a hat. Mike put his hand in the hat, and when he pulled it out, Brad was on the piece of paper, ensuring us one very interesting gauntlet indeed.
I’m not a huge fan of Abram’s, and perhaps I will change my mind if I actually see him in person, but God, I can’t stand when he goes off onto his little new-aged philosophical mumblings about this, that or another thing. This time, he was babbling something about not being a violent person, but that when backed in a corner, blah, blah, blah. Shut up. We like the fact that you are a violent man and that you get into fights. I *loved* the fact that you wanted to beat Donnell in the head. What we do not think is that you are some sort of hipster sage and that our lives would be blessed if only you took the time to say what was on your mind.
So, Abram is going to go up against Brad, and there is a lot of anticipation. Both are highly athletic, have lots of attitude, and don’t like to lose under any circumstances. As Rachel said, one team would have a huge advantage, and the other team would have a disadvantage. Imagine that, the team that loses a player would be disadvantaged, and the team that kept their player would have an advantage. Thanks for the insight Rachel, I would have been left wondering all day what the ramifications of losing a teammate would have meant. You saved me many, many lost hours of sleep as the question would have kept me up all night thinking about it. The Los Angeles mayoral runoff is soon, and I haven’t quite figured out what will happen if one person gets more votes than the other, maybe Rachel will help me out. I won’t even complain if Veronica helped her come up with the answer.
The title of the inferno was called “Balls In” and it is another copy of an American Gladiator challenge. Each person had five balls that they would try to get into a basket. The basket was placed in a center of a ring about 10 feet across. In order to get the ball into the basket, the player would have to get it past the other player who would be defending and would be allowed to do almost anything to stop the other player’s progress. A dead ball would be called if a player stepped out of the ring after stepping in, or if the ball was knocked out of their hands or touched the ground.
As boring as the main competition was, the Inferno made up for it. I don’t think these two necessarily hated each other, but they were very physical and were talking tons of trash. Abram finished by scoring three of his balls into the basket. The pressure then turned to brad to at least equal that number of be sent home. Brad missed on two of his first three attempts, meaning he would have to score in his last two attempts to prolong his stay. He succeeded in the first attempt, and was ready for his final try. He made nice move on Abram and spun around for a little bit of a two handed slam, but instead of going in, it just hit the rim and bounced out. Doh! Brad was going home.
Although the two shook amicably, that was not the end of things. The Bad Asses are pretty cocky, but most of the people left on the Good Guys are not going to take it. Darrell was particularly pissed and started saying how he was going to make the Bad Asses his little bitch. Eventually, Abram jumped into the open arms of his teammates, and Brad watched as his team completed the walk of shame back to the house without him.
Another great episode of The Inferno II. Some may say the main competition was boring, but at least it was more original than what we normally see coming out of Bunim/Murray, and it is hard to deal with mechanical error. I still think I want the Good Guys to win because they have the least amount of objectionable members (at least for me) on their team. I am not sure what kind of money they will make because they can only hold out with fewer members for so long, but I do hope they can win nonetheless.