This is it, folks. The moment we’ve all been waiting for. The big finale of The Gauntlet 2. It’s been a fun season, full of ups and downs, drama and heartache, stupidity and… more stupidity. Some people have said this Real World/Road Rules Challenge has been lackluster, but to them, I say “Feh!” Sure, we don’t ever really care about the actual outcome of any given show, but since when has that mattered? It’s all about watching these hormonally charged reality stars butt heads and attack each other, using warped and flawed logic to rationalize their silly behavior at any given time. And for that, I thank them. Each and every one of them. Even Derrick and Kina, the two biggest idiots of all.The season finale began where the last show ended: with Derrick and Timmy about to face off in the Gauntlet. This was a tough contest for the Veterans. After all, both guys really brought so much to the team. Timmy brought humor. Awful, awful humor. And Derrick brought ferocity. Ridiculous, overly-dramatic ferocity. This was a Sophie’s Choice if there ever was one, and the gravity of the situation was not lost on anyone. Except, well, the viewers who didn’t really care who went home. Actually, that’s not entirely true. I personally was hoping that Derrick’s sanctimonious reign of receding-hairline terror would come to an end, simply because I couldn’t stand to hear him make another super serious speech. That, and I feared there wouldn’t be enough coffee tables on the island to support Derrick’s rampant kicking spree.
Anyway, TJ rang the bell to commence this ever-so-dramatic bout of Reverse Tug O’ War, and right from the get-go, Timmy dominated. Derrick was whipped back like a minnow on a fishing rod and was left with little to do but grasp futilely at the sand. All the scrappiness in the world couldn’t help Derrick now. It was awesome. I laughed.
Well, inch by inch, Timmy lunged closer to his flag, and just before he made that one last surge, Derrick committed to his most overly dramatic conceit yet. “NOOOOO!!!!” he yelled as if he were witnessing his brother being thrown into a fiery pit. I’m sure when it rains, he goes outside, stretches his arms, and yells to the heavens above — just for kicks.
Sure enough, Timmy grabbed his flag, officially eliminating Derrick once and for all. Part of me wanted to do a little dance of joy. Another part of me just wanted to point at the TV and snicker. And since the latter required less energy, that’s exactly what I did. Watching a defeated Derrick lying in the sand, realizing it was allll over, was worth a whole season’s worth of ridiculousness.
Well, Derrick wasn’t the only one who could be ridiculously dramatic. Let’s not forget Kina, who was so distraught she COULDN’T EVEN WATCH. Oh, the horrors!!! As Kina bawled in her so goddamn pissed off hands, Jodi then piped up to us in an interview and said, “He just worked so hard to get here.” Yeah, well, maybe he should have worked hard at making an executive decision for the Gauntlet. Or maybe he shouldn’t have spun the damn wheel. After all, TJ did seem to have that special Captain’s Choice/Beach Brawl touch. Anyway, Jodie continued, “To go home the day before, it doesn’t get any worse than that. It really doesn’t.” So let’s see: Cancer. Genocide. Hate crimes. Going home the day before the final challenge on The Gauntlet 2. Yeah, Jodi’s right. It doesn’t get much worse than that.
Meanwhile, Derrick’s flame may have been officially extinguished, but his spirit still lived on, mainly in Timmy who then ambled around, punching whatever objects were nearby. People, just because you’re upset doesn’t mean you have to assault inanimate objects. It’s lame. If you’re going to punch anything, might I suggest Kina? Or Aneesa?
Nevertheless, Timmy told us, “For me to send him home — it’s a HORRIBLE feeling.” Kind of the same feeling we get when we have to sit through your jokes, Timmy. (Of course, the good news of all this was that everyone was so preoccupied in being mad and dramatic that we were delightfully spared from some post-Gauntlet comedy from the Timster).
Anyway, Timmy and Derrick stood up alongside TJ for the official captain coronation ceremony, which pretty much involved Derrick anxiously kicking the sand, perhaps unleashing his wrath on an unsuspecting seashell or pebble. “Derrick, he kind of kept this team together,” Julie then told us in an interview. Wow. If that’s what the Vets were like “together,” I’d hate to see them apart.
TJ then took the floor, and I thought he might cry, just because we know how much he LOVES the integrity of the Gauntlet. However, he kept it together to deliver a typically eloquent speech: “Alright, guys. That was… that was a great Gauntlet. Uhhh… it was a battle for sure.” Yes, when it comes to wordsmiths, none can compare to Sir TJ Lavin.
Anyway, upon announcement of Derrick’s elimination, the teams gave him a standing O (well, they were already standing, but you get the point) and suddenly the music turned up as if this were some sort of great, inspirational moment. I’m sure Derrick appreciated it, but you know in his heart of hearts, he would have preferred the slow-clap transition to rousing applause. Well, moments later, Kina embraced her dear Derrick and outright bawled over his shoulder. Why? Because she’s a total idiot. It’s not like Derrick was Peyton Manning losing in the playoffs. IT’S A GLORIFIED GAME SHOW!
Soon everyone came up to hug the hero and pay their respects. Mark even put Derrick in a headlock of love. It was so moving, in a completely not moving way at all. “It’s hard to watch the undefeated champion go home,” Alton said. No, it’s WONDERFUL.
Later that night, Derrick packed up and headed to the front door, again receiving applause from the entire house. Why were they applauding? He FAILED! Plus, he looked completely wasted — just judging by his general stumbling. Bolstering my theory was that he then slurred, “I can’t believe I lost, man!” and began pounding a car roof. This then transitioned to Derrick in an interview giving some lame inspirational speech to the remaining players. Just shut up and leave already.
The next morning, it was at last time for the final challenge. Yay! But Timmy’s dumb jokes were back. Boo! Yes, Timmy was sporting a dumb hat and holding a giant pair of underwear, saying they were Beth’s bloomers. Okay, that was mildly funny. But don’t push it, Timmy. You’re still wearing a dumb hat.
Ibis — in her typically feisty manner — then told us, “There is not a chance in Gauntlet HELL that we are going to lose.” Well, there was a chance, and that chance’s name was you, IBIS. What is Gauntlet Hell anyway? Is that where Veronica and Tina hang out when they’re not on camera?
Well, everyone arrived at Gauntlet Stadium with various names scrawled on their bodies and clothing, courtesy of Sharpie I’m sure (a company that will forever suck for congratulating Danny and Melinda on their engagement, but that’s another issue). Some people had the names of fallen teammates. Others just had random family members and phrases instead. It was all some vaguely tribal method of getting psyched. I’m not going to say it looked stupid because people are entitled to whatever pre-game rituals they need, but… it looked stupid.
Anyway, the final challenge was a three-tiered event. Part one would have the teams each eating twelve pounds of Roti, which David later described as a Caribbean Burrito filled with potatoes, poultry, bones, beaks, and other odd bird parts. The second challenge was “Pirate Memory,” or as it’s known to the rest of the world, “Memory.” And for the third event, teams would basically have to participate in a relay race. Now, this may have all seemed a bit, uh, underwhelming at first, but there was a neat twist. Each team would receive 250 “Pirate Gold Doubloons” — or as I like to call them — gold coins. For each competition, the Vets and Rooks would have to bet at least one coin and up to a max of 248. So even though these challenges were a bit on the mundane side, this betting element added a nice dimension to the whole event. Plus, there was another twist. Each teammate could only participate in one event, but there were no limits as to how many or how few people could do those events. That meant that, for example, a team could send five people to do Pirate Memory. Or they could send one.
Well, over on the Rookies, Randy (who we all know is brilliant, according to Ibis) said the team should go all in on one event they felt confident in — a.k.a. the relay race. And so MJ, Alton, and Landon were to race their hearts out in the third competition. Seemed kind of risky to me, but whatever — I’m not one to question the nuggets of sheer brilliance coming out of Randy’s mouth. Anyway, Susie and Kina would be doing the memory game, and as for the eating, that would be Randy, Jamie, Jodie, and, of course, Ibis. Hey, gotta play to your strengths. By the way, I was very disappointed that we wouldn’t get to see Ibis struggling with a ten mile run. To paraphrase Brad, I feel very violated right now! VERY violated!!!
Over on the other team, Julie came up with essentially the same plan as Randy, except whereas the Rookies would bet everything on sprinting, the Veterans would go for broke on the eating contest. And so the Vets placed Timmy, Robin, Mark, Julie, and David on the first challenge, Katie on memory, and Aneesa on sprinting. Why Aneesa wasn’t part of the eating crew is beyond me. Anyway, if all went to plan, then the Vets would win one coin in the first round, bringing their total to 249, and then the Rookies would win one coin in the third round, bringing their total to 249 also — which meant it all came down to the stupid memory game. And with Kina and Susie going up against Katie, the odds were decidedly in the rookies favor. I mean, forget that the Rookies outnumber the Vets in that competition — did anyone really expect Katie to excel in a game of memory?
I need to pause the action to question the teams’ logic. What’s the point of going all-in if there’s no multiplier? Meaning, if the Vets bet 248 coins and win, they don’t actually get 248 additional coins back. They only get their part plus whatever the other team bet. So if the Vets bet 30 coins to the Rookies 1 coin, they’d still wind up with a total of 249 if they won, but if they lost, they’d only be down 30 coins instead of 248 and… wow. I can’t believe I’m trying to even analyze this. Forgive me. Point is — the number of coins bet didn’t really matter. It all came down to best two out of three — kind of takes the thrill out of the whole betting scenario.
Okay, so onto the first challenge: eating! We’ve waited all season for a mass ingestion event, and at long last, here it was. There were a few rules: teams had to have their mouths clear before they could be declared winners and secondly, the first team to throw up would automatically lose. Not a problem for Ibis, I’m sure.
Well, the event kicked off and everyone began chowing down. This meant the typical heavy metal-infused eating montage, capped with Kina screaming, “IBIS! PLEASE!” Turns out that Ibis was having quite the difficult time with the challenge — imagine that! But amazingly, despite the Veterans having an extra person to take down the roti, the Rookies gave them a run for their money, finishing at nearly the exact same time as their rivals. But it was all for naught. TJ rang the bell and declared the Veterans the winners. WELL! Not according to Kina! She accused the Veterans of not swallowing their food and yelled, “WE WON!! WE F*CKIN’ WON!!!!” Wow, I’ve never seen Kina pissed before! This is a first!
“Don’t you see, people? I AM AN IDIOT!!!”
With pandemonium breaking out between the teams, TJ finally stepped in and controlled the situation. “I’m gonna check the tapes, and then we’ll decide, alright? CHILL,” he said. Consider us chilled! While TJ surveyed the Instant Replay, Mark went off and complimented David for getting out of the way and vomiting off in the distance, unlike Julie who stood around with a mouthful of food in front of the cameras and other team. Stupid Julie. How you have disappointed the Faux-Hawk’d one!
Sure enough, the video footage revealed that Kina was regrettable correct. Julie had tons of food in her mouth whereas the Rookies had been done for fifteen seconds. And so the Vets lost their sure-thing. How did they let that happen? (Later in the reunion show, Mark admitted that he and David had some sort of stomach flu the night before. So why did they place all their manpower on the dumb eating contest? Why not memory? Idiots. They deserved to lose for that). Well, faced with insurmountable odds, the Veterans decided to quit the entire challenge. The way they saw it, there was no way that Aneesa could beat MJ, Landon, and Alton in a sprinting contest. This was true, but hey, we still wanted to see it! Oh well. I guess the Veterans didn’t want to go out on the unsightly image of Aneesa wheezing her way down a racecourse.
And so, in a totally lame ending to the season, the Veterans conceded defeat, thus delighting Kina and validating (at least, in her dumb mind) all her idiotic words and hypocritical actions. God, she sucks. Nevertheless, the Vets were gracious in defeat, with Julie telling us, “Through this whole competition, they’ve been winning and winning and, like, having better strategy and more unity. They deserve it.” Hey, Julie, you guys had unity too! After all, DERRICK was holding you together, right??
Perhaps the most shocking part of this entire debacle was that TJ didn’t even give us one last lecture about quitting. He just let the Vets throw in the towel! Just like that! And so, the Rookies huddled together into a circle and celebrated. It would have been a nice moment had the camera not taken a disturbing perch right under Ibis’s undulating ass. I thought that booty was going to come crashing right through my TV screen.
Later, the various teammates reflected on the win, with Kina telling us, “I’m a rich bitch!” Well, emphasis on the latter word. The team then received a commemorative check for $150,000, which would have been if the “big check” weren’t the size of board game. When you give away a check for $150,000, that shit better be at least as big as a large plasma TV. Even more unsightly than this tiny fake prop, however, was Randy who was so happy, he even put a ball in his shirt — you know, the old “I’m pregnant” gag — which was so funny WHEN WE WERE FIVE YEARS OLD. Sadly, after replaying the shot many times, I questioned if there really was a ball in there or if that was just his expanding gut. Either way, Randy is brilliant, and I’m not going to make fun of him anymore.
Gut or ball up his shirt? You decide.
We then sat through an interminable ending sequence which featured the various contestants marveling at the long, twisty road that is The Gauntlet 2. As we saw footage of old fights and conflicts, Ibis said, “All the tears that have been shed, all the arguments that have been had, it has totally been worth it.” Well, FOR YOU. Not so much for the Vets. She then added, “Because in the end, we all came together as a team.” Yes, they all came together as a team. At least, those of them who hadn’t been railroaded off thanks to a witch hunt.
Two minutes later, we were still watching a clip montage, and it was all I could do to stay away from the fast forward button. We SAW the season. We don’t need to see it again now that it’s OVER. Finally, as we saw a placid view of the ocean and show faded to black, Alton’s disembodied voice said, “You know, life is a competition. The Gauntlet doesn’t end here.” SO PROFOUND! But seriously, don’t try to add any relevance to this show. There is none. And that’s why we love it.
What did you think about this season? And what about the finale? Should the Vets have changed their strategies? Were you happy with the outcome?
(As for the reunion, I’ll recap that later. The Apprentice beckons).