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Things are winding down on The Gauntlet 2, and sadly, so is the drama. Don’t get me wrong — it’s still always amusing to watch these teams snipe at each other for various crimes against humanity such as slow tire maneuvering or unjust Gaunlet selections. But whatever happened to the days of nonsensical screaming fits? Whatever happened to the petty witch hunts? And whatever happened to suing an island nation over flagrant chocolate syrup misuse? It looks like the best Gauntlet days might be behind us (but then again, if next week’s preview is any indication, Beth could be stirring the pot yet again). Nevertheless, this week’s show was amusing as always, but it lacked the certain level of drama we’ve come to expect. And for the umpteenth time in a row, the biggest excitement came from watching hapless reality stars plummet into the ocean. C’mon, people. Can’t you yell at each other a little more? Katie — why have you been so quiet this season? Attack! ATTACK!Well, this week’s episode started off at the club with all our favorite couples: Jodi and Alton, Mark and Timmy, and Derrick and booze. While everyone partied and had a fantastic time on the island of Trinidad and Tobago, Ibis suddenly spoke to us, all fired up and ready to bust some ass. “We’re a strong team!!” she insisted loudly. Okay, okay. Settle down. Why are you so worked up? And have you been here all season? Oh, that’s right. You’re the girl who quietly follows Kina around everywhere she goes. Total sidekick material.
Anyway, Ibis’s assertive insistence that the Rookies were strong immediately led me to believe that they’d be failing miserably this week (and the MTV on-air promos didn’t help either), but just in case I wasn’t totally convinced, we then returned to La Casa Del Gaunlet where Jeremy was grumbling by the computer. You see, everyone had just returned from the club at 1:30 AM, and wouldn’t you know it? They had woken up poor Jer-Dawg. Now he was complaining about it. Look dude, you should just be happy you’re allowed on these shows. And what were you doing asleep so early anyway? You do realize you’re on the Real World/ Road Rules Challenge, right? You’re supposed to be getting shitfaced every night. Not sleeping. Whatever. Maybe you should take your act over to PAX.
Nevertheless, Jeremy had a lot on his mind. “No self-control!” he scoffed. “If you can’t practice it when you’re off the field, then you’re not going to practice it when you’re on the field.” This is coming from the same kid who wound up getting wasted and booting before some pivotal Road Rules challenge, if I remember correctly. Oh well. All this bitching means one thing: he’s going into the Gauntlet.
Later that night — or morning, as it were — we then saw MJ sitting around with his hair pulled back into a pony tail. And yes, obnoxious facial hair was still present and accounted for. Basically, he looked like some lame villain from Miami Vice. Anyway, after teams received their clue (something cheeky like “Don’t get too TIRED!”), the Rookies gathered on the porch for a random pep talk. “I do not think I’ll be seeing the inside of a Gauntlet, but if we do, it’ll be a war,” MJ said. Okay. I change my mind. Jeremy’s out. MJ’s in.
The next morning, we finally learned about the next challenge (and no, Timmy was not dressed in his wig and bikini shirt). Teams had to crawl through a series of tires that were hanging from a rig over the ocean. Each time someone crawled through the twenty-four tires, that person would then have to drop a tire into the water. And then the last person had to drop two tires. Or something like that. Each team would get a point for every tire, but if someone were to fall, all the points would be erased (why not just give one point for every person who makes it through? Why assign points to each tire if it’s all or nothing each round? Oh, I don’t know. I don’t care). Oh, and if someone falls, the next person going through would then have to drop two tires in the water. Basically, this was a really, really convoluted competition that essentially boiled down to people crawling through tires.
Well, the rookies decided to bench Randy because he was too big. I personally would have benched the shortest person on the team, but that’s just me and that crazy “logic” concept I like to use every now and then. Over on the Vets, there was a lot of talk about Beth and whether or not she would do well and blah blah blah. Julie noted that Beth had talked like she could handle this challenge, but could she really? Probably not. But then again, as MTV had reminded us, this challenge was going to be about Alton screwing up; so I really wasn’t too concerned about Beth’s performance.
Anyway, the Katie attacked the tire course first, and as she scrambled through, she told us how worried she was that she didn’t have enough body to stretch from tire to tire. Couldn’t she just swing the tires? Nevertheless, she made it through fine and was followed by David who managed to lose his pants in the midst of everything. Pants or no pants, he made it through also, and just when we were thinking that this challenge might be a cake walk, good ol’ Beth showed up, ready to piss off her team. She managed to crawl into the tires, but at a certain point, she stalled, unable to go any farther. Eventually, her team told her to just drop in the water (way to encourage her), and with that, all of her points evaporated from the board. This, of course, led to groans, eye-rolling, and various looks of “I told you so!”, especially after every other person on the team slithered through the tires with no problem. By the end of the heat, the Veterans had performed well but were nervous and anxious that Beth’s fall would be the death of them. Don’t worry, guys. A) The Rookies have dominated the interview segments, and B) Ibis did verify how amazingly strong her team was. Therefore, it was clear that the Rooks would be losing this week.
Sure enough, the cocksure Ibis was first up for her team, and within seconds, she found herself dangling between two tires, jeopardizing the slim lead the Rookies had. Never mind that this was the easiest heat of them all, and never mind that you had to be a total idiot to screw up this challenge this early. Ultimately, Ibis lost her grip and dropped into the ocean below, utterly failing in a most embarrassing way. Ha. As she then cried in the arms of her teammates, I couldn’t help wondering why the team had benched Randy instead of her. Was there a mandatory guy/girl ratio that had to be preserved? Probably. Okay, never mind.
It ain’t easy bein’ Ibis.
Luckily, the rest of the Rookies weren’t nearly as inept as Ibis, and they all made it through the course without incident. Kina had some minor difficulties as she found herself twirling momentarily in one of the tires. I was surprised she didn’t lash out and accuse the tire of conspiring against the team. “Listen Tire. You can say whatever you want, but I know what I know, and you can’t change that!”
Eventually, Kina made it through, and everything seemed to be going just wonderfully for the team. The only person left was Alton, and being that he’s Superman and all, this really shouldn’t be a problem for him, right? Again — flashback to MTV promos. Okay, so Alton found himself in a bit of a spot on this course. With so many tires gone, he couldn’t quite cross the gap at one point, no matter how hard he tried. And yes, he tries to swing, but that didn’t work. Why the Rookies didn’t have their tallest guy, MJ, go last is beyond me. If I were Alton, I would have grabbed onto the dangling chords from where the tires used to be and used those for leverage, but alas, he decided instead to climb out onto the tire and attempt to jump. The operative word there was “attempt” because no sooner had he straddled the tire in a strange, uncomfortable way, than he was suddenly hanging from it, his fingers the only thing between him and a team loss. It was kind of like an action movie, minus the excitement.
Still, this was Superman Alton, we were talking about, and if there was anyone capable of crawling back up into the tire and finishing this course, it was him. Unfortunately, the one thing he couldn’t do was slow down time, and oh yeah, guess what? There suddenly was a time limit on this challenge. Funny how things can suddenly change like that. Well, the clock ticked down to zero, Alton dropped into the water, and the Veterans won, causing Derrick to yell, “Now we can f**king celebrate!!!” YEAH!!! SOMEBODY GET THE PERIWINKLE KNIT CAP!!!
At the Gauntlet deliberations, Alton apologized to his team for falling (and what about you, Ibis? No apologies from you??), and without much fanfare, he chose Jeremy (ah ha! It was him after all!) to go into the Gauntlet. Why Jeremy? Why not? Alton later explained that it was because Jeremy has never been a standout for his team (nor the series, really), but Jeremy felt differently. “C’mon! Wake up and smell the coffee,” he ranted to the camera. “This is not the right decision!” For God’s sake, he has a faux-hawk!! What else must he do to prove himself??
Anyway, TJ spun the wheel of misfortune, and let me guess: Captain’s Choice? Surprisingly, no. Instead, the wheel landed on “Capture the Flag,” which officially put Jeremy’s chances at beating Alton in the Gauntlet at about 3.5 million to 1. Seeing that this Gauntlet would be totally predictable, the producers thankfully spared us from the typical pomp and circumstance and simply headed right to the competition. TJ fist-bumped the two guys, and they were off. Well, almost off. First Jeremy had to say a little prayer: “Everything is always in your hands, Lord. Honor and glory be yours. Amen.” Just assuming on this one, but I tend to think Jeremy’s request for divine intervention in the Gauntlet probably was not at the top of God’s priority list.
For those of you uninitiated with “Capture the Flag,” in the Gauntlet, it basically means two guys have to climb a cargo net and grab a flag. First one to snag it wins. (By the way, I personally would love to see these teams play normal Capture the Flag. Next season, perhaps?) Well, Alton just happens to be a whiz with climbing, and as expected, he scurried right up the net and claimed his booty. Jeremy, meanwhile, looked as if he’d maybe gotten two feet off the ground. Oh well. All’s well that ends lamely. Jeremy conceded defeat, but not before any last minute griping. He told us that his lack of partying with the group really hurt him in the end. Whatever you say, dude. Have fun in “Wait, who are you again?” land.
Amusingly, the last minutes of the show weren’t dedicated to watching Jeremy hug everyone goodbye (DENIED!). Instead, we watched Brad complaining about Beth, saying that he doesn’t want her around for the final mission. Might there be a mutiny? Will the Vets throw the next challenge on the off chance that they can oust Beth in the Gauntlet? That would be pretty seditious, and I would totally welcome it. Next week, btw, it looks like we’re in for some classic Gauntlet stuff. Kina says that she’s pissed off about something — shocker — and Beth utters that classic reality show line: “If you have something to say, say it to my face.” Her blotchy, bug-eyed face. Oh, that was mean of me. Don’t worry, Beth. If you’re reading this, at least take comfort that I’m totally rooting for you to stick it to your teammates.
What do you think? Did the Rookies totally screw themselves over by having Alton as their anchor? And who do you want to win next week?