Another final installment of a Real World/Road Rules Challenge season is once again upon us. After many challenges, we have whittled down the boys and the girls teams to Theo, Dan, and Eric vs. Coral, Sophia, and Arissa. If this was Vegas, the sports book would have stopped taking bets long ago. The girls have only won three challenges, and one of those wins was through some chicanery on the part of their opponents. But in the last few months, there have been a lot of streaks broken. The Red Sox won the World Series, the Redskins failed to predict the presidential winner, and the Eagles even made it to the Super Bowl. Sure this whole challenge was filmed months ago, but who am I to say that the unexpected wouldn’t happen again?If you listened to the women’s team, they still believed that they had a chance. Coral had the confidence that the girls could win. As Arissa told us, her team had the mental toughness symbolized by herself, the physical toughness embodied in Coral, and the brains that had manifest themselves in Sophia. I am not going to say that Arissa was dumb for making that statement. Actually, it is phenomenally stupid. Where do I start? Arissa has mental toughness? She was so mentally tough that she had to be coaxed into doing any challenge even nominally difficult. Her toughness culminated last week when she was going to completely give up on a challenge because of her fear of heights. Coral’s physical question should also be called into question. Sure she was able to hang onto a punching bag the longer than many of the guys, but did you see her in the final missions of the last two challenges? Spider bite in the Inferno and near death by exhaustion in the Gauntlet. Sophia might be very smart, but naming her the brains of the operation clearly mean that it was true only when you were comparing her to Coral and Arissa.
But let’s say Arissa was actually correct when she was talking about how good she and her teammates were when it came to their individual abilities. The girls are still at a disadvantage because they have exactly been the model of team chemistry. And while the guys weren’t exactly open to new and fresh faces among the elite, you could actually call some of the unselfish and not fall out of your chair laughing. As Theo said, it’s tough to figure out what will be the worst part of the challenge for the girls. Would it be a spider biting Coral? Or would it be Arissa biting Coral? You just don’t know.
Before our six idiots learned what they were going to be doing for the final challenge, everybody got together for a formal dinner, which for Eric meant putting on his nicest jeans, a black tank top, and that STUPID GODDAM JUMP ROPE. I hope he is getting some sort of money because he has crossed over from mere annoying stupidity to most likely to be picked off by a sniper. The dinner also served as a chance for everybody to say a few words about everybody else. In the unintentional irony moment of the season, Coral said that she was blessed to have a friend in Arissa, and that she didn’t really have a lot of friends. It wasn’t so much the statement that had so much irony as the tone in Coral’s voice. She sounded absolutely stunned that she didn’t have more friends and had no clue why. Hey Coral, maybe if you didn’t sell out all of your teammates in order to get ahead of these challenges, some people may actually want to talk to you. If Coral was nice, maybe she wouldn’t have to flaunt her boobs all over the place to keep people in a conversation.
Just as everybody was about to dig in, all of these commandos came storming in and started smashing things! Well, it wasn’t that exciting because the leader of the commandos was Jonny Mosely, and the rest of the commandos were clearly a bunch of production assistants and key grips who were lying around with nothing to do. Were we supposed to believe their lives were in danger? What transpired looked like a bad rendition of a fraternity sink night. The guys and girls were lined up and taken to some basement. They were then given some crackers and water and told to change into fatigues (Coral’s boobs in night vision are still impressive, BTW). Hmm, I wonder if they were going to be doing some obstacle course.
The next morning, the two teams got into separate H2s and then received a video message from Jonny Mosely. The final challenge would be known as the “Splinter Cell Escape from Santa Fe”. That would nominally mean that the challenges are supposed to make you think of the game, except the game is about one guy killing a bunch of terrorists and not about running through the desert. Jonny was vague on the details but we knew three things. Both teams would parachute into two drop zones. Once there, they would use a Magellan GPS system to navigate to three physical challenges. Once those were complete, there would be a mental challenge.
As expected, Arissa was scared to death about the skydiving. Thankfully for all of us, everybody was diving in tandem, so she didn’t have the chance to whine and complain about being afraid. She was just shoved out of the plane. There was no purpose of the skydiving other than doing something scary. Once they had reached the ground, the teams had to wait for Jonny’s signal to get started.
The first challenge had the teams crawling under a bunch of barbed wire looking for a key. And just in case you were thinking it was fake, Coral reminded us that it was real, and if it cut you, you would bleed. I am already bored to death at this point, and I am not surprised that the guys finish first, although the girls aren’t that fare behind. The key they find opens up a box containing a dog tag, and you would need a dog tag from each challenge if you wanted to complete the mental challenge at the end.
After a little more running through the desert with their GPS, the teams found their next challenge. I was wondering what they next thing would be after the barbed wire crawl. It’s sponsored by Splinter Cell, so their should be some sort of hard core commando shit waiting, right? Uh, no. The next task was to untie a bunch of knots in a rope. When all the knots were untied, you could then slide off another key to open another dog tag. What the hell is that? I know they are against physical tasks that are too imposing after Coral’s Gauntlet collapse, but isn’t untying knots just a little too easy, not to mention extemely boring? In a big surprise, the girls were actually ahead after the rope challenge, which added some suspense to the episode. This, of course, means that the producers edited the tape so the episode wouldn’t be completely boring.
The last challenge proved even easier than the first two. The teams had to find their third key underneath some bales of hay. That’s right, they had to actually lift up some hay, and search for the keys underneath. If there wasn’t enough Benadryl around, they might suffer from runny nose and itchy eyes literally hours after the task. The girls managed to squander their lead, and the guys actually build up a sizable advantage on their way to the mental challenge.
Mental challenges on games like this are quite limited. You have to have some sort of challenge that fits on a big game board. You are limited to things like puzzles, crosswords, and memory. This mental challenge turned out to be the last one. All of the members of the challenge were on a big memory board. The goal was not only to find all of the matches, but then to arrange the cast in order of their appearance in the Bunim/Murray universe. I personally think that the next challenge should incorporate a huge game of bobble, perhaps the size of a basketball court. Now that would be good television.
I would try and make the outcome a little more suspenseful, but even the producers gave up on making it look like the girls were close. The guys finished before the girls had even started their mental challenge, meaning that $180,000 was theirs. As an extra bonus, STA travel also kicked in a trip for two around the world for each winner, at a value of $15,000. Not a bad takeaway considering. (Don’t be jealous, the IRS will be taking a big chunk, and knowing how these people work, most are likely to have audits in the future.)
So, the women were absolutely embarrassed once again. Some people may wonder why I said the girls exceeded expectations, perhaps I was a little deceptive in my headline to get people to actually read or create some sense of excitement that finale failed to come up with. Actually, I was being quite truthful. Although it may have been editing, the girls actually had a lead for a little while, and they managed to complete the four mile course without giving up. That’s actually quite the accomplishment for this group. Really.
As for the rest of us, we are finally rid of this challenge. Absolutely no excitement, not enough backstabbing, and the only scandalous hookups were more likely to induce vomiting than to make us laugh. For the next challenge, I suggest that the producers reject any cast members that have been on more than two of the reunion specials. This would mean approximately half the cast would be unavailable, but it might mean some new faces would end up at the finish.