If there is one almost universal rule in sports and competition, it is that people always seem to love the underdog. Look at baseball, where the Red Sox came from behind 3-0 on their arch rivals the Yankees just to get to the World Series. I don’t care if you believe Boston had the better team, if your rival has picked up 26 championships in between your last two championship wins, you are the underdog. I root for the underdog whenever I watch other competitions as well. Wouldn’t you just love it if somebody actually beat Takeru Kobayashi in a hot dog eating contest? Similarly, on the Real World/Road Rules Challenge, wouldn’t you love to see somebody other than Coral, Rachel, and Veronica make it to the end?The last few Battle of the Seasons/Sexes have had some of the best examples of underdogs yet. Remember Sarah during The Gauntet? Her cast mates hated her on Campus Crawl, and Rachel and Darrell were there to spread the hate among everybody else, just in case they were thinking of forming their own opinion about her. Let’s face it, Sarah was probably way to intelligent and not camera hungry enough to last among the other Bunim/Murray glitterati, but it was great to watch her get sent back to the gauntlet and return almost every time. It was a nice f— you to all of the bullies. I wouldn’t normally qualify Katie as an underdog, because she has used her MTV celebrity to get a Playboy spread, and she doesn’t exactly shy away from confrontation, but on The Inferno, I loved watching as her teammates plotted against her, but she always foiled there plans.
In this grand tradition we come to Battle of the Sexes 2, and the underdogs have already taken a beating. Cameran and Kina didn’t even put up a fight, it seems, but Ayanna did and was tossed unceremoniously last week. Still, there are plenty of people left that we consider underdogs, and so we still hold out hope. Some may wonder why I haven’t mentioned any guys names yet. There aren’t too many guys that are simply thrown out because people don’t like them, at least if we ignore the David and Puck fiasco from last season. Cyrus was kind of an underdog during The Inferno, but to really enjoy nonsensical arguments for voting people off, you have to listen to the women of Bunim/Murray.
If people were wondering what it is about the guys team that makes them successful, we only had to look at the opening montage of this week’s show. The guys are all working out, trying to stay in good shape, perhaps because the girls aren’t giving them enough of a workout during the challenges. The girls, on the other hand, walk lie around and wonder what is wrong. I thought they would at least be congratulating themselves for voting out their hardest working player the week before. The only one of the guys who is as lazy is Derrick, but he is also always drunk, so at least he has an excuse. Everybody is talking about Derrick, and how he is a great competitor, but doesn’t have focus, which means he is the number one target for getting voted off this week. We also learn that Angela can’t make friends, at least with the girls. She does find a comforting shoulder in the form of Frank, from Las Vegas. Angela is so happy, and believes Frank is such a wonderful guy because he is the only one who will listen to her. Actually, Frank is the only person who doesn’t notice how self-absorbed Angela is, and she is the only person that isn’t bored by him in five minutes. Thus, the perfect match.
We get a reminder of the oh so subtle product placement, when the teams get their marching orders for the next day. These stupid reminders serve for no other reason than get a Verizon telephone on screen. There never is anything of substance in the message, and the players always act like it was somebody important and far away giving them the message. Well, actually, it is probably just a PA on the side that is working with the camera crew that is about five feet away. As always, they are told to “wear your bathing suit”, which gets a huge groan from the women, as if they didn’t know they would be in their bathing suits 90% of their time on the show.
This week’s competition is called “The Junk Boat” and gives our competitors a chance to test out their engineering mettle. The two teams are given a pile of junk, and they have to collect pieces from junk and fashion them into some sort of floating structure. This device has to be sturdy enough to take two groups of seven people out around a buoy in the lake and back. There is no pause to between building the boat and racing in the water, so speed and efficiency building the boat is important.
I didn’t have much confidence in the girls winning this challenge. It’s not that I didn’t think they had the intelligence to build a boat, it’s just that I thought that they would find a way to bicker amongst themselves and lose. Some of the girls were betting on this happening as well. When it came time to choose a leader, Robin and Ruthie volunteered right away. Nobody wanted to be the third leader, and who can blame them? The women haven’t exactly kicked ass in any of the challenges, so being a leader means you have a 33% chance of going home. With this in mind, Coral suggested that Angela be a leader. It was perhaps one of the most transparent attempts of strategy I have ever seen. The girls expected to lose, so they wanted somebody they didn’t like as a leader. Coral tried to come up with the lame excuse that Angela “is good at puzzles”, and Angela decided to go ahead and be leader, despite telling people she had no clue what was going on and didn’t think it would work out well. Angela knew what was going to happen, and she soon said that she didn’t feel comfortable being leader and she thought somebody else would be better at it.
All of the girls were really upset, especially Rachel. Rachel hates underdogs. As a post-op transsexual that is also a lesbian, you wonder why she doesn’t feel any empathy towards people who are marginalized. She goes on about how Angela sucks and how come she backed out of being a leader. Umm, maybe because she never thought she would be a good one in the first place, and the team wanted her to lead so they could lose and get rid of her? Veronica took Angela’s place among the leaders, and the guys picked Derrick, The Miz, and Randy.
When it came time to pick the parts, Derrick got a penalty. There was a rule that prevented the teams from building their rafts before all of the parts gathered, and so the guys lost one turn at picking parts. Still, I didn’t think the girls would pull it off. Although they had an original idea about what they should build, after Derrick’s penalty, they started picking some of the pieces the guys were using, for no other reason than the guys were using them. Perhaps it was an attempt to sabotage the other team from getting the pieces that they needed, who knows?
As the teams started building their rafts, I saw the first hopes that the girls could actually win. Their design for the raft was to make a small structure that floated on big foam cylinders. It worked out well, and the girls had something that floated and fit seven of the members in the water before the guys were even close to being done. As for the guys, they decided to make something much larger that floated on PVC pipe. It was going to hold a lot more weight and was larger, which the guys needed to fit on all at once, but it was so large and complicated, that it took a long time to build. Once in the water the raft held up, but the guys had trouble getting it moving in the water. The girls won easily, with both groups of seven competing their laps before the second guys team even got out halfway on their lap.
So, each team was in an entirely new position. The girls had to throw out a team member, and the guys had to throw out a leader. Once again, the guys went about their decision at least attempting to have some sort of reasoning in the decision. Derrick, Mike, and Randy were really lacking any sort of coherent direction, but it Derrick got a lot of the blame. As a leader, you would think he knows the rules, but he was the only person to get a penalty. Plus, as Theo said, it looked like he just came from an AA meeting. Well, I know that Theo was trying to the point across that Derrick is always drunk, but AA meetings aren’t a wild orgy of booze that would expect to find on, well, I don’t know, an episode of Bunim/Murray reality programming. If Derrick was coming back from an AA meeting, he would actually have a better chance of being sober. I guess saying “It looked like he just came back from the pool where the producers leave all the free beer and vodka” doesn’t really have the same ring to it. The Miz was worried about getting voted off, or at least acted that was on camera. He couldn’t believe they would pick Derrick to go home, since he basically won the first challenge. Theo once again chipped in saying that he would never think about voting The Miz out, but The Miz didn’t show up. Mike showed up, and Mike is no Miz. Umm, yeah. I like Theo better when he was saying “Holla at your boy!” after every phrase. The Miz is going to have another chance to show up, because Derrick was voted out in the end.
For the girls, the leaders decided they weren’t going to get personal in who they decide to vote out, and would make their decision on performance. A novel idea, for sure, but relying on some sort of objective standard will surely mean that the entire girls team is going to hate their decision. Although Angela seemed like the likely choice, Ruthie, Robin, and Veronica decided that Cythia would have to go. Near the beginning of the show, she said she had no desire to be the leader, and would never be a leader, so people should get used to it. The girls decided that wasn’t the type of attitude they wanted as they went forward, and to be honest, Cythia has been near the bottom in performance in most of the challenges. I could tell Veronica really wasn’t up for this whole plan but without Coral or Rachel to back her up, she withered under the reasoning of Robin and the pragmatic Ruthie.
On Elimination Hill as the results were announced, Derrick took the news hard. He pulled his hoodie in so people couldn’t see his tears. He thought that he showed enough for people to keep him around. I don’t think Derrick was a bad choice to vote off. He did make the largest mistake among the leaders with his penalty, and that was how the guys were deciding who goes. At least they were consistent. You kind of have to feel for Derrick because he wears his emotions on his sleeve, and really wanted to be there, but take solace in the fact that he will be around for many more challenges in the future.
When Cythia was announced, the girls almost went into a fit. Although they were trying to play their anger off as some sort of love of Cynthia, they were really just upset that Angela wasn’t gone. They even said they thought the decision was bullshit right on the hill. It was so intense, I thought Jonny Mosely would do an Ashlee Simpson jig to calm the air. OK, not that it really was going to happen, but imagine how funny that would be. The girls’ anger continued as Cynthia was packing. Cynthia seemed to understand why she was voted off, and had no problem, but Tina and Aneesa had a huge problems with it. Everybody started talking about how dirty everything was getting and that they were going to start and play dirty as well. Aneesa told Cynthia she didn’t understand why people would attack her for simply saying she didn’t think she would be a good leader. Actually, it was Angela who said she didn’t want to be a good leader, but did so anyway. Sure she backed out, but Cynthia said she never wanted to be a leader, and she said she stood by that statement. When Ruthie and Robin were just saying they were trying not to make it personal, Coral immediately took offense and once again tried to make the case why people should vote out Angela. She got pretty upset, so I think she was just sexually frustrated without Abram around. In any case, it looks like the coming weeks will be full of a litany of some of the greatest bitching we have seen in a long time. I am not sure if Angela is going to last, but I hope she sticks around long enough to get her teammates really pissed.