I am sure that everybody is really stoked that El Paso was chosen as a backdrop for this latest challenge. Or not. Usually, MTV springs to rent out some property in a nice resort town. El Paso has given us Elimination Hill and, um, uh, those strange pyramid/ant hills/termite nests we got at the beginning of this week’s episode. It looks like Bunim/Murray knew that there might be some complaining about the arrangements, so they decided to placate everybody by using mass quantities of alcohol. This little addition has surely brought us some great moments, but the best arguments arise not from intoxication, but from the inherent human need for irrational confrontation and shameless rationalization in an attempt at self-preservation.At the early part of the show we learned about two loves. First, it was the love that Ayanna had for Aneesa. No, not like that. Ayanna gets a little unhinged at times and her intensity in the past has put her at odds with some teammates. This year, it was nothing but love for Aneesa, so much that Ayanna said she would save her from an oncoming train. Aneesa gave some sort of half-hearted response akin to telling your dentist “Yes, I agree” after they let you know they are going to have to pull some wisdom teeth. The other love was that of this year’s most interesting budding romance, the one that has us imagining the unholy alliance of Coral and Abram. This has come as a surprise for some people, considering some of Abram’s comments about anything but the most lilly-white fornication during his stint on Road Rules: South Pacific. Abram is over it now, and says “the only color I ever see is beauty”. I think the only color he ever sees is a set of huge tits. Whatever the motives, we early on had strong hints that of a few people who would be key players for whatever Jonny Mosely had waiting for them later in the episode.
So far we have had a strength endurance challenge, a conquer fear/counting challenge, and the ever-popular pent up sexual energy challenge. What could be better than following all of that up with a gross out/puzzle challenge? Teams of guys and girls would face off against each other eating various foul items, or mass quantities of slightly less foul items. The winning team would go on to the puzzle part of the challenge, where they would join the rest of their successful teammates in putting together a puzzle, after first rushing across a balance beam to get all of the pieces. Oh yes, I forgot the most essential part of the challenge, the team that won their eating challenge got to blow up life-sized cardboard cutouts of their opponents. Uh, yeah, that’s makes a lot of sense. I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point, the producers have some sort of rhythmic gymnastic battle during the season. For their trouble this time, the winners each took home a video phone, which will be great when they need to invite each other to the Saddle Ranch or their next pool party. Captains for the men were Steven, Mark, and Chris. Coral and Sophia stepped up for the ladies, and when nobody else seemed like they wanted to lead, Ayanna said she would do it. It’s actually a very bold move. Considering how poorly the girls are doing, she is basically giving herself a 1 in 3 shot at being eliminated. I wonder how her teammates will reward her.
The eating contest wasn’t all that bad, most of the food was cooked. And seriously, how bad can any gross out challenge be where one of the supposedly terrible foods is peanut butter? Now, they didn’t get any milk to wash that peanut butter down, but there was only a couple of foods that were instant vomit-inducing, among them the ubiquitous cow brains. I still don’t think they have really justified any challenge requiring a leader, but this one came the closest, as I guess there was some strategy involved with picking strong teams to eat the food. As we have come to expect by now, the women were outclassed by the guys in this challenge, but this time they managed to at least keep it close, winning two challenges on performance and one on a puking disqualification. For the guys, Abram had a puking disqualification and Theo made out with Arissa’s cutout, which didn’t have the least bit of staged quality to it. Really, it didn’t. Most importantly for the girls, the puzzle portion of the test was still left, so the girls had a realistic shot at winning the whole thing, if only somebody could form a coherent strategy for their puzzle.
If you are wondering, there was only one member of the chosen female leaders who made it past their eating challenge. It was, of course, Ayanna, who had to be coerced into leading, but tried her best to get her team ahead. Surely her supporting cast would be ready to listen to her as they put together the puzzle, right? Well, not exactly. The puzzle wasn’t super hard, and the teams were even given a key to see how to put it together. I bet the girls wish they didn’t piss Sarah off about ever participating again during the Gauntlet, because they could have used her puzzle solving skills at this time. After seeing that nobody was getting anywhere trying to follow the conflicting directions of Ibis and Angela, Ayanna had enough and decided to regulate. Saying a few people should read the key and give directions to people placing the pieces on the board. Sound strategy, but unfortunately, the girls had already did a little fubar job on the puzzle, so Ayanna’s pleas for sanity didn’t mean any thing when it came to securing a victory because the guys won. Each videophone was worth $1100, which seems like a great haul, but when you think you could have easily bought a laptop and a video camera that would give you the same capabilities, one wonders just how much that company had to pay to get their sinking product some buzz in the market.
During the girl’s deliberation, they focused their attention on their leadership, or what was missing in their leadership. Aneesa was the first to speak up and lay the blame solely on Ayanna. Many agreed that her performance as a leader was lacking, they didn’t like her style, and didn’t want somebody like that on the team. Among the people to chime in against Aneesa were Ibis and Angela, who will likely catch on to the irony of their votes after they are voted off in the next couple of weeks. Now, call me a dimbass, but I didn’t think Ayanna was all that bad. Her style is a bit abrasive, but she was a leader by example by beating the guys during the eating challenge, and she tried to regulate when chaos started during the puzzle part of challenge by doing some delegating. They lost, so she shares the blame, but she easily had the best performance of the leaders. However, after Aneesa spoke up, everybody fell in line. Again, Angela and Ibis voting for Ayanna is cruel irony. So often the newer people are complaining about how unfair it is to have the veterans around. Well, the girls had a chance to get rid of Coral, but did not capitalize. I was surpised Coral even offered to be leader, so as much as I think that she is the epitome of a lifetime challenge member, I have to say that she has now offered to be leader twice. Still, the reasons people used for keeping her around was she pulled her weight, which was not the case this evening.
In the guys house, the discussion was basically centered around The Miz and Abram. It was quite a treat looking at Mike’s expression as he talked about not wanting to go home. You see, if he goes home early, some of his friends aren’t going to be back in Los Angeles for almost ten days. That’s a tough pill to swallow. In the end, it was Abram that was shown the door. Although Abram was instrumental in their first week win, he committed a foul in the snake challenge, and was DQ’ed for puking most recently. Once again, the guys don’t really have many interesting things to say because they are all “rational” and care about “fairness” and take little things like “performance” into consideration when they vote their members out. The new guys may have a disadvantage if the decision is close, but nobody is voting off new players that do well in favor of the veterans.
When it comes time to announce the results, Abram takes it like a champ. He says he respects everybody and hopes they do well. People were shocked to hear Abram’s name, especially the women, who probably couldn’t understand why their competition won’t take intangibles into consideration when voting off their members. Then again, the women also have no clue as to why they lose every week, so I don’t think they will catch on very soon. As you can imagine, Ayanna didn’t take her rejection very well, especially the way they used Aneesa to deliver the news for her. Ayanna went down in flames, screaming at her teammates, saying she wanted to win so badly, she slept in her uniform. She even called out all of those people that sat on the side when she volunteered to be leader. For the women, this was a great example of why they voted out Aneesa. You know, you can’t have people who want to win that badly, and step up when nobody else wants to lead putting a damper on the mood of the rest of the team. Wouldn’t want any enthusiasm or anything rubbing off on the rest of the team.
Ayanna stormed off, but she wasn’t done yet. Before she left, she left her life-size cutout (people who weren’t blown up were allowed to keep theirs) on Aneesa’s bed. When Aneesa found it, she was pissed and started yelling at Ayanna, who at one point sais “You trying to kick my ass, I think it’s getting stronger [sticks her ass out]. Here, kick it”. Nothing the guys do can even come close.
With Abram’s departure, we of course had to have the resolution of Abram’s and Coral’s relationship. There was a lot of crying and a lot of sobbing. Abram went on about not being there to hold her hand would be missing her, being 10 feet away would be missing her. I would have believed a lot more in the spontaneity of the whole affair had it not been perfectly framed outside amid the sunset, and if they had decided to have their little intimate moment somewhere that wasn’t the middle of the street. I can’t comment on the intensity of their relationship, and I hope it works out for them. Nevertheless, to pretend that they are going to somehow cease to exist until Coral gets back to LA is hilarious. Abram can keep it in his pants for another week or so until Coral is shown the door, right?