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Last week, The Duel aired on Thanksgiving, which meant that instead of recapping it, I was with my family, enjoying pumpkin pie, and being thankful for various whatevers in life. Actually, to be honest, I had a stomach bug and wound up barfing into a toilet on Thanksgiving, but that’s neither here nor there. Point is that I felt it was important that I not spend Thanksgiving with our favorite group of drunkards and crybabies, and that was a good choice because had I spent last Thursday watching The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, I surely would have been too angry at the outcome to have enjoyed this national holiday. Luckily, there’s karma in the MTV universe, and while last week’s episode was nothing short of outrageous, at least we had divine justice on tonight’s Duel. It was basically a win-win situation for the viewers, and that’s all we can really ask for.Anyhoo, let’s do a little housekeeping. If you missed last week, you didn’t miss too much. There was the joy of hearing TJ Lavin say “Rafty Race,” and of course, there was the moment when Derrick and Kina both were disqualified for not paying attention to the simplest rule, thus maintaining my belief that the two of them may just be the dumbest people on MTV. But the big story that came out of last week was that Svetlana was picked to go into the Duel, and for whatever reason, she decided to challenge Beth, her own ally (I think the choice stemmed back to some fight at the beginning of the episode that my Tivo cut off). Well, the two girls met in the Duel for an event called “Push Me” where they both had to, you guessed it, push a rotating beam in opposite directions. The first girl to reach this one flag and unclip it would win. Well, Beth easily reached the flag, but she tore it off instead of unclipping it (even though she did unclip the carabiner seconds later). Anyway, this resulted in a DQ, and just like that, the most interesting cast member was unceremoniously booted from the game. Sigh.
This week’s show started with Wes fearing that he might be the next guy to go into the Duel, but in an effort to save himself, he was gonna try to manipulate his way out of it. Of course, we knew that wouldn’t happen because a) Wes is an idiot. He couldn’t manipulate himself out of anything. And b) MTV’s been showing promos all week long that clearly display Wes going into the Duel. Nevertheless, Wes informed us that he really wanted to ask Johanna to marry him so they could start a life together. “That $150,000 is a big ring and a fancy wedding and the start of my life. So this means a lot more to me than to just set up a bank account,” he told us. Of course, if he were to splurge all that money on a big ring and a fancy wedding instead of putting it in a bank account, he’s a bigger idiot than I ever would have thought.
The next day, Derrick told Jodi that he really wanted to win one of these challenges, especially seeing how this is his fifth one. As we all know, he has a tremendous track record of being eliminated just before the final challenge, and I could only hope the tradition would uphold itself once again. Ha. Derrick sucks.
Speaking of sucking, we then went over to MTV’s van of love where CT was questioning Diem about her birthday, which just so happened to be that day. He announced that he’d be giving her a cake in his birthday suit, but don’t get too excited, ladies. He was just making a wicked good joke.
The gang then all headed over to TJ Lavin, who announced that they were standing amidst sand dunes. For no real reason, this caused everyone to clap. I guess they do that every time they arrive at a challenge, but it still doesn’t make sense. It’s not like showing up at a golf course or marina inherently deserves an ovation. Anyway, TJ announced the title of this week’s event: “Pole Dance.” This led to general snickering — because it is that funny — and then TJ told us the rules. Basically, the group would be split into two teams, each with three guys and three girls. Each team would have to find a way to climb a greasy pole and retrieve a flag atop it. First team to yank the flag down would advance to the next leg. For part two of the event, the winning team members would then compete against each other in a footrace across the beach and through some dunes, culminating in a tricky trek up a slippery slope. Yes, the producers had lain out two huge, greased up tarps that were sure to cause problems. First man to the top of the dune would win immunity. First girl would win… a sound system. Yay! Svetlana then came on screen to say how normally she’d want the prize, but since it was Diem’s birthday, she’d be just as happy if Diem won. How lovely. Let’s now take a moment to stare at Svetlana’s awful fake tribal tattoo. Memo to women across the world: never get that done for real.
After the commercial break, the two teams (which were picked earlier) attacked the first leg of the competition. There was lots of mounting and pushing and groaning, all peppered with various commentary about just how icky and gross those greased up poles were. Eventually, CT’s team won, which meant CT, Evan, Wes, Robin, Diem, and Svetty were advancing.
For the second leg, Wes shot out to an early lead while Diem fell behind, thanks to a bothersome knee. Kina told us that she didn’t want Svetlana to win because it would ruin “the selection process.” She then added, “But then again, as long as it doesn’t affect my shake and bake tan, I’ll be fine.”
Anyway, the men reached the slippery slope first, and immediately, CT complained in stereotypical Boston-ese, “It’s wicked hahd getting up this tahhp. It’s wicked slippery!” I kid you not, I thought he said “Top,” but luckily he repeated the word so often that I realized he was merely saying “tarp.” Well, wicked slippery tahp be damned. Evan realized that if he stabbed the tarp with his toes, he could gain a footing, and as a result, he scampered quickly up to the top where he won immunity from the Duel.
The girls reached the tarps soon after, and they too discovered that they were wicked haaahd to climb. Diem seemed to take the lead, but like a gooey game of chutes and ladders, she wound up sliding all the way back down to the bottom. Eventually, she realized that if she followed in Evan’s footsteps, she might be able to gain more traction. Sure enough, his toe indentations were still there, and she was able to use them to propel herself onwards and upwards, taking first place for the women and earning a new car stereo for her birthday. Every girl’s dream!
Well, at long last, it was time for the Duel selection process. Evan picked Diem, who picked CT, who picked Kina, who picked Derrick, who picked Jodi, who picked Eric. That left just Brad and Wes as the final two guys, and for whatever reason, Wes told the remaining girls that they should just pick Brad and send Wes into the Duel. Way to manipulate your way out of that one! Grade A scheming! Even more amusing was that Wes preceded his instructions by saying, “I’ll make it easy on you guys.” I liked his assumption that the girls were even contemplating picking him in the first place.
Sure enough, Eric picked Robin, who in turn picked Brad (as if she wouldn’t do that anyway), which meant that Wes was officially going into the Duel. But who would he pick?
The lucky bastard going into the Duel was… Derrick! Hahaha. YES. Honestly, how could we lose? It’s a battle of the tools! To Wes’s credit though, he’s much more tolerable this season (even though he does suck), unlike Derrick who continues to be frustratingly annoying. Well, Wes explained his choice patronizingly, saying he picked Der-Der “Just to see who’s the best at this.”
“I would not want it any other way,” Derrick answered, adding, “Well, I mean, if vodka could be involved, I’d prefer that.” Nevertheless, Derrick stepped up to the plate wearing his Towel of Gravitas, as usual, and then Wes plucked a card from TJ’s hands. Well, he didn’t really pluck as much as he merely poked. Either way, tonight’s Duel event was none other than Pole Wrestle (something both guys are probably fairly well-acquainted with). For once, this looked like it would be a good showdown. Would the scrappy Derrick persevere? Or would the bulky Wes win out? Either way, I was massively disturbed that I found myself quietly hoping that Wes would win. I need to vomit.
For his sake, Derrick was fairly confident that he could win (always a bad sign). He told us, “I’ve been practicing.” Huh? How do you practice pole wrestling? I can just imagine Derrick tussling around in his backyard with a stick. Svetlana, meanwhile, was rooting for Wes. “If we slowly, one-by-one pick apart these veterans,” she said, “we have an incredible chance at winning.” Yeah, maybe you should have thought about that BEFORE you challenged Beth to a Duel. It’s a lot easier taking out big alliances if you don’t, you know, take out your own first.
Right before the Duel started, Wes did get a little cocky, saying that yeah, Derrick had a history of beating bigger guys, but “I have a history of never losing.” Clearly Wes didn’t realize that wrestling with a stick was significantly different than, you know, running around Australia with a few sacks and a flag. Anyway, as you can imagine, Derrick and Wes went to town in the Duel. The guys wrestled and wrestled and wrestled and wrestled. For his part, Derrick seemed to get off his knees quite a bit, going so far as to actually stand up on his feet at times. Clearly the DQ Nazis that took out Beth last week were on vacation this time around.
I had to admit that this all was pretty exciting. I genuinely had no idea how it would all shake up. At one point, CT commented that Derrick seemed to be running out of juice, which was clearly misdirection. I guess that meant Wes would be losing. Or would it? Turns out it wasn’t misdirection at all. After what seemed like an eternity, Wes finally yanked the pole right out of Derrick’s hands, causing the girls to react with shocked gasps. C’mon now. It’s not like Wes had shot him in the face. Nevertheless, Derrick lay on his back overdramatically, soaking in his loss, and never one to be out-over-dramafied, Wes lay down next to him, stunned in victory. Afterwards, Wes said he had all the respect in the world for Derrick — he even wanted him to be the godfather of his kids. Great! Remind me to never go to this family reunion EVER.
Well, the guys both got on their feet, and TJ congratulated them for putting on the most intense “limnilation” round ever. Kina then asked us, “Will this poor boy ever win a challenge?” Hopefully not! Hahaha. Sucker. She then complained, “It just sucks that my support system is gone.” It sucks? I think it’s AWESOME.
As for Derrick, losing for the fifth fruitless time turned out to be a major milestone for him. “I’m gonna go home and reevaluate what I want to do with my life,” he said, improperly using the word “reevaluate” in the process (the word implies that he ever evaluated what he wanted to do with his life in the first place). Of course, I’m sure Derrick’s big reevaluation will probably be, “I think I’ll have vodka with breakfast now, not just beer.”
The episode then came to a close on a bizarre, teary-eyed note as Wes called Johanna to inform her that he’d won the Duel. He then began complaining about how much he was hurting and how hard it was, and for whatever reason, he just began to bawl. He wept that he missed her and “I want to marry you so bad!” Yeah yeah yeah. Be a man. SUCK IT UP!!!
Eh, it was worth it to see him cry.
What did you think about this episode?