Last season on The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, we had to wait until the very last episode before we got some gross-out event. This time around, we needed only hang around three weeks before enjoying the site of reality stars spewing and gagging their hearts out. To be fair, no food actually had to be consumed on last night’s Fresh Meat, but that didn’t stop this find-the-key-in-the-slop challenge from being vile-tastic. Just about the only thing more nauseating was Melinda, who spent half the episode pining after her long-lost, wannabe Abercrombie model of a boyfriend, Danny. Yes, it was a tough week for her: separated from her man and forced to stick her face in nasty bean mush. But it’s all worth it to extend the fifteen minutes, right?This week’s episode began on a rowdy note as we saw the Fresh Meat chumps partying at a bar, saying how much fun they were having on The Challenge. Everyone was going wild. Even Diem was gettin’ down — cancer style! Eric, the fat guy who looks like an overweight Howie from Big Brother, then came on the screen and said, “If I can keep everyone laughing, they’re not gonna think about voting me off.” That meant that in the next thirty minutes we’d see him either do a cannonball or get voted off. Actually, neither happened as this was the last we heard from him all episode (except for a few expository comments).
Next thing we knew, Tina was on screen, blinding our eyes and destroying our ears with her presence. “Us alumni — REAL alumni — have been here doing this shit for years!” she boasted. Congratulations. And what have you accomplished? It’s not like you’re any more skilled than you were three years ago. Meanwhile, I like how Tina rallies behind that “REAL alumni” label as if it were her birthright. Let’s not forget she was only on about five episodes of Road Rules. What an idiot.
Speaking of which, we then caught up with Melinda who was on the phone with her wicked awesome boyfriend Danny. And yes, she was complaining about how much she missed him. “Danny, I’m not made for this type of stuff,” she said, “This is the last place I want to be. If I’m not here with you, I don’t want to be here.” She then added, “I am completely and totally dependent on you on account of all my rampant Daddy issues. I want to be the short-brimmed cap to your balding head.”
Melinda then explained to us how this distance was surely driving Danny nuts. “I think Danny worries that things can go wrong in our relationship,” she said. To say that Danny worries would be an understatement. This is the same guy who broke up with her when she theoretically said she’d date Prince Williama. Anyway, Melinda then complained, “I’m still here, and Danny was the one who wanted to do this whole thing.” Personally, I found this very amusing because when I met Danny back in September, he would not stop ranting about how he was portrayed on The Real World. He said his family had stopped talking to him because in an interview he had accidentally made it sound like he and his mother didn’t talk anymore prior to her death when in fact they had reconciled. Because of this, Danny blamed MTV and everyone else for these issues at home and swore — and I mean swore — that he would never, EVER do a Challenge. This was followed by some rude comments about his hopes that certain executives would “fall in a puddle of AIDS.” Because, you know, puddles of AIDS are so common. Anyway, as we can all see, Danny really kept to his anti-Challenge promise. I’m sure he’ll now email me and say I’m lying about all this. That seems to be his M.O.
Nevertheless, poor Melinda was absolutely head over heels for the grump, and she told us, “That guy. He’s my whole life.” Yes, we know. You’re co-dependant. It’s your schtick. Let’s move on.
Well, if there was one person who had a right to be concerned about the Danny situation, it was Ryan, Melinda’s partner. He was afraid that her heart might no longer be in the game now that Danny had left, which would really suck for him. “This is my shot at something huge,” he said. Yes, something huge. Almost as huge as the leviathan faux-hawk sprouting from his head.
Ryan sort of confronted Melinda about this issue, saying that he didn’t quite understand why Danny was calling up all concerned about what type of mini-skirt she was wearing. Yes. That’s right. Danny was dictating her outfits from afar. I guess the nightly beatings won’t be too far behind!
We then headed to the dining room where everyone was chowing down on some grub. Suddenly, one of the T-Mobile Sidekick II’s twinkled. Yes, a new clue had come in! What ever could it be? “Teamwork will be the KEY to success,” it read. Oh, why that’s not a generic clue at all. I wonder… will the teams have to unlock things?
Sure enough, the next day everyone headed out to a well-mowed field for this week’s challenge, “Jail Break.” Basically, there were two jail cells, each with six bowls of “prison slop.” Teams would be shackled and handcuffed, and then they’d be forced to search through the bowls for three keys that would open the cuffs and the cell door. Oh, and they could only search through the bowls using their faces and mouths. Once free from their cages, teams would then have to run fifty yards to a finish line. Fastest time would win the challenge (and a year’s worth of Fandango tix). Plus, since last week saw the nominationa of Wes & Casey and Melinda & Ryan for elimination, this challenge would be a chance for those teams to win “pardons” and send someone else into Exile.
As the winners of the previous challenge, Coral and Evan picked the order in which teams would attempt “Jail Break,” and then we were off and running! First up were Katie and Eric versus Tonya and Johnnie. The two teams attacked their bowls of slop, happily spitting and spewing the nasty gunk out of their mouths. Katie in particular seemed on the verge of barfing with every explosive spit. It was truly a beautiful moment, especially when the producers showed her ejecting the slop from her mouth in slow-motion, replete with obligatory “Bwaaugh” sound.
Well, Tonya and Johnnie took a quick lead and wound up smoking Eric and Katie. “I just really felt team work. Team unity,” Tonya said, adding, “Oh wait. No, that was just my herpes acting up.”
Johnnie suddenly realizes that his partner is Tonya.
Johanna and Jesse were up next, and they feared treading in Tonya’s wake. “It’s unsanitary to eat out of Tonya’s bowl,” Johanna said. C’mon. If you’ve spent the past few months swapping spit with Wes, you might as well forget any notions of cleanliness you’ve been grasping onto.
Anyway, Johanna and Jesse seemed to have a big lead over Darrell and Aviv, but dumb Johanna dropped her key in the mud, costing them the win. Jesse was certainly not happy. He put on his best Sass Voice and declared, “I am just LIVID!!!” (Just imagine Rip Taylor seething that phrase, and you’ll get an idea of how he sounded).
Melinda and Ryan were up next, and they were hopeful that they’d maybe win the pardon. Yeah, probably not. They certainly did a good job, however, easily beating Wes and Casey. The reason for his loss was fairly obvious, according to Wes. He noted, “I’ve got the least intelligent and least athletic person in a game where those are the only two things that count.” Yes, but tell us about your partner! RIMSHOT!!! Seriously though. Wes is an idiot.
Next up was Tina and her partner, who weren’t too excited about sticking their faces in those bowls now that they’d been surely inundated with saliva and snot. Still, Tina kept a positive attitude. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with a little DNA,” she said, adding, “And by DNA, I mean three dozen cupcakes. MOMMA’S HUNGRY!!!”
Later, Tina described the prison slop to us, saying, “It’s just so thick and saucy. It’s just really disgusting.” Hey, isn’t that what we normally say about Tina?
Anyway, the rest of the teams came and went, with Evan and Coral rounding out the group with a lame, half-assed attempt at the challenge. The two didn’t even want to win, lest they appear too dominant. Instead, they just had fun, and as they ran to the finish line, Evan tried to tackle Coral. Too be fair, he thought he was bringing down a mighty water-balloon creature.
Chanda just ate a P’Eatzza.
“Oooh. The ovary!”
Amidst all this, Melinda and Ryan told us that they thought they had the best time (which meant they didn’t), and Theo and Chanda said they probably didn’t win, but they tried their best (which meant, of course, that they did win). Sure enough, Melinda and Ryan wound up with only fourth place while Theo and Chanda took home first. This all spelled bad news for Melinda. She had garnered lots of screen time this episode whereas Wes had only popped up a few times. Never a good sign.
Well, the two teams headed for Exile hugged everyone goodbye. I was particularly amused by Johanna who embraced her boy as if he were leaving for Iraq. Seriously, people. Get over it. The teams then filed into a van where they were blindfolded — an excessive and silly detail that served no real purpose. It’s not as if the teams would sneak out of the hotel and seek out the mysterious world of Exile.
Anyway, for those of you unfamiliar with the ways of Exile, here’s how it works. It’s basically a two mile course, and both groups carry with them the combined weight of each teammate’s luggage upon arriving in Australia. Along the way, the teams have to collect flags located at optional puzzle stations. Teams don’t have to complete the puzzles, but if they do, they might be rewarded. First team over the finish line with its flags gets to stay.
Well, our teams arrived at Exile and were given the sandbags they’d be carrying around. Wes had 56 lbs., Casey 57 lbs., Ryan 55 lbs., and Melinda? 101 LBS. “Melinda and I obviously aren’t light packers,” Ryan said. Uh, actually you are. It’s Melinda I’m not so sure about. Let’s not forget the last Exile where Danny also had to haul 100 lbs of sandbags compared to everyone else’s 55 lbs. He blamed it on Melinda, saying he had packed her stuff in his bag, but I think we all know he had a good 60 lbs of short-brimmed caps in there. Either way, Danny and Melinda certainly packed more than anyone else. I don’t know why. Maybe that’s what happens when you have delusions of celebrity grandeur.
Nevertheless, the teams began trekking through Exile. We already knew Wes would win. I’m not saying that based on any wacky theories or conjectures. No, the MTV promos all week long had been promising us some sort of situation where the roommates complain about Wes’s cockiness, and quite frankly, that hadn’t even happened yet in the episode. We knew he’d have to emerge victorious.
Anyway, Wes and Casey took a lead and arrived at the first puzzle. It was a word with no vowels or spaces: “FYCNRDTHSTHNDRPYRBGS.” The producers might as well have had them identify shapes and colors. It took J-Unit and me about 45 seconds tops to figure this bad boy out: “If you can read this, then drop your bags.” Wes and Casey, on the other hand, weren’t quite able to grasp this brainteaser. The two studied it for about three seconds until Wes finally gave up and insisted they move on. So much for all that talk about having the least intelligent partner. By the way, other things that confound Wes: words with double-letters, clouds, and yarn.
Melinda and Ryan then arrived at the puzzle, and at the very least, they tried to figure it out. “Okay, so… F. Y. Ffffffuh!” Melinda said. Oh, this would not be good. But I judged too soon. Melinda may be dopey, but she’s not an idiot. “If you can ride this, then drop your bags!” she said. Oooh. Close. Try again! “If you can read this, then drop your bags! If you can read this, then drop your bags!!!” she yelled. Yay! She got it! I really couldn’t stand her undying devotion to Danny, but how could I not root for the prospect of a Wes upset?
Well, the two dropped their bags, or “begs,” as Melinda called them, and sprinted to the next puzzle, which, according to Casey, “is a weird diagram where you’ll have to move each box so that they’re touching each other with one red box.” Why, that makes perfect sense! Anyway, just as Melinda and Ryan were closing the gap and poised to take the lead, they suddenly realized that they had forgotten to take the flag from the first puzzle. D’oh! Okay, they’re ruined. Too bad, they could have won.
Ryan then ran back to get the first flag while Melinda toiled at the puzzle, but it was to no avail. She couldn’t figure it out; so they just gave up and ran forward. Instead of seeing how this race wound up, we instead cut back to the house where all the teams awaited the arrival of the winners. Who would it be? Who would it be? A black SUV pulled up, and out stepped… Wes and Casey. Damn. Oh well. It was expected.
We then went back in time and watched the final moments of Exile as Melinda and Ryan stumbled in last. TJ bid them adieu, and Melinda made a special mention of how she didn’t quit. Don’t worry, Mel. We believe you. Had you shown the faintest sign of giving up, believe me, TJ would have reamed you out. He HATES anti-climactic showdowns!
As the losers then headed off, Ryan addressed Melinda through an interview: “I really wish you had more umph in you in this game. I don’t think that you wanted to be here, and that sucks for me.” Hey, way to be a dick, RYAN. Danny’s so going to punch him in the face when he meets him, even if he winds up in the slammah.
Melinda, on the other hand, had only happy things to say. Well, more like annoying things. “I love you Danny, and I’m coming home, and I can’t wait to hug you and kiss you,” she said, adding, “And afterwards, we can spend all afternoon leafing through Short Brimmed Cap Quarterly.”
Back at the house, Wes reveled in his victory, saying, “I’m just too good. And I don’t want to be cocky.” Theo then told us that he would happily send Wes into Exile as many times as it would take. And with that, the episode came to a close. Yes, the big Wes-Is-Cocky dilemma lasted about 45 seconds. Now that’s what I call storytelling!
What did you think of this episode? Happy to see Melinda go? Sad to see Wes still around?