It’s that time of the year again! You know what I’m talking about. That sacred time when the faint aroma of alcohol and bodily fluids waft from the television like the tantalizing song of the soul-crushing Siren. Yes, MTV is back with another dose of The Real World/Road Rules Challenge; this time titled, The Gauntlet II. As usual, our boisterous gaggle of Bunim/Murray alumni return with that intoxicating mixture of vanity, silliness, and drunken stupidity, and we are only too happy to lap it all up. MTV was kind enough to furnish TVgasm with advance screeners of the first two episodes, and after having watched the first tape, I’m happy to report that the bizarre and ridiculous behavior is back at mock-worthy levels. Sadly, our favorite bitches Coral, Veronica, Tina, Rachel, and Tanya are nowhere to be found (WTF??), but maybe that’s because they’re kickstarting their highly lucrative careers as… uh… well, I’m sure they’re doing something. So without further ado, let’s hop aboard the S.S. Beer Bong and sail the mighty seas of The Gauntlet II. ARGGGH!!In case you couldn’t tell by my nifty onimonipooea, this season’s theme is “pirate,” which is a nice variation from previous season’s themes of “cowboy,” “Hell,” and “syphilis.” As the show opened, Robin was already bursting with excitement, saying how awesome the challenge was. Granted, at this point, she’d only been on the chartered bus for about five minutes, but seriously, that was one totally awesome bus man! YAY AWESOME BUS!!!
We then met up with aspiring alcoholic Derrick from Road Rules: Extreme (extreme, dude!) who asked, “You wanna see drive? You wanna see determination? You wanna see motivation?” He’s not talking about his career, right? Didn’t think so.
Well, the charter bus of glory came to a halt by the side of the road, causing all the reality stars to balk with fear. What the hell? No glamorous resort? Just a dense patch of underbrush?? Whoa. This is gonna be a cray-cray season! To be fair, there was more than simply grass. There was a small dock. And OMG! A platform too! Surely someone can explain this scenario to us! How about you, Beth?
“Because I’m a little seasoned at this, I pretty much knew there was gonna be a twist,” she said. And by “seasoned,” she meant “this is what my life has come to.” Ah Beth. I remember meeting her at the Playboy Mansion. She gave me seductive eyes. It was scary.
Anyway, everyone walked down the dock and piled onto the floating platform, and moments later, our new host and BMX superstar TJ Lavin popped up to greet everyone. To his credit, he was way waaaay more relaxed here than he was on the preview special. I don’t know if anyone saw that thing two weeks ago, but the dude was about two stiff lines away from being termed The Lavbot.
As TJ addressed everyone, the camera lingered on the young cast members, which allowed us to make this perm update: Adam from Paris has buzzed his hair off (well done) whereas MJ from Philly has let his dumb-fro blossom into a horrendous beast of epic proportions. Please PLEASE get wasted so that your buddies can shave that shit off when you’re passed out.
Nevertheless, TJ announced that this floating platform — or barge, as it were — would be the first challenge. And with all of America’s jaws agape at this news, we then cut to the opening credits which featured our cast rising out of the water like mighty humpback whales (or any other aquamarine beasts of that ilk). Yes, it was all rather suggestive: one part baptismal, one part birth-y. Occasionally, we’d get a nifty underwater shot where our poor contestants could be found running towards each other in some submerged game of slo-mo chicken. But eventually, they too would rise from the ocean. I guess they were all like mermaids and mermen, except dumber. And without flippers. Point is, this watery sequence happily maintained the continuing tradition of ridiculously laughable opening credits. And that’s a good thing.
We then returned to the dock where TJ announced he would be dividing teams into rookies vs. veterans. You see, anyone who’s done at least two Challenges qualified as a veteran. So with that said, TJ then announced who was on which team. About forty-five minutes later, he finished this lengthy process, and we were able to finally move on to this mysterious barge challenge. It would be called “Royal Rumble,” he said, causing Robin to cheer, “Awesome!” Yeah man! Great title for the challenge!! A+!!
We then saw an up-close shot of MJ during an interview and good God, get that shit off my TV! Seriously, he’s actually difficult to look at. You might need special glasses or goggles. Anyway, the big challenge was that teams would stand on the platform and just wrestle. Last man standing would be team captain. So basically, the rookie men would battle it out first, then the rookie women, and so on and so forth, until a male and female captain for each team was chosen. Make sense?
“This is my thing. I’ve been wanting to rumble with people for the longest time,” Derrick told us, adding, “Yeah, it’s been about three hours since my last drunken brawl. Can’t wait to rumble!”
Well, the rookie men took the platform first, and before you could even say “homoerotic,” the guys were already entangled with each other, pushing and clawing for power. Eventually, Alton won the captain position, and then it was time for the veteran men to take the platform. Not wishing to break any bones or muss any faux-hawks, the guys eschewed wrestling in favor of the more dainty strategy of “rock, paper, scissors.” After about ten minutes of this, Adam from Road Rules: The Quest emerged the victor, which would have been impressive had he not already cut his teeth on the pro Rock, Paper, Scissors tour.
Sadly, that was just a joke, but then it occurred to me that I did post about such a tour last year (almost to the day. CREEPY).
Anyway, the rookie girls followed the veteran guys’s lead and also engaged in some serious RPS action, but at least they had the idea that they should pair up and whittle the pool down tournament style, rather than do every single Rock, Paper, Scissor battle one at a time. Jo from Real World: San Francisco took the captain title, and then lastly, it was time for the veteran girls to take the platform. Fortunately, they brawled it out like the rookie guys, causing Susie from Road Rules: Down Under (or whatever it was called) to remark, “I’m shocked that the veteran girls are as animalistic as they are!” C’mon Suzie. Have you even seen Aneesa’s new hairstyle? Anyone with a mullet-fro is not gonna play Rock, Paper, Scissors.
Like many seasons in the past, Ruthie wound up beating all the other girls, and thus concluded the “Royal Rumble Energizer Challenge.” Thanks, Energizer! I’m gonna buy some of your batteries now!
Well, our old friend Cameran from San Diego explained how happy she was to have Jo as a team captain. “This person is very calm, and of anybody, she’ll be the last person to start drama,” she said. Yeah, um, you have seen the previews for this show, right?
With the first challenge done, it was time to check in on some of our favorite cast mates. No one had really anything interesting to say except for Jamie from New Orleans who announced, “Right before I got here, I was living in a Buddhist monastery.” Bad news, Jamie. The road to Nirvana does not go through the Gauntlet II. Unless, of course, you’re on the TVgasm staff.
Anyway, the cast made its way to the mansion it would be calling home, and you know what that means: Screaming! Running! Jumping in the pool! Yay! Okay, back to the cast updates. For all of you who care (stop laughing at me), Kina from Road Rules: Extreme is now dating Randy from Real World: San Diego — a.k.a. “Boom. Bazooka Joe.” Meanwhile, Randy’s former bedmate Robin has broken up with Mark Long, and similarly, Alton and Irulan are no longer together. And as for our spitfire friend Katie, well, she’s still engaged to her boyfriend, Booze — as evidenced by her lovely Coronoa-fueled burp-fest in the kitchen.
The next day, the teams trekked out to the Gauntlet arena, which looked vaguely like a giant covered wagon. “It looks like it’s gonna be a real intense battleground of where these Gauntlets are going down,” said an impressed Brad. Hmmm… I don’t know. Last season’s Inferno was in fiery cage. This open-air, cabana-ish venue seems to say more “Swedish massage and mojitos” than “FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!”
Well, TJ explained some of the new rules to the cast. Basically, if a team lost, the captain would automatically be sent to the Gauntlet. Then the rest of his or her team would choose someone from the same team to battle it out. Loser obviously goes home and the winner either remains captain or becomes captain. “That right there is gnarly. It’s like dang it, yo!” said a dangified Alton. Dang it, indeed!
But why worry about these crazy new rules when you can get drunk instead? That’s right. It’s time to get wasted, my friends, and to kick things off, Robin decided to throw Mark a birthday party. Yay, Mark! He then revealed to us that this was his “thirty-ish” birthday. “Thirty-ish,” also known as the age when you’re entirely too old to still be on these damn shows.
As expected, the party was extraordinarily dumb with the drunken cast members play-acting various scenes like Katie doing the whole bouncer bit or the guys pretending like they were packing heat. I don’t even want to describe it. Basically, it was literally like watching 6th graders. I think we all know that when it comes to twentysomethings throwing parties, nothing really beats that amazing episode from season one of High School Reunion.
Nevertheless, as silly as everything was, the whole gang was having a blast. That is, everyone but JO. Yes, while everyone partied hard, the British lass huddled alone by the computer, checking her email with an angry scowl. Screw her, let’s get back to the fun! As the booze continued to flow, the libidos surfaced like, well, like the cast members in the opening credits. Soon enough, Mark and Robin were making out against a wall. And was that Osama Beth Laden pulling Ace into her chamber of ill-repute? And hark! Do I spy Adam and Jodi getting intimate behind closed doors? Yes, hormones were raging, but I’m sure every penis fell limp at the sight of Aneesa giving Mark Long possibly the most unappetizing lap dance of the year. Gross!
As the house devolved into pure bacchanal chaos, our trusty friend Jo became increasingly irate; so she journeyed outside to call her dad in London to complain. Because that’s what attention-starved women do when no one’s fawning over them. As Jo racked up a hefty long-distance charge, good ole Derrick lived up to his wino rep and passed out on Jo’s bed, making him ripe for a little drunken prank action. Sure enough, Kina came charging in with some chocolate syrup and tried to pour it all over him. I wasn’t quite sure what exactly happened, but I do know that by the time the two vacated the room, there were three splotches of chocolate syrup ON THE FLOOR!!!
The Leaders of Tomorrow.
Well, when Jo returned and saw the mess, she went completely nuts. First, she assumed someone had been having kinky, chocolatey sex in her bed. Second, she remembered she was nuts. As she began to freak out, we then cut to Danny who did his best “Don’t forget I’m gay” sass by sneering, “Wait a second, bitch!” Sadly, this was not followed by two air snaps and a head bob.
Anyway, Jo ranted to no one in particular, “I don’t live like this, okay? I won’t put up with this! I’m calling the police!” Yes, we have a serious charge of aggravated chocolate syrup assault. We’re gonna have to put out an APB for all Hershey’s vendors in a three mile area. And we may have to call in CSI: Special Syrup Unit.
When Ruthie tried to play her usual role as mediator, Jo recoiled viciously, yelling, “Let go of me! Do not manhandle me!… Um, I’m gonna call the police if I cannot pack my bags!” You know, violating one’s packing rights is a serious crime in Trinidad and Tobago. They better watch out.
Finally, Jo did the most patented of freak-out gestures: she yelled at the camera and then put her hand on the lens. And with that, the episode ended. Oh no! What will happen? How will this be resolved? Will we be able to live without Jo? And why is she such an idiot? Did she even know what she had signed up for?