In one of the more predictable finales of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge oeuvre, our catty buddies on Team Road Rules managed an easy win over the oafish Real World squad, resulting in a $260,000 payday plus another batch of Saturn Ions. After the Battle of the Seasons, Battle of the Sexes, The Gauntlet, and now The Inferno, I think these Bunim/Murray brats have enough Saturns to launch a dealership. At least the Road Rulers do. Real Worlders have been starved to win a challenge lately, and tonight was no exception. But that’s what happens when Real Worlders have to rely on their brains for bucks.Tonight’s episode started off with Dave Mirra enumerating the various challenges in the randomly themed Seven Deadly Sins final competition (I suppose this could be a reference to Dante’s Inferno, but I don’t know why they’d wait until now to throw around the whole hell motif). Unlike the more elaborate contraptions found on Survivor, The Inferno lobbed a few soft balls with such obstacles as high-stepping through tires, scampering across a net, stacking big blocks, bashing pinatas, eating taquitos, doing a crossword puzzle, and racing piggyback to the finish line. What is this? Did they barge into Game Day at Acapulco Junior High? I’m surprised there wasn’t a tense egg-on-spoon challenge or even the dreaded potato sack derby.
There really wasn’t too much that was noteworthy in the first segment of the show. The producers did their darndest to make the challenge seem close by inserting the obligatory cast commentary of “Oh my God, they’re catching up. This cannot be happening” and “We are working as a team, we’re catching up. We might win this thing.”
Real World suffered an embarrassing blow when the pinata challenge proved to be about as hard as scaling Niagra Falls. Coral rummaged through a pinata graveyard with such tenacity that I thought she sniffed Julie hiding out somewhere. Meanwhile, the Road Rulers engaged in the vomit Olympics when the 80 team taquitos turned out to be harder to swallow than another one of Darrell’s lame jokes.
Real World eventually emerged from pinata hell and began chowing down on the taquito buffet, just in time for Road Rules to bolt to the next leg of the race. Much to everyone’s surprise, Coral inhaled her taquitos and suddenly, Bunim/Murray tried to have us believe that the Real Worlders were catching up. But wait, they actually did. While Road Rules set up a dainty assembly line to stack giant foam dominos, the Real World zipped forward, ultimately surpassing the blue team on the uninspired net crawl.
For a moment, I deluded myself into thinking there might be an upset in the final challenge, but then the notorious puzzle component reared its ugly head, stopping the Real Worlders cold. Smarts have never been a strong point with The Miz & Co., and tonight was no exception. Even though the puzzle made People Magazine’s crossword editor look like a member of Mensa, our small team could not get it together.
Meanwhile, the plucky Road Rulers hit the puzzle with all pistons firing. Granted, having more people on a team gave them a huge advantage, they still seemed to be thinking a little more creatively – especially the ostracized Katie who saved the day with her crossword savvy. A tantastic Veronica gave her snide props – “Who thought Katie would be helping us?” – and before long, the Road Rulers were trotting to victory as a blank Dave Mirra calculated the time it would take to find Johnny Mosely and punch him in the face for tricking him into this hosting gig.
Coral was actually pretty gracious in her concession speech when she congratulated the Road Rulers for winning fair and square. Kendall eagerly signed the oversized check for Road Rules. I guess this means she won’t be working at L.A. mainstay Barney’s Beanery anymore. Meanwhile, Veronica vacuously giggled about winning another final challenge. She really sucks.
The action flash forwarded inexplicably to a week later in Malibu where the Road Rules team claimed their latest fleet of Saturns. As they drove off, everyone waxed nostalgically about all the great times they’d had – like when Julie tried to kill Veronica ten stories above the ground, or when Julie picked a fight with Coral, or when Leah had a panic attack. Christena glossed over all the petty drama of the season when she proclaimed that when the team crossed the finish line, all the problems just melted away. I guess that can happen easily when you’re part of the popular group that’s gone out of its way to victimize a marginal member of the team.
As the episode wrapped up, a determined guitar riff insisted that all was well in Challenge-land and that everyone had actually grown from the experience. This was evidenced by promos for next week’s reunion special which featured our cast of characters yelling and screaming at each other while maintaining facades of faux-hindsight. Some might say these jerks will never grow up, but why do that when you can strive for loftier goals – like that sixteenth minute of fame.
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