So many headline options for The Gauntlet 2 this week. “It’s the Pits,” “Pit Stains,” “Brad’s Pit.” I could go on. But I decided the most apt use of a “pit” pun was “Stuck in the Pits,” which is a rather appropriate way to describe the latest episode. Actually, it’s a bit harsh. The episode wasn’t a total drag. In fact, I quite enjoyed the challenge, which continued this season’s theme of Corporate Retreat Activities for Gen Y. But gone were any signs of petty quarreling. Turns out those superficial squabbles I so often thumb my nose at are the very things that keep this franchise alive and well. And now that Beth and Cara have departed, it seems as though we’ve whittled the group down to people who care more about winning than starting a dumb fight. I know that’s a good thing in real “sports” or “competition” shows. But this is the Real World/Road Rules Challenge. Would it hurt anyone to hurl a random insult once in a while? Someone call Aneesa fat or something. That should be good enough, yes?This week’s show started off at what looked to be a party of some sort. Maybe it was a club. No matter. What was really important was that Jodi and Alton were canoodling, a subtle story arc that’s been teased to us for the past several weeks (although, according to Danny and other blabbing stars of the show, Alton and Jodi had been hooking up as early as that first fight night with Mark Long). If we actually cared about these two and their potential romance, this would have been the stuff dreams are made of. But since we don’t really care at all, it was instead a wonderful opportunity to maybe refill a beverage or perhaps check email.
Nevertheless, I stayed in front of the TV (blogger obligation), and listened as Alton naively said, “Hopefully, we’re building a real relationship. A real relationship that will last beyond Tobago.” Yes, and as we all know, most “real relationships” are built on a foundation of pushing trucks full of cinder blocks across a golf course.
We then saw footage of Alton and Jodi locking lips, at which point Jillian came on screen to say, “Alton and Jodi seem to really enjoy each other’s company.” That’s putting it mildly. Sort of like saying on Jillian’s first night of Road Rules, she played footsie with Patrick. (They had sex.)
The next morning, Jodi expressed fear that maybe she was just a worthless rebound girl — a benchmark on Alton’s post-Irulan career. And so she consulted Kina and Ibis — or as I like to call them, The Council of Intelligence — and listened to what they had to say about the situation. Honest to god, I can’t remember anything of this conversation, and I only saw it thirty-five minutes ago. They’re that vapid.
Soon enough, the T-Mobile Sidekick II rang to life, and we learned that this week’s challenge would be the pits. This led to widespread speculation as to what fate would befall the teams, and then suddenly Jamie’s head popped up on screen for the rare soundbyte. He told us that he had to do well because his head was on the chopping block. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the kiddos don’t like people who normally spend their waking hours in Buddhist monasteries. Anyway, I assumed that this was random misdirection (which it was) and didn’t worry myself over it. Chances are, Jamie’s going home on the next male Gauntlet. Usually the producers start sewing the seeds a week or two early (let’s not forget Syrus and Ace, both of whom made a big fuss about being on the chopping block exactly two weeks prior to their eliminations).
Anyway, captains Derrick and Alton psyched themselves up for the challenge with the elaborate, lengthy handshake we first saw when Adam departed the house. “It’s just a game, but I feel like this is just my life or something,” Alton said. Well, when all you do is show up for these Challenges, it sort of is your life. I’ll give Alton a free pass though. This was, after all, only his second challenge (plus, he seems like a nice guy, so I feel badly bashing him. Oh, and he could crush my skull with his fingers).
At long last, the teams then headed to what was simply called THE PIT (thunder clap! Timpanis booming!). Here’s the way this worked. The pit was essentially an enclosure with three walls, each one about 18 feet high (I’m terrible with guessing dimensions. Point is, the walls were tall). Each team had thirty minutes to get all their members out of the pit. Whoever could get the most people out in the smallest amount of time would win. There were a few catches. One: once someone was out of the pit, that person couldn’t go back in. Also, the group had to clear the pit of various items such as pantyhose, duct tape, yoga balls, and pool noodles. “I mean, the most random shit I’ve ever seen!” Ibis yelled at us in an interview. I didn’t know why she was so mad. She was literally angry at nothing. Spending too much time with Kina.
Well, the Rookies were up first, and they seemed to rock it off the get-go. The team managed to get 8 out of the nine players up and over the wall. The only person left was Landon, who had been acting as the springboard for others to reach the top. Here’s the problem: Landon is a big guy. Every method the team used to haul him up failed. First they tried a rope ladder made of pantyhose, but that quickly snapped in two. Then they taped together the pool noodles to make a long pole, but they too fell apart under Landon’s mass. I couldn’t help but wonder if they were the very same pool noodles that Lacey hoarded so viciously in Austin.
For the Rookies, there was only one option left. Alton had to hang down into the pit and offer himself up as leverage for Landon. This was a bold move. If Alton fell, he would be disqualified. Could the team hold onto him, or would Landon’s sturdy mass drag the Rookie captain down into the brutal pit of failure? It was sort of like an action movie, but with no special effects. And significantly less exciting. Okay, it wasn’t like an action movie at all.
It’s sort of like the pool noodle version of Rapunzel.
Before we found out what happened, we then went to commercial break, and when we returned, the Rookies had finished their task. Huh? Oh, I get it! We don’t get to see what happened until the end of the challenge. How tricky! Well, next up were the Veterans, led by the bouncy-bosomed Robin. The team, which had been sequestered, walked by the Rooks, whose long faces seemed to denote failure and sadness. Was Alton’s strategy a disaster? Time will tell.
Anyway, the Veterans followed a similar tactic as the Rookies by using themselves as a human ladder, pushing themselves up and over the wall. I didn’t understand why everyone didn’t simply bounce off Robin’s breasts like a mighty trampoline, but to each his own. Soon, the Vets had eight of their nine players up and over, leaving only Timmy to toil at the bottom, searching for a way to join his team. Mark suggested that he hang down into the pit like Alton had (unbeknownst to him), but his team quickly nixed the idea, saying it was too risky. Instead, they tried to use their various items to pull Timmy up. When that didn’t work, Timmy then came up with the bizarre idea of taping a yoga ball to his foot — something that made little sense to me. Then again, a lot of things Timmy does don’t make sense to me — starting with his humor.
Timmy has balls.
Ultimately, the Veterans were unable to rescue Timmy from the pit, but that was okay. They still felt confident, just based on the Rookies’ crestfallen faces alone. Derrick explained, “I think we pulled it off because the other team definitely did not get everyone out.” Which, of course, means that they did.
Sure enough, the Rookies did succeed in saving Landon, and we finally got to see the footage that we had missed. I have to say, it was very impressive. I watched it twice, just to see how Landon managed to get all the way up. I thought he was going to grab onto Alton and then the team was going to pull them both up. But instead, Landon used Alton merely as a rappelling rope and quickly scampered on up to his team.
So now it was time for the Veterans to send a male into the Gauntlet. Who would it be? Derrick had his ideas: “I saw weaknesses in Timmy today. He couldn’t balance. He couldn’t hold his own weight.” Uh, he had yoga balls taped to his FEET. Not very conducive to balancing.
Well, the team voted, and the guy facing Derrick in the Gauntlet was not Timmy but… Brad! Huh? That seemed kind of random. At the very least, the producers could have revisited that little tiff the two had had a few weeks ago. You remember the one: Brad told Derrick he was a drunk, and Derrick responded by yelling something like “YOU ARE PISSING ME OFF!” and then later Brad yelled “I ain’t scurred of you.” Good times.
With an opponent chosen, TJ sauntered into the room and span the wheel of misfortune. And what did it land on? You guessed it! Captain’s choice! Now Derrick had to choose. What would he select? So exciting! As the captain deliberated, TJ noted, “As if you guys hadn’t had enough suspension today.” Suspension? Were they studying bridges? I don’t understand.
Anyway, Derrick picked that most revered game of intelligence, dexterity, and brute force: “Name that coconut!” After a few daps of respect, the guys headed down to the Gauntlet and kicked things off. As usual, the two tussled violently over the coconuts (all of which had answers to various trivia that TJ was asking.) Neither of the guys used the strategy that I had cooked up — basically, grab a random coconut and make a dash for the safety zone. Then let your opponent wrestle it away from you. They’ll assume it was the correct coconut, and when they present it to TJ, they’ll be wrong, allowing you all the time in the world to browse the other coconuts undisturbed. So duplicitous.
Obligatory homoerotic Gauntlet moment.
Obligatory even more homoerotic Gauntlet moment.
Well, Derrick took a quick lead over Brad, earning two points off the bat. However, he answered one question wrong, saying Robin instead of Cameran. The camera then cut to Robin who performed a little dance, causing her boobs to bounce in every which direction. I’m surprised she doesn’t wear a helmet at all times.
The score continued to escalate on both sides — 3 to 1, Derrick; 4 to 2, Derrick. But eventually Derrick reached five points first, which meant that yet again, Brad was going home right before the final challenge. Actually, there’s still two more Gauntlets before the final challenge, but close enough. Brad told us that he wanted to win a Challenge more than we could ever know (or care), and then he headed off into the sunset. I’m sure we’ll be seeing plenty of him in the future.
But for now, there were other pressing issues; namely, Jodi and Alton. Oh yeah. Them. The two had a “talk” that night at the club, and Jodi asked if she was merely just his transition girl. Oh, Jodi. How could you think so lowly of yourself? Well, actually, Alton said yes, she was his transition girl, but he meant that in the best possible way. Look, all he wanted was a friendship, he explained. Suuure. That’s all Alton wanted. Whatever. I can’t even summon the energy to speculate on Alton’s motives. Point is that the two babbled a little bit about friendship, and then Jodi promised that she would act like “a weirdo.” We’ll see how long that lasts. Let’s not forget the whole Mark Long debacle earlier this season.
What do you think? Should the Vets have sent Brad to the Gauntlet? And does anyone care about Alton and Jodi?