This episode was named for a Tina Turner song, just not the right one.
Welcome to week 2 of The Challenge! It’s action-packed, tear-stained, and lousy with commercials.
I want to take a second to thank all you Gasmii for your comments. You edify, inspire, and amuse me. Don’t ever change. You brighten my days and you are greatly appreciated.
Wes and Mandi sit on the porch and Wes bullshits that he’s putting every effort into making a nice life for his future wife. Barf. Then he makes a sports metaphor and Abe shows up with a volleyball.
Bunkroom. Vinny explains how he’s a manwhore, and he is only living with his current girlfriend because his previous girlfriend kicked him out and he had nowhere to go. I’d mock him for mentioning this on TV, but I’m not entirely sure this girlfriend will kick him out over it. I get the feeling she has low self-esteem.
Sarah recounts her and Vinny’s Fresh Meat II courtship, which sounds like a hookup of convenience if there ever was one. Vinny continues to flap his yap about going home with a different girl every night, and some of them were fat girls, and he didn’t mess around with them… Yeah right, Vinny, you pot-bellied pot. “I had to go home with somebody that night,” he states matter-of-factly. The editors try to make it look like he’s talking about Sarah, but it seems like he’s talking about how he met his current girlfriend, because at Fresh Meat, they kind of already were “home.” What a prize this guy is. Sarah is disgusted. He repeats himself, Paulie Walnuts-style (not Paula), like, “d’ja hear what I said? It was funny. I had to go home with somebody that night,” and the girls continue to wrinkle their faces at him.
Making bad decisions on camera sucks.
Pool porch. Leroy can’t “beweave” Naomi wore her hair extensions during a challenge. That does seem foolhardy, or at the very least, wasteful. She confession/delusionalizes that he’s still got feelings for her. “Chill out,” he says in his own Talking Head.
Jasmine and Naomi compare their non-relationships. Leroy and Naomi’s half-assed coupling was a romance for the ages compared to Jasmine and Tyrie. But Naomi, ever the smoke-blowing girlfriend, projects her own wishes onto Jasmine and intimates Tyrie still wants Jasmine. Jasmine strongly disputes the (false) assumption that anything is trying to happen between them. This pisses off Tyrie, who is up on the spy balcony “overhearing.” Maybe it was her “I’d commit suicide if he had to be my boyfriend” comment, which is tasteless and almost certainly inaccurate.
“Who-are-you, who-are-you” Tyrie is rendered stutterous at her disrespect. He goes and talks to Wes about it, since Wes never turns down a good disagreement, and maligns her stanky-booty ass. She immediately starts cursing him out, and they start shouting at each other, after which she immediately chest-butts him and then shoves him with both hands.
You know how there’s petit larceny? I guess this is petite assault.
I am pretty sure if the stanky booty were on the other ass and Tyrie had pushed Jasmine, he would have (spoiler) joined Sarah and Vinny on the tearful, shameful trip home. Wes, who seems to be grinning the whole time, walks in between them and tries to push them apart, which I think just adds fuel to their fire.
Tyrie grabs center floor and starts shouting that bitch needs to get over herself.
Then he shows his ass for emphasis
The entire cast watches, rapt.
He gets this response from Rachel, who doesn’t need to get over herself at all.
A number of people have said Jasmine should have gone home over this, but after Zaprudering the hell out of this scene, I believe the whole Jasmine/Tyrie scuffle was set up by the producers. Possibly they had a much less interesting exchange of words and were told to re-do it, but “bigger.” Jasmine swung at him to spice things up, and they couldn’t send her home for something they essentially told her to do.
I like this shot, and not just because Tyrie appears to have one leg and an asscrack on his hip.
See, she is clearly smiling and clapping above, and I get that people do this sarcastically during fights, but I don’t think they immediately follow it by getting so blind-mad that they do something that can get them kicked off the show.
I also get that the other cast members are bored, but they just look entirely too interested in this minor incident to me. I never trust them when they’re all together at once in a non-challenge situation. Johnny and Wes are hammy, yes, but they are overselling it just a bit.
So right after he shows his ass, she stops smiling and clapping and runs at him with her fist clenched. He blocks her advance.
When you fail to hit me it feels like you failed to kiss me.
Shut up, Team Spaz. Shut up, producers.
Product-placed ringtone! The clue for tomorrow’s challenge refers to hooking up before and hooking up again. Jasmine is not heard to utter that she hopes she can put a hook through Tyrie’s neck, because she’s already had her screentime.
Team Zito-teacup thinks they have this nailed, since they currently hook up, which cutely underscores what huge noobs they are.
Beach. Matching t-shirt parade. TJ. Two giant platforms are suspended 30 feet above the water. Then six beams are suspended between them, and our hearty hard-ons have to cross from beam to beam by swinging on a hook-pole hooked into a series of rings, in teams of two. Johnny & Camila, as reigning power couple, get to choose the order in which the teams do the challenge, so of course they choose Wes to go first, thus maximizing the chance he gets beaten. I concur. Good strats, Banana Boy.
Should you encounter this dude IRL and wish to land a real punch on him, here’s his sweet spot.
So Wes & Mandi go up against the supposedly formidable Team Z-cup. I’m not ready to buy that they’re a threat. I think last week they did well due to being comfortable touching each other. They get across two beams, which doesn’t seem like a lot at this point, but in reality, it’s practically pro level. Still, I think they’re just lucky ‘cause they’re cute.
This little asscrack pirouette is the beginning of the end for Z-cup.
Jasmine & Tyree vs Naomi & Leroy: Naomi & Leroy get all the way to Beam 1. She almost falls and gets pulled up a couple of times. She grabs his waist so he can maneuver the pole into the next ring (as Wes correctly told Mandi to do a minute ago, and Mandi couldn’t get her head around) but Naomi’s scared and can’t balance, and when Leroy leans toward the ring, they go down with her arms still firmly locked around his waist. I’d think it was cute if I wasn’t already in fear for any pet rabbits he may have. She explains it thusly, which gives me a chuckle.
“He’s unstable, and I’m clearly unstable.”
Jasmie and Tyrie, the screen tells us, also make it as far as one beam. So, to recap, three teams have made it one beam, and one team has made it two beams.
Ty & Emily vs Sarah & Vinny: Both teams legitimately make it to Beam 2. The time horn blows when Vinny has his feet on Beam 3 and Sarah has hers swinging in the air. And apparently, this puts them in Power Couple contention. Sigh. This Challenge rulebook must be thicker than one of those Wife Swap manuals, and every bit as coherent.
Shut up, screen. And shouldn’t there be points off for their pole not being in the ring?
CT & Diem vs Abram and Cara Maria: CT and Diem are yapping at each before they even get off the ground. Cara Maria is the first to fall, from Beam 2, flailing her legs wildly on the way down. She’s pissed, mostly at herself, because she and Abram should have been able to do this, she says.
Looks like a hammy pull
Then the music gets circusy. Guess who CT & Diem are pissed at? Not themselves, because they are each perfect… -ly self-righteous. They differ fundamentally on how to actually get from beam to beam, and they bicker about it non-stop throughout their two-beam journey.
So not hot
Diem takes the high-maintenance road and refuses to cooperate. They continue arguing as the time horn blows. CT notes that she didn’t try, and then gets so heated that he jumps into the water to get away from her yapping. As most of us would. She’s got a sharpie tattoo on each bicep that I think says Med Gift. So I guess that’s her “company.” I’ll head right over to Charity Navigator and check out its bona fides.
Johnny & Camila vs Mark & Robin: Robin and Mark do one beam, exactly as bad as Leroy/Naomi, Jasmine/Tyree, and Wes/Mandi. They also fall backward, towards the area from whence they came.
And Robin beans herself
But she’s a good sport about it. Johnny and Camila go on to show that the challenge can actually be mastered.
Team Bananas FTW!
Paula & Dunbar vs Rachel & Aneesa: Both teams get… you guessed it! One beam. So that’s a grand total of six out of 12 teams that basically sucked. I don’t know why they don’t battle it out for worst place. We could see more falling, and they might learn something. Everybody would win, in a manner of speaking.
TJ then announces that six beams is not enough for instant Power Couple status, and Johnny and Camila need to beat Vinny and Sarah, who basically did two and a half beams, to get the coveted top spot. “One team performed the worst,” he explains. Then we cut to commercials to give everyone time to count to one and subtract one from one and scratch their heads about why they’re surprised that MTV is insulting their intelligence.
Once we’re back, TJ reveals that Leroy and Naomi are the unlucky sucky team, and I guess it’s based on the fact that she fell the most and they never really got any solid footing at all. Still, it seems awfully subjective.
If you Dome us, who’s gonna mention your product-placed crap by name?
Naomi doesn’t put up much of a fight, and Leroy’s a pretty good sport about it, and come on, guys! Logical behavior is not rewarded here. He’s amped because people really haven’t seen what he’s capable of, and that actually turns out to be true.
Absurd Power Couple-off. Johnny and Camila appear to just stand there for a pretty long time. I’m sure they’re just trying to get steady, but it’s unlike them. I guess they choked. Vinny and Sarah win. Paula remarks that maybe she, like Vinny, should eat more lasagna.
Back at the house, Vinny and Sarah conduct some two-on-two meetings to basically lecture Jasmine and Tyrie on being loud and querulous, Wes for sending them home on Fresh Meat, and Mandi for hooking up with Wes and putting herself on everyone’s shit list by association.
Drama, what drama?
Then the twatley crew piles into a tour bus and gets taken to an empty warehouse, er, club, to dance like they’re from the 80s. Or maybe like they’re 80. They dance badly, with the possible exception of Leroy and Aneesa.
…who put on a nice little show for the kids.
They cut in some jealousy footage from Naomi, but they leave out the part where she says she’s loath to run afoul of Aneesa and get crushed like a bug.
Like most things on MTV, it’s inadvisable to try this at home.
Now we come to the “devastating consequences” part of the show. Mandi is wearing a top that basically amounts to a scarf draped around her neck, pulled over her boobs, and stuffed in the front of her pants. There might be other threads or clear straps, but it’s hard to see. As a buxom female, I was immediately frightened by this shirt. Because accidents happen. Personally, if I don’t strap, snap, buckle and otherwise secure my two best girlfriends, and adjust them over the course of the evening, there is no telling where they will end up. I guess it’s different with the saline ones, I mean, dancing like she’s dancing would not even be an option for me.
Here, Vinny appears to be unclothing himself
At this point, the puppies are really trying to leave the cage.
As I mentioned in the minicap, there is no excuse for pulling of a woman’s shirt in public, no matter how drunk or stupid you are, and/or how wee the shirt is. Here’s the thing though. After re-watching that scene a few times, I am not actually convinced that anyone is guilty of pulling anything, other than our old friend gravity. I know Vinny was dancing like a wad, and I know he was ogling Mandi’s boobs, and he probably brushed against her in any number of ways. But I don’t think he actually pulled her shirt off. I think she felt the cool air on her girls, jumped to a conclusion, and slapped him, and he was in fact too drunk to know what the hell he did.
Hands still to himself
If I believed he had done it, he’d get none of my sympathy. But I truly think he was an innocent, ogling bystander, and MTV at this point is shellshocked regarding anything of a sexually assaultive nature, and they didn’t want to be seen as having let something like this go. And I imagine Mandi actually thought he did it. But in point of fact, Mandi didn’t see him pull her shirt off, and if the cameras did, they did a crappy job of showing us. And the producers probably figured no one would miss him.
It’s possible that Mark’s giant shoulder blades are the real culprits.
So Mandi goes around drumming up support for herself, just not the nylon elastic kind she actually needs. Wes is predictably angry, the other girls are scandalized, and Sarah begins to worry in earnest.
Back at the house the next day, a hung-over Vinny checks in with Mark, already aware that he’s probably going home over what he thinks he did. The cast assembles in one of the living rooms, and Vinny and Sarah waste some time explaining why they chose Wes and Mandi, which only serves to make Vinny look like a vindictive dumbass. This seems like a haphazardly edited second or third take, and it probably would have worked better with one of the more dramatic castmates just filling us in on what happened in confessional.
No matter how many times it’s proven to me that people are really as stupid as Vinny is, it always makes me cringingly sad when it’s demonstrated before my eyes. Vinny is not sorry, nor is he denying that he pulled off Mandi’s shirt. He’s doing no damage control at all. The only retort he had was when she first confronted him at the club, he pointed out that he himself had not been wearing a shirt. Which, as she replied, is not at all comparable.
So Wes and Mandi get to talk back to Vinny in front of the group.
And bellyache in the confessionals about aw, the humanity…
It’s fairly clear Wes and Mandi are going to The Dome, but at this point, Wes is still trying to get Vinny to take some responsibility or show some remorse for what he supposedly did. Vinny does not comply. Wes, appealing to reason for possibly the first time ever, asks Vinny what he’d do if it was his girlfriend, assuming his girlfriend wasn’t a stripper (which still shouldn’t matter on a dance floor…)
Wait, my girlfriend’s a stripper?
So, no one continues to get what they want, and Wes and Mandi officially go up and stand next to Leroy and Naomi. One person is heard clapping.
Sarah and Wes talk by the pool about whether or not Sarah is going home. Vinny stands around like a big slab.
TJ ostensibly comes to the house for the second time and announces that Vinny has to go home because his behavior will not be tolerated. Vinny asks if he’s kidding in confessional, presumably rhetorically. “And Sarah…” says TJ, and then they cut to commercial for the second time in like two minutes, and I don’t care if that guy on that show wants his pants back.
“And Sarah,” continues Teej, “even though you had no part in this, unfortunately for you, you’re Vinny’s partner, you gotta go too.”
My next role is gonna be Nancy Kerrigan. Or that one lady who couldn’t stop sneezing.
Sarah starts wailing like a major tragedy just befell her and runs to her room. The girls all gasp, and some run after her, while Wes crows to the boys about karma. Sarah cries some more in confessional, and Vinny stands outside in his stupid sunglasses smoking a cigarette, not apologizing to anyone generally being dumber than a block of cheese. People carry their luggage out and they get driven to the airport.
The Dome! We’re riffing on this “X” theme, it looks like. Wow, clever? There’s a small metal X in the middle of a bunch of sand. One member of each team, girl vs girl and boy vs boy, grabs half of the X, and whoever wrestles it away from the other person first wins. I have to assume that at some point the no kicking or headbutting rule is mentioned, because those are the first two things I’d try. Two out of three rounds is a win for the gender. If there’s a tie, TJ will flip a coin and either girls or guys will battle it out for the win. Bonus this time: winners become the Power Couple. Naomi likes this challenge, because, by her own admission, she’s really not good at anything but physical contact.
Boys: Leroy tries to tug the X away from Wes, lifting Wes off the ground at least once in the process. The peanut gallery screams for blood. Leroy wins one round. They roll around some more, digging into the sand with their feet, doing pseudo-wrestling moves.
Among my musician friends, this is actually called the jazz face
Leroy wins a second round. Awesomely, it starts raining.
Mandi vs Naomi: This match up is even more insane, since they are both light enough weight to drag each other around, and flexible enough to do all sorts of contortions and try to subdue each other with their legs. Mandi wins round one.
Conventional “wisdom” says this should be much sexier
Naomi admits that Mandi cannot, in fact, be taken by a Care Bear, as Priscilla alleged last elimination. Mandi wins round two. TJ flips for sudden death, and commercials, and that guy still hasn’t gotten his precious hipster pants.
Boys “win” the coin toss. Caked with dirt, Wes and Leroy rematch. Wes starts off by doing a flip in midair to try and knock Leroy off his feet. A for creativity, Wes, and also for amusing. Leroy wins! So Wes and Mandi go home! This never happens! The shitheads always get kept on by miracles to make “good TV.” Wes deserves to lose, but who will start fights now? I really need to be careful what I wish for. Still, yay!
Back at the house, Leroy and Naomi are in the bunk room and he’s stating that he won’t share a bed with her, win or no win. And she’s not letting it drop. She delivers the “territorial” line from the previews, and he’s like, (bitch) “I’m not your territory!” And she still doesn’t let it go, pushing some garbage about how it will help their communication if they sleep together. Oh, younguns. She’d be cute if she wasn’t so pathetic. Way to crap all over a satisfying win, Nay-Nay.
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