With the triumphant return of America’s fifth major sport, MTV’s The Challenge, the 2012 GRTFL vintage is now more complex — with an added aroma of desperation, a savory sexiness, and an even stronger kick of “I can’t believe I am this excited about watching sociopaths cover themselves in honey to win a cash prize.” So allow me to be your sommelier and shamelessly pour you a glass (or 15) of the naughty nectar. There is a lot to take in this week and it is best to be a bit intoxicated while we take a meticulously detailed deep-dive into the lives of those who are always intoxicated. This week in the top scorers we have the Bill Belichick of Bachelorettes, friend of Grantland Johnny Bananas, and a Jersey boardwalk lass that we at GRTFL headquarters had subconsciously attempted to will out of existence. Sorry, Sammi.
Sammi (Jersey Shore, undrafted), 55 points: Sammi was such a non-factor in Italy that we completely forget to draft her. Tight ship we run here at the GRTFL, huh? I think subconsciously we were trying to will her out of existence to usher in another era of Single Ronnie. If anyone reading is a Photoshop wiz, can you please doctor some photos of Ronnie making out with Sammi’s sister or something? There is no depth to which I will not sink to revive Single Ronnie. We need the Ronnie that dumbs out, dances like Michael Flatley on peyote, and sustains himself with a combination of Ron Ron juice and, ya know, juice juice. (Allegedly.) We don’t need the Ronnie that Sammi has turned him into. That Ronnie cried because he missed Vinny.
Sammi tops all scorers with her involvement in the most mysterious of physical altercations. The cameras didn’t catch the front end of the fracas, so all we saw were a pair of women tussling on the ground doing their best to de-weave their opponent (25 points). We later learn that a stranger randomly pulled on Sammi’s “newly weave” and Sammi reacted by throwing a drink at her (5 points) because she was “always taught to self-defend herself.” The hurled cocktail led to the tug-a-weave and put Ronnie in a position that I have often been concerned about myself, and so I pose a question that truly has no answer: “What is the protocol should your lady find herself in a physical fight with a stranger?” If you do nothing, then you are the guy that did nothing. If you try to rip your lady out of it, you put yourself in the position of holding your lady back while her opponent uses the opportunity to strike. If you try to hold your lady’s opponent back, you run the risk of being the guy that helped his lady attack another woman. It's a lose-lose-lose proposition; an unanswerable question on par with “Why doesn’t Whoopi Goldberg have eyebrows?” Luckily, security dragged Sammi out of the club (25 points) before Ronnie was faced with this conundrum.
Actually, the more I think about it, the only sensible answer to this riddle is, “Don’t date women that will get into fights.” Which is much easier to accomplish outside of Seaside Heights, New Jersey.
Johnny and Camilla (The Challenge, Lisanti), 50 points: Reviewing the faces of the great heroes of The Challenge, the first thing that struck me was familiarity. Having watched these loonballs for years and years, you start to feel like you really know them and are happy to see them again. There is something oddly comforting about the screech of Paula Walnuts’ voice, the loud graphics on TJ Lavin’s T-shirts, and the contours of Robin’s enhanced woman bits. It is also interesting to track the evolution of these characters over the years. In the last decade, we have seen CT evolve from a terrifying testosto-cyclone of snarls and violence into a somewhat reasonable mature adult with feelings and stuff. And in just the past couple years we have witnessed Vinny evolve from a brash, bravado-filled Boston boy into Chaz Bono. (For real, dude looks EXACTLY like Chaz Bono. I have never seen Vinny from The Challenge and Chaz Bono in the same room at the same time. I am not saying that they are the same person, I am just saying that I have no proof otherwise. )
One of the crazy-pants that I enjoyed seeing the most was The Challenge: Rivals co-champion Johnny Bananas. There is something refreshingly likable about this broiest of bros. He’s kind of a dick, yet HE manages to curry the favor of the majority of the house every single season. This season he is matched up with his former flame Camilla. The two are clearly the couple most likely to conceive a child before the end of the season. Their chemistry, teamwork, and ability to rub honey off of each other was so impressive it garnered not one but TWO “You killed it” declarations from host TJ Lavin (2 x 25 = 50 points). This is an unprecedented GRTFL performance that was previously thought to be impossible — essentially Wilt Chamberlain having a 100-point game except, ya know, hungover and covered in honey.
Courtney (The Bachelor, Lisanti), 30 points: It is hard to admit when you are wrong, but Courtney The Model That Won’t Stop Talking About Being A Model’s performance this week on The Bachelor made it super-easy. You see, going into this episode, I had Courtney pegged as a pretty face that didn’t have anything going on upstairs — but now I'm convinced that she is a master strategist, conning manipulator, and probably should be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
Courtney’s performance in this episode confirmed age-old truths that have been passed down for generations. Truths like “nice girls finish last,” “beauty is only skin deep,” and “if you are on a fly fishing group date with one dude and eight other women you should always break away from the pack for some intense flirting.” I will allow her to explain the third one:
- “I have never really fished before, but catching fish can’t be that much harder than catching men. It’s all about knowing when to make your move, and I don’t see many moves being made towards Ben. I think they might want to step up their game a little bit and make a move. These girls don’t really have their eyes on the prize and I do.”
It was at this point that you could see the wheels of darkness turning in her head, and she let out a sinister smile that was barely visible thanks to whatever kooky procedure she has had on her upper lip that makes her look kind of muppety — but hot muppety.
Muppety or not, Courtney understands how to play the game. Her years in the modeling business (did she mention she was a model?) have sharpened her ability to both seduce a man and emotionally demolish her female peers. This week she pulled both of those arrows out of her quiver of evil and marked two bull's eyes. Allow me to explain:
If you ever find yourself competing for the heart of a potential spouse on a reality show and said potential spouse is surrounded by suitors fawning over them, you can either fall into the pack like the rest of the girls have done this season or you can conceive and execute a strategy like Courtney. I am telling you, Courtney is the Bill Belichick of Bachelorettes. She knows one of the key manipulative tools of seduction: There is nothing more attractive than unrequited attraction. If you are single, read that again; it will serve you well. Let’s enjoy her work:
- Courtney: “To be honest, I have lost sight of everything.”
Ben “You have?”
Courtney: “A little bit.”
Ben: “Of us?”
Courtney: “A little bit, yeah. It is just this daily and daily basis it is just getting ... ”
Ben: “I am sorry to hear that.”
Courtney: “Soooo ... ”
Ben: ”I have feelings for you and I genuinely like you and I told you that last week and it hasn’t changed. It hasn’t changed.”
Courtney: “I know. Okay.”
Remember that kick-ass Charlie Daniels song where he out-fiddles the devil in Georgia? Courtney just out-fiddled Charlie Daniels, and Ben the Bachelor was the fiddle. In the middle of this conversation, Ben immediately ran off to get her a rose and delivered it with a kiss (5 points). Poor fella.
But Courtney is not only using her powers to reinvigorate Ben’s interest in her by playing the trusty “I’m not that into you" card, she is further distancing herself from her competition by completely destroying them emotionally. Thus, this week’s Top Five is the Top Five Bitchy Things the Bill Belichick of Bachelorettes Said This Week and Their Super-Bitchy Subtextual Implications — ranked from “That wasn’t very nice” to “She is going to be convicted of manslaughter when one of these girls cries herself to death” (I wish you could see me giggle as I am writing this. I am more fired up about this list than I am the Super Bowl, and I am a Patriots fan.)
- 1. Courtney Quote: “I think Kacie B is cute and sweet and she is kind of annoying. But Ben and I have such a strong connection at this point that I don’t feel threatened by any of the girls, especially Kacie B.”
Super-Bitchy Subtextual Implication: “Kacie B will get married at some point but not to Ben. She will then make her husband miserable and annoy him to the point of infidelity.”
2. Courtney Quote: I think Lindzi could have stayed back and it would have been less awkward for her. I caught a fish and her head almost popped off and spun around. She was so jealous she probably would have caught that fish with her bare teeth if she could have.”
Super-Bitchy Subtextual Implication: “Lindzi will spend her life feverishly attempting to accomplish what I beautiful my way into with ease.”
3. Courtney Quote: [The women all raise their glasses in a cheers motion and Courtney extends her arm] “I can go higher than everybody.”
Super-Bitchy Subtextual Implication: “I am better at everything than everyone all the time always. Don’t forget that.”
4. Courtney Quote: “You can see someone here in the house, but you don’t know how they would be with a man. I get along really well with guys. I have always had boyfriends, so that is more natural to me than being in a house full of women.”
Super-Bitchy Subtextual Implication: “You old maids are destined to hang around houses full of women for your entire lives while I will be in loving relationships with fabulous, caring, über-rich men. C’est la vie ... ”
5. Courtney Quote: “I am a nice person, don’t fuck with me.“
Super-Bitchy Subtextual Implication: “I am not a nice person, don’t fuck with me.“
5. Courtney Quote: “I almost just want to rip her head off and verbally assault her. Or shave her head off or something.”
Super-Bitchy Subtextual Implication: “I want to take a razor to her neck and keep sawing at it until I have beheaded her. Then, like Perseus did with Medusa’s head, I will use her head as a weapon to kill off the rest of the bachelorettes. Except for you, Casey S.; I will spare you because I need someone around to tell me I look skinny.”
Okay, fine, you caught me, I added a sixth one, I couldn’t help myself, I love Courtney so much. I haven’t done a 180 on my opinion about someone like this since I found out that Adrien Brody used to smoke blunts with Tupac. This week her Belichickian strategies succeeded in making Emily cry (25 points) and in the teaser for next week’s show she proclaims, “A girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do” before going skinny dipping with Ben. If the Patriots lose the Super Bowl in overtime after Eli Manning lodges a touchdown pass in Victor Cruz’s face mask and Bill is institutionalized, I am totally lobbying for Courtney to take over Grantland. Matter of fact, how old do you have to be to run for president? I would vote for her in a heartbeat.
CT, Diem, Sarah, Vinny, Mark, and Robin (The Challenge, various GRTFL teams), 25 “You killed it” points: TJ Lavin this week on The Challenge: “There were four teams that killed it ... ” What? Teej, four teams cannot kill it! That is not how killing it works, man, slow your roll turbo, only one “killed it” at a time Teej, jeez.
TJ owning the catchphrase born from the BS Report makes me giddy. I was going to print some “You Killed It” T-shirts and send them to him before the season started, but they didn’t have any dragons or eagles or tribal patterns on them, so I figured he would never wear them.
All jokes aside, it was great to see TJ back to his old self this season after that horrific injury. Shout-out to you, TJ Lavin. You are an inspiration. No bullshit.
Ronnie (Jersey Shore, House), 20 points: Ronnie cried because he misses his buddy Vinny. You know who would never do that? Single Ronnie.
Jasmine (The Challenge, House), 10 points: When we added the “Assault of an Inanimate Object: 10 points” rule, we should have just called it the Jasmine rule. I hope they have a “break as much glass as possible” challenge; Jasmine would dominate that the way Vinny would dominate a “look like Chaz Bono” challenge. (Shout-out to the two people that tweeted me that Chaz Bono joke; I see you.)
Wes and Mandi (The Challenge, Connor), 10 points: Wes and Mandi won the elimination challenge (10 points) that they have titled “The Dome.” MTV is running out of nouns at this point. I can’t wait until 2015, when TJ announces, “When you are voted to the elimination challenge you have to fight for your life in ... The Sponge.”
Kacie B (The Bachelor, Jacoby), 10 points: Every year there is one bachelorette that gets all stalky weird in love with the bachelor. This year it is Kacie B, who notched 10 points for a kiss-and-cry combo and dropped a slew of questionable quotes professing her feelings about Ben that crescendoed in this doozy:
- “Rachel gets to go on a date with Ben today and I sat there and wanted to throw up. It is really hard to see him go with other girls because I want it to be me. I just want time with him. But then I know he is going to walk in and I get to see him. And as much as it sucks to know he is there to get somebody else, at least I get to see him for a second and he sees me and knows I am still here.”
We are headed for a classic finish between Kacie B the sweet angel and Courtney the sultry devil. The finale is going to be like that light saber fight when Darth Vader tries to sell Luke on the power of the Dark Side — except Darth Vader will be naked and pretending not to be into Luke. I can’t wait. I would bet my cable hookup these two are in the finale.
Jennifer, Rachel, and Nicki (The Bachelor, various GRTFL teams) 5 points: Jennifer, Rachel, and Nicki all got a smooch from Ben the Bachelor Who I Have Never Seen in the Same Room at the Same Time As Rafa Nadal this week, but my favorite was Rachel’s. Ben paddled Rachel out to the middle of a lake in a canoe and gave her what would have been one of the most romantic kisses in Bachelor history ... had they not been surrounded by more bugs than Joba Chamberlain on the mound in Cleveland. Immediately after the kiss, I thought he was going to dock the canoe and blow a lead in the eighth inning.
Samantha (The Bachelor, Schell), 5 points: Samantha early in the episode: “I have such crazy feelings for this guy that I feel like I don’t know. I feel like I should already have a ring on this finger.” Samantha late in the episode, “He wasn’t into me and that is what hurts me the most. I am going to miss Ben so much that it like breaks my heart” (5 crying points).
The Situation (Jersey Shore, Lisanti), 5 points: Sitch did some club canoodling (5 points) that led to him bringing a woman home and me having to do some clarification on our scoring system. Here at the GRTFL, we need physical or verbal coitus confirmation. We can’t assume Pauly D had birthday coitus because he hinted at it. We need to see it or hear him claim it. This young lady that Sitch brought home this week may very well have been coitusing Mr. Situation, but we cannot make that assumption. Also, couples get no coitus points — it's just too easy, it needs to be a fresh kill. How did my career path lead me to a place where I write sentences like this? And where is this going? Being ordered to write detailed accounts of Jersey Shore sexcapades doesn’t exactly scream “being groomed for upper management.” [Ed. Note: At Grantland, however ... ]
Emily (The Bachelor, Kang) 5 points: The Bill Belichick of Bachelorettes made Emily cry and announce, “Courtney is like a statue made of marble. It is really beautiful but it is cold and it is hard on the inside.” I think she meant that to be an insult. I also think Courtney would take that as a compliment.
Deena (Jersey Shore, Connor), 5 points: It was a huge drag when I learned that Emily-the-boring-southern-chick was going to be the next Bachelorette. It was also a drag when I learned that Deena still can’t find love on the Jersey Shore. Hmmmm, if only there was a way to solve both of these problems at once ... just can’t put my finger on it, though. Oh well.
Monica (The Bachelor, Jacoby) 5 points: Monica cried when she was voted off this year. When she signed up for the show she thought it would lead to people recognizing her and whispering “That’s the girl that won The Bachelor.” The reality is that her stint on the show will lead to people recognizing her and whispering “That is the lesbian from The Bachelor.” Don’t get too bummed about it, Monica, there is always Bachelor Pad.
Every so often here in GRTFLville we are going to pass the mike to readers so they have an opportunity to make their own observations/hacky jokes about reality TV too. The first one comes via Simmons, who forwarded me this e-mail from Henry in San Francisco and added, “you have to run this in your column.” I am really going to miss those e-mails in a couple weeks when Bill is in an insane asylum and Courtney the Model That Won’t Stop Talking About Being a Model is running Grantland. Anyway, here is Henry’s e-mail:
Subject: The Challenge 2003 NBA Class
City: San Francisco
So, the Battle of the Exes just started up. Heather, Dustin, and Naomi all showed up as rookies. That means that 6 of the original 7 cast members from Real World Las Vegas have now made appearances on the Challenge. And it got me to thinking, the Las Vegas season has a chance to be The Challenge's 2003 NBA draft.
Adam Royer has appeared in one episode and in that episode he managed to set the GRFL single episode record for The Challenge (only topped by the Jersey Shore cast). Leroy has been a beast in competition (name not far off from LeBron either). Michael, who looked like a bust, proved to be a highly interesting character with his Paula obsession and even exceeded expectations in the competitions.
It remains to be seen how Dustin, Heather, and Naomi will pan out, but I think Dustin and Naomi both have all star potential. How are the other cast members going to handle Dustin's porn past? Naomi could go ape-shit any moment if Leroy starts doing Leroy.
And the best part? I think Nany, if she ever comes on the show, could be the best of them all. She's a dime with daddy issues who fell for Adam Royer and regularly got hammered. That's a hell of a scouting report.
If you want to be in next week’s “Reader’s Reality” just drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will have a look at it. Enjoy your weekend.