Under Armour shirt with names across the chest? Check. T.J. Lavin’s quiet confidence? Check. Drunken rage monsters attempting to assault and/or coitus every living being in their path? Check. The Challenge is back, and the debut episode was pretty damn promising. There were a couple good falls, several delusional sound bites, and a Frank freakout worthy of the top spot on the GRTFL leaderboard. But before we get to that, we have some housekeeping to do. We added two new shows to the docket, which means two sets of show-specific rules and a mega-draft:
Making T.J. say, “You killed it”: 25 points Making T.J. verbally express his disappointment in your behavior: 35 points Making T.J. dramatically break character: 20 points Cross-dressing: 10 points Winning elimination challenge: 10 points Winning final challenge: 50 points Leaving show due to injury: -50 points Announcing you are “in control of the game” (or something close to it): 5 points Slandering someone’s sexual performance: 25 points Cannibalism: 100 points Causing the arrival of a vehicle with a siren: 20 points Assault of an inanimate object: 10 points Cold sore possession: 15 points Making a “Turkey” pun: 50 points Being the target of PED accusations: 25 points Hooking up with your ex-spouse: -10
Survivor Show-Specific Rules:
No points for unintentional nudity All hookup points scored at triple value (they deserve them for hooking up with someone who hasn’t showered for a month) Making a catty exit speech: 25 points Winning a “tie vote” challenge: 10 points Stealing or hiding food: 15 points Killing a mammal and eating it (i.e., no fish or insects): 15 points (only killer gets points) Receiving medical attention: 20 points Adding additional flair on tribal vote card (smiley faces, hearts, symbols, etc.): -10 points Announcing that you are "in control of this game": 5 points Accusing someone of eating more food than he/she was rationed: 5 points Being sent home with an unused immunity idol: -20 points Jeff Probst stops addressing you by your real name and starts using a nickname: 25 points (one time only) The Loved One who comes to the island is not parent, spouse, kin, or sibling: 20 points No Loved One comes to the island: 100 points Claiming your real job gives you an advantage in the game: 25 points Crying in Tribal Council: 5 points Jury member makes a survivor cry in the Final Tribal Council: 20 points Getting injured in an immunity challenge in an unathletic manner: 15 points Having so much trouble swimming that it briefly seems like you might drown: 10 points Being unable to light a fire: -5 points Being unable to make fire in a tiebreaker: -5 more points Comparing another contestant to vermin in Tribal Council: 10 points Faking possession of an immunity idol: 10 points (one time only) Unsuccessfully hiding the immunity idol: 5 points Claiming that you will "teach these young people a thing or two": 10 points Saying something that makes Jeff Probst raise his eyebrows: 10 points Winning the show: 50 points Getting so thin that your image no longer registers on camera: 50 points
Connor: Alton, Danny, Melinda, Malcolm, Skupin, Trey, Blair from Facts of Life, Sarah
Simmons: Frank, Jonna, Dustin, Sarah, Nany, Brandon, Zane, Roxy
Jacoby: Wes, Jasmine, Jemmye, Marie, Ashley, Abi-Maria, JD, Artis
Kang: Jeff Kent, Cara Maria, Dana, Laura, Big Easy, RC, Sam, Pete
House: Trishelle, Russell, CJ, Camilla, Robb, Chet, Lacey, Carter
Lisanti: Zach, Denise, Preston, Angie, Knight, McKenzie, Dana, Katie
Now that that's all squared away, can we please get to Frank’s intense, insane, inslopsicated introduction into GRTFL history? Yes? Fantastic.
Frank (Battle of the Seasons, Simmons), 45 points: Frank's ragey, alcopsychoholic, erratic, sexual, violent episode on the debut of Battle of the Seasons can be easily explained by comparing his evening to Edgar Allen Poe’s evening on October 3 in 1849. Yes, you read that right. Let’s go to the facts:
Who: Edgar Allen Poe
When: October 3, 1849
Where: Lombard Street, Baltimore
What: Well, no one really knows what the hell happened that evening, but by all accounts Mr. Poe had been drinking in a bar on Lombard Street and was later found wearing clothes that did not fit him and talking all crazy-like. Weird, right? He was then brought to the hospital. At the hospital, he got Patrick Ewing–sweaty, hallucinated, and started talking to companions that didn’t exist. A couple days later he died. Sad face.
Who: Frank the Alcopsychoholic From Real World San Diego 2
When: This Wednesday (on my TV)
Where: Bodrum, Turkey
What: Anyone who watched his season of Real World knows that Frank has a history of getting slammered (20 points), getting ragey, and getting in vicious arguments with everyone around him (10 points). His first night in Turkey was no different. It all started semi-innocently with a couple shots, some celebration, and eventually coercing his previously homophobic teammate Zach into a little man-kissing (5 points). He was having a good ol’ time.
Then it happened.
We all have that one friend who has one too many and switches from the life of the party to the death of it in a millisecond. That is Frank. After announcing “I am hammered!” he started running around the house insulting everyone that made eye contact with him. It was glorious. First, he turned his hate laser on Wes, but Wes is such a Challenge vet, he just reacted with amused apathy. When Frank pivoted to Danny, Danny wasn’t really having it and screamed at him. This led to slammered Frank getting all “Come at me, bro!” (10 points) and Zach scooping him up and pinning him to the ground in an attempt to get him to chill the fuck out. Frank was shocked by this move from Zach, pleading, “Zach, I haven’t fought a single person” after trying to, ya know, fight everyone. When Zach finally allowed Frank to maneuver under his own power he made an adorable/pathetic attempt to walk out of the room only to crumble into an unconscious ball of alcohol poisoning on the bedroom floor, thus ending his evening.
The Connection: Now, for about a century everyone believed Poe simply drank himself to death — but eventually other theories arose. A study done by Dr. R. Michael Benitez in 1996 theorized that the erratic behavior, hallucinations, and general weirdness that Poe exhibited was actually the result of rabies, not booze. Now take into account the fact that Frank displayed similar symptoms and one can only come to the conclusion that Frank on Battle of the Seasons is infected with rabies and may eat the entire cast this year. I fear for T.J.
Big Easy and Cara Maria (Battle of The Seasons, Kang), 35 points: When Bill and I kicked it with T.J., he revealed that he only drops the “You killed it” on the show because he heard the B.S. Report when we talked about it and he knows how much we enjoy it. I can’t lie: Now every time he does it I feel accomplished, like I have made the world a better place, like life has meaning, like I was actually put on this planet to watch The Challenge and make hacky jokes about it. When he dropped the “You killed it” on two of my top-10 favorite challengers this episode, Big Easy and Cara Maria (25 points), after they won the elimination challenge (10 points), I damn near cried. Thank you, T.J. It is you who has killed it.
Zane (Survivor, Simmons), 25 points: Zane is the dumbest Survivor contestant in the history of the show. OK. That probably isn’t true. But I won’t let minor details like that stop me from saying it. He started the show off during the “get to know the cast a little” sound bite montage with this ditty: “I have people come up to me all the time and ask me about Frankenstein. [Shows tattoo of Frankenstein on his arm.] He picked a little girl a flower, I mean he strangled her after he gave it to her, but still he picked her a flower. That's how I feel about myself, I could strangle you or pick you a flower — it depends what you pull out of me.” He then detailed why he dropped out of school: “I was always the kind of person, school didn’t make much sense to me. If I was going to do somethin’ for eight hours a day I wanted to get paid for it. I dropped out at 17. I went to work at a junkyard.” He then explained that working in junkyards and in tire shops makes him “the perfect survivor.” (25 points.)
The stupidity didn’t stop there. The very first day in camp he went to every member of his tribe and made an exclusive alliance with them. Every. Single. Member. (Stand by; we haven’t even gotten to the really stupid part yet.) After losing the challenge he ... no ... I think I have to make this the GRTFL Top Five of the Week. This week’s GRTFL Top Five is the Top Five Dumbest Things Zane Said in His Twisted Attempt to Establish That He Is Running the Game, listed from “That wasn’t bright” to “This guy must have the DNA of a tire iron":
1. "I’m already a superstar, I made alliance with everybody on the tribe and everybody seems to think that I am their only alliance.” (No, Zane; no, they don’t.)
2. “Can I speak before [interrupts Russell] ... I would like to talk to the whole tribe. There is something about this game where, I mean, you just have to pull the fire out of stomach and decide that is just what you are going to throw down and you had to pull me. I threw myself on top of it, and I mean, three days in ... I ain’t built for it.” (No idea what his strategy is here.)
3. “I love this game and I love it for knowing how powerful it is, but I deserve the vote.” (OK, still no idea what he is doing here.)
4. “The whole reason I put myself on the chopping block is to establish that I am running the game. This whole ruse that I just threw was just to feel out my tribe exactly how I need to work things.” (Oh, that’s his strategy. Wait, that was just disrespect to the word “strategy.” Sorry, the word “strategy,” didn’t mean to offend you.)
5. “You ain’t never seen a move like this in Survivor history.” (No, Zane, I have never seen anyone ask to be voted off in order to not be voted off; hope it works out for you, buddy.)
Zane was then immediately voted off. Shocker.
Team Cancun and Vegas (Jonna, CJ, Jasmine, Derek, Alton, Trishelle, Dustin, Nany) (Battle of the Seasons, various GRTFL teams), 25 points: Remember how I said every time T.J. drops a “killed it” I get all happy and stuff? Kinda lied. Sometimes I say to myself, “Damn you, T.J.! Now I have to write a paragraph about this bullshit.”
RC (Survivor, Kang), 25 points: RC exclaimed, “If I can handle Wall Street, I can certainly handle Survivor!” (25 points.) She then told her tribe members she was an executive assistant because she thought that if people found out she was a banker it might hurt her chances. I wonder why she'd think that?
Jonna (Battle of the Seasons, Simmons), 10 points: OK, I am about to open up my reality TV shame drawer and show you what's inside. I may or may not have obsessively watched TruTV’s Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock, in which Jonna commuted to Vegas from Arizona every weekend to serve Jager shots to hairgelled, tattooed bros in her bikini. It was pretty clear that she wasn’t there for the tips, she was there for the cameras. Seeing that Battle of the Seasons may very well be her last stand on the triple-digit part of your TV dial, she made a splash in the first episode by making out with Zach (5 points) and then having this teary (5 points) back-and-forth with her boyfriend back home:
Jonna: “I can’t do this. Like, me and you.”
Boyfriend Back Home: “So that is just it then ... ”
Jonna: “Yeah, I just need my freedom.”
I've said it before and will say it again: If your significant other ever says to you, “Honey I am leaving for a couple months to film this reality TV show,” what they are really saying is, “I am going to have sex with other people on camera, break up with you, and then ask for you back when I return, cool?” Keep that in mind next time your girlfriend goes to a Bunim/Murray open call.
Zach (Battle of the Seasons, Lisanti), 10 points: This is going to be a tough one to write up and not get fired or killed. So let me just stick to the facts. Zach kissed Frank (5 points) and then Zach kissed Jonna (5 points). I'll leave it at that because Zach is built like a water tower and could pummel me into a shapeless mass of human cells with one hand while simultaneously putting his ponytail up in a scrunchie.
Danny (Battle of the Seasons, Connor), 10 points: While Frank was having his Edgar Allen Poe moment, Danny did the whole “Come at me, bro” thing (10 points). His aggression toward the slammered Frank brought up a moral question that I would like to explore here in the GRTFL: Is it OK to beat the shit out of a dude being aggro toward you that is so drunk he can’t defend himself?
I think that's a lose-lose scenario. If you beat him up, you worry that he is seriously injured and/or has a lawyer parent. If you don’t, there you are getting disrespected by a drunkard and not doing anything about it in front of your friends. It is quandaries like this where the Buddy Who Holds You Back comes in real handy. Buddy Who Holds You Back is the best.
Sonja and Aviva (Real Housewives of New York City, Kang), 5 points: Look, I'm not going to lie to you, I can’t stand this show. They have spent the last four episodes arguing about how Aviva ruined “girls' vacation” (5 points) by bringing her husband — and the three episodes before that arguing about a logo for a nonexistent toaster. I will never add Housewives to the GRTFL again. Wait, I take that back. I will never add Housewives to the GRTFL again unless it's the Beverly Hills housewives. I miss those ladies.