I don’t think of the people on The Challenge as actual real-life human beings. In my mind they spontaneously materialize every 10 months in some foreign country in the latest Under Armour gear and start drinking and arguing. The idea that Jasmine files taxes, Paula Walnuts goes grocery shopping, and CT has an employer just blows my fucking mind. I was reminded of this odd reality because my pod partner Juliet and I had the pleasure of hosting Frank The Alcopsychoholic at the Grantland studio yesterday. Not only is Frank an actual real-life human being, he is smart, charming, and has a earnest understanding of how he is portrayed and perceived. After a couple hours of listening to Frank rationalize his behavior, you almost forget how he earned the moniker Frank The Alcopsychoholic in the first place — almost. I mean, he did get slammered and try to fight CT this week. No truly rational real-life human would try to fight CT.
Frank (The Challenge, Yoshida), 25 points: Frank could not control himself in either the show or the interview. On the show he couldn’t keep himself from going full-on alcopsychoholic on CT, arguing (5 points), crying (20 points), and challenging CT The Face-Eating Silverback to a fight. In the interview he couldn’t keep himself from revealing some shocking revelations about his time in Thailand. Having worked my entire career with athletes and actors well trained in the art of the super-boring interview, it was refreshing to listen to someone tell the unfiltered truth about his experience. While I am sure there will be some MTV suits unhappy with his candor, I am also sure that he doesn’t give a fuck.
His interview answered so many questions we all have asked ourselves about the inner workings of The Challenge that this week’s GRTFL Top Five is the Top Five Revelations From Frank The Alcopsychoholic, listed from “I always figured that was the case, but it's nice to have it confirmed” to “Holy fucking shit, I will never be able to watch this the same way again.”
5. Production Intentionally Doesn’t Give Them Air Conditioning:
Have you noticed there hasn’t been a single shot of someone in the house who wasn’t sweating like Patrick Ewing in a sauna? Frank claims that production keeps them at each other’s throats by roasting them in Thailand’s humidity without the respite of AC. This may or may not be true. It's hard to believe that they would be such dicks to their cast, but he also said they only stock the fridge with bologna, bread, and cheese, so, ya know, anything is possible.
Frank also claims that CT smells. That one I believe 100 percent.
4. There Are Flying Cobras Everywhere:
Cobras routinely fall from trees onto the deck and are promptly swept away by local fixers. It is a good thing Juliet did the interview because I would have asked 60 minutes of follow-up questions about the kamikaze cobras.
3. They Aren’t Allowed to Drink Dark Liquor:
Allegedly ever since CT tried to murder/eat/skin-and-wear Adam, production has banned dark liquor from the house. I have never understood how people track insanity to the color of liquor that is consumed. I love the idea that someone in a meeting at Bunim/Murray headquarters declared, “Look, the only reason that these people are trying to murder and eat each other is because we gave them whiskey. If we give them an unlimited supply of beer, wine, and vodka nothing can possibly go wrong.”
2. They Have Sex on the Toilet or Among the Kamikaze Cobras:
While Frank and CT were fighting about whether or not CT coitused Anastasia, weren’t you wondering, “Um, if they had sex, why didn’t we see it?” According to Frank, off-camera coitus happens in the commode or in the jungle among the kamikaze cobras. Both sound potentially fatal.
1. Johnny Bananas Is the Bear Grylls of Getting High:
What Grylls is to survival in the wild, Bananas is to getting faded. Bananas commandeered one of those keyboard cleaners from a cameraman and huffed his way around the house for a few days. He is like Houdini, but instead of escaping cuffs and jackets and shit he escapes sobriety. I love Bananas.
I strongly encourage you to watch the interview. Your opinion of Frank will dramatically change; he couldn’t have been cooler.
Anastasia (The Challenge, Yoshida), 75 points: “I am definitely interested in CT, but I'm concerned that I like him a little more than I should.” —Anastasia
Why do you say that, Anastasia? What makes you think that you shouldn’t emotionally invest yourself in a drunken, crude, violent manbeast you just met on a TV show a week ago? What could go wrong?
Anastasia and CT’s relationship predictably went from kamikaze cobra sex (25 points) to Anastasia yelling (5 points), crying (5 + 5 = 10 points), and slapping the shit out of CT (25 points). She will go down in Challenge history as the first person to beat CT in a fight and the first person to make TJ (’sup, Teej?) break character, turn to the camera, and make a “you have got to be kidding me” face:
TJ couldn’t hold it together because Ana was so nervous/excited/skinny when it was time for The Jungle that she had to halt production because she felt like she was going to pass out. After she predictably lost and was sent packing, TJ announced, “I guess she shouldn’t smoke cigarettes and not eat.” (35 points) Again, how did Teej not get nominated for an Emmy?
CT (The Challenge, House), 50 points: The genesis of Frank and CT’s near-fisticuffs (5 + 5 = 10 points) wasn’t really clear on the show and wasn’t even clear after talking to Frank about it for 10 minutes. What we did learn from Frank is that grilled cheese, fraudulent denial of coitus (20 points), and Knight’s big ol’ Matt Stafford head all played a role. Apparently, what we didn’t see on the show is that CT instigated the whole thing, it lasted for more than four hours, and Frank punched Knight in the face. Now, why wouldn’t MTV show Frank punching Knight in the face? Methinks this is a good time for a totally unfounded, likely inaccurate theory:
Bunim/Murray didn’t show the punch because it doesn’t want it proven that it cares more about story lines than safety.
What exactly is the violence policy? I may or may not have been watching The Challenge deep cuts on YouTube lately and they once nearly kicked off Puck for spitting. Again, spitting. So far this season, CT has tried to drownstrangle a small percentage of the cast, Anastasia slapped the shit out of homeboy, and Frank punched Knight. There really is no clear consequence for violence, and I think this punch wasn’t aired because they didn’t want to bring this fact to the forefront. Either that, or, ya know, the camera op just didn’t get the shot, which very much could be the case, making my theory not only incorrect but kind of irresponsible.
I’m cool with that, though.
CT also managed to get naked (20 points) and a cameraman managed to find something in Thailand even more terrifying than CT The Cannibal Silverback:
WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT THING?
Zak (Bachelorette, Jacoby), 40 points: New weekly feature alert! Every week GRTFL Super Scorer Caitlin Mangum will contribute a write-up. What can I say? She's hilarious and I'm lazy. Two birds, one stone:
Caitlin: Zak "The Naked One" W's improbable run on The Bachelorette came to an end this week. The Florida Gulf Coast of this season’s crop of bachelors, Zak defied both Vegas oddsmakers and logic, storming to the final four before ultimately getting dumped for a guy who only speaks in iambic pentameter, a guy who doesn’t really like Des, and a guy we didn’t even know was on the show until last week.
Where did Zak go wrong this week? Let’s examine …
1. Zak decided this week was the opportune time to introduce Desiree to the family snow cone business. Unfortunately for Zak, that also included him wearing this:
Sorry, Zak: No girl has ever had a sexual thought about a guy in a penguin costume. Ever.
2. Zak’s clan did its best impression of the von Trapp family when Zak enlisted his brother and sister to sing a song (20 points) that he had written for Des.
Oh Desiree now we can see,
Your place among our family.
We used to wonder, wish, and pray,
And now you’re standing here today.
Although the song didn’t seal Desiree’s feelings for Zak, the Waddell family can feel comfortable knowing they have a future starring in a community theater revival of Fiddler on the Roof.
3. Zak claims that “he has been waiting weeks and weeks and weeks” to tell Des that he loves her. How does he finally do it? By giving Des a ring (10 points) he had picked up in Atlantic City … because nothing says lasting, forever love quite like Atlantic City.
4. He’s still the guy that showed up with no shirt on the first night.
In the end, a couple makeouts (5 + 5) couldn’t save Zak, and he was sent packing with nothing more than a limo, his Atlantic City trinket, and returning thoughts of priesthood.
Wes (The Challenge, Lisanti), 35 points: Wes quit the challenge thinking there wouldn’t be any repercussions because it was a female elimination week (35 points). He was wrong. Next week, CT and Wes will have a disadvantage. Oops. The challenge was pretty good, too. The producers basically crossed an obstacle course, the Lumberjack Games, and porn to create an event that would lead to these images:
Shout-out to Bunim/Murray — I give them a ton of shit for having weak challenges, but this one came through. Frank told us there was no spelling bee this year, though. I assume they didn’t include it because they are soon launching an “MTV’s The Challenge Spelling Bee” show/network/religion. That's the only thing that makes sense.
Drew (The Bachelorette, Simmons), 25 points: OK, even though Drew confessed his love (20 points) and made out with her (5 points), Des is clearly picking Brooks. This leaves ABC in a pickle, because then there is no clear next Bachelor. I can’t put my finger on why, but Zak and Drew don’t seem right for the job. Chris checks a lot of Bachelor boxes but the idea of a season with that much awful poetry is too unbearable to even imagine. Good thing I am here to offer up my two cents:
Have Des’s asshole brother be the next Bachelor. You’re welcome, ABC and America.
Cooke and Cara Maria (The Challenge, Litman), 10 points: Cooke peed all over herself through her clothes before the start of the elimination challenge. She and her new partner, Cara Maria, won the challenge and stayed in the game. It was great to see Cara Maria back on the show, as she has always been a favorite of mine. I may or may not have bought a Cara Maria original painting on the Internet.
Jordan and Sarah (The Challenge, Litman and Yoshida), 5 points: Jordan and Sarah are the second couple of the season to get it on in the closet:
I respect Sarah’s “I am just going to go ahead and take my shirt off before we even make out” move; it is truly a veteran technique. Only when you have been on The Challenge and had flings with Mr. Beautiful, Alton, and now Jordan do you have arrows like the “I am just going to go ahead and take my shirt off before we even make out” move in your quiver.
Chris and Brooks (The Bachelorette, Yoshida and Lisanti), 5 points: Chris and Brooks both kissed Des this week (5 points), and mercifully there are only two episodes of this show left. If you have suggestions for other shows that we should fold into the GRTFL, please leave them in the comments below. If you don’t, that’s cool, too, I still love you.
Enjoy your weekend.