Bill Simmons had a website called Grantland, which introduced the concept of fantasy applied to The Challenge. And that’s how we are where we are today.
After such a disappointing reunion show, it was nice to listen to a better conversation about this season of The Challenge, Rivals 3.
Obviously, the main topic was Bananas’ shameless move to take all the winning prize money for himself, instead of sharing it with partner Sarah. It was a ruthless move, but within his rights as a player in a game with rules he did not decide. However, his attempt to justify the action because Sarah has been competitive in the past is infuriating.
Bananas dominated the conversation with Simmons, going on and on about how Sarah set the tone for his decision to take all the money by throwing him into elimination in Battle of the Exes 2. When they talk about how friendship didn’t matter when Bananas put Paula on a bad boat many seasons earlier, Bananas tries to act like that was different.
It’s exhausting and annoying to hear Bananas pretend he made this decision because Sarah drew some line somewhere. On Battle of the Exes 2, Sarah was not on the same team as Bananas, and putting him up for an elimination was a smart tactical move in her best interest of winning. She made the exact move that Bananas would make because, “all is fair in love, war and challenges.”
In the Rivals 3 situation, they were in it together and won together. The only thing they were competing against each other for was the money aspect, the twist Bananas couldn’t resist taking advantage of.
Whether it was Sarah, Nany, Leroy, Jenna, or probably anyone but his cousin Vince as his partner, Bananas would probably have taken the money because don’t hate the player, hate the game. And that’s fine. Is it something most of us could live with? Maybe not, as doing the right thing often feels better than money. But it’s fair, as it’s a way to play the game.
And at minute 45, the truth is actually revealed. Bananas says that it would have been a lame, anti-climactic finale if he had not taken advantage of the plot twist. Simmons tells Bananas he doesn’t have to keep justifying the decision. Bananas talks non-stop about why he did what he did in such a defensive and uncomfortable way that he must feels guilty, because he’s so hung up on it.
The motivation of making good TV is the truth of the situation. And he’s right. It was Bananas & Sarah’s final to lose, and their win was not too exciting, as it was to be expected. Without taking advantage of the twist, the finale would not have been exciting.
Bananas is MTV’s Golden Child because he knows he’s making a show and works to ensure it’s entertaining. We saw this earlier in the season, when Bananas woke up Tony to “get Camila to go to bed,” clearly aiming to instigate a fight between the tense partners.
When you watch the show, you see a lot of the same people over and over… like Leroy, Sarah, Nany and Wes (Cory will be added to this group as he gets it, too). Not only is it good to have familiar faces, it’s people who narrate well and entertain. Cast members you barely remember, like Carley, Robb and JD, possibly don’t come back because they are plain and don’t contribute towards the making of a captivating show. Or they have a real life and don’t want to be on The Challenge. But that’s harder to believe.
Not so much a TV success (his HBO show Any Given Wednesday is not doing well), Simmons brings the sports comparisons because he is Sports Guy. Bananas is not so much a sports fan, making him unable to really add to that part of the conversation.
But as a Challenge fan, Simmons brings up CT humiliating Bananas when he was used as a backpack on Cutthroat. Bananas knows how to push his brand, saying he was a banana strapped to a gorilla. Oh, Johnny… sometimes you are too commercial when you should be a little human.
Finally, the two guys get into some non-Rivals 3-related Challenge gossip.
Here are the most interesting notes:
- Derrick is getting divorced and looking to come back to the Challenge!
- Bananas likes the other “villains”: Tony and Zach. He really defends Tony, with just a quick note on how yeah it was not cool that he got in Camila’s face. Another missed opportunity for further discussion on the Tony v. Camila fight.
- Both think Evelyn, Emily and Laurel are the most competitive girls on the show. Cara Maria gets no love.
- Bananas believes Ashley is the next Nany.
There’s no talk about Sarah accusing Bananas of being on adderall for the final, but he seems like he’s possibly on adderall during the interview. Bananas is focused, but hyper.
Simmons also missed an opportunity to find out what Bananas girlfriend snowboarder Hannah Teter thought of his decision and of his career.
The conclusion is that Bananas doesn’t know if he can top the spectacle he created this season. His true dream is having his own show… maybe an Everybody Hates Bananas or The World vs. Bananas. When Simmons mentions that MTV should just do that in LA, Bananas explains that the show would be too expensive if made in the U.S.A., which explains why they end up in Mexico, Czech Republic, Turkey and Thailand so much.
As a New Yorker, I can tell you that this isn’t the first time I’ve heard about how cheap Viacom is. The question now is: Will Viacom spend some money to give their Golden Boy Bananas his own show or is Bananas meant for the Challenge only?
What do you think!?!?!?
NOTE: My buddy Pat Mayo mentioned in his episode 13 recap that it would be interesting if there was a secret twist where if a player opted to take all the money for themselves, their partner would actually get all the money. That would have been incredible, but is far beyond how The Challenge operates. Would have also been interesting if, in that same mindset, if a player chose to split, they would be rewarded with extra money… although, now we know Viacom is too cheap for that.