Sorry, friends, we will not be running a fantasy league, posting scores or blogging about The Challenge Season 33: War of the Worlds.
A few Challenge seasons ago, back in his less-mature days, Tony got into an argument with someone (can’t remember who) about why Challenge contestants originally from The Real World (like Tony) were better reality television characters than those contestants from Are You the One? (like whoever he was talking to). I tried to find this clip on Youtube and was unable to, but I swear it happened. I think about that clip often when I think about why my interest in The Challenge has waned over the past few seasons, and why we are no longer going to be scoring The Challenge for fantasy purposes.
The first season of The Challenge that I watched was Real World/Road Rules Challenge 2000 and aired, unsurprisingly, in 2000. Amazingly, Veronica was one of the contestants on that season of The Challenge (which only had twelve people on it). Over the years, I’ve stuck with The Challenge as it has greatly expanded the cast pool and the format, and gotten much more complicated. I love The Challenge – it expertly combines sports with drama and gameplay. Even better, it brings back contestants over and over again so the audience can see how those people change and mature over the years. As a great example, for several years CT was one of the most immature, worst-behaved people on The Challenge. At his nadir, CT got into a huge fight with his former Real World: Paris castmate Adam on The Duel II in 2009, and chased Adam around the house. Well, a few years later, on the first Rivals season in 2011, CT and Adam were partners, and a much-more-mature CT apologized to Adam and the two bonded over the course of the season. It was great drama! And it felt real.
But at some point, things changed. I can’t precisely pinpoint the turning point, but adding in contestants from Are You the One? and later Big Brother and Geordie Shore definitely compounded the problem. It certainly seems like contestants are trying to artificially start drama and relationships, in an attempt to get paired with better partners in the future. Arguments get started because of dumb Twitter spats. No one seems real; contestants seem like they are going on the show in order to increase the number of Instagram followers. As fantasy commissioners, we constantly have to score the stupidest, most pointless drama. Tony was right!
Even worse, the production of the show has decreased in quality. Too many times over the past few seasons, a major plot point or fight has been spoiled by the “next on” clips. There are way too many cliffhangers; cliffhangers are ok if used sparingly, but too many cliffhangers make me feel like Kathy Bates’s character in Misery (google the clip of her criticism of cliffhangers from that movie). The last few seasons have moved at a snail’s pace, as the producers have seemingly stretched the (already-pointless) drama over multiple episodes. Contrivances like the redemption house mean that there are few stakes to losing an elimination. The result is that the drama feels manufactured and fake. And the past few seasons, we haven’t enjoyed having to watch each episode with a fine-tooth comb for fantasy purposes.
As such, while we’ll stay as Challenge viewers, we are no longer going to score the show for this blog. We apologize to those of you who play in your own leagues, but for us, scoring The Challenge was becoming too much of a chore instead of something we enjoyed doing.
Maybe we’ll reconsider in the future, but given that half the cast from War of the Worlds is new (and only eight of them originally started on The Real World), I’m not optimistic
I think Tony’s argument that Mix mentions was with Amanda. Or someone like her. Someone who argues passionately for no real reason.
The last season was too long. The last few seasons have gone back-to-back-to-back (if you include Champs vs. Stars/Pros, which we scored/covered). I felt myself itching for a break, a few months off. Time off from a passion project? That doesn’t make much sense.
But it takes time, effort and energy to produce an accurately scored league with a decent enough summary. In order to accurately score an episode, I find I have to watch the episode twice. Sometimes only some parts need to be viewed twice, but some fights, vomits, challenges, and hook-ups need to be watched multiple times to be scored correctly.
Simply put, this show is no longer worth watching twice.
The arguments are mundane, and low on substance. The production quality has dropped significantly. The editing is suspect. MTV has adopted the awful habit of teasing at every commercial break and recapping as soon as the advertising has concluded. The teasers for the show feature a lot of hype with disappointing delivery. The challenges themselves are now half showing the competition, and half cut to interviews of contestants describing the activity I’d rather just be watching them perform.
My favorite part of last season was Kam’s strategizing the vote to go her way and give her the power. It was smart, savvy, manipulative, and clever. But even then, the payoff was rookies Da’Vonne and Jozea going into an elimination. Even when something exciting happens, something that truly mixes the sport of the game and drama, it doesn’t have a great payoff.
Final Reckoning was killer. It was too long. The season concluded with the easiest final I can remember in the 32 seasons I’ve watched (yes, I am dedicated to this franchise) with a completely unsatisfying ending. Maybe it was dramatic to see Bananas “steal” the winning money from his partner Sarah, but to see a repeat of an unsatisfying decision occur with the same conclusion, except with excuses instead of faint feelings of guilt, felt like a lame sequel trying to recreate the magic.
I now have two kids, which is twice as many as I had before! I also have a full-time job, and still produce and host ThinkWhileYouDrink trivia nights in NYC. I am also trying to workout so I don’t look like I’m still pregnant. Doing this league takes time I don’t have/am no longer willing to dedicate.
I am getting sick of rewinding a fourth time to see exactly who puked up the local animal’s brain, or to see if Amanda raised her voice loud enough for it to be verbal attack when making the thought-provoking “no one likes you” statement.
Yes, I will still watch this season. I am excited to see Zach and Jenna on the same season for more than one episode (maybe, hopefully). I am excited to see Hunter try to get back at Smashley. I am excited to see everyone get sick of Cara Maria and Paulie. I am excited to see Wes back! I am hoping Nany returns and steals the “player” crown from Kyle. I am excited to see if Kam and Leroy get married.
I am excited to just sit back and watch each episode just once.
Like MTV’s The Real World, we are not officially canceling the Officially Unofficial Challenge Fantasy League. We are just on hiatus with no return date in sight.
Here’s the scoring system from last season for you to use if you want to run a league yourself.
|Winning Final Challenge||120 Points|
|2nd Place in the Final Challenge||40 Points|
|3rd Place in the Final Challenge||15 points|
|Winning Regular Challenge||15 Points|
|Winning Elimination Challenge||25 Points|
|Being kicked off the show for something other than an injury.||100 Points|
|Leaving show due to sickness or partner being kicked off/leaving||0 Points|
|Physical attack (one person attacking an object by throwing, kicking, punching or smashing it, or attacking another person)||15 Points|
|Physical Fighting (More than one person)||25 Points|
|Producer Interaction||10 Points|
|Verbal Fighting (more than one person)||10 points|
|Verbal bashing (one-sided yelling)||5 points|
|On-the-mouth kissing||10 Points|
|Coitus (or pulling over covers in bed)||20 Points|
|Blood (limit one per episode)||5 points|
|Making T.J. express verbal disappointment in you quitting or sucking at the Challenge||-5 Points|
|Making T.J. verbally express his disappointment in anything else about your behavior besides quitting or sucking at the Challenge (so basically just for sucking at life)||10 points|
|Making T.J. Say “You killed it”.||10 Points|
|Vomitting (limit 2 per episode)||5 Points|
|Peeing/pooping non-toilet||10 Points|
|Casting the tie vote for an elimination||5 Points|
|Refusing to participate in challenge or elimination||-10 Points|
|Nany Rule: Hooking up w/more than 1 person in 1 episode||5 Points|
|Producer Interaction: Points are given when behavior that elicits a producer to interact with that particular castmember. This does not include: producers intervention due to injury or discussions with producers in the confessional. Also, only the person(s) that elicits the producer intervention receives points. If Person A is throwing a tantrum and the producer steps in and briefly speaks to Person B, only Person A gets points|
|Backstabbing: If a player explicitly declares to another person that he or she will not vote for that other person, but nevertheless votes to throw the
other person into the elimination, they receive backstabbing points. The declaration and the vote must take place in the same episode.
|NOTE: Flashbacks from previous challenges do not count towards scoring.|
|The Marlon & Derek Rule: Anything that happened off camera/was not shown, does not count in scoring unless all participants in event (hook up, fight, etc.) acknowledge it occurred on camera during an episode of the show (not internet or After Show).|
|*Anything that happens in internet exclusive videos or during the After Show does not count towards scores, unless the Redemption is aired online or as part of the After Show. If the Redemption is aired online or as part of the After Show, the only points awarded will be for winning the battle.|
|Hook up clarification. If two players hook up (mouth kissing or more) more than once in an episode, they only get points once. If they hook up (mouth kissing or more) again on another episode, they get points again. So they can double up week to week, but not within an episode.|