A Moment in Challenge History, Vol. 1

Theresa and CT Play Strip Basketball

Life is nothing if not an endless string of moments. Some moments change your life, like quitting a job or falling in love. And sometimes they’re simply a minor annoyance, like stubbing your toe on your bed frame in the middle of the night. But certain moments gnaw at your memory until they’ve tattooed themselves on your brain, and it just becomes a part of you. For Challenge fan, this is one of those moments…

It would be hasty of us to jump in. We need to set the scene. To understand everything surrounding this seemingly small moment, we need to ask some important questions and take a look at the characters involved.

Where are we: Punta del Este

When are we: Thursday April 10th, 2014

What Season: Free Agents

Important characters: Theresa & CT

Notable supporting characters: Isaac, Emilee, Jordan, Camila, Jasmine

Brief description: Theresa and CT wage battle in an impromptu game of strip basketball.

This all may seem straightforward. It’s just a game of basketball at the end of the day. But there’s a lot more here than meets the eye. Before we break everything down, let’s take a step back and analyze the main players. Who they are, how they got here, and what led to this Moment in Challenge History.

CT

CT is a large undetermined species that landed on earth, debuting on a show called The Real World: Paris. For the uninitiated, The Real World was an amazing show that existed in a time before Rob Dyrdek kidnapped the Head of Programming for MTV’s daughter and tied her up in a Brooklyn basement.

His first handful of Challenge’s, CT showed that he was one of America’s great athletes. How he didn’t at least snag an NFL Training Camp invite using Inferno 2 as his highlight tape is beyond me.

But nonetheless, brought his talents to MTV instead. Lucky us. In his early years, he spent a lot of time puffing his chest out and shouting at people. He threatened everybody, fell in love, and even sent a guy to therapy (more on him later).

He disappeared (*cough* wassuspended *cough*) to go play for the Birmingham Baron’s for awhile, title-less and locked in a cage. He was 0–4 in Finals, including three seasons leaving because of a DQ. Twice for literal assault, and once for being too strong for the elimination game they were playing.

Would he go the way of Karl Malone? Physically dominant, but ultimately never a winner? MTV kept the answers on ice until they mercifully unleashed him on Cutthroat, spoiling Johnny Banana’s vacation in the Czech Republic.

On Rivals, CT made his official return to the ring. The Challenge Gods still needed him to repent, so they saddled him with Adam as a partner. The same Adam he sent to therapy and once threatened to cannibalize. Forced to spend the entire time pretending to be happy about it, they eventually fell to the eventual champion Johnny Bananas and Tyler Calzone in an elimination still hotly contested to this day.

He played a perfect game on Exes with his partner Diem (Rest In Peace). Getting all the way to the top of a glacier in Iceland, until smoking three packs of cigarettes a weak for a decade finally caught up to him at the worst time, ultimately settling for second.

Then the Challenge Gods threw him a bone, and for Rivals 2, he was paired with Wes. Forming what I believe to be the most dominant pairing in this game’s history. After all this time, the monkey was off his back, and CT finally won the big one. He was already a Hall of Famer, but his legacy was teflon from here on out.

Walking into Free Agents, he was at the peak of his powers. Athletically and politically, he couldn’t be touched.

Theresa

On her debut, Fresh Meat 2, Theresa gobbled up camera time early. Like the Hookup Terminator, she quickly scanned the room, sensing that Wes and Kenny were the two alpha dogs in the house She wasted no time sliding in to the DM of…well of whichever one bit first.

Most of her time on this season was spent ruminating on the perils of being “the hot girl in the house” and spending hours in bed with Laurel comparing Wes and Kenny’s wieners.

Laurel, your thoughts?

Theresa floated for awhile, establishing herself as a character and strong presence moving forward.

She was a spectator for the aforementioned return of CT on Cutthroat. She too lost that night, although unlike Bananas she lost like a normal person and to a normal person, Tina.

On Rivals she was partners with Camila and was sent home by a formidable Cara Maria/Laurel pairing. Then, on the sequel a year later was stuck with Jasmine (more on her soon). And in no fault of her own lost to her former partner Camila.

Safe to say coming into Free Agents, this former Fresh Meat had something to prove. She considered herself one of the best in the league, and it was time the rest of the cast saw it too.

To start the season TJ herded everyone like cattle into the elimination area, announcing that this season would be called Free Agents and it would be exactly like it sounds. Everyone on their own. This provided a unique opportunity for certain players to shed excuses of bad partners and worse luck.

After arriving at the house, the cast wasted no time in getting settled into their new digs. They scatter around looking for their bedrooms, Johnny Bananas makes a toast, and Jasmine begins to state her intentions…

…and that wasn’t clear enough, she followed that up with…

I mean, who doesn’t?

While Jasmine was staking her claim, the rest of the cast was getting down to important business. And by business I mean shoving a bottle of vodka into what seems to be the largest lemon I’ve ever seen.

This begs the obvious question. Why do they have such a large lemon? Well, let Isaac explain.

And how’d you know that Isaac?

Noted…Jasmine, your thoughts?

Before you can know it, an impromptu basketball game is afoot. The cast sets down their citrus, and congregates at the court. Before we re-live this Moment in Challenge History together, it’s important we do a bit of housekeeping. Lets preview some important details and hand out some awards along the way.

The Ashley Mitchell Award

  • For making the most of your screen-time.

There were a handful of solid applicants, but to me the winner here is Emilee. During a confessional, she begins describing Theresa and her motivations. She starts lighthearted, giving you some generic banter. Stating “Theresa is definitely on her game.”

She even gives her props for showing off her “street cred”. Her next sentence begins with “She showed people here…”. And then I’m not even kidding you, her face is overcome by a spirit from somewhere deep in the pits of hell…

…finishing with a simple yet cutting, “and she’s not messing around.”

The expression on her face delivering the last line has been fueling my nightmares for years.

The 2014 MTV Movie Awards

This is a detail you won’t notice anywhere you can find this episode streaming. But we’re nothing if not thorough around here, and in research I unearthed a.k.a. found on YouTube, a copy from the original airing.

So in case you missed it: The 2014 MTV Movie awards were hosted by Conan O’Brien. The second Hunger Games movie edged out 12 Years A Slave for ‘Best Movie’. Zac Efron took home the golden popcorn statue for ‘Best Shirtless Performance’ for a movie called That Awkward Moment. And Leonardo DiCaprio won something called the ‘#WTF Moment’ for Wolf Of Wall Street. A career highlight I’m sure.

The Derricks Hat Award

  • For regrettable fashion statement.

This is not an award for silliest dressed individual. Despite what that photograph says to anyone looking at it, Derrick wasn’t wearing that hat to look silly, he was wearing that hat to look cool. Intention matters.

So with that in mind, we have an obvious candidate in Camila seen here on Laurels shoulders vibing to Lana Del Ray at Coachella.

But I’m going to give the award to Jordan, who decided the no shoe look on hardwood floors was a good call.

Jordan’s almost always guilty of doing too much, but this time he decided to not quite do enough. I can only imagine how many days he spent pulling splinters from his feet.

What Else Was On That Night

Not every episode of the Challenge can possibly be watched, not even by the most meticulous fans of the show. DVR is all of our best friends. There are dozens of reasons one can have to not be plopped in front of a TV. But even if you were, you still may have missed this episode while it originally aired, because you’re an important person and life happens. Here’s what you might have been watching instead…

Over on the Food Network you could have been watching Beat Bobby Flay in an episode titled “Up In Smoke”. The final dish was a crab cake, which is impossible under normal circumstances, so it seemed like Bobby had his work cut out for him. Sadly though for society at large, that smug bastard Bobby Flay won again.

You also could have been finishing up watching the San Antonio Spurs and the Dallas Mavericks clash on TNT instead. Manu Ginobili was just catching fire in the fourth quarter of a close game when this episode was beginning on MTV. Unfortunately, there’s no information on NBA.com as to whether it was strip basketball or regular basketball.

It’s also possible you were snuggled up with a loved one tuning into the latest episode of Parenthood on NBC. You saw Julia confess to Sarah that she slept with Mr. Knight, and Joel help Crosby inspect his moldy kitchen. Classic Joel and Crosby shenanigans, I’m sure.

You might be asking, where did I get this information from?

Thirstiest Moment

  • For biggest display of thirst towards another cast mate

The winner here is obvious, everyone. Here’s just a sample of the reactions to CT disrobing…

I’m almost positive that‘s Nia behind Jasmine having some sort of spiritual awakening.

Whether you’ve seen this clip once, a hundred times, or this is your maiden voyage, all the details matter. Now that the questions have been answered and the stones turned, you’re ready to experience this Moment in Challenge History

Thanks for reading! Check back next time for Volume 2 coming soon! If you have any suggestions for future Moments in Challenge History, comment below.

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Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective. Inquires: WillaMediaManagement@gmail.com -Twitter: @TJsAirhorn