The Challenge All Stars 4 Episode 1 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
23 min readApr 11, 2024

Welcome back! After aging in the bottle for a year and a half, we’ve finally popped the cork on All Stars 4!!! And what an almost perfect vintage the wine has been so far! Let’s get right into Episode One. Inside this week: Leroy explains puberty, I give Ryan a million dollar idea for free, Jasmine, Veronica and I go to brunch, and much much more…..

Winner: Us

To give potential new viewers a rapid overview of the show’s essence, they present a montage featuring clips such as a cast member almost being killed by their own incompetence, a woman arguing with another who is covering her nipples with just a washcloth while two others, fresh from the shower, try in vain to intervene, and lastly, a maniac transforming his underpants into a statement accessory during an evening out on the town.

We are so fucking back baby!

Loser: The Multiverse

I don’t think this is what a multiverse means. But I too didn’t really understand the Dr. Strange movies (this is due to what I’m fairly sure were the Marvel executives testing the limits of how boring and lame a superhero movie could potentially be (it’s a movie for the nerdiest nerds of the already nerdy fanbase.)(I want to give all these parentheses a swirly and make them do my science homework atm)) either.

(Three separate parenthetical thoughts within the same sentence? Now that’s a muthafuggin mutltiverse)

Either way, whether they’re wrong or not, I can’t explain why, so what’s the difference?

Loser: You When Your Aunt, Her Girlfriend, And Your Mom’s Other Friend Stop By The House On Sunday Afternoon And The Answer To Why Your Mom Bought All That Extra Wine The Other Day Reveals Itself

Then three hours later you come down for some apple juice and before you know it you’re being asked why you don’t have a girlfriend yet and you sheepishly answer it’s because you’re nine years old and girls are gross.

Winner: Context

Out of context, this looks like nothing more than a screenshot of three ridiculous looking people.

On the other hand, considering the context we’re already a part of, this shot conjures up much stronger feelings…

Just looking at their faces makes me feel like I could take a hand-off in the NFC Championship game and break like eleven tackles.

Winner: Former Real World Roommates, Roommates Once Again, As Unlikely As It Once Was

It’s astonishing to witness this exact trio, Nicole, Tony, and Ayanna, once best friends, once roommates, and of course we all know what happened next, strolling serenely through a South African orchard. I’m convinced that I’m not the only one who thought such a scene would never recur.

Especially after the night of the big storm.

Winner: Reaching As Far As You Can Possibly Can

This little campy ass intro with the names and the still shots and what not was incredible. A+++. Nine thumbs up. I’d prefer it if they did the same for every season moving forward.

Though it is abundantly clear to me that they could not, no matter how hard they tried (or how hard that even was considering another flub in the naming department we’ll get to later), come up with a single relevant nickname for Brandon.

The Assassin?

Lmao, sure, why not. Though, if he gets to be The Assassin, then I definitely get to be The Boy Illinois. At least I earned that one by being a doing the bare minimum of boy from Illinois.

I’m not sure Brandon has ever assassinated anyone.

Also, did anyone else realize the word ass was in assassin twice? I mean, I knew it because I’ve written and read the word many times, but I didn’t like know it. Ya know?

So, I’m just gonna call him The Ass Ass for a little while and sees if it sticks. Because I’m nothing if not aggressively unfunny.

(Editor’s Note: It did not stick. Not once was Brandon ever called The Ass Ass ever again.)

Loser: Marathon Training

Out of 5,670,000 “results”, not one of them answered my question.

Also, no pegs Teej?

Winner: When The TV Says The Words You’re Thinking In Your Head

That’s powerful stuff.

Loser: Time Making Any Sense At All

And the circle’s now like more of a sphere because the version of Kam speaking on the television doesn’t have the information that both us at home and Wednesday’s version of Kam does.

Because we know, and Kam and Leroy at home watching know, that those people speaking on the TV are speaking as people with only one child.

Which means that while Kam and Leroy are saying and thinking one thing on our televisions about their parental experience, another version of Kam and Leroy, a version with countless more data points in their evaluation, could potentially be saying something entirely different.

Which is real trippy, until you consider the implications for Brad, Cara Maria, and Laurel watching themselves on Season 39. Which took place after All Stars 4 on one side of the TV and before All Stars 4 on the other. Meaning that while Brad was at home watching his mercenary round on Season 39 a few months ago, he was watching a version of himself with more information than the version of himself he just watched on Wednesday night.

Past Brad watched a version of Future Brad relative to the even further in the past Brad that Current Brad is now watching.

Put a fuckin’ unicorn emoji on that.

This is going to be all I can think about, I already know it.

Winner: Leroy Succinctly Describing What It’s Like To Be A Straight, Teenage Boy

Loser: Telling On Yourself

Dude, Tony, you were able to sneak an Apple Watch past the Challenge Gods and you’re just gonna tell on yourself simply to honor the bit?

Kid’s rusty, I can already tell.

I guess this kinda TJ’s fault. He set him up for that one. Rightfully so. He is a company, after all. I bet them checks are nice. I mean what are they gonna do if TJ’s agent asks for an extra couple racks or two each time, say no? Get a new host?

Bring back stoned hall monitor Johnny Moseley?

Last time they tried that CT bullied him and snarled at him and then Knight slapped Frank in the face and all hell broke loose…..actually you know what, both of those things were lit as fuck, so fuck it. Bring him back. But not for the show. Reunion only. Tell Menunos to kick rocks, give Moseley a couple gummies, and let it rip.

Loser: Anyone Still Lighting Candles Within The NYC Metropolitan Area

Look, I’m sure she’s competent at her job and whatever. I’m not here to disparage anyone. Nicole, if you’re reading this, or more likely, if someone’s reading this to you, you’re doing great. Keep up the excellent work.

That being said, if you’re a Challenge fan, and your home sets on fire, and the fire department shows up to save your priceless family heirlooms from turning to ash and most importantly saving your cat Freddie, you hear Nicole’s distinct voice say to you, “ma’am, everything’s gonna be fine”, and then you look to your left and see Club Rat Jay holding one end of the fire hose…..how confident are you really that your cat survives?

That would be one of the most surreal experiences in the world. And if I were you, and you live in whichever district or zone or whatever they call it that Nicole’s assigned to, I’d put my phone down, get off the toilet, and go fireproof my house immediately.

Winner: Real Challengers

Rachel, Dusty, Aneesa.

That’s it. That’s the list.

Did I do that stupid overwrought pretentious tweet format right?

Anywho, if you disagree and have more names to add, feel free to tweet us @fessyfitness.

Winner: Subtle Accessories

I think Cara could stand to maybe add a small pendant or a broche. Something unobtrusive to her accentuate her look. Just to spice it up a little more than anything. This new Plain Jane motif she’s going with is an interesting choice, but it’s very unlike her, so I worry she’s going to struggle with the details.

All joking aside, how long did it take Cara to get ready that day? Obviously the feathers grow from her head naturally, but how do those bead things work? I’m genuinely asking, as a boy who gets ready in under three minutes, this level of accessorizing is beyond my comprehension. it’s not like a one bead at a time thing right? That just seems like an inefficient way to spend your time, honestly.

Winner: Confidence

Who cares that Derek just announced to the world that he has assembled by far the least intimidating group of names in the history of both The Challenge and groups of names. A group of names that is basically the Monstars, except only at the beginning of the movie.

All that matters is that Derek’s confident in his ragtag bunch. Even if every single person watching at home is not.

Winner: Flora

It only took a brief Google search while writing my Pre-Season Power Rankings to know that Flora was going to be my favorite. Something about someone who doesn’t belong if you barely understand the show, but also very much belongs once you totally understand the show is so damn charming to me. The way that women are charmed by handsome bartenders with a nice smile and a forearm tattoo just barely visible at the edge of his pulled-up sleeves while he mixes you a drink, I’m charmed by out of water fish who wash up in this toxic swamp.

Winner: Johnny Bananas

Jasmine’s toast was obviously the best. And the idea of MTV actually throwing her a divorce party in the form of a season of The Challenge (and they were even nice enough not to invite Jonna!) is pretty hilarious and is absolutely how I will frame the season in my own mind going forward.

But overall, after that poor showing by everybody else (though to be fair, Kefla hasn’t had to do a toast on The Challenge in twenty-five years) I don’t think his job as toastmaster is in any sort of jeopardy.

Sorry to startle you like that. Just wanted to make sure you were paying attention.

Winner: Remaining Trendy

Shout out to Steve for wearing his hair like every white girl coming home from Orange Theory.

Loser: Leaving Out The Important Stuff

“Yeah, well, I also beat Jordan and Sarah in trivia, but nobody ever brings that up!!!”

What a weird life. I wonder if it’s only happened like a dozen times over the years, but that dozen or so times has stuck out so much that they’ve now become dozens and dozens of times in his own head.

Like this man has a real job, a pension, health benefits, a 401k. And it’s a job that genuinely contributes to society. That is more than 75% of his peers in this world can say for themselves. Except for a decade ago he signed up for The Real World and then months later they asked him to drink neon green fish guts. And now none of the rest of that stuff I mentioned before matters. At least to a small, apparently very vocal, sliver of people in the world.

In a turn of events I did not see coming, part of me wants him to win this whole damn thing. Partly because it would be hilarious and partly because that would mean he had more Challenge Championships than Fessy by a factor of infinity. But mostly because as I’ve been typing this part out, I’ve been secondhand feeling the anxiety of what it would be like to meet strangers and be unsure of whether they’ve seen you publicly embarrass yourself in the most low-hanging-fruit way possible.

Go get ’em Club Rat Jay. I hope you win the next ten Challenges in a row, quit your job, live out your dream of being the most annoying guy at the club and shout nonsense over any music with any microphone you damn well please.

Winner: Art

This belongs in the Louvre.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything so beautiful in my entire life.

Loser: Stemware

This is either drink number one or drink number six. Hard to tell for sure. But I know for certain that we’ve all been there. This is why I go stemless glassware only. I’m way too much of a Tina for that fancy shit.

Winner: Sentences I’ve Never Heard Out Loud Before

Winner: Moms

Jesus.

I had to fold a single load of laundry yesterday and I was moping around my apartment like ughhhhhh and dragging my knuckles on the ground avoiding it. It’s still in a basket right next to my desk I’m looking at it while I type this.

Recently a few of my good friends have had kids and I’ve been privy to the process, much more so than I ever have in my life, and it’s insane what Moms must go through and idk how any of them show up to a Challenge that’s fucking nuts.

It’s inspiring. Maybe I’ll even get to that basket of laundry later. Stay tuned.

Loser: Oversized Jenga

You know what the best strategy is for playing Oversized Jenga?

Don’t play at all.

I cannot emphasize this enough, and I know I’ve said it here before, but I’ll say it again and say it for the rest of time. If you see an oversized Jenga set at a bar, you’re in for not-that-fun-of-a-time. And if your directionless, silly friends suggest you all go and play a round, remember what Uncle Brian told you, and politely decline.

Loser: Grudges From The Past

Idk why Dario was the victim of that drive-by shooting in the editing room, considering he’s not even there to defend himself, and especially because now that we know the whole story, what Dario actually did to Nicole’s Nintendo Switch the night of the big storm wasn’t even that bad, but okay go off.

Winner: Tea

Woaahhhh, does Kam know Leroy was sitting in Cara’s bed?!?!

Quick, somebody call that one challenge podcaster who has close friendships with several cast members to get on the case!

Loser: The Closed Captioning Person

Actually, that’s incorrect. She said caulky, as in window sealant, not cocky.

Though I understand the confusion. Cocky definitely would have made much more sense, but Nicole very clearly said the word caulky.

Winner: Possibilities

What other TJ Lavin bloopers do they got just laying around on a hard drive somewhere?

Winner: Job Opportunities

The classic life of a hand model. Just gotta wait around until a job comes a callin’.

Though I do wonder, if he gets eliminated, who’s got the second best set of hands? And why do I feel like it’s Veronica?

Loser: Season 39

This slightly-only-kind-of-funny Hand Model Steve modeling the stars segment would have been far and away the funniest part of the entirety of Season 39. I just don’t get it. Like, how is All Stars so effortless in it’s humor and the flagship so relentless in it’s quest to be as unfunny as possible?

Who in the hell would choose being unfunny over being effortlessly funny?

And yet that’s the decision The Challenge Gods continue to make. But only sometimes. And only when it’s most important.

Loser: Whoever Came Up With The Names For Stuff This Season

The middle group?

Just do me a favor, Challenge Gods, try and be a little more unoriginal. I really think you have it in you. The middle group is pretty terrible, but I bet if you try hard enough, you could think of an even dumber name for the group of people who aren’t winners or losers.

The Middle Group!

It’s like they forgot to name them until the morning of the first daily challenge, panicked, told TJ to just improvise, and now here we are.

In the middle group.

Winner: TJ Lavin

Hearing TJ Lavin give a soft “hell yeah” to a tiny little explosion might be the most heartwarming thing I’ve ever seen in my life.

Winner: Measuring Twice, Cutting Once

Ryan could potentially write the funniest cookbook of all time.

Loser: Science Class

Honestly, Averey, I don’t blame you. Science really was by far the most boring class in school.

Winner: The Viewers At Home

Me during every Averey confessional.

Loser: Being Your Own Worst Enemy

Dawg you are doing yourself zero favors.

Loser: What Could Have Been

They couldn’t have gotten Horacio involved in this somehow?

Winner: Inspiration, Striking When You Least Expect It

After Brandon said this, every single high school football coach watching at home immediately caught one of those four-hour erections they warn you about.

Winner: Me Realizing I Just Ordered My Third Mimosa And It’s Not Even Noon Yet

Loser: Ordering Six More Mimosas And Eating Only An Avocado Toast You Split With Your Roommate Because You’re Pretty Sure Your Credit Card Is Going To Get Declined But You Haven’t Checked Your Chase App In Over A Month Because If You Don’t See The Problem There Isn’t One In The First Place So It’s Impossible To Know For Sure

Winner: Bottomless Mimosa Brunch, Always, Every Single Time, No Matter How Hard You Try And Be Responsible

Loser: Winning When Your Biggest Competition Isn’t Competing

Sure, Cara Maria was impressive during this daily challenge. Dusting her competition, leaving no doubt who the top dog is in the house.

But unfortunately, this win also has a pretty glaring asterisk attached to it.

Because Jonna’s not there. And if Jonna isn’t around, what does a win on All Stars even mean?

Winner: Interpreting Art However The Hell You Want

After Cara won the daily challenge, she did a confessional stating she wants to prove that she’s the best of the best, along with a graphic displaying her impressive resume, complete with an animation adding another number to her daily challenge win total. Following that was a montage of her greatest moments set to an Alanis Morissette needle drop.

The song they chose was You Oughta Know. Which is a song about how pissed off a woman is at her ex-boyfriend for moving on as quickly as they did after breaking up and how she’s in shambles and he’s happy and how unfair that is and asking him questions like whether his new girlfriend is willing to blow him at the cinema or if she was a clear and forceful speaker. And that ultimately, she would never let him forget about it for the rest of his life.

So, I guess in this case the implication is that Cara’s dominant win is because The Challenge hasn’t let her publicly give it oral sex in a while, and now she’s back to make it clear and known that she’s unhappy about it.

How can you not be romantic about The Challenge?

Loser: All The Petty Bullshit

I really wished Challenge fans, especially the bigger voices in the Challenge community, as well as that podcaster who has friendships with several cast members, would in general stop focusing on all the petty bullshit.

Whatever it was the Kefla felt in that moment, pulling the flag, seeing his name, completing a daily challenge after being a regular person in the world for twenty-five years, that’s what this show is really about.

Either he didn’t explain it, or the editors chose to let the footage speak for itself, but those emotions coming out of him were real. And personal. Kefla isn’t here to be dramatic and get followers or attention. He’s just a guy. Like you’re just you, and I’m just me. And we’re able to watch him achieve something, whatever that something is, that he set out to achieve.

Wherever his life has taken him, whichever windy roads he’s traveled since the last he was inside of this bubble, they all led back to this moment. A moment that very clearly meant something to him. This is the sort of thing you just do not see on the main show anymore. None of this means anything to Moriah, or Colleen, or Michele.

It’s all just a means to an end. More of whatever it is they want to get more of.

Kefla’s not here for more of anything. Simply completing a difficult daily challenge brought him to tears. If you just pull the layers of skin off the decrepit corpse of Challenge discourse, you really can find a heart. It’s there. I know you all have it in you. Appreciate these moments more. Glean something from the human condition.

Hell, inspire yourself!

Look at how happy Kefla is after achieving whatever it is he set out to achieve. For me, it stimulates my ambition to accomplish what I want to accomplish and feel that feeling. Instead of wasting your time spreading negativity and saying things like “this show sux now lol” or casually using the word hate over and over and over again to describe people you do not know or situations you don’t fully understand, re-watch Kefla again and go out and accomplish whatever it is you want to do.

This show can take you to that sort of place, and the barrier of entry isn’t even all that difficult. It’s part of why I love it so much….

….

What’s that?

….

Fair enough.

Winner: Tony

Just incredible. How lucky are we to be alive at a time like this?

Loser: The Middle Group

You know, it might not bother me so much if TJ didn’t say ‘the middle group’ like fifteen times during this explanation.

It’s just intergallactically terrible. There’s no other way around it.

The Middle Group.

Why not just call them “the rest of the house” like you have on basically every single other season you’ve ever done?

“Hi, I’m Ace Amerson here with The Middle Group, and we’d love if you’d pledge just five dollars to help us stay on the air!”

Winner: Kam

This woman just will not stop with the great ideas. Slow down Kam, save some for the rest of us.

Winner: Hand Models, For They Are People Too

What would my entrance music be?

Glad you asked.

It’s hard to imagine a greater song ever being recorded, tbh. This is the moment sonic waves hit their peak. And when Roscoe Dash says “and yo booty got me lost like Nemo”, that’s the moment the English language hit a peak of its own.

Based on our two song choices, I doubt I’ll be bumping into Steve at any concerts in the future.

Speaking of bumping into someone…

Loser: Respect For Those Around You

Jesus Christ, Cara.

Could you imagine not paying attention for like a second and bumping into her walking down the hallway?

Winner: Those Of You Who Prefer Unoriginality

Ya know, Teej, an even better question is how did your bosses come to the decision to land on Middle Group as the best possible name for what is more commonly referred to as “the rest of the house.”

Loser: Narrow Worldviews

Haven’t you given him enough?

What about Flora? Is anyone thinking of Flora?

How else is she supposed to get a star? And if Flora doesn’t get a star, then what were we even doing all of this for?

Loser: Kevin, The Poor Production Assistant

Words hurt, Teej. I know you’re the big shot superstar and all, but Kevin worked all damn day on that pit. Hard. And he doesn’t think it’s disgusting. In fact, Kevin thinks it’s beautiful. He thinks its the most beautiful pit he’s ever seen.

If you ain’t got nothin’ nice to say, then don’t say nothin’.

Winner: Rubber Yellow Wristbands

This is what our simulator God decided about Lance Armstrong.

And Tom Green.

Both are famous for their abilities in the realm of fanciful notions.

Is that a coincidence?

Yes, you’re right, it is.

Winner: Tony The Caddie

I’d say aim about six inches to the right on this one, Janelle.

Winner: Steve, More Than Just A Pretty Set Of Metacarpals

Outside the box strategy born from a physical disadvantage?

Narrating the thought process and the execution eloquently via confessionals woven throughout the footage?

A bit of showmanship sprinkled in here and there?

No, I’m not talking about last night’s elimination

I’m talking about Jordan vs. Old Uncool Josh on War of the Worlds 2.

I’m not saying Steve is Jordan or anything because that would be ridiculous. All I’m saying is that an elimination that was comically underwhelming on paper ended up being super interesting to watch. And it’s all due to Steve’s ingenuity and the way he presented it to us at home.

The perfectly edited and executed Danzig needle drop was the cherry on the sundae Steve whipped up all on his own.

You really gotta hand it to him.

lol

Winner: No Hands

Let’s just for funzies see if my version would’ve been better…

Oh yeah, that’s way better.

Winner: Normalcy Within Abnormal Times

We live in such a turbulent world that seeing something remain as consistent as Tyri leaving a season of The Challenge well before most of the rest of the cast just gives me hope.

And hope is the most intoxicating drug of them all.

Loser: Kindness and Humility In Victory

No, Steve, that’s all wrong.

You gotta be like “fuck you, and fuck your alliance. Brandon I’m taking your star.”

Hasn’t he ever even seen The Island?!

Does he even know who Evelyn is?!

If he needs help, I’ll be here to give him a hand.

Okay, honestly, I’m really sorry about that one. And any of the ones to come in the future. It’s just too easy. The jokes are being handed to me on a silver platter.

Sorry again, it’s almost involuntary. It would’ve been more difficult for me to have restrained myself from typing it out.

Okay but seriously, I hope the group doesn’t remain this nice to each other the rest of the season.

It would be vey middle group of them.

Wait a minute….

What?

What’s that sound I hear?

Winner: Those Who Bought Tickets To The Ballad Of Laurel And Cara Maria All Those Years Ago

Interpret the world wrong?

What does that mean?

What does that even mean?!?!?!?

Oh, we are so fucking back baby.

VIVA LA REAL WORLD!!!!

Thanks for watching! See you back here very soon for Episode 2! And until then, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!

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Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions