Welcome back to another edition of Winners & Losers! A fan favorite went home last night and Amber picked up a few more mico-concussions. So settle in before you turn on Paramount+ to watch All-Stars, and enjoy some Winners & Losers. Inside this week: TJ bestows a high honor, we reminisce about middle school dances, Zach Morris dresses poorly, and much much more…
Winner: Production Schadenfreude
The soundbite was almost certainly filmed many, many weeks before this. I’ve been watching reality TV for too damn long to fall for that one. Nice try.
Just like the idea of math homework towards the end of senior year of high school is a concept that is completely meaningless to most, the gang is so damn over having to go through daily challenges at this point.
Getting ready with those damn green and blue lights going. The long ass bus ride to whichever remote Icelandic location they’ll be going to today. Being stuck in the freezing cold doing something physically taxing. The long ass bus ride back to the house.
All of that can seem exhausting when your heads already in the Final and on the plane ride back to reality.
Winner: These Giant Metal Hamster Balls
Is “badass” the inanimate object equivalent of TJ telling another human “you killed it”?
I imagine when those giant metal hamster balls went back home at the end of the night they were beaming with pride telling their significant others about what TJ said about them.
Loser: Spacial Awareness
Gotta be honest, this daily challenge was sort of confusing to watch. I never really knew who was in what giant metal hamster ball or really who was doing better than anyone else.
All the zoom-in, close up camera work didn’t really help either. Would’ve liked a bit of unimpeded wide shots just to kind of get an idea of the movements of everyone. But hey, at least it’s not this…
Winner: The Scorekeeper
Shout out to the person making tally marks on a piece of paper in the production truck figuring out how many of these targets each team got. I can only assume they had to watch the tape twice, so I’m guessing they all had to stand around for awhile.
Or maybe they just let Kaycee and Leroy win and fudged the numbers because nobody at home is going to be able to keep up anyway.
Either way. Speaking of…
Winner: Muhfuggin Roy Lee
I hit the air with a Tiger Woods fist pump when TJ announced Leroy won. After spending his entire Challenge career coasting and finding ways to survive from week to week, seeing him actively dominate brought the biggest smile to my face, and I’m sure countless others who have silently rooted for him for years.
In the same way every Bachelor contestant falls in love with the lead despite only seeing them for fifteen minutes a week is because they have nothing to do but think about this person the entire time. Of course you’re going to fall in love with the only person you’re supposed to think about. It’s like a form of Stockholm Syndrome
The same sort of thing happens towards the end of every Challenge season ever. No matter how solid you think your game is, you cannot help but be paranoid that it’s all going to come crashing down. They’ve either watched it happened to someone else or intimately know the experience themselves
Kam’s been sitting as comfortably as anyone this entire game, and yet the idea that she can still be paranoid despite controlling a majority of the votes is wild to me. It’s the things like this that you simply cannot train for in this game. Sure experience helps, but the things you have to go through to gain that experience can take years and years of losing that most people simply cannot handle.
Remember middle school dances? Where it would be guys and girls gathered together on opposite sides of the gym. Besides that one Casanova who had the balls to ask Lauren to dance and you’d sit there like Kat Denning’s boyfriend from 40 Year Old Virgin.
The fact that I just compared a Challenge Club Night to a middle school dance is just so disheartening.
CT’s been doing this a long time and in a lot of different iterations. Yet it’s funny how after the sifter has been shaken and decades of gravel and rocks finally fall through the cracks, Big T and Amber B (great early 90’s rap duo name) are the only women left for him to work with.
This season has had to have been an absolute trip for him. No wonder he’s been acting so weird.
Winner: Bayside High
The idea that the two coolest boys in high school dressed like that is incredible. Early 90’s fashion deserves a wing in the Smithsonian.
Seriously? You can’t give Kaycee an icepack? I mean you’re filming her. You gotta just watch her use frozen strawberries? How cold.
Winner: Amber’s Edit
The way other cast members talk about Amber compared to the version of her we’ve gotten on the screen is night and day. Any confessional about her has an off-putting, negative connotation. And yet, she’s just been kind of there? She had an impact on the emotion of the game negatively or positively. Even when Theresa tried to spin her wheels, she just smiled back at her stone-faced.
She just must give off bad vibes in person, or something I can’t really put my finger on it. I guess it’s like how some people are better looking in person than on TV. Some people just give off an air about them that you can only pick up in their presence.
Loser: Kyle’s Plan
“Okay CT so say you’re going to vote for me so they think we’re fighting so…they…vote for each other or whatever.”
“For sure Kyle. I’ll just say I’m voting for you. Definitely won’t just actually vote for you, because why would I do that? lol!”
“Yeah, yeah, that’s class I like that let’s do it. Ambah…come here, we have a plan.”
Loser: Kyle’s Rationalizations
How did he not see that coming? Kyle’s usually so good at seeing the bigger picture and playing the game from 10,000 feet in the air. It’s one of his best attributes in this game. His awareness rating on Madden would be one of the highest in the league.
So him being blindsided by CT then rationalizing it by saying he was afraid to go against Fessy was some real backed-into-a-corner type stuff. Kyle’s at his best when he’s slithering through the house like Nagini, not scurrying around like Wormtail.
Loser: Elimination Creativity
I have to assume (and if this wasn’t the case it’s really a headscratcher) that all of the departures beyond of the structure of the game (Lio, Natalie, Nicole, etc.) is responsible for the lack of creativity when it comes to elimination set-ups.
This format was ripe for mixing things up. The War Of The Worlds 2 triple elimination between CT/Kyle/JP and that Mattie crushed would have a perfect thing to bring back here. Any partner based elimination would have been fun. Maybe even another new format I’m not smart enough to think of…The possibilities were truly endless with the combination of partner liquidity and needing to win-to-get-in.
Oh well, at least we got a PPV Main Event Hall Brawl between CT and Kyle…wait a minute…
That would have been fun to watch, wouldn’t it?
Winner: Hype Videos
Okay, not gonna lie, that little show they put on before Amber and Big T began got me pretty hyped. Using the walls of the Hall Brawl set as movie screens was a nifty trick. And the combination of the music and the flashbacks kinda got me psyched for an elimination I knew was going to be underwhelming.
Winner: Matchup Luck
The Chicago Cubs were the best team in the National League in 2008. I’ll die on that hill for the rest of my life. But they got swept by the Dodgers in three games in the first round? Why? It was a terrible match-up for them. The Dodger weren’t better, they just had a never ending string of right handed pitchers that threw 98 and the Cubs didn’t have any pop from the left side to counter-act it. Add to that Manny Ramirez pumped up on deer antler spray having the month of his life. It was just the worst possible team for the Cubs to play at the worst possible time.
I say all of that to say, if you get the right match-ups, you can look a lot better than you are.
Amber getting two hall brawls, but her opponents being other Amber and Big T? That’s some nice luck. Being bigger, stronger, and faster than the other person in a contest about being big, strong, and fast is quite the advantage. And yet…
You can only play who’s on your schedule, so I can’t use all that nonsense I wrote above against her at all. She’s definitely earned her way into the deep end of the swimming pool, playing the politics well behind the scenes and riding her good partner fortune as far as she could.
Winner: Big T
This worked out fantastic for her. She got all the way to the precipice of the Final, and then went home right before it got really hard. She didn’t ever really want to run that Final. A) She would have been terrible, which wouldn’t have been fun for us to watch, and B) She just straight up had no interest in putting herself through that. And I don’t blame her! Every Final I watch I say “fuck all that” dozens of times.
I’m sure we’ll be seeing Big T again very soon.
Loser: Basically Everyone Who Partner Swapped
Fessy’s a loser because…I know she hasn’t won a single daily challenge yet this season, but if it was down to the final challenge before the last guys elimination day, I’d rather ride that out with Nany than Amber.
Amber’s a loser because…she overreacted to being the odd woman out for this last vote. Fessy’s been a tough partner for everyone to handle, and I think the difference in warmth between him and Darrell/Kyle is going to be stark and hit her fast and hard.
Kyle’s a loser because…We can’t say for sure, but I’m almost positive Nany was just given the power by The Challenge Gods to choose which guy goes to the Final. Speaking of…
Nany’s a loser because…while she may have made the correct choice for her at this point I don’t know how much a beat-down, disgruntled, and disheartened Kyle is going to have left to give.
Ya know, TJ keeps telling us “you think you know but you have no idea” like he’s narrating an episode of MTV’s Diary, but he’s running out of time to blow our minds. Maybe it has something to do with CT being rogue right now?
But based on the rules of the game that they’ve laid out, I’m pretty sure every other guy’s worst nightmare has come true, and CT’s going to be unleashed upon TJ’s Final. Hopefully for Fessy’s sake it’s not in three feet of snow.