On a gloomy December Monday, we were all treated to a special Challenge episode. It felt like reading the first few chapters of a book. Nothing really happened, and keeping up was a bit of a whirlwind, but it was important to lay down the foundation for what’s to come. Plenty of favorites are back, as well as some non-favorites, and we got a brief introduction for all the newcomers. Overall, we’re all winners, simply because the show’s back on. But let’s dive a bit deeper, and take a look at some of last nights winners and losers.
Winners: The Rookie Class.
Unless I missed it, I didn’t see one single rookie pull the “I’m the best and smartest and these people are all stupid and weak” false bravado move that happens Every.Single.Season. This time they all showed up with a full refreshingly understanding of their place on the totem pole.
I’m all here for brash confidence, I mean I’m watching MTV at the end of the day (shout out Nany). Laurel and Wes have more brash confidence than anyone, and they’re two of my favorite Challenge competitors ever. Difference is, they earned their status immediately.
Mechie dipped his toes into that realm a bit, but it’s glaringly obvious that that’s exactly how he is all the time. Weather he’s brushing his teeth or hitting on Aneesa, it comes off like he’s that person regardless of situation. By the end of the season, I’m going to either want to travel the world with him, or never see him again. There will be no in between.
So far, it looks like a solid crop of newbies. Let’s see if it sticks.
Losers: Leroy Fans
When Leroy hit us with the surprise retirement announcement, I felt a genuine pang of sadness. Much more than I expected I would. I do not know Leroy in real life, and let’s be honest, it’s probably for the best he moves on. But I have to say, it left me a bit empty. We all watched Leroy grow up. He started as a young man driven by the whims of his libido, and grew into the voice of reason in a room full of crazies. He made us laugh, he made us cry, and I think we can all agree he will be missed.
Loser: Tori’s Authenticity
Reality TV is at its best when the subjects completely forget thousands of dollars worth of equipment are in their faces documenting their every move. When the subject can let go and completely forget they’re filming a TV show, it becomes as compelling as any scripted drama could hope to be. You can truly glean something from the human condition. It’s what, unknowingly, attracted me to The Real World as a young man.
It’s hard to find someone more aware of the cameras and microphones than Tori these days. Between the forced conversation with Lio and the endless amounts of exaggerated facial expressions, Tori is coming across “fake as fuck” (shout out Nany). Look she’s obviously doing something right. This is exactly what she wants. But I can venture a guess that not a single one of us know the real Tori. I’m starting to wonder if even she does anymore.
Another cold season means nobody can show off their cool tattoos or rockin’ bods by the pool, but it does mean that winter fashion will play a strong role moving forward. Total Madness was heavy on the ath-leisure, which made total sense. They were quarantined wearing Under Armor sweatpants, while we watched wearing Target-brand sweatpants for the ninth day in a row. It was all just too on the nose.
This season, ath-leisure is out, and winter fashion is in. This is directly leading to an undercurrent of jacket competition across the board. Here are my opening jacket rankings after one episode.
(Dishonorable mention to whatever that is.)
5) Kyle’s sport coat
4) CT’s classic leather
3) Josh’s leather with the faux-fur all black jawn
2) Nelson’s light grey with the white fur confession jacket.
1) TJ’s James Bond henchman grey coat.