The Challenge Pluto Rewind: The Gauntlet 2 Episode 15 — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
6 min readJan 27, 2022

Welcome to a fresh Pluto Rewind!!! This time it’s a trip back to when The Challenge was only a half an hour long for an episode of The Gauntlet 2 titled “Blind Panic”. Inside this edition: Jamie wishes he was high, Aneesa and Mark battle for acute hair angle supremacy, Kina gives the Madden creators an idea, and much much more…

Winner: Water That Isn’t Wet

I could watch Challenge people emerge from a pool somehow completely dry two at a time for the remainder of time and be fully satisfied. It’s like after you eat too much cookie dough ice cream and then an hour later you’re like “I do declare that never again am I eating cookie dough ice cream” and then you stop talking like Foghorn Leghorn and a week later you’re eating cookie dough ice cream again…Regardless of the nonsensical route we took to get here, the point is, I could eat cookie dough ice cream and watch Challenge intros for eternity and die a happy man.

Loser: High School Me

Every hot girl in my grade had that phone. You know how I know? I watched them text every boy besides me on it.

I unearth this self-deprecating factoid only to say this…just read the top line where to says who the text is being sent to.

Challengers. Lol.

The phone/clue scenes are truly the best part of paying $9.99 a month for Paramount Plus.

Winner: Hair Triangles

Who had the better mohawk: Aneesa or God of 1999 Mark Long?

Good question. Thank you for asking.

Ya know, it’s tough. That enormous, hideous silver beaded necklace some PA told Mark to hide under his shirt collar almost pushed it over the top for me. But I have to remember, the question posed strictly limits the contest to quality of mohawk, not who was sporting the sickest gear.

So for that, I’ll have to award Aneesa here. Overall, that mohawk is doing a lot, and I’m not sure where the hair coloring starts and where it ends. But I’m here for it. Not only that, but it’s only the second best mohawk Aneesa has sprouted from her head in her time on The Challenge.

Loser: Jamie’s Bong

It’s probably so lonely just sitting there unused and underappreciated, full of smelly partially green water, one last hit he took before his part-time girlfriend picked him up to take him to the airport caked on to the sides, propped all alone atop his bedroom dresser.

It’s always the loved ones back at home that really make playing this game hard, ya know?

Winner: Randomly Being At The Bar

Sometimes when you go out to a bar, nothing happens at all. You go, you sit, you have a couple of drinks. Maybe make some small talk with the bartender. But overall nothing happens. We’ve all been there. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, life isn’t a movie, and a lot of times it’s better that way.

But then every once in awhile, you go out to get five dollar margaritas during Happy Hour, and lo and behold, a bunch of hot Americans are filming a reality competition show right outside of the window.

Shout out the guy who takes a chug from his beverage right as TJ blows the horn. That guy was fucking flying for the rest of the afternoon.

Loser: Randy’s Ankles

Just when I thought having one anklet was super sick...Man if there’s anything this episode has taught me is that Summer ’05 I was playing Junior Varsity in the fashion game and didn’t even know it.

Loser: Change

Famous last words.

Loser: The Popcorn Button On Microwaves

First of all, this show has changed so much. Derrick and Julie are eating bags of microwave popcorn while watching the final women’s elimination of the season. This is usually the time where Tori is standing aghast with her mouth wide open lookin like McCauley Culkin in 1990 because TJ just told them they have to wrestle a bear, but at the moment Julie and Derrick are enjoying a salty snack and drinking vodka out of water bottles like they’re on their way to an O.A.R. concert.

Secondly, is there any button more presumptuous in the history of household appliances than the popcorn button? I’m gonna let you take a hit from Jamie’s bong and really sink into that one.

Loser: Jillian/Virtual Linebackers in Madden 2006

This season of The Challenge was filmed in the summer of 2005 and aired in late 2005/early 2006. Pretty following the duration of that year’s NFL season.

That year’s NFL season was represented in video game form by Madden 2006. The big addition to the game that year was a feature called the Truck Stick, which allowed you to push the joystick forward as your running back collided with a defender, and depending on the running back’s virtual dick size, the Truck Stick was activated and you would bowl over the defender rendering them into a lump of pixels on the turf.

Kina and Jillian end this episode with an elimination round as physical as anything we see to this day. Essentially it’s Hall Brawl minus the Hall and the shoulder pads on the beach where you had to stick a Velcro ball to a Velcro wall while the other person has to stop you.

Here’s how the first round went for Jillian.

Now I’m not saying that Kina and Jillian’s football-esque elimination game was the impetuous for the Truck Stick, but there’s no evidence anywhere on the internet that says it specifically wasn’t the impetuous for the Truck Stick. So in the parlance of our times, I’ll let you do your own research.

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Brian Batty

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