The Challenge Ride or Dies Episode 17 Recap — Winners & Losers

Brian Batty
21 min readFeb 2, 2023

Welcome to Winners & Losers for The Challenge Ride or Dies Episode 17! It’s the first day of a four day final, and the Ride or Dies are going through hell for a bunch of money. Some are thriving more than others. After you read this, meet me at the driving range. It’s gonna be me, Fessy, and Olivia. Bring friends. Inside this week: Nany speaks Spanish to a horse, Disney Channel reboots a classic, Horacio gets sweaty, and much much more…

Winner: The Last Thirteen Years

June 10th, 2009

That’s the last time that Aneesa ran a Challenge Final on cable television.

One of the Transformer movies was number one in the box office. Boom Boom Pow by The Black Eyed Peas was topping the Billboard charts. The iPhone 3 was just unveiled at a tech conference, touting “easy to use video recording” as a main feature. Mike Tyson got married that day, and Barry Bonds got divorced. Sun rises on one asshole and sets on another. Kind of like how my dog poops once in the morning and once at night. The Swine Flu was just beginning it’s outbreak, but the thought of an actual pandemic remained a science fiction trope.

The point is, finding fun facts about a certain date in history is hit or miss. Sometimes monumental occurrences litter the pages of Google when you type in a date. Other times you learn about Mike Tyson’s wedding.

So while you sit there and contemplate the stretch of time between Aneesa’s appearances in a Final, I’m gonna go take a video of something with the easy to use video recording function on my iPhone. Brb.

Loser: Challenge People Blaming Curses (Part #486)

That’s enough.

Loser: High School

Loser: Straw Men

Well, CT just won back to back titles and he was on The Real World in 2003. So…I’d say nobody says that.

Loser: People Named Joe

Call me hungry, I don’t care. That sandwich looks spectacular. Is that a burger or some kind of pulled pork/Sloppy Joe type situation?

Does anybody else feel bad for the Joe’s out there? They have a food named directly for them, which is super sweet on one hand, but then on the other it’s also a food that starts with the word ‘Sloppy’. Which then, if you’re a person named Joe and accidentally spill something on your shirt, you now have the most obvious insult/nickname to be called. With the amount of shit I spill on the front of my shirt, there’s a good chance I would have blown up a children’s hospital by now if the sandwich was called a Sloppy Brian.

Anywho, thanks for sticking with me through that. I’m glad I talked that one out.

Loser: Underselling

Lmao, yeah, tricky. That’s one way to describe it.

Don’t do it…

Don’t do it…

Fuck it…

That’s right, a Billy Madison reference and a song that came out in 1986. Back to back. I’m in my bag today, kids. Saddle up. Bout to learn ya’ll some shit today.

Winner: Earning It

God damn, Aneesa! Those bruises are no joke. My girl’s been through it the last few days.

Winner: The Real Challenge

Which of these pairs would be the best to go on a 100 hour road trip with?

I love a road trip. Love it. I’ve done two major ones in my life. One from Chicago to the East Coast (Philly, Atlantic City, NYC and back) then another from Chicago to the West Coast (Denver, Vegas, LA, San Deigo and back). I’d consider myself an elite road trip companion. I’m great at conversation, I’m willing to listen to a wide array of music, and I’m socially aware enough to know when it’s time to just shut up and enjoy the view.

So in honor of that, let’s go through each pair, and how much I’d want to be on a road trip with each of them…

So first thing’s first, I feel like Oliva, Horacio, and I would struggle to decide what to listen to. We could bond over the same pop songs that everyone know, but those can only take you so far. At a certain point, all three of our tastes are going to diverge. And, let’s also be honest, once Olivia starts looking at her phone, we’re toast. She is not the type of person who can hold a conversation and check her phone at the same time. Which would derail any momentum we’d have. Horacio would be getting so antsy and I know nothing about soccer, so then the two of us would be stuck in an awkward conversation where we have nothing to say, but are stuck saying just about anything to cut the silence.

While they are two of my favorite human’s to ever live, this pair would be the one most likely to drive me to the point where I just open the door on the highway, jump out, and hope for the best. Johnny’s jokes would get so old, so fast, and he would get so bored that they would just start spewing from his beak relentlessly. And we’re guaranteed, what, like five Nany freak-outs over nothing? Six? Again, these two are basically deities in my mind, but keep me as far away from a car trip with them as possible.

Tori and Devin, for the first half, would be easily number one. The jokes, the laughs, the games. Overall, the peak would be the highest. If you’re looking for fun, this car would be the one to jump in. But that would only last so long. Eventually the momentum would stall. And with Tori, when she’s checked out, she’s checked out. She’d be ready to move on to the cooler thing with cooler people and once we found ourselves in a spot without phone service she’d start getting cranky. And Devin would eventually get so frustrated he couldn’t drink because he’s the only one who knows how to drive stick that ole Grump Pants would show up.

I could ride with these two, on the other hand, all day long. 100 hours? Make it 200. Nobody’s got better stories than Aneesa. I’d have so many questions, and she’d have so many answers. Jordan and I would stop at a dispensary and get high, keeping him nice and relaxed. Plus the snack situation would be out of control. Aneesa probably knows and loves all the best snacks. Each gas station stop would be just as delightful as the last. Plus, if you’re into fun facts, there’s about a hundred billion percent chance that Jordan knows them all, and each monument or roadside attraction would come with a full on Wikipedia entry attached via Jordan’s beautiful mouth.

Ahhh, a boy can dream, right?

Loser: Arbitrary Streaming Rights

That’s right. Nany was on The Real World. It was one of the transcendent seasons of reality television. And yet it exists nowhere. Under the Real World tab on Paramount+ that I pay $9.99 plus tax to be able to click on, Nany’s season of The Real World does not exist. It’s a mere memory now. Vapor bouncing around me cerebrum.

Why is that? Why is it not there? I demand…nay…WE demand answers, dammit.

Winner: This Show

How can you not be romantic about The Challenge?

Winner: Hit Movie Ideas

This new Jordan Peele movie looks dope.

Winner: The Veteran Stamp of Approval

And this is coming from Tori, who was on a season with this guy…

Joseph and The Amazing Mustard Color Dreamcoat was a legend who will live on long after he passes from the human realm. Yet another notch in Olivia and Horacio’s belt. Everything’s looking up for them. It would take something insane like, oh I don’t know, a golf ball to the face to stop them now. But what’s the chances of that?

Loser: Showing Off

I’m torn on this one. I could see it going either way.

Who put the trunk on their head like that first, Jordan or Horacio?

I could see Jordan doing it first then Horacio copying him like a little brother. But I could also see Horacio doing it first then Jordan gets all Jordan about it and mimics his chivalrous display.

Hard hitting questions only. If you wanted fluff and bullshit that doesn’t matter, then you can go to some other blog post.

Loser: Jordan

There are two kinds of people who watch this show.

There are those that think of the Final and instinctively say “fuck that” and there are those that say “wow that looks challenging, I wonder if I could finish it”.

And then there’s Jordan. Who gets a half chub just thinking about it. Not to kink shame or anything, but what a psycho.

Winner: Jordan’s Adorable Little Hair Bun

Winner: Hit Records From 2011

Loser: Fuck Them Kids

This is also how America looks at every politician too, yet here we are!

Winner: Soul Cycle

Imagine walking in to a Soul Cycle class and fucking Aneesa is just sitting there.

That’s the world I want to live in. A world where each and every activity you do in life, a Challenge person is there with you. Buying groceries? Tyrie is there to help you carry them to your car. Getting gas? “You relax, I’ll pump” says Jasmine. Out to dinner? There’s Paula, crushing a duck a l’orange two tables down.

Loser: Bells and Whistles

Miss me with the confessionals. Miss me with the b-roll. Miss me with all of it.

This should’ve been the episode. Just them pedaling away, talking about dinner. I was captivated be this conversation, before being rudely interrupted by a generic, throw-away Tori confessional.

What did everyone else have for dinner?

Speaking of dinner…

Winner: My Eyes

Winner: Weed

Totally, man.

Winner: Call Backs

Yeah, this is about how I’d expect a road trip with the two of them to go.

Winner: Learning Something About Yourself Through Stressful Situations

Is it weird that I’ve never been more attracted to Nany than I was in that moment?

Loser: The Most Obvious Joke Humanly Possible

Woah, Johnny, what did the first man to walk on the moon ever do to you?

Winner: This Video Clip

What in the absolute fuck.

Loser: Inexperience

It is no surprise that the two people in this group with the last knowledge regarding what they’ve gotten themselves into are the winners of this arbitrary bike race.

When Olivia and Horacio hear something like “100 hours” it almost seems made up. There’s no way for them to contextualize that amount of time. It’s fugazi.

I’m sure when the other teams were on their little road trip, they figured out how many hours a normal Final is. Let’s just say two days, so 48 to make it simple. They knew how miserable 48 hours worth of Final Challenge is. Which means they know how atrocious double that is going to be.

Oh to be young again…

Winner: Chairs

I haven’t had this much unbridled enthusiasm for something in a very long time. Maybe I should see somebody about that.

Lmao look how happy she is.

Winner: Power Ranking Stupid Things

Ranking The Challengers Remaining By How Much I’d Want To Go Camping With Them

8) Tori

7) Johnny

6) Aneesa

5) Olivia

4) Devin

3) Nany

2) Jordan

1)

Winner: Memories

“That wasn’t that hard. We can do three more days of this.”

“Yeah unless you almost die from a golf ball to the head.”

“Lol, oh Horacio, don’t be silly. How could that possibly happen?”

“Oh I know. I was just trying to say of the most impossible thing I can think of.”

“Ugh, quit being silly. Let’s get some rest, we have a long day tomorrow.”

Winner: Staying Undefeated

Some would say gravity is the most powerful force in the universe. Others would say love.

They’re all wrong.

The most powerful force, the most unstoppable object, the only thing certain in life beyond death and taxes, are carabiners on The Challenge.

Winner: Getting The Hard Part Over With First

It’s a good thing Olivia got her injury out of the way early. Gonna keep things smooth sailing from here. No doubt.

Winner: Cigarette Breaks

When I worked at a movie theater one summer during high school, after being insanely envious of the people who got to go take smoke breaks, I decided I was going to be a smoker.

I bought a pack of cigarettes, and I would say I’m going for a smoke break, then I would step outside and light the cigarette, and simply not smoke it at all. One heater could last me almost five work shifts. It was brilliant. It might have been the peak of my intelligence.

Now, I’m not saying Tori isn’t a vegan. I’m just saying, that would be a genius way to get out of the eating challenges.

This screen shot now takes on a whole new meaning. Tori wasn’t being funny, she was fishing for potential Final partners.

Winner: Disney Channel

This is by far the most fucked up episode of Lizzie McGuire I’ve ever seen.

Loser: TJ The Tease

One of the most difficult parts of this Final has got to be being on lap number seven hundred and eighty seven and having to see TJ get to ride and ATV from place to place.

Hope is the most intoxicating drug of them all.

Loser: My Normie Life

Could you imagine how much fun an 80 hour Vegas bender with Young Nany and Leroy and whoever the fuck else would have been?

That would be the greatest 30 for 30 of all time.

Winner: Aneesa’s Self Control

I’ll tell you what, if I were Aneesa, and Jordan started up with this shit, I’d have given him the Darrell v Brad 2 Piece Combo meal on the spot.

I know what you’re probably saying. Jordan is the one who deserves credit for self restraint. While that’s partially true, Jordan’s had a couple of months to prepare him for this moment.

I got a white blood cell for ya…

Seriously Jordan, science? Aneesa may be faking an ankle injury, but she ain’t faking this patience.

Winner: Johnny Bananas, The King Of Coming All The Way Back Around To Being Funny

How can you not be romantic about The Challenge?

Winner: Secret Talents

Okay, real talk though, why is Devin so good at slingshots? If there is one thing we learned about him through this fifty four episode season, is that he may be one of the greatest sling shotters (?) to ever walk this earth.

It’s Devin, Dennis the Menace, David (not my Dad), & Bart Simpson. That’s our Sling Shot Mt. Rushmore.

If you have any other Sling Shotters (?) to nominate go ahead and tweet us @fessyfitness.

Winner: Johnny, Genius Or Stoned?

I might be giving him wayyyyyy too much credit right now, but humor me for a minute.

I feel like Johnny is being very intentional with his behavior through the initial twentyish hours of this thing.

Larry Brown is one of the most accomplished basketball coaches to ever live. And one of his coaching philosophies was that if the entire team hated him, it actually brought them closer. They galvanized around an enemy, and that enemy was their head coach.

Maybe that’s his goal here. Piss Nany off enough that it raises her level of performance. Have her galvanize herself around an enemy she cannot get away from. If she’s focused on how annoying he is, she’s gonna forget all about how much pain she’s experiencing. He probably could be a little more delicate about it. But for the first time all season it seems like Johnny actually has a plan.

Either that or the edibles he snuck passed the producers are kicking in. What the hell do I know?

Winner: Fresh Food

The Challenge Gods are cowards. Make them slaughter and butcher one of those cows for dinner tonight. They won’t do it. Too scared. Soft.

Winner: The Driving Range

Nothin’ like a fresh bucket o’ balls, amirite?

This is a really strange camera shot on a rewatch. That’s my big takeaway. They really linger for awhile.

Winner: The Journey, Not The Destination

Right at this moment, Olivia is tired.

She began this season stuck in a hotel room, unsure whether she would even get an opportunity to get on the show. Then Kaycee and Kenny caught the rona, Aneesa needed a new partner, and suddenly Olivia’s got her chance. She shows up to her first daily challenge bright eyed and bushy tailed. Anything possible from here on out! She somehow fell into the “vote this team in every time” slot and had to battle her way through the first half of the season. Winning three of three elimination rounds.

Back at the house she was fighting another battle, being in a show-mance with Nelson. Something I’m sure was fun for a little while, but ultimately a bit tiring. Then Nelson leaves, and her team is winning! She’s a full blown success on her rookie season. These veterans who have been obsessively talking about the Final as if it were some mythical land only few have been to, are here today and gone tomorrow.

Yet Olivia persisted. And so has her partner, and once TJ announces teams are over and they’re all back in pairs, she realizes she has as good of a partner as anyone. Even if there’s some tough veteran teams surrounding her, anything can happen, and who knows, maybe she’s about to be 500,000 dollars richer.

The night before the Final, all the vets can talk about is how miserable it is. How difficult it is mentally and physically. How Olivia can’t possibly be prepared for what’s about to happen. But she’s seen it on TV. Sure, it looks hard. But how hard can it possibly be?

And then the Final begins.

Between biking a hundred miles and sleeping in a tent overnight, her body isn’t in tip top shape. Not to mention the two months worth of daily challenges and eliminations prior to this. The morning begins with a hundred mile jog before reaching the first checkpoint. She learns she’s gotta throw those bola things from the very first daily she did. Talk about kismet! Things are going fine, all until she slices her finger open on one of the carabiners. You know what? It hurts, but she’s ready to tape it up and keep this thing moving. Now with blood rushing down her hand, she’s forced to drink five pints of tuna smoothie. It might be the most disgusting thing she’s ever tasted.

Right about now, she’s realizing that she truly did not have any idea what she was getting herself into. The Finals are hard. And she still has eighty or so hours left.

Next up is another billion mile run while carrying tires around her neck. Who got eliminated when? Lucky for her, she and Horacio did most of the eliminating this season, so they had a pretty good idea of what to do.

So now she’s tired, her body’s hot but the air is cold, she’s smelly, she hasn’t showered. It’s like she’s on day four of a music festival. Except it hasn’t even been a quarter of the way through this thing. After running for another hundred miles, she reaches a sling shot checkpoint.

Finally, she can relax.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in awhile, you could miss it.

Loser: Dark Reboots

Seriously, what the fuck is going on with this Lizzie McGuire reboot?

Winner: Corny Jokes To De-Emphasize Trauma

“You should see the other guy”

I pray that Olivia at least was able to get a few of those jokes off.

Winner: Argentinian Medics

I hope that if I potentially shatter my skull with a golf ball projected directly at my face, I have a medic as kind as this one.

Loser: Manifest Destiny

Hearing Olivia say this while she’s about to take a ride in an ambulance after she almost died is a little jarring. Just add it to the heaping pile of evidence that we’re living in a simulation.

Winner: Horacio’s Lettuce

How, after all he’s been through already, is his hair still so perfect?

Must be nice.

Loser: Me

Here’s the first thing I wrote about Olivia when she arrived this season. A Winner Flashback if you will…

Winner: Challenge Speak

Saying someone “won’t quit” near the top of their resume is Challenge Speak for “they’re going to suck at stuff”.

The lesson kids, as always, I’m an idiot.

I can’t be the only one though, I refuse to believe that. Not the ending you would have drawn up, but I hope Olivia is out there somewhere doing Instagram influencer type things and knows how many morons like me she just spent the last four months proving wrong.

Winner: The Challenge

Sometimes in life you can do everything right. You can train for three hours a day. You can go into elimination five times and win. You can have women falling all over you. You can win the hearts of America and the rest of the world watching. You can do everything you’re supposed to do.

And then your partner gets hit in the face with a golf ball.

As unlucky as Olivia was in this moment, she was just as lucky. That golf ball was millimeters from total disaster. Millimeters from tragedy. Millimeters from The Challenge ending forever.

Easily the most underestimated variable effecting success in your life, and this underestimation is almost universal, is chance.

Hard work is crucial, but luck always matters.

To be a modern person is to expect the elimination of the unexpected. Everything’s an algorithm to maximize efficiency and evaporate the unknown. Don’t know something? Don’t understand something? All you gotta do is pull the expensive rectangle from your pocket and say “Hey Siri”. All questions demand answers, even the ones that don’t have them.

This constant barrage of being sure creates an atmosphere that when something happens which isn’t supposed to, like a slingshot spinning around and firing a golf ball at your partners skull, fracturing her face and ending your chance at winning half a million dollars before you even got going, well then it hurts even more.

One the greatest things about this show is that at it’s core it’s a bizarro reflection of life. And life, as we all know is unfair.

This isn’t goodbye forever, Horacio, you beautiful bastard. It’s goodbye until feeding time later when I bring you a plate of food and set it next to the shackles I have around your wrists in the corner of my basement. It’s Sloppy Joes tonight, your favorite.

Ah, a boy can dream…

VIVA LA ALASKA!!!

Thanks for reading! See you back here soon! And, as always, Happy Challenge Watching!!!

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Brian Batty

Writing about MTV’s The Challenge, one of America’s great institutions, from a fan’s perspective.