The Challenge: Ride or Dies Power Rankings — Week 7

Welcome to a fresh batch of Power Rankings. I hope all you Laurel fans out there found enough time over the weekend to lick your wounds. Let’s regroup from the loss of a Challenge legend, move forward, and count our blessings. Inside this week: Laurel tramples Moriah’s big moment, I give Amber a free business idea, Jay and Michele are simply channeling Marcus from Smart Guy, and much much more…

24) Kim (Eliminated)

23) Colleen (E)

22) Jakk (LW: 11)

Ya know, we never did find out if Jakk with two k’s is his government name. Oh well, I guess we’ll never know. Play him out lades!!!

21) Laurel (LW: 1)

You know who I really feel bad for?

Whoever the first person to fuck around and find out when Laurel returns to this show in F U, Free Agents, T-1000 mode. Fueled by a heart full of revenge, systems solely functioning on saliva and adrenaline, one subject college ruled Mead resting on her bedside table.

The hairs on the back of my neck just stood up.

20) Kenny (LW: 22)

No, I’m serious, what exactly is Kenny telling his friends about how little camera time he’s gotten so far?

For perspective, so far he’s only had three confessionals. Kailah and Sam both have nine. Yes, I too forgot that Kailah and her husband were even on this season. They went home a million years ago.

We’re six episodes into this thing and we just heard him speak outside of a confessional for the first time. What is he doing with his days? I know this shouldn’t be surprising considering who his sister is, but honestly what is he doing to take up the 24 hours in the day?

If you’re reading this, Kenny, please tweet us @fessyfitness with details. We’re dying to know.

19) Chauncey B. (LW: 21)

“Damn, babe, you forgot to record Chicago Fire too?!”

“Chauncey, shut it.”

“This is fucked up.”

18) Nurys (LW: 19)

No one has ever had as much fun doing anything as Nurys did cranking that doohickey last week.

I too, wonder what it is to fly.

17) Moriah (LW: 20)

“Alright, my big moment. A Challenge legend is opening up about boy problems to me! I can finally draw on my years of real life experience with fuck boys and help her out. Here goes nothing…”

“Yeah you’re right. I’ll just go fuck myself, thanks.”

16) Amber (LW: 18)

If she wins this season she should open a restaurant and call it Amber’s B.Stro.

15) Horacio (LW: 17)

I wonder if the reason Horacio is always seen playing soccer by himself is because he’s so good that there’s no point in playing with anyone else.

Or maybe he’s too hot and everyone there is too nervous to approach him.

It can only be one of those two options. There’s no other explanation. And don’t even start on the whole “this is a highly edited show that only gives us a compartmentalized 60 minutes compared to the 24 hours a day worth of footage they need to parse through” bullshit.

Take your nuance, take your logic, put them between two slices of wheat bread, squirt some mustard, slice a tomato, and…

14) Olivia (LW: 16)

“I thought this was supposed to be challenging.”

— Olivia, at this point in the game, probably

13) Darrell (LW: 15)

12) Veronica (LW: 14)

What kind of child sacrifice type ritual did they perform with Michele and Jay between the elimination that they managed to dodge two weeks ago and this week’s deliberation?

Darrell and Veronica, at the moment, are about as easy a pair to name than anyone out side of Olivia and Horacio. They’re not ensconced in the Vacation Alliance. They’re certainly not early enough in their Challenge careers to be riding with the new kids. So where to they stand?

In the same way that Kim and Colleen were the free space on the bingo card, it seem strange to me why Darrell and Veronica haven’t naturally slid into that spot?

My guess is, Veronica told Michele and Jay that if they were to find themselves in a dagger pull situation, that they’d save each other. But at the same time, what foundation is that built upon? On Darrell and Veronica’s side, would they really save Michele and Jay over, say, Aneesa and Jordan? Johnny and Nany? Probably not, right?

And if you’re Jay and Michele, if you’re thinking long term, what benefit would you get from saving Veronica and Darrell over someone like Tori and Devin, or Fessy or Nelson or anyone in the “gonna be here for a bit” category. Veronica and Darrell are on the other side, unfortunately. But realistically, the chances of either of the two of them wielding the responsibility of your fate in the game down the line are much less than so many others still around

I might be wrong. I normally am. The inner workings of these deals is something that many times we at home are not privy to. These are deals being made either off camera or deals that are ultimately inconsequential to the story being to on TV.

I just cannot help but wonder why Michele and Jay didn’t do themselves any favors last week and decided to choose Veronica and Darrell’s potential working relationship over keeping vibes as copacetic as they could have given the pickle they currently find themselves in.

For as minimally impactful as they’ve been on the game so far, I cannot help but be appreciative of the fact that Veronica and Darrell are still around, still crafting political maneuvers with 25 year olds, still an integral part of my favorite show in the entire world. Two of the, to quote the host of the Challenge: Australia Brihony, brickies who were crucial to building this behemoth that we’re watching every Wednesday, still faced with wheeling and dealing to avoid elimination with the same fervor that they once did all those years ago.

Just makes ya feel warm and fuzzy inside, doesn’t it?

11) Nelson (LW: 12)

Hang this in the Louvre.

10) Kaycee (LW: 8)

It took Kaycee 60(!) episodes of The Challenge to be in even a modicum of uncontrolled danger on this show.

60!

And even then, when Jay and Michele dared to speak her name, she was saved immediately. Unless Laurel and Jakk pulled the dagger, she really wasn’t even in any danger to begin with.

Last week we learned that even when she’s under duress, it’s smooth sailing. Is it even possible to rattle Kaycee? Let’s say she was in any of the situations that The Rock finds himself in during his movies. Like some one person trying to save the planet situation. Would that even rattle her? Would the imminent destruction of planet earth and everyone she loves even bother her?

It’s almost impossible to last 60 episodes on a show like this and refrain from showing any emotion aside from the joy of victory. Your mental foundation is supposed to crumble. It’s the nature of the game.

Yet, Kaycee has been floating on a nebulous cloud her entire existence on this show. Counting sheep. Comfortable beyond any recognition.

It’s driving me up the wall. I came into this season being as pro-Kaycee as I could possibly be. But shes beaten me into submission with a boring stick. I have nothing left. This spot will remain blank for the remainder of the season.

Not out of principle, merely because I’m simultaneously both unimaginative and unoriginal.

9) Jay (LW: 10)

8) Michele (LW: 9)

So there’s an episode of Smart Guy that will always stick with me my entire life. For one, it’s the episode that played on 9/11 when Disney Channel was the only network not showing the news. But the most important reason, is that it taught us a valuable life lesson that I’ve employed in my life to this very day.

For those of you unfamiliar, Smart Guy is a super likeable show about a brilliant 10 year old named TJ (no, not that TJ), who is so smart that he moves from fourth grade all the way to sophomore year in high school. Shenanigans ensued in each episode, obviously.

One day, a chess machine designed to be unbeatable is brought into the school for unexplained reasons. TJ, being as smart as he is, is put up in front of the machine to see if he could defeat it. But the machine wins, just the thing Jon Connor was trying to stop, and TJ’s ego is shattered. He’s never not been smart enough. He’s never suffered defeat in an academic arena.

Seeing his younger brother walking around despondent about his loss, TJ’s older brother Marcus, who’s a complete buffoon, offers to help him practice. At first,TJ scoffs at this notion. Marcus is a dolt who barely knows what chess is, how could this help TJ practice?

Reluctantly, though, he agrees, and when the game begins, Marcus plays his turns in a way that make no logical sense. Everything he does is anti-chess in a way that befuddles TJ. But then, inspiration strikes. He realizes that this is the way to defeat the chess machine.

Act illogically. Go against the grain. Be so stupid that the machine designed with all chess strategies in mind cannot react properly.

Maybe that was Jay and Michele’s strategy the last two weeks. To be so bad at The Challenge, that they actually ensure their own safety from the veterans who’ve seen and done all the moves themselves.

TJ returns to school the next day ready with Marcus’s strategy of doing everything incorrectly. This strategy almost immediately proves to be fruitful, and soon enough causes the machine to short circuit, and TJ and humans everywhere reign supreme. A triumph of human ingenuity.

Michele and Jay, if this tortured analogy has anything to say about it, possibly fried the servers in all the vets brains the last few weeks. And they’ll be triumphant in their lack of ingenuity.

Yeah, you’re probably right, they’re actually just fucked.

7) Aneesa (LW: 13)

Aneesa’s 1st elimination roundOctober 26th, 2006

Aneesa’s 22nd elimination roundNovember 16th, 2022

That’s 5,865 days that Aneesa’s been killin’ people in a pit of sand on MTV.

That’s 140,760 thousand hours between prospective Challengers being thwarted and sent home in the middle seat on a long plane ride by Aneesa in front of TJ Lavin.

That’s five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes
Five hundred, twenty five thousand moments so dear
Five hundred, twenty five thousand, six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?

In daylights, in sunsets,
In midnights, in cups of coffee,
In inches, in miles,
In laughter, in strife…

Er wait, hold up, that’s from Rent.

What were we talking about?

6) Banana (LW: )

Sometimes these people can be unreliable narrators. For example, Wes has this almost superhuman ability to take credit for things he had nothing to do with during his confessionals. Kam was also great at that. And Devin has very clearly been in the dark room with a clicker crushing Wes tape, burning the candle on both ends all off season.

So a lot of times I simply don’t believe any of them when they say anything. I work from the premise that they’re always lying to my until proven otherwise with my eyes.

And this includes when they say that they’re losing on purpose. Which is what Johnny has sort of been claiming his strategy has been. Which, you know what? This time he’s probably not lying. It is beyond smart for he and Nany to lay as low as possible, including not being forced to say four names. They did that once, shook up the Jay/Johnny floppy casserole alliance, and the ramifications are still being felt to this point.

But, let’s also be honest, the only people in life who say they lost on purpose are the losers. No one ever says they won on purpose. Because winning would involve, ya know, winning.

But if Nany convinced him to cut the shit, as well as the pendulum of strategy about to swing back the other way, and Johnny turns it on, let’s just say no team is exactly blowing the doors off the competition. They could easily start rattling off wins and putting people in some pretty compromised positions.

5) Mature Nany (LW: 7)

Beyond her partner having the hangover goofies, let’s dig a little further into the way Nany reacted to Johnny’s antics during last week’s daily challenge.

Does anyone else think this is Nany’s retirement season? In the same way the Double Agents was a hard stop for Leroy, win or lose?

As sad as that would make me knowing that my celebrity crush was no longer going to be on my TV screen, I have the sinking feeling inside that her reaction to the way Johnny’s been….not motivated (?) to win very much once the rules of the game began to spell themselves out was due to the the fact that she knows that this might be the her last opportunity to do something silly like dig a hole in the ground, zip line across a foreign body of water, and then solve a word puzzle in a competitive setting.

So, in that sense, it would explain her disdain for Johnny’s aloof attitude. She wants to win simply because her opportunities to do so are dwindling. I truly, deep in my soul, hope this isn’t the case. Even if she’s Mature Nany now, and I’m not even getting a fraction of the antics that had me smitten with her in the first place, I still don’t want to see her go.

Even beyond her permanent retirement from The Challenge being just another signal of how washed up I truly am, at the end of the day (shout out Nany), I’m just going to miss her overall presence in my life. She may be done with the show, and I doubt she’ll ever watch an episode again, but our lives as Challenge fans are going to continue on, with or without Nany.

I’d just prefer if it were with, rather than without.

4) Devin (LW: 4)

Orange and ginger both work really well together in a cocktail if you’re able to make a ginger syrup of sorts. Which brings up the obvious question of what exactly do they have at their disposal as far as culinary options goes. Do they have a spice cabinet? Which kitchen utilities are they provided with? I’m sure they get eggs and butter and bread and whatever else. But if they want to cook pasta for everyone or something, how does that work?

Talk about some hard hitting questions…

3) Tori (LW: 3)

I covered Johnny’s hangover goofies in my recap, but it seems as though he wasn’t the only one who partook in beverages the night before this daily challenge.

Did Tori and Johnny stay up ripping shots until 4 am? Why are they so seemingly out of it? Did someone sneak in edibles?

2) Faysal (LW: 2)

Review of Fessy’s Fortitude Episode 3

  • The first two episodes of this monumental and focused podcast about real life shit, TV, confidence, athletics, working out, relationships, and money have been dreadfully boring to say the least. But this week, boy oh boy, this week we turn it around.
  • This week is 16 minutes of JOSH and FESSY PODCASTING about the difference between real life and reality TV. Let’s dive right in
  • New intro music! This time it was added in post rather than just being a song he played off his phone speaker. This is gonna sound professional soon enough.
  • Fessy asks Josh to explain what he thought the differences between real life and reality TV were and Josh’s response, I shit you not, was “damn that was a deep question bro”. You can’t make this shit up.
  • So I’m now a little over seven minutes into this podcast and from the moment Fessy asked Josh that initial question, the two of them have not once hinted at what the difference between real life and television are. Instead they’ve spent their time talking about reading mean comments online and how those losers don't realize how rich and successful Josh and Fessy actually are. But don’t worry, these comments don’t get to them, and they don’t read them, except for all of the ones they read that totally get to them. But those people are losers anyway. Yikes.
  • Fessy finally interjects and asks Josh how he separates himself from reality TV, to which Josh answers again about social media and how much money he makes off of it. Fessy then follows up by agreeing, by again bringing up online hate and how those people don’t get how rich and successful they are.

So, there’s still six minutes left in this episode, but I really had to cut it off. It was actually astounding how unlikable they come off and how clearly rattled they are by mean Instagram comments. It was actually quite gross.

Maybe I’ll finish recapping this episode next week, maybe not. Seems like Faysal is gonna be around for awhile, so I have time to come back. That episode genuinely bummed me out. I’m gonna go make guacamole or something. brb.

1) Jordan (LW: 5)

I think that all that needs to be said regarding the uniqueness of both Jordan and The Challenge itself, is that there is no more terrifying competitor in this crazy game than someone who could be earnestly described as a “hot, skinny cowboy with a goofy haircut and only one hand.”

Jordan never fails to amaze me. He’s cemented himself as one of my favorite athletes full stop. Any sport, any game, it’s difficult to find someone in my lifetime that I’ve enjoyed watching perform at their craft more than Jordan Wiseley. He’s like if Amy from Jeopardy could also return punts like Devin Hester. That’s the thrill level I get watching him play this game.

Nope, thank you.

Thanks for reading! See you soon for recaps of both Challenge Australia and Ride or Dies! Have a great holiday week! 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. Inquires: WillaMediaManagement@gmail.com -Twitter: @TJsAirhorn