So, the Emmy nominations were just announced, and most of you will probably spend the rest of the summer catching up on all the nominees you might’ve missed, like Top of the Lake or Political Animals. Me? I’ll be right here watching MTV’s The Challenge: Rivals II, the reality competition that teams up former Real World cast members with their worst enemies for some totally bananas extreme-sporting challenges.
Yes, it’s young, dumb fun. People get tipsy in swimming pools. They wrestle in sandpits. They jump off high ledges. And they cry. They always cry. But, somehow, all of this makes for the perfect summertime guilty-pleasure show, and I’ve tried to explain why below. When this season is over, maybe my brain will melt into a lake of madness. But then I’ll be able to bungee-jump to the bottom of that lake, do a puzzle underwater, and win a prize for my efforts. So maybe that’s not so bad.
1. You don’t really have to pay attention to what’s happen on screen until someone gets punched in the face
If you need to check your email or take a Mensa quiz or haul a 320-ton ship over a mountain from one Amazonian river to another, you can totally do that while you’re watching The Challenge. You won’t need to worry about losing track of the plot, because the contestants will tell you what’s happening, over and over again, right up until that moment when Boston hothead CT loses his temper and punches someone. (It’s inevitable. As we’ve told you before, this is a guy who once punched a cactus. And when he does punch someone, another contestant will be there to tell us, “CT just punched someone!”) Case in point: The first episode of Rivals II is called “Rumble in the Jungle,” a nod to the fact that it’s set in the jungle of Phuket, Thailand. But just in case you didn’t catch the reference, spacey blonde Paula can spell it out for you: “I’m in a jungle!” she says in the opening montage. “I am actually in a jungle.” Okay, so that’s not just a metaphor? Good to know.
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