May 15, 2001
It's pretty pathetique when even the makers of the "Real World/ Road Rules Extreme Challenge" have completely given up on the concept of suspense. The Road Rulers drag their leaden fannies along the ground, having exchanged their prize money-lust for anomie, ennui and all that other stuff. The Road Rules team is doomed, and everyone knows it.
It must be humiliating to be trounced by a bunch of prima donna Real Worlders. Even James' rantings have been subdued. When Rebecca tries to sympathize with his team's losing streak, he tries to snap back with a grouchy "I don't think you understand," but all the ire has been sucked right out of him. Emily threatens to "draw blood" at the final challenge, but she says it with knitted brow, as if she were asking permission. All they can do is be glad this trial is almost over.
Darlings, even I'm glad this trial is over. Fifteen or so weeks is a long time for someone like me to be stuck in a room with bungee cords and water balloons. This penultimate challenge is an automotive one, in which the kids travel to the deserts of southern California to burn rubber in Toyota Celicas. This is, apparently, more exciting than burning rubber in a bunch of Toyota Camrys or Buick Centurys, because both teams hop and squeal for joy when they see the cars.
The first event involves an artful display of skidding and spinning, not unlike what the teens do in the Hancock Fabric parking lot late at night, except that on television, no one throws forty-ouncers out the window. The Real World team, despite Kameelah's laughable inexperience with a stick shift, comes out ahead.
Susie takes it upon herself to bestow one last gleam of hope upon her teammates before their final and crushing defeat. "I've got to be the gel that holds us all together," says this hair product-besotted young lady, but she stops before vowing to be the leave-in conditioner and de-frizzer for her team. Not only is Susie's hair silky soft, but her victory in the second race gives her team a cushy fifteen second lead over the Real Worlders.
In the last race, that fifteen second lead melts away as Emily stalls the car and then dawdles around the turn. "This isn't 'Driving Miss Daisy!'" cries a frustrated Laterrian. Real Worlder Syrus comes in first, but Emily is certain that she didn't come in fifteen seconds behind. Well, sweeties, she didn't- she came in sixteen seconds behind! And with that, the Real World team wins the last ten grand, bringing the score to Real World $110,000 Road Rules $40,000.
Survivor Ramona re-appears with a fleet of Humvee limos to hustle the cast members away to prepare for the final game, which will decide the winners of the "Handsome Reward." "No Road Rules team has ever lost the reward!" rails James at his silent, demoralized teammates. Well, what can I say, sugar lumps, they're going to lose this one.
And, really, it's their own fault. The objective of this game is to push a car across the blazing desert to a gas can, fill up the gas tank, and then drive the car to the finish line. First, the Road Rulers put Suzie inside the car to "drive" the fuel-less vehicle. Actually, it was a pre-emptive measure to avoid hearing her wheezy whining since Emily admits that Susie's not any good at "physical missions." Heavens, "physical missions" are all of them, dearies! The Real Worlders leave the driver's seat empty for easier pushing.
The second mistake the Road Rulers make is to pause on an incline, making it tough to get started again. I guess no one has ever taken the time to explain momentum to these sweet young things. After much sweating and teeth-gritting and hushed cursing, the Real Worlders reach the finish line with time to spare. The Winnebago Waifs just fall on the ground, stunned; what else is there to do?
We're then treated to James' defeated ramblings, on the order of, "No matter how hard I tried, I lost." And who could forget, "Losing helped me learn about myself." We also get a montage of various cast members crying and straining and hugging. This, I presume, is to remind us that, ultimately, the Extreme Challenge is uplifting, and that it's time for us to be touched deeply.
Whereupon the Real Worlders scoot away in their brand-new Celicas, leaving the Road Rulers to roast in the Mojave.
Who's Topless: We have not a single farewell nipple this week, my dears. You'll just have to wait for the next Real World season.
Who Cries? If you don't count the teary flashbacks at the end (who in the world would get all weepy about this show?!), there's only one point when Emily is on the verge of crying. But, there is indeed plenty of sweat.
Best Quote: "I lose things lots of times. I don't think I'm a loser, though. I just didn't win," rationalizes Rebecca.
Most Annoying: James is still stuck on the whole losing thing in a very irritating way. I say he takes the title for the season.
Coming Soon: Mes amis, it's just a hop, skip and a jump to Real World X!
Bonus Section: What I learned from the Extreme Challenge Wrap-Up Special
1. The Challenge is deemed intense enough so that this reunion is called the "Cease Fire."
2. RWNO Melissa, one of the hosts, has her hair is in a Wilma Flinstone-esque top-knot. She also has a really fake smile that fades as soon as she thinks the camera is no longer on her.
3. Dan claims to have trained closely with a Marine to prepare for these games. Don't ask, don't tell, s'il vous plait!
4. The Road Rulers openly admit that Second Choice Susie was a weaker player than Ayannah. Ayannah looks satisfied to hear this.
5. Julie is still a crybaby. She tries to joke about the Fetish Fashion Show, saying, "Besides, I kinda liked it.No! Just kidding!" Everyone in the audience ignores the last part.
6. There were lots of roaming eyes on the trip, but little action.
7. James and Rebecca are currently "good friends." James calls their long-distance telephone conversations "tedious," when he appears to mean "frustrating." Ouch! Oh well, at least Dan thinks James is a hottie.
8. By his own admission, Jamie is wearing no underwear.
9. The Road Rulers pick Christian as their most valuable player; his magical gnome powers just came in so handy!
10. Susie didn't cry about bathing with the eels. She cried because her life had been "reduced to being beaten (on the head) by a druid!"
11. And finally, the mission we didn't see- Dan was going to be "human skeet," launched into the air by a catapult, while the people below shot at him. Oh, those Bunim/Murray folks take away all our fun!