MTV’s The Challenge is one of the greatest shows ever made. This gathering of veteran reality stars drinking, fighting, and most assuredly, humping is back for its 29th season. However, this season’s The Challenge: Invasion seems a bit…lackluster. Sure, all the old names are there. CT, Bananas, Camila. Hell, even Darrell resurfaced from a lengthy Challenge suspension for murdering Brad’s face. But alas, these Challenge legends make up a small minority of the cast.
You see, this season revolves around 18 “underdogs” trying to take on the aforementioned “champs.” The problem is, these underdogs are essentially a ragtag group of newbies. I’ll let the legendary sociopath Johnny Bananas take it from here:
My favorite part of The Challenge has always been the cast. For years (okay, decades) the same Real World & Road Rules alumni were there for me. From my adolescence well into adulthood, I could always count on seeing my old friends at MTV come Challenge season. I looked forward to the antics of the unhinged Abram, the doe eyed Sarah, and the Machiavellian Wes. It was like watching your favorite NBA team if instead of Steve Nash your team employed a cannibal. However, with The Real World fallen from cultural relevancy and Road Rules long since retired, the feeder system for The Challenge has been, in a word, lacking. Cue Bananas:
So how do we fix this? What sort of feeder could bring back the panache of The Challenge’s golden era? The Bachelor, of course!
Look at what Bananas considers a prerequisite for being a cast member. Heavy drinker? Check. Attractive? Check. Willing to hook up? Have you seen the fantasy suite? Physically and mentally sharp? Okay, that’s a whif. But being able to manipulate situations? It’s like he’s speaking directly to Chris Harrison right before his daily dive into a McDuckian pool of Bachelor money.
Imagine the possibilities. 10-12 Challenge All Stars would be competing against a fresh batch of Bachelor alums. The nameless Are You the One? contestants would be replaced with fully formed characters from a culturally relevant show. The result would be pure ratings gold. Bill Simmons has long argued that The Challenge is America’s fifth major sport. But why stop there? This could easily bump The Challenge in slightly ahead of the NHL and dangerously close to the MLB’s popularity.
I’ve long held the belief that MTV’s fatal flaw was their handling of Jersey Shore. Rather than recast every year and use it as a Challenge feeder, they wore out the original cast. A juiced up Ronnie and disoriented Snooki was the dynamic shake up The Challenge sorely needed. This is how they could make amends. The Bachelor would bring in an entirely new audience while giving the veterans an entirely new game script. Do we really want to see Johnny Bananas coast through a season without facing an elimination? Or would you rather watch “The Chad” down deli meats while disrupting The Challenge hierarchy?
Let’s be honest, The Bachelor could use an infusion of life too. The ratings may be higher than ever. But any Bachelor fan knows that any given season is about 90% similar. There’s always a villain that must be vanquished, a woman to be marooned, and show sanctioned coitus in the fantasy suite. Then there’s the highly overrated Bachelor in Paradise. Okay, I freaking love that show. Still, it suffers from a lack of suspense. Pretty much everyone is coupled up by the end of episode 3. The rest of the show is just a revolving door of no-name contestants guzzling mass quantities of alcohol and occasionally talking to animals.
The Bachelor and The Challenge both feature equally absurd, fame hungry contestants. It’s time we put two and two together. Chad would no longer be a purposeless villain. His murderous rage could be released in an elimination against the skull eating, cannabilistic CT. Corinne’s platinum vagine could be up against Smashley’s vajajay in a battle of sexual politics. Lace and Nany could duke it out for the title of drunkest woman ever. (Nany being the heavy favorite.) Hell, you could even throw in a subplot about TJ Lavin and Chris Harrison fighting for the lone hosting position. It worked for Seacrest and Dunkleman!
MTV. ABC. I beg you! Make this happen. 2017 is already off to a rough start. It’s time we give one back to America. Give the people what they want. For god’s sake, give Reality Steve a watchable show. The Challenge: Battle of the Bachelors. Start the movement.