Television

The Challenge: All Stars – Leaving It Behind

The Challenge: All Stars Episode 2

With years comes change. Physically, certainly. Mentally, spiritually, emotionally? Hopefully. What Trishelle displayed on the second episode of The Challenge: All Stars (“All That You Can’t Leave Behind”) was that some people never do find those sorts of changes, despite her reaching out to Aneesa at the beginning in what seemed to be a more sober moment for her. Katie, in the end, gave the better appearance of having grown older if not grown up.

That was the center of the real drama for the old-folks-home version of The Challenge. Beginning the episode, though, was the daily challenge, nothing more than a good round of trivia. As is TJ’s wont, there was a twist. Having the trivia be solely related to the seasons and seasons (and years and years) of The Challenge made for some excellent excuses to execute needed flashbacks. Last week, I found myself thinking with my own aged line of reasoning: “Oh, I hate that guy! Wait. What’s that guy’s name, anyway? And why do I hate him, again?” Yeah. We’re all getting old.

The Challenge All Stars Credit: MTV

Beyond being Challenge specific, the trivia created a straightforward game. I did question if that platform was a bit lowered than more recent seasons, which also lead me to wonder if the producers originally wanted it higher and made a change when they saw the wrecked performance of the competitors in the first daily in the first episode. Regardless, a wrong answer dictated that the competitor stepped forward; a step forward — or two — ensured that he or she would eventually stand on a piece of the platform that would not hold. There’s a metaphor in there somewhere, but I’m more concerned with Kendal’s poor attempt to weasel out of falling into the water. How did she escape T.J.’s wrath? How was she not immediately disqualified? How was she not just thrown into elimination by hiding in the shadow of T.J.’s podium? I was expecting more. I was wanting more. Perhaps he was too busy relishing everyone’s short fall into the water, and watching T.J. enjoy himself is always worth turning on the tube. It’s also worth noting that Trishelle shouted, “I don’t give a fuck about Johnny Bananas!” What?!

In the end, Kendal’s cowardice didn’t matter as much as the level-headed deliberation led to everyone sans Darrell voting for Kendal to go in for her scared performance. Trishelle, having been the first to lose, awaited back at the house for her opponent in elimination. When Katie — her bestie, her bff, her ride or die — didn’t immediately report back to her, the rip between their friendship began. The fact that the dissolution occurred at four in the morning baffled me! What forty-year-old is up at four in the morning!?

Soon after, the elimination, where Trishelle faced off on Kendal in Knots So Fast. Each of the ladies were to take a large rope and fashion it through a jungle gym to the point of keeping their opponent from being unable to untie it all. And that was that: Kendal was able to get ahead of Trishelle by getting the heavy rope untangled and out of the dome. Trishelle made an okay run of it, and both ladies were close in the elimination.

The telling line of this week was from Katie, who noted that maybe we just grow apart from people. It’s cliché because it’s true. I would’ve really liked an already-angry Katie to battle Trishelle in the elimination, but we won’t get that sort of drama this week.

It will be interesting going forward if more daily challenges seem a bit paired down for these old-timers because their emotions certainly aren’t.

Confessional

TD – To start, I want to share one minor complaint: I hate the name of this season and that T.J. keeps saying we’re here to find the best of all time. No, we are not; and we shouldn’t pretend to do that until we get the season I most want: a house full of former winners. Give me the Champions League of The Challenge. No rookies, no sentimental favorites, no one there just because they’re good for TV. I want a cast comprised solely of former champs. Then we’ll find out who’s really the best of all time. As for this season, it’s been fun to see some old faces with new looks, and people who I don’t remember at all, like this week’s elimination winner, Kendal. No recollection of her, not one bit. But Aneesa seems to be wary of her in a final, and Trishelle was no match for her in elimination, so I guess she’s worth some attention. While watching my wife asked if I were on the show, would I watch other seasons? I think I would, both because I still think I’d be a fan even if I were apart of the show, and because there’s trivia every damn season, and a lot of the time it’s related to the show. The Challenge is a mental game, as well, and in a season comprised fully of vets, it’s a good bet the wiliest one wins.

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