Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Doug Previews The Challenge

You know those people in the gym when you drive past it on your way to work? You’ve seen them; they’re the same ones who are also in there on your drive home. Oh, and just to clear up any confusion, they don’t leave and come back just to mess with your mind. They’re always just…there.

You may not realize it, but you can also come across these people in real life. You can usually recognize them from their unnecessarily tight clothes, frequent glances toward the mirror and the jugs of mystery liquid they carry with them for awkward, slurpy swigs in the middle of conversations.

Still confused about who I am referring to? Stop a random stranger and engage in him in a discussion. Does he refuse to remember your name, instead calling you “Guy?” Is he making intense eye contact and pulling his lips back in an expression not really a smile, and not quite a snarl? Has he mentioned his glutes?

I always wondered what these people were training for. They get themselves into such great shape and it becomes their obsession. It consumes them. For me, I’ve always sort of felt like Jerry Seinfeld put it best when he said:

In modern society, you really don’t have to be physically strong to do anything. The only reason that you’re getting in shape is so you can get through the workout. So we’re working out, so that we’ll be in shape, for when we have to do our exercises.”

In my opinion, if you are strong enough to carry your end of the neighbors couch down the stairs and out to the truck, you are in good enough shape. Of course, when the zombie apocalypse has us all running from flesh eating monsters, yeah, the gym crowd will probably last a bit longer (at least until the world runs out of hair product).

(Sidenote: If you have ever posted on Facebook information about your workout, your run times, your diet, a challenge to the rest of us, a before and after picture, or a clever ad for whatever juice or shake or cream or program you want the rest of us to buy, you are dangerously close to the edge of douchebaggery.)

Anyway, here’s the thing: Me and Jerry Seinfeld are wrong. These folks are training for something. They are preparing for the biggest job interview of their lives. Ladies and Gentlemen, these are the Reality Show Recruits!

I think we all agree that reality show contestants are the bottom feeders of our societal barrel. It’s not that they contribute nothing to the world, and act as some sort of neutral entity; they are actively working to destroy civilization as we know it. Simply “being on TV” is not a real job. Yet in 21st century America, we have made it a much sought after profession.

Imagine meeting one of these people in a social setting.

Me: “So, what do you do for a living?”

Tony from (fill in the blank): “Oh, I’m on television. How about you?”

Me: “Whoa, back up! You’re on TV? Awesome! Are you an actor, do you host a show, do you do the news…?

Tony: “No, none of those things.”

Me: “Okay, cool. So what do you do on TV?”

Tony: “Oh I just go on the TV and just sort of talk to my friends and argue with people and shoot some pool. Once in a while I’ll try to get laid.”

Me: “Oh, no, that’s not what I meant. Sorry for the mix-up. I know what most people do as part of living their lives. I meant what do you do to make money?”

Tony: “I just told you, Guy. I am on TV trying to get babes and working on my glutes! Now stop talking to me, I’m gaining weight just smelling the Lucky Charms you ate for breakfast.”

Me: “Sorry to bother you. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go slam my head repeatedly in my car door.”

Maybe the most amazing thing about this subset of human culture is the broad number of possibilities for these people. The Gymers in your town are working to prepare themselves for a chance at a better job, the same way the rest of try to work hard and challenge ourselves at work in hopes of getting a raise or a promotion (And yes, I am making Gymer a new word. I pronounce it ‘Jimmer’ just to remind everyone of the failed messiah, Jimmer Freddette).

Just like in life, there is a hierarchy that exists among Gymers. For instance, a prime time gig on The Bachelorette is much more prestigious than a mere audition for American Idol. And being chosen as “America’s Next Top Model” is much less of an honor than being chosen for a legacy role in a second Survivor go ‘round.

But ultimately, there is the top of the mountain. The Pinnacle. The big leagues for which Gymers spend countless hours blasting their lats. I am talking, of course, about MTV’s The Challenge.

First of all, to even get a sniff of being on The Challenge, contestants have to have previously proven that they are drunker, sloppier, more messed up, more offended, more racist, more gaycist, more prone to bursts of anger/tears, sluttier, less ethical, and quicker to fist fight than 99.9999999% of the human population. Yeah, that was 7 nines after the decimal. These folks represent one ten-millionth of mankind. This is a rare breed.

I love The Challenge. I love it as a microcosm of the universe. The show takes a wide, liberal acceptance of all comers. However, it does not apologize that no matter what characters make good TV, only the meatiest pill-popping psychopaths emerge victorious. MTV doesn’t care if you are a hermaphroditic man-lady in a long term relationship with three chimps and a salamander. Be whatever you want as long as you let them take you and 17 other minor criminals to a remote island, drop you off in the heart of a centered out volcano with a year’s supply of vodka, an Under Armor shirt with your name on it, and a T-Mobile cell phone.

The Challenge disregards sanity. The model seems to be let these people get drunk and pass their STD’s back and forth one night, then wake them up the next morning and batter each other senseless with contraptions invented by the Catholic church for 12th century torture purposes.  How can you not watch? (BTW- How bad is the smell in one of those mini mansions they film the show in? Is there even a way to quantify it?)

This is just my preview. I can’t wait for tonight’s premiere episode. I may have to make reviewing the previous night’s The Challenge episode a regular feature of this blog.

I encourage you to watch. Sure, it will take most of your soul with you. The depths of depravity go beyond some run-of-the-mill horror and gore fest.

You know the old “It’s like staring at an accident, you can’t look away” cliché? Imagine that while you are staring at the accident, the dying victims settle a fist fight by stripping off their clothes, drinking themselves semi-comatose then clumsily having sex with each other.

This is the essence of MTV’s The Challenge.  

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