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'Fresh Meat 2': And the winner is ...

Here's Stefen on the finale of the Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Fresh Meat 2:

With this post, I’ll recap the finale, followed by rating the overall season below.  Just wanted to thank all for reading and commenting.  This was fun.  On to the episode …

The episode opens with an exile between Jenn/Noor and Ryan/Theresa.  The exile is the same one as last episode … you know, the one where Carley had a nervous breakdown.  This should be fun.

The teams stay pretty even, with Jenn/Noor holding the slightest of leads throughout the competition.  On the last leg, Jenn stars to tire, and takes a break.  Same with Ryan.  Pretty ironic that the fresh meat players are the one that are fine right now.  Basically at this point it’s which team can nut up quicker …

Jenn/Noor get up and take off first.  They end up winning a very close exile and go to the final challenge.

After the exile, TJ Lavin says of Ryan/Theresa, “I really liked your guys’ whole style throughout this whole competition.” If you can’t win big money, getting that phrase from TJ has to be the best consolation prize ever.

During Theresa’s final confession, she remarks that this show was a pretty accurate representation of who she is.  If this is who you really are, Theresa, is it safe to say you’re easy?  Just sayin’.

Before the final challenge Kenny remarks “I’m going to show you guys for the fourth time, why I am, the ‘King of Sting,’ ‘The Ultimate Awesome,’ ... I’m going to win another one.”  No pithy comment needed after that statement.

The teams get to the final challenge, which is pretty much just an endurance race up a mountain.  This is going to be utterly fantastic.

There are two phases.  First phase, the teams have to canoe across a lake.  Then they take a helicopter to the mountain and have to scale it for the second phase.  If you win the first phase, you get a two-minute head start.  Finish second, get a minute-head start.  Third gets a 30-second head start and fourth gets nothing, essentially meaning they’ll have to start three and a half minutes behind.

In the canoe race, Landon/Carley collide with Jillian/Pete, knocking Jillian/Pete a bit off course.  Then Kenny/Laurel and Jillian/Pete run into each other, allowing Landon/Carley to get to the puzzle first and finish first for a two-minute head start.  Kenny/Laurel get second and a one minute head start.  Jillian/Pete get third with a 30-second head start and Jenn/Noor get fourth.  Noor says he’s concerned because he doesn’t have “the most athletic girl in this group.”  Probably the understatement of the episode.

The second puzzle is a Sudoku, which no team can finish before time elapses.  The leads stay the same.  After this puzzle, the teams have to ride a mountain bike up the mountain, but the bikes are tied together, ensuring you stay with your partner.  Landon is a competitive mountain biker (apparently).  This doesn’t help at all, as Carley is having trouble keeping any balance.  I’m sure she has similar balancing problems during DUI stops.

When Jillian/Pete go, it comes out that Jillian can’t ride a bike and Pete’s not exactly giving her constructive criticism.  All teams are struggling through this and eventually all decide to just physically push their bikes up the mountain.
The third puzzle involves carrying logs and sorting them into a colored maze.  Then you have to carry an 80-pound weighted bag up the mountain.  Every team is still where they started the race, with Landon/Carley holding a slight lead on Kenny/Laurel.  

At this point, all of the teams are struggling mightily.  Kenny gets a slight advantage that Laurel carries the duffle bag for a little bit.  Jillian actually drags the bag for her team.  Impressive.

Landon/Carley reach the final puzzle with Kenny/Laurel right behind them.  Landon/Carley finish first and the teams need a helmet and ice axe.  They have to scale the hardest part of the mountain, which is covered in snow.  Kenny/Laurel are still right behind them.  At this point, Carley is barely able to crawl up the mountain.  Landon, being the resourceful competitor that he is, decides to stick his head between Carley’s butt cheeks and ram her up the hill.  I’m absolutely terrified to make a joke here …

Even though Landon CARRIED Carley through this final challenge, he says in a confessional that he gives Carley props for never giving up.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again … he’s such a sweet kid.  

Oh, by the way.  While Landon/Carley and Kenny/Laurel are dueling it out, Jillian/Pete are a solid distance away and Jenn/Noor aren’t even in the game anymore.
It’s wire tight up the mountain, but Landon/Carley end up getting up first and winning.  Upset!  I’m shocked.  They win 100K each.

Kenny/Laurel get second and 60K each.  Pete congratulates the teams when he gets to the top, and Jillian yells back, “Peter shut the [bleep] up and help me.”  They end up getting third and 40K.

Jenn/Noor finish last and get no money.

The show ends with everyone’s teary final confessional.  I got a little misty eyed myself.

Now on to the final season ratings …

Rating the Challenge:  Fresh Meat 2

Gratuitous Hooking Up
This season was surprisingly light on random, sloppy, fantastic hooking up.  There was Theresa and Wes’s dalliance, but you know it’s a weak season when that was the highlight.  Jenn and Pete had their “makeout sessions,” and Laurel got blackout drunk and occasionally kissed a cast member (guy or girl) but other than that, not much in the hooking up department.  Had Sarah and Vinny not been eliminated so quickly, they may have brought more to the table.  Same with Paula.  Where were Veronica, Casey and Rachel when we needed them?
Rating - 5

Drunken Fighting
Not a lot in this department either, but that was to be expected.  The only real fight candidates were Darrell, who was eliminated first, and Wes and Kenny.  I’m fairly confident that Wes and Kenny will never fight, since at heart, they’re both soft as a pillow (except during the first two weeks of the season, when they’re coming off their Mark McGwire-like “workout routines”).  

I guess my expectations were too high after Darrell nearly shattered every bone in Brad’s face last season.  Of course, MTV could easily have more fighting by just bringing CT back.  I think after he nearly committed a homicide against Adam a couple of seasons ago (and when I say “homicide,” that’s not hyperbole.  He actually was trying to kill him.), CT was banned for good.  The best we got this season was Danny and Brandon’s shoving match, followed by five minutes of manhugging; and Jenn throwing a drink at and shoving Mandi (which was actually quite entertaining).  Very disappointing overall.
Rating - 3

Strategy (AKA: Ability to be Shady)
This season had among the most strategy, politicking and shadiness I’ve ever seen.  Kenny had to basically use every tactic he could – politick, manipulate, find alliances in unfamiliar places, win when he had to, gain trust from those on the fence – to get to the end.  Wes and Ev had complete control of the game, but proved that when people with IQs under 50 are in control of the game, there’s a good chance they’ll make stupid mistakes.

I’m normally more of a fan of the unintentional comedy, drunken hilarity, and the general debauchery of the show, than of the actual strategy involved in the game.  That said, seeing Kenny’s dominance this season was downright riveting.  Who knew “strategy” could be so entertaining?  (And with that, everyone who watches Survivor just raised their hand.)
Rating - 9

I can’t really remember many of the challenges, which tells me that they weren’t all that memorable.  This is a consistent problem with the Challenge, as MTV is clearly out of ideas for ways to have these people compete and come as close to death as possible, without actually dying.  

Last year they had one of the best challenges I’ve ever seen:  the contestants stood hundreds of feet above water and were given a spelling bee.  If they got the answers wrong, they fell in.  They asked the contestants the same words that they ask 5th and 7th grade kids.  Seeing Brad struggle with six-letter words was glorious.  I demand MTV have the spelling bee challenge in EVERY season from here on out.

As for the exiles, I thought they were absolutely spectacular … and borderline cruel.  Just when the cast members started to have the exiles figured out, they started making them do them in the dark.  And they looked absolutely brutal to complete.  Awesome.  Just awesome.
Challenges Rating – 5; Exiles Rating – 9; Overall Rating - 7

Overall Season Rating
Based on the hype of the Wes versus Kenny battle, it seemed like this season would be epic.  It started off great, but I must say, it was a little weak towards the middle and end.  Once Wes was eliminated, it seemed like Kenny had this one sewn up.

I think the problem was that too many of the good characters were eliminated too soon.  Darrell, Cara Marie (based off potential), Paula, Sarah and Vinny were all gone quicker than I would have liked.  I understand MTV not inviting Evan and Johnny Bananas for their plot line, but to exclude Dunbar, Derek, Kelly Anne, Veronica, Tonya, Isaac and countless others was downright ridiculous.  I think we could’ve done without Danny, Katelynn and CJ also.

What saved this season was Mr. Beautiful.  He played the game beautifully (pun intended).  He could’ve hooked up with Theresa, and didn’t (let me go on record as saying I don’t agree with this decision, but it added some comedy when Wes ended up hooking up with her).  He actually came off as a redeemable human being.  He proved that he was put on this earth to manipulate idiots, compete in ridiculous challenges all over the world, squeeze every last drop out of his 15 minutes of fame, and never get a real job.

Add in Landon, a genuine good guy, coming up with a huge upset, and I’d say this was a solid season overall.
Rating – 7.5

(Photo courtesy of MTV)

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