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Extreme Challenge (2001)

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Also known as "the one where the closest we had to a host was Ramona from Survivor" or "the one where LL Cool J and Chris Klein presented a challenge back when they were famous" or "the one where Amy Poehler and Tina Fey both made cameos in a theatresports challenge but didn't interact with each other at all". Lot of celebrity cameos, is my point.

 

It feels kind of bizarre that the format for this season was so simple - $10,000 to the winning team in each challenge and the best individual player gets to spin a wheel to win a prize for themselves and that's it - but it really kind of works pretty well. It helps that the cast is at least pretty good if not brilliant (although I'm realising after having binge-watched the first four seasons I'm pretty much only here for snarky misanthropes like Neil and Piggy and Dan until the format gets standardised), but all in all I can't help but feel like something's missing, you know?

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At first, I thought this was the old school challenge that I really loved, but then I realized it was Challenge 2000 that I was thinking of.  That might actually come close to being my favorite season of the Challenge ever (probably tied with the original Battle of the Seasons).

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Extreme Challenge. .. aka "I Think Something's Wrong With Julie." I mean, RW9 had indicators, but the Challenge made me turn against her.

 

Memories? There was the James/Rebecca "showmance," the pre-recorded "clues" from past and present cast members, Christian rocking the roller derby and tightrope missions, Christian getting beat up by Ayanna for saying a word nobody's supposed to say, Ayanna getting kicked out and replaced by Susie (back when she was a good girl), and the disgusting fetish mission . . . albeit with Dan Renzi as Sigfried and Syrus as a white tiger. Oh, and there was the mission that turned into such a clusterfuck that Judge Mills Lane ("Let's get it on!!!") had to get involved.

 

I know I'm remembering other stuff, but that's the bulk of it, dude.

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No one will get this who wasn't watching MTV in early 2001, but...

 

"Do you know anyone who's died doin' this? Died doin' this? Died doin' this?

D-d-d-d-do you know anyone who's died doin' this? Died-died-died-died-died-died-died-died

Do you know anyone who's died doin' this? " 

 

[Pause] 

 

"I know lots of people who have died from it."  

 

***

 

The fact that I still remember that promo so well...evidence that it was historically annoying, very effective, or just playing in every commercial break for weeks? Or all of those things? 

 

It was interesting that in the promo, it was Jamie (on camera, lips moving and everything) asking the tightrope-walker guy if he knew anyone who had died doing it, but when that episode finally came around, Syrus aked the question. So for some reason, they asked one of them for a retake of the other's line. Maybe Jamie was considered to have a better "promo voice"? Or his RW season was more recent, so they wanted to have him front and center? 

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Extreme Challenge. .. aka "I Think Something's Wrong With Julie." I mean, RW9 had indicators, but the Challenge made me turn against her.

 

Memories? There was the James/Rebecca "showmance," the pre-recorded "clues" from past and present cast members, Christian rocking the roller derby and tightrope missions, Christian getting beat up by Ayanna for saying a word nobody's supposed to say, Ayanna getting kicked out and replaced by Susie (back when she was a good girl)

 

Haha, remember how when Ayanna got kicked off, Julie made it ALL about her by likening the situation to Julie getting kicked out of BYU? And then as Ayanna is packing her bags to leave, Julie picks up her suitcase and dumps it out, loudly decreeing that she's not going anywhere. Ayanna just looks at her and sighs, Julie, now I have to pack my bag all over again.

 

Also a funny episode, where they have an eating challenge, but the catch was, only half the team had to do it, and the opposing team could pick who was stuck eating it. Emily and Susie specifically picked Julie for the eating challenge just because they hated her the most and wanted her to get stuck eating it, but she was the only one on the team actually gung ho to do it, so that backfired.

 

Extreme Challenge was actually one of my favorite series, behind only original Battle of the Seasons and maybe the first Gauntlet. I miss when they had an even mix of old seasons instead of 75% from the latest season of RW, plus an unrelated show on MTV, and various randoms brought in, and then the  remaining 25% is people like Johnny and Aneesa.

 

Some of these older cast members probably have teenagers now.

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I was somewhat disappointed with Extreme Challenge when it was on, but I preferred it to any of the later seasons that had the Survivor format. I think I actually have the whole season on VHS, including the episode they have never shown again (the Fetish Fashion Show).

 

The season had its moments, but it got very sour in the back half, with the Road Rules team getting so demoralized.  

 

I have very vague memories of that eating mission. I think that that was the same episode with a castle and a druid. I also remember mud wrestling, and James body-slamming Jamie. There was also the super-dumb Judge Mills Lane episode, where the teams had to settle a dispute from the previous episode, and only Laterrian participated from the Road Rules team.  

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The season had its moments, but it got very sour in the back half, with the Road Rules team getting so demoralized.

 

Yeah, there was a fair amount of athletic talent on the RR team, but just very, very poor strategies used for just about every mission.

 

Also, James cried almost every episode when RR lost.

 

I believe that was the last we saw of RR3 Michelle, who died a year or two after the show aired. I really liked her on her original season and on the Challenge. She seemed really cool and down to earth. Never would have pegged her as a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader.

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Fetish Fashion Show . . , man, that was a disaster. Sure, we had Dan and Syrus as Siegfried and a white tiger, and Laterrian was almost naked . . . but between the Simpsons diaper skit from Kameelah and Rebecca and the obvious plant checking to see if Julie's been a good Mormon, I can see why MTV buried it.

 

I don't think James cried after every time RR lost. He was butthurt a lot, though. Funny that Christian was the obvious MVP on that team.

 

I wasn't into Road Rules: Europe, so I don't have any real memories of Michelle. I do know she was the second BMPer to have died, coming after a car wreck.

 

ETA for Asp Burger . . . I remember that commercial! And I think it's in the top ten most "extreme" missions in Challenge history. Also, I did a blog entry on "spotlight Challengers," and I had to include Julie's initial tour of duty.

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I wasn't into Road Rules: Europe, so I don't have any real memories of Michelle. I do know she was the second BMPer to have died, coming after a car wreck.

 

Who was the first?

 

ETA: Are you talking about Pedro? Or was there someone else?

Edited by Tatum

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