T.J. Lavin’s Masterpiece Theatre: Episode Three

9 Feb

[Our ongoing Swanky coverage of The Challenge: Battle of the Exes.  For an introduction, go here.  For the episodes: One, Two]

The Fighter

We can’t choose our family, and for better or worse, we’re connected to them throughout our life.  The trials and tribulations that go along with having a dysfunctional family were a central part of “The Fighter,” in which boxer Micky Ward’s professional hopes are almost permanently derailed by the actions of his family, particularly his brother Dickie.  Even though Dickie’s flaws nearly become fatal for Micky’s career, Micky could never truly shake Dickie from his life, and their fates are permanently intertwined.  Which leads us to Battle of the Exes.

Episode Three emphasizes that the contestants’ partners are their family in the game – you can’t choose them, you can’t shake them, and they could very well bring you down.  There are Dickies all over the Challenge house, barely keeping their demons and issues at bay, while the Mickys keep fighting and hoping that their partner’s flaws won’t prove fatal.  So far, two players have been unceremoniously cut from the game solely due to their partners (one of them literally) slipping up.  And one of the strongest contestants of the season, Leroy, was felled this episode in a final Dome challenge that was a perfect visual representation of one partner holding the other back.  This season is as much about surviving your teammate as it is surviving the other teams.

The teams that are still standing by the end of Episode Three are by no means out of the woods when it comes to dealing with their weak links.  A short breakdown of the Micky/Dickie dynamics of the remaining contenders, in no particular order:

CT=Micky.  Diem=Dickie.  A close one, as CT’s past has indicated that he could be sent home at any minute for attempting to snap someone in half.  But CT seems to have his shit together for now, while Diem is one Masshole crack away from breaking down when it matters most.

Cara Maria=Micky.  Abe=Dickie.  Even though Cara Maria isn’t as strong physically and can occasionally burst into tears, Abe is beginning to swing back and forth between calm and insane intensity with more frequency.  If I were a contestant, I would pick the bunk farthest from his, and that’s not a good sign.

Emily=Micky.  Ty=Dickie.  Emily is clearly more stable emotionally than Ty, and she might very well be able to challenge him physically.  Ty continues to remind us of a petulant tween who’s constantly one comment away from a tearful and violent tantrum.

Mark=Micky.  Robin=Dickie.  These two veterans have stayed mostly out of the spotlight for now, so there hasn’t been much insight into their dynamic.  But based on the past, Robin has been more than willing to oblige the cameras with tears- and alcohol-fueled meltdowns that can prove costly.

Dunbar=Micky.  Paula=Dickie.  This is a no-brainer.  As much as she has seemed calm for the first part of this season, we have seen far too much of Paula Walnuts to think that she’s gone away for good.

Rachel=Micky.  Aneesa=Dickie.  Rachel has been one of the most level-headed people in the game to this point, and she seems to be the constant to Aneesa’s variable.  We’ve already seen Aneesa help Leroy patent the “sit-on-my-face” dance move, indicating that she’ll find love wherever she pleases, and she seems primed for at least one vocally violent confrontation before her time is up.

Johnny=Micky.  Camila=Dickie.  Johnny is a hardened Challenge veteran, and he knows all the tricks of the trade by now.  He’s reliable to take care of his shit.  Camila has kept it together so far, but she has shown in the past that she can care more about proving her point or protecting her pride than winning a Challenge.  Johnny will have to watch out for her.

Tyrie=Dickie.  Jasmine=Dickie.  We’ve tried looking at this from every angle to see which one of this team could be the Micky, and it just doesn’t work.  They’ve already come to blows in the first episode, and if this were real life instead of the Challenge, dual restraining orders would have been issued a long time ago(if that’s legally possible).  Tyrie seems to be calmer than Jasmine on average, as she seems on the edge of a meltdown at all times, but directing the phrases “You punch like a bitch,” and “Kiss my black ass” at your female partner does not merit a Micky label.  Could two Dickies take this Challenge down?  It’s definitely an unconventional method, but stranger things have happened.  Stay tuned.

Liner Notes

Last week, we bestowed the Swanky stamp of approval on Leroy, and it turned out to be the kiss of death.  We’re sorry, Leroy.  Going to take a break from the stamps of approval for a bit.

Speaking of Leroy, the mid-commercial interlude scene in which he’s giving CT a haircut was the best moment of the episode.  At the very least, the producers need to start work on a “Leroy and CT’s Barbershop” web series right now.  Having those two bullshit with each other and then clowning on new guests every week would be amazing.  We would say at least put them on a team next season, but that would just be unfair for everyone else.

T.J. threw a ‘hang-loose’ sign at the end of the Dome, so we urge you to take his advice and we’ll see you next week.


2 Responses to “T.J. Lavin’s Masterpiece Theatre: Episode Three”


  1. T.J. Lavin’s Masterpiece Theatre: Episode Four « Dan Swanky's - February 17, 2012

    […] [Our ongoing Swanky coverage of The Challenge: Battle of the Exes.  For an introduction, go here.  For the episodes: One, Two, Three] […]

  2. T.J. Lavin’s Masterpiece Theatre: Episodes Five/Six « Dan Swanky's - March 2, 2012

    […] [Our ongoing Swanky coverage of The Challenge: Battle of the Exes.  For an introduction, go here.  For the episodes: One, Two, Three, Four] […]

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