T.J. Lavin’s Masterpiece Theatre: Episodes Five/Six

2 Mar

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

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The story of Jekyll and Hyde presented a very literal view of the difference between one man’s civilized and good side, and his crazed and dangerous side.  Dr. Jekyll was a mild-mannered scientist during the day, but due to an experiment gone wrong, his twisted and dark desires turned him into the wild Mr. Hyde at night.  There aren’t any scientific disasters going on during this Challenge season (yet), but the past two weeks have seen several contestants start to lose the battle with their inner Hyde.

Every season on the Challenge is a long and grueling process for the contestants, with the physical and emotional stress only increasing as the weeks go by and the smell of the prize money becomes stronger.  Adding a group of hard-partying quasi-celebrities for whom stability is a variable to this pressure cooker situation is like putting a gas can next to a bonfire.  You might get by for a little bit without incident, but sooner or later that fire is going to melt the outside of that can, and something’s gonna blow.  The first few weeks on Challenge seasons can be relatively tame as most of the people can hold their shit together, but there is always a point when gas cans start to melt, and sanity takes a backseat to the fireworks.  Battle of the Exes has reached that point.

Camila signaled the Hyde shift early on in Episode Five by casually flipping her crazy switch to On with several tequila shots and a few black censor bars.  She had been pretty quiet all season up until this point, but quickly made up for lost time by tossing furniture, leveling death threats, and telling her partner Johnny: “you don’t know anything about Camila.”  Camila’s Dr. Jekyll side has appeared to regain control for now, but her lack of caring about past outbursts and Brazilian passion present a volatile situation for Mr. Johnny Bananas going forward.

Once Camila started up the crazy train, other contestants with proven Hyde records began to lose their grip on self-control.  CT is well-known for his darker side, so it wasn’t necessarily a big surprise when he and Diem dissolved into a glassy-eyed shouting match that is decidedly not good for future team chemistry.  Cara Maria and Abe (who may just be in Hyde-mode all the time) had some crazy conversations about ‘painting all day’ in their love nest outside of the show, but unfortunately the imminent full nudity meltdown scene we all knew was coming will have to be postponed, as they were sent home in Ep. Five.  The best example of losing the battle with your darker side, however, came in the form of Paula and Ty’s romance.

We mentioned this earlier in the season, but Paula’s offhand remark about having a boyfriend was a clear signal of imminent danger for said boy.  Paula has been decidedly calm so far this year, in comparison to breakdowns in seasons past, but her grip on self-control has begun to loosen considerably in Ty’s arms.  There were storm clouds on the horizon in Ep. Five, when Dr. CT implored the new couple to “knock one out real quick” before a competition, and it was clear where this was headed by the time Paula was saying “boyfriend” like it was a bad word in a language she didn’t even know.  By the end of Ep. Six, the two had thrown all decency out the window and appear primed to take both of their partners down in flames with the Most Unhealthy Relationship Ever.  Dark sides are emerging all over the Challenge house, and the weeks ahead should prove to be full of emotional gas cans finally igniting.

Liner Notes

Ty and Paula’s softcore porn act on a bunk bed in a room full of other contestants inspired a thought of how this show is the most twisted and debaucherous summer camp you’ve ever seen.  Everyone’s in a group out in the middle of a forest, food is brought in so that there are group meals every day, there are regular activities in the forms of physical challenges, people wear colored shirts with their names on them, there are fleeting romances, and everyone sleeps cramped in rooms with twin bunkbeds.  If anyone would like to actually start an Adult Summer Camp like this, preferably with T.J. as Camp Director, we would like to submit our names for Summer 2012, and we prefer top bunks.

Johnny’s Come-On of the Week That Makes You Squirm:  The Bananas man doesn’t miss a beat when he goes straight from talking strategy with his partner to asking her if she wants to “conserve water in the shower.”  Literally no change in the tone of his voice, no pause from his previous train of thought.  We’re still not sure how she was able to say no.

With comments like “Not too often am I impressed with everyone,”  T.J. is becoming more and more like an emotionally distant group Dad that everyone is desperate to please.  Some might need (more) therapy when this is all over.

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