Gauntlet 2 challenge falls apart

On this week’s episode of The Gauntlet 2, there was no orgy-esque challenge–well, except for the oil-covered guys wrestling in the sand. Anyway, there was an alliance conflict on the rookie’s team, which was too pointless to even summarize, but the episode really stood out for being an example of outstanding reality TV challenge craftsmanship and planning.

During a strength-based challenge, the teams had to push large, quasi-geodesic spheres across a field. As the veterans pushed their giant ball, it broke into a dozen pieces of plywood and 2x4s, probably all with nails jutting out. Host/moron TJ called this “bad luck,” but really, it was just crap-ass construction on the part of the producers.

Next, the teams had to fill a flatbed truck with bricks, and then just two people had to push the truck–full of bricks, all of their teammates–to the other side of the field. Once full of people nad bricks, however, neither truck moved, because apparently no one thought about actually testing this to see if it was possible.

So, in the best tradition of the Challenge, producers pulled something out of their ass and had TJ change the rules before the four people pushing the trucks developed hernias. He told two more people to help push, and that worked–although not for the veterans, because Ace “I’ve been driving a stick shift my whole life” Amerson forgot to push down the clutch.

Episode 8 [MTV]

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


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Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.