Gauntlet 2 turns into near-pornographic, “big, giant Andy Warhol wet dream”

Over the years, it’s been fun to mock the challenges producers on The Real World/Road Rules Challenge, mostly because they seem like something a drunk P.E. teacher would come up with. A few years ago, it seemed that producers were content ripping off Fear Factor, but now, it seems, they’re basically just trying to turn the series into soft-core porn.

I thought last week’s challenge, which involved the cast filling buckets of water, might just be an aberration. The task was simple, but the catch was they had to fill the buckets by squeezing sponges attached to their bodies–and, of course, they couldn’t use their hands. Thus, there was a lot of humping on the beach as men and women rubbed their bodies together to squeeze every last drop out of the sponges.

On last night’s episode of The Gauntlet 2, the challenge was yet again overtly sexual. Host TJ, who was as inarticulate as ever (“Adam, you can’t ask for no better than that, you’re right there, homie”) called it “a very challenging challenge” that was a demonstration of “artistic ability.” But he was full of crap; the cast had to wear Speedos, or “a banana hammock,” as MJ called them, and paint giant canvases by slathering their bodies with paint.

It was just another excuse to get the cast nearly naked and dry humping each other. After completing each canvas, for no reason whatsoever, they had to run to a shower, clean off, and rub each other down with towels. That led Seattle’s David to say something like, “Clothwork! Wipe my ass, bitch! Clothwork!” as a few women rubbed him down.

The men on the show generally have no trouble getting drunk and making asses out of themselves (when Ruthie has to tell someone, “You guys are drunk,” you know there’s a problem). In addition, despite the fact that most of the guys on the show are more ripped than the average American male, they still looked stupid wearing Speedos, some of which were thongs and left bare asses on display. They weren’t entirely happy with this; Adam told us that there was even some cheating. “These guys are stuffing their Speedos full of things right now,” he said. “I think the Veteran team is a little self-conscious about being in ‘em, but hey, work with what you got.” Syrus did not have a problem, explaining that he didn’t quite have the body for a Speedo, because “Syrus is a whole lotta man. You can check me out at 976-Whole-Lotta.”

As they got started, Timmy told us, “We’re slathering all over the place, touching each other’s bits and pieces. It’s kind of like a big, giant Andy Warhol wet dream.” The cast’s conversations and comments supported that. Randy formulated a plan that sounded like he was directing a porno: “We have to load up fast, just him run over here and just squirt it and just unload it, and just lay on it and spread it around.” And Derrick told us about his technique: “I’m just moving like a machine, back and forth, just workin’ it.”

Despite that, Katie tried to deny that all of this was basically a televised orgy. “Being covered in paint isn’t as kinky as most people would like to think,” she said. “It actually is sticky and thick.”

I rest my case.

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.