Friends show their affection for one another on the Gauntlet 2’s latest episode

One of the things we look for in our Challenge episodes–besides the weekly challenge of trying to translate the incoherent rantings of host TJ Lavin into understandable English–are life lessons. These take-aways teach us how to be better people, and, at the very least, provide material for the cast to lecture college students about.

On last night’s very special episode of The Gauntlet 2, we learned about the special bond that can form between heterosexual Challenge whores. Physical and emotional affection, the cast told their teenage and 20-something audience members, is perfectly acceptable between same-sex friends. Confining and restrictive gender barriers came crashing down twice last night.

For example, when Cara and Susie said goodbye, they showed that friends can love one another. After being eliminated, Cara said, “But it’s not the end, because we’re going to be lifetime buddies. Bye friend!” Susie replied, “Bye, I love you!” Cara replied, “Love you so much.” And all of this came after the sealed their loving friendship with a kiss:

Cara and Susie

During the Gauntlet, we were reminded that our boys MJ and Landon got matching tattoos to commemorate their journey through life on The Real World together. And when TJ spun the wheel to see which Gauntlet challenge Cara and Kina would face, Landon and MJ were so distressed that they had to grab on to each other for emotional support, with MJ even giving Landon’s shoulder a few reassuring squeezes:

Landon and MJ

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.

A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

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.