Wes and Jodi win $150,000 each on The Duel after yet another sucky competition

Over-enunciating Wes and athletic Jodi each won $150,000 on the finale of The Duel, the latest MTV Challenge. They defeated Svetlana and Brad, the other two remaining competitors.

This outcome wasn’t really surprising, thanks to an ill-conceived, two-minute head start that both received in a preliminary competition. Brad almost caught up to Wes, but in the end was far behind him, and it didn’t really seem like either he or Svetlana ever had a chance. Way to kill the tension, assholes.

I have a humble request: For the next Challenge, could we actually have some real challenges? Like, ones that don’t suck?

Last week, CT was disqualified during the actual duel because of a shitty prop. Trying to unclip a flag from the ground, the flag ripped off the carabiner, and he was eliminated, just like Beth was weeks ago. When the props don’t crumble and break apart, the competitions sometimes have time limits that lead to disqualifications; that such limits are even necessary suggests that the games are too hard or just don’t work. Other times, the contests are too difficult to judge accurately. Remember the season when half the cast quit during the final challenge?

There’s a difference between challenging and impossible, and The Challenges have way too many that are nearly impossible. How many times have we watched as all or nearly all of the competitors were disqualified because the challenge was too difficult? Does anyone even test these things, or bother to reconsider them after the buzz wears off? Survivor has competitions–both team-based and individual–that are both telegenic and allow real competition. The games on this show are hardly ever interesting to watch, rarely feature engaging head-to-head competition, and have overly complicated rules or impossible-to-complete tasks.

Maybe we don’t even need competitions during The Challenge any more. The real appeal is the drama, and it’s not even like the cast members need games to stoke the fire. And anyway, the challenges are often just an excuse to get the cast half-naked and rubbing against each other. Since all of the competitors know each other/date each other/have acquired each other’s scabies, they can just show up, fight, strip down, and roll dice to see who goes home. That’d be about as fair as many of the actual games, and maybe TJ Lavin could describe the results without babbling incoherently.

The Duel [MTV]

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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.