Tag Archives: The Challenge: Rivals II

THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Team Previews – Jasmine and Theresa

This is the fifth in a series of “The Challenge: Rivals 2″ team previews that will lead into the first power rankings of the season.  Next up: Jonna and Nany

JASMINE and THERESA

Where did we last see them? Theresa has been off the Challenge grid since Rivals and a calmed down version of Jasmine was last seen being a great Team Cancun member on Battle of the Seasons.

The Rivalry: Destined for a Rivals 2 partnership (and predicted by Jasmine at the time), Theresa and Jasmine came to original Rivals (Camila and Jonna respectively) defenses and had a classic “extracurricular nighttime activity” altercation highlighted by a battle between Jasmine’s fist and a mirror.

Rivalry Meter on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is a Leroy and Mike from Rivals I “Rivalry? They’re actually really good friends” rivalry and 10 is a Kenny and Wes from Rivals I “they have hated each other for years” RIVALRY) – 5, best Rivals I comparison: Jenn and Mandi

Highlights and Commentary from MTV bio:

“What could possibly fill a 90 lb. girl with so much rage that she put her hand through a mirror? Well, her name is “Theresa.” Jasmine recalls, “I just looked in the mirror and saw Theresa and just knocked it clean in one hit. If she keeps it up with me it might be her face this time.’”

This was a real The Challenge altercation (unlike some of the other fabricated ones this season – Sarah had to even step in to prevent Jasmine from going out the way of Adam Royer) and one of the most heated exchanges that have taken place between any of these Rivals 2 pairings.

“Although both claim to have mellowed and matured since nearly coming to blows, this feisty pair is still as combustible as fuel meeting flame.” 

Notwithstanding, Jasmine was a different (refreshingly) person last season on Battle of the Seasons and deserved to stay longer (or so my last season’s power rankings often indicated).  She was calm, collected, competitive, and cooperative.  She supported her teammates, gave her all in challenges, and helped steer her team to a very strong showing (especially early in the season).  There were even a few occasions in which Jasmine played a peacemaker role.  Now, do I think she still has some leftover lighter fluid available within her?  Probably, but I think this more experienced Jasmine is primed to succeed and will keep herself under control.  Theresa was never the hottest of heads, but I always thought she did have a good sense of how to distinguish and separate herself from other Fresh Meat 2ers (not an easy task – does anyone remember Sydney or Sandy?).  Her feistiness was more of a calculated act than an obvious character flaw.  On Rivals 2, Jasmine and Theresa should be just fine.

“Jasmine arrives in Thailand reeling from her father’s death and is determined to win this Challenge in his memory while Theresa hopes to finally learn how to separate emotions from the game.” 

First off, Theresa can separate emotions from the game, but more importantly, this is terribly sad news about Jasmine’s father (and mildly inappropriate for comment on MTV Bio writer land or this post).  My heart goes out to her and I hope that another Challenge experience and the inevitably toxic environment that it creates will not be too detrimental to her grieving process.

Best-Case Scenario: Jasmine and Theresa could go far in this game with some shrewd gameplay and wise alliance making.  A finals trip is not out of the question, but a win seems a bit of a reach.

Worst-Case Scenario: A bad showing in a challenge puts them in an early elimination against an overmatched opponent and they lose.

The Verdict: They are the female team that I am having the hardest time wrapping my head around.  Theresa has been away a bit too long to figure out where she sits athletically against some of the stronger teams.  Jasmine’s size has always been a bit of an issue (her wine glass throwing had been as well until a Battle of the Seasons turnaround) and I am not sure how well she can do against some of her strongest opponents.  With that said, Jasmine and Theresa are just a little bit removed in the right ways, while still maintaining some strong connections.  Ultimately, any finish for these two seems to be in play.

Watch the Jasmine and Theresa pre-interview here.

Other team previews:

Anastasia and Jessica

Aneesa and Diem

Camila and Jemmye

Cooke and Naomi

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His weekly “The Challenge: Rivals 2” power rankings will begin the week of July 10.

THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Team Previews – Camila and Jemmye

This is the third in a series of “The Challenge: Rivals 2″ team previews that will lead into the first power rankings of the season.  Next up: Cooke and Naomi

CAMILA and JEMMYE

Where did we last see them? Camila and Jemmye were last seen fighting off elimination and male partners on their respective sinking ship teams on Battle of the Seasons.

The Rivalry: On Battle of the Seasons, Knight and Nany had an “extracurricular nighttime activity” that involved Knight throwing Nany’s clothes in the pool (hmm…).  On what must have seemed like the longest possible bus ride home from the bar, Jemmye came to Knight’s defense and Camila did the same for Nany.  Both Jemmye and Camila had to be restrained from getting too physical.  They apparently haven’t spoken too much since.

Rivalry Meter on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is a Leroy and Mike from Rivals I “Rivalry? They’re actually really good friends” rivalry and 10 is a Kenny and Wes from Rivals I “they have hated each other for years” RIVALRY) – 3 (they literally had one short fight on a bus), best Rivals I comparison: Camila and Theresa

Highlights and Commentary from MTV bio:

“Undoubtedly the feistiest duo on Rivals II, Camila and Jemmye bring explosive personalities, short fuses, and a couple of gnarly accents to the game.”

Explosive personalities?” Yep.  Both Camila and Jemmye are members of the intoxication effect club, a group of Challenge competitors whose personalities can drastically change when consuming alcohol (Tonya is the founder.  Jasmine is the current president).  “Short fuses?” Camila may have the shortest of anyone on this season (it is part of what makes her great) and Jemmye is not far behind, especially when Knight is near.  “Gnarly accents?” First off, great use of “gnarly.”  Second, Camila’s Brazilian accent is a reality television classic at this point and Jemmye’s “don’t let me fool y’all” southern twang-off is an auditory treasure.

“Jemmye explains, ‘I honestly think Camila and I need a translator. Half the time I have no clue what she’s saying.’”

Well, there’s that.  Sometimes Camila says things that are “lost in translation” because of language and sometimes Camila (usually after having had a few too many alcoholic beverages) says things that are “lost in translation” because they are just so unexpected.  There are also times, like her uncontrolled and cruel and unusual attempt to deflate the “Big Easy” during their Battle of the Seasons elimination, when Camila’s words are just horrible to hear.  The point is Jemmye may be on to something here.

“But if this pair can keep their tempers in check and learn to trust each other, they could go all the way.”

This is their ceiling.  Camila is one of the toughest women (her management of the Johnny Bananas verbal attack during the Exes finale remains one of the most underrated moments in Challenge history) ever on The Challenge and Jemmye showed glimpses of superior athleticism on Battle of the Seasons (especially when she and Knight were able to get rid of the Preston and McKenzie dead weight).  How well they gel as a unit and how well they support each other through inevitable problematic “extracurricular nighttime activity” will determine how far they go.

Best-Case Scenario: They could make it to the finals and win with some shrewd alliance building and some “don’t mess with us” elimination statement wins.

Worst-Case Scenario: Jemmye or Camila gets into a physical altercation with another girl or guy and both get sent home early.

The Verdict: Camila and Jemmye are going to be one of the most interesting teams to watch.  Camila’s entire Battle of the Seasons experience was a disaster from the start (relying on Big Easy at this point is an invitation for losing and she knew this going in) and will be hungry to regain her footing as one of the strongest female competitors.  I think Jemmye’s distance from Knight will be beneficial (being on the same team is too much, a close alliance may not be as detrimental) and could be ready to make the leap this season.  Either way, I do not expect Camila and Jemmye do go down without a drunken fight.

Watch the Camila and Jemmye pre-interviews here.

Other team previews:

Anastasia and Jessica

Aneesa and Diem

Cooke and Naomi

Jasmine and Theresa

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His weekly “The Challenge: Rivals 2” power rankings will begin the week of July 10.

THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Team Previews – Aneesa and Diem

This is the second in a series of “The Challenge: Rivals 2″ team previews that will lead into the first power rankings of the season.  Next up: Camila and Jemmye

ANEESA and DIEM

Where did we last see them? Aneesa and Diem were both last seen battling old flings on Battle of the Exes.

The Rivalry: Back in 2006 (2006!) on The Duel, Aneesa unexpectedly (“I thought we were friends!”) sent Diem into an elimination.  Diem was sent home, and, when Aneesa attempted a hug goodbye, Diem gave her “the silent treatment.”  Apparently a “rivalry” was born.

Rivalry Meter on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is a Leroy and Mike from Rivals I “Rivalry? They’re actually really good friends” rivalry and 10 is a Kenny and Wes from Rivals I “they have hated each other for years” RIVALRY) – 2, best Rivals I comparison: Katelynn and Sarah

Highlights and Commentary from MTV bio:

“Diem recalls, ‘It’s been a long time, but once someone makes you not trust them, it’s hard to regain that.’”

Yes, Diem, it has been a long time.  As you go through the Rivals 2 pairs, producers took great liberty stretching the definition of what it means to be a rival.  Both Diem (concerning her CT relationship saga) and Aneesa (always up for a some in your face controversy) are Challenge regulars (Aneesa’s ninth, Diem’s seventh) for a reason, but their “rivalry” is farcical.  Nonetheless, welcome back ladies. 

Since we last saw Diem in the finals of Battle of the Exes, she successfully beat ovarian cancer a second time and is now in remission. But despite her fighting spirit, Diem still struggles with confidence and reverts to old patterns when she hooks up with former flame CT!

Friends on MTV Cast Bio writing department, Diem’s incredible and courageous fights against ovarian cancer should never be linked in such a way to her struggles with CT.  This is distasteful.

Diem may seem angelic, but this veteran has a tilted halo…and perhaps a devil on her shoulder.” 

What does this even mean?  Is Aneesa that devil?  Is her somewhat irrational behavior every time CT is in her sights the devil?  Am I giving the MTV Cast Bio writing department (yes, I am) too much credit for creating an effective metaphor?

Best-Case Scenario: Diem and Aneesa ride some veteran relationships and elimination fearlessness to a trip to the finals.  With some past distance endurance issues (Aneesa’s smoking habit has always been a bit of a problem), a finals win seems a little far-fetched, but I could see them at least getting there.

Worst-Case Scenario: As Battle of the Seasons taught us, vet status may not be what it used to be and Aneesa and Diem are early and easy targets of the new ruling class.

The Verdict: Aneesa and Diem have always been reliable The Challenge role players, but have never been star competitors of the show (one could argue that the Diem and CT relationship has been central to the narrative at times, but it is more due to CT’s dynamic and invigorating presence and less about Diem’s television charisma).  I don’t expect a marked change here, but it will be interesting to see how Aneesa (looking incredibly fit) and Diem deal with a cast filled with many relative newcomers, some of whom have already seen more The Challenge success.  The strength of their relationships with Key Westers Johnny and Paula and whatever faction they are inevitably going to lead could determine just how far Aneesa and Diem go.  With a few very strong female pairings, I expect an elimination in the middle of the competition.

Watch the Aneesa and Diem pre-interviews here.

Other team previews:

Anastasia and Jessica

Camila and Jemmye

Cooke and Naomi

Jasmine and Theresa

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His weekly “The Challenge: Rivals 2” power rankings will begin the week of July 10.

THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Team Previews – Anastasia and Jessica

This is the first in a series of “The Challenge: Rivals 2” team previews that will lead into the first power rankings of the season.  Next up: Aneesa and Diem.

ANASTASIA and JESSICA

Where did we last see them? Bird and Jess were recently seen serving frozen yogurt to locals and bonding over relative sanity (during the climactic Hurricane Nia) on Real World: Portland.

The Rivalry: Despite some end of the season commiserating during the Johnny/Averey/Nia “uncomfortable TV viewing” brawl, Bird literally broke up her friendship with Jess on the grounds of “dislike.”  Jess often found herself on the outs of the Bird and Averey friendship nest and her well-meaning attempts at confrontation were quickly dismissed.

Rivalry Meter on a scale of 1-10 (where 1 is a Leroy and Mike from Rivals I “Rivalry? They’re actually really good friends” rivalry and 10 is a Kenny and Wes from Rivals I “they have hated each other for years” RIVALRY) – 5, best Rivals I comparison: Jonna and Jasmine

Highlights and Commentary from MTV bio:

“…may be far more at home at a makeup counter than they are on the playing field…” 

Fair.  There was not a moment on the Portland season where I said, “Wow, Jess and Ana would be great contestants on The Challenge.” Notwithstanding, Jess is game for some extreme biking and both of them seem to find creative ways to serve frozen yogurt, so there’s that.

“This team quickly makes waves when Anastasia hooks up with one of the game’s most notorious troublemakers, infuriating another girl in the house.”

As season trailers have deliciously previewed, Bird and the Mighty CT seem to have a little romantic tryst that leads to some violent Bird to CT face clawing.  Challenge rookies are often easily swooned by the aura of Boston’s finest Challenge competition killer, but it always seems to end in flames.  I have a feeling that this Bird will be on fire.

“Will Anastasia’s new romance win her a valuable ally? Or will this pair of princesses melt down in a hurry?” 

CT just wants to win, still has a unique and indescribable bond with Diem, and is not easily pulled in too far to “extracurricular nighttime activities.”  My money, as is most often Challenge rookie (especially female) tradition, is on a hurried melt down.

Best-Case Scenario: Wes and CT recruit a rookie/sophomore alliance allowing Jess and Ana to avoid early eliminations.  If they make some friends and score a top four women team finish, it will be a successful first season.

Worst-Case Scenario: Resentment from an Ana/CT dalliance creates an even bigger rookie target and they are thrown into a first elimination.

The Verdict: One thing that was clear throughout Real World: Portland and is accentuated in the most memorable moment of all Rivals 2 preview clips, Anastasia (watch yourself CT) and Jessica (as Jordan can attest) are fighters.  They both do not easily back down, and, despite some likely “competitor” shortcomings and rookie inexperience, they will at least not be steamrolled by veteran alliance target practice.  The best thing for them to do here, in their first Challenge, is to make some connections with Challenge neo power players (the Jonna/Nany team could be a good place to start) that will serve them in future competitions.  One additional note: their sometimes tumultuous relationship with Jordan and Marlon could be a detriment to their success (think some of Team St. Thomas struggles between Marie and Trey in Battle of the Seasons).  Jordan and Marlon are going to be an athletic force that will be looking to make their own waves and past goodwill built on Jessica’s infamous “thirsty and junk” recording session will only get you so far in Thailand when real money is at stake.

Watch the Anastasia and Jessica pre-interviews here.

Other team previews:

Aneesa and Diem

Camila and Jemmye

Cooke and Naomi

Jasmine and Theresa

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about MTV’s “The Challenge,” pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company. His weekly “The Challenge: Rivals 2” power rankings will begin the week of July 10.

CHALLENGEMANIA: The Road to Rivals II – Winners, Losers, and Questions

To continue to tease our already overwhelming appetite for all things The Challenge in preparation for the July 10 season premiere of Rivals II (and to shamelessly cross-promote some shows called Girl Code and Guy Code that I admittedly had never heard of), MTV aired a one hour The Challenge part retrospective and part new season preview.  Hosted by the modern MTV and Jersey royalty tandem of Challenge stalwart Kenny “Mr. Beautiful” Santucci and Nicole “Snooki? Now that I am half my original size, I go my Nicole now, bitches!” Polizzi, the hour was mostly an exercise in historically bad cue card reading (more on this in a bit), unnecessary opinions from Girl and Guy Code cast members that nobody asked for, and clips from MTV’s pre-HD past.  Despite mostly  “I wish I had fast forwarded over this” filler, there were some important takeaways, some charming former Challenge cast member commentary, and a second season preview scored to the fiery furor of Nico Vega’s “Fury Oh Fury.”  Before we delve into brief analysis of matters of consequence, here are some quick take winners, losers, and questions posed by ChallengeMania: the Road to Rivals II.

Question: What happened to Snooki?  Beyond her incredibly gaunt and emaciated appearance (she’s been working out apparently), the author and mother of one didn’t seem her usual “hot mess” of a self.  Her affect felt flat, disengaged, and enigmatic.  I never thought of Snooki as talented in any way beyond being a unique individual in a reality TV world of mostly personality repetition and replication, but now I know that acting or in any way improvising should not be a her next career move…ever.  Poor Kenny struggled to get through her feeble attempts at banter and seemed so relieved when Paula Walnuts came on stage toward the end of the taping.  I thought Snooki always had a degree (I am stretching a little bit here) of charisma and perhaps maybe a little charm on camera, but this Snooki .5 is a depressing figure.

Loser – Snooki, the cue card reader – Snooki should not be reading cue cards.  Period.

Other lingering Snooki questions:  Why does she seem so obsessed with Johanna?  Does she really watch The Challenge?  Where is her baby during the taping of this show?  Is she serious when she says she is working out to be on a future Challenge?  At this point, is Snooki a human?

Losers – The writers of all dialogue between Kenny and Snooki – Tough moment for MTV writers.  If their aim was to make Kenny and Snooki sound as unnatural and fake as possible, mission accomplished.  This was a disaster.

Winners – The viewer while watching classic clips – It brought great joy to loyal The Challenge fans to reminisce and recall classic moments and people from a wonderful, twenty three season history.

Question: With Evan, Kenny, and Tonya featured prominently in retrospective clips, did MTV have to run this by legal before airing?  Since the settlement, Kenny and Evan have not been back on The Challenge.  Was this a never made public part of this agreement?  Why else would two all-time greats be kept off recent seasons?

Winners – Promos for the new season – Bananas is back!  CT is back!  Camila is unstable!  If these teasers don’t get you pumped, nothing will.

Winners – The great fights retrospective  – I vividly remember the genuinely scary CT and Adam melee (Isaac as an initial peacemaker may not have been the best call), but I had forgotten about the Wes and Evelyn room assault and the Katie battle with topless Veronica.  Watching Evelyn stomp around and destroy plants while Wes tells Johnny he is the “worst person in the world” is priceless television.

Loser – The making out segment and the terrible elevator music that accompanies it – This was a few too many levels of awkward.

Loser – Brad’s wedgie meltdown – Poor Brad.  Although he will be inducted into The Challenge hall of fame (although not on the first ballot), his wedgie reaction is not the best of looks.

WinnerThe Miz Only a WWE superstar can get away with a wedgie attack.

Winner – Sarah for her reaction to the Katie plunger meltdown – And otherwise for just being great.  Her commentary interviews are spot on.

Loser/Winner – Katie and the plunger meltdown – She is a loser for having a meltdown over a plunger.  She is a winner for finding a reason for a meltdown that seems to best match the great eccentricity of her persona on The Challenge.

Question: Why wasn’t a Katie/Veronica rival pairing included this season?  Veronica may have Challenge retired, but who wouldn’t want to see these two classic enemies play again?

Winner – Entertainment for the viewer…seeing Camila walk into a pool again on her night of crazy.  What is most remarkable to me is that Johnny and Camila won after this happens.  Of all the things Johnny Bananas has accomplished on this show, recovering from Camila’s night at Arkham Asylum may be his greatest achievement.

Winner – Jessimae Peluso – I mostly tuned out the random members of the cast of Girl Code and Guy Code who were randomly asked to become Challenge experts, but Jessimae kept bringing it with her witty insight and playful crushing on CT.  Some bio investigation garnered additional intel about her comedic beginnings in Boston (check), infatuation with John Stamos (check), and appearance on “The Tyra Banks Show” (check plus).

WinnerPaula walking us through a web of “Challenge Family Tree” connections – This was one of the more relevant (albeit unintentionally comedic) portions of the preview show.  Finding threads (even loose ones) to piece through the participants was a win for production.  Paula, unlike the little Snooki creature, can read a mean cue card and narrated this segment like a pro.

Winner – Whoever decided to call Wes a “self-proclaimed, political mastermind” – I like how with Wes, adding “self-proclaimed” to any description of him adds more authenticity.  Wes – a self-proclaimed redhead.  Wes – a self-proclaimed entrepreneur.  Wes – a self-proclaimed intellectual.

Losers – Connections that don’t actually exist – Paula connected Aneesa and Robb in her “family tree” because they both live near Philadelphia.

Losers – Rivals that have never met – I am a proponent of twitter and all, but to partner Johnny and Frank as rivals because of a twitter feud?  It may be a partnership that is great for gameplay, but it seems to take away from the sanctity of the construction of the season.

Winner – Kenny – He does professional work throughout, fending off the train wreck that is Snooki .5, maintaing great focus, managing several digs at Wes, and flooding the camera with his quintessential charisma and charm.  Could Kenny be a viable replacement for the legend of TJ Lavin if he ever decides to retire the hosting throne?

Although Paula’s connecting of the dots (“And don’t forget the four members from the cast of Portland who are connected by being new!”) flimsily weaved a rival backstory, the real fresh meat is in the showing of the original Rivals II trailer (already Zaprudered here) and the final “this season on” teaser (the real “this season on” will undoubtedly be unveiled at the end of the season premiere).  Here are a few key takeaways:

  • Anastasia seems to slap CT (not once, but twice – the second time in the back of the head) and then kick CT in the back of his legs.  Bird never struck me as such a dangerous predator while in Portland, but I guess a certain amount of time in the eye of the Nia storm will ruffle anyone’s feathers.  This is not the first time CT has been the object of someone’s uncontrollable aggression and it will certainly not be the last.
  • Speaking of fighting CT, it appears that Frank has a little run-in with him.  No one is in the least bit surprised.
  • I eagerly anticipate the interplay and strategic game manipulation of the Johnny and Frank tandem.  Maybe not the most real of rivalries, seeing them work together could be a treat of “Kenny carrying Wes on his back” proportions.
  • I can’t help myself but to kiss and tell.  Jordan and Sarah?  CT and almost Cooke?  Leroy and Emily?  Jonna and almost Jordan?  CT and Diem!

We are now less than two weeks away from The Challenge: Rivals II premiere (Wednesday, July 10 at 10/9c.  You won’t believe your eyes!).  I will be dropping a preview column and preseason power rankings before then, so stay tuned.  Until then, let me leave you with the final cue card reading improvisation catastrophe of Snooki: “Holy crap, the rivalries just keep getting more and more intense.  I’m obsessed.  Bye, we love you.”  Yep, thank you Nicole.

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about The Challenge, pop culture, and the NBA for Bishop and Company.

THE CHALLENGE: RIVALS 2 Trailer – A Zapruder Analysis

A few days ago, MTV released the trailer for the 24th season of The Challenge on mtv.com.  In this second iteration of the Rivals format, eight male partner teams and eight female partner teams compete against each other in what is now commonly referred to as the fifth major American professional sport.  Mysteriously, the mtv.com trailer has been taken down and subsequent versions on other websites have been pulled as well (it is quite possible that sometime in the run of this post, the bootleg and unfortunately low-quality youtube version that I found will also be redacted).  In a race against the clock of destruction (or until mtv eventually reposts – UPDATE: MTV reposted), I wanted to provide my frame by frame analysis (a Zapruder treatment so to speak) of the two minute run-time of this historical piece of footage.

0:01 – The opening shot is eerily reminiscent of the classic helicopter shot going over Isla Nublar in Jurassic Park. Any time The Challenge makes you think about Jurassic Park, this must be a good thing. 

0:05 – TJ begins his voice0ver with “I want you guys to picture a very large sum of money…money so big, it could change your life forever.”  This is the kind of sum that warrants foreboding underscoring.

0:09 – In some very expected news, Tyrie (according to the back of helmet name tag) appears to be in an elimination.  The Tyrie/Dunbar pairing could be prdouction’s attempt to make this ultra-dramatic, hyper intense Challenge viewing experience just a little more comedic.  Has there ever been a combination in these past 24 seasons that has less of a chance of winning?

0:22 – TJ continues: “What if that one person is your worst enemy?” – This second rodeo of this premise (Rivals was particularly enjoyable – especially Wes and Kenny’s implosion in the finale) is a wonderful conceit on the surface, but if you look a little closer at the actual pairings, in almost every case, “rival” is a lot a bit of an overstatement.  Johnny and Frank’s entire relationship up until now has been a twitter back and forth.  I have watched every second of Marlon and Jordan on Real World Portland, and besides some extreme competitiveness from Jordan in the Dustin Real World Las Vegas mold, I would hardly call their relationship a battle between two enemies.  There may be some strained blood here and there among most of these pairing, but enemies? I am afraid not.  The one glaring exception is Team Wes and CT whose potential for greatness (in a great reality TV kind of way) more than makes up for an otherwise loose interpretation of the word “rival.”

0:28 – Zach’s voiceover: “I hate this kid…I hate the ground he walks on.”  Is he referring to partner Trey, or, more likely, is he referring to Wes?  Wes has faced quite a few “I hate this kids” in his long Challenge career.

0:37 – The “TRUST NO ONE BUT YOUR WORST ENEMY” mashup is apparently directed by the great master of frenetic cutting himself, Baz Luhrmann (see: all of his movies).  I have to hand it to production though – if you have a shaky premise, you might as well present it in this “the world is ending/impending doom” fashion.  It is admittedly effective.

0:41 – Bird tells us that “some of these people here are like absolutely pure evil.”  After this past week’s Real World in which Hurricane Nia attempts murder with a hair dryer, she should know.  On another note, I can not foresee The Challenge and Jessica being a successful pairing.  It’s just a hunch.

0:44 – Emily tells us that this game is going to get “so nasty.”  Is she referring to the kind of nasty of her blackface incident from Exes?  Too soon?

0:47 – People are “looking for love wherever they can get it” and apparently for Sarah, this is with Jordan.  With full comprehension that Challenge love teases are almost always grossly exaggerated, I strangely dig this possibility.

0:53 – “All is fair in love, war, and Challenges.”  Welcome back, Johnny Bananas!

0:55 – Diem trusts Wes more than she trusts CT.  It is like preferring to put your hand in an open flame versus in a pot of boiling water.  They are both going to leave you burned.

0:57 – CT is “being nice” but Diem’s “not playing fair.”  The Challenge legend may have a point.  This gentler version of CT has been alive and well over the past few Challenges and is a far cry from the monster that broke Diem’s heart or Johnny’s will here:

1:00 – We are one minute into the trailer and we have our first sight of Paula crying!  In fairness, in a brief size-up of the female teams, despite emotional roller coaster riding, I am not sure who beats Paula and Emily.

1:04 – There is some water poured, heads butted, arms swung, and barrels thrown.  This is par for the Challenge course, but, after the aforementioned Hurricane Nia maelstrom on The Real World this week, it all seems so tame.

1:11 – “Welcome to the scariest elimination round we have ever had.”  Not one to emphatically hyperbolize, TJ means business.  In the trailer’s second clear (only in my mind) allusion to Jurassic Park, the electric cables and caging reminds me of a raptor paddock.  Safety is not guaranteed.

1:21 – Cooke (a strong addition to this franchise – it never hurts to have a professional athlete competing) tells us that “good people in this game do not get far.”  Did you forget about Sarah making it to last year’s finals?

1:26 – This shot of Marlon working out and companion voiceover of “You wanna get me up out of here, you’re gonna have to kick my ass” speaks to some shotgun preseason analysis – Marlon and Jordan, if they can figure out the social game and align with the right power players, are going to be a formidable rookie combination.  Both are elite athletes, super competitive, and seem to compliment each others strengths.  They are a team to watch out for.

1:34 – In an even deeper confirmation of his godfather role in this game, Johnny lays it straight with Knight: “You have got yourself linked up a a sinking ship, dude.”  Is he talking about partner Preston?  Old flame Jemmye?  Sage Aunt figure Trishelle?  This is followed by a shot of Knight engaging in some extracurricular activity of the physical fighting kind.  There may not be too much to read into all of this, but I hope that Knight has been pulled under Johnny’s strategic organization.  He showed some game mastermind promise on Battle of the Seasons that was extinguished too soon in the fiery remains of a team featuring Preston and Mackenzie.  Knight deserves another go round.

1:39 – What a pleasure it is to see old enemies, Aneesa and Trishelle, still going at it, now a full decade later.  Aneesa’s nomination for best line of the trailer (“You are the Tra-shelle you were and you are always going to be trash”) is followed by a push “punch” to Trishelle’s face.  You can begin to feel the momentum of the July 10 season premiere.

1:43 – What The Challenge trailer would be complete without some time devoted to Frank yelling?  “Let him shake!”  Oh, don’t worry.  We will.

1:44 – A new rule to live by – Any time The Challenge incorporates a light saber battle into the festivities, it is a good thing.

1:48 – Does Bird just slap CT in the face?  Welcome to the big leagues Real World: Portland!

1:50 – These fleeting images of the challenges within The Challenge show shot after shot of people falling in water.  People falling in water is kind of a win.

1:53 – The trailer ends with Zach yelling, “I want who’s next!” and then cuts to the show titles (set against an unexpected purple misty swirl).  If this ending montage doesn’t encourage excitement and anticipation, you may need to reevaluate your own understanding of dramatic tension.

My season preview column will be out later this month.  The Challenge: Rivals 2 debuts on MTV on July 10, 2013 at 10:00 PM EST.

David J. Bloom can be reached on twitter @davidbloom7 and writes about pop culture and the NBA for Bishop and Company.