5 Pitches to Improve The Challenge Total Madness
I wanted to write about 5 small format things that would make not only Total Madness better, but improve the Challenge as a whole for future seasons. Alright, let’s go:
#5 More Female HeadBanger eliminations
MTV loves to hype their men up by putting them in physical eliminations as much as possible. While they have let women play physical games in the past, they have often eschewed them in favor of carnival games. The Tori and Jenny Hall Brawl was the highlight of last season. I generally prefer endurance games and puzzles, but for some of these women, we need these physical games as a measuring stick for how far they are willing to go. The Kim vs. Susie Ruins elimination is one of the most epic battles in Challenge history where two women of similar builds who generally don’t get seen as physical threats are fighting for their lives in the rain, getting bloodied. We need more of that.
Fans want to see Kailah vs. Bayleigh in a Pole Wrestle. I’d love to see Dee vs. Nany in a Balls In. Gives us Mattie vs. Kaycee in a Hall Brawl! Yes, there’s potential they both blend into the halls as wallpaper, but MTV should be willing to take that risk.
#4 Sticking to the Daily Challenge + Elimination Formula and Refraining from To Be Continued’s
With 90 minute episodes, MTV should be able to fit a daily challenge and an elimination all into one episode and satisfy fans. It’s a basic level of organization that makes the show more comfortable to watch. Not only that, but it also helps people upon rewatch. Seasons like Dirty 30, Vendettas, and Final Reckoning, I have no clue what elimination happens in what episode. Meanwhile, the sequential elimination order of other seasons like Exes 2, allow me to remember each episode crisply.
I understand that dropping a “To Be Continued” right before the elimination ends is a way to grab viewers for the following week. However, the Challenge has done an abysmal job of executing these strategies as they don’t even hype-up the matches with commercials, graphics with stats of each player like a sport would, or even re-run episodes to catch more viewers. Not to mention, MTV has literally spoiled who wins these eliminations in the past by showing the next week on promo with daily challenge footage that contains a player(s) in elimination. Add in the fact that there is the elephant in the room of Challenge spoilers, and thus, having people know the elimination match-up for a week leads to a substantial amount of spoilers getting inserted in comment sections.
The best use of a “To Be Continued” in recent seasons was when Turbo was on the verge of murdering Jordan on War of the Worlds 2 because we still got an elimination/challenge that week.
#3 Dual-Sex Elimination Days
We are seven episodes deep, and only four people (only one male) have Red SKulls. I understand MTV prefers to do one elimination an episode because it means they get their money’s worth in terms of appearance fees spent on big-name players. However, trying to maintain big casts late into the game doesn’t give room for individual players to get more reps in confessionals. At the end of the day, MTV is always going to feed Wes and Bananas a hefty amount of screen time, and thus, they are taking away from the newer players who want the chance to be the new Wes/Bananas. If the show wants to produce new fan favorites, they need time to shine.
Cohutta made more of an impact on viewers in eight to nine episodes of Free Agents than some cast members have in several seasons. As he survived in the game, he was able to get more camera time because MTV had to feature him as one of the 12 remaining players. Considering MTV has fallen in love with late-game purges in recent seasons, I think we’d all welcome dual-sex eliminations rather than watch a good player get arbitrarily eliminated late in the game.
#2 The Relic
They used a simple concept on War of the Worlds 1 that made a massive impact on the overall game with the Relic. You win an elimination, you get immunity for the following challenge. Generally, I am okay with players going into multiple eliminations in a row because that’s part of Challenge, and the players who can win eliminations consecutively get cemented in the show’s history. However, the strategic use of the Relic adds a fun wrinkle to the game. Hunter focusing on helping Wes win the second challenge of WOTW 1 because he and Georgia already owned the Relic was an ingenious game move that got Bananas out and furthered their alliance for the rest of the game.
Interestingly, Jay wouldn’t have gotten his legendary win against CT had the Relic been in place. I’d like to see the twist used in seasons going forward.
#1 Individual Bank Accounts and Winning $ in Eliminations
Since MTV has upped the total prize pool to a million dollars, it is ridiculous they haven’t used individual bank accounts similar to OG seasons, or like the Ruins/Vendettas. Often, especially if it’s not the elimination day of a player’s gender, challengers will phone it in during daily challenges as there are no repercussions for coming in last, and in a season like this, going into elimination is an incentive anyway.
If MTV gave 10k Dollars to each Tribunal winner per week and if there are 15 daily challenges, then 450k dollars get distributed throughout the season. You only keep the money you’ve earned if you make it to the final, and you can take another’s bank account by defeating them in elimination (like the Ruins). There are still 550k dollars to dole out for the final with 200k going to 1st for each gender, 50k for 2nd, and 25k for 3rd.
The only negative of having a big bank account is it may put a massive target on your back, but the potential of winning a lot of money is also a huge incentive. The money would motivate players in challenges and create more gutsy gameplay. I can imagine Jordan throwing himself into a late-game elimination if he sees someone with a juicy bank account.