Challenge Total Madness Player Preview: Stephen Bear
It is still wild to me that Stephen Bear is on the Challenge. Bear is a legitimate celebrity whose relationships get documented by tabloids in the United Kingdom. The guy was on multiple seasons of Ex on the Beach, won the Celebrity Edition of Big Brother UK, and even hosted the UK version of How Far is Tattoo Far.
Dropping Bear onto the Challenge is like if you put Casper Smart on an actual season of the Challenge. I was going to compare it to Ronny or Vinny of the Jersey Shore, but I think Ronny & Vinny have a bit more clout. Bear’s time on the Challenge has been up and down. He’s been a speeding bullet ricocheting all across the game, hooking up with multiple girls (Georgia, Laurel, Kayleigh), creating a bond with Theo, and rivaling with Wes and Rogan.
I think Bear has been one of the luckier cast members in recent seasons. In terms of actual ability, he has shined in some moments, but as a whole, his skill-set is limited. Partially, due to his gameplay. Bear could be a better player if he worked on his cardio and if he formed solid alliances. I don’t seriously consider him a contender until he proves he cares about losing or anything in life. All MTV cares is he makes it to the halfway point so that he’s worth his appearance check.
Introducing Bear: His first dalliance with reality television was the UK reality series Shipwrecked (the same show Big T comes from). He then went on to find himself on Ex on the Beach Series 3, where his wild antics and hookups would gain him fame. They later recast him for the All-Star version of the show. Bear followed that up with an appearance on Celebrity Big Brother, where his poor behavior got him a final warning from production, as well a “forever nomination,” where each eviction, he would be one of the two people that UK fans could vote out of the game. His behavior incensed production, but fans loved the cheeky bastard as they voted him the winner of the season.
Bear represents both the best and worst parts of reality television. Yes, he is entertaining, but at the same time, does he cross the line too often? As someone who covers the show, a character like Bear is fantastic because he hooks up with people, gets into fights, has excellent confessionals, and says wildly stupid things that I can tweet about. At the same time, he is a total dick.
When he debuted on War of the Worlds 1, he shocked me by finishing second place in the opening purge. Bear picked Da’Vonne, which was a shocking choice. Together, they were underwhelming in most daily. However, Da’Vonne killed the eliminations for them and gained them safety for four total weeks when you account for the power of the relic. He was set up well by having an alliance with Theo, Ash Cain, and himself, where each had strong female partners. They should have dominated the game as their only real opposition was Wes. Instead, Wes kept winning challenges and putting them into eliminations. Once the game went solo, Bear had to go into elimination by himself and got physically dominated by Kyle.
During War of the Worlds 2, Bear got flat outplayed by everyone else in the game. Bear spent too much time trying to shag Laurel, Kayleigh, and Georgia at the same time, that by the time he figured out he was on the outside of the UK alliance, he was too far gone. Bear did get an elimination win over Wes but then was swiftly beaten by Joss in mousetrap Hall Brawl. At least Bear didn’t get swept 3–0 as he did against Kyle.
Bear has skills and potential; it’s just he doesn’t have the desire to become a champion.
Stephen Bear: 30 Years Old, 5'9, 176 lbs, 2 Seasons, 3–2 Elimination Record, Highest Finish: 7th Place Male War of the Worlds 1
Skills and Physical Strength: Old profiles of Bear from when he debuted on television (around Ex on the Beach), they listed at him at 140 lbs. He has put on a considerable amount of muscle since then. Sadly, he is still much smaller than most of the Challenge’s big men. This is a crucial detail as Bear’s specialty is speed and physicality. While Bear could probably demolish someone in his size range, he will get flung by bigger guys like CT, Rogan, and Kyle.
Bear is fast on his feet and has killed the daily challenges where you have to turn your brain off and sprint through an obstacle. When the daily challenges require more problem-solving and endurance, then we begin to see Bear struggle. It’s somewhat representative of his actual attention span. It’s hard for a guy to run 10 miles when he shows no commitment in life.
SSMP (Social, Strategic, Mental, and Political) Game: He knows how to charm females, but Bear can’t keep himself to one woman. On WOTW 1, he was hooking up with Georgie, yet, he was also trying to get with Nany. Last season, he had bathroom hookups with Laurel, snogs with Kayleigh and Ashley, and then cuddle sessions with Georgia. Bear’s living the dream of many men, but from a political and social perspective, he is only exposing himself as these women won’t feel the need to protect. Likewise, their friends may want to throw him in for using their friend.
CT was able to get away with that strategy on Rivals 2. Cory was not able to get away with that strategy on Dirty 30. Bear is much closer to being a Cory than a CT, especially when you throw Teen Moms into the equation. The only puzzle he solved was during the opening purge of War of the Worlds 1, but it’s been said that he copied Ashley Cain (the 1st place finisher).
Eliminations & Winning Potential: His first elimination win came down to whether DaVonne had better forearm strength than Shaleen (she did). Bear’s second elimination was a Pole Wrestle against Gus, where they tied 1–1, while DaVonne won 3–0, resulting in Bear/Day winning 3–1 overall. He then got demolished by Kyle in an altered version of Balls In. Bear made Kyle look like LeBron in their elimination, where even Bear would get the ball first, Kyle would swat it out of his hands.
If the elimination is something climbing related, or a knot so fast where players have to be quick on their feet, Bear is fantastic. Bear outran Wes in their elimination on War of the Worlds 2, and his elimination against Joss was even in terms of speed, he just couldn’t deal with Joss’s size and physicality.
Bear displays heart in these eliminations, but if you have no significant skills outside of being quick on your feet, your rank in the house immediately drops. You can’t be as loud as Bear unless you’re damn good.
Can Bear win? No. Until Bear plays the game like a competitor versus just as a reality star; then we can’t consider him as a potential winner. However, fans of his and MTV definitely do not want him to tone down his personality. Bear making it ten episodes into a season would be a win for him and production.