Challenge Vendettas Player Preview: Johnny Bananas
For some, the Challenge is a vacation and once in a lifetime experience, for others, it is a sport, and to Johnny Bananas it is his career. While there have been a lot of competitors over the years who appeared on multiple shows where it became their job and main source of income for a portion of their lives — Johnny is the first ever person to turn being on the Challenge into a career. For years, people went on the Challenge to further their lives and careers outside the show, while Johnny decided to become the face of the Challenge.
MTV loves Bananas because he fills the role they need him to be, even if it means unnecessary actions like to prank and make fun of girls ten years younger than him. Johnny is willing to do anything MTV asks of him these days. He fills the villain role, even if he believes he is the hero. More people watch the Challenge to see Bananas lose than they do to watch him win at this point. At the same time, one must admire his ability to win on these shows despite being an average physical talent.
Johnny was never as physically dominant as CT, Landon, or Jordan, was never a great swimmer like Wes or Tyler, a fighter like Darrell, or a college athlete — Johnny was a frat boy who became a six-time Challenge Champion by learning how to adapt to the game, and do what he’s best at, sell you Johnny Bananas stock.
His biggest strength is he gets under people’s skin, in both a good and bad way. Being the frat guy, Johnny has moments where he is the funniest guy in the room and others where he annoys you into insanity. The best quality about him is he a straight shooter who says what he sees, even dating back to his Real World Key West days. Johnny got into it the most with Paula; he was the most honest about Paula’s problems with her anorexia, though he honestly wanted to help her. Paula hated Johnny early on during Real World, and in the end, he was key towards her recovery. Sometimes he is blunt, and other times he is a sweet guy (according to his friends).
Somewhat crazy to think it is the same guy who has acted misogynistic in the past and stole the money from Sarah Rice. There’s a reason people fall in line and end up playing the game with Bananas even after they’ve played against him (CT, Jordan, Reilly, Tony, LeRoy, Darrell), Johnny is a born salesman who decided he wanted his career to be on MTV than at a desk job. His charisma and charm has people buying into his success and they want to gain some of it. Bananas seemingly runs a pyramid scheme on this show.
Skills & Physical Strength: Online, Bananas is listed at 6'0. There are times he looks to be around 5'10, and other times he looks 6'0, for this we will assume he is 6'0. His athletic strengths include speed and agility. He won the first round of the opening Purge last season because Johnny is one of the fastest guys on the show. In any timed event, Johnny is a favorite because of his ability to speed through missions. The underrated skill he has gained from years of training is grip strength. Many of the missions and eliminations involve holding onto an object, lifting weight, or grabbing onto a pole of sorts. He may not be the biggest, but he can hold his own because of his grip strength and can beat anyone of equal size.
Based on the recent Champs vs Stars swimming mission, it looks like Johnny has regressed as a swimmer. He got to be a better swimmer around Exes 2 and Bloodlines, and now it looks like he hasn’t practiced it in a while. The biggest question mark is whether Johnny can wrestle in the mud with the behemoths cast on this season.
Social, Mental, & Political Game: His game on Vendettas will need to be distinctly different from what it was on Dirty 30. Dirty 30 had multiple veterans and Champions filling the cast. This season, Bananas has one major ally (LeRoy), and from there, he needs to figure out who he will be playing the game with. Zach and Brad famously have gone against Bananas in past seasons and vacillate between being friends and associates. Bananas needs to invest time and loyalty into LeRoy, Tony, and any other strong male in order to create an alliance he can take through the game.
He has multiple Vendettas on this cast: Cory, Nelson, and Devin; Nelson is the only player he should be afraid of in that group. To thrive in this game, Bananas should align with Cara Maria, while the two are former rivals, she is the best female player. The two coming together would give them a power alliance. Better to try and align with her than to be going against the best female player in the game.
Also, MTV has been playing up Bananas being single for the first time in years on this show:
He always had a thing for Latinas.
Eliminations & Winning Potential: The biggest winner in Challenge history has a losing elimination record of 7–8. People love to make a big deal of Bananas elimination losses, though they are all against great Challenge players: Darrell, Derrick, Tyler (CT), Evan, LeRoy, and Cara Maria. He only loses to great players. Don’t expect a Cory or Devin type to be able to knock Bananas in any physical elimination.
Bananas should be afraid of having to potentially face Zach, Nelson, or a rookie like Joss in elimination. After consecutive losses, Bananas at least needs to make the final.
If Bananas gets to the final, he should be the odds-on favorite. To win 6 seasons, you need to train for finals with the expectation that you will be there. Due to this show being Johnny’s career, if he isn’t training his hardest to win the final, he isn’t doing his job.
Overall Rating: 93/100