The Challenge Total Madness Trailer Breakdown

Allan Aguirre
13 min readMar 5, 2020


I will be breaking down the trailers of the Challenge Season 35 Total Madness as I do every season. There are no spoilers in this article that you won’t figure out by watching the trailer super slowly. YES, there are spoilers, but they are spoilers via inference and analysis. I hope you enjoy.

First, we are going to break down the 97-second trailer:

97 Second Trailer

In case you haven’t seen the trailer.

The first shot we get is of a Red Lighted Hallway. It is very ominous and reminds me of PT, the Silent Hills game that never got produced.

We then get a shot of a “danger electricity” sign, followed by a view of some missile capsules. These remind me of the first daily challenge from Cutthroat. In that daily challenge, players had to memorize numbers in a room filled with gas/smoke. The letters and numbers on the capsules might be codes they have to memorize.

We see seven cast member images in the Red Light. They show us CT and Bananas first to remind us that they will never leave the show. We then get two veteran fan favorites in Nany and Aneesa. This is Aneesa’s first time on a legitimate season since Dirty 30. They show newer stars in Bear and Dee. Lastly, we see Cory, making his returning following his pasta scandal on Final Reckoning.

Bananas lets us know via narration that he’s out for revenge. Makes sense as he has been an early exit the last two seasons and has not made a final in his last six appearances.

We then see everyone’s favorite Challenge host, TJ Lavin.

In little nanosecond shots, there is a hallway with an open door, and a truck with the Challenge logo on it. They try to make the truck look cool by putting a crazy filter on it, just like my MySpace in 2010.

They give us these awful wide-shot views that get cropped so that we see very little. Rogan is angry in one shot, and Jenna is anxious in another.

There is a door with “The Challenge” written above it. Bananas and others seem to be running towards something. I guess this is where they find out where they are living and are running to get the best bed(s). Bananas mentions in narration that they are living in a space with no windows or doors. MTV solidifies this by zooming in ever so close on the “The Challenge” logo written over the door.

Johnny Bananas tells everyone they are going to war as he gives the house toast. Bayleigh, Swaggy, Cory, Kaycee, Josh, Aneesa, Mattie, and Kyle are in the image from left to right.

TJ Lavin is excited to win a Gold Medal in the X Games newest category “Freestyle Tank Driving.”

Nelson and Wes (I think) are hanging from the side of a tank. They are getting driven into some boxes they either are supposed to hit or to avoid. This reminds of the final daily challenge from Vendettas. Players were hung up similarly and driven by a big truck where they would have to avoid boxes put in their way. Kailah, Cara, and Tony were the final troika, and Nelson got purged without being warned before the daily challenge that last place would get automatically eliminated.

There is a shot of players hanging off the side a truck with two storage lockers stacked on top of one another. The players hanging from the side have ladders they can climb, and if you look at the players’ bodies, they have flags hanging on their waists. Then, if you look above, players seem to be gathered around a board at the top of the truck. I’m guessing the players have to collect flags with puzzle pieces on them for players/teams to solve the puzzle that’s on the board that everyone gathers around. I believe it is Fessy in the second photo as there seems to be a big F on the helmet, and nobody else on the cast has an F in their name.

Wes and Jenny are throwing a chest off a plane.

Jenny is finishing a daily challenge where she hits a button, and something blows up. Men are in the background of the shot. I am guessing there are separate male and female heats for this daily challenge.

Bayleigh is wearing the type of suit that you do when you run down a tunnel that will either be shooting air or some gross liquid at you. You can see challengers behind her, either waiting to get their turn or having gone already. There is footage of players running out of a soapy pit/room later in the trailer. This could be what Bayleigh is waiting to run into.

TJ informs the players that in order to make it to the final, they need to win an elimination. In the crowd from left to right are Wes, Ashley, Dee, Bayleigh, Swaggy, Tori, Jordan, Bananas, Aneesa, and CT.

In what is a different night, Swaggy, Cory, and Kyle seem to be reacting to something crazy that just happened. Likely a rogue elimination choice.

A whole 1 second shot of Jenny looking nervous. Meanwhile, Tori does a generic confessional.

Players walk into a daily challenge. Fessy, Big T, Bear, Dee, Bayleigh, Jenny, and Swaggy are shown (somewhat).

Wes is already struggling with the living conditions. Kyle and CT laugh at him.

They go all-in on the war theme. Bananas says it is a War Zone.

Two players are wearing bodysuits in elimination. The basket in the middle makes you think they are playing Balls In. Yet, they are wearing the type of bodysuit that you would see in an elimination where you have to rip a patch off your opponent’s body, like what Tori/Marie and Jordan/Ammo played on Dirty 30. Or the suits may also be flame-retardant, and they are playing Balls In where the ball is on fire (similar to the soccer elimination from Vendettas), which would make sense why they have those waste cans on each side.

What is most interesting about this photo is you see a crowd of players in their Challenge gear. Then there is a smaller crowd of players in regular clothes. The small group is likely Troika/daily challenge winners.

Someone signals a helicopter with a flare. Cory sticks his tongue out to let you know he’s here to receive an appearance check. Survivor Rookie Jay cuts a confessional saying everyone is losing their mind.

In one shot is a game of Hall Brawl between what looks like two females. The other is a man wrecking a room in anger. It seems like Nelson based on frame/clothing/skin tone. This is likely the confessional room where they get to facetime friends and family as there is a TV monitor on the wall. Remember when Jenna and Nany facetimed last season?

Bananas and Kyle are running down a tunnel with puzzle pieces in hand and wet suits on.

TJ tells the players, “you’re gonna have to go it alone.” It potentially implies that there are teams/pairs at some point.

Jordan narrates saying, “this is kind of a free for all,” while it looks like Jay is in the dirt in an elimination. I think it is Jay as there is a large “AY” on the side on the helmet. This elimination is reminiscent of the Looper elimination that Cara and Nia famously played on Free Agents. Ironic that Jordan is narrating as he also played the same elimination on the season against Swift.

Bayleigh says, “this place is terrifying.” I am happy Bayleigh is getting a lot of screentime in this trailer.

Another Bananas narration where he says he is surrounded by liars, scumbags, and crybabies. When he says liars, it pans in on Nelson, and when he says crybabies, it shows Kailah throwing something.

We then get an aerial view of an elimination (which has to be one of the first considering the large crowd). In the elimination, players are holding a horizontal bar similar to a trapeze. They have a glass wall in-between them. It could be an endurance elimination where the player to last the longest without letting go wins.

An irate Dee yells, “THEY’RE NOT YOUR FUCKING FRIENDS” to Rogan. He does not seem to be reacting much. The next shot is Josh reacting to something in the way that Rogan should be reacting to Dee.

Johnny Bananas asks, “what the hell is roaming these hallways at night?” Either he is referring to two people sneaking off and banging, or he is mentioning a possible insect/rodent infestation.

A player is running to a wall with a bunch of buttons on it. This reminds me of the elimination Devin and Bananas played on Vendettas where they had to turn on a bunch of light switches.

A frustrated Kailah talks to Jenna. We haven’t seen Team Jailah be in a Challenge house together since Dirty 30.

They keep repeating that it is the most dangerous season ever. Seems true when you see the exploding truck. In the next shot, players seem to be running out of a giant foam pit. Hopefully, nobody has mono.

A player slides down a pipe or tunnel. The players arm sleeves look similar to the wet suit that Bananas and Kyle are wearing in one of the other photos. My guess is they go down this slide into a pool of water and then venture into the tunnel.

Someone gets medically evacuated. It is pretty serious, considering the person is fully covered in what looks like a hypothermia blanket.

Someone with big forearms is excited to be in a helicopter.

Last but not least, we get a chuckling CT.

We will now breakdown the other trailer.


This trailer opens with a narration of Tori saying the game has changed. The first shot is of Bananas in what looks like the elimination arena. The next image is Tori and Kyle in what is likely a daily challenge.

We get a shot of Wes and the same Bananas “war zone” line from the big trailer. I like that Wes looks vastly different across multiple seasons. Helps you remember little details when you’re able to remember stuff like “oh yeah, that’s when he had a mohawk.”

We get the same pipe/tunnel scene. Except in this one we get a better look at what they get dropped down into. As you can see in the second photo, the sleeve of the person is now wet, and there seems to be water up to the shoulder level.

A car runs into some barrels that the players are standing on top of. I have no idea what this challenge is about. Maybe it’s an extreme bowling challenge?

Repeat footage from the bigger trailer.

So as I mentioned earlier, not only are they playing Fire Balls In, but one of the participants is Jay from Survivor.

Jenny and Tori participating in a daily challenge. Along with repeat footage.

We finally get to see Mattie! Followed by more repeat footage.

The same soap challenge shows up. The soundbyte of Dee yelling at Rogan is still played, except in this trailer, she is wearing a hypothermia blanket, similar to the one another player got med-evacuated in.

Same footage of Nelson and Jenny except with a Josh soundbyte saying, “I feel completely alone.”

I believe we get a shot of Jay prepping for elimination, and a dramatic look of Nany (with Nelson next to her). First time Nany has done a challenge with Nelson since Rivals 3.

A shot of Kailah with a Bear soundbyte behind it that I’m too tired to figure out what he’s saying.

It again ends with a chuckling CT.


Johnny Bananas is easily the most heavily featured person in terms of narration, quotes, and images.

The people we see most prominently in this trailer are:

  • Wes
  • Nelson
  • Cory
  • Kyle
  • Jay
  • Jenny
  • Dee
  • Bayleigh
  • Kailah
  • Tori

People we see a healthy amount:

  • Swaggy
  • CT
  • Bear
  • Jordan
  • Josh
  • Rogan
  • Fessy
  • Jenna
  • Nany

People who I guess we see:

  • Aneesa
  • Ashley
  • Mattie

People we either don’t see or basically don’t:

  • Asaf
  • Ashley
  • Melissa
  • Big T
  • Kaycee
  • Jennifer



Allan Aguirre

27 years old. I blog about MTV's the Challenge and will dabble into other subjects occasionally. Follow me on Twitter for the occasional bad joke.