Throughout Challenge history, there have been many exciting and entertaining showmances. And then there are ones that put you to sleep, drag on, and you don’t care to see anymore. This blog is about ten of the most boring Challenge showmances.
It is crucial to note this is NOT a forgotten showmance list (though 1 or 2 might end up on the list). It’s not about a random hookup that happened once. This is a blog about on-screen couples/flings that actively made the show more dull.
We aren’t talking about the worst showmances, either. Even if Paulie & Cara, Jordan & Tori D., or Brad & Tori H. made your eyes roll, they got a reaction from you, and that’s not boring. For this list, the showmances had to get legitimately established on screen. Zahida & Ashley Cain, Hunter & Julia Nolan, Mechie & Amber M., Isaac & Jonna; those are showmances that would get considered if MTV chose to actually show them. And also, I tried to avoid some of the older older seasons as TV was just different back then.
Let’s jump into the list.
10 Johnny Bananas & Moriah Jadea (Ride or Dies)
The Bananas & Moriah showmance on Ride or Dies was super wholesome. It wasn’t like him having an orchestrated fake showmance with Natalie Negroti, it wasn’t Angela Babicz loudly cheating on her boyfriend with him, and it wasn’t anything like his experience with the Camilanator.
Bananas was a gentleman towards Moriah in the house. Unfortunately, it was a total yawn. Moriah didn’t have a screen presence the entire season. And then Bananas was an absolute bore after complaining on his podcast about the previous two seasons and claiming he would save the show.
9 Paula Meronek & Derek McCray (Gauntlet 3)
Paula is not only one of the hookup queens of The Challenge — she is part of two of the most random/chaotic showmances in Challenge history, as she had a cute fling with Mike Ross on Rivals and a weird entanglement with Ty Ruff on Exes 1. She also had her weird and toxic up-and-down ongoing situationship with Dunbar across multiple seasons.
On Gauntlet 3, Paula had a showmance with Road Rules rookie Derek McCray. He was a nice guy, and they had a good thing going during the season. There was nothing weird or random or toxic about it. It was boring and uneventful, which is not what Paula Walnuts is about. When you make an entertaining player boring, that’ll rank you high on this list.
8 Theo Von & Linette Gallo (Fresh Meat 1)
If you bet Theo Von 50,000 dollars to give the first name of his Fresh Meat 1 showmance, I’m even 5% sure he would take that bet.
Theo & Linette is more of a forgotten showmance than a boring showmance. It comes to mind because Theo Von’s popularity has skyrocketed exponentially in the last few years, and looking back at his Challenge career now is funny, even though he ignores it. I did a Fresh Meat 1 rewatch and podcast breakdown with Paige from The Most Likely Two podcast. We both had the takeaway that it was cute how much Linette was into Theo, while he had more of a “we’re just having a bit of fun” mentality.
7 Logan Sampedro & Big T (Spies, Lies & Allies)
The primary reason this one made the list is because Logan Sampedro is fucking boring. Watching paint dry is more entertaining than Logan. And it wasn’t a language barrier — I watched his Survivor Spain season and some of his YouTube videos (I speak Spanish, apparently), and he wasn’t entertaining on those, either!
It was nice at first seeing Big T finally get in on the showmance action. Then, it was immediately not cute as Logan showed more of his true colors as he wasn’t interested in Big T romantically. Logan is boring and smug, which is an abominable combo for Reality Television and life as a whole.
As much I like Big T, I hate that she kissed this dude, giving him more television screen time than he deserved.
6 Alyssa Snider & Tyler Crispen or
Tori Deal & Sebastian Castenada (USA 2)
I’m leaving this one as a toss-up that will be decided by the season’s end. One of these two will win out. Sebastian and Tori as a showmance is funny because we get a bunch of scenes of them cuddling up and hanging out, except the confessionals are all very one-sided. The showmance is such an unimportant part of Tori’s season; meanwhile, it is the only thing keeping Sebastian relevant.
And then Alyssa and Tyler… They represent everything wrong with CBS and Big Brother to me. Among all the basic influencers CBS has cast in the decade, Alyssa takes the cake. She is gorgeous and means no harm to anyone, but she is not cut out for The Challenge from a competitive or drama standpoint and doesn’t have the confessional charisma. Tyler was an ELITE Big Brother player, except I don’t think his heart is into being on Reality TV anymore. While I think Tyler could crush certain dailies and eliminations, I don’t think he has a Challenge personality.
Alyssa has been the least relevant female on USA 2 other than Ameerah (first boot), and Tyler’s been close to the bottom for the men. And now screen-time is getting devoted to two of them and their awkward PG showmance. Rather than seeing high-level gameplay from the Survivor ladies, we get Tyler & Alyssa doing their age-appropriate flirting and talking in Instagram influencer general speak. It took a very corny Wes & Bananas cupid situation for these two to kiss finally.
A CBS showmance is a guarantee for this list because there is a real ceiling on what they can show/do on network TV. For that reason, one of these two was going to be on.
5 Amber Borzotra & Jeremiah White (Spies, Lies & Allies)
When the preseason trailers and teasers came out for Spies, Lies & Allies, there was a bit of excitement seeing Amber and Jeremiah sharing steamy kisses in the club. Then the actual season happened, and while they were two extremely attractive people hooking up — they were entirely out of the loop storyline-wise. Even with so many people targeting Amber, Jeremiah wasn’t anywhere to be found.
It was cute when they kissed in the elimination arena, but the showmance was a snore. Jeremiah as a whole was a zero of a casting.
4 Jenn Grijalva & Adam King (Rivals 1)
Top to bottom, Rivals 1 is one of the most entertaining Challenge seasons packed with so much drama, fights, and hookups. This season alone had five highly entertaining showmances: CT & Mandi, CT & Laurel, Wes & Mandi, Tyrie & Jasmine, and Mike & Paula.
And then you have the turd in the punch bowl, Jenn & Adam.
By Rivals 1, Jenn Grijalva had become one of the most annoying Challengers. Jenn was a solid competitor and a great political player, but Rival 1 was her third straight season where she spewed the “Rookies need to earn their stripes” propaganda, which wouldn’t be the worst if she wasn’t one of the loudest voices in the house. As I say all this, I felt terrible for Jenn.
Her showmance with Adam was an incredibly one-sided affair. Adam was obsessed with Jenn, and she tolerated him. The edit was kind to Adam, far too kind for a guy whose Challenge career got built upon being a seat-warmer and crumb-eater of the Vets, specifically for Evan & Kenny. Way too kind for a guy who only makes moves once the girl is drunk. Everything about this showmance sucked. And considering it was part of a season packed with drama and epic moments, their scenes together felt like the time to take a bathroom break.
3 Faysal Shafaat & Gabby Allen (Double Agents)
I don’t know if there has ever been a showmance that has gotten as aggressively pushed while being so dull and awkward as much as Fessy & Gabby on Double Agents. I will give them credit for intrigue in that Gabby did have a boyfriend at home.
However, the showmance between her and Fessy was rough from the start. Fessy played his “introvert” card the entire season as a way of trying to spit game at Gabby. Each time Fessy talked, it looked like Gabby became less and less attracted to him. The attraction point was very high, though! Gabby loved that Fessy was tall, dark, handsome, muscular, etc. Literally, all Fessy needed to do was kiss her, and she’d be all in. We didn’t need to deal with all the random mumblings and fumblings. Watching these two stumble through multiple mundane conversations was representative of the season that was Double Agents.
Boring, long, and offensively unoffensive.
2 Dario Medrano & Ashley Kelsey (Invasion of the Champions)
Some people will say, how can a couple who had essentially one true scene together during a season in which they were only on for three episodes together be the #2 ranked boring showmance? Well, the Mona Lisa is definitely not the greatest painting ever created, but when you see it, you’re like, “That’s the fucking Mona Lisa.”
I’ve never seen a more perfectly boring couple together than Dario & Ashley on Invasion. When I saw these two together, it was like walking into Home Depot and finding a perfectly matching set of wallpaper and drapes.
After Invasion, they became a serious couple and lived together for about a year. My favorite part about their relationship is that Dario had to refer to her in confessionals the entire time as “Ashley K.”, even on Dirty 30. Having to refer to the woman you love and live with by their last initial so as not to confuse them with the entertaining Ashley that we know is simply hysterical.
1 Kaycee Clark & Nany Gonzalez (Multiple Seasons)
I’m taking a big fucking swing here, but Kaycee & Nany is objectively a boring showmance. The showmance has interesting aspects like Kaycee & Nany flirting on Total Madness while Kaycee had a girlfriend at home. Except do we even count Total Madness because they technically still weren’t a thing for a while? Eventually, the two got together once Kaycee and her girlfriend split, which was a tad spicy. I think being a same-sex couple on multiple seasons together and having what looks like an incredibly supporting and loving relationship is excellent. As a long-time Nany fan, I’m happy that she seems satisfied with her relationship and secure in her sexuality.
All that said, these two actively made Spies, Lies & Allies, and Ride or Dies two of the most boring seasons in Challenge history by playing house together. Kaycee & Nany had massive numbers in the vacation alliance; they’re both strong competitors, and because they’re likable, they don’t have many enemies — so it’s not their fault that they weren’t popping off every other minute. Yet, it just sucks when two casting spots go to people who have a completely unbreakable alliance, won’t hook up with anyone else, likely aren’t getting into fights, and it feels like they have a free pass to the Final/near the Final. Their elimination against each other during the SLA Final was emotional but more melodramatic than anything, and ultimately, that twist was pivotal towards Kaycee winning for them.
Some might say Nany & Kaycee shouldn’t count because they’re a couple, not a showmance. Well, Brad & Tori and Danny & Melinda were engaged/married on their seasons, and they were either actively annoying or falling apart at the seams for our entertainment at times. Bayleigh got into some of the most intense fights on Total Madness with her husband there. Zach Nichols calls security on his girlfriend when she asks why he’s on Bumble and has “Amanda Garcia hot” bookmarked on his phone. Nany & Kaycee count.
What sets this showmance apart is that Nany is effortlessly one of the most messy and entertaining competitors in Challenge history. Nany’s had so many showmances & hookups, and essentially every single one that was more than a one-episode fling has been more entertaining than her and Kaycee. Then again, maybe that’s why she and Kaycee are in a healthy relationship because it’s not filled with drama. I hope these two have a long, happy relationship, get married, and can have kids like they’ve talked about recently.
When it comes to Reality TV, I need entertainment, and I am not sure I can deal with another season with these two as an on-screen pair.