The Worst Episodes of The Last 10 MTV Challenge Seasons
On Monday, I posted an article breaking down the best episode from each of the last 10 seasons of the Challenge. Today, I am going the opposite direction and shining a light on some of the worst episodes in the show’s history. Some are poor due to editing, others due to players actions on the show (racist, sexist, etc.), or was just a flat out boring bad episode of television.
Also, if you prefer stats, I made this video where I list the Top 15 Men and Women in Daily Challenge History (Statistically) and went in detail on the Top 5. Shout-out to Reddit User: u/WillSeamon for providing and maintaining both daily challenge and confessional data over the years.
Onto the list of terrible episodes!
Total Madness Episode 11 (AKA First Episode After Dee Got Banned)
Generally, MTV does not finish editing an episode of the Challenge until Monday or Tuesday, the airing week (1 or 2 days before). Dee’s sudden ban from Total Madness forced the editors to completely change the show, ridding the show of all her future confessionals and storylines. That made Episode 11 quite difficult as Dee was going to break the record for all-time confessionals in a non-final episode of the Challenge (based on the non-last-minute edited episode that appeared on MTV Canada’s website). She had an unaired hookup with Rogan, an unaired fight with Josh where she made him cry, a fight with Bayleigh, and then a whole alliance storyline with Melissa and Jenny that did not get delved into in detail.
It is a mess of an episode in which the plot does not make sense. If you want to ban Dee from being on any future seasons, that is fine. Just do not give us an episode that does not make sense.
War of the Worlds 2 Episode 6 (Terrible Trivia)
One of the worst trivia challenges ever. Team UK gets demolished in trivia (they do put up some hilariously bad answers). The elimination between Jenny and Nicole was a blowout, not even in a CT Backpack type of way either. The most significant thing to come out of this episode is a Josh/Paulie fight that does not say much.
War of the Worlds 1 Episode 2 (Hunter vs. Ashley)
When I wrote a best episodes list, I saw a few people in the comments mention this episode, which shocked me. Episode 2 of WOTW 1 is known for the Ashley/Hunter elimination. Besides the high stakes elimination between Millionaire Mitchell and Helpless Hunter, the episode is packed with drama: Amanda vs. Morgan and Bananas, Amanda and Hunter vs. Bananas and Leroy, Amanda vs. Hunter, The Bumble Bomb, Zach trying to get security to separate himself from Jenna to avoid questions of infidelity and then threatening to break-up with Jenna. On paper, this should have been one of the best episodes in Challenge history, and in all honesty, if you like the episode, I do not blame you.
What ruins the episode is that there were so many storylines going on within it that got limited to the 60-minute time constraint that the editing of the drama, politics, and elimination all got compacted into lesser versions of what they were. There is a lack of cohesion across the board. Apparently, Georgia and Ashley had multiple resets and went back and forth for about an hour in their elimination. The version we got was an anticlimactic ending to a blood feud. During the Amanda/Bananas fight, there is so many time skips that who is fighting with who in different moments does not make sense. This episode is partially why MTV gave future seasons 90-minute episodes because so much good content got left on the ground floor of WOTW 1. Maybe I am too harsh on the episode because I know it could have been much better. WOTW 1 is an all-time season in my books, and this episode could honestly be the best episode of a season like Dirty 30 or Rivals 3.
Final Reckoning Episode 10 (2nd Redemption)
The second redemption episode of Final Reckoning. We got a less entertaining rerun of Paulie/Natalie vs. Da’Vonne/Jozea. The redemption players doing their “Read” where they yelled at those remaining in the game came off as a bit lame; it seemed like bitter players who got outplayed. They had an eating purge challenge that ended in a cliffhanger, which meant nothing since we knew the players who lost were going to the Redemption House regardless. One of the only highlights was Derrick Henry trying to polidick his way into Da’Vonne’s heart as a way to get her to pick him and Tori for the redemption/elimination competition back into the game.
Vendettas Episode 3 (Fire Soccer Shootout)
You could make the argument that the Cory/Nelson elimination on Vendettas is an all-timer because of how badly they each did. However, considering they were best friends and comparisons between the two are made on Challenge social media daily, it would have been nice to see them in a Pole Wrestle or a Balls In instead. After the underwhelming elimination, Melissa cuts her foot open while playing cheerleader with Natalie. Cutting her foot made her ineligible for the next daily challenge and automatically put her into elimination, which meant the women competing in the daily challenge were virtually guaranteed safety, besides the player who gets put in via the Troika vote. The daily challenge was the over-water height hashtag challenge, which was underwhelming, to say the least — a meh episode.
Dirty 30 Episode 9 (The Camila Episode)
This episode contains a fantastic Hunter vs. Nelson elimination. One of the most underrated eliminations in Challenge history. It included Nelson’s confessional after he won, saying that he wants to be like Hunter when he grows up (Nelson is older than Hunter). Sadly, it also includes Camila’s racist tirade against Leroy. The fact she was not only not kicked off the show but then proceeded to vote a black man (Nelson) into elimination the day after is nuts. It hurts even more knowing that Camila got cast and then banned due to her antics on Champs vs. Stars, not even what she did on Dirty 30. Rough.
Invasion of the Champions Episode 3 (Theo quits)
The first two Invasion episodes were excellent and set a ton for a new generation of the Challenge. Episode 3 fell flat on its face. The daily challenge was not entertaining due to Hunter (w Ashley) winning in blowout fashion. Even worse was the elimination. All players had to do was grab a bunch of small wicker balls and bungee jump off a cliff. The fastest to do it wins. Theo Bradley did not even attempt the elimination out of fear after hyping himself up as a football star who should have made the NFL. Making the loss worse is the fact he gifted Cory the free Oasis ticket, which does not sound bad, but Cory got winded by the hike to the elimination.
Jenna defeated Anika (going to put a picture of her, so you know who that is) by what I guess was a slim margin. You really could not tell because it felt as though MTV could say they jumped in whatever time they wanted.
Rivals 3 Episode 1
The way the Rivals 3 premiere opens with different cast members introducing themselves as they enter the house at staggered starts is one of my favorite moves Challenge production has ever done in theory. In execution, with the awful cast they had, you keep waiting for people you want to see to show up, and it never really happens aside from a few gems. The episode goes downhill from there with AYTO people getting into an unnecessary fight due to the Brandon who quit because he missed his girlfriend. Leroy is hurt before the season even begins and tanks the beautiful Averey Tressler’s chances. Nate Siebenmark does not jump out of an airplane and gets zero repercussions for it. One of the most boring teams (Jenna and Vince) wins the first daily challenge, and we get left with a cliffhanger (no elimination).
You might remember some entertaining drama like Jamie and Ashley hooking up in the bathroom while everyone watches or Simone getting into a fight with Tony; well, that happens in Episode 2, not Episode 1. Episode 1 is a flop.
Bloodlines Episode 3 (Two Injuries)
Almost every episode of Bloodlines is either good or has a cool/iconic moment happen. Episode 3 of Bloodlines is the worst because it had a daily challenge where Tony and Candice (Leroy’s cousin) each got injured, thus knocking two pairs out of the game. In retrospect, that was not totally a bad thing as in the next episode, Abram and his brother got added to the game as alternates, and they brought some needed zest.
Camila campaigning around the house to keep her sister out of elimination was hilarious when it happened, yet, ages poorly because of everything that happened with her afterward.
Exes 2 Episode 6 (Mini Final)
The mini final from Exes 2 is one of the best daily challenges ever and is one of the roughest episodes to watch. Zach’s verbal abuse of Jonna is out of control and difficult to watch, especially as you can visibly see that Jonna is trying her best to keep it together. Adam and Jordan also treat Brittany and Sarah sub-optimally. The episode is an exhibition of chauvinism. They also hit us with a cliffhanger during the elimination between Reilly/Averey and Adam/Brittany, rare for its era.