The first story line I spotted when I saw the cast list for this season was: The Old Guard is on trial. Landon chose the Barry Sanders route and retired early. Mark made his career last an eternity but is now retired. Evan and Kenny appear to have been banned for life. Wes only functions as a foil to Kenny so without Mr. Beautiful there’s hardly a reason to bring Wes back to the show. Derrick and Brad were absolute shells of themselves by the time they retired after Cutthroat. Even Big Easy never recovered from the verbal homicide Laurel threw at him during the infamous hot tub scene on Cutthroat. (Although he then retreated from public life, back to his Old Kentucky Home, and now lives 6 houses down from my parents. No shit, I see him out there in his tie dyed wife beaters drinking beer every day I’m over there. BUT ANYWAY). The Old Guard guys have been ripped away from me one after the other. As a Challenge Historian and Purist, all that seems to be left to me is the immortal CT and my longtime bane, Johnny Bananas.
Now, this isn’t all bad as I love plenty of the new characters as well, but I will always have a soft spot for the founding fathers of the Challenge, and that includes Bananas. As I’ve touched on before I used to hate Johnny, but this season everything has changed. Not only am I drawn to him for nostalgic reasons (again, only he and CT remain of the Old Guard on this season) but he has also undergone a spectacular change.
Johnny was always a spazz. He was the little guy who wasn’t strong enough to do what CT, Mark, and Landon did. He was always just a tagalong to Evan and Kenny’s manipulative machinations. Oh sure, he did well but he was never a dominant force in the game. In retrospect this might have been a benefit. This forced him to develop a more well rounded game than a lot of other competitors. He would never be able to beat CT physically so he would turn to his diplomacy to outmaneuver him. He may have always been the odd man out on the Kenny/Evan love fest, but he always had enough diplomatic juice to convince them to throw him into an elimination with a weak competitor so he really had no risk of going home (this is one of the tactics that made me hate him. It is unbearably cowardly) But if push came to shove I never wanted my money on Mr. Bananas. That, however, was the old Bananas. The evil, villain Bananas. But this season? Johnny feels like my own personal Sword of Justice. Hold that thought for a moment.
Nature has a way of always righting itself. If Johnny isn’t our villain any longer, then someone would need to step in. Enter Jordan Wiseley. Jordan is despicable. Now, that old Bananas villain is still in Johnny, but now its just a plus to me. He says the things that I scream at my TV while I watch the show, except when he says them other cast members can hear them. I’m really glad he pointed out to Laurel that all Jordan does is hook up with whoever he feels is one of the 3 strongest girls. He did this during Rivals II with Sara Rice as well. Moreover, Jordan is only on his 2nd season EVER of The Challenge (his Real World: Portland season was only in 2013! He has only even been eligible for The Challenge for like 14 months!) and yet he carries himself like a veteran. To someone like me who worships the alter of the Old Guard (who are all 6-10 seasons into their careers) this is complete sacrilege.
He finished in 3rd place on Rivals II, but as we all know, paired Challenges are as much about your partner as anything else. Some top tier competitors (such as Sara Rice) get paired with a corpse (Trishelle) and lose early. Some people (like Jordan) are average athletes and luck into another average partner (like Marlon) which allows both of them to coast past stronger competitors with worse partners. His Rivals II performance is nothing he can hold himself up on. The guy’s resume is practically nonexistent, and yet he carries himself like he’s a champion. To someone like me who worships history and past performances this arrogance is inexcusable. After last season where we saw CT, a Challenge Hall of Famer and surefire entrant to Challenge Valhalla, win his first ever challenge after 9 grueling attempts, I cannot stomach a peacock like Jordan parading around like he’s on CT’s (or Johnny’s) level (both of whom have not only proved themselves time and again, but helped to make The Challenge what it is. There would be no show for Jordan to compete on if CT and Johnny hadn’t built the foundation he’s now walking on. Arrogant prick).
Enter, the Sword of Justice, Johnny Bananas. Jordan spat in the face of all we know about proper challenge strategy and CT couldn’t have been happier.
He moronically threw himself into a challenge intentionally. He could have pulled on old school bananas, told Johnny and Laurel (his bitches) to vote Preston into the Elimination, thus ensuring him a victory if he went in. Instead, he threw in Bananas, then flipped every card to take Johnny on himself. Now, this was admittedly one of the ten most exciting elimination moments that I can remember, AND it made Jordan look somewhat redeemable that he, (unlike Johnny in his prime) actually backed up his bravado about knocking someone out himself. However, to truly back up your smack talk, Jordan, you need to eliminate your Banana foe, and at this you failed miserably. Jordan apologists may try to say that Jordan slipped (perhaps because of his hand) and this is the only reason he lost. This could NOT be FURTHER from the truth. Johnny was beating Jordan by a solid 2 feet before Jordan fell (or took a dive because he knew he would lose?) which in this event is an ENORMOUS lead.
Moreover, Jordan has a height advantage over Johnny which should have allowed him to easily defeat Bananas! Jordan had a veritable cornucopia of advantages and squandered them all. He is a complete, and utter failure.
And ooooooh my Lord how spectacular was it to hear TJ call Jordan a dumbass?
Jordan – “Well I said I was gonna do it. Couldn’t make myself a liar”
Teej – “Well you got served tonight. $165,000… out the door… alright?”
Perhaps more importantly, in a second elimination (a rare occurrence for Bananas) he did not just defeat his foe, he absolutely obliterated them. Johnny becomes more redeemable every episode. Everything I used to hate about him is melting away. His fear of eliminations and cowardice are gone, and he now goes in to murder folks without remorse. Johnny is no longer afraid of eliminations and no longer chokes when he gets there. He embraces his fate with open arms and destroys anyone who dares to get in his way. Johnny Bananas the coward and the villain are gone. We now have The Sword of Justice.
Metamorphosis bitches. So spread your muscley wings Johnny Bananas. You are a beautiful butterfly.
And Jordan? Better luck next time, dumbass.