Opinion: MTV Needs To Answer For What They Did To The Finale Of ‘The Challenge’


By: Peter Kolb – Opinions Editor

Presidential scandals, worldwide turmoil, temps beneath 50; it’s times like this these that one can always resign to the consolation of their closest friend: the holy holy television.

Such were my aspirations Tuesday night, the 15th, when our house gathered one last time to enjoy the conclusion to the 30th season of MTV’s “The Challenge,” aptly subtitled: Dirty Thirty.

I’m not sure many articles nor essays will be penned for last night’s hour-long finale, but there should be. Last night’s finale was one of the worst episodes of television I’ve seen aired. Mind you, this aired on the same MTV that is enjoying its fourth spin-off of “Teen Mom,” and still managed to stretch its boundaries of disposable TV.

Usually, you think: “I don’t even know where to start” with something like this. How could I frame this hour-long disaster to articulate what a colossal disappointment it was to any Challenge fan? Well, fear not, MTV shoved the worst thing about this program in your face—over, and over again. So I know right where to start.

Michael Mizanin—henceforth reluctantly known in this article as his professional name ‘The Miz’—is like if Donald Trump Jr. got a New Jersey makeover and became even more of a raging ass-hat.

The Miz had his first taste of fame in 2001 when he joined the cast of MTV’s “Real World: Back to New York.” Since then, he has “reality show-ed” his way into being a professional WWE wrestler: quite the American success story.

Somehow. Somehow, this man is our host for this epic season’s finale (as our tried and true host of the season so far, TJ Lavin, sits off to the side in a ‘VIP’ area with countless other people I don’t know). The Miz’s wrestling ‘character’ plays off the ‘being so good at being bad’ schtick, which is just the perfect character I want for a reality TV show finale. It turns out The Miz isn’t just bad at being good, he’s just bad at being everything.

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The Miz (I feel the depths of Hell pulling me closer each time I type the name) is the worst. It’s actually quite difficult deciding what aspect of this guy’s character I hate the most. He has a pathetic sense of humor, delivering cue-card punchlines with the charisma of a drugged up high school bully that forces everyone to laugh at his jokes. He’s the type of guy that would see a sunset over the Grand Canyon and say something like “that’s freaking sweet” before putting on a pair of Oakleys and whipping up a sick Instagram story.

But how bad could it be? Regardless of our presentee, we still have the cast of one MTV’s most memorable seasons: The Dirty Thirty. But no. The Miz had to ruin…literally everything. He brought a slew of forlorn exes and enemies on stage to sift through and rehash drunken fights that pretty much anyone who had watched the show could not care less about. Not only that: MTV decided to bookend their thirty minutes of drunken drama glorification with an incredibly awkward and misplaced ‘violence is not the answer’ PSA before cutting to commercial.

It was around when The Miz inducted Cory into the newly formed ‘Hook Up Hall of Fame’ that I began to really contemplate my life choices that brought me to this point. But I was saved, for the end of the episode was coming: the final reveal of the Dirty Thirty’s champions. That for which we came.

It was pretty clear Jordan had the men’s title locked up; he had solidified his place alongside Muhammad Ali, Jesse Owens, Andy Roddick and the like in the ultimate athletic pantheon with an astounding finals performance. But the girl’s title was left up in the air. Cara Maria had her struggles, but both Tori and Camilla had a serious chance to collect the $450,000 prize last night.

Camilla wasn’t even there. Instead, The Miz had to awkwardly bring Lavin up on stage to be their ‘stand-in Camilla’ which looked even more unnatural than it sounded. Once revealing the third place winners, Tori and CT, viewers thought this nightmare was soon to be over. Just a few more minutes, one more Miz countdown to sit through, and the season would be over.

Of course not.

Jonathan Murray, Gil Goldschein, Scott Freeman and Fred Birckhead.

These people need to answer for what they did. The Dirty Thirty’s executive producers (listed above) thought it would be better to milk their millennial cow even longer and extend the final reveal to next week with a whole separate episode of meaningless drama and insufferable MTV ads.

This was an amazing season. Vets held their own against tough rookie opposition, friendships blossomed and died in mouth-watering drama, relationships were destroyed on live TV; I couldn’t have asked for more.

But I can ask for a little respect, MTV. If nothing else, give me a little respect when I sit down for an hour each week to enjoy your disposable crap. I don’t care who won anymore, I just know that good TV lost.

Photos taken from mtv.com and wikipedia commons.