Welcome to 2020, and we’re beginning the year with a brief break between Challenge seasons. Don’t worry, Season 35 is on the way (rumored in March), but you won’t be able to fill your time by watching Friends on Netflix. That show has left the streaming service, but it has certainly left an impression on the landscape of television. As fun activity, I’m going to rename each Challenge season with a Friends-esque title.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Friends, each episode is named as if you’re recalling a story. The episodes are almost always named “the one with the…” or “the one where…” Usually, the title incident in the episode is notable, but not always central to the plot. This method will be used to rename the seasons. Keep in mind, this is just for fun. We’re not actually going to rename the seasons.
1. The One Where the Girls Ate Bugs
Road Rules: All Stars is regraded as the show the started The Challenge, but the formatting was quite different from later seasons. On this season, the three guys tricked the females into eating dessert with bugs baked into them. Cynthia did not take the joke likely, and this became the standout moment of the season.
2. The One with the Playboy Mansion The One With Kobe
In the very early days of The Challenge cast members traveled around the country, meeting celebrities along the way. On the season officially named “The Real World/ Road Rules Challenge,” they even got to go to the Playboy Mansion, though some cast members like Montana were not happy with the franchise working with the Playboy brand.
Edit: Since I originally made this article, Kobe Bryant passed away. The Challenge has reposted the clip of him on this season, and given Kobe’s legacy, I think this season will forever be remember for his appearance in The Challenge.
3. The One with the Fake Challenge
Team Real World did not dominate Challenge 2000, but they did have some fun at Team Road Rules’s expense. One episode is dedicated to a fake scavenger hunt mission planned by the Real Worlders. The Roadies completed the “mission,” but it resulted in conflict on the team that escalated into bigger arguments.
4. The One Where they Went to Court
A few funky things happened on The Extreme Challenge. Ayanna got kicked off due to a fight not caught on camera, there was a mission cancelled last minute and a mission that was never rerun, then there was the time Syrus tried to strangle James during a mission. This incident took the cast to a mock court case, but only Laterrian showed up for the Road Rules Team.
5. The One with the Hurricane
A lot of drama happened at the beginning of Battle of the Seasons, but the most wild incidents happened during Hurricane Juliet. While the winds were picking up, Belou got into a fight with Holly and Chadwick because they disapproved of her leaving her child too close to the window. Then the cast lost power and threw a toga party. Everyone went a little crazy, but it was certainly a moment in Challenge history that’ll never be forgotten.
6. The One Where the Inner Circle Got Ugly
Battle of the Sexes put men against women, but the biggest dramas happened within the teams. The fight episode saw fights between Julie and Melissa then David and Puck. However, the most memorable line was uttered when the inner circle used their power to eliminate one of their stronger players: Rachel. She memorably stated “this game is UGLY. The inner circle is UGLY. And I don’t want to be a part of it any more.”
7. The One with the Gauntlet Queen
The Gauntlet is the first season with eliminations, and no one won more eliminations than Sarah G. She was dubbed the Queen of the Gauntlet and won five eliminations that season. Her record has been matched, but never broken.
8. The One with Coral’s Boob
You have a lot of memorable moments coming from The Inferno, but one of the most memorable was the night Julie tried to wrestle Coral. Not wanting to get sent home, Coral never fought Julie, but she did have a lot of fighting words. At one point she stated “I wear a 36DD bra. One boob alone could kick her ass.”
9. The One Where the Girls Sucked
I hate to define Battle of the Sexes 2 by the failures of the girls, but we all know it’s true. They only won three mission seasons: one because they called their friends for advice and one because they boys threw it. Then the boys won in the end. Shocker.
10. The One with the Clothes in the Pool
The Inferno 2 was packed full of drama, but the most dramatic moment was when Tonya tossed Beth’s clothes in the pool. The Badasses this season were off-the-rails bad, and this incident exemplifies that point.
11. The One with the Captains
The Gauntlet 2 was defined by its unpopular twist: team captains. Fans watched Ruthie leave early due to the twist and were frustrated when Derrick lost right before the final. Meanwhile, rookies Alton and Kina showcased their strengths and won as rookies.
12. The One Where Wes Showed Up
Every Challenger has to start somewhere, but Wes’s debut was quite a spectacle. Whether it was his outbursts at Casey, five Exile victories, or dumb Mohawk, the Austin rookie got more recognition than any of the Fresh Meat.
13. The One with the Kiss
A lot happened during The Duel, but Challenge history will always remember it as the season when CT and Diem met. Diem had a memorable moment taking her wig off after losing her hair during chemotherapy, and the season would quickly evolve into a season where she began a relationship with CT. Eventually we would see the two kiss. While Diem thought the cameras missed their moment, it became a moment we were happy they captured.
14. The One where Derrick Wins
The Inferno 3 may be one of the more forgettable seasons, but it was a huge season for Derrick. He wasn’t even supposed to be on the season, but he showed up late after CT got kicked off. Then, he’d score his first win after six seasons trying.
15. The One with the Collapse
The Gauntlet 3 will always be remember for Big Easy collapsing in the final and costing the Veterans their victory.
16. The One with No Challenges
The Island was a poor attempt to rip off Survivor. The season has no real challenges, just a few cheap face offs to earn keys to compete in the final challenge. Beyond this, the season sought to deprive contestants of basic necessities until they went crazy.
17. The One with the Fight
We’ve seen a few fights throughout The Challenge, but nothing will ever compare to CT and Adam’s fight on The Duel 2. It was vicious, and the whole house tried to constrain CT to no avail. The rest of the season was a snoozefest compared to the first night.
18. The One Where Wes Came Back
There’s a lot of ways to remember The Ruins, but I’m going to choose a kind of tame title. After a short retirement Wes returned to The Challenge, but he wasn’t really there to compete. He was there to seek revenge on Kenny and Johanna. Needless to say, things got really messy.
19. The One with the Alliances
Fresh Meat 2 saw a house divided. One side was Team Wes. The other side was Team Kenny. In the middle was a free agent, Landon, who would go on to win the entire season.
20. The One with the Custom-Made Johnny Bananas Backpack
Cutthroat is remembered fondly by fans who appreciate the unique three team format. However, the season is best remembered for the moment when CT showed up as a “heavy hitter” and defeated Johnny by wearing him like a backpack.
20. The One Where Kenny Carries Wes
Many rivals showed up on Rivals, but Kenny and Wes had a lot of beef in recent history. Metaphorically, Wes carried Kenny early in the season. Literally, Kenny carried Wes in the final. Despite seeing a lot of success in the season, the two lost in the final.
22. The One Where CT and Diem Lost
People expected a lot of drama during Battle of the Exes, but the season ended up being a little more tame than anticipated. Almost everyone spent the season rooting for CT and Diem and ended up crushed when they narrowly lost in the final.
23. The One with All the Rookies
Battle of the Seasons was dominated by the number of rookies to debut on the season. Many of the teams lacked a single real veteran, and this resulted in a “Rookie Revolution” of sorts. While a couple of veterans made it far in the game, the season was ultimately won by a group of four rookies.
24. The One Where CT Wins
After a decade on the show, CT became one of the most seasoned competitors. Still, he never scored his win until Rivals 2. To be honest, this season may have had the most
25. The One Where Jordan Flipped the Cards
Free Agents was the first time in a while that we saw an individual season, and the Kill Card made winning more important than ever. For some people, losing was part of the strategy, and Jordan flipped all the cards in The Draw to guarantee an elimination against Bananas. It was memorable, but it cost Jordan his game.
26. The One with the Backstab
A lot happened on Battle of the Exes 2. While it was sadly our last moments watching Knight and Diem, it was also a season where some spectacular games were played. Sarah sending Bananas into that final elimination was the ballsiest move of the season, and an incident that’d be referenced for seasons to come.
27. The One With the Affair
What did Battle of the Bloodlines give us other than Bloodlines? Perhaps one of the most controversial “affairs” in Challenge history. Thanks to Bananas’s GoPro we saw Cara Maria in a compromising position with Thomas. Maybe they hooked up, maybe they didn’t, but production seized the opportunity to bring in Cara’s then-boyfriend Abe to make things really sloppy.
28. The One Where Bananas Stole the Money
On episode one of Rivals 3 everyone knew Bananas & Sarah were the strongest team. Predictably they made the final, but production spiced things by making the final a competition within a competition. Bananas came out on top and took Sarah’s half of the winnings.
29. The One with the Finger Bang
We all knew things would get interesting on Invasion of the Champions when the champs showed up. When Zach and Jenna reunited after breaking up it seemed they might rekindle things. That was until Amanda spread a rumor that Bruno “finger banged” Jenna on the plane ride to Thailand.
30. The One Where Camila Went too Far
There’s a looming cloud hanging over Dirty Thirty, and there’s a reason Camila had almost no confessionals in the second half of the season. Dirty Thirty saw the worst of the Camilinator. From racist tirades to homewrecking hook ups, she did a lot this season. She may have won, but she also ended her Challenge career.
31. The One with Mental Warfare
Vendettas was supposed to encourage dirty behavior, but some people took the theme a little too literally. Devin exposed a hook up between Bananas and Kayleigh which derailed his game, got him thrown into elimination, allowed Devin to beat Bananas, turned the girls on Kayleigh, and got Kayleigh’s luggage thrown over the balcony.
32. The One with the Millionaire
Final Reckoning was a long, drawn-out season that boils down to one moment at the end. Similar to Rivals 3, the final was a competition within a competition. Ashley won, and took all of the prize money from Hunter. This made her a millionaire just by winning this one season.
33. The One with The Toughest Final
With all of the veterans and champions on War of the Worlds, it boiled down to one really, really long final. A rookie from Turkey took the final prize and humbled all of the vets.
34. The One with the Engagement
It’s kind of surprising that it took so long to see an engagement on The Challenge, but we finally got on on War of the Worlds 2. After all the drama of the season, Jordan proposing to Tori is the memorable moment.
Feel free to let me know if you have any better season titles, or if any of my suggestions are completely wrong! This is just meant to be fun.