Better MTV show – Jersey Shore or RW/RR Challenge?


The case for The Real World/Road Rules Challenge

As a long time fan of both the Real World and Road Rules series, I could not have been more excited in 2002, when MTV introduced The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Battle of the Seasons.   Other than the original Real World,  which basically started reality television, this was the best idea MTV ever had.  Take these people that you have grown to know via your TV screens, and pit them in athletic, mental, and psychological competition.  Over the years this show has taken on a life of it’s own.  It has morphed into it’s own weird subculture of people that apparently have no jobs other than winning the occasional $10 grand on a challenge. They all live with each other in LA and just travel the country getting appearance fees (and and giving out STDs) at random night spots.  Since being on this show has become their job, contestants seem to openly admit to steroid use to try and gain an advantage.  This, in addition to the well stocked alcohol cabinet provided by the show’s producers, leads to great roid rage moments as well as dramatic meltdowns.  Great moments in the history of the show include Brad getting eliminated on the word “thrown” from a spelling bee by spelling it “thron”, the psycho CT hooking up on the roof of the house, then trying to murder the son of one of the Commodores, and Big Easy (who is pushing 350) collapsing during a challenge, and his teammates trying to drag him to the finish line while his eyes rolled back in his head. Of course there was also the watershed TV moment when Shauvon burst one of her breast implants after falling during a challenge.  I cannot wait for the twentieth iteration of the show, Cut Throat, to start.  This show has become the fourth major sport in my household.

The case for Jersey Shore

Speaking of openly admitting steroid use, Jersey Shore has to be the most entertaining trashy show on TV right now.  I wasn’t crazy about having the same cast be in season 2, but Snookie, the Sitch and crew have taken their act to a new level.  My favorite moments of this season all involve Snookie,  including the rant about Obama raising taxes on tanning (which in her words John McCain never would have done, because he could use a tan) and Ronnie’s realization that Snookers couldn’t have written him the anonymous letter because it contained the word “wisely” which is apparently too big of a word for the Round Mound of Rebound Hookups to use.  One advantage the Shore has is that the cast doesn’t get kicked off for fighting, which seems to happen every week (the forthcoming JWoww/Sammie Sweatheart fight looks awesome, but also seems like a huge mismatch since I’m still not convinced that JWoww isn’t a drag queen with breast implants).  It also has a huge advantage in the ratings as it is averaging 5 million viewers each week.  If there is one flaw that can stop this show, it’s that the show is getting too popular and the cast just might get a little too self aware – which can lead to a Dick Vitale-style caricature of the cast’s former self.  These people have turned into real stars – Forbes estimates that the Situation will make 5 million dollars this year (which makes me want to bash my head with a sock full of quarters. 5 mil? really?).  Of course there is always the hope that “caricature” and “self-aware” are both too big for Snookie’s vocab.

Verdict

This is a topic near and dear to me as I thoroughly and unashamedly enjoy both of these shows, but I think I have to give the edge to the Challenge because it has managed to entertain me for 15+ seasons.  Now if only MTV would wise up and make a Real World/Jersey Shore Challenge.

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