All posts by Tim

Champs vs Pros: Fire in the Butt, Ice in the Heart

Yeah, it’s another sausage fest up in here. We have a special guest, Zach, for this bite-sized podcast without notes that we go over out of order. We almost got Tori to watch us live, but I guess we failed. Wes is struggling to maintain his place in the house, the Stars are learning how to play the game a little faster than we expected, and we spend a lot of time talking about our trip to meet some Challengers next month in Yorkville.

Champs vs Stars: Face Off Gloves On

No girls allowed! It’s just the men of Challenged tonight, and you know what that means. A short show, no notes, no prep work and lots of distractions. We talk Tori, Ashley, Aneesa and the drama involved with all of them. Wes tries and fails to start an alliance. Tony Time embarasses us all. We end on a bunch of drama that leads nowhere and accomplishes nothing. A typical Challenge episode.

Champs vs Stars: Rainbows and Storm Clouds

It’s a very special episode of Challenged with Hill’s first time hosting and a special appearance by a 5-year-old fighting bedtime. We may be distracted, but I think we do a stellar job of covering the Champs and Stars divisions and the game-within-a-game of this season. Who can trust these crazy Champs with all their shenanigans?

Evil Dead: A Retrospective

I’ve been an Evil Dead fan since about 1994. I remember my buddy Scott showing me Army of Darkness very late one night when I was sleep-deprived and pretty punchy. I thought it was goofy but fucking hilarious. I was already a fan of horror and started talking about the movie to my buddies, who told me it was actually the third part of a series called Evil Dead.

This was before the days of streaming video, so I hit up the local Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, Second Cinema and more looking for Evil Dead and Evil Dead 2. I came up short everywhere I looked, but I did not give up. I took to the internet and Evil Dead fans looking to bootleg their copies which, at the time, were very hard to find.

I loved Evil Dead in a way that was different than my love of Army of Darkness. Evil Dead was made by a couple crazy college kids, going rogue and making a movie against all odds on a limited budget and borrowed equipment. The movie gets even better as you know the obstacles they faced and the ways they worked around those obstacles. The commentary should be required listening to anyone looking to make films.

Evil Dead 2 was similarly goofy. It bridged the gap perfectly between the Evil Dead and Army of Darkness, being a legitimate horror but with some really goofy, funny moments.

I was such a fan of the series and of the community that was trading VHS copies of the films that I decided to give back to the community. I started and participated in several newsgroups about the movies and sent off many bootlegs of the movies to strangers across the country to share the love. I collected copies from other countries which sometimes included a few random different scenes and shots in them. At the time, these differences were painstakingly documents in websites and communities with screenshots or even low-res, horrible videos of them. This was the internet in the mid-to-late 90’s, and it was a rough time in the world of online video.

During this phase of my fandom, I also came across a video copy of Within the Woods. At the time, this was the crown jewel of Evil Dead fandom. It was the movie Bruce and Sam made to get money for Evil Dead. It had several similarities with Evil Dead of course, but also several differences. The video was low quality, but just fascinating to watch the beginning of the idea that spanned many decades of film.

During this time, I created a website devoted to Army of Darkness. It documented the differences between the various versions of the movie in different countries or shown on random cable channels that may have had elements added or removed or re-arranged. As an aside, I am also thankful for the movie series for this. I was in high school while I made this website and it turns out I really enjoyed it. And I was good at it. I went on to make websites for a living. Now, 20 years later, I’m still making websites and I love my job. I am thankful for the community back then and the passion that led me down this road, and in a very real way I credit these silly movies for that.

I wasn’t thrilled about the idea of a remake. But I have realized in my life as a horror fan who has seen several thousand remakes, that even the worse remake doesn’t ruin the original. I watched the remake and enjoyed it, although for me, it was ultimately more forgettable than the original. This may just have to do with my age and place in my life when I watched it. It was a good, modern take on some of the elements of the original.

I’d given up hopes of seeing Ash again decades before the announcement that Starz was bringing Ash back. I couldn’t believe that over 20 years since Army of Darkness, we’d see Ash back on our screens.

And yet, here he was.

Ash vs. Evil Dead was not perfect, but for what it was, it was brilliant. It was clear it was made for the fans of Evil Dead and Ash. They did not disappoint with the insane blood and gore from part 2, the goofiness of part 3, and even brought back Cheryl from the original movie. I’d hoped for more of course. I would’ve loved to see all the original cast back in their roles in some way.

We got an expanded mythology with a lot more information on the Necronomicon and Ruby and the dagger and the Knights of Sumaria. Over the course of 3 seasons, we got 15 additional hours of Ash and the Evil Dead. That’s far more than the original 3 movies ever gave us.

But all good things must come to an end.

This week, the series ended. Part of the show were summed up admirably. Ash finally acted like the hero we always wanted to see. He embraced his destiny and acted selflessly to save his friends and his daughter. We’ve always loved Ash as a reluctant hero of course, but I also loved seeing him finally act like the hero he’d accidentally been all this time. The last chunk of season 3 seemed very much like a “thank you” to the fans, bringing back our old favorite lines, even if they were sometimes shoehorned in.

The series ends with Ash waking up at some point in an undefined future, with his Delta that had been retrofitted as a tank and looking at a post-apocalyptic world. I don’t know if this was an intentional reference to the original ending to Army of Darkness when he wakes up in a similar predicament, but the similarities were too big to ignore.

For now, Ash’s story comes to a close. As does Brandi’s, and Pablo’s and Kelly’s. We don’t know where their fate lies. It does make me wonder if they thought a season 4 was surely coming, because there are still a lot of loose ends here.

I don’t know if we’ll see Ash again. I hope in 10 or 15 years, we’ll see him return and pass the shotgun and chainsaw on to the next reluctant hero and we’ll get the sendoff Ash, and the fans, deserve. I shouldn’t hold out hope, but I choose to hope anyway.

For now, that’s the end of Ash’s saga. And how does it feel? Groovy.

Champs vs Stars: Stairing Down the Competition

We’re loosey-goosey in our coverage of Champs vs Stars. I mean, do we even talk about this episode? I’ve had too many beers to know I guess, but it’s nice to see some of the Champs return. We like the division of the Champs even more, and the teams within teams that we see. Stay tuned to our Facebook group since our schedule of coverage will change as we go.

Vendettas: Vendettas Never Die

We took a break because the finale was terrible. C’mon MTV, stop making us wait to see the winner of The Challenge, we just find spoilers anyway. Zach and Hillary are here to help host, and we cover the winner of Vendettas. Spoiler, it’s Cara Maria. We’re too nice to make you wait to know. It’s Cara. You go girl. We cover the finale and the reunion episodes in this super-special craziness.

Vendettas: Czechmate

The remaining cast heads off to Prague to prepare for the finale. We see them dodge pylons and the stacked men’s team means we kick off some men in maybe unfair ways. The Troika is finally stacked with some females who save some men in a way you may not expect. We find out who the final 8 are that are heading to the final, but when is it and how long will it take? We’ll find out eventually.

Donald Trump (and maybe also Cambridge Analytica) have ruined Facebook.

We always knew that Facebook wasn’t the product. We were. Our information is used for advertisements, but maybe it’s also a bit more nefarious than that. With a relatively small pool of paid participants, Cambridge Analytica managed to get the data of 50 million Facebook users and used that information for extremely targeted, and false, advertisements which may have swayed the 2016 election. Facebook denies it impacted votes, but isn’t this a strange argument to make while trying to sell advertisements on the site? Either way, Facebook is bad and it’s Donald Trump’s fault.

Vendettas: Help Me Rhonda

We’re winding down in the season now, so the game is heating up. We see some Challengers stabbing each other in the back, others sticking with their alliances even though it means they’ll get thrown in. 2 people head home and the rest go to the Czech Republic, although we don’t know who until next week.

Is a Blue Wave approaching? Democrats may be poised to start winning. Hopefully.

I cannot believe I was on the edge of my seat watching a special election in Pennsylvania for an office that will only be held temporarily due to drawing new district lines. Despite all the GOP support, Trump’s campaigning, and millions in opposition, a Democrat beat the odds to win this deep-red district that Trump took by 20 points just 1 year ago. What does this mean for the future of the Democratic party and this rumored Blue Wave? We have no idea frankly, but it is fun to speculate.

Vendettas: It’s Britni Censored

Technical problems continue to plague the show, but don’t worry. We find a way to deliver a full episode. Devin is still coming down from his nirvana experience, but has a rude awakening and major disappointment. Natalie continues to play everyone’s game except her own, being a pawn that delivers the goods to the last person who holds her attention. And a previous love affair brings about some emotions when the mercenaries show up to take contestants out. Try to ignore the talk about Brad’s hair oils.

Chaos in the White House means chaos in America

What’s with this president* who can’t seem to hang on to employees? The list of high-ranking members of this administration who have been fired, quit or been indicted or pled guilty to crimes is too many to count. But that’s just staffing chaos. What about the constant stream of scandals? Stormy Daniels, Russia, Moron-gate, unenforced sanctions, and of course Twitter keep us constantly distracted and uneasy.

Vendettas: Rumor Has It

One of the greatest episodes of The Challenge ever! Alliances are crushed as friends have to make very tough decisions to advance their game. Rivalries are reinforced and everyone’s games gets shook. Mean girls are no fun, and MTV does not endorse bullying. It’s a long recap, so buckle up.

Everyone thinks Americans are dummies. Even most Americans.

I think it’s safe to say that our standing in the world has diminished since Trump took over the most important office in the land. All other countries think we’re idiots for electing him, and with his record-low approval numbers it seems like most Americans agree. This week we vent our frustrations about losing our standing in the world for the sake of nationalism and America First.

Vendettas: Baskets of Deplorables

We know Marie went in last week, but who is she going up against? Kam is a traitor and not good at this game, and you can feel free to tweet hatred at us for that comment. The rest of the crew plays some soccer wearing stilts and zorbs, and we see a classic vendetta come to a head. Why you gettin’ so upset? We’re down a podcast host and note taker, but we try our hardest. Cut us some slack.

Guns, guns, guns. How do you solve the gun problem? MORE GUNS!

It’s our inaugural episode of F45! Our frustration this week is our gun problem and how we are unique in that we have no even once attempted to fix this problem. The latest school shooting left 17 dead and spawned zero action from anyone. Attempts to fix this problem are blocked by Republicans, the NRA and, of course, our president*.

Vendettas: Mercenaries of Mayhem

The mercenaries come in to wreak havoc on our poor Challengers while Kam does her best Fire Marshall Bill impression. A new challenge proves very difficult for everyone, with broken glass and stitches and ambulance rides galore.

Vendettas: Notes on a Scandal

WHO IS THE BLURRY FIGURE WHO LEFT THE NOTES? The world may never know, but that won’t stop us from speculating. We see a Challenge this week. It’s underwater and at night. But no elimination. Maybe one of these weeks we’ll see a full episode. This time around Shane and Victor are friends until they’re not, Britni and Cara make out, Nicole and Kyle make out, and our worlds are turned upside down.

Vendettas: Guilty by Association

Well, it’s a filler episode but maybe, just maybe it means next week we’ll get a challenge and an elimination. The rookie girls get riled up and fight, and we don’t really see much else going on otherwise. This elimination will go down as one of the most hardcore we’ve seen so far. We’ve listened to your feedback and we appreciate it. We’ll keep the long form episodes as long as no one complains.

Vendettas: Pizzagate

Pizzagate isn’t just a weird alt-right conspiracy theory. It’s also an episode of The Challenge, where Brad comes back as his intense, passionate self and starts a half-million dollar fight over pizza. Was it worth it? We get trivia and a food challenge combined, and a Challenger tries his best to redeem himself and win for his team.