The name of a TV show is important. If it’s confusing, viewers may not give it a chance. The best show titles explain the show in the name-“The Walking Dead” is clearly a zombie show, “Lost” was definitely a show where people were lost. The list goes on and on.
It wasn’t until recently that I understood the meaning of the name Tough Enough. I had gone into the show thinking that the name was the motto of the reality competition, looking to see if any competitors were tough enough to endure rugged physical training and intense pressure from being filmed and shouted at by judges and trainers. It makes sense.
What makes more sense is when you watch Tough Enough with the idea that the show is asking YOU THE VIEWER that question. Are you tough enough to endure such a crappy, poorly made television show? Are you TOUGH ENOUGH to watch wrestlers in training never wrestle, but instead climb ropes, swim in swamps and yell at a fat guy for eating peanut butter? Are you TOUGH ENOUGH to endure Paige realizing she was getting some praise and going completely over the top as a result to the point where she is one of the worst parts of the show? Are you TOUGH ENOUGH to watch Renee Young and Chris Jericho awkwardly “host” the live portion of the show? Are you TOUGH ENOUGH to last when it is abundantly clear that the winners of the show are probably the two worst wrestlers on the show?
Sadly, I am. I press on through the muck and the mire, hoping to find a light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps Patrick will come back. Maybe the next episode will see the coaches say, “Oh crap, we’ve only been doing shoulder tackles and body slams….EVERYONE GET OFF THE HOT AIR BALLOON, THIS CHALLENGE IS OVER!” Maybe Paige will finally shut up. Maybe.
It’s the maybe that keeps someone interested in a show. But as each week goes by, the maybe becomes less and less likely. With another insane elimination, this is ZZ and Sara Lee’s season to win. It is interesting that this bothers me, because ZZ is definitely the most entertaining character of the season, but the truth is, he’s not going to be a wrestling star. They’ve stated emphatically that he’s too fat, and that’s not in their recipe for a superstar, and it NEVER HAS BEEN, RIGHT?
If there is anything keeping me hooked on the show, it’s the great disconnect between the voting audience and the WWE itself. The trainers ride ZZ for being fat, hammering home the point that FANS DON’T LIKE FAT GUYS. And the fans vote for him. The judges get on Sara Lee for not getting in fights, hammering home the point that FANS WANT DIVAS TO STIR UP DRAMA. And the fans largely do not care about the “drama”. They routinely show these two at their worst, a simple editing trick to turn fans against you (it worked on Patrick!) when they don’t want you to root for them, yet the fans keep on giving them votes. And they will continue to do so right until the finale, where ZZ and Sara Lee will win the competition unless the final results are rigged.
This week, the casualty was Mada, which is a shame. Two weeks in a row, contestants who showed some real promise have gone home. I thought Mada had a real shot at being successful, and he still might, due to his size, personality and ethnicity. So when he was put in the bottom 3, I wasn’t worried. Sure, ZZ was there next to him, but Amanda stood between them, the easy target to go.
And then The Miz happened. Miz has replaced Hulk Hogan as a judge on the show, by the way. Why? Well, he might be annoying on TV and a largely bland wrestler, and he certainly doesn’t have the star power or charisma of Hulk Hogan, but the last time I checked, he didn’t really, really, really hate black people, so he’s a net positive substitution here. Anyway, Miz decided to spice things up and use the first judges save of the season on Amanda.
Please allow me to put on my tinfoil hat for a moment and play the role of conspiracy theorist. I don’t think Miz really cared about Amanda, I think this was a calculated move by production, and here’s what I think THEY thought would happen. If the vote is just between ZZ and Mada, fans will NEVER vote for the shorter, fatter guy over the chiseled, tall man? There’s no WAY ZZ will get more votes, and we can finally get rid of him!
However, Tough Enough falls under the WWE umbrella, and so it is not immune to WWE’s greatest problem-not seeming to have a clue how fans think or what they really want. Is ZZ fat? Yes. Who cares? Is he young and inexperienced? He sure is, and nobody cares except Billy Gunn. The WWE has shot themselves in the foot by giving the vote to the fans, because the fans almost NEVER want what they (the WWE) want them to want. So while they really, really wanted to end the season with Mada and Josh squaring off on the men’s side (TALL VS. TALL, YES!) and Amanda vs. Giorgia on the other side (Blonde vs. Boobs? $$$$$), what we’re going to get is ZZ destroying Tanner and Sara Lee trouncing Chelsea. I wouldn’t mind this outcome so much if it wasn’t so painful to get there.
Oh, by the way, I didn’t really recap the episode for a reason-almost none of what they air matters. Challenges have no influence on the show, unless people chose to vote against someone because they now owned Chris Jericho’s book. The in house drama is fake and cheesy, and the training has not evolved beyond drop downs and scoop slams. Let’s fast forward to the end of this season please. Onto the power rankings!
1- ZZ, just because he’s going to win.
2- Sara Lee, she’s going to win too.
6 & 7-Giorgia and Amanda, they fight with Sara Lee all the time even though they will lose to her.
1/2 -ZZ and Sara Lee, the winner’s of Tough Enough. Congrats!
3- Josh, who is doing a good job auditioning for the role of Chewbacca’s stunt double with his “yeti” call.
4- Chelsea. Chelsea comes off as likable and knowledgable….and then I remember her on air role and all of that is rendered useless.
5- Giorgia. At least she fills out a dress pretty well.
6- Tanner. This guy has really fallen.
7- Amanda. Nice of Miz to save the contestant who most resembles his wife.
See you next week, as we slowly march to the end of this truly terrible show.