When "The Challenge" makes its triumphant return with "Battle of the Bloodlines," half of the players will be previously unknown contestants (notable MTV stars' family members). But this isn't the first time the heart-pounding program has employed a game format which integrates never-before-seen participants. Yep, we're referring to those unforgettable "Fresh Meat" installments -- and obviously not the selection of beef at your local butcher shop.
In honor of the upcoming Season 27 premiere (on December 2), we're taking a fond look back at what the unique game looked like five years ago -- and fittingly, it was the satisfying "Fresh Meat 2" season. Featuring 13 teams of familiar personalities (Landon, Wes, Kenny, Evelyn and Paula, to name a few) and a bunch of strong rookie recruits (like Teresa, Laurel and Cara Maria), the British Columbia-based extravaganza featured no shortage of hookups (ahh pool tables and hot tubs), elimination showdowns (THAT finale!) and a whole lot more. Take a fond look back at the shenanigans that unfolded in the log cabin -- and on the battlefield -- below:
Behold, the competitors
These naive hopefuls have no idea what's about to happen...
The familiar faces had their pick of the wide-eyed crop -- which understandably set the tone for the competitive game.
A four-time winner -- and a BB CM
Too bad these two strong competitors got ousted during the initial exile...
"I want the tall chick in the back"
You know, how Mr. Beautiful chose the dominant athlete -- and also our first look at the future "Free Agents" champ.
Before becoming "exes"...
Wes and Mandi worked together to nab the top prize -- but unfortunately for them, they came up short and were sent packing about midway through the long-running series. Their not-so-great streak continued during "Battle of the Exes" -- and the two were eliminated during the second episode of the erstwhile lovers-themed season.
Save the best for last
Carley may have been the only girl left when it came time for Landon's selection, but that decision certainly paid (pun intended) off.
Even though they were defeated and cut during episode 2, Sarah and Vinny had some fun during missions -- and in the hot tub. Too bad their good luck didn't continue when they appeared on "BOTE": Varah was disqualified after Vin removed Mandi's top at a club (oy) during the early days in the Dominican Republic.
The pool table lip lock
If this smooch (on top of the central piece of furniture) hadn't occurred, we wouldn't have seen these two pair up for "Battle of the Exes 2" -- so we're forever grateful.
The deserving victors
A no-doubt crowd favorite for "Challenge" fans: Perennial nice guy Landon and sweet Carley were the undisputed underdogs as they entered the final showdown in Whistler -- but that didn't derail them from positively crushing the icy mountain climb and besting dominant competitors Kenny and Laurel. Unfortunately for all of us enthusiasts, it's the last time we saw gold medalists Larley in action: The "Real World: Philadelphia" alum -- as well as "The Inferno 2" and "The Gauntlet 2" champ -- and the rookie have not appeared on a "Challenge" since they emerged as the leaders of the "Fresh Meat 2" pack.
+ What's your favorite "FM2" memory? Sound off in the comments, and be sure to catch the premiere of "The Challenge: Battle of the Bloodlines" on Wednesday, December 2 at 10/9c!