'The Challenge' Field Study, Entry 6: A Test Of Frenemyship Weeds Out The Weak

In addition to the cameras, this season of "The Challenge" was documented in print. Check out the latest behavioral analysis, straight from our anthropologist-at-large's Thailand field notes!


By Carey O'Donnell

The herd and I have crossed the point of no return. The exhaustion of sleeping with one eye open is starting to grate on me, and I struggle to maintain control over the delirium that's slowly overtaking me; the delirium that perhaps has always been there. I must embrace it! I must continue.

This species has always been accustomed to the idea of a "frenemy," but as far as I know, it has never harnessed the concept as a useful tool. The definition of frenemy is the truest manifestation of the old adage, "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer," a sentiment spirit leader TJ frequently shared. TJ forced the herd to use the principles of frenemyship in a competition that would test each team's psychic bond. One member of each pair answered questions about him or herself while in seclusion, and was then suspended high above the water. The other rival had to then guess what his or her rival-mate answered. If the answer was incorrect, the suspended would be dropped into the water below.

Questions ranged from booty/boobie talk to who was considered the "fakest" in the herd. Theresa received several votes for the latter, and I suspect that this could have stemmed from her questionable choice to send her current mate, Leroy, to The Jungle. Claiming overall victory again, Emily and Paula successfully demonstrated the true meaning of frenemyship, each seeing her greatest ally and greatest enemy as a single entity.


Although Theresa and her rival, Jasmine, fared well, it was apparent that Theresa knew she would most likely be forced to compete in The Jungle with the competition's losers, Jemmye and Camila. The pair had been struggling to use the frenemy law to their advantage, and greatly feared that The Jungle would see this weakness and swallow them up. Before the voting ceremony, Theresa attempted to recruit males like Jordan to vote for Diem and Aneesa. Though Theresa and Jasmine seemed physically prepared, I began to see the roots of their undoing through the conniving act.


Despite their efforts to avoid elimination, Jasmine and Theresa were voted to take on Jemmye and Camila in The Jungle, which challenged each pair to toss blessed orbs to each other while they both ran on treadmills (which is, itself, a perverse method of torture). Once again, Camila and Jemmye struggled at first to allow the frenemy power to guide them. Theresa and Jasmine seemed poised to win, until Jasmine lost control and was flung off the treadmill into the murky pool of defeat below the machine. Jemmye and Camila were able to work through their shortcomings and embrace the frenemy, and were deemed the winners.

After Theresa and Jasmine's exile, I wondered if the unseen forces of The Jungle perhaps influenced this competition as a way to expel self-serving behavior from the nest.

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