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The ABC’s of Rivals 3: Adderall, Bananas, & Cover-up

By Susie Meister

It’s been quite a week over here at the Brain Candy Podcast. With the not-so-grand finale of Rivals 3 airing on Wednesday night, we watched as Sarah’s victory was overshadowed by the shocking decision of Johnny Bananas to keep all the cash, leaving Sarah with nothing.

Before we go on, let me say that Rivals 3 filmed last fall, and Sarah came home just before Christmas. While that gave me a lot of time to think about what I would’ve done, etc… I watched the season and finale right along with all of you, so my position has evolved over time. Here’s where I stand now and how I got there:

Let me preface by saying, when we agree to go on these shows, we know that it’s not the Olympics; there is not even an attempt to act like anything will be fair in terms of gameplay and game rules (we do agree, however, not to do illegal drugs, but I’ll get to that later). The contract says everything (and I mean, everything) is at the discretion of the producers. They can change the rules at any time, they can change the game at any time, and they can manipulate anything and everything to make a better TV program. I have talked at length, both in a Salon article I published and on the Brain Candy Podcast about the various ways the show is produced to create specific outcomes, so I won’t go over that again. Basically, Sarah knew that going meant anything could happen, and the “best” (wo)man doesn’t always win.

I begged Sarah not to go. I know that she is better than the show, better than the toxicity and degradation they perpetuate, and certainly better than the few dollars they give to you in exchange for your rights, your soul, and your story. She decided to go for personal reasons (that she has discusses on the podcast), so I wanted to make the best of it. We pre-recorded our podcast so that it would continue to air, and off she went.

When I found out what happened, my heart broke for her as my friend, but I felt like Johnny just played the game in the way that it was designed, and since they were rivals, it made sense that he wouldn’t want to split it with her (at this time, I didn’t know that they had reconciled and become close during taping). If I had been paired with Johnny and won, I would have taken that money so fast his head would’ve spun, and I would have done a dance of joy and NEVER given it a second thought. In real life, John might be lovely, I don’t really know. On the show (at minimum), he is a calculating, sociopathic, hypocrite, who holds everyone to a standard to which he does not hold himself. He is truly the Donald Trump of the Challenge (and it’s no surprise that he is voting for him–I’m surprised he’s not his running mate).

So, in short, I felt like Johnny beat Sarah fair and square, it wasn’t personal, and that’s the name of the game.

During this time, we were attempting to get Johnny on our show, and I would communicate with him periodically to see if I could convince him to come on. I pitched various ideas of how we could do it (e.g. having a peace treaty that we all sign agreeing to not talk shit about each other, etc…). He said no.

In preparation for the reunion, I attempted to help Sarah secure more money to go knowing that MTV would not have a reunion show (with any drama) unless she showed up. She was contractually obligated to go, so her hands were tied, but she was NOT contractually obligated to speak on camera. So I told her to sit there in absolute silence NO MATTER WHAT. I wanted her to save everything for our show and stick it to MTV for forcing people to do things for pennies.

After the reunion, I spoke with Sarah about what happened and she said she couldn’t sit silently during the reunion while Johnny said horrible things about her. She described her “meltdown,” and I felt horribly, but I couldn’t figure out what made her snap. I realize now, of course, that she was essentially being forced to sit next to her abuser of sorts, so in retrospect I see why she couldn’t just sit there and be his emotional punching bag.

I texted Johnny, as you all saw, and asked him what made her snap. Among other things, I said Sarah should stick to civilian life, and some people took this to mean I was insulting her, but I was actually saying she is simply too nice and normal to be a part of a show designed for psychopathic behavior. Additionally, I said that her loss “isn’t that serious” and that his decision to keep the money wasn’t personal. I still feel that way. Sarah has a great life, and a loss of game show money doesn’t make or break her and never would. She doesn’t care about “stuff” and doesn’t measure her worth in money. It’s a game, and not serious. And I believe Johnny keeping the money wasn’t personal. He doesn’t care enough about anyone for things to be “personal.”

Incidentally, any time I interacted with Johnhy I have told Sarah and showed her the text exchanges. I don’t keep secrets from her, and she is well aware of my opinions about the show, him, and the reunion. She is my best friend, my family, and I love her.

Everything for me changed when I found out that Johnny was caught with Adderall at the final. A drug for which he did not have a prescription. After his win was announced, production confronted him and he admitted that it was his. He was fined $5,000. It was edited out and MTV has denied it. All the cast members at the final witnessed the confrontation, as did TJ, and it was filmed on camera in front of the production crew. Adderall, if you’re not familiar, is a drug meant for people who suffer with ADHD and other things, and if used illegally provides hyper focus, insomnia, and energy. Just the kind of side effects you’d need to perform well on a Challenge–particularly one in which the contestants must stay up all night. The two points John got by staying awake longer than Sarah gave him the win. He cheated his way to a win, got fined, and Sarah still got nothing.

All’s fair in love, war, and Challenges–except using drugs to cheat. MTV probably will never admit that this happened because Johnny is their mascot, their hero, and a caricature of their brand. They don’t care that he cheated. They only care that they got their show, and he provided them with the epitome of what these shows are designed to create: drama.

Sarah doesn’t care about money, so this isn’t just sour grapes. What she cares about is justice, friendship, and integrity. And I don’t like my friend being called a liar, which is what MTV did when they denied that this Adderral situation happened. This story isn’t over. Turns out the finale, is just the beginning…

Susie

P.S. I noticed John had my name spelled incorrectly in his phone. It’s Susie, not Suzie. So if you update my name, I’ll update yours to Doper Devenanzio.

P.P.S. If you want to support Sarah, you can buy one of our amazing shirts or go to patreon.com/braincandy, become a patron, and get awesome rewards.

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25 Responses to "The ABC’s of Rivals 3: Adderall, Bananas, & Cover-up"
  1. Sarah is a warrior mermaid princess! She’s an example of a strong woman on reality TV who maintains their authenticity, as much as editing allows & can hold her own despite unfair the disadvantage of being a “chick.” Johnny is the epitome of the High School jock who can’t let go of his captain-of-the-football team glory days. His own self-absorbed ego has reduced him to a TV personality with the nickname of a phallic fruit. His relationship with MTV is like that of an addict child with co-dependent, enabling parents. He’s responsible for his choices, but his “parents” are just as sick as he is. Sarah is the other side of the coin. She’s the emotionally healthy & stable adult who can be vulnerable enough at times to be hurt, but never broken. Johnny left with all the money, but any fool can see that it’s Sarah who’s the badass!

  2. I urge everyone to copy a link to this article and post it on every social site you can think of including the MTV and MTV challenge pages on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook etc including links to other articles like…
    http://jezebel.com/5826974/real-world-contracts-stipulate-that-you-could-die-and-mtvs-not-to-blame
    And…
    http://jezebel.com/5954961/mtv-settles-rape-lawsuit-with-real-world-alum-after-implying-she-asked-for-it
    MTV can keep cast members quiet with the crazy contracts they all have to sign but they cant keep the rest of us quiet so we should do what we can to put these articles out there while interest is so high with what happened on the final challenge of Rivals 3!

  3. Bananas a tool and always has been. Would be nice to see CT come back and monster him again. Needs that barrel reminder. Prague? Lol. Way to go ladies.
    – A real Challenge player fan

  4. So Camilla and Tony get sent home for cheating, because they came across another teams checkpoint card and threw it down and then didn’t speak up about it but Johnny uses adderall to stay up all night and take 1st place, takes all of the money for himself sending Sarah home with nothing and not not do they let him get away with it , they try to cover up what happened as well??? I’m also stunned that TJ Lavin knows all about the adderall use and isn’t speaking out! That’s not a good look for a dude who is known for hating quitters and cheaters!!!
    Even if a lawsuit doesn’t end in Sarah’s favor because of all the disclaimers they make contestants sign at least it would bring to light what went down and that MTV and the shows producers not only let it happen but tried to keep it under wraps and pretend it didn’t happen!! The news of a lawsuit and a possible trial would reach a lot more people, especially fans who are loyal to the show that may choose to not watch it anymore unless the injustice is rectified! Shame on you MTV and Bumim-Murray!!!

  5. I, like many others, have been a long-time fan of the Challenges as well as Johnny Bananas (foolishly). However, this season really took the cake. MTV screwed one of their best, long-time competitors and I am disappointed to say the least. I don’t even feel like I’m watching The Challenge anymore. These past few seasons have strayed away from actual challenges and are more geared towards fighting and RR vs AYTO drama. I even feel like the finals are not final material anymore. I am sorry for Sarah and the fact that she had to be partnered with a cheating snake. I truly wish her the best in her future. Hopefully one day, her annual salary will be more than the final check she was cheated out of.

  6. I’m from Egypt and i was starting to love this show until what happened. This made me lose the respect of all MTV producers. As a viewer now, i felt this game is being set from the beginning to whom they want to win. I really can neither believe this show againg nor watch as it lost all its game play competition. Its just a FAKE & SCRIPTED TV SHOW.

  7. I hate that Johnny profited on Sarah’s blood, sweat, and tears. Third place gets you a prize just for completing the finale. Sarah dominated the season so it’s a complete injustice that she ended up with nothing. John has never had that easy of a win with Sarah as a partner. She the most well-rounded competitor. Someone should put together all of her impressive feats in video. I want to see her lead and dominate the memory challenge, her science technique in swinging Johnny back and forth, and her coaching wins left and right.

    I’ve been watching The challenge since it started…back when Susie was on. No season finale has disgusted me as much as this one. MTV lost a legend when they fucked over Sarah, who embodied brains and brawn and always found the smart way to win a challenge.

    Please sue Bunim-Murray. – Josh Colon, gitdown101@gmail.com

  8. So Johnny can do drugs and win the challenge and not give Sarah ANY of the money she helped him win. MTV can film the whole thing and then deny it happened. The whole twist seems catered to Johnny anyway.

    Kenny and Evan can get a accused of sexual assault. Which there are witnesses to say it didn’t actually happen and be banned for life. Makes perfect sense!

    I have watched these RR/RW shows for as long as I can remember. I am sick of how MTV now shows 10 minutes of competition and 40 minutes of drunken fights, caters to people like Johnny and adds these weird AYTO people who just whine. I miss Mark, Brad, CT, Susie, Tori, Landon, Laurell, and now Sarah kind of people the show used to have. After so many years it will be sad not to watch it but after this latest nonsense I just can’t support that treatment anymore. I hope more people turn it off too.

  9. Glad you clarified the situation. People were claiming you were supporting Johnny’s decision and not sticking up for your friend. I’ve always enjoyed Sarah on the challenges, and honestly, Johnny amused me. That all changed after he back stabbed her. He isn’t dumb, and of course he realizes there is a huge difference in Sarah voting him into the duel and what he did. He told her their friendship was repaired, they were a team, and all was forgiven. I’d like to think had Sarah won she would have split the money because it is the right thing to do. The Adderall is a dealbreaker- not only for Johnny’s win, but also for the show itself. Count me out as a viewer from now on. ( btw, where did he get the addy- smuggled it in?)

  10. I agree with you Susie! That money that he took from Satah is not going to bring him anything but bad things. We will all see in a few years where he ends up. I understand it is a game, BUT, Sarah was the key factor in that win and he literally snatched that money from her. Im mad because this also made me realize that i liked a dumbass and rooted for him. I definitly unfollowed him quickly in all social media and will not support someone who acts like Donald Trump!

    • I also unfilled him and the podcasts where he tries to make everyone believe that he only did the same thing to Sarah as she did to him. On the contrary. ..M what she did is NOTHING like what he did. At least she didn’t kick him off the show, she at least gave him a chance to compete and win to stay. Who knows if he would’ve even won that finale so NO…NOT the same thing. I am SO PISSED at MTV & will also be BOYCOTTING until something else is done in reference to Johnny’s use of Adder all. …he SHOULD be banned for life but of course that will NEVER happen bc he has MTV so far up his ass!!!! Good poinT is that even the 3rd place team received $ just for FINISHING and for Sarah to not receive a penny is WRONG on SO MANY LEVELS!! MTV….OF you want The Challenge to keep its fans you better DO something about this f’up!

  11. This is amazingly worded and I agree with everything Susie mentioned. Sarah is the definition of class, determination, dignity, and honor. And people that can hold more than one thought in their mind at a time clearly see this.

  12. Well said Susie, I feel for Sarah and I’m glad that she has a friend like you. I think that you are there helping her have a better perspective which is having love, kindness, and support from the people that love you the most is what’s important. Everything in this world is conditional and can be taken away except for your knowledge, integrity and your character. Nobody can ever take that away from you. I wish her the best!!

  13. You guys are amazing people and very classy!! Love your friendship and John looks like an even bigger douchebag for trying to twist your words and for trying to start a riff between you guys. I will continue to support you guys till the end and you guys just keep doing what you have been doing, cause it’s amazing!!

    Much Love and Support!!

  14. I find myself exploding with opinions, yet eerily speechless at the same time. As none of my comments regarding Johnny’s abhorrent behavior will change anything, I will simply say… Sarah you are a class act and Susie is correct, you are way too good for MTV & their shady practices. Onward & upward young lady! The world is a much better place with such shinning examples of excellence in women as Sarah Rice & Susie Meister.

  15. Wow, wow, WOW!!! I watched the season, read the tweets, and am blown away by your articulate response and reflection on the situation. Sarah is lucky to have you as a friend, Suzie 😉

  16. I love the friendship and support. The entire time while watching the show/reunion it portrayed how Johnny was gas-lighting Sarah (as well as many others) and still is today based just on his tweets. Smart girls do finish first and as the wonderful Michelle Obama said “when they go low, we go high”. The Brain Candy Podcast and its hosts are proof.

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