Casting Archetypes on MTV’s The Challenge 4: Weak Gay Men
Here is the 4th entry in my series on casting archetypes found on MTV’s The Challenge. The previous articles are Spicy Latinas; All-American Studs; and Feisty Black Women.
Today’s is Weak Gay Men, and the irony that this Archetypes post comes the day after Bisexual Visibility Day — where I was celebrating the queer representation MTV features, often being a trailblazer in showcasing these stories — is not lost on me.
Anygay. One pernicious stereotype of non-hetero men is that they are effeminate, unathletic, and weak. While MTV has publicized LGBTQ+ identities, for which I am eternally grateful, the majority of queer men who have been on Real World, Road Rules, and The Challenge fall into this archetype.
The “Weak Gay Men” of The Challenge are known more for their sass and humour, and the drama they bring, instead of impressive physical feats or athletic excellence.
If you disagree with this, please read the nota benes I included in my first 2 entries in this series before calling for me to be “cancelled.” I am an out, loud, and proud queer man myself, and also a huge advocate for LGBTQ+ communities. I am against the stereotyping and pigeonholing of queer people that so often happens on TV, reality or scripted. But it’s naive to act like it doesn’t exist.
Anyhow, let’s get to it, shall we?
The “Weak Gay Men” of the Challenge
Dan Renzi — originated on RW Miami; debuted on Extreme Challenge
(Late) Shane Landrum — originated on RR Campus Crawl; debuted on Sexes 1
Nick Haggart — originated on RR X-Treme; debuted on Sexes 2
Karamo Brown — originated on RW Philadelphia; debuted on Inferno 2
Danny Dias (Rest in Power) — originated on RR X-Treme; debuted on Gauntlet 2
Ryan Kehoe — originated & debuted on Fresh Meat 1
(Early) Tyler Duckworth — originated on RW Key West; debuted on Duel 1
Davis Mallory — originated on RW Denver; debuted on Inferno 3
Derek Chavez — originated on RW Cancun; debuted on Cutthroat
JD Ordoñez — originated on RW Brooklyn; debuted on Cutthroat
Preston Robertson-Charles — originated on RW New Orleans 2; debuted on Battle of the Seasons 2
Shane Raines — originated & debuted on Bloodlines
Ammo Hall — originated on RW Go Big or Go Home; debuted on XXX Dirty Thirty
Jozea Flores — originated on Big Brother 18; debuted on Champs vs Stars 2/Final Reckoning
These are men who broke the mold by excelling at the physical competition of The Challenge — or with one, for not being out of the closet when they were first cast by MTV.
Also interesting to note that half of this list (used to) identify as bisexual — Norman, Frank, & Marlon.
Norman Korpi — originated on RW New York (season 1); debuted on Battle of the Seasons 1 — finaled on Gauntlet 1
Danny Roberts — originated on RW New Orleans 1; debuted on Battle of the Seasons 1 — won Seasons 1
(Early) Shane Landrum — originated on RR Campus Crawl; debuted on Sexes 1 — made 5th place on Sexes 1 and 6th place on Sexes 2, both large and absolutely stacked casts
Stephen Williams — originated on RW Seattle; debuted on Battle of the Seasons 1 — was in the closet on his original season
(Later) Tyler Duckworth — won Cutthroat & Rivals 1 back-to-back
Frank Sweeney — originated on RW San Diego 2; debuted on Battle of the Seasons 2 — won Seasons 2 and finaled on Rivals 2
Marlon Williams — originated on RW Portland; debuted on Rivals 2 — finaled on Rivals 2
Sean Lineker — originated on Shipwrecked 2019; debuted on War of the Worlds 2 — won Shipwrecked
- A surprising amount of queer Dans or Dannys on The Challenge — Renzi, Roberts, and Diaz. This is in addition to the straight alumni with the same name — Jamieson, Walsh, Setzler, and Booby.
- Danny and Preston share a last name: Roberts.
- As Allan Aguirre pointed out in one of his recent articles, gay men have gone into the first (male) elimination on a disconcerting number of seasons: Dan Renzi (Inferno 2); Tyler (Duel 1); Derek twice (Cutthroat and Rivals 2); Davis (Rivals 1); and Sean (War of the Worlds 2).
- Shane R and Jozea were also chosen to be sent to Redemption in the opening Purges on XXX and Final Reckoning.
- Dustin, although he never identified as anything other than straight, did gay porn when he was younger and also found himself in the first elimination on Exes 2.