Tough Enough 2
Original airdate: 3-21-02

No cuts this week, but a few interesting diversions from the first season's formula, and lots of wacky nearly-nekkid hijinks.

Big and the trainers have learned the lesson that they need to keep a much closer eye on the contestants' physical well-being. With so many of last year's participants hiding injuries to avoid being cut, thus doing further damage to their bodies, they seem to have encouraged more openness about the subject this time around. It's one thing to be Tough Enough, and it's true that wrestlers often work hurt, but that doesn't make injuries any less real.

Alicia goes down with a muscle strain in her lower back, and sits out some of the training while on anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers. Others in the house suspect she might be playing it up, which she may be, but right now she seems to be erring on the side of caution rather than drama queen.

This year also will include more focus on developing charisma and personalities, possibly merely because they're in LA and have access to that kind of training. Big gives them a simple homework assignment; fill in some blanks with adjectives to describe themselves. It's not a hard exercise for most of them, but Hawk melts down over it.

To be fair, he's got some issues. During the personality training session, each person has to confess the worst thing he or she has ever done. Hawk ran over his mom in a Ford Explorer and broke both her legs.

Well, it was an accident. But still. Also, no one collected the homework. It was to get them in the habit of talking about themselves. They do a few more exercises, describing each other in honest and sometimes unflattering terms, because as the coach points out, sometimes its what other people perceive about you that can make you a star.

They do get the weekends off from training, and Big takes the kids out on the town, where they take turns riding a mechanical bull. And the betting begins: If Kenny and Hawk fall off the bull, they'll all have to do their Monday workout in jockstraps (men) and bikinis (women). Kenny manages to stay on. Hawk oh, poor Hawk.

So on "Jockstrap Monday," they run through the streets, work out, practice bumps and wrestle pretty much in the altogether. Aside from the ass cheeks, it's actually a good idea, especially if any of the men want to wrestle in trunks, or if the women get into the ever-popular bra-and-panties matches. Reactions range from humiliated (Alicia) to nonchalant (Danny); the trainers are in hysterics.

When Big offers another bet (he'll let them cut a few sessions at the beach obstacle course if they all jump into the Pacific Ocean), Hawk is first to strip down and run for the water in an attempt to redeem himself.

Next week: More cuts and a visit from a huge shadow with a belt.

My early predictions for the winners: Jake and Anni.

Sarah Stanek




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