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The Best Reality TV Character Bracket: Gordon Ramsay and Johnny Bananas Have Created a Situation

Heading into the Final Four, things look normal on one side of the bracket, but on the other, two all-time reality disruptors have shaken things up

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While the finals in the Headliners and Antagonists regions were cut and dry, the matchups on the other side were—to quote one of the contestants himself—“a situation.” Snooki and CT blew past Kim Kardashian and Kristin Cavallari, respectively, continuing their dominance on the way to the Final Four. (In her four matchups, Snooki has earned an average 73 percent of the vote, while CT has averaged an even higher 73.9 percent.)

But in the Hosts & Judges region, the 1-seed Jeff Probst finally met a worthy challenger in none other than Gordon Ramsay. Probst had absolutely spanked Randy Fenoli, Tim Gunn, and Tyra Banks, but Ramsay wasn’t going to go easy. In fact, he wasn’t going to go at all. On the back of a massive win on Instagram (65 percent to 35), the meanest chef in the kitchen triumphed over Probst, earning 58.7 percent of the vote. True to his nature, Ramsay’s been a pain in the ass this entire bracket—an underdog in every matchup, he’s beaten Ryan Seacrest, Chris Harrison, Simon Cowell, and now Jeff Probst. Those are four legends who, between them, have been nominated for 31 Emmys; Ramsay has been nominated once. But Ramsay’s brand of mean-funny has been apparently undeniable, and enough to lift him above some of the most prominent names in reality TV. I guess we’re the idiot sandwich for making him a 10-seed.

Meanwhile, the Sneaky MVPs final basically turned into an election, as both Mike “The Situation” Sorrentino and Johnny Bananas took to social media to campaign. The Situation had his Jersey Shore family at his back, while Bananas had The Challenge gang stumping for him—even Wes Bergmann tweeted in support of his once nemesis. All of the jostling led to the closest matchup of the Elite Eight, with the winner taking just 50.3 percent of the total vote. But while The Situation had majorities on the site poll and on Twitter, it wasn’t enough—Bananas’s larger push on Instagram moved him into the next round by the slightest of margins. Mike was right—this really was a situation.

Now the Final Four is set. On one side, things are pretty chalk-y; the other side, meanwhile, is full of crooked numbers.

Let’s get to the matchups. Reminder: Both the Final Four and the final will go down on Friday—voting for the Final Four will be open until 3 p.m. ET; voting for the final will open at 4 p.m. ET and run until midnight. As always, you can vote here, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

(3) Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi, Jersey Shore vs. (2) Chris “CT” Tamburello, The Challenge

(3) Snooki: There aren’t many stars—in reality TV and beyond—who have earned the right to be known by a single name. Leo, Madonna, Snooki. The diminutive highlight reel almost immediately became a reality icon after the premiere of Jersey Shore. And you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out why: Her mix of reckless behavior, devotion to YOLO philosophies, and devout tribal loyalty is a blend that makes her easy to watch but also easy to care for. She’s the little sister you wish you had … even though you know you’re lucky to not have to chase her around a beach boardwalk.

(2) CT: CT isn’t mentioned in Brett Martin’s Difficult Men, the seminal book about TV’s modern antiheroes—but he very well could be. He is The Challenge’s answer to Tony Soprano, a physically imposing figure who’s quick to violence and irrational behavior, and so much charisma that you end up rooting for him despite his oft-despicable actions. CT has recently morphed into a big softie—quite literally, as Jay from this most recent season can attest—but never forget Peak CT, a true monster who wreaked havoc on Challenge houses.


Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 28%
    (3) Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, ‘Jersey Shore’
    (4582 votes)
  • 71%
    (2) Chris "CT" Tamburello, ‘The Challenge’
    (11399 votes)
15981 votes total Vote Now

(10) Gordon Ramsay, Hell’s Kitchen vs. (11) Johnny Bananas, The Challenge

(10) Gordon Ramsay: The same that was said for Simon Cowell can be said for Gordon Ramsay—except instead of calling you “off-key,” Gordon Ramsay will put a piece of bread on either side of your face and force you to call yourself an idiot sandwich.

(11) Johnny Bananas: “John,” as he was called then, was basically a nonfactor on his season of The Real World. But that just wasn’t the right atmosphere for him—he needed competition. Since joining The Challenge, Johnny Bananas has been its most prominent ambassador and one of its greatest champions. (There’s nothing better than a Bananas toast.) He’s a lifer on the show, and while other competitors might be more popular, none cast a longer shadow than he does; just watch this most recent season, when he goes full Logan Roy and turns an elimination vote into a boardroom meeting straight out of Succession.


Which character should advance?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    (10) Gordon Ramsay, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’
    (6273 votes)
  • 60%
    (11) Johnny Bananas, ‘The Challenge’
    (9551 votes)
15824 votes total Vote Now
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