The Contender
Smith/Kaddour

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Stee: B | Grade It Now!
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Allah Is Great; Ahmed, Not So Much

Previously on…Sly greets the fighters. Fighting. Running. Nearly falling off the mountain. Alfonso wins. Pharrell trains. Sugar Ray talks. Sly. Vegas. One million dollars. Jonathan prays with his family. Jesse has an enlarged heart. Sly tells Ahmed to chill. Ahmed doesn't, argues with Ishe. Challenge #2. West wins. Ishe backs out. Jesse is pissed, steps up. Press conference. Jesse calls out Ishe. Ishe goes traitor on Jesse. Jesse wins. Jonathan is sad. "Shut up. Put up. Go hard. Or go home." Fighters in their natural habitats. No shanty for Pharrell this time. Sly mumbles.

And the credits! Chimes. Strings. The fighters run in Griffith Park; somehow don't get mugged. Sly. Sugar Ray. Jimmy. Jeff. Pharrell. Peter. Najai. Brent. Ahmed. Jonathan. Jesse. Sergio. Anthony. Ishe. Alfonso. Miguel. Tarick. Joey. Jackie breaks my screen. Tommy. The Contender, though not one in the ratings.

End of the fight. Colleen holds up her daughter, dressed as an angel. Fuck, don't let Anne Geddes get a hold of that kid. She'll stuff her into a pumpkin right quick, or let Celine Dion death-hug her nude on a giant lily pad. Bald Cornerman tells Jesse that a win is a win and now it's two to zero for the West. The West cheers. Pharrell is mad. Jimmy prays. Ishe is pissed, too. Jesse camera-talks that Jonathan was a worthy opponent. Sly talks to Jesse in the ring and then tries to give him five and totally bitch-slaps the middle rope instead. Jesse salvages Sly's pride by grabbing his hand and making the connection. Jesse continues that he's not too mangled and he feels great because now he's in the "Elite Eight" and doesn't have to fight for a while. His family hangs out with him in the locker room; his son play-fights him, already showing an alarming aggressiveness that should be immediately nipped in the bud with electro-shock therapy and drugs. Jesse camera-talks that he's glad Ishe pulled out (Jonathan's wife wishes Jonathan would "pull out" once in a while) because he was more ready to fight than he's ever been.

Jesse arrives back upstairs at their digs and hugs the fighters. Ishe continues to shit-talk, telling us that he wishes Jesse had lost.

Night. Chez Jesse. The family has the most white trash dinner I've ever seen, standing at the counter, eating salami and cream cheese and Ritz crackers. Jesse is overly excited about the salami; I think he's wrong and he did get hit a few times hard in the head. AngelBaby holds her mouth open for salami as Colleen tells Jesse that now people in the "house" know Jesse isn't afraid to "step up." His son then gets in on the begging-for-ghetto-food action and pretends to be a "puppy" crawling on the ground. Colleen says that the kids even behave better when Jesse is home. Colleen camera-talks that she's happy Jesse didn't get too beat up on his first fight. This way they can spend their Band-Aid money on more luncheon meats! Jesse feeds the kids and says, "Ah, man. This is fun," totally serious. Jesse and Colleen talk about how Ishe is the only weak link on their team because he doesn't know who to fight, and Jesse thinks Ishe has to get confident and he's not going to help him because Ishe wants to kill him. He says confident fighters are dangerous. So is the meal they're having. Colleen hands Jesse a celery stalk slathered in cream cheese for him to carry off to the shower. His daughter chases him but he tells her that his nerves are shot. Yeah, so is his cholesterol level. And though he's kind of a weirdo and short, I'm starting to dig Jesse. Except for his big ugly tattoo. Commercials.

Day. Gym. Daily training. "Faster and harder than you ever did it," mumbles Sly, in a take-off of one his greatest lines ever. Alfonso works. Ishe runs. Ahmed voice-overs that Ishe is a punk and he's not focused. Speaking of not focused, during training, Ahmed is upstairs talking out the window down to Alfonso in the ring. Ahmed is talking about knocking Ishe out and Alfonso, very diplomatic, says, "I guess time will tell, won't it?" Tarick butts in and corrects Ahmed and says that people think they're the "best" but no one is the best until it's all over. Tarick then camera-talks that he has a special relationship with Ahmed given that they're both Arabs from Lebanon and being where they're from, they have a lot of pride and he knows Ahmed won't back down. Oh, pride? Unlike the guys here from the South Side of Boston, or East L.A., or the backwoods of Texas. Yeah. No other geographic area has your special relationship to pride. Good one. Ahmed keeps fucking yammering that he'll be "chomping" on Ishe. "All right," says Alfonso, smiling. Ahmed tells us that if they win the next challenge (they won't) he's going to pick Ishe Smith.

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The Contender

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