By Whitney Pastorek
Updated October 25, 2006 at 12:00 PM EDT

I don’t want to tell you kids how to live your lives, but if you’re not watching the latest iteration of MTV’s Real World/Road Rules Challenge (This time out: THE DUEL!!), then you’re clearly afraid to let yourselves be happy. I’ll be honest and say this round snuck up on me (seems like only yesterday Evan and Coral were hiding their injuries from one another, O. Henry style, during “Fresh Meat”), but since catching the first two eps in repeats this weekend, I’m hooked.

First of all, love the every-man-for-himself structure, where oneguy and one gal will each take home $150,000. Love the pick-’emelimination game that leads to the person going into THE DUEL!!,because it’s like choosing the most evil kickball team ever — and itforces everyone to be nice, or at least pretend to be nice, to everyoneelse. Finally, love THE DUEL!! itself because the roof of the house ison fire.

But the moment not to miss when you’re setting your DVR boyfriends,PopWatchers, happened at the end of the first hour, when that bloated,bitchtastic toad Tina finally hauled off and took a swing at47-year-old provocateur Beth, subsequently getting her ass sent home.I’ve been waiting for this moment for literally years, andperhaps the greatest thing about it was: It happened at almost theexact same time as one of the most compelling moments ever on thatshow, when cancer survivor Diem took off her wig for the first time inpublic… and then went on to win the challenge, G.I. Jane style.

Hold on. Does any of this mean anything to any of you people? I’ve gone and trashed my credibility again, haven’t I?