Warning: This post contains spoilers for the season 2 premiere of Yellowjackets.
For fans of MTV's The Challenge, there will always be one moment that stands above the rest, the elimination to defeat all other eliminations: Chris "CT" Tamburello had been out of the game for a while. Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio was making a name for himself as the one to beat, with two wins already under his belt. But before Bananas could make it to yet another final on 2010's Cutthroat, he had to go through CT, the show's most physically intimidating competitor, though he'd never won a title at that point. And CT was there to make a statement.
The two faced off in an elimination where they were strapped to each other's backs and asked to pull their competitor to their side of the ring. When host TJ Lavin blew the horn, CT proceeded to hoist Bananas, a grown man, onto his back and walk his way across the ring. Not only did CT win, but he won in 19 seconds. Challenge fans know it as the Bananas Backpack moment, and it turns out, Yellowjackets creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson are big Challenge fans.
Kailey Schwerman/SHOWTIME; MTV Sarah Desjardins on 'Yellowjackets'; Chris "CT" Tamburello on 'The Challenge'
"We watch so much TV," Lyle says of herself and husband Nickerson. "With creating TV, the number one thing you want is for people to feel something. And the number two thing you want is for people to just have fun. There are a lot of shows that are technically very good and are really great examples of interesting storytelling that aren't fun to watch. For me personally, I watch some shows like that, but I would rather watch something fun, which is probably why I watch The Challenge."
So when Lyle and Nickerson were writing the season 2 premiere of their dark and twisty drama, they saw an opportunity. "There's a moment early on where Callie's [Sarah Desjardins] watching TV, and we were trying to find a clip," Lyle recalls. "We wanted The Challenge." So, like true Challenge fans, they requested the series' most iconic moment: "Specifically, we wanted the Johnny Bananas backpack incident," Lyle says with a laugh.
And every Challenge fan understands why.
New episodes of Yellowjackets drop Fridays on streaming and on-demand, and air Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime.
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