The first stunt was pure Fear Factor. There was a helicopter, a large Plexiglas wall, jet skis, ropes and lots of flags. Justin and Gretchen from California, married four months, were up first. They started on either side of the Plexiglas wall, which hung below the hovering helicopter. Balancing on the tiny two-inch lip of the wall, the twosome moved back and forth so that the rope connecting them would work against a file-like surface at the top of the wall and eventually break. This process was extremely difficult. It was hard for them to maintain balance and also hard to figure out the best way to maneuver to break the rope. Eight minutes passed before the rope even broke! Next they had to jump into the water and swim over to the jet skis. Exhausted, the couple had to jump off the jet skis at a certain point and swim over to two ropes covered in Fear Factor flags. Climbing onto the ropes out of the water (are you tired yet?), they each collected flags while making their way up towards another helicopter. They both missed the bottom flags, which would cost them later. Plus, their time was already over 10 minutes at this point. After grabbing his third flag, Justin couldn’t hang anymore and fell back into the lagoon. Gretchen mustered her strength and struggled to grab just one more flag...but couldn’t do it. The weary couple got six flags in 12:35.
Stan and Caroline, Florida natives married for two months, were up next. First Joe had to point out Caroline’s 5-carat diamond ring. When Melody said she didn’t think Caroline had a lot of upper-body strength, Joe replied that one arm should be strong from hauling that rock around all day! But a big, fat diamond does not a winner make, my friends. Stan and Caroline tried to learn from Gretchen and Justin’s mistakes on the rope-pull portion of the stunt; however, they seemed to argue a lot over technique. Plus, Stan wanted to keep taking breaks. Um, Stan, it’s a COMPETITION. Twelve minutes later, they were still tugging! Suddenly, Gretchen and Justin looked like pros. Finally, the newlyweds were free and off on the jet skis towards the rope climb. Time didn’t matter in this stunt, only flags. Could they get more than six before their tired limbs gave out? They got three flags even before the helicopter began lifting them out of the water. Then, Caroline fell immediately, leaving Stan to gather at least four more flags to stay in the game. Stan, however, was only able to get one more flag before falling exhausted into the water. They had retrieved four flags in over 15 minutes.
Crystal and Joshua from Houston had also been married for only four months and were fired up for the stunt. Houston, they had no problem. Having obviously taken notes during the other two couples' poor performances with the “rope burn” portion of the stunt, Crystal and Josh employed a teeter-totter approach and communicated the entire time. They were free and in the lagoon in just over two minutes! Next it was off to the ropes and flags and the couple quickly had the necessary four flags to advance. They kept going, however, determined to out-do the other newlyweds. Crystal soon fell, but Josh kept going. In fact, he went back down the rope to retrieve a missed flag, then thought about going back UP to get more! Maybe he realized that with six flags, they were in good shape. Maybe he was just too tired to climb back up. Either way, he jumped into the water alongside Crystal. They had grabbed six flags in only four minutes and 51 seconds!
While Caroline told Stan, “It’s over. We’re going home”, Melody and Paul got ready for the stunt. Married only one month, the Idaho couple thought they had a good chance at success. Earlier Melody had said that “the couple with the hottest groom is gonna win,” but, um, she may have changed her mind at this point. Joe asked if they fight a lot and while Melody shook her head “No,” Paul was quick to say, “Yes!” They were off to a great start on their path of marital bliss. They tried to copy Crystal and Josh’s technique on the rope pull, but soon they were arguing about how to do it. Still, they got into the water in less than three minutes and sped off towards the ropes. But remember, it wasn't a timed stunt; it was all about the flags. Paul proved to be quite beefy and strong. Those Midwestern boys, you know! He zipped up the rope grabbing all of his flags, while Melody was able to grab three. The couple got eight flags total in less than six minutes, which meant they could pick the order of the next stunt. Stan and Caroline, meanwhile, headed home.
As darkness fell on the neon lights of the theme park, the couples made their way to Universal Citywalk – a “street” lined with restaurants, theatres and shops. This night, it was also lined with thousands of cheering Fear Factor fans. Joe greeted the newlyweds in an area set up like a wedding reception, complete with tables draped in white tablecloths and topped with white roses. The bonus prize for this stunt was a honeymoon-style trip to New Zealand. But they would have to earn it, Fear Factor style. Joe presented them with a delicious looking white wedding cake. He cut it open to reveal live worms and beetles, plus some alligator eyeballs for good luck. Couples had to slam their faces into the cake, grabbing mouthfuls of gook, then chew it up and spit into to a champagne glass. Then, of course, they’d have to drink it back up. The couple with the fastest time would win the trip; the couple with the slowest time would be eliminated. Melody and Paul chose Josh and Crystal to go first. Soon they were face first in the grossest wedding cake in history. Josh was gagging from the first moment, while Crystal remained focus despite the frosting and worm guts in her hair. Crystal almost knocked her glass over, spilling the chewed up concoction, but Joe saved itÖlucky her. Josh had his glass filled first and sucked it down to the cheers of the live crowd. Crystal kept going as the crowd chanted “eat it, eat it.” Time was well over 25 minutes at this point. By the time Crystal had choked down her glass of “bug juice”, final time was at 36 minutes and three seconds. Seemed like a long timeÖbut you can never predict how people will do on Fear Factor. While Crystal and Josh threw up nearby, Melody and Paul chose Gretchen and Justin to go next. Justin was a machine! He buried his head in the cake, filled his glass and sucked it down in less than 10 minutes. Gretchen was hot on his heels and soon had her own glass of disgusting bits to work on. Their final time was 20 minutes and 38 seconds – they had definitely advanced to the final stunt and were one step closer to winning the trip.
Melody did not look excited at all. Paul used his head to peel back the top of the frosted cake revealing the squirming, squishy worms and eyes inside. They both worked valiantly, but couldn’t beat Gretchen and Justin’s time. The California newlyweds had won the trip, but could Paul and Melody even stay in the game? Paul finished in just over 15 minutes, but Melody still struggled to fill her glass. With time approaching the 36-minute mark, Melody knew she had to step up or step home to Idaho. It literally came down the wire. By the time Melody slammed back her drink, the two couples were neck-and-neck on final time. Time to beat was 36:03, Melody and Paul got 34:36! Crystal and Josh were out.
The next day, it was back into the theme park for the final two couples. Once again, fans lined the streets to cheer them on as they approached their final stunt. Each couple would be strapped into a convertible car (with a “Just Married” sign on back!). They’d have to launch the car down a ramp and into a lake. As the car began to sink, couples would free themselves and swim over to a nearby buoy to stop the clock. A coin flip decided that Paul and Melody would go first. Paul got into the driver’s seat with Melody by his side. On a random side note, whenever Paul and Melody kissed it was sort of a big, sloppy, open kiss and I thought that was a little weird. Why not the normal, brief “good luck”-type kisses that are a bit more viewer friendly? It’s not like you’re at home, making out in front of the TV for heaven’s sake. Spare us the PDA, that’s what I say. Anyway, the newlyweds gunned the car and through a burst of flames launched into the water. They were free quickly and swam to the buoy. Paul got their fast, but Melody swam around the back of the car for some reason which delayed her time. Their final time: 27.2 seconds. Also, Melody had some freaky tube top on over her bikini top, which makes me think there was a little too much cleavage for the Fear Factor decency squad. Then again, decency on Fear Factor? Maybe it was a theme park restriction.
Gretchen, who had no bathing suit restrictions, and Justin jumped in nextÖafter a normal good luck kiss! They launched well, but while trying to free themselves from the seatbelts, Gretchen got caught. It looked like the restraint got tangled around her neck, restricting her from getting out of the car. She struggled for a few precious seconds before climbing over the top of the car and meeting Paul at the buoy. Was it fast enough to beat Melody and Paul? Gretchen and Justin’s final time was: 24.1 seconds! The California newlyweds were the new Fear Factor Newlywed Champs!