Image via MTV.

This season of MTV’s The Challenge is down to the final competition and Tuesday night’s episode saw a pair of contestants fail at basic math in the most tragic fashion. This team should win just for losing so badly.

Let me preface this by saying, while my math skills were quite formidable in elementary and high school, much of that knowledge has faded over the years. However, simple concepts like division and percentages should (hopefully) come easy to anyone over the age of 10.

During part one of the final challenge featured in last night’s episode (titled “Math Is Hard”), Cory (a muscular pretty boy with silly putty in his brain) is paired up with Nicole (a Staten Island cop). The competition involves a puzzle that calls for the teams to simply count the number of triangles in a given puzzle board, divide that number by 3, then multiply it by 12. The answer is the combination to a lock, which each team needs to open to move onto the next leg of the challenge. This triangle puzzle is a simple brain game many of us have encountered—except for Nicole and Cory, who struggle to figure out there are 27 triangles in the board because there are triangles within triangles!

After the women on the two other teams manage to solve the puzzle, their male teammates call them “genius” and “very bright” just for being able to do math. Nicole and Cory are meanwhile STRESSED OUT, trying everything from counting the triangular letters in the puzzle instructions instead (??????) to trying to solve this difficult math equation in the sand. It’s truly a master class:


Cory: So we tried 17. We tried 16... What’s 16 times 3...?

Nicole: 6, 12, 18... 8, 1...

Cory: 16 times 3...

Nicole: 3...

Cory: So it’d be 30...

Nicole and Cory’s performance is so bad that time expires and the producers on site—who are enjoying every minute while wondering how these people get through life—have to step in and assist them with the math. There are 27 triangles. 27 / 3 = 9, and 9 x 12 = 108. The lock combination is 1 0 8.


“How’d you get 27?” Cory asks. “But how did you get that?”