Love him or hate him, Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio is an integral part of “The Challenge” world and he’s played an important role in helping the show grow over the years despite his absence the last couple of seasons. Even though he’s off our screens for the time being, he’s been very vocal about season 37 and offered his perspective — and constructive criticisms — on the show’s direction.
Bananas, who now hosts the “Death, Taxes and Bananas” podcast breaking down “Spies, Lies and Allies,” has been critical of the current season but told E! News that he’s providing “constructive criticism.” He said he loves “The Challenge” and it’s a major part of his life so he wants to see it continue to be successful for a long time.
“I grew up on this show and I spent my twenties and now the majority of my thirties, some of the best years of my life, on this show,” he told the outlet in an exclusive interview. “I’ve spilled so much blood and tears into the show that I want to see it be successful more than anyone.” That being said, he had a lot to say about the show and where he thinks it’s struggling as well as what it can do to improve.
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Bananas Had Several Suggestions, From the Format of the Show to the Casting Choices
Bananas told the outlet that he’s felt the need to speak out about the “concerning direction” he thinks the show has taken recently. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he said, explaining that the simplicity of the show that fans loved has been replaced by too many “bells and whistles and gimmicks” in the past few seasons.
An onslaught of new personalities on the show from all over the world has made it even more difficult to get longtime fans on board, he explained, as many of them have attachments to the veterans they watched for years. While Bananas acknowledged that these vets are getting older and without new “Real World” seasons to pick rookies from producers have to look elsewhere, “I just think they can go about doing it a different way.”
His last suggestion was regarding the format of the recent seasons and spoke about popular themes from the past that were excellent at creating drama while keeping things simple for viewers, like Rivals, Good Guys vs. Bad A**** or even Exes. However, he clarified, “I don’t really know if I want to deal with Exes in this day and age,” as the reality star recently split from Morgan Willett amid cheating allegations.
Bananas Hasn’t Revealed If or When He Will Return to the Show But Shared a Glimpse at What’s the Most Likely Scenario
So does Bananas think he’ll be back to “The Challenge” soon? “The problem with the flagship show now is it’s so long,” he answered. “It’s eight to 10 weeks.” He said with his other obligations like the podcast and NBC’s “1st Look,” which requires him to film 21 episodes for a season, it would be really hard to leave for that length of time.
“If and when I do return, it’s like, I don’t want to do it half-a**,” Bananas said. The seven-time champ explained that he has no interest in just going on the show to get paid and leave as it would “cheapen” his legacy. “If and when my schedule does accommodate ‘The Challenge,’ I would be more than willing to go back and I think it’s what ‘The Challenge’ needs a little bit, too, is some guidance.”
“All Stars,” which will see its second season premiere on November 11, is a more likely option for the reality star because there is a shorter time commitment and the vibe is more appealing to him, he said. While the “Real World” alum won’t be on the second season, a couple of his former “Key West” co-stars will be competing, namely Tyler Duckworth and Janelle Casanave.