The insanely long-running MTV reality show competition The Challenge has a long and storied history, and a few of the regular contestants on the series have become nearly synonymous with the show itself. And one of the show’s most memorable, accomplished, and divisive players has got to be Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio.
Since his initial MTV intro on The Real World: Key West, Bananas has been featured on a whopping 19 seasons of the series. And as the player who has been on more seasons (and won more seasons) than anyone else, he has certainly had some epic wins along with some massive fails. These are his best and worst moments on The Challenge.
10 Win: Playing Every Aspect Of The Game
Bananas is an undeniably polarizing figure in the history of The Challenge, and he can make himself pretty hard to root for sometimes.
But he does deserve credit when it comes to playing the game, as he was one of the first competitors to realize how many different angles of the game can be played outside of the actual competitions. He’s not the only one to do it, but he’s certainly one of the best at it, and it’s gotten him pretty far in his Challenge career.
9 Fail: Going Nuclear Every Time He’s A Target
No one likes to be thrown into elimination, no one likes being a target for any reason, and no one ever reacts well when they realize that they are a target.
However, Johnny’s tantrums over being a potential candidate for elimination or even just knowing that someone might be coming for him tend to be a lot more intense than most of the other competitors. He talks about himself like he’s the biggest game player of them all, but the moment anyone else starts playing he starts screaming that the rules aren’t fair.
8 Win: Becoming Friends With Cara Maria
Now this might not seem like an epic accomplishment in the history of Bananas on the surface, but it really is. The current status of their friendship not withstanding, the fact that Johnny seemed to develop a genuinely affectionate relationship with someone that he hated means a lot.
He has never been known for treating people of the female variety very well, and Cara Maria seemed to be one of his least favorite ladies for a long time, so the development of their relationship shows that Johnny’s maturity may have developed a little too.
7 Fail: Losing To Devin
Honestly there is no shame in losing an elimination, especially losing an elimination to Devin, who is a pretty solid performer in general. However, this became one of Johnny’s biggest fails entirely because of Johnny.
Bananas spent a completely disproportionate amount of screentime dragging Devin as a person and a player, and he acted as if the idea that a layup like Devin could ever beat him at anything was so absurd that it’s insulting. And then… he lost to Devin in an elimination.
6 Win: Getting Everything Out Of Rivals
The Challenge has created dozens of different format ideas, but the idea for Rivals may just be the best. When Rivals I began no one knew what was going to happen, and these duos of players who hated each other had to find a way to make it work.
Bananas and his partner Tyler wound up winning the season, but this win felt like a special one. Winning the money is always the end goal, but the relationship that Tyler and Bananas developed through their forced teamwork was a pretty big win too.
5 Fail: The Island
So you know how we said that Bananas is a pretty polarizing figure among Challenge fans? Yeah, well his awful behavioral displays on The Island are the perfect example of why.
Now, the dudes on The Challenge aren’t exactly known as bastions of feminism, but the way that Johnny treated the girls on this season of The Challenge was so abhorrent that it is still remembered by Challenge fans more than a decade later. Even if the ladies like Bananas, it doesn’t seem like he’s a big fan of them.
4 Win: Winning Free Agents
Like a lot of vets, Bananas has used his experience in the game to get pretty far in a lot of the seasons that he appeared on. That strategy of vet superiority seems to be fading, but for a while they easily dominated the game. It was a powerful enough sway that some people might have argued that Johnny didn’t earn some of his wins, and even that he wasn’t the competitor that he claimed to be.
However, the fact that he won Free Agents, a solo competition that rode entirely on a challenger’s ability to perform, certainly put that idea to rest.
3 Fail: Custom Made Johnny Bananas Backpack
Look, there is a reason that anyone who has ever set foot on a Challenge was afraid to go up against CT in anything. It’s basically like being a normal person and asking to fistfight Wolverine.
However, there are few instances where CT proved his physical superiority that are more outstanding than the moment that he ended what is arguably the most memorable Challenge elimination ever in about 15 seconds, with his “competitor” Johnny Bananas strapped to his back, flailing like a helpless, confused bug trying desperately to right itself.
2 Win: Winning The Most Challenges
Obviously the biggest win in the career of Mr. Bananarama is just that, winning. Regardless of what he’s done or how anyone feels about him, the fact is that he’s won The Challenge more than anyone else ever has.
In his whopping 19 appearances over the course of the show’s 35 seasons, Johnny has won The Challenge six times, which is a record that truly speaks for itself. Everything else can only get anyone so far, and ultimately when it comes to a long Challenge career, winning is what matters.
1 Fail: Taking The Money And Running
Everyone always knew that Johnny Bananas was a shady player, but no one realized quite how shady he was until Rivals 3, where he spent the entire season playing Sarah, acting as if they were friends, and then taking all of the prize money when they finally won the whole shebang.
His justification for the move was flimsy, and while he’s now not the only person to take the prize money from their partner thanks to Ashley, the fact that he spent then entire season making Sarah “earn back his friendship” after sending him into elimination once, only to take all of the money that was rightfully hers, was a career-definingly grimy fail on his part.
NEXT: Survivor: 10 Big Brother Players We’d Like To See As Castaways
Which Dungeons & Dragons Alignment Are You Based On Your Zodiac Type?