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‘The Challenge’ Is Going ‘Back to Its Roots’ for Season 35: Less Toxicity, More Competition

Back to basics. Season 35 of The Challenge may have a familiar feeling to longtime fans — in the best way ever. On the latest episode of the “Watch With Us” podcast, Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio teased the changes to come on Total Madness.

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The Challenge back to the roots
The Challenge MTV

“One of the knocks lately is, like, we just want The Challenge to get back to its roots and what made it amazing. I think this season, it really does focus on the game and the strategy,” Bananas, 37, says on Thursday, March 26, episode of the podcast. “There’s obviously drama that comes along with it and the politics but this is more about people showing up [and] competing for the love of the game.”

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The six-time champion noted that some of the “really toxic, awful personalities” aren’t on season 35, so this season is lighter.

“The darkness, the unnecessary toxicity is gone. It’s really back to the nuts and bolts of what made The Challenge great,” he said. Plus, the living arrangements created a different vibe than he’s ever experienced in the past.

Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio
Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio MTV

This time, the cast lived in an underground bunker with no windows or doors.

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“It really, really, really wore on you. It took a while for it to wear on me but some people cracked I mean immediately,” he said. “Usually, people from day one are in each other’s throats or fighting against each other. This the first time there was almost this sense of, like, we’re in this together. … We’re here to compete, but everyone was facing the exact same misery regardless of whether you had a ticket punched in the final, whether you just won. Everyone was exposed to the same element. Some of like the ugly, nasty, toxic drama that takes place season after season was kind of replaced with this sense and feeling of survival.”

So, is season 35 Bananas’ last? Who will he team up with? And does he still get scared?

For more from Bananas, pick up the latest issue of Us Weekly, on newsstands now, and listen to the podcast above for free.

The Challenge: Total Madness premieres on MTV Tuesday, April 1, at 8 p.m. ET.

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