Dunbar Merrill ("Real World: Sydney") was recently a contestant on "The Challenge: Rivals II," a reality TV show currently airing on MTV every Wednesday at 10PM. He and his partner, Tyrie Ballard ("Real World: Denver"), were the first pair to be eliminated. As he chats with me on the phone about his experience while driving through the mountains of Alabama, he is friendly, candid and talkative. He is 29 years old and currently resides in Atlanta, GA, which he says sucks. He is passionate about politics and wrote a book called Crazy Sh*t Republicans Say, which you can read more about here.
Were you surprised Ty was your teammate? I never saw you guys have an issue before. How did you feel about Ty before this challenge?
I was very surprised because he and I never talked before this challenge. I had no idea he had an issue with me going into this. Once I found out he was my partner, I was like, [expletive], well, no point in being here anymore then, no way I'm gonna win this challenge with Ty as my partner. The thing is, [if I don't win] I get paid the same amount of money...which is, well, it's 5 figures, we'll say that. And I get paid that amount regardless of whether I'm there the whole time or there for only one challenge. So it's like, I know I'm not gonna win, why stay? I've got so much stuff going on at home, I've got a company, I've got my book I'm working on, I've got all this stuff going on.
So are you saying you threw the first challenge and elimination round on purpose?
Absolutely. I mean, with that jump I made in the first challenge, it was so obvious. And then the elimination round, when I saw Tyrie blocking Derek and I ran to the bell, I was like, [expletive], what do I do? I guess I'll fall, to give Derek time to get to the bell. And even then, we STILL almost won.
Did Tyrie know you were throwing the challenge and elimination?
I don't think so, but a lot of the other guys knew.
In interview confessionals, you say you're frustrated with Ty. What was frustrating you?
He's a nice person, I mean, we didn't really talk much but he's a nice guy. But as a competitor, he sucks. I knew there was no way we were going to win.
It seems a lot of people on the challenge don't like him. Is that just because of his lack of athletic ability or is it his personality?
He's a nice guy, but he's just really nerdy and whatever, I mean that's fine, there's nothing wrong with that, but we just don't have much in common.
Really? Tyrie is nerdy? He does not come off that way on the show.
Yeah, a lot of the guys on the show are one way on-camera and completely different off-camera. They're fake.
What's the biggest misconception about you?
That I care about things and people a lot more than I do. It's all editing, I couldn't care less about most of these people. Also, that I'm angry, I feel like I come off as kind of an angry guy and I'm totally not that way.
Other interesting gossip, according to Dunbar:
Evelyn Smith ("Fresh Meat") was born a man and had a sex change when she was in her teens, which is why she's such a good competitor.
Paula Meronek ("Real World: Key West") and Dunbar had a one night stand and production found out about it and that's why they placed them together in "Battle of the Exes."
Casey Cooper ("Fresh Meat") was supposed to be Johnny Bananas's partner on "Battle of the Exes" but last minute, they decided to pair him with Camila Nakagawa ("Spring Break"), instead.
Confessionals are done twice a week, sometimes more. Sometimes, if something really dramatic happens sometimes producers will pull you aside and ask you to do a confessional on the spot.