‘The Challenge’: Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio Said Contestants Try to Get Around the Seriously Strict Show Rules

The Challenge is here with Total Madness, and we’re already seeing major drama unfold. So far, veteran players Wes Bergmann and Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio have decided to put aside their long-time rivalry to band together and get to the finale. And it seems to be working. We’ve seen rookies and veterans alike compete in the elimination rounds this season, but Devenanzio and Bergmann are cooking up a plan to reach the end.

Fans of the show know Devenanzio quite well. He’s been playing the game for over a decade and has been a major source of fighting, drama, and conflict through the years. And he’s even talked about how other players try to bend the rules of the game. Here’s what he mentioned.

Wes Bergmann says ‘The Challenge’ is one of the most ‘real’ reality TV shows

View this post on Instagram

Caption this

A post shared by Weston Bergmann (@westonbergmann) on

It’s hard to tell what’s real and what’s fake when it comes to reality TV. But Bergmann maintains that The Challenge is the real deal. He spoke with the Bachelor Party podcast about the show, and he said the people behind the camera simply document everything that’s happening around them. When something wildly inappropriate or bizarre occurs on the show, it seems it really does happen that way in real life.

“We are not reality television,” he told the podcast. “Our show does not do any of that. They started as documentarians, and they are still documentarians, they just happen to be really, really good, entertaining documentarians. I have never found myself in the position where the most important storylines aren’t being told in as fairly of a way as possible.”

There are plenty of strict rules the contestants must follow

Like any TV show, the contestants on The Challenge must abide by certain rules. E! News notes it often looks like the competitors are partying constantly, but the alcohol isn’t as free-flowing as it seems. “Because we have cameras on them all the time, we can gauge if somebody is getting really drunk and then we would certainly intervene,” Julie Pizzi, the president of entertainment and development for the company responsible for the show, explains.

The contestants are also given nondisclosure agreements so they can’t talk about spoilers on the show — and it sounds serious. Pizzi explained that show leaks are “the bane of our existence,” and she said the NDAs “threaten them just shy of their life.”

“We have one leak that we’re trying to figure out that’s been going on for a couple of years now,” E! News notes she said. “We practically put detectives on it to try and figure out who it is!” 

Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio says competitors try to get around the rules

Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio attends the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards at Barker Hangar
Johnny ‘Bananas’ Devenanzio attends the 2019 MTV Movie and TV Awards at Barker Hangar | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for MTV

With so many rules in place, contestants are bound to break some. And it seems the rules behind personal items are the first to go out the window. E! News notes contestants aren’t allowed to have TVs, radios, or phones. But Pizzi said the competitors are “totally into burner phones. Like, you take their one phone and there’s another one, like, in a compartment in their shoe.”

Devenanzio also spoke about bending the rules. According to Us Weekly, the veteran said that because players were “hiding contraband in protein containers, all workout supplements must be factory-sealed.” And fellow veteran player Derrick Kosinski also noted there’s a $25,000 fine for sneaking around on a cellphone if you’re playing the game.

It seems the only interaction the contestants have is their monitored phone calls. Devenanzio said the calls are “strictly monitored to prevent leaks,” and each competitor gets two 10-minute calls a week.

We’re assuming it’s even more difficult for contestants to have no contact with the outside world in Total Madness, as they’re living in an underground bunker!

Check out Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Facebook!