'The Challenge: Total Madness' Is Housing Contestants in an Underground Bunker

Allison Cacich - Author

Feb. 12 2021, Updated 11:34 a.m. ET

the challenge total madness location
Source: MTV

MTV’s The Challenge: Total Madness could not be coming at a better time. Not only is the title of the reality competition’s 35th season (which premieres on April 1) fitting during the COVID-19 pandemic, but the show also provides a welcome respite from the anxieties crowding our psyche during these uncertain times. 

Back in October, we found out the location for Total Madness, and according to one veteran contestant, it's the most brutal living situation he’s ever experienced on the series.

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What location did MTV choose for 'The Challenge: Total Madness'?

This season takes place in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, and pits 21 former Challenge competitors against seven rookies. Unlike previous installments, the players won’t be split into teams. Instead, it will be every man for himself. 

the challenge total madness
Source: MTV
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What made Total Madness particularly rough was the real Cold War bunker contestants stayed in throughout the game’s duration. "You’re underground in Prague in the dead of winter, so it’s already cold and with no windows," Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio — who’s competed in a total of 20 Challenges — told TV Insider.

"Normally you go on and you’re living in this amazing villa or mansion in Thailand or somewhere tropical," he continued. "We were living in a bunker that was created for war. It’s a Soviet, Cold War, anti-aircraft bunker where they actually launched missiles at American spy planes."

Johnny confessed that he typically views the players’ lodgings as a retreat from the pressures of competition, but that wasn’t the case this time around. "It was almost like you’re looking forward to doing challenges rather than sitting in this bunker withering away and being left to your own devices. It was pretty gnarly," he explained.

Despite being confined to a subterranean edifice for long periods of time, Johnny admitted that nothing could have prepared him for the level of isolation brought on by the recent spread of coronavirus.  

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johnny bananas the challenge
Source: Instagram

"This is unlike anything anyone has had to go through," he noted. "Even for me, someone who has essentially been forced to be quarantined inside houses and bunkers and beaches. This is different."

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The 37-year-old added that it feels "eerily serendipitous" to have lived in a wartime bunker just a few months before many countries issued shelter-in-place orders. 

"I do hope this upcoming season is going to be a momentary escape for people where they can watch it and step away from their madness and live in our madness for a little bit," he expressed.

the challenge cast
Source: Instagram
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Who is in the cast of 'The Challenge: Total Madness'?

Most of this season’s competitors are Challenge alums like Johnny. Here’s a closer look at the players:

Johnny "Bananas" DevenanzioThe Real World: Key West, The Challenge 13, 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

Aneesa FerreiraThe Real World: Chicago, The Challenge 6, 9, 11, 13, 14, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25, 27, 30

Ashley MitchellReal World: Ex-Plosion, The Challenge 28, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34

Cory WhartonReal World: Ex-Plosion, The Challenge 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Chris "CT" TamburelloThe Real World: Paris, The Challenge 8, 10, 13, 14, 15, 17, 21, 22, 24, 25, 26, 29, 30, 32, 33, 34

Dee NguyenGeordie Shore 17, The Challenge 33, 34

Jenna ComponoReal World: Ex-Plosion, The Challenge 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 32, 33

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Jennifer West Survival of the Fittest, The Challenge 34

Jordan WiseleyThe Real World: Portland, The Challenge 24, 25, 26, 30, 34

Josh MartinezBig Brother 19, The Challenge 33, 34

Kailah CasillasReal World: Go Big or Go Home, The Challenge 29, 30, 31, 32

Kyle ChristieGeordie Shore 8, The Challenge 31, 32, 33, 34

Mattie Lynn BreauxParty Down South, The Challenge 33

Melissa ReevesEx on the Beach UK 2, The Challenge 31, 32

Nany GonzalezThe Real World: Las Vegas, The Challenge 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 33, 34

Nelson ThomasAre You the One? 3, The Challenge 28, 29, 30, 31, 32

Rogan O’Connor Ex on the Beach UK 2, The Challenge 31, 34

Stephen BearShipwrecked: The Island, The Challenge 33, 34

Tori Deal Are You the One? 4, The Challenge 30, 32, 34

Tula "Big T" Fazakerley Shipwrecked: Battle of the Islands, The Challenge 34

Wes BergmannThe Real World: Austin, The Challenge 12, 13, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 28, 33, 34

Asaf GorenBig Brother (Israel), So You Think You Can Dance

Bayleigh DaytonBig Brother 20

Christopher "Swaggy C" WilliamsBig Brother 20

Faysal "Fessy" ShafaatBig Brother 20

Jay StarrettSurvivor: Millennials vs. Gen X 

Jennifer LeeThe Amazing Race 29

Kaycee ClarkBig Brother 20

The new season of The Challenge airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET on MTV.

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