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TV's Most Hated Man Competes in Humiliating Physical Endurance Show

By Emma Chance | TV | August 4, 2023 |

By Emma Chance | TV | August 4, 2023 |


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According to Nick Viall (The Bachelor), Tom Sandoval (Vanderpump Rules) snuck pictures of himself and Rachel Leviss onto the set of the Fox reality competition show Special Forces: World’s Toughest Test, a show where a group of celebrities goes through military-esque training in harsh conditions for nothing but glory. As in, there is no cash prize for the winner. In fact, there could be more than one winner, because there are no votes or eliminations, just survival. Contestants leave the competition if they have to for medical reasons, if they choose to themselves, or if production asks them to.

“He snuck in pictures of him and Rachel and he showed them to the cast,” Viall claimed of Sandoval on a recent episode of his podcast Viall Files. He said that Fox banned competitors from bringing certain items, like personal photos, with them during filming and that he would have loved to have had photos of his fiancée with him. “I guess I could have tried but I just didn’t.”

“Honestly, the conversations with the cast were kinda, like, ‘Well, fuck, you might as well go for it,’” he explained. “He came across to me as someone who had feelings and cared about Rachel.”

Sounds to me like he’s plotting his redemption arc. In the teaser for the new season of the show, there’s a shot of Sandoval in what looks like a confessional-style situation, saying, “I want to get punished.”

Is this … an evilly genius PR strategy? Television’s most hated man goes on a physical endurance show and subjects himself to humiliating treatment for our viewing pleasure? Acknowledges his mistakes and invites, nay, asks to be punished for them? Brings pictures of his forbidden love to carry in his pocket as he throws his body around in the name of absolution?

Let’s be honest with ourselves, we watch reality tv for the schadenfreude. Sandoval, or someone on his team, clearly understands that, and they’re banking on it.