Hey everybody, The Beast is here, filling in for Tim while he travels the world in search of fortune and glory! We’ve got one hell of a match coming up this week, between a potentially legendary team we haven’t seen in nearly a year, and a team of superstars making their long, long, LONG awaited debut.
Buckle up folks, because this week it’s Jeannine the Machine and Ethan “Big Time” Erwin, THE TIME MACHINE, versus Alonso “Papa Christmas” Duralde and Matt “The Big Kahuna” Atchity, THE PADDINGTON TWO!
Both teams can be traced back to the 2018 Anarchy tournament where, in the midst of the KOrruption chaos, Mike Kalinowski conspired behind the scenes – spurred, as it was later revealed, by Chairman Harloff – to break up almost every team in the league, forcing each player to work with a new, randomly selected partner. Some teams showed so much promise that they stayed together, like The Odd Couple, Who’s the Boss and The Paddington Two.
Matt Atchity, who once made a title run with his former partner Grae Drake, but eventually slipped down the rankings, teamed up with Alonso Duralde, a venerable film critic who had only made a few appearances in the Schmoedown, in the original Free For All and in a single, solitary teams match with Christy Lemire as What the Flick… a match that ended in defeat at the hands of Matt Atchity and Grae Drake, as Rotten Tomatoes (who later changed their name to MODOK).
The debut of The Paddington Two found them taking on War Machine, the newly formed team-up of Jeannine the Machine and Brian Walton, and defeating them by TKO. It seemed as though a new powerhouse had emerged, but The Paddington Two were eliminated in the next round of tournament play The Odd Couple, in one of the closest matches of the tournament.
With the tournaments taking over the Schmoedown for the rest of season five, there wasn’t much of an opportunity for The Paddington Two to return for a long, long time, and as we all know… ring rust is a thing. Matt Atchity and Alonso Duralde are going to have to shake off some cobwebs and do some studying if they want to take down their opponents, because Jeannine the Machine and Ethan Erwin are seasoned pros by this point, and they are overdue for team glory.
Fun Fact: Jeannine and Erwin were originally supposed to team up during the Anarchy Tournament, but scheduling issues got in the way, and forced them both to find new partners. What we are seeing in this week’s match is a promise fulfilled, as Jay Washington’s last two star players join forces to take on the league.
The success of Time Machine (great name, by the way) is paramount for their manager, Jay Washington, who has not had the greatest season so far. Ethan Erwin lost the Singles belt, Stacy Howard defected to KOrruption and Jeannine the Machine just barely lost the Manager’s Bowl. Perhaps together, Jeannine and Erwin can accomplish new miracles.
And frankly, they’re a scary pairing. Ethan is one of the most deadly accurate players in the league, and Jeannine the Machine – although she’s had a few matches derailed, sometimes at the very last minute – has proven herself to be one of the top tier competitors, holding her own at Free For All III and besting former Singles champion John Rocha at Collision III (even though she came up ever so short against Drew McWeeny).
If Time Machine wants to defeat The Paddington Two, they’re going to have to focus on their technicals. Duralde has never had the benefit of extended periods of play, and Atchity has never really taken the game itself too seriously. He’s got the knowledge, but his sometimes hazy understanding of the rules cost him his team the title in a match against The Patriots. Time Machine should be on the lookout for any possible weakness that they can exploit to make The Paddington Two stumble, freeze up, or lose points on a challenge.
Besides studying up on the essentials, The Paddington Two need to keep focused on the gameplay. Atchity is quite the character, but sometimes focuses so much on entertaining the audience that he fumbles questions. Fortunately for Atchity – if not necessarily the fans – Duralde isn’t as theatrical a partner as Grae Drake was, and his forthright (but affable) play style might be able to rein Atchity in a bit and keep him clearheaded.
As far as strengths go, The Paddington Two are practically unstoppable in the Holiday Movies category (Duralde quite literally wrote the book about the genre), and their long history in the movie criticism game should give them the edge in Classics, and other related old school categories which have proved to be weaknesses for their opponents. Jeannine and Ethan should have the edge when it comes to romantic comedies and action-packed genre films. So be on the lookout for those categories, because they could completely change the game.
Ordinarily it would be folly to bet against a team that’s ranked in the top ten when their opponents are rookies, but Jeannine the Machine and Ethan Erwin aren’t rookies. They’ve just never played together. And with Jeannine’s extreme commitment to the Schmoedown and Ethan’s track record as a former Singles champion, they should have the edge going into the match. But even if they just rely on pure knowledge The Paddington Two could make this a very tight race, and might even be able to squeak out a win if fortune – or the wheel – favors them.
Who do you think will take home the ever-so-vaunted “W?” We’ll find out this week when The Paddington Two take on Time Machine!