Why the 'Yellowjackets' Season Premiere Features the Bananas Backpack Scene from 'The Challenge'
Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio and CT Tamburello share their reactions to appearing on the Emmy-nominated series
The season 2 premiere of Yellowjackets features some unexpected dead weight. And no, we're not talking about frozen Jackie in the shed.
When viewers first see Callie Sadecki (Sarah Desjardins) — the teenage daughter of Shauna (Melanie Lynskey) and Jeff (Warren Cole) — she and her boyfriend are watching TV. But unlike pretty much everything else on the show, what they're watching is no mystery: It's the infamous Johnny Bananas backpack scene from 2010's The Challenge: Cutthroat, in which CT Tamburello carries Johnny "Bananas" Devenanzio on his back during an elimination.
So why The Challenge and why that moment?
"There were no other options," co-showrunner Bart Nickerson tells PEOPLE exclusively.
Co-showrunner Ashley Lyle explains, "I am a massive fan of The Challenge. Nothing, I mean nothing, can compare to the CT, Johnny Bananas showdown that was the Johnny Bananas backpack incident. We requested it specifically."
Related:How Do the Young Actors of Yellowjackets Compare to Their Adult Counterparts as Young Stars?
While it likely helped that both shows are in the MTV Entertainment Studios family, when Lyle and Nickerson learned that they had the green light to use the scene, they were elated.
"When we learned that we got the clip, our entire editorial department was waiting to see our reaction — and I don't think we disappointed," says Lyle. "We cheered, there was yelling."
Adds Nickerson: "It was nearly as exciting, but not quite, as the actual backpack moment."
Related:Johnny 'Bananas' Devenanzio Knows He Is 'Public Enemy No. 1' on Every Season of The Challenge
Thankfully, all these years later, seven-time winner Johnny Bananas, 40, is able to laugh about the incident.
"Of all the moments over my long, illustrious reality television career, the Johnny Banackpack clip is the gift that keeps on giving," he tells PEOPLE. "From prime time, to Showtime!"
Five-time champion Tamburello, 42, still looks back at the iconic moment with reverence. "That moment kickstarted my road to redemption," he says.
"They must be watching @paramountplus," Derrick Kosinski, who also appears in the clip, joked on Twitter.
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"We're so flattered that the Yellowjackets producers are not only fans of The Challenge, but that they appreciate one of the most iconic moments in TV history by keeping it in the zeitgeist more than 10 years later," Julie Pizzi, president of Bunim/Murray Productions, tells PEOPLE.
New episodes of Yellowjackets drop Fridays on the Showtime app and air Sundays at 9 p.m. on Showtime. New episodes of The Challenge: World Championship drop Wednesdays on Paramount+.
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