Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Amazing Race Round-Up, 18-2

Sorry for the lack of a Thursday post, but I got sick with a fast-moving virus Thursday morning which I'm just now recovering from. While I was too sick to write, move, or do much beyond sit on the couch and play "Plants Vs. Zombies" (my Tree of Wisdom is almost 600 feet tall!) I decided I'd devote the Monday post to the current season of "The Amazing Race" while it's in season, because a) I like the show and like talking about it, b) it means I have to only think of one vaguely clever thing a week, and c) why not? (Those of you offering up, "Because I don't care about 'The Amazing Race'" as an answer to c) can be comforted with the knowledge that there will still be one post a week that is not Race-related.) The post will be a mix of recap, discussion, and snark, blended according to mood.

I discussed the first episode on Mightygodking last week, and it left off with a big cliffhanger: The teams checked in at the Pit Stop had already discovered that they were on a double-leg, so they had to keep racing with no chance to rest! And Jet and Cord, the only team who hadn't yet made it to the Pit Stop, were falling further and further behind as the Road Block continued to stump them!

And this episode, we see that the next challenge...was to find the place to sign up for the charter flight that left the next morning. I have to say, I was really disappointed, and not just because I'm rooting against Jet and Cord because they're homophobic idjits. After a first episode that established quite well that this Race was going to be tougher and more grueling than usual, due to all the seasoned Racers, bunching them all up again essentially turned the double-leg into a non-elimination leg, rescuing Jet and Cord from a spectacular foul-up without even the penalty of a Speed Bump.

The Detour did somewhat make up for it, though, being a well-designed choice between a fiddly detail-oriented task that would take a while and reward staying calm under pressure...and something that sounded kind of icky, and could be tricky, but could also be completed very quickly for those willing to try it. (Which was exactly one team, and them only because they had to. But hey.) Pretty much everything we'd already seen of these teams was on display again; Ron and Christina bickered non-stop, Flight Time and Big Easy took everything in good humor, Jaime and Cara got frustrated easily with people who weren't helpful even though said people weren't there to be helpful to begin with, et cetera et cetera.

After the Detour, we had a very good navigation task--I like that the destination was expressed in the form of highlighting elements on the Periodic Table and forcing the Racers to figure it out. Of course, nowadays that just means stopping a passerby and asking to borrow their smartphone for a moment, but let's face it, that's the world these days. It's just about impossible to keep the Racers away from the Internet, and honestly, I'm not sure it's such a bad thing. Without the Internet and sympathetic passers-by, about half the teams would wind up standing around for hours, arguing about whether or not Hg stood for Hydrogen. Which yes, does separate the men and women from the boys and girls, but makes for boring television.

Oh, and they all had to find the intersection while wearing kangaroo costumes. Probably didn't make it that much more challenging, but a lot more amusing.

Then it was just a race to the Pit Stop, and despite my hopes that we'd see a swift exit for Ron and Christina (well, Ron, at least; Christina could stay, but Ron was being rude not just to his own daughter but to Mallory to boot) ...it was Amanda and Kris who made the exit. So basically the U-Turn again proves to be fatal, which is why they should use the Double-U-Turn from last season instead. As it is, the presence of a U-Turn almost removes all the suspense from an episode.

On the one hand, it's a bummer that Perfectly Nice Couple Amanda and Kris went home while there are at least four teams (Jet and Cord, Ron and Christina, Kisha and Jen, Jaime and Cara) that I'm actively rooting against. On the other hand, I can at least take some comfort that none of the teams I'm actively rooting for (Margie and Luke, Flight Time and Big Easy, Kent and Vyxsin, Mel and Mike) went out, especially given that Mel still looks like he's about to collapse in a heap at any second.

Next week, Jaime and Cara appear to run someone over. Presumably, Jaime will get out of the car and berate them for slowing her down. And then berate them again for not screaming in English.

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