Sunday, October 25, 2009

October 25, 2009

When this week's episode of The Amazing Race started, as I mentioned at the end of last week's post, I already missed Lance and Keri. Meghan and Cheyne started off the episode as they raced off to the first Roadblock which involved one team member rowing an inflatable rowboat out to a yacht. Cheyne declared that he was the best choice for this task because he has experience with boating and "knew the logistics of how to get there." Maybe it's just me, but it seemed like "the logistics of how to get there" involved: a) getting in the rowboat, b) rowing, and c) heading towards the yacht. Not exactly rocket science.

I never would have imagined that a tiny little rowboat would create so much havoc for the teams. First, Cheyne was moving at a snail's pace, then Brian gets an injury and finished the task with a bleeding hand (what!?), and then Gary couldn't get a handle on rowing so he laid down on his stomach and canoe-paddled. THEN Big Easy and Gay Brother #1 or #2 (I don't know which one is which) both had so much trouble with the oars that they each decided to just forget them and row with their hands! Now, here's the two things that are completely idiotic about this strategy: first, that the system they were using with their hands, rowing backwards with both hands at once, is all they had to do with the oars! And second, that as they were slapping the water with their hands, neither of them bothered to take the oars out of the water, so they have to drag them in the water which makes it even more difficult! It seemed like Tiffany was the only one who actually knew how to operate the rowboat properly.

After the rowing part of the challenge, each team had to decipher the clue that the time on the watch was the combination for the briefcase, and while it was painful watching Flight Time and Big Easy struggle with it, I was thinking how anticlimactic an episode it would have been if Lance and Keri were still in the race. I mean, they couldn't even find the clue hidden inside the bullet in an earlier episode, and I'm quite confident that every other team would have reached the Pit Stop, and we would have seen Phil heading back to tell them they were eliminated before they even got the briefcase open.

Mika and Canaan stated that the perception was they were the zebras and the other teams were the lions. Haven't they been paying attention? Brian and Ericka are the zebras (Go Team Jungle Fever!), and Lance is the lion. On a side note, Kudos to Brian and Ericka for their first episode of the season without a racial wordplay nickname or metaphor. And did Mika really ask, "Does a Muslim clock work differently"? More on her later.

As soon as I saw the options for the Detour, I knew that they were both going to be great challenges. Personally, I would have chosen the Gold option, as Brian and Ericka initially did, with Brian declaring that it would involve "some tricky math.", it's not that "tricky"'s just division. If you went to elementary school, I can pretty much guarantee that this is one of the first four math concepts you learned.

Little did I know how much this would be a problem for the teams (God bless you, American education system!), as nobody could figure out what to do, including Sam and Dan, who HAD A CALCULATOR! It was only when Maria and Tiffany showed up that anyone figured out how to do it, and then they shared the info with Sam and Dan. Their quote after the fact was, "Our alliance with Maria and Tiffany really helped us today." Yes it did, because they were the only team who was smart enough to align themselves with a team who know how to do division when they have a calculator. Well done, boys. Now, to be fair, Maria and Tiffany use mental arithmetic all the time in poker (including division) for calculating pot odds and other concepts, so I knew that would be a breeze for them.

Did you notice that when Meghan and Cheyne finished first, Phil told them that they each won "a personal watercraft" but didn't specify what it was that they won? So, while it sounds like they want you to think that they won a Jet-Ski or a Sea-Doo, they probably just won one of those crappy inflatable rowboats from the Roadblock.

The waterslide through the shark tank was one of the coolest things I've ever seen. As Liz Lemon would say, "I want to go to there."
Now, on to one of the most memorable moments in any season of The Amazing Race, Mika's meltdown at the top of the waterslide. I've (fairly) given Mika a hard time in past recaps about being beautiful but not very bright, and I'm not sure that her predicament on the top of the waterslide warranted her saying "I hate my life right now" or praying to God to help her through it. She also declared that it was her "worst nightmare", which I find difficult to believe. I can't imagine that as a child, or a teenager, she woke up screaming in the night that she was one day going to be stuck in Dubai at the top of a waterslide through a shark tank that she was going to have to go down so that she would be able to keep racing for a million dollars with her Christian acoustic guitar-playing boyfriend who wouldn't have sex with her. Unlikely.

(On a side note, if you're afraid of water AND heights, did you maybe consider that The Amazing Race might not be for you? Have you watched it before?)

But as ridiculous as all of that was (as were her pink floral water wings), it was even more difficult to watch Canaan's reaction to her. We've seen fear-based meltdowns in the past, but the other teammates is usually the biggest cheerleader for the one who is afraid, trying to help them through it--remember Kisha last season when little sister Jen was afraid of the pool? But to see Canaan yelling at Mika, and calling her a moron, and actually grabbing her as if he was going to throw her down the slide...well, that just brought the whole situation to a whole new level of uncomfortable.

Not sure I'm happy or sad to see them go...I don't think I really care either way. But I have to know, what the hell was that on Mika's back?

I know this spot is usually reserved for a full Amazing Race recap, but I wanted to mention this past week's Survivor episode. If you watched it, you saw what happened to Russell Swan as he passed out twice during a challenge. I've watched every episode of this show since the first season, and this was without a doubt the scariest thing I've ever seen, including when Michael Skupin fell into the fire and burned his hands in Survivor: Australia. He actually looked like he was going to die right there while medical was checking on him, and the image of him slumped over the maze while unconscious and blindfolded is pretty haunting.
If you want some of the details on what happened, make sure to check out Jeff Probst's blog from this week, where he talks in-depth about the situation. Also, be sure to watch Survivor Talk with Dalton Ross and Josh Wolk, where they have a phone conversation with Russell and he talks about watching the episode with his wife.

Until next week...


Anonymous said...

I've never watched the show, but I have tried paddling in a rowboat before, and let me tell you: not as easy as it looks. Unless you can pull the oars at the exact same speed, power, and angle in each hand, you end up going in a terrible 'S' shaped pattern through the water, because your one side is always overpowering your other.


Anonymous said...

i've seen the patches before. Pretty sure they are meant to fight motion sickness (which I imagine comes in handy on AR)


Sean said...

I too have experience rowing, in a rowboat and an inflatable dinghy...yes, it's not easy, but you can figure it out. And if you can apply the concept of using the same speed, power, and angle of using your hands, you should be able to use it with the oars.