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The Amazing Race 5 - So Where's the Alpha-Male Team?by Phil Kural -- 06/18/2004
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One complaint I have always heard when it comes to The Amazing Race is that the team with the two strong men always wins. I can't really argue with that because it's happened every season except for one. Why is that the case? Could it be that the challenges are too hard for women? Do two men work better than a couple or two women? Maybe men are just better at handling the pressure the race puts on someone. Let's take a look at some possibilities concerning the lack of an alpha-male team this season.
Well, some may say that the brother duo of Marshall & Lance is the alpha-male team this season. I would disagree in a heartbeat. Let's look at the facts: Both of these guys don't look to be in the best physical shape and they are rather young to be the weight that they are. I'm not saying they are fat, but at their age, it would be easy for them to get into shape. Compare Marshall & Lance to Rob & Brennan, Chris & Alex, and Reichen & Chip - all past winners that were probably in the best shape of their lives - and there is no contest that the latest brother duo is not in the same ball park, at least physically. In fact, one could even argue that Zach & Flo only won because the physically dominant Zach had to all but carry Flo across the finish line.
So for the most part, we can factor out Marshall & Lance as the alpha-male team. But why? Does it make sense to not have a team of two athletic males this time around? I would say so, simply for the fact that they seem to always win. It will be nice to see something different this season. I'd like to see two girls win the race, or the father/daughter team, or even the "older couple," Bob & Joyce. The simple fact is that two guys that are in shape have a much better chance of winning than two out of shape women, married parents or a bickering couple. There is less drama within the team, the physical tasks come easier and for the obvious fact that they can probably move much faster. I'm not trying to be a downer but it's true! I'd like to be the first to say that I'm glad there is no alpha-male team this season, because it will make for a better show and make it more suspenseful.
For the past four seasons of this show, I pegged Rob & Brennan, Chris & Alex and Reichen & Chip all to make the final leg of the race. I said the same thing about Derek & Drew, but they caught a bad break and just missed the last leg. However, I think that if they had made that final leg, they would have easily beaten Teri & Ian, and probably would have made it past Zach & Flo as well, for the simple fact that a snail could have out raced Flo if it wasn't for Zach. This does prove that a team of two athletic males is almost guaranteed a place in the final three. Bad luck is always a cause for someone to be eliminated during the race, and it has claimed many teams. However, it seems like no matter how badly the alpha-male team gets screwed, they almost always manage to escape elimination. Rob & Brennan had their bad luck when it came to navigation, which seemed to be their weak point, but week after week, they still made it. Reichen & Chip had bad luck when it came to relating to the other teams and getting along. However, even keeping to themselves they still managed to win the race. Does bad luck skip over the alpha-male teams? Food for thought.
Even the other teams realize that it's important to get rid of the alpha-male team as early as possible. During the third season of the race, three teams got together in order to do whatever it took to get rid of the twins, Derek & Drew. Two of those teams were eliminated first, meaning that their efforts were of no use. Most of the teams during the fourth race intentionally kept away from Reichen & Chip because they wanted them to mess up and be eliminated, since they were such a physical threat. It makes sense though. It would benefit weaker teams to team up with each other before they teamed up with a physically stronger team because the alpha-male team will come out on top in the end.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that there needed to be a break from the alpha-male team this year, and I'm glad the casting directors didn't choose one for this season - it's a welcome break from the usual. I'm looking forward to watching the other teams race it out. If Marshall & Lance win the race, which I don't expect them to, it will be the closest thing to an alpha-male team winning, and all my theories will go right out the window. The action starts on July 6th, and I'll be in front of my T.V. every Tuesday at 10 p.m. to see which team takes home the million.Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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