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The Amazing Race 5, Episode 1: MVP’s and LVP’s - Cluelessby Betsy Wasser -- 07/12/2004
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Welcome to a new weekly column on The Amazing Race. I’ve decided to take a page from Phil Kural’s Survivor articles in which he names a weekly MVP. Every week, I’ll choose a player or team as the MVP, awarding them the coveted First Class award. Players can win the First Class award for making smart decisions, using good strategy, being tough, or just being fun to be around – being the kind of people you’d like to travel with. But I’m not here just to praise good players. I’ll also be awarding the soon-to-be infamous Cargo Class award for the worst players. Coming in last place isn’t a guarantee you’ll win the Cargo Class award – though it doesn’t hurt. Players will sink to the depths of the Cargo Class for whining, making dumb choices, or for being the kind of person you’d hate to sit next to on a plane. Got it? Then let’s get to it.
Let’s start with the good stuff, shall we? First, I’ve got to give an honorable mention to Jim, captain of what’s bound to be known as Team Wounded Knee. Seconds after the race started, Jim tripped and gashed his knee on a nail. Ow! While other players complained about a little bit of shoving that happened at the beginning, Jim didn’t say one word of complaint about his injury. He just kept running. In fact, it wasn’t until his daughter and teammate Marsha noticed the blood dripping down his leg that he admitted what had happened. Still, Jim didn’t complain and kept on going. And when he was told at the airport that he needed to seek medical attention before he could board the plane, he still didn’t object or talk about how it was unfair. He got his 25 stitches with such stoicism and calm that I couldn’t help but wonder if the doctor had given him some morphine. The race went on, and Jim kept going, facing running, stretching, bending, and a zip cord challenge, all of which must have hurt like hell. In the end, Team Wounded Knee is still in the race, and Jim’s toughness and tenacity made it possible. For that, he deserves the honorable mention this week.
The First Class award was an easy one to award this week. I can’t imagine giving it to anyone else but Charla, who I have dubbed Pocket Hercules. Charla was a dynamo this week. As soon as the teams started their initial run, I looked at Charla and said, “Uh-oh.” With her short legs, she’ll have to work much harder than anyone else in the race any time she needs to run. But did we hear Charla complaining about that? Not at all. Instead, she took a more philosophical approach to it all: she’s not helpless, but if people see her and want to help her, then she’s going to take advantage of it to win the race. Good for her. And didn’t you love it when she whipped out her whistle to hail a cab? That’s the kind of idea that undoubtedly had the other players wishing they’d thought of it.
But Charla was really impressive when it was time to carry the beef through the streets. Mirna initially took on the heavy load, which made sense. When she had a hard time with it, Charla slung both backpacks around her body and kept on going. All of that gear probably weighed as much as she did, but that wasn’t a problem for Pocket Hercules. She just gritted her teeth and kept on walking. When Mirna faltered again, Charla shouldered the entire beef burden on her own. She is a force to be reckoned with and was First Class all the way.
But enough positivity! Let’s look at the players that were the exact opposite of Jim and Charla , the players that have been awarded the Cargo Class award. First, two teams scored a dishonorable mention and inspired the title of this week’s article. Chip and Kim and Karli and Kami were literally clueless. It absolutely blew my mind when these two teams completely missed the clue box outside the Blue and White Hotel and just stumbled inside at the route marker flag. Did they think they were just supposed to know to play roulette, with no clues about it whatsoever? Surely they knew better, and should have known that by skipping a step, they’d face a penalty. Frankly, these two teams were lucky they didn’t have a bigger penalty than just going back to the hotel to get the clues. If they don’t learn to get a clue next week, they’ll be in Cargo Class for sure.
It’s hard to believe, but one player deserved the Cargo Class award even more than Chip, Kim, Karli, and Kami. That player was Mirna. Mirna gave an absolutely pathetic performance this week, especially when compared to her dynamic partner Charla. Mirna whined and moaned so much through the beef-carrying challenge that I just wanted to smack her. The meat was too heavy, she didn’t want to wear the gloves, she didn’t know where she was going, all punctuated with her constant drone of, “God help us.” God ignored her, because he was too busy helping Brandon decide not to take a taxi, so Charla helped her instead.
Mirna kept on whining until they got to the next challenge. She perked right up when she saw that one of the choices was a roulette challenge. As nice as it was to no longer have to listen to her griping, I couldn’t help but be annoyed at the utter lack of logic that came with her decision. She didn’t want to play roulette because she thought the odds were good, or because she thought it might be faster than the zip cord option. She didn’t even choose it because she was afraid of heights. Nope, Mirna just thought it would be fun to go in the casino. Well, fair enough – the two of them got lucky and won pretty quickly. But then Mirna wanted to play a hand of blackjack before they left. Idiot! You’re not on vacation – you’re running a race. Charla, of course, talked her out of it.
Mirna really cemented her Cargo Class award when she and Charla arrived on the mat. When Phil told them they were in fifth place, she sighed that she thought they’d do better. Really? Let’s recap, shall we? They were the last to get in their car at the start of the race. They couldn’t find the airport parking lot. They struggled with the beef, then couldn’t find the butcher shop. In spite of those problems, they landed solidly in the middle of the pack. They should be glad that they did as well as they did, but Mirna decided to complain about it instead. She more than deserves the Cargo Class award this week.
Well, that’s it for this week. Jim showed a lot of toughness by competing on his hurt knee and got an honorable mention for the First Class award. And Charla was a strong and tenacious Pocket Hercules and more than deserved the First Class award. Chip, Kim, Karli, and Kami couldn’t find a clue, so they got a dishonorable mention this week, but Mirna was the one who found herself in Cargo Class. I’ll see you next week to give out some more awards.
Betsy is the Associate Editor of RealityNewsOnline and can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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