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Reality Hit List, June 9: Blocked Entrances and Defaced Paintingsby Brian James -- 06/09/2003
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On The Amazing Race 4 this week, the biggest event was probably the showdown at the train station between Reichen & Chip and Steve & Josh, or I Know What You Did Last Ticket Counter, culminating in Reichen & Chip blocking the doors to the train station. If various message boards are any indication, it would seem that Reichen & Chip have lost a lot of viewer support this week as many people seem to think they’re being whiny babies. I don’t know – I can understand where they were coming from, at least, so they haven’t lost any ground with me yet.
The thing is, it seems like Chip, and Reichen in particular, went into the Race almost expecting other teams not to like them – as I’ve said before, seemingly stemming from bad past experiences with homophobia. When you’re on edge waiting for something to happen, and then you get confirmation that it’s happening, as they did when Monica & Sheree spilled the beans that the other teams were gunning for them, there’s that extra added edge of "Damn it, I knew this was going to happen!" to fuel your upset and frustration.
Not that it was homophobia that fueled their being targeted – according to Josh, it was because the "tall pretty boys" were fierce competitors... in other words, "Twin Hunt 2: Get The Buff Alpha Males Boogaloo." Great. Because that worked so well last season. Just look at how much further Aaron & Arianne finished than Derek & Drew. Furthermore – look at the final three teams last season – Flo & Zach, Teri & Ian, and Ken & Gerard. Not a "buff pretty boy" team among them. So I’m just really over the assumption that a team of younger, athletic males needs to be eliminated because they’ll win the race, because it’s proven to be untrue. Plus, while positive alliances – teaming up to share information – work on this show, negative alliances – banding together to knock another team out – not only don’t, but make the conspiring teams look bad.
(Come to think of it, what is the deal with Monica & Sheree? First they’re telling the anti-TallPretty people that "if everybody catches up, some people are going to be really aggressive, so beware," then they tell Reichen & Chip and David & Jeff that "they’re trying to bump you out ASAP." Double agents? Trying to pit teams against each other? Or just harmless, well-meaning gossips? Who knows? What I do know is they need to concentrate more on their own game – I like them, but they’re not racing all that well and they’ve used up their Fast Forward. They need to get their act together fast or they’re doomed.)
So Reichen & Chip decided turnabout was fair play (for last week’s OrderGate – I swear, all roads lead back to that SwissAIr ticket counter!) and blocked the doors to the station. Did they push it too far? Well, yeah, literally clinging to the doors for dear life was a bit over the top. In the grand scheme of things, it’s The Amazing Race 4, not The Amazing Joan Of Arc Auditions. And, in all fairness, while they said they planned to play an honorable game until they saw people cutting in line, it’s not like they were exactly protesting when Jon kept Monica & Sheree off the airport bus before that, either. But Reichen himself admitted it was childish afterward. Also, while plane tickets are usually in scarce supply, the issue with trains is generally getting to them on time, not whether they’ll be enough room for everybody – I mean, even if all eleven teams were there, if they’re camped out and first in line for tickets, I have yet to see a train that wouldn’t hold 22 people! (Or even 44 if you count the production crews.) So it probably would have proved pointless in the end even if the shuttle bus hadn’t come for the other train, rendering the whole notion of a line moot. But like I said, at least I could see where it was coming from.
It kind of reminds me what’s going on right now on the SoapNet reruns of Ryan’s Hope. (What?? Shut up! It’s a great show!) Dr. Nell Beaulac bullied her way onto the staff of Riverside Hospital through family connections, then proceeded to alienate the entire staff with her constant, seemingly selfish and impatient demands, to the point where I’m watching it thinking, "Whoa, Nellie! Take it down a notch, will ya?" However, it turned out what was driving her was she had just discovered she had an inoperable brain aneurysm and wanted to get as much work as possible done on her research projects before she died; she was insisting everything had to be done right that second because she didn’t know how much time she had left. (It’s a lot less melodramatic and soapy than it sounds.) Her behavior made a lot more sense then, and even Faith Coleridge, who’d been at her throat pretty much from day one, softened toward her. I guess what I’m trying to say is that Reichen & Chip’s behavior might have seemed a bit extreme, but in context it’s more understandable.
Still, though, they need to watch themselves and not let their emotions get the best of them. Last season, Derek & Drew, to their great credit, let the whole "Twin Hunt" thing just roll right off their back, focused on the Race, and finished well ahead of most of the teams out to get them. Even if every single other team winds up being against them, it still doesn’t spell doom – no one wanted to help Teri & Ian last season, but they hung in there and came in second. Next week it looks like Chip & Millie have a confrontation – so far I like them both, so it’ll be interesting to see what that’s all about.
I’m not feeling much Steve & Josh love at this point, but they’re kind of entertaining to have around as antagonists. They remind me of – you know how on every "family" sitcom, eventually there’s an episode where one of the kids gets picked on in school, so the parents go to talk to the offending kid’s parents and either they’re jerks too or they completely justify little Sonny Boy’s actions? That’s who Steve & Josh remind me of. Not "that mean ol’ Buddy Hinton" and his gem of a dad, because they’re not beating up on people, but that’s the only example that’s popping in my head right now. You know what I mean, right? It’s interesting that Josh said they spent most of their lives not getting along; so far they seem perfectly in sync in the Race.
(Oh – and "Weezer and Geezer"? BWAH!!!)
OK, so it happened again this week. Chuck & Millie, Amanda & Chris, what is with the waiting for the other teams when you finish a task?! It’s a race!!! Go!!! Go!!! (Well, it’s a little too late for you, I suppose, Chris & Amanda, but still.) Thankfully Chuck & Millie didn’t wait for Chris & Amanda after the Roadblock or we would have had our first tie for elimination!
I’m starting to figure out why Jon & Al can get on my nerves. They said they’re the "morale makers" who do "crazy things" to "keep the spirit up." I’m the person who glares at people doing "crazy things" to "keep the spirit up."1 2 3 4 Next-->
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