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The Amazing Race 10: Thinking Smart in Episode 8by Jeffrey Clinard -- 11/07/2006
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In my last article, I talked about teams that travel together, saying they were less likely to get lost, but would only travel at the speed of the slowest member. The new Intersection proved that point, forcing teams to make decisions and work together. Each intersected team group had to pick one of three options (the Fast Forward or one Detour option) and complete it before setting out on their own.
The Intersection is also a reason teams shouldn’t be rude to each other, because in a situation where three teams show up close to each other at the Intersection, the rude one can be left behind and forced to wait for another team. Early on in a race, teams might show up in pairs and keep leaving a team waiting for a partner. Of course, none of the players knew ahead of time about the Intersection, but trying to get along is still a good idea in general – now there is an even better reason.
Strong teams should usually try to pair up, because a slow team can cost them time. That time might be the buffer that prevents a set of bad instructions, flat tires, or a cab that needs gasoline from eliminating a team. Even if the drag doesn’t eliminate them, the team will lose valuable time waiting to depart for the next leg. That might prevent a team from making the earlier flight to the next destination. While one of my thinking smart tips is to help the weak competition, teaming giving aid shouldn’t pay a price for it.
Still, I’m not sold on the Intersection because I’ve always felt The Amazing Race was one of the few reality TV competitions where teams could do their own thing. Teams won, lost, or were eliminated through their own decisions and actions. I’m glad the producers are trying new twists, but I wouldn’t want to see more than two or three per race.
The Fast Forward was a nasty taste experience. I could eat cow lips, but when it has hair and teeth... well, it’s time to take them like shots. The nature of the Fast Forward was to stall the teams until the slowest eater consumed the dish. The Intersection made it harder to abandon, and the pressure was on everybody to complete it. I’m beginning to think teams should hesitate before going for the second Fast Forward. Amazing Race 5 and 7 had head shaving as the second Fast Forward task, while Amazing Race 9 had eating grasshoppers and crickets. It shows a pattern, and I think the producers would be wise to change it.
The Detour was a choice between making paper or putting covers on foam mattresses and delivering them. Which was faster? We’ll never know as nobody chose the paper option, but I do believe transporting the mattresses was faster. Dustin & Kandice and Erwin & Godwin attacked the task intelligently, and set aside all differences to get it done as quickly as possible. The more clueless David & Mary and Lyn & Karlyn made a mess of the task, trying to transport all eight mattresses together. It didn’t work very well, and both teams suffered for it.
The Roadblock was worthy of note as one team member completed it while the other waited at the Pit Stop. It doesn’t happen often, but it’s always interesting to see several people at the pit stop desperately waiting for their teammate to show up. The Roadblock was a search, but it wasn’t a hard one, and nobody gained or lost much ground because of it.
After an episode with a new twist, an elimination, and only five teams remaining, which teams were thinking smart in episode eight?
Dustin & Kandice: The beauty queens are showing they are excellent racers, coming in first in the last two legs, and beating two teams who used a Fast Forward. They paired up well with Erwin & Godwin, got the task done, and moved forward. The only thing I didn’t like was they took a car other than the one they damaged, but if it was legal to drive at night and the rules didn’t prohibit it, it didn’t change any results. At this point, they are looking to be the team to beat.
Tyler & James: The former drug users were smart to go after the Fast Forward, but got a rude shock to find out they hadn’t secured first place (with a little more luck from Erwin & Godwin, they wouldn’t even have placed second). Their confusion at the Intersection was understandable given it’s a new concept, and they made the right choice to partner up with Rob & Kimberly. They ran a good leg, even if the Fast Forward took more time than an efficient Detour and Roadblock.
Rob & Kimberly: Kimberly was the drag on the Intersected teams at the Fast Forward, but the team ran another solid leg, and without much of the usual bickering. In fact, Rob learned how to back off and let Kimberly finish up the cow lips at her own pace. They are still running a good race, even if their leg was fairly uninteresting, spent Intersected with Tyler & James at a Fast Forward.
Erwin & Godwin: The brothers continued to be plagued by bad luck. One cab ran out of gas and another needed to be filled up. This delay probably cost them a second place finish, as both occurred after the Intersection ended and they were racing on their own. Other than their bad luck, they ran a great leg, working well together with Dustin & Kandice and showing how good a team they could be if they’d cut the rest of the Six Pack loose. In addition, Godwin resolved to check the fuel gauge of cabs. Given the experience in Madagascar, he learned something.
Lyn & Karlyn: No doubt about it, the single moms took more time to complete the leg than any other team. There was a reason for it – their Intersection with David & Mary slowed down both teams. The fanny pack arrangement holding all eight mattresses together didn’t work, and they wasted more time undoing what they had done. They lost time getting to the Roadblock, and a bit more time when their cab needed fuel. They were the last team to hit the mat, with only the David & Mary’s “marked for elimination” penalty saving them.
David & Mary: What went wrong? By choice and by race rules, they ran with a pack in a leg when they really couldn’t afford to run with a pack. Worse, Mary compounded their problems by actually giving aid to Lyn when she pointed out the location of a stamp. For a long time this team has raced poorly, and it finally caught up to them. Still, I hope they get enough money to take their kids to Disneyland. Maybe they can get appearance fees for opening supermarkets or something.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Amazing Race 10 articles:
Jeffrey Clinard has written about The Amazing Race since its debut season, writing over 100 articles about the show. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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