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The Amazing Race 8: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Episode 1 - Sorry, Shortyby Mike DeGeorge -- 09/29/2005
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Welcome to “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” my attempt at a regular Amazing Race opinion column. The format of the column should be pretty obvious – I just wish I could put in that cool “mwahh mwahh mwahh!” music into it. What goes into which category is arbitrary and decided entirely by me.
Regular readers know that I always have to comment on something before we get into the main event. This column will not break that trend.
The fact that season 8 of The Amazing Race is a family edition has caused no end of controversy and drama in the reality television community. I myself am on record predicting that this will be the worst season ever. I’m not going to comment on that except to say that if this first episode is any indication, I may have to eat my words.
I’ve already seen one major newspaper complain that, because they’ve only gone from New York to Pennsylvania, the race thus far has not been “amazing.” Yes, I respond, but having ten teams sitting in airport terminals for six hours, while in an amazing location, isn’t exactly a race. This leg was won and lost by navigation and ability to complete the detour quickly, as it should be. It shouldn’t be won or lost depending on who had a bad cab driver or (to even bring out an argument from AR7 that I personally disagree with) who can convince the airline people to hold the flight. The fact is, with 40 people and their camera crews, we’re not going to have a lot of air flight. That will probably change as we have fewer teams.
Besides, who’s to say that America isn’t amazing? You’d think a writer for a newspaper with “USA” in the title would have the sense to realize just how much there truly is to see in this country. It may not be exotic, but it will still be interesting! Going to Washington Crossing is a good example, not to mention Mennonite country. Which, by the way, I hope they talk about in the opener next week, so people won’t leave this show thinking they visited the place they make deodorant.
Think about your city. I’m sure you can think of a good clue location and a couple of roadblocks. Indulge me for a second. Here in St. Louis, they could go to the Arch, or do something in one of the sports arenas (especially considering that Busch Stadium is going bye-bye in a few weeks). They could make beer (including O’Doul’s – you don’t have to be 18 to take the tour, so I don’t see why they couldn’t do this) at the Anheuser-Busch brewery or visit the Clydesdale stable at Grant’s Farm. We’re also known for thin-crust pizza, toasted ravioli, and frozen custard (or “concretes”). We have one of the top three zoos in the country, a great park and historical district – and I haven’t even touched on the outlying areas, including Eckert Farms, Meramec Caverns, and the Cahokia Mounds (which, contrary to belief, is different from those clubs in that area).
OK, enough of the travel and tourism commercial. My point is, I thought of most of that off the top of my head and added a couple more with a google search. Took me ten minutes. Would have taken less had I not had to look up how to spell “Anheuser.” There’s a lot of cool stuff going on around us. I’ve been calling for an American-based (or at least North American) race for a couple of years now for exactly this reason, and I’m really happy that it may be happening.
The Familia: Let’s start with my favorite team, shall we? First off, I’m a proud Italian, so this team already had an advantage. But that’s not always enough, as we’ll discuss later. Big Tony looks like an Italian version of Gimli from Lord of the Rings, and I have to admit I shared Kevin and Drew’s opinion that he’d have a heart attack before the race was over. It only took seeing him take his turn on the buggy at the Brubaker farm to convince me that he’s got what it takes. The fact that Kevin, Matt, and David agreed to do the Race with their father-in-law tells me not only that Tony is a good man, but that the three kids have heart, guts, and other body parts in spades. I look forward to watching this team.
Gaghans: They started off in my Bad column, because I initially thought the kids would be smartass brats. But like Jenn in her recap, I was slowly warming to them until Billy said he was sorry he couldn’t contribute more and Carissa snapped, “Get used to it, dork!”
I don’t want to sound like a family therapist in this column (although I’m sure I will at times) but the closeness and togetherness of the Gaghans is great to see, especially compared to the bickering and hate elsewhere. I’m sorry, I didn’t buy the “this is how we communicate” crap from Jonathan & Victoria and I don’t buy it from other teams. Anyway, notice how ALL the team members compliment and encourage each other on a regular basis. Carissa and Billy seem to be hooked on positive reinforcement, as you can almost see them turn and wait for the praise after a cute observation. Whether or not this is a good thing in the long run is up for debate, but I think it helps bring a positive environment.
I NEVER thought I’d say this about a team on The Amazing Race 8, but dang, I love them kids.
Sister Abuse: The Linz family is one of my favorites, mainly for how they treat each other. Coming from a large family, I know that it is your duty as a brother to torment the unholy hell out of your sister. It’s expected, and I think it’s against the law not to do it. Oh, you still pick on your brothers, especially the youngest, but the sister is fair game – even your friends are allowed. I’m assuming Megan has had a boyfriend or two in her life, but I feel sorry for the guy she brings home to marry. He’s going to be so under the gun from her brothers, it’s not even funny. Unless he joins in on the torment, then he’ll be one of the family right away.1 2 Next-->
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