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The Amazing Race 8: The Finish Line, Episode 5by Sandy Lamparello -- 10/31/2005
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Hosts Sarah Bernard and Jon Weiss greet us. Sarah is wearing jeans this week, for which I am eternally thankful. Jon is excited that the race has finally gotten on track now that the teams are out of the United States. Sarah agrees. Although there is no eliminated family this week, Sarah and Jon are still taking viewer calls.
Sarah wastes no time in introducing today’s guest, Kevin O’Connor from The Amazing Race 1. Kevin was one half of the fraternity brother team of Kevin and Drew. Like Jon and Al in their season, Kevin and Drew finished in fourth place. They commiserate for a minute. Kevin is flattered by the attention they got and says that in honor of the Godlewski family, he is wearing several different outfits and as the show moves along he will be taking different items off. (HA! I didn’t watch TAR 1 but I can tell I would have loved Kevin!) Sarah remarks that she doesn’t see any underwear on the outside of his suit, and gives thanks for that. Kevin says you can get locked up in New York City for that.
Jon asks Kevin if he is reliving the race now that Season 1 is out on DVD and the Game Show Network is replaying it. Kevin says it’s been a great shot in the arm and he’s had the opportunity to do some amazing things since he was on the show. And now that his season is getting more publicity it’s given people who didn’t watch it the chance to see the fraternity brothers in action. (He’s inspired me to go out and buy the DVDs this afternoon!) They’ve been getting some nice e-mails from people and it’s been great.
Sarah asks how many people recognized Kevin and Drew as the hot dog guys from Episode 1 of TAR 8. (I sure didn’t!) They gave the racers their first clue as they were leaving Manhattan. Sarah thought they looked familiar but she wasn’t sure and nobody said anything. Jon was jumping out of his seat wondering why nobody acknowledged them. Kevin says one of the guys (Brian Paolo) did acknowledge them and told them they were great, which he appreciated. He points out that when the teams are running the race, all they want is to get the clue and they don’t want to stay and chat. The teams were told to ask about a frank but nobody did, all they wanted to know was where the clue was. But people did wave to them, the teams were sequestered during the final auditions and had to watch part of Season 1 so they knew who Kevin and Drew were. It’s a race and they just wanted to get on with it and at the end of the show they’ll come back and talk to them.
Sarah turns the discussion to last night’s show, and says it was the most exciting one of the season so far. There was a big change in format, since the teams had to get on a plane and fly to another country instead of just driving from place to place as they had in the first four legs. Having an airplane and airports involved in the race automatically creates more anxiety, as Jon and Kevin know. Jon says he thinks the fans were waiting for the race to leave the United States, it was great to see different parts of the country but the race is about seeing new places in the world and experiencing different things and different languages. Jon thinks this week’s episode was a shot in the arm and Kevin agrees.
Kevin says during the first four legs the kids got to participate in the tasks and were responsible for a lot of things, now that the race had taken on the international aspect of the previous seven races the parents have to take on the planning and it introduces a new dynamic to the race. The parents really have to step up now, and the differences between teams will become more evident. Some will be able to negotiate better, some will be able to get on an earlier flight or take a different stopover, and all those things will make the difference to who will ultimately win. Someone will start to rise to the top as they travel to more new places and have to deal with more flights. Sarah agrees.
The race is no longer just about driving and losing your way, but you need to strategize and find a way to get to places where they have never been before and where the language is unfamiliar. Jon says the family who asked the cab driver to lead them to the next destination was smart. Kevin says that when he got to the race, there were no rules, they had nothing to look back on and draw ideas from, because they were the first season. They just sort of felt their way along and the idea of hiring someone to take them where they had to go instead of trying to decipher their directions is something that the teams in later seasons picked up on. Sarah says people may have been studying the earlier teams and they learned from them. Jon says Kevin helped set the path for the rest of them and they appreciate it. Kevin says they are the TAR forefathers.
Sarah says no reality show would be complete without the scary bungee jump scene, that’s got to be there and she feels for the participants. (Has Survivor ever had a bungee jump competition? I know they’ve had cliff diving and ropes courses and zip lines but I don’t recall an actual bungee jump… granted it probably would not fit into their format.) Sarah introduces a clip of the Paolo family on last night’s Fast Forward. Sarah is a big fan of the Paolo family, and comments on the relationship between D.J. and his mom. She points out that another team told D.J. he was mean to his mom (he was) and the bungee jump was a very important bonding moment. The Paolos completed the challenge and finished first in the leg. The clip starts in the airport with D.J. being cruel, then cuts to D.J. and his mom completing the jump, and ends with the family on the mat with Phil. (Awwww, I still tear up watching D.J. kiss his mom on the head and her saying that made it all worth it, even on this third viewing.)
Sarah says the moment was touching and Jon calls it a defining moment for the Paolo family. All Marion wanted was the love of her son and she got that through this challenge. Jon got choked up watching it (he seems to do that a lot, doesn’t he?!) and he talks about parents wanting the love of their teenage kids. His kids are 10, 7, and 5 so he has that to look forward to someday soon. (I bet Jon is a cool dad, I mean he IS a clown, after all…) Sarah says one thing she loved was D.J.’s scream, the way he screamed on the way down she thought it was Marion. She calls it a very primal, Howard Dean-type scream, and then admits that it’s exactly what she would do. Jon and Kevin both had to bungee jump during their race and neither had done it before. They agree that it is terrifying; in fact Kevin was so terrified he couldn’t even get his yell out.1 2 3 Next-->
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