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The Amazing Race 9, Episode 1: First Class and Cargo Class Awardsby Sandy Lamparello -- 03/06/2006
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Welcome to what looks to be an exciting season of The Amazing Race! I’m excited to see that the first leg took our teams outside the United States. Dealing with strange places, languages, and customs always presents an interesting challenge for the teams, and almost inevitably leads to one team having a meltdown. And let’s not kid ourselves, those meltdowns make for great TV!
This week, and every week, I will be handing out the First and Cargo Class awards for the race. What exactly does that mean, you ask? Well, the teams who perform well, have a good time, enjoy their experiences, and show some kindness or compassion will end up in First Class. A team who doesn’t finish at the top of the standings but looks like they would be fun to travel or hang out with could also end up in First Class. Think back to the classic Seinfeld episode. Comfy chairs, champagne, hot fudge sundaes, and warm towels. Maybe a soft robe and fuzzy slippers if it’s an overnight flight… On the flip side, teams who bicker, whine, complain, or are rude and disrespectful will end up in Cargo Class. Under the plane they go, to sit on top of Aunt Phyllis’s overstuffed suitcase among the luggage and other things you just don’t want to see during your trip.
By now you’ve undoubtedly read my colleague Jenn Brasler’s excellent recap, so you not only know of her extreme admiration for host Phil Keoghan, but also what the teams faced and how they finished. But who excelled? It would be easy to think that the team finishing in first place deserves First Class, and the Philiminated team deserves Cargo Class, but that’s not always the case. It’s not the case this week, as you are about to see.
Let’s start with First Class. This was a tough one. Quite a few teams showed potential First Class behavior, but this week’s award is going to Dave & Lori. The self-described “Nerd Team” performed admirably from the start of this leg. At the airport, they heard Eric & Jeremy talking about the flight times, and followed them to another counter. Yes, they ended up on the second flight, but that flight actually landed first due to an unforeseen delay. They remained polite and courteous towards each other and the other teams during the always-stressful race for tickets at the airport. Lori & Dave get along very well and that was apparent throughout the leg.
Dave & Lori also enjoyed the things they experienced in Brazil. The helicopter ride was amazing, and they saw it as such. They have a tremendous amount of respect for each other and it really showed in all their actions. When Lori realized that most of the teams would choose the closest building during the helicopter detour, she suggested choosing another one, and Dave supported her in this decision. When they got to the building, they worked quickly and found their clue with no delay. And they were excited about having seen Sao Paolo from a helicopter. Finally, they enjoyed the celebration at the warehouse without wasting time. They finished in no danger of Philimination, and commented on the mat that they love each other and the race has already brought them closer. For these reasons, Dave & Lori can board the plane first, kick back, and relax. Honorable mention, and seats in Business Class, go to Eric & Jeremy for having a good time and showing a great deal of politeness, and Wanda & Desiree for their language skills and general enjoyment of their experiences.
Now, on to Cargo Class. From the start of this episode it was apparent to me which team would end up sitting amongst the luggage and caged chickens. Lake & Michelle performed poorly from the start. How many times has it been drilled into teams’ heads to READ THE ENTIRE CLUE before beginning the task? One would presume that teams applying for The Amazing Race have watched a season or two, right? How many times have we seen a team lose time or be sent back to complete a task because they did not read the entire clue? The clue explicitly said that teams could not reserve tickets before getting to the airport. So, what does Lake do? Has Michelle call to reserve tickets before they get to the airport. And they pulled over to do it. So, now instead of heading straight to the airport and reserving tickets on the first flight, they’ve wasted time, made worthless reservations, and ended up on the last flight.
Oh but Michelle & Lake weren’t done there. No, that mistake is only a fraction of what landed them in Cargo Class this week. Lake’s attitude, rudeness, and lack of respect for his partner is the major reason they’re riding under the jet. Confidence is wonderful and a huge part of success on the race, but you have to be confident in the right thing. Lake was the one who failed to read the clue before telling Michelle to call for tickets, yet he only admitted that it was “partially his fault.” Then when they arrived at the airport and Michelle expressed some frustration (a completely understandable reaction under the circumstances, though not good race behavior), Lake told her to shut up, adding a word that neither recapper Jenn nor I will repeat. The other teams are referring to Lake as “Scott Peterson” already. That can’t be a good sign. When they chose their detour task, Lake gave Michelle a little lecture about not second-guessing their choices. Yes this is a valid point, but don’t talk to your partner like she is a small child. Lake & Michelle, as Jenn said, are shaping up to be this season’s Jonathan & Victoria. For that reason, and the others I’ve stated, they have been awarded Cargo Class.
So, there you have it. This is looking like a great season, and I can’t wait to see what happens next! I’ll be back next week to hand out First and Cargo Class again, and make sure you stick with Reality News Online for full coverage of The Amazing Race 9!
Sandy Lamparello is a Legal Editor for a publishing company in Washington, DC. She is counting the days until baseball season starts again! You may reach her at email@example.com.
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