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The Amazing Race 10: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, Episodes 1 & 2: Likeable Teams?by Mike DeGeorge -- 10/01/2006
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We’re covering the first two episodes as I was away last week taking care of some business. I know you all suffered terribly without me.
There’s not much to say in general, as there have been no major alterations to the race dynamic (except for one which I’ll go into later). I’m always hyped up for The Amazing Race to start, but I was ambivalent this year. It’s probably partially to do with the aforementioned issues, but mostly because we’re getting into reality show overload. We can’t go two weeks without two or three big shows at once, and frankly, it’s getting wearisome.
Like Me Like You: When Phil introduced the teams at the beginning, my initial reaction was that I wasn’t going to like any of them. As you’ll see, that changed a lot. This crop of contestants seems to have been chosen not to fill out some sort of reality Bingo card, but because they’re genuinely interesting. Sure, you have the archetypes (models, parent-child, hot chicks, older moms), but each of them seems to have a little bit of a twist to them. The models aren’t just pretty boys, for example, they’ve obviously had to work to get themselves out of the gutter. I say this in every season of every show, but if you pick interesting personalities instead of trying to manufacture drama, the drama will write itself.
The other thing I love is that most of the racers seem to be able to have a good time without bring overly stressed out (most), and what’s more, they know the difference between having a good time and helping each other out and competing. Two teams refused to stop for the Cho Brothers because the Brothers’ trouble meant they might not get eliminated themselves.
Duke, Duke, Duke… I can’t tell you how much I want to dislike Duke. I found his attitude toward his daughter Lauren to be borderline disgusting. However, it’s obvious that the guy is trying to come to grips with it, difficult as it might be, and truth be told, I’ve known people whose parents handled that sort of thing much worse. Plus the guy seems so funny and likeable – so he gets a pass. For now.
Blood on the Coal: Anyone who gets that reference gets a cookie. Along the same lines as Duke, I didn’t want to like David & Mary, but I do. See, when I lived in southern Ohio, Kentuckians were the people we all made fun of, just as Memphians make fun of Arkansans and St. Louisans mock people from Illinois. Plus, they absolutely fit the textbook stereotype for white trash hillbillies. Not to be cruel, but come on, they’re a dye job away from being Cletus and Brandine from The Simpsons!
But I like them anyway. I enjoy Brandine’s abrasive attitude, and much more than that, her spirit. I was sure that she wouldn’t be able to make it up that wall, but she did. I’m still not sure how, but she did it, and she deserves all the credit in the world. She’s not taking crap from anyone, least of all David. And she’s taking it all in with almost a wide-eyed wonderment.
Speaking of credit, I was surprised that Dublyn didn’t get a penalty from when Mary gave them one of their water jugs. Isn’t there a rule that teams can’t help each other like that on the challenges?
Model Behavior: I really didn’t want to like the beauty queens, but again, their fighting spirit and just plain great personalities won me over. No, it’s not that they’re hot, although that helps, but I’ve never been attracted to the fake beauty queen type. Plus, everything I’ve heard about those particular competitions makes me see everyone associated with them as tainted.
Dublyn: Again, I was determined not to like the single moms, but they won me over with their attitudes and their love of their kids. I know I’m about the only person on this site who doesn’t find them annoying, but ah well.
Nice Jugs: Is it just me, or have they ramped up the difficulty of the challenges so far? Between the ox-things and the wall, they’ve already put these people through hell. I love it, but MAN, it’s got to be rough. I also like how there is a challenge right before the Pit Stop.
Mongolian BBQ: Whichever contestant it was who mentioned BBQ in Mongolia, I hope they know that, like a Pavlovian dog, I went to lunch at the Emperor’s Palace Mongolian BBQ not far from work on Monday. I’m not ashamed. In fact, I’ll probably go again tomorrow.
Cleveland… Loses Again: I’m proud to be a former resident of the Cleveland area, but MAN, do we have one hellacious losing streak going. Bilal & Sa’eed were one of the few teams I was determined to like, mainly for their great attitudes and their devotion to their faith, which ironically turned a lot of people off to them. Maybe they weren’t around long enough to annoy me. Of course, they’re the first ones eliminated on a weird twist, similar to the pick ‘em twist from Survivor a couple of seasons ago.1 2 Next-->
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