Donít Forget the Editing: An Interview with Amanda & Chris from The Amazing Race 4by Phil Kural -- 06/18/2003
Dating couple Amanda & Chris were the second team eliminated this season on The Amazing Race. In this interview, they discuss what they could have done to stay in the race, how tight their alliance with some of the other teams really was, and where there relationship is headed. Oh, and Chris really lets go in his answers. I wish he had not been caught up in the love fest during the show and acted the way he did in this interview! Read on, friends!
RealityNewsOnline: From the beginning, you two did not seem to really be on the same page. Did team morale have anything to do with your early elimination?
Amanda: Well, our morale was certainly high. We shared the same enthusiasm and dedication to the race. When it gets down to it, Chris is a MUCH better competitor than I am. Sometimes, my over-sensitivity is something that stands in my way. I am easily susceptible to the ideas, emotions, or circumstances of others. It's a bitch. Since racing, I have learned there is a competitor in me that I need to work on bringing out. I think I need to learn how to be more competitive and less sensitive to succeed in life.
Chris: Yeah I'd have to agree with that. The fact that we weren't on the 'same page' didn't have an affect on team morale. And 'team morale' didn't have anything to do with our early elimination. Instead of me being the prick that I was supposed to be during the race, I did join Amanda in making friends and trying to play a 'nice' game. This did not make me lose sight of winning, it just made me believe we could do it without stepping on toes and pissing people off. If I would have played the game my way, I would have taken Josh up on his offer to cut into the line at the roadblock. but Amanda didn't think that was 'nice' and so I let it go. I didn't play the game aggressively enough and the way I set out to before it all started. I instead settled for Amanda's approach. So yes, in a way, having different philosophies entering the race set us back some and may have gotten us eliminated. I wish she would have adopted more of my attitude than the other way around. Passivity on the race doesn't get you very far."
RNO: Millie & Chuck stated that they were in an alliance with your team, as well as Josh & Steve, yet neither you nor the other team said the same. Was there really an alliance between the three teams, and if so, how loose was it?
Amanda: We had a tight alliance between Millie and Chuck, Josh and Geez, The Hotties (Steve and Dave), and the Clowns. The five of us teams wandered the streets of Milan and became friends. The alliance happened because we agreed that we all seemed to be happy people that had the same agenda: to see the world, to have a good time, and to do it all in good company. We agreed that whenever we could, we would give each other valuable information. We also would help get tickets (plane, train, bus, etc.) for one another if time or circumstances would allow for it. We agreed when it came to fast forwards, the team in last place (out of the five) or the team that needed it the most would try to complete it, and the rest of us would try competing to make it to the pit stops. That way, we would not waste time competing against each other for the FF, losing time against other teams.
Chris: Yeah we totally were in an alliance with them, Weezer and Geezer, the Hotties, and The Clowns. We even talked about it to great length in our post-leg interview. It's just that none of that footage made the episode. So that just goes to show that fans can't look at all of this so literally and nit-pick everything to death. The editors have a story to tell and they're not always going to tell the complete truth about everything. We accept that, and the viewers need to. The alliance was loose in that anyone could decide to leave it at any time and not feel like we were going to come after them. We just felt like the group (that we hung around all night in Milan with) was a very fun bunch of people and we all wanted to see each other do well in the race. Our alliance was about KEEPING us all in the race and not about going out of our way to get any certain team out. We just liked each other and wanted to go the distance together. Because come on, who wants to be stuck with a bunch of assy people while traveling the world? Wouldn't you want to enjoy yourself too? Ham Up.
RNO: Based on the first leg of the race, was there any team that you thought would be easy to pass? On the flip side, was there anyone you felt needed to go sooner before later?
Amanda: We thought that some teams may have a harder time physically and we knew that some teams had never watched the race before. We thought we had advantages over these types of teams. We found that luck and timing have a lot to do with it.
Chris: Yeah, of course there were people that we looked at and immediately knew it was going to be a rough time for them and they'd get out early. We knew what was happening with other teams most of the time and from that, we knew who we were smarter/better than. Unfortunately, even though we were better suited for the race than they were, they're still in it and we are not. Make of that what you will. And for sure, there are teams that jump out at you and make you think it will be tough going up against them, so yeah you'd like them to slip up and make an early exit. It may seem braggadocios for me to say this, but with the fact that we were in the lead group the entire time up until the roadblock, we were one of those strong teams that others were hoping to get out of the way. But yeah, we knew which teams we needed to have go down in order to make it easier for us later on. Too bad we ended up accommodating other people's plans for an easier run.
RNO: It did not seem that you were very far behind Monica & Sheree after finishing the roadblock. Did you know that they had beaten you to the pit stop, or did you think that you had out-run them?
Amanda: We actually saw them en route to the pit stop. They were standing in the middle of the street (more like an alley) that we needed to pass through. I should let you know now, that these women are in tight shape. If it got down to a footrace, they would not only have beat my ass, after winning they would run back to me and first run a few circles around me, then push me down, and then run off to being the bad asses they are. Back to the race, they did not have a map or anything so they were frantically screaming to everyone, 'Pallazo Ducale, Pallazo Ducale'. We had a map and we knew tentatively where we were headed and they were in our way. We ended up taking a side street to go around them, so they wouldn't see us and follow. In Venice, they don't exactly have normal city blocks so we had to zig zag a bit before we were able to get back to where we wanted to go. Once we arrived, we thought we had beaten them there because they seemed very lost. Well, yeah that's not what ended up happening though.
Chris: I think Monica got out of the roadblock a good bit before me. And I think they just had no idea where the Pit Stop was, because they didn't have a map so they were just running. Well, they must have been in that area (we saw them in) for a while for us to catch up with them. And like Amanda said, we tried to lose them since they didn't know where it was, and wound up going further out of the way than we'd have liked. We ended up getting to the Pit Stop about a minute after they did. You can see on the tape that after Phil says, 'You're still in the race,' that Monica and Sheree are looking at someone off camera. Well, that someone was trying to get them off the mat because we were going to be arriving very soon. Not soon enough unfortunately. The check-in of the teams was VERY close. And the roadblock itself was very quick. Altogether, from the time they busted out that box (with the clues in it) to the time that Amanda and I checked in was under 20 minutes. It was the fastest roadblock to pitstop they had ever had."
RNO: What was your position when Reichen and Chip were blockading the doors to the train station knowing that they were there after many other teams? Did you say anything to them?
Amanda: All of us first five teams were outside at the doors when Willis and Reichen arrived, got out of their taxis, and devised the plan to hold the doors like a bunch of pre-schoolers. After their arrival, Jeff and Dave held on to the other set of doors. Geezer said something to them and Dave (of Steve and Dave) said something to them to the fact that they had just arrived and we had been there all night. Those four boys did not care to make friends or "play fair" like they have suggested in interviews. They were just punks.
Chris: It was all pretty damn ridiculous. It's a train, kids. There's going to be plenty oí room. Amanda and I were at the other doors talking to Jon the Clown when all of a sudden Dave and Jeff came over and without saying anything just grabbed onto the door handles. I stopped in mid-sentence and looked at Amanda like, 'What the hell are they doing?' We just rolled our eyes and walked away and saw that Chip and Reichen were doing the same at the other doors. So we watched them and Geez go at it. If I was still in my 'prick' game mode I would have started something about it, but since I was involved in the 'love fest,' I just thought 'whatever' and let it go. Which as it turned out, it didn't even matter because the bus came to take us to Alpi. It was all pretty friggin' stupid. They also held the clue box hostage at the bridge where the detour took place and I've heard there was some cutting in line with them at the roadblock, but I wasn't around to see that. It just bugs me that they're going to play like dicks but try to come off as nice guys. And their @$$hole-ness supposedly stems what someone else allegedly did to them. If you're gonna be a jackass just come out with it and don't blame it on someone else when you do. Let's be honest, kids.
RNO: Did the two of you go into the race thinking that you would do better because you were younger than a majority of the other teams, or did you just go in with the hopes that other teams would make more mistakes?
Amanda: We hoped that others would make mistakes and that we would remain strong. We hoped that luck would be on our sides. We have watched the previous races and we knew the premise and just what we needed to do in order to try to win.
Chris: I don't think being young has anything to do with being able to win the race. I think in order to win you just have to limit your mistakes, ride out streaks of bad luck, and hope that other people trip themselves up. Well, that worked for us a while. But the one time that we ran into trouble, it was at a time when the elimination would take place soon after. And we just weren't given the time to atone for our bad luck. Many other teams in the first two legs had plenty of screw-ups but were still fortunate enough to be able to right themselves before an elimination. So I think that luck and timing play a huge role in this race. Not age.
RNO: Chris, do you feel that you may have pushed Amanda too much? I know you say it is in your nature to coach her, but did it ever seem like you were too overbearing, even after the experience?
Chris: I don't think it's in my nature to 'coach' Amanda. I did say things to Amanda to try and get her to speed up. But I hardly see it as coaching. One of the things Amanda wanted to prove on this show was that she could be tough and not quit. And, that comes from her not pushing HERSELF enough. So unless I wanted to try and win this race and do it having to wait for her any time we went somewhere, I had to get vocal about her lack of effort. And ya know, it WAS a race for a million dollars. It's not like I was yelling at her while on a sightseeing tour of Italy. So no, I don't feel like I pushed her too much or was overbearing. It seemed that way because that's all the editors cared to show from me. I completely understand what production was trying to do. Create a story. Viewers just need to realize that what they see isn't all that goes on. Do you honestly think that the 15 seconds they showed of me (trying to get her to get up that mountain) extrapolates out to being 24 hours a day of me constantly 'coaching' her? That's just crazy. The editors have a show to make. They need drama and that's what they chose to play up between Amanda and I. They even used voiceovers from leg one (of me yelling at her to hurry up) and put them in leg 2. I know, everyone says it's the editing. I'm not denying that I said and did the things I did, you just have to understand that there was more there than what you saw. So you just shouldn't think that you know the situation when you honestly have no idea.
RNO: On the flip side, Amanda, did you feel that Chris was picking on you or do you think that his constant "coaching" was a good way to motivate you? Was there a better way he could have gotten more out of you?
Amanda: He tried his best to get me to move harder and faster. I am glad that he did what he did because I was terribly tired and I was having a really tough time moving up that mountain. As a couple, we have been through a lot of trying times and this was one of them. But even through his yelling, didn't you see me stopping and smiling and laughing? We did our best and came in first and for that episode and that is what matters. Something he said must have worked, ham up.
RNO: Going from first to last place is a very hard pill to swallow. Was there really anything that you feel the two of you could have done differently that would have saved you during this leg of the race?
Amanda: There are so many things that we think of that could have changed the game, hindsight is 20/20. The hard part about racing is when you get eliminated, then you replay it over and over again on a daily basis. You dream it. You eat it. It is definitely maddening to have lost because I want to know when I am going to stop living the race. The first thing that we could have done differently was to have me go in the Masquerade ball, maybe I would have had better results. Or maybe I would have gone berserker on every body in there because Eyes Wide Shut freaked me out and this was similar. So a different outcome would have been had, but favorable Ė who knows? Second thing, when we were running around Venice looking for the Pallazo da Mosto just after getting off the gondolas, we were with Josh and Geez and the clowns. Josh stopped and yelled for us to wait because they had found it (which we didn't know at the time). We were headed in the right direction (we thought) so we kept running. Then within seconds we had turned down different alley ways and could not find our friends and we could not find the Pallazo da Mosto. We should have stopped, but shoulda coulda woulda. We ended up running around, tiring ourselves out, and occupying a negative attitude. Third thing, Josh and Geez invited us to cut in line while at the Masquerade ball (at the Pallazo da Mosto) and I said, 'No thanks,' like a dumb ass. Now that definitely would have changed things, especially if we would have brought Millie and Chuck and Al and Jon with us.
Chris: Yeah, for only screwing up one task, there were plenty of things that we could have changed. Cutting in line and taking Chillie and the Clowns with us would have rocked. That way we get all four of our teams in there (and no one else since they only allow four), take our sweet time, help each other find all the correct masks, plan our route to the pit stop, bullshit with the mask people, have a snack, and then come running outta that damn thing on our way to the check-in boat. The people that would have been left in line (three teams) would have lost their minds waiting for us to come out. And once we came out, they'd be left there to battle their anxiety and the task to avoid last place. That would have been quite a bold thing to pull off and we'd probably be the most hated group of people on reality TV. But it would be us using the alliance to its advantages and boning other teams over in the process. And honestly it would have been no worse than Chip/Reichen and Jeff/Dave blocking the doors at the train station. And pulling the other sh*t they pulled. If they can use their physicality to gain an advantage then I see no reason why we couldn't use our numbers and tight alliance to our advantage. What they did wasn't cheating and our plan wouldn't have been either. Another not so bold but still pretty smart thing we could have done was to go and talk to Steve and Dave at the Fast Forward. After they completed the task we could have gotten where the pit stop was from their clue and started planning out our route from Pallazo da Mosto to Pallazo Ducale. Being that the fast forward was a few hours before the road block, it would have worked out perfectly. Unfortunately we were deterred from exploring this option because our camera crew (along with almost all the others) were charging their batteries in the building the roadblock was in. And if you ain't got a camera crew you ain't going anywhere. So yeah, we could have done plenty of things differently to stay in the race. I suggest, to any future racers, that if you come up with a way that you can gain an advantage, hell yeah, go and do that sh*t. Because if you don't, you'll be kicking yourself later. Ham Up. Just go into it understanding what the consequences of your actions will be later.
RNO: Everyone keeps addressing Reichen and Chip as "the young, big guys." Were any teams aware that they were a gay married couple? What were your reactions when you found out?
Amanda: I think that everyone knew they were gay. They had matching wedding bands and Chris and I saw them sharing chapstick. They were keeping it a secret from us racers when I think that everyone would have been receptive if they wanted to tell us their relationship like we told ours. These days I would hope to think that the world is more kind or accepting to homosexuality, even though I know that isn't always the case from friends and family of mine that are gay. However, they knew what they were getting into with telling the show that they were married. They could have told us. Marriage is all about love, who cares what sex you are.
Chris: I think that most teams figured it out before we even got to the start at Dodger Stadium. I mean really, aside from the matching wedding bands, they wore matching vests, had matching backpacks and would wipe crumbs off of each otherís faces. It's pretty hard NOT to think something's up. I don't think a 'best friends' or 'brothers' team would act the way they did. And there's nothing wrong with them being gay. Hiding it and then acting like we're all going to hold it against them, so they need to fight back against 'the Heteros' is where the problem lies. I just think all their motivation for this race was aimed in the wrong direction. As far as everyone calling them the 'young, big guys' I'm not sure if I ever heard anyone referring to them as such. But if they did, it's probably because they didn't want to come right out with the 'gay couple' label for them. Labels are basically all we had to go on until we got to know a team, and labeling someone incorrectly certainly isn't something you want to do.
RNO: Only because it looked like so much fun, how exciting was it to raft down that mountain in Italy?
Amanda: It was so exciting and amazing. I would have loved to have just done it over and over and over again, but we were racing. How'd ya like seeing Jon and Kelly go down without a raft? Now that was golden.
Chris: The crazy part of that whole snow raft deal was that there were two slapjacks who sit straight up on the back lip of the raft with oars trying to steer that thing. I'm pretty much laying down and I thought that I was going to fall outta that damn rubber boat. The angle on that hill is ridiculous and it looks like youíre going to fall out of the raft and fall on your face at the bottom of the hill. I canít imagine what itís like to sit up on the back of it. Just nuts.
RNO: After you were eliminated, Amanda stated that she still loved Chris. Are the two of you still dating? If so, where do you see your relationship headed?
Amanda: We are still dating. Marriage is not in our near future but who really knows for the distant future?
Chris: It's funny that you would be surprised or intrigued that she would still say that afterwards. As if all of the things on the race were so horrible that we couldn't continue dating. It's hilarious actually. Like I said before, you got the dramatic, edited, and so one-sided version of our relationship. You all have heard Amanda's mouth, you don't think she could get down in an argument? There is so much more that you cats never get to see. And that's fine. I'm not really worried if anyone else understands our relationship. We're having a good time and that's all that matters. We will most likely be together for a very long time, but right now the timing isn't right to go forth with getting married.
RNO: In watching the show before you applied, which teams did you root for, and were there any tips that you may have learned from previous racers that may have helped you?
Amanda: I started watching it during season two, at which point I wanted Tara and Wil to win (those two are sassy). Then in season three I like Tramel and Talicia who were eliminated, as fate would have it, during the second leg (those two were dy-no-mite). I thought the whole twin hunt was stupid so I rooted the twins on in spite of all the dumb asses who were on a witch hunt to get them eliminated. I loved Jill and John Vito and it SUCKED when they were eliminated. Oh Brother rocked the house and Ken rocks in person. Michael and Kathy were awesome and they pissed me off so much when they decided to stay in the four star hotel instead of keeping on trucking. Where were his "cat like reflexes" then? I do not know if we learned good tips, but we saw what the show is all about and what we would endure if we were ever cast. We did watch season three over and over and over again to check out their back pack sizes and I charted out all the outfit changes to get an idea of what and how much clothing they brought. I got very methodical about that stuff, but I still packed way too much. They told us to pack for very extreme cold and very extreme hot and there is a lot in between.
Chris: Yeah Michael, where WERE your cat like reflexes? I know Tara and Wil aren't exactly the most popular racers in TAR history. But they ROCKED, man. They hardly ever finished out of the top three the entire race. That is something to be damn proud of. And hell, I could see a little bit of them in Amanda and I, so it was easy to sympathize with them. And I loved Tramel and Talicia, and I hate that the both of us went out like suckers in leg 2. We learned a little bit from watching the shows, but it's hard to predict what things will be repeated on the race and how you can use the stuff you picked up. And it's near impossible to replicate the extreme conditions that you experience while on the race. So preparing yourself fully is quite hard. I learned 'walk' means walk or run, diesel is not suitable for unleaded vehicles, never say that you've been somewhere because then you look like a jackass when you can't make your way around that place, bring multiple alarm clocks in case some dick decides to shut one off while you're sleeping, and always take a taxi instead of a train/bus when you can and when it's within your budget. Ham WAY up.
RNO: If you could each only use one word to describe your experience on The Amazing Race, what would it be and why?
Amanda: Irreplaceable! I will never be racing around again with my best friend trying to compete for one million dollars, unless the show wants us to redeem ourselves in an All Stars Amazing Race or something (CBS, are you reading this?). I am so glad that we participated in this journey, I just wish our stay would have been longer. If anybody loves the show as much as we do and if there is an Amazing Race 5, send in some applications and a video damn it, what is it going to hurt? Just do it!
Chris: Unfulfilled! It sucks when you put forth goals for yourself that you know you can accomplish, start to live and accomplish them, and then have the chair kicked out from under you. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity that has come and gone and I feel that there was so much more there for us. We were a better team than how we finished but we are so thankful just for the opportunity.
RNO: Thank you both and good luck with everything in the future!
Phil Kural is a senior at Temple University, and can be reached at email@example.com.
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