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The Amazing Race Season 9, Episode 5 Commentary: Viva la Italia !


by Mali Perl

Is it weird that for me the highlights of the episode were the following: Fran & Barry giving Lake & Michelle the cold shoulder twice tied with The Frats vs. Hippies airport wheelchair race? Is it wrong how much I’m loathing Lake & Michelle and their mean-spirited and unnecessary yielding of the Pinks? And when did Lori from the Geeks turn into Cruella DeVille?

But let’s get right down to the essence, shall we? From the beginning at the Munich airport, Lake & Michelle were out of control. They consistently make impetuous, wrong decisions that cost them time and then they try to get help from the other teams. They fight with each other constantly and have earned their ranking right up there with some of the TAR’s worst couples. Fran & Barry (rightly) blew them off twice when they were trying to get their help. After they lied to Fran & Barry after one of the first challenges, there’s no reason to treat them well. Like the Hippies say, it’s about karma. But the worst was when L&M yielded the Pinks, thinking that would get them ahead at the final task. Yielding is always a double edged sword, to be used in extreme emergencies only. It’s absolutely fitting that they would use it, although Michelle put up a fakey show of regret. I hope that comes back to them. Soon. (In all fairness, I think the Pinks would have been kicked out without the yield because they were losing energy and momentum. There’s bad luck that happens to you and then there’s just slowing down. The Pinks were ready to go home.)

The bell challenge confused me because it said that both team members had to carry the bell, at two separate points but both Ray and Joseph carried the bell the second time all on their own. Kudos to the gents for their display of manliness but I was shocked that the show let that go. I’d think that would at least mean that you lose your money, but apparently Italy brought out the show’s generosity.

Lori from the Geeks was a little batty this week. She’s losing her lovey-dovey edge and is getting really competitive and harsh. In contrast, Dave is starting to fade and isn’t liking the tone that’s seeping into their relationship. Um, Dave, I’m thinking this may be your wake up call. I think we’re seeing the real Lori emerge from behind all those cutesy kisses and it ain’t pretty.

Lastly, the Frats continue to bring me unending joy week after week. From their flirting at the Munich airport to their making time to check hair to their flirting with the Italian chick at the finish line, they’re keeping it real. They actually said during the episode that the fact that they’re staying idiots and not overthinking (as if that were a possibility) is what’s helping them. What’s helping me are their throwaway lines like “Oh, Italian women” upon their arrival and “Is this Phil’s turtleneck?” during the laundry challenge. I’m even starting to forgive the nipple rings. And of course, they’re not as dumb as they act.

It looks like Mo of Team MoJo, who’s seemed to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown every episode will finally fall apart. She said that she knows how to play up her Barbie doll looks to her advantage but I think my advice to Dave holds true for ol’ Joe. Run for your life, man.

I do have to disagree with my fellow TAR writer, LauraBelle. We’re a good way into the show but I’m still underwhelmed by the teams and the tasks so far. I’m just thinking back to extremely memorable couples and friends that really stayed with me from previous seasons. I’ve said it before – Season 9 needs a little more shaking up. And I don’t mean more L&M. That’s just cruel.

Mali Perl works in finance but her heart belongs to entertainment. She can be reached at mali@realityshack.com. She still has a few more questions, like why was Phil so overdressed for warm Sicily? And whose laundry was hanging there? And wasn’t the whole statue thing a little… dirty?


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