Once again, The Amazing Race was touching to the heart, the head, and this time especially, the funny bone!
It seemed since the very beginning of the Race that the strong contenders would be the two women flight attendants, Christie and Jodi (attractive but a bit more mature looking up close) due to their travel experience, as well as the short of stature but unafraid of anything physical stunt men brothers, Mark and Michael, and the non-bickering dating couple, Amanda and Kris, who could work work well as a team, willing to compromise. One last couple that seemed strong intellectually and as a team were the brother and sister lawyers Tammy and Victor.
On the contrary, “The Hicks From the Sticks” married couple, Linda and Steve, seemed to be one of the weaker couples, due to Linda being out of shape and a crier who said she couldn’t run. The younger dating couple, Jennifer and Preston, were shown in their introduction saying that each wanted to be boss and in control. They said they were due to fight, and they did.
This season there are also two new pairings that are going to be interesting to watch, with one being Margie and Luke, a mom and her deaf son. Instead of speaking, there is still a strong communication going on with sign language. When not communicating that way, Luke is pulling his mom by her arm instead of using words. The second interesting team is the gay father and his gay son. They seem to have a strong relationship which would do them well in a race, and even though the dad seems to be the oldest in the race, he has a keen eye when it comes to things.
This episode of The Amazing Race 14 showed some of the most beautiful scenery ever after the teams left the starting place in Los Alamitos, California and arrived in Switzerland. It was like a picture book, where you could almost see Heidi up the snow-laden mountain.
The first challenge, to bungee jump off the second highest bungee jump in the world (Verasca Dam), was scary insane. The stunt guys took to it like a duck to water, but after the flight attendants found out what the challenge was, Jodi, the one that said she would do it, was saying that this is the one thing she didn’t want to do because of a fear of heights, but she finally made herself do it after some hesitation, hand-wringing, and the commercial.
The last challenge was honestly the funniest one I have ever seen on The Amazing Race. The teams had to walk up a very steep hill full of mud and dog poop (produced by cute dogs in the background) with a cheese rack on their back, then carry the big 50 pound wheels of cheese on the rack back down, stacking the wheels at the bottom of the hill. Just getting up that hill was a difficult task, and once they got the wheels of cheese on the rack, the trip down the hill was where the hilarity began. The steepness of the hill made it hard for them to keep their balance, and right off the bat, Margie’s “piece of crap” cheese rack broke, and a wheel of cheese rolled into a tree. Luke was practically running down the hill, landing on his bottom as his cheese rolled into a fence.
On top of all this zaniness were the traditionally-dressed Swiss men howling with laughter in the background. Mel decided to just hold a cheese wheel between his legs and scoot on his bottom, which is what I do on steep ski runs. When another of Luke’s wheels started rolling toward him, he yelled out “Don’t let the cheese hit me.” Steve the hick, proved to himself that “they didn’t get there by being idiots” by being able to get three wheels down himself while his not-so-fit wife, Linda, scooted down with one. Between the wheels of rolling cheese, the people fallilng on their rears, and the Swiss guys laughing, it was a like a cure for the economy blues for those minutes of the race. When the second set of racers began this task, the laughter started up again at home and with the Swiss men.
The pit stop was an emotional one that was touching and showed again what a treasure Phil Keoghan is. Luke and his mom Margie came in first, and Phil used sign language to welcome them in. He also asked Luke why he wanted to do the race and Luke answered he wanted to show that deaf people can do everything that other people can do, except talk. What a moment!
The show gave a few insights of possible friction in future shows. Foremost would be the flight attendants, Jodi and Christie, who were nearly eliminated, and Brad and Victoria, who fibbed to the girls which train they were getting on. Doing so had the girls getting on the slower one, having them arrive last at the cheese wheel challenge. Mel warned his son, Mike, as well as the team of brothers, Mark and Michael, to watch out for Victor and Tammy when the three teams were on the train. Mel didn’t trust the brother and sister, who happen to be lawyers.
The Amazing Race always shows us the beauty of the world, and this particular episode showed us the beauty of humanity as well. It gave the viewers the chance to see people we might have disregarded as not capable as being all that and more.