I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. Horton notwithstanding, one this is also for sure – elephants are greatly entertaining. Or if you’re the Twins, they are the equal to the reaction of a Girl Scout Troup at a Justin Bieber concert.
The elephants were the best part of this episode, and as you know, it pains me to criticize The Amazing Race because even its poorest episodes would be better than most of the crap you can find out there. But this one was one of the poorest episodes in recent memory, at least in my opinion.
Why? A couple of reasons. First and foremost, we had one of my most disliked themes in the 19 years of The Amazing Race – religious preaching. For those new to the blog, I likely am more sensitive to this issue than most other people. As a proud atheist, I subscribe to no organized religion. I have my own reasons for doing so, but to me, those so-called lack of beliefs are just as sacred as anyone else’s own religious beliefs. As much as a devout church-goer would be offended by someone else telling them how stupid they are for believing what they do, and how far superior other thoughts are, is how I feel about getting preached to.
The vast majority of people don’t do this – their faith is part of who they are, they go about their business quietly and leave the rest of us the hell alone. I wish that it was at all possible for an atheist to one day become President, but that won’t happen in my lifetime. Personally, I respect others for their own choices – whether it was a conscious choice or imposed upon them by their parents – and I expect the same in return.
Now there is a pop culture phenomenon that has to stop – that is the belief that whatever higher power you may believe in actually gives a crap about what you do on this earth, just as long as you are living a good life. I think every god, deity, demigod or Elvis will agree – just don’t screw with other people, keep your hands to yourself, and be kind are really, basically all they want from us. Maybe a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. But that’s it. Any home runs you hit, touchdowns you score, acting awards you win, hit singles that go platinum, elected offices you hold, are all fine, well and good. But it ain’t their problem.
That especially goes for reality show successes. And that at long last brings me to my point. I have totally loved the Dudes this season. As you know. And then they had to come out with some hard core religious pontificating. And now I am soured a bit. I still like them, but enthusiasm level has dropped substantially. Why can’t people of one religion hold others with respect? Why can’t they go into a temple in Thailand and appreciate the spirituality, instead of feeling as if they are cheating on their god? Millions of tourists come through famous churches every day, and not all of them are Christians or Catholics. I have been to Notre Dame, to St. Patrick’s, to St. Isaac’s and the Church on Spilled Blood , and found them to be fascinating to behold. All these guys were asked to do was to take apart and put back together a mini temple scene. They weren’t asked to pledge a blood oath. Boo. Hiss.
Anyway, enough of that. I also didn’t much care for the Roadblock #1. Do you think that could have been slightly easier? It was almost as easy as finding a hidden immunity idol on Survivor. I get that the real twist was that the other person had to do the harder challenge, but was that really much of a twist? Why did one have to be easy? Why can’t they both be challenging? Some fans of the show have complained about the dumbing down of the show, and while I can see where that comes from, I still don’t think it does that overall.
However, in episodes like this one, I totally can see the point.
And why was there a flautist in the middle of this lagoon for no apparent reason? It was like Dom Deluise randomly rowing his boat and finding a banjo-playing, singing frog.
Another ugly moment in the show came from another team I had liked – the Magellans. When the twist was unfurled and they realized Zac had to reconstruct the temple scene, Daddy Dearest turned on him. Zac had said when they were breaking it down that they should take notes on where everything went just in case and dad scoffed at that. Once it became known that Zac was right, Dad started to lash out, and blamed his son for the delays when Zac had to go back and take notes. He even claimed that he could have done it without notes.
It is here that I must break out my Bullsh*t stamp and slam in all over those comments. Unless Laurence has a photographic memory – and I am sure he does not – there is no way he does that without notes. That was classic dad-son dynamic where dad screws up and manages to blame son. I am sure in no way will son resent that. Not that I have any idea of that dynamic, of course (whistles innocently).
Of course, Laurence didn’t stop there with the bad ideas. The best bad idea he had was reading too much into the show’s no 1st class ticket rule. That rule is in place for air travel, as many times before teams have upgraded to better cabins on trains, buses, etc. On the express bus, Laurence panics, gets off the bus, has the team run three miles back to the station, gets on a later and slower bus and almost caused their elimination. If the Twins had actually either had money, or figured out earlier that as hot blonde twins they could get people to do whatever they asked, the Magellans would have been out because of Laurence and only Laurence.
So next time you blame the kid, look in the mirror, my friend.
But instead, let’s find a couple of good things. The Twins were extremely likable this week as they geeked their way though Thailand. You see, they love elephants. I mean REALLY love elephants. To the point of starting a fringe group of pachyderm-philes, with their own twitter feed – @BabarRules. They screeched and yelled throughout the ride and Speed Bump-induced bathing like 1960s teenagers upon first view of The Beatles. It was quite endearing.
However, we also learned that for every great force of good (elephants) there is an equal force of evil (fish). Marie hates fish. Not Phish. That would be crazy. Not Fish – no one hates Abe Vigoda. She hates fish. It was a sad day for pisces-philes around the globe.
I’ll miss the Twins – I was impressed that they were willing to essentially pull a Forrest Gump and run across Thailand rather than ask for money or help. They brought a lot of enthusiasm, blondeness and well, hot blonde twinness to the Race. They will be missed.
• Did Jennifer offer the elephant a back massage with her feet? Will she be drawn and quartered by the Twins after this for honing in on their elephant love?
• I felt badly for Ernie who is basically getting edited as being Cindy’s buffoonish partner. He called himself a B student compared to her Type A personality, and with his Laurence-esque error at the challenge, is being shown has the Jim Belushi to her Courtney Thorne-Smith. Or the Kevin James to her Leah Remini. Or the Ty Burrell to her Julie Bowen. Or the…oh, you get it.
• I love checking out the time of departures, especially on the episodes directly after non-elims, because you get a real sense of the margin between first and last. The Dudes left at 10:07, basically a one-hour lead over the Siblings who left second. Jeremy 2.0 went third at 11:14 am. Then eight minutes separated the Magellans, Control Freak and the Peytons. Geritol left over two hours after the Dudes. The Twins had a three hour deficit from the Dudes, and over an hour behind Geritol. Without an airport equalizer, and with little money, that became very difficult to overcome.
• I give huge props to those who thought to take notes the first time through during Roadblock #2. Especially to Jennifer who had the wherewithal to use the cab driver’s phone to take a picture. Very clever, and well done.
• In the Things We Could Have Done Without Category – the close up shot of elephant crap. Thanks, Show.
• 550 mile bus ride across Thailand – well, at least THAT part was classic Amazing Race.
• Making my point for me, my unexpected new Amazing Race friend Jennifer, said that despite being a Christian, she respected the temple because it “warrants the same amount of respect” as she would expect at her church. Good. For. Her.
• Has anyone ever been more excited in the history of everything for cleaning up giant piles of crap than the Twins were?
• That taxi ride of $150 when it seems most teams barely had that much money, or had less, was an interesting twist which I wonder if was intended, or was just a quirk of the Race. That said, not exactly Ernie and Cindy’s finest hour as they argued with the cabbie and some Random Angry Woman. I sensed another Colin in Tanzania moment on its way.
• Ernie – “I think I got it, if I didn’t get it, Cindy is going to kill me.” Contrast that with Laurence and Zac and that bungled challenge.
• Moral of the Twins’ saga this week – if you are blonde, tall and hot female twins , people will do anything you ask of them. Even stop a commuter bus and drive you to it for free. You just have to ask them to do it. Of course, this advice is limited to very few people in the world.
• Was the final challenge this week to feed fish or did I imagine I was in a Mister Rogers episode?
• Dudes had a moment there didn’t they? When they went to the school for directions and the woman was taking a long time returning, Andy suggested they pace, because that’s what people do when waiting. And Tommy responded with a very slight, and very subtle, moment of irritation. They are not Born Again Christian robots designed to mimic and overthrow Shaun White! They are human!!
• When the Twins read the Pit Stop clue there was a moment of disappointment that I think I noticed. I read that as being their hope that there was going to be a Detour and glimmer of hope for them.
• All this and no mention of the Peytons and Geritol winning the leg (and finishing barely second). Sorry guys, but well done! And just a second on Jeremy 2.0’s almost fatal decision to wander off on foot, even though the Pit Stop was far away. Those two need to shake it off, because Killer Fatigue seems to be setting in.
Roadblock 1 – Search a lagoon for a sack containing a ceramic fish, in which the clue lies. Really. That was it. Andy, Justin, Sandy, Laurence, Marcus, Cindy, Cathi, Marie.
Roadblock 2 – Reassemble the just taken apart spirit house. Tommy, Jennifer, Jeremy, Zac, Amani, Ernie, Bill, Liz.
Order of Finish – Peytons (win a trip to Bali), Geritol, Control Freak, Siblings, Dudes, Magellan, Jeremy 2.0, Twins (ELIMINATED)
Next week – Africa. Tobacco Derby? And something with bed frames.
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