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Amazing Race 16 – Ep. 3 Commentary – How About Them Cowboys?


Ok, I had to break out the Jimmy Johnson quote at some point this season. How can you resist, especially when the cowboy brothers are stepping up their game and winning two of the first three legs. And I must admit, despite my early misgivings about the boys, they are slowly becoming my favorite team on the race. Maybe it is the East Coast Liberal (I’d say elite, but I am writing about reality shows and that automatically cancels my New Yorker subscription) in me, but I found myself rather surprised to find such dry and funny humor coming from the guys.

And I think I am far from alone in underestimating them. This was witnessed when Crandy started questioning them about how they managed to get the good bus tickets last week. It was as if Crandy was stunned to be outthought by a couple of cowboys. Us ECLs do this far too often at our own peril when we mistake Southern and Midwestern accents as evidence of a lack of IQ. I think that is what was going on with Crandy. My fellow ECLs did that with George W. Bush for eight years – sorry, my friends, W ain’t an idiot (just has trouble thinking on his feet) and these cowboys are for real.

One caveat though; it helps when several of the early tasks are in cowboy-friendly Chile and Argentina. I mean, they had to milk cows, lasso and ride a “horse” in the first few tasks. That’s like asking me to write a press release, program the DVR and set up a fantasy baseball league with my Amazing Race tasks. Pretty much in the wheelhouse, don’t you think? Crandy’s complaints about fairness are ridiculous, as the Boys said, “We don’t complain that they know Spanish and we don’t.” Point well taken; these are skills brought into the Race – producers can choose to play to those skills or not. Also, the Boys may have some issues once the Race goes to India, as they would not take too kindly to roping any cattle there.

A few other things, which I will address per team:

Brent/Caite – Miss Teen and her man made a bold move this week. Suffering from dehydration, the duo elects to head to the ER for treatment rather than depart on schedule. This may be the first time a team missed a departure time on purpose (other than Blake deferring to Mary/Peach, but that was only a matter of seconds). This could have really backfired if there was not a bunching coming up and could have cost them the Race. However, they logically deduced that in the middle of the night, there would likely be a travel or operating hours bunching at some point, so they got healthier. It meant they were a bit zombified during the leg from exhaustion, but at least they weren’t puking. For a team that gets grief for its intelligence, that was a very smart play.

Steve/Allie – Has a team which finished second on a leg, and performed somewhat well in the first three legs, ever gotten such a non-existent edit? We barely saw these guys this week and lo and behold, there they were near the top of the pack. I think this bodes badly for their future, unless they are just truly a boring team. There were only two things of note this week. The first was Steve’s brilliant strategy during the polo challenge where he got down on his belly atop the wooden horse and hit the ball baseball-style. Not only did he use his ample baseball skills, but the ball went a lot further. Contrast this with Dan/Jordan trying to hit the ball like it was a croquet mallet on the ends of the pole and you can see why one did well and the other didn’t. The other was Steve offering to trade hats with Phil’s Mat Buddy. Dude, you don’t trade hats with strangers.

Jordan/Jeff – I can see how Big Brother fans like this team; they are dimwitted, but rather amiable. And it is rare among reality show contestants to see such self-awareness out of them. When Jeff made the somewhat hilarious mistake during the Detour of failing to realize that the “gunslinger” who gave them the clues was not the “lead bandit” to whom he was supposed to report to, it led to some serious bleeding of time. It was clear as day on the clue, but they failed to read it properly. That led to much hilarity and the eventual realization by Jeff that like the vast majority of reality show contestants, they should not procreate.

Dan/Boy Jordan – Seriously. Learn to drive stick. And I can’t tell which one is gay, and I am not ashamed to admit that.


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