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Expedition: Impossible – Ep 4 – Fathead to the Rescue


I had a hard time coming up with this column this week, mainly because I felt like simply taking last week’s and reprinting it. I wonder if anyone would have actually noticed, because it was essentially the exact same show. Teams wandered around Morocco, with no sense of urgency, and an obvious team got eliminated with absolutely no drama attached.

My concerns from the last couple of weeks have expanded into a full-blown Red Alert. The show is starting to really skate too closely to boring. I dare anyone who has watched the first four episodes to tell me something, anything, memorable that happened. Just one thing. And because this show is a derivative of the Amazing Race, it will always get comparisons. So let’s contrast the two – in the first four episodes of the Amazing Race we had:
• A giant zipline/gorge swing
• Lenny’s failure to finish the Eiffel Tower task and lie to his partner
• The comedy stylings of Kevin and Drew
• The emergence of the first villains – the Guidos
• The elimination of the oldest team to a standing ovation from the other racers in a Tunisian ampetheater.

In a word – memorable. That show aired ten years ago and those scenes are still vivid. I have watched E:I for a month and it’s already gone. I just saw Cars 2 with my kid, despite all of the bad reviews. And what I discovered is that the movie didn’t suck – it was something a lot more unfortunate. It was totally forgettable. You remember awesome movies, and you remember the truly awful ones. But there are many which leave no impression whatsoever. That was Cars 2 – less than an hour later, I had a hard time remembering scenes. The Chinese food of movies.

E:I is the Cars 2 of reality shows. It’s not truly awful, but why bother? It’s empty calories. It needs to start getting interesting, and fast, or there won’t be many more adventures. I cannot handle many more team hikes, followed by dull tasks, followed by more hikes.

So, that’s my rant, and I have a feeling I will be making more of these rants in the weeks to come. But, I am in a good mood, so let’s talk about some good stuff.

Fathead. I am growing to like him. That now makes two people on the show (Blind Erik) that I like, and that’s a good sign. He did a rare thing in reality shows – he showed authentic humanity. I’ve talked about this before. It is something that attracts me to this genre, and if E:I can produce more of them, I can learn to live with the damn hikes.

The task was to assemble a rope with a grappling hook and essentially fish in a gorge for a cage holding a key for the next task. All of the teams had succeeded in this, except for Fathead representing the Firemen, and Brittany (who?) for the Cali Girls. The caveat, of course, was this was the middle of the episode and teams were headed to the overnight camp, so no one was getting eliminated. However, it was cold up on that mountain, and it was getting dark soon. Fathead finally finished nabbing the key, and was ready to leave as Brittany started to break down.

Fathead instead chose to stay and help Brittany retrieve her cage. His reason, “There was no way I could leave this girl up there, so I untangled it and showed her how to throw it. Like I’m a pro (HA!).” Later he expanded, showing his true fireman roots, “I never leave anybody behind.” It made Brittany’s heart smile. I agree.

Of course, knowing there was no elimination coming, and that they would leave with the two teams who finished this task ahead of them, made the decision a bit more easy to make.

I liked the use of the snow-covered mountains as a contrast to the desert and canyons. Morocco has many different places, so good for the show in using all of the available resources. When you think about it, even here in the U.S., each state has vastly different climates. In fact, one day this January, all but one state had snow on the ground somewhere within its borders.


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