November 20, 2007

Pronounce it Correctly and Win a Prize

The last couple weeks on The Amazing Race have highlighted some things I love most about the show, but also some that I like least.

First, the bad. While unpleasant "dating couples" are able to bicker their way to avoiding elimination, older folks rarely do well on The Race. And so sadly, we had to bid farewell to our lovely lesbian ministers. But they have forever won a place in my heart for uttering this line, "We are religious people, but we have no illusions that God cares whether or not we win The Amazing Race." THANK YOU. Could you please tell that to, I don't know, EVERY OTHER REALITY SHOW CONTESTANT...EVER?!?!? Listen to your elders, people.

And, the ugly. Not only were we forced to bear witness to Christina's father turning from super supportive to browbeating in approximately 1/10th an episode, but we also had to suffer through Lorena. Because Lorena, she is having a meltdown. A really bad meltdown. Like the kind many racers face on about leg 10, or somewhere in India. But Lorena? She freaks out over a camel on just leg 3. (Anyone else thinking a degree in Animal Husbandry would have come in very handy this season?) Ugh. She is so distasteful.

But not even Lorena could get eliminated. Instead we discover that the team I keep forgetting is on the race is sent home instead. Good-bye, sisters I...sorry, already forgot them again.

Despite all this, there were bright moments which warm my heart and make me love the show again. We began this past week's episode with the teams discovering that they would be flying to Ouagadougou. Which leads to about 10 different pronunciations from the teams, not a one of which is right. (Hey, even I had to pay attention to Phil for this one.) Ouagadougou is the capital of the West African nation of Burkina Faso - formerly known as Upper Volta for you geography nerds.

Also this week, the staff created what I have to say is one of my favorite Detour challenges of all time. The choices - Teach or Learn. The teams could either teach a set of 10 chosen nouns to one of the local schoolchildren in the town of Bingo (hee!), using picture flash cards. Or conversely, they could learn 10 nouns in the native language, being taught by one of the children. They then have to sit for a test in front of the schoolteacher. You see, this is just gold. We get shots of adorable children. It's a chance to share across cultural boundaries. And neither task is clearly an easier choice - they both were tough. For example, the children don't use some of the same consonant sounds like we do, so a word like "skyscraper" was a real challenge. And the native words can be just as tough for Americans. Fun! Personally I would have chosen to learn, because how could I pass up the chance to learn how to say "tree" and "fish" in an African dialect?

Now that we're 3 weeks into it, who am I pulling for? I have to tell you - it's still the goths! Kynt and Vyxsin have been racing admirably with a minimum of drama. And their gender roles...well, let's just say they're a bit flexible. The siblings aren't too bad, although they are a bit too analytical and intense for me to warm up to them. Nicolas and his granddad are holding up pretty well. I feel like Grandpa Donald reminds me of someone. Maybe it's Rudy from the original Survivor? Anywho, he stripped down to his skivvies for those of you that are into that kind of thing.

Next week - something about chickens. Again, I say - veterinary medicine degree - very handy!

Coming up this week before Thanksgiving - recaps for both Top Model and Project Runway. Y'all come back soon, y'hear?


Stef said...

Really great post!

This week's episode also brought out another one of those bad things I don't like - showing really insensitive, condescending, ugly sides of Americans when facing a new culture. The blondes were horrible talking about "Africa." It reminded me of the models from a few seasons ago. Those people give the rest of us Americans a bad name.

I hope Lorena pulls herself together, cuz her bf is hot. I want to keep watching him!

The Kara said...

Alright, I don't watch the AMAZING RACE but have been meaning to ask you - did you see last week's episode of 30 ROCK? If not, then please see it online. AR becomes involved and I think you'd enjoy it.

Dancer in DC said...

Oh yes, I'm glad you mentioned it! We thought it was just hilarious. I was never a real 30 Rock fan, but it's really matured into a very funny show, and now we watch it every week.