Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Amazing Race Episode 11

Last week on Good Riddance (no, not the song):
The Bama girls realized that the Chos were holding them back. Hmmm, all this time the Chos have been making us think they've been helping Bama. Hmmm. There was a lot of bad rapping and some tank driving with Dennis and Andrew. (Okay, I know the joke's gotten old and most people probably don't even remember Season 3. Still..) The Chos sucked at life and got eliminated nine and a half legs too late.

This week on The Pretend Recap:
I will be honest. It's 1:15 AM and my Stats homework isn't finishing itself. However, I will also be honest when I say my recap deadlines are more important to me. Plus, the homework doesn't have to be done until 5 PM tomorrow.

And if we're being honest here, I'll also have to admit that I'm really weird about watching TV shows. With reality shows, I often watch episodes multiple times. It's easy on Bravo since they replay each episode a gazillion times. Lately, I've found myself falling into a pattern. I have a really hard time watching episodes in which I know something bad will happen beforehand. I had a really hard time watching this past Top Model episode because of the whole Caridee drama. I only watched it once. However, I can watch episodes like the one where Anchal was booted multiple times. I don't like watching really dramatic scenes like when people fight or get injured or get sick. I especially don't like watching when something bad happens to my favorites. I don't know, maybe I've been too effected.

Anyway, what I'm meaning to say is I didn't watch this past episode of TAR very closely at all. I knew that my Barbies would falter because I read on forums before I watched the show. When I watched the show, I didn't even watch it entirely. I mean, I saw the whole thing, but I was playing Minesweeper during most of it. I also got really angry and did my whole talking back to the contestants thing a lot. Basically, this recap might not be very thorough or accurate. I will, however, express my feelings on things.

The major gist of this episode goes like this: Teams travel somewhere.. this is bad, I don't even remember where they went. Barbies went through a lot of trouble with flights and connections only to end up on the same last connecting flight with everybody else. Everybody pissed and moaned about how the Barbies are great racers. The Barbies Yield Bama. The Roadblock had one team member riding on a chariot and pulling flags. Teams were really close together and the Barbies drove too far when going for the Detour. All teams went for grind it and there were only three work stations, which meant the Barbies had to wait around. This sucked and the Barbies were last at a NEL. Oh, and Bama raced twenty times better than they ever had, being alliance-less. We'll get to this later.

I just did three problems. Glorious. In this faux recap, I would like to cover several things: A.) Why the Barbies are great and why I hate how everybody hates them, B.) Why I think Bama is actually much better than the Chos were, C.) Rob and Kimberly's car trouble, D.) Two all-female teams in the top 4, E.) Typecasting and editing, who will be the final three, and how will they place.

A- Why the Barbies are great and why I hate how everybody hates them
As everybody knows, I love the Barbies. I will also admit that it's very hard to pull me from my favorites once I'm set on them. I will admit the Barbies have done some catty things that were a little unnecessary. However, it's almost impossible for me to turn on my favorites. Example: I really liked Danielle from Survivor 12, last season. No matter how much was thrown in my face about how useless she was, I remained loyal. I also liked the Mycoskies until the end in TAR 2 even though people thought they were sneaky and didn't play well with others.

I think the Barbies are great because they're a typical pretty model-y all-female team that is always cast every season. I would argue that the cheerleaders are a perfect example of the typical good-looks-bad-brains young female team that is in every season. Occasionally, though, we find a competitive girl in there somewhere (Tian from Season 4, the twins from Season 5 to a degree, although they did get really lucky sometimes). This is the first time that a pair of pretty girls have really surged ahead and been seen as a threat. They have been great racers this entire season. They've had some luck just like all the other teams and they've had two bad legs just like all the other teams, including Tyler and James. They don't depend on a strong all-male team to lead them along like many other all-female teams have in the past. They make it a point to race their own race and depend only on each other. They make aggressive plays and they think with their heads. It's just really refreshing to see such a strong young all-female team.

Now, what I hate is that because they are two pretty girls who are beauty queens, people will constantly mention it like it means there's no way they could be good racers. I hate that because they're racing hard, they're seen as conniving and manipulative. I am proud that for once, the young all-female team is the one that's trying to lose the other teams when they're driving to a location. I love that they're the ones that people are keeping an eye out for. I can't stand that when an all-female team is doing what all-male teams have been doing since the first season of this show, they're viewed as the villains. When an all-male team excels, people say it's because young males are athletic and make good decisions. Dustin and Kandace are just as strong as any of those all-male teams that exceled at this game. In fact, they've proven multiple times that when they're put up against Tyler and James, they often come out ahead.

I hate the perception of young all-female teams, especially beauty queens, as weak. I will say, I am a young female, definitely not of beauty queen caliber, and I'm in the demographic that often labels girls like these as a bad image of women and women rights. Oh course, I've never been that type, but I just want to say that I think it's significant for this to be said. I'm not saying it because I'm a guy that thinks the girls are hot. I'm a female their age. I just think it needs to be said. These girls are the strongest all-female team ever to be on this show. They have done consistently better than the majority of teams on this show. I'm tired of all the ratting on them.

I'm especially tired of all the teams complaining when D/K rush off on their own. They're trying to gain a lead. They're trying to leave before anybody else follows them. They're not giving any information to other teams. They work by themselves and don't have alliances. How is any of this a problem? It might be if all of the teams were on a field trip together and D/K left without letting anyone know. I'm not sure, but I'll ask Jonathan. Yup, this is a game for a million dollars. That's a '1' followed by six '0's. Wow. If I were there, I would be doing all of those things too. This is not The Amazing Best Friends Race (holla, Jade). I just don't understand when one of the teams says, "Oh, the blondes drove off. They're so sneaky. Let's try to follow them." How does this not prove my point? D/K are running their own race. They're doing really well and other teams are trying to follow them. This should be a refreshing sight to see. How dare those fools act like it's a crime to be blonde females and do well in this race.

If you have different views on this, please email me and I will immediately stop doing my homework and have a discussion with you.

B- Why I think Bama is actually much better than the Chos were
Now, you would think that if I love the Barbies, I would hate Bama. Here's the deal.. I don't hate them. I rarely truly hate a team ever. Jonathan and Victoria are an exception. I can't even say I hate Colin and Christie because I don't.. I actually respect them.. their racing, that is. Not their interpersonal skills. I attribute a lot of Bama's success so far as luck. Many people may think this about D/K. However, Bama's the one that's been second to last many times. They've made some stupid decisions as well.

However, this leg, I've started to wonder. Was their tendency to suck at life the result of their alliance? Everytime they did poorly on a leg, they were right back there with either Kentucky or the Chos. This leg, when they finally dropped the last of their baggage, they began to race much better. I guess we'll see next leg if it looks like luck or not. I personally think the Chos were holding Bama back. They were so adament at having another team with them at all times. Maybe it was because if they didn't hold onto Bama, Bama would beat them. If they held onto Bama, they'd easily beat the two moms in a foot race. We saw that when Bama ditched the Chos, they (Bama) soar way ahead and finished the leg smoothly.

I do think Bama is playing this game as well. They're probably intimidated by D/K a little and of course see them as competition. They're a prime candidate of those who see beauty queens and write them off as weak and stupid. They probably thinks that the Barbies "think they're better than everybody else." If only they could all look at this as a success for two independent female teams. Ahh, I'm sounding all feminist right now. I'm not. I'll stop.

C- Rob and Kimberly's car trouble
I think this is the funniest thing ever. When one of the Bama girls said, "When every car you drive breaks down, maybe it's not the cars. Maybe it's you," I said YES. This is so ironic and so funny. Everything Rob touches turns to crap. They've had, what, three car breakdowns? And Rob's had a couple breakdowns alongside. This is probably the most car trouble we've seen for one team on this show. Kimberly's horse also broke that one time when it knocked her down by the throat. Haha. Maybe the TAR karma fairy wants to torture them.

D- Two all-female teams in the top 4
I just wanted to mention that it's the first time this has happened since TAR began. It's taken TEN whole seasons. The closest we've come is Season 5 when the twins were fifth and the Bowling Moms were fourth. Stupid Brandon and Nikki not being eliminated when Brandon wouldn't shave his head. I probably dislike Brandon and Nikki more than I do Colin and Christie. They're so Freddy-and-Kendra-like. Teams that have no internal conflict but fight with other teams piss me off more than teams that have a lot of internal fighting. Except Ron and Kelly. Whatever fighting they had going on, regardless, I didn't like them at all.

E- Typecasting and editing, who will be the final three, and how will they place
Shows like this always typecast for their contestants. More importantly to me, though, is how teams are edited once they're on the show. People like to say you can never predict what will happen on these shows because everything that happens is unique to this one season. I say bull. I am a Communication major and this is some of the stuff we study.

Here's the deal.. nothing on any of these reality shows is happening for the first time, the only time, or the last time. This is not a live running documentary. This is an edited, produced show. When editors are piecing together the show, they know what has happened and they are bound both by the result of the game as well as previous storylines. When something works well, you don't change it. When it ain't broke, don't fix it, right? The producers know how the viewing public responds to certain teams. They know, especially by now, what combination of teams and what storyline will work. I repeat, nothing on this show is happening for the only time.

So, that said, the final four are examples of four.. maybe three.. classic types of teams. Tyler and James, who I actually just typed out as Eric and Jere.. before I realized what I had done, are the alpha-male team. We've always had an alpha-male team in the finals, with the exception of the seasons when we weren't given one (think power couples, seasons 5-7). They're the team that's fast and often finish first a lot early on in the race. When they're also smart, in addition to being fast, they're often unbeatable (seasons 1 and 2 in particular). They usually have very little interpersonal conflict.

There's our typical power couple. This season, we have our bickering power couple. This is the Frank and Margarita (although Rob and Kim do NOT hold a candle to Frank and Margarita at all.. Frank and Margarita were awesome), Tara and Wil, Flo and Zach, Kelly and Jon/Millie and Chuck, Colin and Christie, Rebecca and Adam/Hayden and Aaron, Ron and Kelly, and MoJo. That list is the template on which Rob and Kimberly were created. I'm not saying their personas were invented. They're just a spitting image of these other teams.

There's also our underdog teams. They're the teams that you would never predict at the start of the race to make it far. I would have said Tyler and James and Rob and Kimberly preshow if I was asked who were the most likely teams to make it to the finals. I would not have predicted D/K or Bama. D/K have definitely proven to not be actual underdogs, but they are still an unlikely team as far as how their race credentials stack up. Bama is classic underdog. They're like Teri and Ian. That's my best example. They're Teri and Ian and I see a possibility of Bama sneaking in there and taking second place. I don't think they'll win, however.

Who do I think are the final three? Tyler and James, Bama, and Rob and Kimberly, probably finishing in that order, maybe with the second and third places switched. I would love to D/K in there, but I think the NEL has sealed their fate. Who knows, though. I would love to see them there, I just see them as more of the Hayden and Aaron than the Kris and Jon. It's hard to say that, but T/J, Bama, and R/K are classic final three characters. I would love if the alpha-males didn't win again, but Bama and R/K just aren't functional enough to take them out. I think D/K could do it, but unfortunately, I don't think they'll be given the chance. Please prove me wrong, please! It's just what the previews and my gut are telling me.

I won't have a "Next week on.." segment. It's all been covered. We'll see how it pans out.

Until next time..

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