The Amazing Race: "I Never Looked So Foolish In My Whole Entire Life (Outback)"
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The Amazing Race: "I Never Looked So Foolish In My Whole Entire Life (Outback)"

Oscars, schmoscars.  Who needs Oscars when we’ve got Globetrotters, cowboys and kangaroos? All the best bits will be on YouTube by tomorrow morning anyway (the few moments I glimpsed during commercial breaks tonight suggested an unmitigated train wreck in the making), and we’ve got a cliffhanger to resolve here in Race-land. Namely, cowboy Jet’s inability to make heads or tails of the flag code needed to solve a crucial clue. You know Jet is frustrated as he resorts to foul language, busting out “sonofabuck” no less than three times.

He does figure it out eventually, however, and as most longtime TAR viewers probably predicted, an equalizer saves the cowboys’ bacon.  Phil’s next clue leads to two charter flights the following morning, with the first six teams qualifying for a 6 a.m. flight, and the remaining five following a half-hour later. That means the cowboys start the next leg on equal footing with Ron and Christina, Kris and Amanda (who still need to complete both Detour tasks thanks to the U-Turn), Flight Time and Big Easy, and Gary, Mallory, and Jesus.

That also means Mel and Mike are on the first flight, although things looked grim for a moment when it appeared all the physical exertion had gotten the best of 70-year-old Mel White. This sequence reminded me of Rudy’s return in the first Survivor all-stars season; I was rooting for him to go far, but on the other hand, I didn’t want to watch him drop dead on my television. I’m still pulling for Mel and Mike, but for the moment, it really looks like they shouldn’t be doing this.

All of the teams choose the same Detour task, which involved recreating an aboriginal mosaic and performing a culturally insensitive dance on top of it. No children were harmed in the performing of this task, despite the best efforts of Kent, who inexplicably thought the dance had to include the befuddled youngsters on the premises.  It looks like the teams would have been better off choosing the alternate task, involving spitting paint onto stencils, which Kris and Amanda also had to complete.  Editing-wise, anyway, they appear to finish it in a hurry, hot on the heels of straggling Ron and Christina.

The final task is another respectful nod to Australian culture, as the teams are forced to dress in giant kangaroo outfits and bounce through the streets of the mining town of Broken Hill. (I did appreciate the shots of the locals giving the teams classic “Who are these assholes?” looks, not to mention the Animal Control truck parked along the route.)  Once again, I appreciate the effort this season to make the clues a little more difficult to decipher; in this case, the teams are given a periodic table of the elements, which they need to use in order to figure out they’re going to the intersection of Mercury and Bismuth. Unfortunately, in an age where any given passerby may be in possession of a smartphone, even these tougher clues are easily solved.  Maybe TAR needs to institute a no-Googling policy.  (I’ll give Kent his props, though; goofy-looking dude actually knows his periodic table.)

Zev and Justin are the first team to the pit stop—this time with passports in hand. In addition to Kris and Amanda, the trailing teams are Ron and Christina and Gary, Mallory, and Jesus, who form perhaps the least compatible (and mercifully shortest-lived) alliance in reality television history. Ron would have an easier time relating to an actual kangaroo than with Mallory, who somehow seems to be drunk at this point. In the end, however, the conclusion that seemed inevitable back at the beginning of last week’s episode does come to pass, and Kris and Amanda are eliminated. The hoped-for tension with Margie and Luke never had a chance to develop, and I can’t say I have any strong feelings one way or the other about seeing them go. They weren’t one of my favorites, but they hadn’t particularly gotten on my nerves yet, either, and as such, I deem them expendable. By the end of this season, when I see them at the finish line, I suspect I’ll be trying to remember who they were.

Stray observations:

  • After two episodes, I still don’t really hate anybody, although Ron is starting to wear on me a bit. I’m sure a villain team will emerge eventually, and my money is on Margie and Luke. They’ve been on their best behavior so far, but I remember disliking them more and more the longer their season went on.
  • I was cringing at the thought of Mel trying to make his way in the kangaroo costume, but apparently bouncing on springy heels was good for him. Go figure.
  • “Vyxsin, please get me children!” Not gonna happen, Kent.
  • Next week: Jaime and Kara run over a small child. Don’t miss it!

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