“Wow, look at all the trash” – Chad
This week, I’m reminded of the harsh realities of…well, reality TV, in that you may like some or even a lot of the people you see on the screen, but a lot of time, they’ll be eliminated in favor of people that you cannot stand. It’s a good thing that this season of The Amazing Race is filled with a ton of surprisingly pleasant teams, but the writing was on the wall for Andie/Jenna last week when they struggle with the first leg and came in 9th. I was hoping they had at least one more episode left in them, but in the busy streets of Ghana, we bid goodbye to them this week. In terms of team relations, The Amazing Race has always done a pretty good job in introducing a new and interesting team dynamic into the mix every couple seasons, and the relationship between Andie and Jenna was one of the most interesting I’ve seen over the years: a recently reunited mother and the daughter she decided to give up for adoption. It’s always difficult to maintain an air of pleasantness on a competition as demanding and taxing as the race, and I had my concerns as to whether or not the relationship between the two would degrade over time. We’ve seen long-term relationships go sour over the course of the race, so it seemed like it would be even more difficult with people who barely knew each other. Running around the world isn’t exactly the best backdrop for trying to reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in 21 years. And yet, even when things got difficult between the two on the two legs they shared of the race, they were never anything but patient and understanding with each other. I do hope they are able to take the time they’ll have together sequestered until the end of the race to get to know each other better. They really look amazingly like each other, and I can only imagine how they had reacted to this revelation the first time they met. It’s an odd story to be told in the format of a reality competition series, but for the brief time we were allowed to witness it, I was actually pretty touched by it. I hope those two make it in the long run.
The other thing I took away from this episode is how much of the race is dependent on taxi luck. Since you spend most of your time being transported by taxis to each destination, a lot of your success on the race depends on getting a taxi driver who knows what he or she is doing. One team had a taxi that eventually stalled while trying to get to their first location, causing them to drop to last place. In another instance, several teams that were already pretty far behind the rest of the pack all had taxi drivers that didn’t know the location of their next destination, causing all three of them to overshoot the location by quite a bit. On the flip side, Nat/Kat’s taxi driver (who was among the teams behind the rest of the pack) eventually grew some courage and managed to pass several teams en route to the pit stop of the leg, boosting them from being somewhere near the end to about the middle of the pack. It kinda sucks that a large portion of the race is out of your control, and it doesn’t always make for the most satisfying television, especially when it is the cause of the elimination (not that it necessarily was in this particular case), but it is just an inherent part of the race that there is not really a good way to get around. C’est la vie, I suppose.
Who I’m rooting for: Pretty much the same as last week. Everyone except Chad/Stephenie and Nick/Vicki. I think next week will be the turning point in which I start to pick out my favorites in the field, but for now, I’m having a lot of fun just watching everyone have fun on the race.
Who will win: I suppose it’s easy to get swayed by them after their display of sheer endurance from last week and the way they excelled at something they already know how to do this week (hocking goods), but this week I change my prediction to Brook/Claire, the home shopping channel hosts that got whacked in the face with a watermelon last week. They have a certain tenacity about them that is unbelievable. I still predict that it is a female/female’s team to take it this year, even if it isn’t these two.