The Amazing Race Season 14 – “Episode Seven (Thailand)”


“Gorilla? Gorilla?? Gorilla???”

March 29th, 2009

I wasn’t going to blog about tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race. I’m taking a week off from blogging, so I was going to put up a post about how I’d LOVE to talk about what happened on tonight’s journey from India To Phuket, Thailand but I just am too busy getting academic things under control before I leave for Los Angeles next week. Then, however, I watched this week’s episode of The Amazing Race.

My thoughts are below the fold, because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone. There’s also swearing, FYI.

Bull. Shit.

So let’s get this straight: Mark and Michael get TWO separate penalties for sabotaging other competitors and for gaining an unfair advantage during the Detour, and their penalty is a third place finish. Whereas Mel and Mike have a taxi driver who decides he knows the location of the Gorilla but is wrong, and their penalty is elimination.

Where is the justice in this? If this is truly a race, then the penalty for an unlucky break should not be MORE than that of people who actively subvert the race’s structure. It’s one thing to have thirty minute penalties for ignoring part of a clue: I understand that people misread clues a lot, and that it is a high stress situation, so it makes sense not to penalize them too harshly for getting desperate and following their cab. It’s not really that fair, but I can understand the logic: it happens quite often, and severe penalties distort the balance.

But what Mark did at the Detour was active sabotage, purposely altering the way the task was presented in order to make everyone’s job more difficult. I know that they didn’t know this at the time, but Margie fainted after that Detour, something that might not have happened if they had pumped up their tires as had been suggested by the original placement. It’s one thing to give someone the wrong directions, or refuse to help them, or mislead them in some way: Nick got into some trouble last season for using people’s information and then not helping them, which is something that is an ethical thing.

But these are RULES – I’m fairly certain there’s a rule book where it says you can’t sabotage tasks, whereas there isn’t a rule against being an idiot and not reading your clue. The idea that these two things are at all comparable is just ridiculous, and I really want to fly into the U.S., hunt down Phil Keoghan on his cross-country bike ride, and demand answers.

This post SHOULD be a love letter to Mel and Mike, maybe the best team to ever run the Amazing Race. If we look past the injustice, let’s look at how remarkable this really is: for all of Mel’s physical disadvantages, and for all of Mike being a scrawny white guy, they lasted longer in this race than one would have thought at first, all with good humour and an amazing attitude. They left this race with a greater appreciation of one another, of the world, and of themselves, and there is nothing better you can ask for in an Amazing Race team. I’ve always been waiting for a team who has a philosophy of picking the task that sounds the most fun, and while we could try to turn back time and once we finally have it for them to be eliminated in this way hurts more than I could imagine.

I don’t even want to discuss the rest of the episode, because I spent the entire time worried about the inevitable: as soon as their taxi driver decided that the gorilla was at a beach, which was either because he wanted to go visit his cousin who lives there or else he just really wanted to go swimming, they were pretty well toast. I couldn’t enjoy the awesomeness of taking a picture with a tiger, or the wonder of having an elephant almost sit on you, or the lack of a Roadblock (which was either edited out for time or not included in the leg).

I just want justice – and if Mark and Michael actually make it to the Final Three, I am going to find their house, take all of their bicycle bumps, smash them to smitherines, and then put them into their beds Godfather style.

Cultural Observations

  • I am too angry and sad for observations.


Filed under The Amazing Race

2 responses to “The Amazing Race Season 14 – “Episode Seven (Thailand)”

  1. amen. you hunt down phil, i’ll hunt down that taxi driver and then i’ll meet you outside the hideous mark’s house

    in the space of a single episode this has gone from one of my favorite seasons to not even close. apart from the sadness of the mike/mel situation there was no reason for phil to make one of his dramatic pauses while margie was suffering. watching luke’s distress while his mother was passing out was not my idea of entertainment

    damn damn damn damn, i was in a pretty good mood before this episode…

  2. Looking at the previews for next week, there was no footage of Luke and his mom. Hopefully, this didn’t screw them up and they’re able to still compete.

    I agree that intentionally screwing up a challenge for others should be a harsher penalty (unless it’s part of a challenge somehow).

    But as for the taxi, that’s the luck of the draw. You can’t change that, and shouldn’t. There was no anger last week over the blondes getting stuck with a taxi that had no fuel and had to get gas. An unlucky break is an unlucky break.

    Would you change it for airplanes that get rerouted (like happened to the older couple earlier this season)?

    As for the tiger and elephant, I thought it was a silly challenge. If a challenge doesn’t give anyone the opportunity to pass another team, it shouldn’t exist.

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