Tag Archives: Mel and Mike

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

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“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.

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The Amazing Race Season 14 – “Episode Six (India)”

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“Alright Guys, We’re At War!”

March 22nd, 2009

The worst kind of Amazing Race leg are the ones where nothing happens: the good teams are good, the annoying teams are annoying, and everything goes according to plan with the weak teams lagging behind and the strong teams rocketing forward. On the surface, this could seem like one of those episodes, where the leading teams don’t really change and where the outcome is one we could have predicted before the leg began.

But there’s been some subtle changes that have made this a better race to watch, and this leg continued that trend: teams that seemed to fade into the background before are becoming more distinct, while a team that was once impossible to watch has become more charmingly than frustratingly annoying. It’s not that the poverty and chaos of India immediately makes teams more likeable, and there’s a few instances of Ugly Americanism, but something about these teams are making them a really competitive and interesting group to watch.

So, despite nothing major going down, a building leg for the race.

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The Amazing Race Season 14 – “Episode Five (Siberia)”

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“She’s a Little Scared of Stick…”

March 15th, 2009

I spent a great deal of this, the fifth leg of The Amazing Race’s fourteenth season, wishing that last week’s blind U-Turn hadn’t happened, or that Kris and Amanda had been able to make it past the Detour in time to keep it from affecting them. While I understand that it’s part of the game, this race is weaker without them: a team that were likeable, fun to watch and competitive is the kind of team you want to have while you get rid of the weaker teams who are, well, not those things. Kris and Amanda may have been a threat to the competitive spirit of other teams, but they were much better from my own perspective – selfish, I know.

This week did little to assuage my concerns that we’re dealing with a slightly less interesting race as a result, although I’ll admit that this remains one of the most genuinely inoffensive group of racers in a long time. While there are a few teams who are legitimately struggling, it seems less as if they are just really bad at this race but rather that their skills lie in certain areas that don’t happen to come into effect when the teams are trapped in the depths of Siberia. We’re getting to the point where frontrunners are quite clear, and where the people who struggle are becoming more clearly identified, but there exists no one team that I would U-Turn if I was running this race with them.

But, of course, I’m not in race mode, so perhaps my rationality would go out the window when the time came.

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The Amazing Race Season 14 – “Episode Three (Romania)”

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“I’m Not Wearing That Girls Leotard!”

March 1st, 2009

The major change that we’re getting during this season of The Amazing Race is that there is no rest for the wicked – while before there were often legs which were constructed so as to require no planes at all, staying within one city or one country for a second leg, this year they’re mixing things up. Just as quickly as the racers had flown into and raced around Germany and Austria, the teams were back on a plane to Bucharest, Romania, and off for another leg of their adventure. It’s something that is going to catch up with teams very quickly, the spectre of killer fatigue preparing to play an even more substantial part in this race than in years past.

Unfortunately for one team this week, though, it’s not early enough yet for this to start to happen. And when it comes down to flying at the start of the leg, there are various problems that can crop up, and when things add up just wrong for you the leg isn’t going to give you a chance to catch up – there’s no suspense in this one, and it’s a sad story for a team that really didn’t deserve to go home at this stage.

But this isn’t to say that this is a momentum killer for the season, in fact quite the opposite: there is still plenty of heartwarming moments from Mel and Mike, finally a chink in the armour of too perfect Kris and Amanda, some redemption of sorts for two all-female teams who proved they’re not quite as incompetent as we first thought, and one team even gives the editors a freebie to be able to make it seem at least theoretically competitive. It’s a very even field right now, and despite the unfortunate loss there’s a lot to look forward to.

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The Amazing Race Season 14 – “Episode Two – Germany”

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“Your Target is your Partner’s Face”

February 22nd, 2009

When this, the second episode of The Amazing Race’s fourteenth season, begins, there’s a sequence where the teams all start talking about how much they are inspired by Margie and Luke, the latter of whom is the race’s first deaf contestant. To be honest, I was frustrated with this: not because they’re not inspirational, but that we are capable of discerning for ourselves how impressive his work is: in this episode alone, we see Luke making friends with Jamie and Cara (without his mother being present), and even offering his own individual interviews wherein he questioned his mother’s decision making and gave a glimpse into their team dynamic.

This is how you inspire us with Luke: not by shoving down our throats that he’s overcoming diversity, but showing how he is just another contestant in the end, how despite not being able to take part in tasks that require verbal clues he is an active participant in this race. He’s a heck of a lot more observant than some of the other teams in this leg, as massive errors continue to define the bottom section of the racers, and at this point it’s clear that there isn’t another Nick & Starr in the race: no team looks like it will be devoid of mistakes and drama both, and this could lead to some teams’ undoing.

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Season Premiere: The Amazing Race Season 14 – “Episode One: Switzerland”

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“Don’t Let a Cheese Hit Me”

February 15th, 2009

While we just ended the last season of The Amazing Race a few months ago, a lot has changed over the short break between seasons. The editing has changed, the maps have become Google sponsored, the font is different, and they even went and remixed the show’s classic theme song to give it a driving rhythm for some reason. Combine with a shinier opening title, and some shinier graphics, and you have a very different kind of Amazing Race.

Okay, that’s a lie: the game is actually pretty much the same, here in an actually even more frantic and challenging version that tests people’s abilities to travel via three modes of transportation plus complete two tasks that test both psychological and physical strength. There’s just a lot of room for people to make mistakes here, and while the episode actually felt oddly impersonal and detached for a few reasons that I’ll get into, the transfer of the drama from the airport decisions to the actual completion of the tasks gives us a better sense of what kind of racers, as opposed to just people, the teams will become.

And I like the group of people: there is some humour, there are some people who clearly are on an adrenaline rush the second they start the race, and there’s enough differences in strategy and personality that one can see themselves watching these people race around the world without wanting to throw things at their television. So for all of the changes (both cosmetic and, in one case, actually kind of offputting), this is really the same race in the end: a frantic, often heartwarming, always exciting, trip around the world.

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