Monday, February 22, 2010

I don't eat tomorrow

Season 198 of The Amazing Race began last week. I think it is the Dumb-Stars edition as it features lovable dolts Jeff and Jordan in a reality tv cross-over from last year's American Big Brother. Somehow Jordan managed to win Big Brother, despite not knowing how to tell the time. She is the luckiest blonde in the world. The pair have continued their lucky streak by somehow managing to win the first leg of the race. I think God has a plan for them, although I'm not sure I want to know what it is.

The Amazing Race is one of those tv shows that despite having a simplistic and repetitive formula, is constantly good. I'm kind of a super-fan, having seen every season (they're actually on season 16 now). The premise is this - 11 teams (always consisting of a pair of people with a pre-existing relationship, except for the much-maligned family series) are sent to carry out a series of tasks that involve them catching planes and trains, visiting well-known landmarks and doing weird challenges at them. The last team to cross the finish line of each leg is eliminated until the last episode when only three teams are left, who get to battle it out in an asthma-attack inducing endgame. The winning team gets a million dollars. The challenges are often bonkers - involving herding animals, learning a national dance, eating gross local food or having to search for a tiny clue among thousands of boxes. They are designed to be difficult and frustrating, often resulting in teams facing major melt-downs, as even the most placid and well-balanced relationships are placed under enormous amounts of strain with a life-changing amount of money at stake. Couples often end up screaming abuse at other teams, or more often - each other.

As the episodes progress, and the old, unfit, thick, unlucky and naive teams get eliminated, it is difficult to watch without developing an intense hatred for certain teams, while rooting for others to do well. Despite having a notable quota of attractive model/actor dating teams, there is usually a reasonably balanced and diverse set of people representing all American life on display - something for everyone in other words. It is basically Wacky Races for grown-ups.

My favourite team (or rather, an anti-favourite) were crazed cousins Charla and Mirna. They were so popular that they came back for the All-Stars series. Here they are in an early episode of All-Stars - wasting precious time by squabbling with the Beauty Queens team and their taxi driver as all the other teams whizz by, putting them into last place. Listen as the music builds into a crescendo of anxiety. Watch in horror as Mirna plays up her East European accent and throws money at their confused, non-English speaking taxi driver in a psychotic attempt to make him feel guilty "Here take all of it! What do you want? Twenty dollars to eat food. I give you. I don't eat tomorrow. Muchos Gracias amigo, God help you!"

"I don't eat tomorrow?" The Amazing Race is full of little tips like that, that you can apply in your own life in order to get the best out of your holidays.

1 comment:

Adrian said...

That looks well stressful, but madly entertaining too.