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Reality Check: Hippies "Race" to Last Place

Something strange is in the air this season on The Amazing Race. Last week, the hippies barely squeaked by elimination and Phil instead sent home the completely irritating and borderline abusive (think Jonathan and Victoria) team of Lake and Michelle. I was stunned and then exhilarated that the hippies managed to escape sudden death and that had Lake and Michelle arrived a few minutes earlier, they still would have had to wait out their 15-minute time penalty (for also failing to complete clue directions as indicated).

Fast-forward a week and the situation has gotten even more tangled. Somehow the team that many viewed as dead weight--that would be oldies Fran and Barry--managed to climb from the back of the pack all the way to first place while the two strongest competitors have sunk to the bottom. Is this trend permanent? Or will we see yet another shake-up on the next leg of the Race?

(1st) Fran and Barry.

I am amazed at how well Fran and Barry performed in last night's episode. They have an innate knowledge of maps and directions, which usually works to their advantage (most of the other teams can't seem to read a map), though this is also the team that has the most difficulties actually finding the clue box most of the time. (As in the first leg of the race where they walked by the clue box--in plain sight, mind you--about a dozen times before the Pink Girls pointed it out.) Will they manage to maintain their lead? I'm not too sure as their mapping skills are unfortunately superior to their speed and physical strength. But they might just make it to the final three...

(2nd) MoJo (a.k.a. Monica and Joseph).

Wow, Monica and Joseph were furious that Fran and Barry managed to beat them to the pit stop and walked away with first place. MoJo is one of those teams that manages to stay towards the top most of the time but never snags the lead. Still, they are in a pretty good position but next week's episode foretells some major stress on their romantic relationship. Not the smartest team out of the bunch, they nonetheless can usually complete the physical challenges quickly, unless it involves carrying a swordfish through an Italian market, in which case Monica is liable to break down. If they can't get past the tensions of next week's episode, I think they'll self-destruct.

(3rd) Ray and Yolanda.

I was surprised that Ray and Yolanda actually found the pit stop last night. While I was impressed with them early on, they've been bugging me lately with their constant squabbling and bickering, much of which is totally blown out of proportion (i.e., the "cussing" incident). While strong physical competitors (Yolanda usually kicks ass and remember how Ray carried that heavy bell by himself?), their inability to find their destinations usually ends up with them at the bottom of the heap. Still, they're smack in the middle this week and if they continue that trend (it's served them well so far in the race), they could sneak by elimination again.

(4th) Eric and Jeremy.

Eric and Jeremy. What can you say about these preening and misogynistic frat boys (well, frat boys who didn't actually complete college)? Somehow, through dumb luck (emphasis on dumb) and decent teamwork, they've managed to come in first place in many a leg of this Race. They're strong physical competitors and not afraid to storm into a situation half-cocked and have swept most of the teams away (like how they breezed in and stole the fast forward last week from MoJo from right under their noses). But this leg of the race was unkind to them for once, especially as they began the leg with a huge lead on the other teams, and they quickly sank to the bottom by getting lost, not once, but twice in Oman. I was hoping that they'd take longer to get to the pit stop and get eliminated, just to see the looks on their overly tanned faces.

(5th) BJ and Tyler.

Poor BJ and Tyler. Along with Eric and Jeremy, they are a super-strong team and have been at the top of the bunch more often than not, claiming first place a few times. Some find their endless mugging to be irritating but I can't get enough of them--they're funny, supportive of one another, and out to have a good time. They always have a genuine appreciation of their surroundings (they even learn some simple phrases for whatever country they're in) and actually always seem like they're having fun. But they managed--barely--to escape Phil-imination last week (I blame driving an hour out of the way in the wrong direction) and this week was no better.

Managing to catch up to the other teams and establish a tied first place lead with Fran and Barry, the team got stuck at a particularly grueling roadblock, which involved digging up hundreds of sand dunes to find six underground ovens, containing a Middle Eastern delicacy. As other teams arrived and one by one got their clue, poor BJ was stuck digging--and in many cases re-digging--every single dune in 90 degree weather and the intense heat of the sun. In the end, he was nearly catatonic but Tyler continued to cheer him on and he finally received the clue. Fortunately, it was a non-elimination round--the first on this Amazing Race so far--and Phil stripped BJ and Tyler of all of their money and belongings. Additionally, they will receive no money at the outset of the next leg. Will this optimistic and zany team manage to climb out of last place?

I think their current standing will force the hippies, no longer weighed down by the burden of material possessions, to be even more forceful and resourceful and climb back out of their predicament. My predictions? I think it will come down to BJ and Tyler facing off against Eric and Jeremy. As for who takes home the million dollar prize at the end of the race, I'm hoping that we'll see the hippies dancing and laughing as they step onto the mat first.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: Survivor: Panama--Exile Island (CBS); Will & Grace/My Name is Earl* (NBC); Smallville (WB); American Inventor (ABC); That '70s Show/That '70s Show (FOX); Everybody Hates Chris/Love, Inc. (UPN)

9 pm: CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (CBS); My Name is Earl/The Office (NBC); Supernatural (WB); American Inventor (ABC); The OC (FOX); Eve/Cuts (UPN)

10 pm: Without a Trace (CBS); ER (NBC); Commander in Chief (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8 pm: Everybody Hates Chris.

With summer fast approaching, we're lucky to get any original episodes before May sweeps. So I feel fortunate that Chris is a bright spot of newness on the schedule tonight. On tonight's episode ("Everybody Hates Drew"), Chris convinces Rochelle and Julius to let him take karate lessons in an attempt to outdo his younger--but taller--brother Drew. Um, Chris, that smacking sound you're hearing? It's you hitting the ground.

*8:30 pm: My Name is Earl.

A late addition here as NBC has pre-empted its Celebrity Cooking Challenge, instead replacing it with a repeat of My Name is Earl (oh, and Will & Grace at 8 pm). On this episode of My Name is Earl ("The Professor"), Earl falls in love with a beautiful college professor (guest star Christine Taylor) but they soon find themselves separated by karma.

9 pm: My Name is Earl/The Office.

Two classic episodes of my favorite comedy block. On My Name is Earl ("Faked His Own Death"), Earl runs into a woman whom he broke up with by faking his own death. Over on tonight's episode of The Office ("The Fight"), Jim organizes a rematch between Michael and Dwight after he karate-chops Michael. Two karate-themed programs on one night? Coincidence? Or divine intervention? You decide.


Anonymous said…
3 great things about last night's ep:

1. BJ and Tyler impersonating Lake (and others) on the bus.

2. Fran & Berry (or frankenberry as my friend calls them) coming in first.

3. Non-elimination! Phew!! The show would not be the same w/o them and I definitely think it comes down to them and Frats.
Anonymous said…
3 great things about last night's ep:

1. BJ and Tyler impersonating Lake (and others) on the bus.

2. Fran & Berry (or frankenberry as my friend calls them) coming in first.

3. Non-elimination! Phew!! The show would not be the same w/o them and I definitely think it comes down to them and Frats.
Anonymous said…
I really hope that BJ and Tyler pull off first place in this season of Amazing Race. But, if that doesn't happen, I don't really care who wins as long as it's NOT the overly-bronzed frat boys. That would just be...lame.

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