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Gorillas, Screamers, and Pint-Sized Powerhouses: Addicted Again to "The Amazing Race"

Is anyone else as suddenly addicted to The Amazing Race again as I am? Or is it just me?

My enthusiasm had waned considerably with the series' most recent cycles but I have to say that the current season seemed reinvigorated and both the casting and the challenges had grabbed my attention once again.

Last night's episode of The Amazing Race ("Gorilla? Gorilla?? Gorilla???") found the teams racing for their lives in Phuket, Thailand, found one team quite literally sabotage everyone else during a Detour, and saw one team member collapse on the elimination mat.

Which might very well be the first time that that's happened on the Race.

I'm really loving Margie and Luke and was totally stunned to see her collapse from exhaustion and dehydration upon reaching the Pit Stop. Not that I blame her. She proved that she truly was the "Bionic Woman" dragging her deaf son Luke on a rickshaw through the sweltering streets of Phuket.

Which would have been tricky and tiring enough had pint-sized stuntmen Mark and Michael not deliberately hid the wheel pumps before the challenge. Would the task have been a hell of a lot easier had the teams had full tires? Youbetcha. Instead, they were dragging less-than-filled tires along the road. Seeing that Margie passed out from lack of hydration, I hope Mark and Michael are happy with their decision to sabotage the teams.

They did receive a one-hour time penalty, one half-hour for not reading the clue properly and paying their taxi to lead them to the Pit stop and another for throwing all of the pumps and equipment into a box.

I haven't been anti-Mark and Michael at all during the season but this seriously made me not like them at all. Given that they are such physical powerhouses, as they like to constantly remind us, shouldn't they also be good sportsmen? I'm all for trickery on the Race and misleading teams but they deliberately altered a producer-created challenge to their advantage.

And that's just not right. (Nor was Jaime screaming at the poor spice shop owner and terrorizing every non-English speaker she has encountered so far on the Race. Shudder.)

Meanwhile, I actually got teary as Margie collapse and Luke looked on, absolutely terrified about what was happening to his mother. It was a very emotional moment and it was equally amazing just how involved Phil was in making sure Margie was all right, physically carrying her over to a shady spot, demanding water for her, and cooling her down by wetting her head. I dare say that not many reality series hosts would have gone to such lengths to make sure one of the contestants was so comfortable.

To add insult to injury, Mike and Mel got eliminated on top of the Margie and Luke crisis. I really loved seeing Mel and Mike go so far and with their sense of humor intact the entire way. While I didn't think that they'd win the million dollar prize at the end of the race, they ran with integrity, love, and fun and they transformed their father/son relationship into a supportive teammate dynamic.

It's a reminder of why the series endures and hopefully a sign that the producers made some smart decisions this season in cranking up the tension, casting some interesting and inspirational teams, and pitting the contestants against some truly tricky tasks.

Me, I'm absolutely hooked again.

In two weeks on The Amazing Race ("Rooting Around In People's Mouths Could Be Unpleasant"), the teams learn the joys of karaoke in Singapore; Mark and Michael make a potentially disastrous mistake.


phouse1964 said…
I really love this season I think because it has taken me so long to really dislike any of the teams. There was no team that I really HATE although now, as we get to the end, there are definatly teams I like more than others. The stuntmen need to go. I would really like to see Margie and Luke go to the end if not win. And I love Phil. He needs his own show where a camera just follows him around all day while he does whatever.
Copper said…
Phil should win a prize for being the best reality tv host ever. I was very impressed by how he helped with Margie and by his genuine concern for her.

I was sad to see Mike and Mel go. I will miss the happy-go-lucky style with which they ran the race!

With them gone, I am definitely routing for Margie and Luke to win. I'd like to see the redheads get eliminated as Jaime is horrible to other people. Her behavior is embarrassing to me as an American and, especially, as an American woman.
Anonymous said…
Does anyone else not like Margie and Luke? They U-Turned Kris and Amanda for no good reason, and what kind of son is Luke, letting his mom pull the rickshaw like that? I mean, they seem nice enough, but I'm definitely not rooting for them to win.

Mel and Mike were hands down my favs, and it was sad to see them go. In the beginning, I couldn't stand Tammy and Victor (really just Victor), but it's been cool to see him open up. It's like watching a robot learn how to feel. I guess I'm rooting for them now...or for some weird twist that will allow Mel and Mike to re-enter the race.
nick said…
Why should Margie & Luke not yielded them?they were the biggest threat to them in a physical sense. Made sense to me.
par3182 said…
Mark and Michael make a potentially disastrous mistake

these two have done that in nearly every episode and we still can't be rid of them (why oh why isn't the penalty for sabotage greater than the one for misreading a clue?). mark has been obnoxious since the start of the race but last night his behavior tipped into unforgivable

as did jaime's. the contrast between her shrieking at the spicekeeper and mike & mel's "oooohs" when opening the wrong drawer made the elimination of the latter team all that harder to take

my renewed interest in this season suddenly waned at the mat. watching my favorite team be eliminated just after watching my other favorite racer pass out soured me on the season. hopefully my indignation will fade over the next two weeks...

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