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"I'm Done Talking with Foreigners": Communication Breakdowns Are the Words du Jour on "The Amazing Race"

There's a joke there somewhere about how many Amazing Race contestants it takes to paddle a row boat. The answer it would seem is zero, as none of the competitors last night seemed to be able to figure out the mechanics of water travel, with most of the teams deteriorating into squabbling messes... or nearly ending up being buffered against the rocks. It was a scary/hysterical sight. But more on that in a bit.

This leg of the race found the teams leaving Hanoi, Vietnam for the coastal town of Ha Long Bay, but half the fun was seeing them attempt to reach their destination. First up: the teams made their way to a local park where their clue (not really a clue, more like a string of complex directions) was a pre-recorded message "read" aloud by a statue. There was nothing ambiguous about the clue whatsoever: it simply told the teams each of the next three steps in reaching their next clue. Yet somehow nearly all the teams seemed baffled by their instructions and jumped into taxis, hoping their drivers would be able to take them to the right place. Um, on the Amazing Race? Rule Number One of this race: never trust the taxi drivers. Seriously.

Rob and Kimberly seem to have the most problem on this front, as they hop into a succession of taxis that seem to be taking them in a circle, passing right by their starting point. Forcing their way out of one taxi and into another, they end up with an even more confused driver and a frustrated Rob turns nasty, before demanding that the cab stop and let them out and then getting into a third taxi. Where he utters the immortal words, "I'm done talking with foreigners." Um, yeah, great attitude to have on a race around the world. Let's see how that works out for you. Personally, I cannot stand this couple and was so irritated that, even after their taxi-based display of xenophobia and complete and utter breakdown in communication on the ocean, they somehow managed to come in first place. Damn.

Talk about communication breakdown, though. Rob and Kimberly's squabbling aboard their rowboat has got to be one of the low points of the season. They're both so quick to point the finger of blame and take out their frustrations on the other and generally freak out about everything. (Still can't believe Rob got heat exhaustion. Who does he think he is? Lindsay Lohan?) While they're certainly no Jonathan and Victoria (whom I hear is, eeek, pregnant), they seem so at odds with one another and so constantly at one another's throats, that I can't bear to watch them for much longer.

I'm really, really proud of Sarah for making it over that cliff face and for staying at the head of the pack during this race, but I wish there was some way for her to ditch her teammate (one hopes soon-to-be ex-boyfriend) Peter and finish the journey on her own. When he's not offering her encouragement -- in the form of the somewhat condescending and all around creepy pet name of "sister" -- he's just plain awful to her. His behavior on this leg was reprehensible. Is the Amazing Race always fun? Hell, no. But to give up in the middle of a task that required rowing a boat and grabbing oyster traps when your prosthetic-legged girlfriend is giving her all is just pathetic. Sorry, but having to row a boat in Vietnam is making you want to quit the race altogether? Get a grip, man. Even worse was the way he sat there, emotionally frozen, while Sarah sadly told the cameras how hurt she was by his attitude. No response, verbally or emotionally from this guy whatsoever. I'm sorry, but the only handicap Sarah has is having to drag this sad sack on her back around the world.

Love David and Mary. Just had to say that again. I love how she wanted to take their Vietnamese taxi driver home. Even with a sprained ankle (or sprained leg, as she later claimed), they're still in this race and I am seriously impressed that this coal mining couple is kicking.

I like the Cho brothers -- Erwin and Godwin -- but most of the time they're such non-entities that I find it hard to root for them.

I'm really liking Lyn and Karlyn. They got upset -- and got their boat nearly smashed to bits against the rocks in that wind -- but they didn't give up, even when they thought they might be in last place. They always support one another and they're supportive of the other teams on the race. Plus, they're single moms doing this for their kids. I was definitely impressed by them last night, especially because they were the only team to choose the Over detour, delivering goods to specifically selected addressed and returning the signed invoice to the merchant. Good on you, ladies. Now give 'em hell.

I wasn't really sure who I wanted eliminated this week and would have been perfectly content to see both Tom and Terry AND Dustin and Kandice get the boot. Both teams showed such a lack of intelligence and common sense in this leg and acted just so stupidly that I was half-hoping there would be another twist and Phil would tell both teams that they'd been eliminated. Tom and Terry were a mess on the river and turned the experience into a whiny display of stupidity, letting their boat drift into other teams' rowboats (that would be Sarah and Peter, who quickly screamed and them and pushed their boat away), being confused by the oyster traps, and the best bit: attempting to row a boat by standing up. Granted, all of the teams had problems navigating the river, but still, why on earth would you think you're supposed to stand up in the boat and use the oars? But the best bit had to be when they were attempting to push the boat along the rocks and then jumped out to PULL the boat to the junk. Talk about dangerous and stupid. These guys deserved to go home. (I did think, however, that their attempts to board the junk were unintentionally hilarious.)

Dustin and Kandice were just as bad as Tom and Terry as they seemed baffled at every step of this week's episode. From their first misstep at the park in Hanoi, where they admitted to being very auditory (um, yeah) and believed that the clue they had to listen for were the crickets. Yes, the crickets. I was half-hoping they'd embark on some bizarro quest to the cricket capital of Vietnam or something. Just to see what happens. After stealing a junk from Lyn and Karlyn (and getting bloodied in the attempt), they drifted aimlessly on the ocean, confused about where they were supposed to be going. They too attempted to stand (and then kneel) while "using" the oars, moves which totally baffled me. And, while I can't claim any expertise at rowing a boat, even I know that you're not supposed to do that. Rule Number Two on the Amazing Race: take good care of your clues. Don't lose them. And don't get them so wet and shredded that you can't read the clue anymore and assume that you are supposed to row yourself to the Pit Stop. And don't assume that any old island is Soi Sim Island, your destination, and begin looking for Phil along the shore. Sheer Idiocy.

Still, the Beauty Queens eventually figured out that they needed to head back to their original junk, which would take them the nine miles to the Pit Stop. (Damn, wish they would have rowed all the way there.) But even so, they still ended up checking in ahead of Tom and Terry, who were eliminated from the race. I'm still confused as to why he thought swimming and pulling the boat would be easier than, you know, rowing it, but that's a mystery for another day.

Next week on The Amazing Race: the Beauty Queens have difficulty completing a detour involving a crocodile, while Sarah and Peter's relationship hits a new low. Ditch him, girl!

What's On Tonight

8 pm: How I Met Your Mother/The Class (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); 7th Heaven (CW); Wife Swap (ABC); Desire (MyNet)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS); Heroes (NBC); Runaway (WB); The Bachelor: Rome (ABC); Fashion House (MyNet)

10 pm: CSI: Miami (CBS); Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (NBC); What About Brian (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

9:30 pm: Old Christine.

I can't tell you why I like watching this traditional sitcom, but Julia Louis-Dreyfus is like a warm blanket of coziness after a long Monday. On tonight's episode ("Oh God, Yes"), Christine's son Ritchie decides he wants to attend church.

10 pm: Weeds on Showtime.

Season Two of Showtime's suburban-set pot dramedy is in full swing. On tonight's episode ("Bash"), Peter tries to talk Nancy into getting out of the pot business, Doug and Celia call a truce, and Shane and Silas celebrate their dad's birthday. Yes, it's a bittersweet symphony.


rockauteur said…
Last night's episode was pretty funny. I loved T&T's attempt to board the boat at the end - I agree with Jace - it was unintentionally hilarious, especially when one of the guys fell face first back into his boat. I was rooting for the Beauty Queens though, who I have liked from the start, to stay in the game...

What's with CBS's editing of the Cho Brothers? Erwin was having problems at the top of the cliffside, yet I never even remembered seeing him get down, board his boat, and head to the oyster traps. With this few teams in the race, it's quite a shocker to see sloppy editing like that. I know there did exist a few second clip of them completing that task but the fact that I don't recall it, is pretty bad for the editor's ability.

My pic for winning the race (is still): the addict models.
I was so annoyed that Rob and Kimberly came in first this leg. At least their prize (jet skis) was kind of lame. That made me feel somewhat better.

I don't usually laugh at other people's pain but I must admit that I replayed T&T's attempt to board the junk again and again on my Tivo. Hi-larious.

The beauty queens were also unintentionally hilarious but, as a fellow blond, I do wish they would stop perpetuating the dumb blond stereotype. Still, their antics are highly amusing.
Melissa said…
I am with you on New Christine. Not sure why I like it, it's so traditional. And I don't even like JLD that much (wasn't a big Seinfeld fan). I like the brother is great.
Anonymous said…
Jonathan & Victoria...I am hearing that the devil's spawn was born today or yesterday.

i fear for this world.

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