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"Now It's All Up to God... And Our Taxi Driver": Model Behavior Wins "The Amazing Race"

One million dollars certainly buys a lot of moisturizer and styling products.

It had to happen. One team had to cross the finish line and win the million dollar prize. You didn't really think this season of The Amazing Race would go on forever, now did you? (As much as it seemed as though it did go on for about a year and a half.)

Ultimately, I was just rooting for Rob and Kimberly not to win. As for which of the teams would end up winning the grand prize and the big speech from Phil about "four continents" and all that, I had a feeling that Tyler and James would end up being the first to cross the finish line, so long as it didn't involve another "place the flags of the countries you've visited in the correct order" challenge from last season. Put together a stylish jacket on a mannequin? Sure but I'm not too sure the models/recovering drug addicts would have been able to do that.

Teams departed Barcelona for Paris but ended up running around the French countryside instead of soaking in the sights. (Speaking of sights, thank god that the producers didn't make them use the Eiffel Tower telescopes to find a location as in the first season of the Race.) I was pleased to see that Lyn and Karlyn were underestimated by the rest of the teams and actually arrived at the Eiffel Tower first, thanks to an Iberian flight that took them, not to Charles de Gaulle airport, but to Orly, much closer to the Eiffel Tower than its more well-known airport sibling. Rob and Kimberly and Tyler and James were at the ticket counter at the same time, but the loathsome couple managed to get onto the first flight to Paris, but there was only one seat left on the flight. The Models managed to get on an Air France flight that got into Paris a few minutes before Iberia, but then arrived at the Eiffel Tower AFTER Lyn and Karlyn. Smart move, ladies.

At the Eiffel Tower, teams quickly retrieved their next clue from the third floor of the tower and were instructed to take a train to the city of Caen and then travel by taxi to the local airport. Wahoo! I knew exactly what that meant: a sky diving Road Block. In this case, one team member performed a tandem jump onto Omaha Beach whilst their teammate engaged in a spontaneous nosedive in said plane before reuniting at the train station. It was a cool task (and involved being driven in a military vehicle from the extraction point) and one that Rob could not let go of, as Kimberly opted to perform this Road Block. ("I'm really, really jealous," said Rob. "That was the one thing that I wanted to do.")

Personally, I never understood their logic when it came to Road Blocks during the entire season. Instead of thinking it through a little bit and what the actual task might entail, given their surroundings and the riddle accompanying the clue, they always randomly assigned the task to one of them, as in the camel meat exercise from Morocco. Here, they are at an airport and Rob has always wanted to sky dive, yet they decide Kimberly will perform the task. And once Rob finds out that it's actually sky diving (duh), he becomes as sullen and sulky as a bratty child. Even hours later, he's still harping on the fact that the one thing he wanted to do during the race was to sky dive, prompting Kim to question whether he came on the trip to sky dive or to win a million dollars. Succinctly put, Kim. For once, I actually empathize with you. And guess what, Rob? Just because you didn't win the mil, doesn't mean you can't sky dive ever again.

(Aside: did anyone else start hysterically rolling around on the floor and rewind their TiVos to see Kimberly fall into the clue box at the airport? I was dying, especially as Lyn and Karlyn didn't even pause to laugh their asses off at Kim laying on the floor.)

Afterwards, all the team caught up at the train station as they waited to return to Paris. (Damn, another equalizer?) Rob and Kimberly decided to walk to a nearby post office to exchange money as a train pulled up to the station. Alabama and the Models jumped on board and it left the station without the bickering couple. I was hoping that this train--seemingly 13 minutes early--would mean that Rob and Kim would be left behind for a little while, but alas there was another train at 5:23 (well, the train they were all supposed to be on) and everyone once again caught up at the station in Caen, en route to Paris.

I was STUNNED that all of the teams chose to perform the Fashion Detour, in which they had to cut, pin, and fit a detailed jacket onto a mannequin for a rigorous designer, rather than choose Art, and just carry a painting. Despite arriving at the studio second, James and Tyler quickly breezed through the Detour and finished first. (I guess it pays to be a model in a fashion challenge.) Meanwhile, the other teams struggled with the judge's seemingly impossible standards of perfection. (According to Lyn, the designer was the "fashion Gestapo.") Their clue instructed them to travel to New York City and locate the News Building for their next clue.

Tyler and James managed to get to the airport first but discovered that there were no economy seats available on the next non-stop Air France flight to JFK. They put their names on the wait list and instead booked seats on a Newark-bound Continental flight. I was a little frustrated that James and Tyler seemed to give up so easily when they were told that the flight was full (no way would the Beauty Queens have done so) and instead of looking for an Internet connection (or, hell, a cell phone) just waited around for hours. Rob and Kimberly, on the other hand, begged and begged (and begged some more) to be let onto that Air France flight and managed to check in the night before, with tickets in hand.

Lyn and Karlyn meanwhile made a decision that, more than anything else, sealed their fate as the non-winners of this edition of the Amazing Race. Instead of traveling to Charles de Gaulle airport, Alabama opted to return to Orly, where they had had luck earlier, only to get there to discover that there were no non-stop flights to New York from the airport and they would have to travel to Charles de Gaulle after all. The following day, James and Tyler and Lyn and Karlyn duked it out to get on that flight. But only James and Tyler managed to snag seats, leaving Alabama in the dust.

Arriving in New York, the Models quickly gained the upper hand and arrived at the News Building first, after engaging in a little subterfuge with their more-than-willing taxi driver, who kept trying to dodge Rob and Kim, who were (of course!) following them. All thanks to EZ Pass at the toll booth, James and Tyler managed to slip away from their competition and retrieved their next clue, which instructed them to travel 2 miles by foot to a sculpture in the East Village. Now two miles in Manhattan is a LONG distance and it's not fun in rainy weather to walk that far, much less push yourself to get there FAST when there's a million dollars at stake. But the Models got their first and learned that they would have to convince a taxi driver to take them outside Manhattan to the town of Garrison in Putnam County and the picturesque grounds of St. Basil's Academy, where Phil and the $1 million prize awaited them.

In the end, it all came down to a series of taxi rides and a mad dash for the finish line. While we've no way of knowing how far behind Rob and Kimberly were, it couldn't have been more than a half-hour at most and both of their taxi drivers needed help navigating their way to St. Basil's. But sure enough, an overjoyed Tyler and James arrived at the final pit stop first, making them the winners of Amazing Race 10.

And that's the end of this season of the Amazing Race. I still wish we could have gotten to see Dustin and Kandice duke it out in the final three, but c'est la vie, as the French say. Tune in for the next edition of The Amazing Race--an All-Star Edition--when the show returns in early 2007. While I can't say I'm pleased that Rob and Amber are running the Race yet again, I'm looking forward to seeing David and Mary again and only hope that there's some sort of showdown between Boston Rob and Colin. That's enough hope to tide me over until next season.

What's On Tonight

8 pm: How I Met Your Mother/The Class (CBS); Deal or No Deal (NBC); Everybody Hates Chris/All of Us (CW); Wife Swap (ABC); House (FOX; 8-10 pm); Wicked Wicked Games (MyNet)

9 pm: Two and a Half Men/The New Adventures of Old Christine (CBS); The Year Without a Santa Claus (NBC; 9-11 pm); Girlfriends/The Game (WB); Supernanny (ABC); Watch Over Me (MyNet)

10 pm: CSI: Miami (CBS); What About Brian (ABC)

What I'll Be Watching

8:00 pm: Everybody Hates Chris.

Now on its new night (Mondays) and at a new time (8 pm), it's the second season of former UPN comedy Everybody Hates Chris. On tonight's episode ("Everybody Hates Kris"), Chris and Julius decide to earn some extra cash by playing department store Santa. Hmmm, something tells me that something's not going to work out here.

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 ("Crash"), Christine and Meanie Mom Marly get into a car accident outside the school, forcing Christine to rent a rather posh SUV while her car is being fixed.

9-11 pm: The Lost Room on Sci Fi.

Sci Fi's latest epic mini-series starts here. Detective Joe Miller (Peter Miller) had a normal life... that is until his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning) got stuck inside a mystical Motel Room and everything in his world turned upside town. Entering a hidden world he never knew existed, filled with strange Objects imbued with bizarre powers, Joe must risk everything to find his daughter. His only hope: the Key.

10-11:30 pm: Eleventh Hour on BBC America.

Patrick Stewart plays Charlies Xavier, mutant rights activist and the strongest telepath on the planet-- Okay, maybe not. In this new import from Blighty, Stewart plays a scientist dealing with paranormal phenomena. On tonight's episode, Hood (Stewart) is called in to investigate the source of a lethal virus. Joining him: Ashley Jensen of Extras and Ugly Betty.


Anonymous said…
A million dollars will also buy a lot of drugs. What? Who said that?

When Kimberly slipped at the clue box, I said simply, "Karma hurts."

I was definitely happy they won, since there was no way Lyn could win alone. If they hadn't made that flight, the result would have been much, much worse.
Anonymous said…
This morning on the CBS morning show James and Tyler said that Rob and Kimberly showed up 15 mins. after them at the finish line.
Thank god for those 15 minutes. I would have cried if Rob and Kimberly had won.

I think it would have been a more interesting finale had the blondes been in the top three but I was glad that Lyn and Carlyn showed the other teams up by getting to the eiffel tower first.

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