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“Optimistic With a Real Truth Flavor”: Family Matters on "The Amazing Race"

Last night's episode of The Amazing Race ("I've Become the Archie Bunker of the Home") has got to be one of the funniest installments of the long-running reality franchise to date... and quite possibly showcased one of the most depressingly dysfunctional relationships ever to appear on the series (well, there's always Jonathan and Victoria, but the less said about them the better).

On that front, I'm talking specifically about father/daughter team Ronald and Christina, whose interactions had my jaw permanently clinging to the floor. I'll start by saying that Christina exhibits the patience of a saint; throughout last night's episode she managed to rein in her anger and emotions in a way that I know I wouldn't have been able to do under similar circumstances. Ronald for his part does not know how to speak to his daughter, interact with her, or encourage her. In fact, I truly think that Ronald believes that his constant nagging (along with mean-spirited recriminations and finger-pointing) IS his way of encouraging Christina, though it's quite clear to everyone around them that just the reverse is true. He also cannot stop talking, as evidenced from his involvement at the ditch vaulting roadblock, even when Christina politely told him that she needed to concentrate, or his constant whining that the bike challenge was "an ocean of things." (Um, yes, that's what these hunting challenges usually amount to.)

But I could not believe the way Ronald had a complete and utter mental breakdown at the airport and started freaking out at Nicolas after an airline counter agent supposedly made a comment that Nicolas was "rude." The way in which he started flapping his arms about and yelling at Nick about the words coming out of his mouth (“You got a mouth that basically starts with bad energy”) and how he cleaned the earwax out of his ears that morning was shocking and even more appalling than Nicolas' pushiness. The clincher, however, had to be his words to daughter Christina while they waited for the bus to the rural village of Ransdorf: “I let you loose on this thing and you basically disappointed me.”

Wow. I was amazed that Christina kept her civility. Instead of railing against her insane father, she fought back tears as she said, “You’re hard on me. Do you know that? It’s like punch after punch after punch. You really need to change that about yourself.”

On a lighter note, I really do like dating Goths Kynt and Vyxsin. I didn't think I would but they seem to be the one team that is super-competitive whilst still being remarkably supportive and understanding of each other in a way that no other team seems to be. Just look at Nathan and Jennifer if you don't believe me. I cannot wait for these two to simply self-implode and leave the Race already. Still, I had to rewind the moment about eight times when she toppled over their bike like a crazy person and then started grabbing things maniacally, after commenting rudely about Shana. Classy.

I'm liking Jason and Lorena a bit more this week though they seem to get far too stressed about glitches along the way to make me feel confident that their sudden levelheadedness isn't more than just a passing fad. (Laughed out loud at Jason's comment about the period-dressed children at the pit stop being "cute.") Still, they were the competitors to beat this leg of the race, breezing through both challenges with an ease that was exciting to see. Not so for TK and Liz, who found themselves stranded at the Hoist It Detour... that is, until Liz took over and started tying knots and hoisting those pieces of furniture herself. Tee hee.

Um, why did grandpappy Don take of his clothes for the ditch-vaulting roadblock? And why didn't Nicholas perform this task? Burning questions for me. I'm open to any and all possible theories.

Ultimately, it was married lesbian ministers Kate and Pat who were the last team to arrive at the pit stop and Phil was forced to tell them that they'd both been eliminated from the race. I'm sad to see them go, especially as they are the first religious team to admit that God has no cares about whether they win or lose TAR, had overcome several obstacles to be there in order to compete, and had both a dogged optimism as well as a little bit of a mean streak. They'll be missed, especially as several of the other teams just irk, like Shana and Jennifer complaining that they haven't had facials or manicures since they started the Race... one leg back.

Next week on The Amazing Race ("Please Lord, Give Me Milk!"), one contestant is felled by pains from a hernia and one of the older men (guess who!) falls for two female Racers; Lorena succumbs to panic at a Roadblock involving milking a camel while Jason looks on from the sidelines. Good times!


Unknown said…
as I watch TAR last night, I was fervently hoping for the show's first on-air justifiable homicide because Ronald really has it coming for the inhumane way he treats his daughter. My jaw was on the floor too and I kept waiting for her to turn to him and yell "please shut UP!"
Anonymous said…
I'm warming to this season after thinking two bikini babe teams was not a good sign. But I enjoyed this week's and definitely am also liking the heck out of the goth couple, more than I thought I would. "They'll love us in Amsterdam!" Last week I thought Ronald and Christina seem like the team whose relationship we could potentially see gaining the most from the Amazing experience. If it happens it will be a miracle. He was awful last night.

Looking way forward to more crackpot behavior from Grandpa Don, but Nicholas should have done the ditch vault.
Anonymous said…
You are so right on about last night's ep being one of the funniest. I could not stop laughing. When gramps took off his clothes, I covered my eyes and laughed so hard I thought I was going to pass out (but seriously - why in the hell did he do this RB?).

LOVED when goth girl took over and got it done. Awesome.

This season has not been kind to the gay competitors. I was very sad to see them go. Their comment about God not caring if they won AR was brilliant. Bout time.

I'll bet Christina wants to take back all those early comments about being excited to do this race and get to know her father better.
I knew the lesbian ministers would not last long but was still sad to see them go. They had great personalities but just weren't quick enough. (How on earth did they keep "losing track" during the bike challenge?!)

Seriously wanted to smack Ronald and give Christina a big hug. That man does not know how to communicate which is ironic because he just won't stop talking.

I'm still pulling for the Goths who seem to have the best spirit and teamwork...although the brother and sister work really well together too.

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