TV Recap

Villain and Able

As hard as we root against Jonathan on ''The Amazing Race,'' nothing can stop him: not cannonballs, not lousy Eastern European cars

The Amazing Race | DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION And they said Jonathan and Victoria wouldn't last
Image credit: The Amazing Race: Tony Esparza
DYSFUNCTION JUNCTION And they said Jonathan and Victoria wouldn't last

''The Amazing Race'': Lose, Jonathan! Lose!

He's still around, dangit. He's still on the dang show.

Who can enjoy The Amazing Race as long as Jonathan remains in the game? It's hard to even crack a smile when I know he's about to return on-screen, whether to do something offensive (like berate a poor airport ticket agent for selling ''his'' tickets to Gus and Hera) or to further abuse Victoria, now reality TV's version of Hedda Nussbaum (he slammed the trunk door on her hands!). If that's not disturbing enough, I just discovered that Jonathan and Victoria have their own website, where he lamely tries to blame his on-screen behavior on stress and on a medication he was taking for sarcoidosis. (See for yourself at jonathanbakerandvictoriafuller.com.) ''I do not abuse Victoria,'' he said in a Dec. 16 post. ''I am deeply saddened by the storyline that CBS went with.'' Not nearly as saddened as I am for ever having laid eyes on this cretin. (And Colin, wherever you are, I forgive you now.)

Of course, it's easy to blame CBS. It's even easy to blame Phil for not channeling Jeff Probst and giving this guy the tongue-lashing he deserves. But from what I hear (and they ain't saying that much over at the network these days), Phil and Co. have been just as stunned by Jonathan as we have over the last few weeks. For Phil to even say as much as he did in Berlin (''I think you should talk to your wife'') was apparently unprecedented for the usually reserved host, who saw the whole pushing and yelling scene unfold before his very eyes. Well, Jonathan did end up talking to his wife — but it's probably not what Phil had in mind. Here's a taste of what we got from Jonathan last night: ''Be the woman and keep quiet!'' and ''When are you going to carry your own weight?'' And yet, this creep endures. He's still there, dangit.

Then again, so is everyone else. Last night's episode literally left us guessing whether Lori and Bolo will make the train ride to Budapest, where every other team was preparing to enter an Internet café before the show ended with ''To Be Continued.'' Merry Christmas, everybody! Other than Rebecca stating the obvious about Hellboy earlier in the episode (''It would be better if we were not romantically involved''), this episode gave us few reasons to feel jolly. And, yeah, I know everyone is caught up in the thick of things and have little time to stop and smell the roses, but can't just one person besides Gus take the time to marvel at the historical significance of places like Checkpoint Charlie?

Mostly, I felt immense pity (except, of course, for Jonathan) as everyone attempted to drive those two-door lemons across Hungary. Finding one that actually works was something of a crapshoot, which Aaron learned the hard way. (Model boy was so frustrated about his car not working that he actually smacked a pole. He smacked a damn pole, people!) Ultimately, it was poor Lori and Bolo who got the true Pinto of the lot; forced to abandon their tin can on the side of the road, the duo got a tow to the station, where they'll have to wait for a morning train to the next clue.

It'll be a long wait for them and us; next week's episode is a clip show (that's code for nothing new, folks!). CBS says it won't resolve this episode until Jan. 4. Probably not a good idea for the network to keep us waiting, especially when most folks have had it with Jonathan and are threatening to walk for good.

I won't, of course — though my reasons to stay engaged have changed dramatically since week 1. Most of the time, I watch reality shows to see who will win. This is the first time I'll stay tuned just to see someone lose. Go, Jonathan!

What did you think? Was the cliffhanger ending a cheat? Is Jonathan an abuser or a victim of editing? Are you rooting for anybody?

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Originally posted Dec 22, 2004