TV Recap

It's Cho Time!

On ''The Amazing Race,'' the brothers do themselves in by sticking with their now-pointless alliance, while the good-looking teams continue to dominate

The Amazing Race | THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN The Chos' integrity was their fatal flaw
Image credit: Erwin and Godwin: Robert Voets/CBS
THE LEAGUE OF EXTRAORDINARY GENTLEMEN The Chos' integrity was their fatal flaw

''The Amazing Race'': More leaks in the Six Pack

I think it's time for us all to come to terms with the fact that the beauty queens may win this thing. Yes, this week they came in second to the models, but I suspect they let James and Tyler beat them because they just didn't want to win another trip. It's like too much chocolate: No matter how decadent it is, after a while the thought of another voyage to Puerto Vallarta just makes you nauseated.

Look how effortlessly Dustin and Kandice cruised through this leg of the race. They evidenced a slight fear at having to rappel face-first down a Helsinki building, but it was nothing compared to Godwin's tears and Lyn's fervent prayers to God. And the BQs kept their feet on the building, unlike Erwin, who was just lowered down, arms and legs dangling and head skidding alongside the building. He would have shown more grace if he had fallen out a window.

I believe it was Tyler who said that the Chos' poor performance illustrated how you didn't need to have book smarts to do well on The Amazing Race, and the BQs have been proving that again and again. When told they had to go to the capital of the country where Chernobyl is located, Dustin said, ''That's where the atomic bomb went off.'' If they were so determined to debunk the pageant-queen stereotype, shouldn't they have cracked an Encyclopedia Britannica before the race began? As they continue their quest for blonde empowerment after the race, let me offer them a preemptive bit of wisdom: If you're ever going to make the case that dumb-blonde jokes aren't funny, just make sure you're saying that on principle, and not just because you don't get them.

But historical and geographical ignorance be damned, the BQs still managed to cruise through the leg laughing and with no delays. Take the tank challenge: Oh what fun Dustin had at the controls of the tank. James hit a wet ditch, and muddy water drenched him at the controls, but Dustin emerged looking even cleaner than when she went in. Did she get the one Soviet tank that came equipped with a steam shower inside?

And then there was the rap challenge. I'm guessing the beauty queens had previous experience, perhaps when their sorority did a rap for Greek Talent Night. And once you've rapped ''Kappa Kappa Gammy rules'' with ''and that includes my awesome little sister Tammy, fools!'' then stepping up to a Ukrainian MC is child's play.

Amazing Race producers are usually so careful to make sure every challenge reflects its country's traditions. So are we to assume that rap battles are inherently Ukrainian? My theory is that Ukraine was the closest country they could find where any self-respecting rap judge wouldn't bat the teams over the heads with their own microphones for sullying the judge's ears with their so-called rap. Maybe by Ukrainian standards, the BQs actually have talent. I picture them dashing out after their performance and a Ukrainian record producer stopping them and saying, ''Please to not run off! Not since M.C. Rapperguy rhymed 'dog' and 'dog' in breakthrough 8-track 'Directly Out of Temopil' have I heard such inspired rhymes! 'We're in a race around the world and we're here to say/We started in the U.S.A.'! You ladies zig when I am sure you will zag! Please sign with me and I make you top recording artist in Ukraine, barring comeback of Leo Sayer!''

As for the rest of the raps, there are things that you can never unsee or unhear, so I'd rather not dwell on them, except to say that the 'Bama moms certainly showed the BQs just how easy it can be to debunk a stereotype: One second at the mike, and they proved that all African Americans are not good at rap.

While the BQs and models battled it out for first place, Rob and Kimberly stayed right in the middle, which could be a metaphor for their relationship. As long as they continue to bicker with each other, they will never be a good couple. And yet they seem to thrive on their mutual disgust, so they will never break up. No victories, but no losses either: just a low-grade misery that will continue long after the rest of us are dead.

They had their second automobile breakdown of the race, which leads me to believe that even machines will do anything to get away from them. I wonder if, back home, their toasters and TV sets are constantly catching fire in acts of electronic seppuku just to stop hearing all the carping. When Rob and Kimberly got a young local couple to lead them to the rap club, Rob yelled to them, ''Come on in!'' when they arrived, and the Ukrainian duo had the same reluctant look on their faces that they'd give if Rob had yelled, ''Come on over for dinner! I'm making rat!'' These two wouldn't have stuck around if this were Chernobyl and Rob were inviting them into his fallout shelter. ''Thanks, Rob, but we're gonna take our chances with the giant green cloud. At least it won't pound on the steering wheel and call its girlfriend 'dude.' ''

I've been saving the most painful part of the show for last, which is, of course, the Chos' elimination. The writing on the wall came early in the show, when the Chos took their wrongheaded strategy to new heights. With only five teams remaining, they still hung around after the tank challenge waiting for the 'Bama moms, who themselves couldn't figure out why the Chos had waited. Erwin said that it was risky, but two teams might be able to find a route marker easier than one. Which is true, technically, but that potential gain would likely be negated by the time lost spent waiting for that other team.

The saddest part is that the 'Bama moms had no intention of doing the same for the Chos, nor did they ask to be waited for. In fact, they seemed infuriated that they were being weighed down by the Chos, who stopped every half mile to ask for directions. When the brothers were running through the concert hall looking for a pianist, I expected them to stop every violinist to ask how to find the next door down.

In the end, after being stopped by a cop for cutting through a closed street, the Chos were so late that the producers couldn't even edit a false photo finish. My wife was touched by the Chos' final statement that they wanted to run the race in a way that they could feel good about, but I was having none of it. If you're going to wait for other teams on what is, from the very moment the race starts, an individual challenge, then that shows a fundamental lack of comprehension of the game itself. It is like a boxer not throwing a punch because he knows how painful it can be to be hit in the face and doesn't wish that on anybody.

Now that the Chos are out of the race, I suppose they can feel good about their behavior. But if they are looking for a new challenge, I would suggest they pick a little more carefully this time, and find something better suited to their strict moral code. Might I suggest a Ukrainian rap battle? Everyone's a winner there.

What do you think? Are the 'Bama moms next to go? Are you rooting for any of the top-three teams? And do you admire the Chos?

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Originally posted Nov 20, 2006