The Amazing Race: Tony Esparza
Lynette Rice
June 14, 2007 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”The Amazing Race”: The character flaws come out

Before I get into the second episode of the greatest reality show ever, before I take up Hayden’s advice to ”find the humor” in that little downhill skating session, and before I decry the severe neglect that seems to be occurring in our nation’s driver’s education classes because gals like Meredith can’t seem to drive a stick, I need to whine a spell. I worry about guys like entrepreneur Jonathan. I worry about models. I worry about these artificially tanned women with bolt-on boobs. I speak, of course, about the sorry state of reality-show casting. Admit it, there’s practically no more fresh faces left in this God-fearing country for Race or Survivor or Apprentice to pluck (at least not willing to bare all on TV). Save the occasional Charla and Rupert who spices up the scene, we’ve seen just about every character type on TV today.

And for that matter, why should the rare saucy dwarf attempt to get on these shows? We’re all students of reality TV, and we certainly know by now who’ll finally make the cut (or at least get the most camera time). Want to be the go-to guy for CBS’ promo department? Verbally abuse your mate and physically shove her out of the way when she dares to interrupt. Want some prime camera time? Wear tighty-whitey tops and make jokes about your implants freezing in the snow. Casting for reality shows has become a vicious circle: A certain type applies for these shows, thinking they’ve got what the networks want. Networks put these characters on TV thinking they’re what we want to watch, and we tune in thinking we might actually want them when in reality we don’t. And this freaks the hell outta me. I’m not ready for Race to run its course because I still love the format.

There. I done made like Lori and ran my mouth off ”like a dumb-ass redneck.” Now back to the show.

It’s only been a few days, and I already miss Avi and Joe — a much funnier duo than the requisite eye-candy team of Lena and Kristy. But the sisters sledge had it going on this week because some dirty ol’ Norwegian offered up his son to play tour guide for them. Young Audi (at least I think he was named after a car) helped the girls navigate their way through Norway to an Olympic ski ramp, where the 10 teams faced their first roadblock of the game: glide down a frighteningly steep zip line in the dead of night. Shirts were apparently optional, so we were forced to see a topless Jonathan. But Adam, dude, what’s with you and your mom? Rebecca’s ex with the stubby hair horns screamed for his madre as he flew down the course — only to subsequently get caught up at the bottom in an ex-lovers’ quarrel! The beef: Rebecca forced him to take his sunglasses off during the next stage (a boat race, Vikings style!), and he ended up losing them somewhere between strokes of his oar. Adam threatened to cease and desist communication with Rebecca for, like, ever — which kinda threw me since he seemed to have no problem with her putting regular gas in their diesel car last week, which seriously jeopardized their standing.

My favorite couple remains the pro wrestlers — if only because Lori says things like how the detour requiring accuracy in archery and ax throwing would be hard because, well, ”You gotta be accurate!” And Jonathan . . . what can I say? He’s Race‘s latest freak-ass alpha male, and if there’s a God in heaven, we can count on more truckloads of verbal ass-whupping for Victoria ( if she doesn’t call him an idiot first).

Fortunately, these morons cancel each other out, so all is well in our world. All’s not well, however, for poor Aaron’s butt — which took quite a beating with those odd cross-country skates and that asphalt hill. As his dating-actor partner Hayden pleaded for him to ”find the humor in this,” Aaron kept falling again and again in what proved to be the best moment of the night.

Long-distance daters Kris and Jon are now in first (and they won a seven-night cruise to Alaska! I loathe these little side gifts) while poor Queens girls Meredith and Maria got the boot. Such a sweet pair of gals, such an unfortunate ending . . . but it wasn’t their fault. I blame their driver’s ed teacher.

What did you think? Is there anyone here to really root for? And what’s with all these whiny guys?

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