''The Amazing Race'': Heroes and villains | EW.com

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''The Amazing Race'': Heroes and villains

In the Indian leg of ''The Amazing Race,'' it becomes too obvious how the show divides participants into good guys and bad guys; plus, the new nonelimination rules kick in

(David and Mary: Robert Voets/CBS)

”The Amazing Race”: Heroes and villains

It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but I have to admit Kimberly and I have something in common concerning India; we both didn’t like the smell and wished we were somewhere else. (Speaking of which, that’s exactly where Josh Wolk is — somewhere else — but we promise he and his irreplaceable humor will be back next Sunday.) But Kimberly and I had different things in mind when talking about smells: She was just letting her xenophobia get the worst of her and complaining about the urban aromas, while I was actually offended by how stinky the teams on this season of The Amazing Race have become.

Or have they?

AR does a pretty amazing — albeit predictable — job of creating its villains (Kimberly, Rob, Peter, and the Barbies) while embracing its heroes (Kentucky, Alabama, the Chos, and Sarah), but I can’t help wondering if I’m always getting the most accurate picture. Granted, it’s not that it’s hard to dislike Peter. His constant needling of Sarah to hurry up and move faster grates on my nerves, and he’s clearly more of a slimeball than a Good Samaritan when it comes to offering travel assistance to his fellow teammates. But just as annoying is AR’s now predictable way of juxtaposing its bad guys with a tearful teammate — in this case, the poor, put-upon Sarah, who can’t complain enough about her blown hydraulic and this ”just not being fun.” All her whining made a helluva lot of sense last night — right up until she and Peter won last night’s leg, along with some home-exercise system that they probably already have. Suddenly, all that video about Peter appearing so mean and heartless seemed irrelevant, especially since Sarah seemed as happy as a clam. I feel so…manipulated! Hold me, somebody.

Meanwhile, the normally angry Rob and Kimberly were practically mute the entire episode (and what a boring one it was). And the Chos didn’t come off quite as saintly as AR would like us to believe; they worked both sides when it came to sharing information about how each team was traveling to and around India, and they duped Peter into thinking they were booking their plane ride by using a fake cell phone. (Unfortunately for them, all it did was prompt Peter to find a real cell phone, on which he booked his own speedy flight from Vietnam to India, thank you very much.) Peter seemed kinda smart there. But I’m not supposed to root for him, right? Especially when the Cho Bros look soooooo cute in their homemade shirts.

Don’t worry — I’m not pulling for Peter. That constant smirk on his face bugs me, and I’ve had it with the way he always runs ahead of Sarah. Instead, I remain a true disciple of David and Mary — two fishes out of water who I also hope spark a much-needed trend of farming Kentucky for future reality-show contestants. Now I know Mary is just as hard on David as Peter is on Sarah, but seeing these other countries through their eyes is enjoyable and refreshing — and I never expect to hear Mary bitching about the stench or wanting to hang out with the rich folk.

Oh yes, I probably should address the episode as a whole. This was a good time for Josh to take a little break; the teams spent an inordinate amount of time booking flights and running through airports, followed by rather anticlimactic challenges of ”wrestling” with some crocodiles (call me crazy, but I felt sorry for the spiny buggers) and driving on the left side of India’s streets. David and Mary chose a task — sprinkling colored rice powder into an intricate pattern on the ground — that took them into the night and a last-place finish. Fortunately for them (and me!) this was a nonelimination episode that allowed them to keep their money and possessions. Instead (oh, my), the duo have to come in first next week or endure a 30-minute penalty that could put them last again. I think I liked the old rules better.

So who do you like? Do you feel manipulated into hating Peter and Rob and loving Sarah and Alabama? Do you think that Dustin and Kandice will be the first all-female team to win The Amazing Race? And what do you make of the Cho Bros’ tees?