After a long, traffic-plagued drive back home from our Thanksgiving trip, my wife Christine and I finally got our kids to bed, and I prepared to watch and write about The Amazing Race. As I checked my e-mail one last time before starting the show, my wife was trying to plug in an extension cord, and in doing so, accidentally yanked out the plug for the cable box. When we replugged it, the box wouldn’t reboot correctly. I knew the Race was delayed by football, but it was coming on any second, and our TV wouldn’t work. Finally, after rebooting the box one more time, the picture flickered on, just as Phil Keoghan was recapping the previous week’s episode.
I recount this tale because while we were staring at the unresponsive TV, I found myself thinking, “If I miss the show, I’m gonna be so pissed at Christine.” And then I proceeded to watch a show in which, after a son made a careless mistake and cost his mother half of a million-dollar prize, she wept over how much she loved him and was proud of him. And I got in a snit over missing a few minutes of a TV show.
Needless to say, I retroactively felt like a d—.
Toni and Dallas: What a team. They made me unsure whether I was watching The Amazing Race or a really competitive Hallmark ad. And now they’re gone, leaving three teams that it’s really hard to root for.
Things started so well, with the mother-son team beginning the leg in first place. (Curiously, however, the producers didn’t announce at what time each team left, like they normally do. I have many conspiracy theories, but it was probably just due to the fact that Dan was so arrhythmic last week that it actually shorted out everyone’s timepieces.) The first task was to go aboard a nuclear submarine and find a man who played an officer in The Hunt for Red October. Does this actor have the lowest Q rating in the world? Not only was he not important enough to name, but neither was his character. The only thing notable about him was his 18-year-old film: He was one strata of interest below “the guy who played another guy in that movie about the thing.” At the final pit stop, Phil was on the mat with a guy in military garb with a goofy mustache; I thought that perhaps this was part of a theme, and I expected Phil to say, “I’m standing here with the man who played Bumbling Cadet Who Ogled Callahan’s Chest #3 in Police Academy: Mission to Moscow.”
But the actor clearly was still aces at his craft, considering how realistically he pretended to be on the phone talking to Sean Connery as the teams approached him for his clue. (Considering Andrew had wondered earlier whether it would be Connery at the clue box, I was surprised he didn’t ask the actor whether he was on the horn with Alec Baldwin. “Uh, can you tell him that me and my frat brothers liked him in The Cat in the Hat?”)
I worry I’m over-mocking the frat guys, but there’s some cosmic force that commands everyone to do just that. For example, when everyone got their sub clue and dashed outside to look for a cab, there was a priceless scene of Dan and Andrew on the side of the road, getting doused by a passing truck driving through a puddle. Watching these guys is like watching a tightly-wound Ziggy cartoon. All that’s missing are bald heads and a cloud raining only on them.
NEXT: Dallas starts to fall apart