”The Amazing Race”: Seeking revenge in Shanghai
Memo to self: If you ever manage to get stranded in Shanghai, take a freakin’ train, man.
It’s those unexpected, unforeseen delays — like Kris and Jon’s inability to catch a break with a Shanghai taxi — that make The Amazing Race so damn genius. Some things you just can’t control — and that’s all I can hope for when ”professional” reality-show contestants like Rob and Amber take to the road for season 7. But I still felt sorry for Kris and Jon when they got shanghaied (you knew I had to say it once) by those local taxi drivers, which prompted him to — gulp — actually furrow his brow and practically frown. Oh my God, stop the presses. Jon actually made a face! Adam, for one, was downright awestruck. ”It’s the first time I’ve ever seen any emotion from Jon!” Dude, you and me both.
Given the problems with communication — because, let’s be honest, we all chose to study French or Spanish in high school, not Putonghua — Shanghai just doesn’t seem like the kind of place you’d wanna race through, despite Rebecca’s giddy declaration that she’s wanted to go there since ”Madonna and Sean Penn starred in Shanghai Surprise.” (Think that’s bad? How ‘bout when she said that Chinese food in China is only called ”food.” Oy.) Maybe that’s why I didn’t much care when Rebecca and Adam piggybacked on the models when they arrived in town. Call me lazy, but I think it’s a perfectly acceptable strategy to sit back and watch how the others fudge up first.
What isn’t so smart is choosing revenge over simple strategy. Kendra and Freddy chose to get back at Rebecca and Hellboy (who yielded them in Ethiopia) by yielding them in Shanghai. What they should have done was yield the much stronger Kris and Jon. Freddy realized this lapse in judgment later. Hell, everybody realized this lapse in judgment later: A good two minutes of time was spent covering whether the models made the right choice. And admit it — it had you wondering whether it was leading up to a big payoff: Kris and Jon would just make the cut and Rebecca and Adam would come in dead last and go home! It proved true, sort of: Rebecca and Adam did come in last, but only to learn that it was a nonelimination episode.
What a waste of the final yield (and an hour of our precious time) before next week’s two-hour finale! Though the night’s road block was an acrophobic’s idea of hell (rappel down a 40-story building) and the detour was real heavy, man (Kris’ ease in hauling that masonry gave new meaning to the expression ”built like a brick s—house”), the night’s only drama came whenever Kris and Jon grabbed a taxi and attempted in vain to communicate with their driver, who never seemed to have any clue where they wanted to go.
Otherwise, Hayden and Aaron’s prize for coming in first in the leg seemed pretty anticlimactic. Just how many plane trips can a couple use, already? I would think the idea of getting on another flight would seem pretty damn nauseating at this point when, really, a gift certificate to Target would do just fine. So let’s give out some other prizes instead:
The That’s My Name, Don’t Wear It Out Award To Hayden, for saying ”Aaron” at least a half billion times whenever she has to do something she doesn’t want to do.
Most Likely to Not Shut Up He Who, who will appear with She Who in a Dr. Phil special on Feb. 15.
Least Likely to Shut Her Up Aaron, who tells Hayden to ”shut up” at least five times an episode.
Best Impression of Kendra Kris: ”We’re moving into the Harlem of Shanghai!”
Best Attempt to Impress Kendra Freddy, by first helping Rebecca and Adam exchange money in Shanghai and then saying how he pitied ”the little ones” who were ”so lost” in Shanghai.
Abbott and Costello Lifetime Achievement Award Adam and Rebecca, for the following exchange: Adam: ”Don’t call me honey.” Rebecca: ”All right, ass.”
Most Valuable Player Predictor Me! Remember how I gave 2 to 1 odds to Aaron and Hayden for possibly winning this thing? Okay, I tied them with the wrestlers, but no sense squabbling over the details so close to the end. I still think I was on to something. The shorter models could take it.
What do you think? What are your predictions for next week’s finale? And how about afterward? Will Kris and Jon start dating short-distance? Will Rebecca and Adam ever speak to each other again?