Monday, July 12, 2004

The Amazing Race - 5.01 "Clearly, I'm More Intelligent Than You"

These 90-minute (not so) specials are really taxing (not even counting the commercial breaks that reach five bleeding minutes) -- even if there's ample drama and intensity, stretched out to such lengths an installment, such as this one, feels especially taxing. This sort of pacing (somewhat akin to summer action films that merely pile on one thrill after another) certainly creates excitement, but it's more draining and diluted than traditional pacing that has deliberate build-up towards the payoff.

That preface disposed with, I'll get to my usual rundown, though in an abbreviated form.

Preliminary favorites:

Bowling Moms! Though I'm a little surprised at how much I'm pulling for such a safe and conventional good guy tandem.

Major Dad & Daughter (aka Jim and Marsha)! Jim's gruffness instantly brought Survivor Rudy to mind, and the salty exchanges between parent and child were amusing enough to warrant some love, even though I wonder if it's only because of the Rudy-relatedness, because they weren't, in the end, all that amusing (e.g. Marsha was cut-throat but in a boring way). Their time on the show looks numbered because of TAR's physical strenuousness is a harsh mistress on gimpiness.

And the rest:

Charla & Mirna -- flirting with a lot of disaster (not as much as Chip & Kim): one moment they r00l, the next they're dr00ling. One unbelievably great moment (or an extended moment actually) was during the Detour, Mirna the gambling addict doesn't think twice to go into the casino, then when they win with amazing alacrity, "COME ON CHARLA JUST ONE HAND OF BLACKJACK WE'RE ON A ROLL!" But if the rest of the competition steers away from organized games of chance, the two might go far (even in spite of Charla's limited speed capabilities) because of their knowledge of languages (according to their official TAR bio: Armenian, Turkish, French and Spanish).

Speaking of chance, one of the twins had the runner-up quotation of the episode, again courtesy of the roulette wheel: "It was total chance, I don't know how we won."

Beyond these two teams, the remainder are jerks or boring (though one last remark -- Colin has very indie hair!).

And how about a topic for comments -- who are your favorite reality contestants ever? I mostly mean the heroes, though if your game is villains, then they're kosher too. Immediately off the top of my head, Jon & Al (aka the Clowns) from TAR 4, Rudy and Rupert from Survivor, Elyse, and nobody from Apprentice.

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