My recent exagmination into the reality genre has yielded a somewhat fleshed-out model of character-types. You have the heroes, the villains, and then the shuddering masses of the miscellaneous kooks in between. With this structure in mind, TAR seems to be suffering from what plagues most reality series in their second and third seasons -- the show's contestants have become too self-aware of TAR as a reality series, which makes characterizing them into their roles emptier or more difficult. (This subject is something I'd like to tackle more directly at some point.)
At this point, there aren't really any heroes in a traditional sense (though given the climate of the hero/villain divide nowadays, it's nothing out of the ordinary exactly). You'd think that a mother/son duo would be impossible to root against, but Patrick's obsession with coming in before Bahstahn Rahb and Ambah was ridiculous and petty. After all, it's merely the first leg of the race, and outside of the surprise cash-money prize, there's not an awful lot of reason to blowing your load at this point to come in first. The other team whom I thought could be the ones I wanted to see win were Debbie and Bianca (aka Team "Are They, Or Aren't They?"); unfortunately, during the llama challenge, the one blew a gasket with little reason to do so (the only thing at stake was first place, and the task itself did not warrant as serious a meltdown that was exhibited).
And the bad guys? The next iteration of Colin & Christie is dead boring. Ray and Deanna may fit the mold of horrible guy and abused girl, but Ray has no camera-face; Colin and Jonathan the Pres. of Synagogue would have aneurysms, and despite how cockish these two guys could be, it was good television in a "Me? I'm better than you" sort of way. Ray meanwhile only says such monotone vacuities as, "Suck it up."
All of these dumb fools leave Rambah as the most high-profile team, and I found myself pulling for them. It was good to see Rob at his deliciously cocky self, and the way so many teams were gunning for them (will, him mostly -- Amber, as usual, is just along for the ride) actually made them underdogs. Just as importantly, these two famewhores are already familiar to me (twice over, in fact), which makes it easier to see them as more fully developed characters than the other contestants so far. Rambah already have a backstory that's fairly well-established, we know how their characters will react, what their strengths as characters are, and so on; on the other hand, the other teams are still in the process of being fleshed out. As a result, I'm more attracted to Rambah (even if they've both packed on weight since I saw them last) than anyone else.
Rob, what the hell's going on with your hair?? ONLY KEVIN MILLAR IS ALLOWED TO BE METROSEXUAL.
Indie rating: The Hives - "Hate to Say I Told You So"