I Blogged Myself

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Thursday, March 02, 2006

It Has Begun

Okay, before I get started, please read an important word to all our overseas friends (especially our American and Canadian buddies) ...

I do not appreciate 'spoilers', so please, please, please - when reading and commenting on the below post about The Amazing Race Series 9, do not say anything that will prevent me from enjoying this show properly and completely as it unfolds! We're watching the two most recent series out of 'sequence' (or 'order'), which means that the 'family' version of the series will be aired here in Australia after this ninth series has finished airing. This in turn means that we're watching the one that was produced after the family one, BEFORE we see the family one. (I think this is to get the Australian audience 'into' the concept of the 'normal' show before they air the riskier, less commercially-viable family version of the show, because it's been a ratings dud in the past here, although it's steadily increased in viewership in recent years.)

Apparently we're seeing each episode of this series something like 'only 30 hours or so' after you guys are seeing it over there, instead of the normal six to nine months' delay we usually have to wait for 'clearance'. The only other exceptions to this that I know of are with Survivor and American Idol (and the same reason would be the cause of it: The Internet spoiling everything for us in the interim, when it comes to reality TV shows).

So please don't say anything here about either The Amazing Race Series 8 (the 'family' version - which will probably start airing here in September or so), or The Amazing Race Series 9 (which has just started airing) ... unless I've already referred to that episode on this blog. Otherwise you'll be upsetting the monkeys who run the joint. Thank you.

Alright ... on with the post.

So we've just seen the first hour of the first episode of The Amazing Race Series 9 (heretofore referred to as TAR 9). I have to say at the outset: I love the freaky 'hippy' guys! How could you not love them? I don't know if they're screening the series premiere overseas as a two-hour or one-hour episode, but here we got the one-hour version (ie. part one only; 'to be continued ...').

So it ended with 'the frat guys' getting out of the helicopter on the roof of the building, with the freaky hippy guys about to land on the same rooftop in their helicopter. The gay guys are walking the streets, unable to find someone who speaks English, and the 'frosties'* or middle aged sisters/mums** are still in their taxi, waiting to reach the bridge for the clue that eluded the elderly couple for so long.

I don't want to say anything more about it at this stage, except to quickly run down my initial thoughts of and reactions to the teams. In no particular order:

1. Freaky Hippy Guys (FHG) - simply put, I love 'em. They're my early favourites, and I think they could prove to be a lot of fun. Their approach, while not terribly strategic (or so they claim), may prove to be of great help or a great hindrance to them. Other teams may not see them as much of a threat (at least not a malicious threat), so that could work in their favour, although at the same time, their seemingly cavalier approach could earn them some disrespect and ire from the other teams. I hope they can knuckle down and be serious when they need to be.
2. Buff Frat Guys (BFG) - these guys also have the potential for providing humorous content to the show; although I'm sorry to say that it's more likely that they'll reveal themselves to be obnoxious meatheads, and rude and/or hurtful. I hope I'm wrong about that. I'd like to see them be 'good guys', because most guys of their ilk on the show in the past (brothers Brian & Greg from TAR 7 being the obvious exception - although they were more like an amalgam of BFG and FHG) have been intolerable pricks. It'd be great to see these guys be nice and sporty and respectful and funny and clever and fair at the same time. Their introductions to the girls in pink was amusing because the girls thought they were trying to crack on to them (and their conversation earlier would have us believe that they were), but in reality, they wanted the girls to get out of the taxi so they could have it. I think they were partly trying to distract the girls so they wouldn't tell the driver to wait for them, at which they succeeded. (I viewed their earlier conversation about wanting to get to know the girls as joking around for the cameras, as they were on the 'rush' and 'high' from just setting out on the race, but I may be proven wrong on that in future episodes ... and female viewers may have a totally different take on the whole thing than I do! :)
3. Deceptively-Elderly Couple (DEC) - good potential for being a really effective 'old team'; possibly one that will surprise the younger teams by being a seemingly harmless foe, but in reality shock them by being much stronger and more capable that they appear (if they can learn to open their eyes and find the clue boxes that are right under their noses!). That happens to someone each year, though. Good move with getting the driver to hold their taxi for them at the boat-shaped 'Unique' hotel.
4. Token Black Couple (TBC) - they seem okay, but he's perhaps a little timid ... and she seems to take her lead from him, meaning that they could meet a premature end. Other than that, I haven't had a chance to form much of an opinion of them yet.
5. Bigoted Southern Couple (BSC) - the dentist and his dental assistant wife from the south didn't appear too bad in the introductions, but once the race started and it became clear that she will pander to his every angry whim without standing up for herself (and he was on the verge of making racist remarks about the TBC - but then they showed the TBC making the same sort of remarks about themselves, so that was okay in my book***), I lost a lot of respect for them both. He's this year's jerk husband (there's always one, and I make no more excuses for him as a man than I would for him as a white guy. He's pretty-much a disgrace on both counts, at this point).
6. Silly Sister Moms (SSM) - they took their time so much and strolled around too casually for me to think their hearts are really in it. I suspect they may be the first team to go, but you can never tell when we haven't yet reached the 'ROADBLOCK' in any particular leg of the race. It's certainly anyone's leg at this point. The SSM frustrated me by being too uncaring about things, not to mention the telling line "I thought Spanish was the universal language of the world".**** They may have been playing down their desperation because they knew they were in last place, and the more they acted eager not to be eliminated, the more embarrassing it would be for them to be the first ones to go (I understand that), but they were still just a little too non-committal for my liking. If they survive the first leg, they'd better up the ante ... or there'll be hell to pay!
7. Token Gay Guys (TGG) - a bit too argumentative a bit too early on in the piece for me to warm to them very much. At least not yet. If they stay in the game, maybe their mood will change and I'll see a more enjoyable side to them. For now, I'm not overly impressed. Were they really worthy of getting on the show? Or were they just the most vocal gay couple the producers could find? The 'fear of flying' thing I could do without. Whatever, dude.
8. International Mom & Daughter (IMD) - I say 'international' because I couldn't think of another way to put it in one word. But this is one of the potential 'sleeper' teams (along with the DEC) that I think could surprise us. They took the lead a couple of times in this first hour, and I think the mother's language skills in particular could set them apart somewhat. However, there is clearly also a panic issue there, and the daughter gets understandably stressed by it all. I see equal parts strength and weakness here. I'll need to see more of them before I go either way on them. Also, panicking and taking the furthest building in that helicopter challenge was a pretty stupid move - they should have kept looking for a closer building, but because the other teams were all leaving, they jumped at the first one they had. Silly and costly decision? We'll have to wait and see. There are still plenty of teams behind them. Taking the time to find one of the closer buildings could mean the difference between coming in first on this leg and possibly pocketing some cash, or coming in second and getting nothing for their troubles. Or worse. (I'm just sayin'.)
9. Dating WASP Couple (DWC) - her near-tears at the first airport stop and his total inability to be supportive in any way (in fact, he went out of his way to draw attention to it and give her a nasty glare for DARING to embarrass him so), cost them any inclination within me to think highly of them. It's bad enough that she finds their 'airport woes' to be worthy of getting so emotional over so early (they hadn't even DONE anything yet!); but his disgust at her for it really sealed the deal for me. Be gone. (Yes, I recognise the total hypocrisy of the above statements - me having no patience with her and then being disgusted with him for feeling the same way I do about it - but I'm not the one in the race with my beloved, am I!)
10. Blonde Bimbo Sisters (BBS) - sorry, but they always get stereotypes and token groupings. Dani and Danielle (the Double Ds, apparently) are just as atrocious a pairing as I've ever seen on the show. They may well blow the 'bimbo' tag out of the water in time (maybe that's not a fair assessment of their intelligence levels, but we can't tell just yet); however, their behaviour in this episode and the simple fact that they chose to wear matching hot pink outfits on the first day, cement them firmly in my mind as race 'fodder' (until further evidence presents itself). Oh, and I know they're not sisters ... in fact they probably have the same name, if Dani is short for Danielle as well ... but they've basically done themselves up as twins, so that's what I'm callin' 'em.
11. Nerdy Dork Couple (NDC) - this couple is pretty funny too, in their own way. They're very sweet and cute together, but they seemed at times to ham it up too much. How long will we be able to bare their nerdy references and rejoicings? Hopefully for quite a while yet. I'd like to see them do well (especially as I predict that they'll be insulted by some of the more cruel teams behind their backs. Just like the FHG were, although they gave as well as they got: "Ken & Barbie".)

Wifey and I have been on the edge of our seats, waiting for this new series of TAR 9 to start, so I'm glad the moment has finally arrived. Other friends of ours are also big fans, so I hope they managed to catch the first episode tonight.

The teams are apparently coming to Australia this season, as well. The ads ask whether it'll be Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth. My money's on either of the latter two, as I know they've done Sydney and Brisbane (or Cairns, actually) before, if my memory serves me correctly. And I heard that in one of the earlier seasons (which I didn't see), they came to Melbourne. I'll take a complete stab in the dark and say it'll be Perth this time. We'll have to wait until right at the end of the show to find out, I reckon!

If you've never seen TAR before, give it a red-hot go. I know you'll love it. It's on Thursday nights at 9:30pm on Channel 7, directly after Lost at 8:30pm. Both shows are excellent, and well-worth your viewing time.

Bring on next Thursday night!!

* Can someone explain this nickname to me? I know of Frosty Flakes - is it related to that? Sounds like a pretty severe insult if it is, but the gay guys told them about it and they laughed (although they'd already heard it said about them, so maybe they'd had time to pretend it didn't offend them).

** Or 'moms', if you don't speak Rest-Of-The-World.

*** I disagree that there are forms of racism that are okay for some but not others. As far as I'm concerned, just because you're a particular race, that doesn't give you the right to make racist slurs against that race without being labelled a racist like anyone else would for saying the same things about you. But this is a rather heavy topic for so light-hearted a post!

**** How disgustingly arrogant and ignorant at the same time. I think she's referring to Esperanto, but either way, the sentence itself highlights her ignorance. "I thought Spanish (a country) was the universal (the universe) language of the world (the planet)". Country, Universe, Planet. Three very different things. (But I'm really joke poking fun at her now - of course I know what she meant; she just annoyed me with this line.)


At Friday, March 03, 2006 12:51:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

As always, my apologies to those of you with RSS feeds (or whatever they're called).

I re-posted this one about 45 minutes after the original post, but with some fairly major edits.


At Friday, March 03, 2006 2:56:00 am, Blogger noshie said...

We don't get it here unless we have satellite... and Adie and I don't have satellite. :( Oh well. At least I can't provide any spoilers.

At Friday, March 03, 2006 7:55:00 am, Blogger missy said...

I know you totally messed up my RSS aggregator!!

At Friday, March 03, 2006 7:56:00 am, Blogger missy said...

Kidding! You didn't really!

At Friday, March 03, 2006 8:09:00 am, Anonymous spankk said...

My early favourites are the Nerds. I liked the hippy guys too, but thought they were hamming it up a little too much. That being said, they're my second favourites, probably followed by the frat guys

At Friday, March 03, 2006 9:28:00 am, Blogger Clokeeeey! said...

I've been waiting for TAR 9 to start too. The delay caused by the Winter Olympics was just infuriating and now the real games can start. Thankfully it won't be interrupted by the Comm Games in the next few weeks either.
I reckon the hippy dudes will make this series interesting, especially if they can keep the frilly shirt thing going. The sort of thing I need for a vintage party we are going to on Saturday night, along with the Elvis sunglasses.

At Friday, March 03, 2006 10:08:00 am, Blogger Magical_M said...

Doh!!! I missed it!

I knew there was something I wanted to watch last night.

Instead, I was watching Fried Green Tomatoes of all things (to help me with my Southern accent for my next play).

I'm fairly sure my flatmate's dad will have taped it though... he tapes everything. So I'll probably catch it over the weekend.

I didn't see the last series with those two idiots from Survivor, but I did love the series before - especially the father and daughter team of Gus & Hera. They rocked.

Sounds like this series will be a go-er.

At Friday, March 03, 2006 4:03:00 pm, Anonymous John B. said...

I read your entire post before I realised that I hadn't seen the episode yet and you've spoilt it for me! Surely a more thorough warning for those of us that are complete idiots would have been appropriate. ;-)

I did stop reading when I saw the topic as I have it on tape to watch, but couldn't help posting a teaser post about your spoiler warning.

At Friday, March 03, 2006 4:13:00 pm, Blogger Pomgirl said...

I had totally forgotten it was starting and had the biggest smile when it came on.

My favourite bit? One of the guy's introducing himself as "Lake, y'know, like the ocean". Hmm, it's not really is it?

The hippy pair are definitely my early faves, I was surprisingly impressed by the mother/daughter pair, predictably unimpressed with the Bimbos and bemused by the 'frosties' (didn't get that either or how they were 'glamazons' besides just being tall).

I enjoyed every minute, this will be the first time I've watched the series right from the beginning and I'm not missing a single episode!

At Friday, March 03, 2006 7:56:00 pm, Blogger Susanne said...

I love the Amazing Race. Definitely the reality show I would go on if I had the chance.

At Friday, March 03, 2006 11:26:00 pm, Blogger Steph said...

Always forget that it's on. But Bevis, you've done well. I can now watch next week and kinda, sorta know what's going on.

If i remember. In any case, if i don't, I'll come here and read about it.

At Tuesday, March 07, 2006 11:58:00 am, Blogger Tempest said...

If we are lucky we will never see the lame ass family version.

From all reports it was crap. Universally hated.

At Friday, March 10, 2006 12:06:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

Thank you everyone for your comments. I am busy drafting the second episode post right now (but will probably have to complete it tomorrow, so it won't be available just yet).

Noshie, I was going to offer to tape-and-keep them for you, but after one week I've already wiped the premiere episode. Plus, I'll have too much going on for me this year to remember to tape it each week, sorry. (I know you didn't ask for - or expect - me to do this for you, but I'm still sorry I can't do it for you all the same.)

Missy, good to know I didn't lose any new friends, then!

Spankk, yes, the Nerds were okay, but didn't seem to have much fire in their bellies yet (but were nowhere near as 'relaxed' as the Silly Sister Moms - paricularly tonight). And so far, the Buff Frat Guys haven't done anything to lose my respect. I hope it stays that way.

Clokeeeey, I hope your party was fun! Yes, the Freaky Hippy Guys will certainly add some humour to this series, if they can keep up the zaniness.

Magical_M, I hope you caught it this week? Did you get a tape of the first episode from your flatmate's Dad? I really liked the last series - especially since those two idiots from Survivor didn't win! They came in the most insulting of all places - second! Close, but not close enough. (I wasn't a fan of them, although a couple of my friends were.) The series before that had Kris & Jon, the all-round best couple ever to appear on the show - bar none! Unfortunately they also came second. That's the series you're talking about with Gus & Hera. I thought they were good, but not good enough to win. Perhaps if I'd been a girl I would have been drawn to their father-daughter relationship more.

John B, hehe. I can't make my posts fool-proof, because we geniuses often underestimate the clever-thinking of fools. I hope you came back after watching it and read this again.

Pomgirl, so obviously you saw it. Yes, "Lake, like the ocean", was brilliant, and then the black guy he was talking to introduced himself as "Ray, like the Sun" - which I thought was hysterically brilliant! Taking the piss while talking just like he did.

Susanne, it's also the only show to win an Emmy in the category of 'Best Reality TV Show' since they created the category. That's four years in a row. IMHO, that really says something, doesn't it.

Steph, again, I hope you saw tonight's episode. If not, my post on the subject will be up by tomorrow night.

Tempest, welcome! I heard something similar, but I'd still like to see it out of curiosity (and because it'll at least be something of an Amazing Race 'fix' once this series is finished), but I'm just glad to see that they returned to the original format after series 8. I had fears of them being unable to return to a 'normal' series once they'd started down the track of weirdness like that. I thought they'd have to keep doing odd ones, like 'celebrity' ones, or one made up entirely of the winners of the previous seasons, or (more interestingly), those who went out in the first elimination of the previous seasons (they may still do ths one once they've done 11 seasons - and I think they should!), or something like that. Hopefully it will continue for many years to come.

Does anyone know what the general American public thinks of the show?


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