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Friday, May 05, 2006

Beat THIS, B*tch!

... Spoiler Alert! ... Spoiler Alert! ...

If you haven't yet seen (and you intend to see) episode 8 of The Amazing Race Series 9 (TAR 9), do not read any further!



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The last TAR 9 episode we saw here in Australia ended with the NDC, or Nerdy Dork Couple (AKA Dave & Lori, who made a lovely pair), being the fifth team to be eliminated. The pit stop was located on the coastline of the island of Sicily, Italy.

For the record, this was the order in which the teams reached Phil on the mat last episode, and the order in which they started this leg of the race:

1. BFG – Buff Frat Guys (Eric & Jeremy)
2. FHG – Freaky Hippy Guys (BJ & Tyler)
3. DWC – Dating WASP Couple [“Team MoJo”] (Joseph & Monica)
4. DEC – Deceptively-Elderly Couple (Fran & Barry)
5. BSC – Bigoted Southern Couple (Lake & Michelle)
6. TBC – Token Black Couple (Ray & Yolanda)

Note: If you're already ahead of this point in the series, please refrain from giving any spoilers in your comments. Thank you.

As always, I’ll provide my thoughts on each team in this episode, listing them in the order in which they arrived at the pit stop (hence the 'Spoiler Alert!').


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1. Buff Frat Guys (BFG) - I was a little disappointed that they got the Fast Forward in this leg; only because they keep doing almost “too well”. But then I remembered that if it’d been the FHG who were doing so well, I’d be delighted, so it’s only fair that I not resent Eric and Jeremy for their good fortune and great game-playing. After all, each team had an equal amount of time to get from the cluebox to the Fast Forward (as this week’s airport equaliser was where the Fast Forward cluebox was located), so any of the other teams could have reached it first if they were made of the right stuff / had Lady Luck on their side. By solving the code* (Leonardo da Vinci's Vitruvian Man), they were awarded with two tickets to the red-carpet premiere of a certain film (the name of which escapes me now), which will actually take place next week (in human years). Due to their brief stint in this leg, the only thing left to say about these guys is to credit their one great call for the week. This week it was Jeremy (the blonde, slightly more repugnant one), who gave this surprisingly accurate and reflective assessment of Lake’s unruly behaviour towards his wife Michelle: “I think he’s bipolar.”

* As Spankk SMSed me while the show was still being broadcast, what a flippin’ ridiculous ‘code’ to have to break! There was almost no mystery involved at all, although if the first team to reach Phil had somehow left the folder behind somewhere, that would have made great television. And my, what an inconspicuous plug for The Da Vinci Code! I barely even noticed!

2. Dating WASP Couple (DWC) - Joseph’s anger towards Monica continued in this leg, although not as severely as it was demonstrated last week, and nowhere near as disgusting as another certain contestant of the race. It didn’t take long for their paranoia to set in, with Monica being the first of members on three different teams to bemoan that they were in last place: “We’re out of it now”. For crying out loud; this was only halfway through the leg! Grow a backbone! I was a little surprised (maybe I shouldn’t have been, but I was) that so many of the chicks on the race elected to complete the bungee-jumping roadblock. In fact, Yolanda was the only female not to do it. Because Wifey has often stressed that she’d never do a bungee jump if we were ever in the same situation (which puts the pressure on me, because I wouldn’t want to do it either!), I guess I had assumed that the guys on each team would be the ones to complete the task. But that’s just silly, because girls and woman all over the world go bungee jumping all the time; I know that. The thing is, the contestants must decide which team member will be completing each roadblock before they open the next page in the mini clue booklet and find out what the roadblock actually is (all it said before that was “Who wants to hear their own scream?” or something, which could have meant anything – although it certainly puts one in mind of a bungee jump). So the women didn’t know what was coming when they agreed to do it, but most of them (including Monica) seemed perfectly calm and willing to take the plunge. In a way they were lucky to get second place, because the TBC technically arrived before them, but due to an error on their behalf (which we’ll get to in a second), they had to stand aside and let “Team MoJo” pass them.

3. Token Black Couple (TBC) - what a turn-around! Well done to Ray in particular, who (after initially getting lost trying to find the train station after the ‘airport equaliser’ cluebox) reached the bungee jump roadblock first, and therefore managed to get ahead of the others after that task was completed. He made the jump without a hassle, too. Good on him. But because they’d taken the bus rather than the train all the way to the station as the clue instructed them to, they received a time penalty at the pit stop. I saw it coming as soon as Lake said there’d be no repercussions for not doing what the clue said to do. The thing is, three of the six teams made this same mistake together. The BSC and the FHG got off the train at the same (premature) stop, and caught the same (instruction-breaking) bus all at once. I was very pleased for them when they ran up the steps to Phil at the pit stop first (excluding the Fast Forward guys), and understood their pain when the next team to arrive, the non-instruction-breaking DWC, were able to sneak ahead of them while they waited. So in many respects, these guys came from last to first place, because if not for their 15 minute time penalty and the BFG being able to shoot head without completing the rest of the leg, Ray and Yolanda might have reach Phil before any of the other teams. (This argument is entirely flawed, however, because who knows if Ray would have reached the bungee jump roadblock first if they hadn’t broken their instructions, and if the BFG were racing alongside them for the entire leg, who knows where they would have come in, but you know what I mean – I’m just trying to be encouraging of the TBC for bouncing back so well.)

4. Deceptively-Elderly Couple (DEC) - how many weeks does this make where they’ve come in fourth place? They’re doing pretty well, but they’d want to make sure they can do better than that, or they won’t make it to the final three. However, as they were in last place at the bungee jump, acknowledgement must be paid to them for successfully overtaking two other teams (even if, in reality, it was more like those two other teams fell behind). As much as her faltering on the precipice of the bungee jump could have been interpreted as annoying, I was massively impressed with her courage to see the task through. True, she’d already committed to completing the roadblock before they knew what the task was going to be, but although she was clearly scared out of her wits, she went through with it and didn’t whinge about trying to get out of it. She didn’t cry, either. It’s not something I’d have thought a 66-year-old (is that right?) person would happily do too often. Yes, I know older people can bungee jump (I’m not being ageist here), but when it’s thrust upon you like that and it’s the one thing you didn’t want to have to do, the fact that she went through with it showed great courage. I’ve been hard with these two in past reviews (because I don’t perceive them as being as ‘strong’ as the older teams in previous seasons), but not this week. Top marks to Fran. Now on to Barry and his driving skills … Ha! That made me laugh, as well as the nonchalant “I didn’t see it” as he just drives away regardless, almost trying to pretend he doesn’t know what he’s done. I guess the producers of the show would have had to pay for repairs to the back of the car (which was quite severely dented) and to replace the rear window, to which car hire company they’d used for the vehicles, but that’s all part of it. Presumably they took out insurance, knowing that the contestants are driving around in a mad panic all the time. I’m glad they didn’t suffer a time penalty for busting up their car. I’m glad to see that their insistence not to help Lake and Michelle didn’t end up biting them on the butt.

5. Freaky Hippy Guys (FHG) - well, this was a close call and quite a scare. Even though I still thought it was a non-elimination round for sure (and was very surprised when it turned out not to be), I was on the edge of my seat wondering if the last team to arrive would beat the FHG to the mat (due to their 15 minute time penalty). I thought time penalties were 30 minutes (the one awarded to a couple of teams a few seasons ago was 30 minutes, but maybe their ‘crime’ was more severe than the crime exhibited by these teams this time around. Or maybe they’ve just changed the length of the time penalty for this season. Of course, it didn’t matter too much, because we all knew that the only team yet to arrive was the other team that broke the same instruction, so they would also have been met with a 15 minute time penalty, allowing the FHG to ‘check in’ before them. Even though Phil didn’t appear to be too much of a fan, I loved the kisses BJ and Tyler gave him when he finally let them check in. The stress for them was very real, because they didn’t know who was behind them, so at any second throughout those 15 minutes, another team could have appeared at the top of those steps and cost the boys their spot in the race. But they were lucky. Earlier in the leg, where they’d traveled for a full hour in the wrong direction (costing them a two-hour trip), I wondered what they’d done differently this time to all their previous legs. The BFG would probably say the FHG weren’t able to follow them this time, but that’s definitely not the case in my book. For some reason, Tyler stuffed up with the navigating and it was a huge mistake to make. And this is where we heard the second of three teams bemoaning the fact that they were in last place: “We’re the last team.” At least they didn’t appear to stay depressed for too long. Thankfully, BJ brought out (or bought somewhere along the way) a frog hat, and this seemed like it was enough to boost their spirits again so they could remain in the race. I’m worried for them in future weeks, though. It can be very hard to get out of last place (although Ray & Yolanda finally managed it – but Danielle and Dani didn’t).

6. Bigoted Southern Couple (BSC): ELIMINATED! - I almost don’t know where to start. “You didn’t hand it to me, b*tch! Now shut up!” Yes, the title of this post has been named in Lake and Michelle’s “honour”. How utterly atrocious was Lake’s behaviour! I sure hope John B got over his kissing of Lake after last week’s episode (thanks to Pomgirl for that one!), because any respect anyone may have had for Lake until now was most assuredly destroyed here. What a jerk. Or, as Wifey put it, referring to his wife and racing partner Michelle, “What does she see in him?” Ah, love. What a crazy notion it is. Lake’s terrible temper, and his double-standard hypocrisy when it comes to him being allowed to get stressed but Michelle being yelled at when she does, as well as the way he takes out his aggression on her in a verbal sense, were all in such abundance this week that it was almost comical. Almost. Maybe if it wasn’t a woman’s feelings and self-worth and international humiliation on the line. But talking that way about the woman you love is just a totally alien concept to me. They were arguing, fighting, screaming, yelling, and even snatching and throwing the map at each other. Did you notice how ripped and torn it was by the end? I laughed aloud at that, then immediately stopped because I wondered if it was a hint of what was to come when Lake got Michelle home, away from the cameras. Nah, I shouldn’t say that: It’s complete speculation and damaging to his character (although he did enough of that himself!). He made a ludicrous comment about the scenery of Greece, too: “It’s not nearly as pretty as Italy, though, is it.” And even though the pieces of clay pots they were using to determine the word on the map at the detour were clearly fake and not real ‘antiques’, the idea that he flung one so many metres away when he didn’t need it was also loathsome. Where’s the respect? Did you notice that the team members had to remove their shoes to complete that task? Why would this be, I wonder. Would it have anything to do with it being sacred or historical in any way? I’d venture to assume so. Therefore, where he could have simply placed it down, or even dropped it at his feet if he felt he had to hurry, he instead chose to be utterly disrespectful by dramatically flinging it aside. Just a brief insight into the guy’s obnoxious personality, methinks. Once they were out on the road again, and (thankfully) got lost (although this wasn’t good for Michelle because it looked like the lost time was her fault – he certainly made no attempt to hide his anger with her over it!), she had to tell him to stop and take a breath to de-stress. That shot of him looking down, trying to relax so he didn’t snap a vein in his neck or anything was quietly disturbing. Does he really get so worked up that he needs her to calm him down before he busts an artery? After the way he was telling her to shut up, and (completely unnecessarily) calling her a b*tch so frequently and so vehemently, I’m surprised she didn’t bust one of his arteries for him! Instead, she takes it all on board and either allows the abuse or tries to argue with him, so she’s just as much to blame for the problem. If she’s not going to drag him to family counseling or leave him, she can’t be helped either. And this is where we heard the last of the three teams bemoaning the fact that they were in last place: “We’re definitely last.” And the good news for the rest of us is: For once, he was right.



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Last week's tips:

First Team: BFG Correct!
Last Team: DEC (Wrong – shows what I know)
Yield? No Correct!
Elimination Week? No (Wrong – this is crazy! When’s it gonna be?)
Biggest Argument: BSC Correct! (There was never any doubt)
Smartest Team: FHG (Wrong – whoa, I almost couldn’t have been more wrong. I guess this week it was the BFG again)


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Next week's tips:

First Team: BFG (they seem unstoppable at the moment)
Last Team: DEC (it’s either them or the FHG, and I’m not turning on my favourite team!)
Yield? No
Fast Forward? No (this is another one I forgot to include from the outset but will include from here on in.)
Elimination Week? No (there’s no way it won’t be this coming week!)
Biggest Argument: DWC (the most argumentative team left, although the ad made it look like almost every team gets in the argumentative mood)
Smartest Team: FHG (I really, really hope so – to elevate them out of last place)


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This season seems to be flying past at an amazingly quick rate. We still have both (or is it all three?) non-elimination rounds to go, as well as probably another two-part episode to come (possibly the finale, although they may not have another two-parter at all). With only six teams remaining, we’re roughly halfway through the teams now (we started with 11). Who will be the last three standing in the final leg?

Woo-hoo, excitement!



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6 Comments:

At Friday, May 05, 2006 7:38:00 pm, Anonymous John B. said...

Listen up b*tch! I'm sick of your Lake bashing! Him and his punching bag..I mean wife were so much more deserving to win than those loser hippies!! Haha, I can't even type that with a straight face.

For the record, I never 'stood up' for Lake. If I recall correctly I was merely providing context for a comment that he made, that you suggested was completely random. Plus he is quite cute! ;-p

 
At Friday, May 05, 2006 11:16:00 pm, Blogger sublime-ation said...

BEVIS it's bad enough I have to sit through listening to this show (I would rather read blogs instead, but my housemate plays it really loud so I have to hear it) whilst waiting for American Dad/Family Guy/Scrubs. Why can't you do a "Beat This, B*tch!" on one of those shows?

ps john b.: dude, the guys name is Lake.

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 3:09:00 am, Anonymous til said...

so in you opinion is neighbours getting a bit political? Now we have Jenny (karls squeeze) who is a liberal mp and just today Max was apparently winging about the IR reforms. Whats your opinion on this change from the a-political Ramsey st?

 
At Saturday, May 06, 2006 8:45:00 am, Blogger Pomgirl said...

BEVIS, I so look forward to reading your review of the latest episode of TAR9. And this weeks show was such a good one, there were so many times when I had mentally eliminated a team only to then change my mind.

Even the fact that I had to watch it on my own and therefore didn't get any response to my 'And he's a dentist!' comments, didn't spoil my enjoyment.

And how proud I was of Fran! She was so genuinely scared, but still did it. I have so much respect for her. I really hope you are wrong about them being eliminated next week or that we finally get the non-elimination round. It is just so difficult for them to compete physically with the other contestants and be constantly working harder to overcome that.

I find it so interesting to watch how the couples deal with stress. Lake being a fine example of NOT coping. And even though the hippy guys irritate me a little with their 'kurayziness', I liked the way they avoided blaming one another. Also, I realised how I have underestimated the hidden powers of a comical hat.

So I was very glad that Lake and Michelle were eliminated. How it obviously pained him at the end to have to pretend to be gracious and say that he was proud of his wife when you know he wanted to blame her for EVERYTHING. I fear for his patients.

Apologies for the long comment but I have no one else to share my obsession with...

P.S. John - cute? Have you looked at that photo? He has no eyes!

 
At Sunday, May 07, 2006 8:43:00 am, Anonymous John B. said...

Again for the record, I don't really like Lake in the slightest. While I'm sure he and all the others in the show are under a great deal of stress, that is no reason to call your wife a b*tch and constantly put her down and blame her for mistakes that clearly weren't her fault. I completely agree with Bevis on his assessment on this guy and anything I say otherwise is meant to be a joke. Like sublime-ation infers, anyone named after a body of water will likely have some issues.

 
At Tuesday, May 23, 2006 2:55:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Let me just say how amused I was to read these comments! :)

John B, I was just enjoying 'ribbing' you, and it seems to have caught on! Highly amusing. I agree that the context you provided was accurate (and said as much at the time), but it was funny nonetheless to see what came of it all here.

Sublime-ation, I'm sorry to hear you're not a fan and feel 'put out' by your housemate watching it and then me later reviewing it. However, I appreciate that you visit my blog - and leave a comment! - regardless. What a champion. To answer your question, though: I like Scrubs a lot, but we've fallen behind in watching it because Channel Seven were screening them all out of order for so long that we got annoyed and stopped watching them in protest (well, not so much in protest as waiting to watch them in the correct order on DVD). The other two shows I'm not too keen on (maybe one day they'll grab me), so/but until then, no dice. Sorry. Finally, you make a great point about Lake. With a name like that, there's really no defending him. His name's Lake.

Til, thanks for your Neighbours question; my apologies to you for taking so long to reply. I agree that they've been talking about politics a bit more now that they've introduced the character of Jenny, although I've noticed that they've been keeping it pretty level (in regards to political viewpoints), which I guess helps the show maintain its 'a-political' standpoint, as you suggested. In addition to the examples you mentioned, I noticed with interest that Skye interviewed Jenny on the VSU issue during her brief stint as a uni radio DJ (this is an issue that was close to my heart for many years, given my previous employment). Karl also recently asked Jenny if she'd received a call from 'her mate the Treasurer' or something like that - shortly after Costello brought out his May budget. Even though such topics are touched on in brief, and occasionally characters wave the political flag of their choice (depending on their views), the show as an overall unit doesn't seem to weigh too heavily one way or the other. Susan, for instance, has mentioned more than once to Karl that Jenny is very nice, "even though her political persuasions are on the wrong side". My view is that it's always healthy to be bringing 'real life' issues into the show - even when they're political - and as long as they're not seen to be pushing one party's agenda over another's, then they can't be accused of being too left / too right / too whatever. I don't think it's getting too political, though. Apart from Paul Robinson helping David Bishop run for Erinsborough Council two years ago, I can't remember there being much of a political sub-plot going on for ages, so maybe it's about time. Remember, everything has its season; the show will eventually 'purge' this Jenny character and we probably won't hear of politics for another five years or more.

Pomgirl, your words are very kind! Thank you. I am amused that you still said "And he's a dentist!" aloud, despite there being no one there with you. That's the sort of thing I do. We're suitably nutty, and that's good. Yes, Fran did an amazing job. She's braver than me, because I really don't think I could have done it. Well done to her. As for the comical hat, I trust you will never again underestimate the strength and magical components such a 'kurazy' piece of headware can bring to a situation. Never apologise for leaving a long comment. I love a long comment. Bring them on, I say. Apologies for the long delay before replying.

John B, hehe. I am so amused ... Yes, John B is agreeing with all our thoughts and dislikes about Lake. The point he made about cheering random words like 'foot' was a good one - Lake was in fact happy not to have to drive through the crazy-busy streets of the city they were in at the time, given the trouble he'd had getting through the city the first time. (But just between you and me, people ... I think John B secretly has a bit of a man-crush on Lake!)

 

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