Commentary

TAR Virginís View - Episode Four

Is Dr. Zhivago in the house? I still haven't recovered from my profound nausea induced by last night's "Amazing Race."

And I'm just talkin' about the airport. AGAIN.
I was very disappointed to see, for the second week in a row, the losers determined by a bad roll of the aviation dice.
The one criticism I have of this show so far is that the winners and losers are not separated by ability as much as they are by luck ... and anyone who has traveled extensively knows that an airport might as well be a casino because it's a gamble you're going to get where you're going without minor to major hassles. I was very disappointed to see, for the second week in a row, the losers determined by a bad roll of the aviation dice. Perhaps the episodes to come will prove my gripe to be premature, but thus far I am not overly impressed by this.

The other thing that has me a bit put off (okay, so I lied, I have TWO criticisms) is that this is the second week in a row the show has resorted to a "Fear Factor" approach by taxing the gastrointestinal fortitude of the racers AND the audience. Last week the chocolate bite-and-spit gave me nightmares, but this week's shoveling of fish eggs into Lance's (or Marshall's - doesn't matter, they're interchangeable) gaping canyon gave me
serious stomach cramps. I would like to see events that are more intellectually challenging - not people trying desperately not to vomit. (Although I must stop and say I am SO impressed with Chip - his performance was amazing!)

But, all criticism aside, I recorded a few observations from last night's episode. These include:

-- WHEN A TEAM IS GONE, THEY'RE NOT *REALLY* GONE: For example: I thought Donny and Alison were gone for good; I was really grieving for the loss of Alison's constant shrewing and that dumb-ass, whipped puppy look on Donny's face each and every time she'd start up (which was roughly ever 3.4 seconds). Little did I know that people still in the race could channel the not-so-dearly departed! Both Christie and Nicole tapped into Alison's legendary bitchiness more than once! Alison, you're still with us, babe!

-- NO WONDER RUSSIANS ARE SO FREAKIN' DEPRESSING: No offense to my Russian brethren (I'm half Lithuanian, if that helps cushion the criticism!), but it's long been joked that all Russian writers were suicidal alcoholics who wrote really long, suicidal books. Well, now I know why. Is it ever NOT snowing there? You can't drink without the threat of slicing your tongue off? Getting hit by hockey pucks is FUN for these people? And, well, then there's the diet of heapin' fish eggs -- that would motivate anyone to stand in front of a train (move over, Karenina!).

--THANK GOD THESE PEOPLE HAVE LEFT LATIN AMERICA: My ears welcomed what is sure to be my final exposure to that constant "mas rapido, senor" B.S.
everytime somebody needed to jump in a cab. At least Americans can't really butcher Russian.

--KAMI AND KARLA ARE NOT THE TWO BIGGEST PRISSES ON THIS SHOW: My apologies, ladies. The honor has to go, of course, to Colin and Brandon. Yes, here we have two big strappin' he-men who are so quick to make their girlfriends suck down the insides of a fish ... and then, in the next shot, you hear them both goin' on with that whiny, "You can do it! Hang in there! I'm so proud of you!" crapola. Blah blah blah .... I was waiting for either woman to "return" the compliment, so to speak, in the form of
violent retching. I mean, I'm sick to my stomach anyway, so why not see what Brandon's Shirley-Temple do would look like with eggs over easy as a side dish?
The camera person who took that extreme close-up
footage of that slime going into Lance's mouth should be stood up against the wall and shot.
--LANCE AND MARSHALL: The camera person who took that extreme close-up
footage of that slime going into Lance's (or Marshall's - doesn't matter, they're interchangeable) mouth should be stood up against the wall and shot. Viva the Revolution!

--I ALMOST FORGOT THERE WERE THREE OTHER TEAMS: About 30 minutes into the show I suddenly realized Bob and Joyce, Kami and Karla, and the Bowling Moms were missing in action. I was imaging their planes lost in some weird Bermuda-triangle over eastern Europe.

--WHY DO THESE PEOPLE STILL INSIST ON FORMING ALLIANCES? I still can't figure out if there's malice going on here or just brain damage. I can't wait to see who foolishly trusts whom in next week's episode.

--WHY WOULD ANYONE EVER PASS UP FREE LIQUOR? I still don't get some of these people. If I were on one of these teams, all I'd hear my partner reading would be "Vodka or ..." and I'd say, "Shut up and let's go for the bottle, Comrade!"

--THE SEQUENCE OF EVENTS IS IMPROVING: Last week I was sickened to find that The Powers That Be scheduled paragliding AFTER chocolate overdosing, but I was delighted to see that this week they offered the teams vodka BEFORE the dreaded trip to the restaurant. I do hope they all got more complimentary vodka after their unfilmed trips to emergency rooms all over St. Petersburg.