The ATC Report

"In Control" - Vol. X, No. 11

This has been a rather tough season for us. We really haven't had much in the way of ideas for things to write about. We don't know what's causing it, but we just haven't been able to come up with new and unique ways of reporting on the Race as we have in past seasons. Perhaps it's writer's block. Perhaps it's the cast of the current Race. Perhaps it's the fact that we weren't picked for "TAR All-Stars." Perhaps we just suck at writing, and it's finally catching up with us.
Perhaps it's the cast of the current Race. Perhaps it's the fact that we weren't picked for "TAR All-Stars." Perhaps we just suck at writing, and it's finally catching up with us.
In any event, we had to do something to rekindle the fire that took us from Season 5 all the way into Season 10. So we decided to go back to a tried and true method of writing about an episode.

Those of you who have read this column from its inception will remember that back in Season 5 we ranked each of the teams in three different categories each week. We changed the categories weekly, but the format was the same throughout the year. Since we were searching for a return to the time when the ideas came easy, we figured...why not? For this issue, we're going to rate the teams on a few categories. Of course not everything is the same. First, we are going to use four categories instead of the three that we used to do. Second, our rankings in each category will go from -4 to +4. And finally, we're going to use a sliding bar to indicate the rankings rather than multiple copies of the same picture. (Don't worry, the pictures are still there!)

Our first category is Compassion. This is a rating of each team's empathy towards the locals they meet - and towards the other racers. Our second category is Intelligence. If you can't figure out what we mean by ‘intelligence', you probably should hold off applying for TAR. The next category is Athleticism, and measures how well a team has handled the physical aspects of the race. Finally we rank each team in a category we call Like-ability. This is the most important of the categories, and is our measurement of how likely a viewer is to tune in to see a particular team do well. When all the rankings are done, we'll have a few comments on the leg itself at the end. Let's get to the racers...

Tyler/James: For starters, these two do pretty well in the Athleticism category. Not surprising, since they are the alpha-male team of this race. They've also shown some Compassion (stopping to provide verbal help to Rob and Kimberly comes to mind), but mostly, they have been obnoxious enough to warrant a reasonably low mark in this area. Their Intelligence rates somewhere below that of a melting ice cube. Never forget that these two thought that "throwing a pot" actually meant that there would be broken pottery when they were finished. They've also spent a good portion of the race deciding to follow someone else, because those other guys must know where they're going, right? Finally, they get a -3 for Like-ability. They annoy Steve and Dave. Unless there is a future challenge that involves using their brains instead of their brawn, they will probably win as well. That annoys Steve and Dave even more.

Lyn/Karlyn: These two act like they think that everyone else in the race should bow to their greatness. They even bad-mouthed their former alliance members in tonight's episode. Ladies, if you want to be treated with respect, try treating others with some respect to begin with. The only thing that saves them from a lower Compassion score is the fact that they spent as long as they did in the 6/4/2-pack alliance. As for Athleticism, Steve and Dave think that they have finally found a slower team than them. Ladies, you walked to the Yield point? And then were astounded that you got yielded? Even Steve and Dave ran once...or twice. We will give you props for showing some Intelligence. These two are one of the few teams we've actually seen with a map in this whole race. Too bad that TAR has taken such a turn towards athletics and ‘Fear Factor' stunts these days. As for Like-ability, we figure that even their own families might be tuning out.

Rob/Kimberly: Let's see...they hate the blondes, they like the blondes...no wait - they hate the blondes...we think. Compassion? Not likely. As far as Athleticism, these two are probably the second-most athletic team, marginally ahead of Dustin and Kandice. Still, they lose any footrace with Tyler and James. These two (actually, most of this cast) also seem to think that if someone else is ahead of them, then the team that's in front must know where they are going, so why not follow them? It also seems as though automobiles are completely foreign to R/K, as they've already ruined the gearbox on one car and couldn't manage to figure out how to change a flat on another. We would suggest applying for ‘DENSA', but you might not meet their tough intelligence standards. Their overall Like-ability is second lowest of all the teams, but close with T/J and D/K. Kids, if Steve and Dave could remember to hold the acerbic comments to each other until the cameras were off, it shouldn't be too hard for two people who (supposedly) actually like each other to do it.

Dustin/Kandice: Ugh. These two really need to learn that you can race hard and still be friendly to the other racers. Smart move Yielding the only team that was behind you, and who happened to be walking to the Yield point...NOT. Their Compassion extends only as far as they think that they can gain something from it. In terms of Athleticism, they are on par with Rob and Kimberly, but obviously are superior to Lyn and Karlyn, so they probably want to keep L/K in the Race. Oh wait...there's that whole Yield thing again. Until recently, these two have run a pretty Intelligent race - while using their looks to help get by in some situations. This last leg showed that maybe they really are just dumb blondes. Come on - you drive past the Detour because...we dunno, you figured you could use your looks to get by and really didn't need to pay attention? Then you decided to hang around and do the Detour choice that was already full, knowing that you would most likely leave the Detour point in last (with the Roadblock already done)? Still these two probably have the most Like-ability of any of the remaining teams - which doesn't say much. Of course, that's based on the fact that they are cute blondes.

OK, those are our ratings. As far as the leg went, we would once again like to point out what a complete bust the Yield is/has been. A Yield on a non-elimination leg? Yea, that makes sense. The big prize this leg was a free mobile phone for a year? We guess it's still better than what we got. To be honest, this final four may be the worst ever. We find that we really don't care about any of these teams. Unfortunately, that leaves us looking forward to next season. Oh crud, that's gonna be "All-Stars." Looks like it's going to be a long winter.

(Steve and Dave Official Disclaimer: Harsh? Yea, we were harsh. We're blaming it on the editing. We fell for it. For all you TAR 10 racers who have been reading this column, fear not - we'll still like you at the reunions.)