Riding Coattails: The Deserving Versus The Devious

Although I have only been following The Amazing Race for two seasons, I see it as a battle between the nice, likeable teams (who usually come in second) and the selfish, bickering pairs (who tend to surge ahead). Now that The Amazing Race is down to four teams, the split between the decidedly deserving and the devious duos has become markedly apparent. While I understand CBS’s need to cast a mix of villains and heroes, I can’t help but feel disgust every time Rob and Amber step onto the mat first and wonderful people like boyfriends Lynn and Alex get eliminated from the game. I have a tendency to root for the underdog.

Unfortunately, sometimes the people most worthy of fortune and happiness do not end up getting it. That’s not to say that my beloved Lynn and Alex aren’t off together somewhere happy, healthy, and completely in love. But I wanted them to have it all. Then again, the fact that they got on the show at all and went as far as they did might have been message enough. But enough about Lynn and Alex. They’re out of the game and hopefully planning their Amsterdam wedding.

Of the remaining teams, I’m completely rooting for Uchenna and Joyce and Gretchen and Meredith, all of whom have shown remarkable resiliency and courage. I mean, Gretchen took a nasty spill in the caves in South Africa and injured her head. After that, she and Meredith were stripped of all their money and possessions, yet managed to persevere over stubborn Ray and his girl Deana. In this week’s episode, Gretchen handled the rope ladder climb and rappel like a total rock star. She is a tough woman and I hope to be even half as cool as her when I hit senior citizen status.

Uchenna and Joyce surged from the back of the pack in the first episodes and are now serious contenders for the grand prize. I’d love to see them win. They’re totally hardcore. Joyce agreed to have her head shaved to advance in the game and she looks gorgeous, as Uchenna kept lovingly pointing out. I have to wonder if Amber would have agreed to lopping off all her hair for a chance at a second million dollars. With her TV wedding special coming up, I doubt it.

Rob and Amber seem to be sinking lower with each passing episode, but for once, their antics backfired on them. In an attempt to confuse the nice teams, Rob asked Gretchen if she and Meredith had gotten on the earlier flight to Turkey. To Rob’s knowledge, there were no earlier flights to Turkey from India and even after he double checked with a travel agent, he was convinced that all four teams would be taking the same flight. Gretchen, Meredith, Uchenna, and Joyce took Rob’s question seriously and were able to finagle a deal to get into Turkey two hours before Rob, Amber, Ron, and Kelly. I giggled into my tea as those nitwits headed out to their route market in Istanbul, fully convinced that their opponents were trailing.

I was a bit disappointed by Ron and Kelly’s reprieve at the pit stop. Up until this episode, I felt sorry for Kelly as she put up with Ron’s pig-headed ways and abusive comments. But when she criticized him for breaking his “commitment” to the military by being a P.O.W., I spat out any remnants of sympathy for her. While I am not typically a gung-ho, pro-military sort of girl, I respect our troops for volunteering so that the people I love aren’t drafted and forced to go into combat. And if I, a peace-loving, bleeding heart liberal, took offense to her remark, I can only imagine how offended enlisted and veteran viewers must have felt. I have no doubt Kelly will pay for that statement and probably already regrets it.

With only a couple of episodes remaining, I am anxious to see if Uchenna and Joyce can keep their lead and Gretchen and Meredith can maintain their impressive stamina. I hope so. The nice guys deserve to finish first.