Tuesday, January 25, 2005


If Brian and I were on The Amazing Race, I would have to be the navigator and he, the driver.

This is because I’m too jumpy a driver and apt to make rash decisions. Once, while I was driving, he suddenly yelled “Turn left!” and I ended up moving in with him.

I am generally not a big fan of reality shows because I hate all the fake drama. I mean, what’s so real about seven strangers lounging in jacuzzis, rec rooms and each others’ tonsils? It’s about time they throw in some real issues, like death and taxes. Or a grenade.

And I hate the subtle humiliation that America's Next Top Model or American Idol dishes. These shows are supposedly giving constructive criticism based on some so-called industry standard. Oh, come on. Let’s have some reality TV with some honesty you know, like outright humiliation. In fact, let’s call the show “Humiliation.”

But I love The Amazing Race.

The only problem I have with this show (and others) is that they tend to cast what I call the “slash models.” I’m sick of the couples who are Christians/models/dating or Models/College roommates or Raving/Psycho/models who are constantly telling us how perfect they are for each other, and how when the show is over, they are going to get married and vomit happily ever after.

This is probably because the stupid-head network executives think that we can relate more to these people like the way Melissa Rivers is related to the plastic body that used to be Joan Rivers, which is to say, not at all.

In fact, the teams I rooted for were like the father/daughter team Gus and Hera and the dim-witted, married pro-wrestlers Lori and Bolo. And I was really on the edge of my seat when sixty-nine year-old Don was pushing gigantic bales hay for the Roadblock challenge. I was really worried that he was gonna have a heart attack before the popcorn was ready.

TiVo, with its ability to pause live TV makes this show more interesting for us.

When the Detour or Roadblock is announced, we pause the show and make a decision on what we, as a potential team will do before we see what the tasks really are like. It’s just like being there except that i'm in my pajamas and having a grilled teriyaki chicken sandwich.

A Detour is a choice between two sets of tasks, each with its own pros and cons. One is usually harder and may involve using physical strength, but is pretty straight-forward. The other is usually an easy task but may take a potentially long time.

An example of the tasks could be a choice between “Gay” or “Straight.”

In “Straight,” couples will go to a straight bar and try find a woman who will have a three-way with you. It may take longer, but once you find the right person, the only thing you have to worry about is that when you wake up, your husband may be missing.

In “Gay,” the teams will go into a gay bar, try to find a gay man who will have a three-way with you. It may be significantly easier to do, but when you wake up, your priceless collection of Limogés china may be missing.

Then there’s the Roadblock, which is a task that only one of the couple can perform, you know like, the laundry or oral sex.

On our way back from San Francisco, Brian and I had an Amazing Race moment.

We used miles to buy our plane tickets, so we could not get a direct flight back to Chicago. We had a layover in Salt Lake City that would have added 3 hours to our trip. I was afraid the Mormons would make us marry the Osmond Family.

At the airport, we saw that there was a direct flight back to Chicago leaving in 20 minutes. We could try to exchange our tickets.

As I ran towards the counter, I yelled over my shoulder to Brian to hurry up while he carried all our heavy, emotional baggage.

The plane was fully booked. We asked to be put on standby and ran to the gate, arriving just as they announced final boarding. I felt like this was the event I have been training for all my life on the treadmill.

Wordlessly, I turned in our standby tickets. I held my breath as the guy checked his computer. Then he printed our boarding passes. We were on our way home.

In my mind, I ran through the list of things that the producers of the show will probably want from prospective contestants.

Interracial couple: check.
Controversial views: check.
Annoying, loud and shrill voices: check.
Tendency to argue over inconsequential things: check.
Ability to ignore festering issues in our relationship: check.

I think we’re ready.

Other posts about this trip to San Francisco:

Part 1: Wedding Party

Part 2: Boystown USA

Part 3: A Haunting

Part 4: Detour

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