This is the season of Charla. Love her or hate her, CBS has anointed her a star, and America has responded. As Paula Abdul would say, she’s taken The Amazing Race and made it her own. Okay, now I’m just talking nonsense.
Charla is the undisputed star of the season though, and that can’t be denied. Some people love her spunky determination. Some people hate her manipulative use of her stature. I fall somewhere in the middle, which is odd because I’m usually the one to take definite stands on reality stars. Regardless, Charla and her helpless teammate Mirna make for great television, and tonight, they ran a stellar race without relying on the sympathy of strangers. Amigo, get el doctoro. I think I’m in a state of shock!The biggest problem Charla and Mirna face is not Charla’s dwarfism but rather their collective inability to stop using a Spanish accent with foreigners. In tonight’s episode, they used the accent to ask a Russian guy where to find a cab. Now I don’t mean to sound stereotypical, but this old, weathered man looked about as opposite from a Latino as I could imagine, and something tells me Spanish 101 wasn’t on the Communist Middle School curriculum in 1944. It was no surprise that Mirna and Schmirna wound up without a cab.
Oh, but the ladies did try hard. Charla made a high pitch “choo-choo” toot to indicate they needed to get to the train station, but people just dismissed her as if she were a one-woman disco. Honestly, if some lady came up to me and alternatively babbled in a foreign language and then suddenly said “choo-choo!”, I’d probably think it was the highlight of the day. That is, of course, after I had had her carted off to the authorities.
To Charla and Mirna’s credit, they didn’t spend the entire time forcing Spanish trills down everyone’s throats. Mirna thanked helpful Russians with coos of “Belissimo”. Granted, it would have been more appreciated in Italy, but I’m just saying.
Actually, aside from their linguistical strategies, the girls played a great game this episode. They managed to get an hour lead on their closest competitors by sneakily finding a faster plane to Cairo during their marathon layover. While other teams slept, Charla and Mirna quietly snuck away from the pack and headed to their gate. When the teams woke up and noticed the missing girls, they were annoyed, as usual, paricularly Marshall and Lance – Team Sunshine. I shouldn’t really expect much from these guys who think the only thing that doesn’t “suck” is a comfy couch and a bag of Chitos. When they made fun of the Russians by saying they were the most miserable people of all time, I couldn’t help wondering why these guys didn’t feel at home.
Noticeably more chipper though were Charla and Mirna who were poking around the pyramids while Marshall and Lance most likely berated a flight attendant somewhere over Turkey. Once again, Mirna volunteered Charla for the Roadblock – a strategy that still befuddles me. A few puzzles later and a quick horse ride across the dessert and the girls were crossing the finish line (but not before a “Lawrence of Arabia” moment, complete with swelling strings and cinematic images of Charla in the dessert).
It might have been an extremely impressive run had Colin and Christy not burned the competition by nearly six hours. The savvy travelers were bright enough to book their tickets through an agent who managed to land them in Cairo 12 hours ahead of everyone else. With such a huge lead, what else is there to do? Oh yes, waste the Fast Forward. I understand that Colin and Christy were excited about their lead, but don’t they realize that hours can be lost in airports and layovers? Take a look at loveable bowling moms Linda and Karen. At the outset of the show, they managed to find themselves in a hole that threatened to place them behind the pack by a good day or so, but through the luck of monstrous layovers, they managed to catch right up. Too bad that they were hobbled by an ankle injury at the pyramids, causing them to throw around poddy language like “Dang!”. This unfortunate event caused Linda and Karen to come in last, but thankfully, they were not eliminated. Sharp viewers like us here at the TVgasm offices noticed that Phil (who has now shed his Marshmellow Man down jacket for a simple t-shirt) did not say “the last team here will be eliminated” when introducing the Pitstop. The good news is that my favorite team lives to race another day. The bad news is that they’ve been stripped of money. No, they weren’t assailed by Egyptian beggars. They were victimized by the latest twist: if you are last on a non-elimination leg, you lose your money. If there’s anyone who can charm some locals into lending a hand, it’s these plucky gals.
Brandon and Nicole should be thanking their lucky stars that they weren’t last. I fear that they would have spent all their energy asking God to provide some sort of divine feretting device. Luckily for them, there was no eating contest this week, so they were able to power through, sort of. Chip had to assist Brandon during the Detour, which I’m sure had Jesus saying “Um, hello???? I’m standing right here!”
Chip also helped the twins, who as usual were running around like coked up chickens with their heads cut off. Karli and Kami were so flustered by the time they reached the pyramids that they literally discarded the clue and zipped around the area, looking for the next marker. Yeah, that’s not a great strategy, especially when you’re in the dark and the clue could be anywhere in this massive expanse of DESERT! These twins are sort of like wind up toys. They hit the ground and just go. Then again, so am I after an episode of this show.