How To Reflect on Human Depravity and Learn Absolutely NOTHING
By B-Side|Wednesday, December 15, 2004 | 1:33 am | 38 Comments
Pop quiz: When you see monuments of the African slave trade and the Berlin Wall, what are the first thoughts that pop into your head? If you answered sausage making, beer chugging, and soap box derbies, you are correct! That’s the lovely combination that The Amazing Race conjured up for us tonight on a Very Special Emmy episode.
Oh, and let’s not forget the domestic abuse. No, not the kind where we bloggers of the world laugh and say “He’s gonna hit her!” I mean the kind where we bloggers of the world say “Wow, he just shoved his wife in the middle of the street.” Yeah, it’s not funny anymore.
Where’s Jeff Probst when you need him?We knew tonight’s episode was going to be emotional because a) CBS has not stopped showing commercials of Gus sobbing, and b) um, okay, I have no second reason. Kris and Jon kicked off this leg of the race as they excitedly read they’d be going to the largest former slave house in the region. “Let’s go!” they chirped, only a shade less enthusiastically than Mario and Luigi. I know these two are happy and like the best people ever, but honestly, it’s a SLAVE HOUSE!
Aaron and Hayden’s boobs opened up their clue with considerably less enthusiasm, and Rebecca managed to insult an entire continent by yapping “I’d love to get out of Africa. I can see why so many people escaped.” If by “escaped” you mean “torn from their families and homesteads to be shipped to America where they were slaves for a few hundred years,” then yeah, TOTALLY. They were SO lucky to have escaped!
Meanwhile, in the uncomfortably ironic department, penniless Mary Jean and Don announced their plan to rebound from losing all their cash at the end of the last round: “If we have to sing and dance, we’ll get the money,” Mary Jean said as she pulled out her “Ralph Ellison Guide to The Invisible Man Money Dance”.
As teams arrived at the slave house, the show slowed down to take a moment to respect and reflect on the tragic destinies of so many Africans. Each team was instructed to enter the house and lay a flower down in tribute to the slaves. It really was a beautiful moment, but snarky me knew the producers were playing me like a fiddle as those swelling strings took over the soundtrack. Yes, I wouldn’t let my cold heart be warmed by some reality show! Cut to Kris and Jon saying a prayer (they’re so nice), Gus sobbing, then Don teary eyed, then Gus explaining how he didn’t cry at his parents funerals, then me with my lower lip quivering. Damn this is powerful. Did Jerry Bruckheimer let Speilberg direct this episode or something? Just about the only thing that could make this more moving would be if they headed to concentration camps. Hmmm… I wonder where they’ll be off to next?
Teams were instructed to head back to Europe and seek out the Berlin Wall. So I guess this will be a real upper of an episode, huh? As everyone made their way to the Senegal Airport, Kendra expressed an unrelenting desire for a croissant in Paris. Sorry Kendra, this is the Amazing Race, not pretend to be Gertrude Stein Day. First time beggars Mary Jean and Don felt badly asking for money from the locals. Why? “We’re from an affluent area,” said Don. As Elaine Benes would say, GET OUT! I thought they were trailer trash for sure. Luckily, the introspective, guilt-inducing visit to the slave house had other teams throwing down the cash for the elderly couple. Suckers.
Meanwhile, in the cab to the airport, Hayden and her globule mammaries were in quite the pleasant mood. “How are you doing today?” she asked the cabbie. “My breasts are fine thanks,” she then added. Less thoughtful was resident bimbo Kendra who had this fine message for Senegal’s tourism board: “This city is wretched and disgusting. And they just keep breeding and breeding!” Yeah! I mean, they should do something with all these people. Maybe if we just send a bunch of missionaries and let our government prop up dictators, everything will be fine!
Before we could truly reflect on Kendra’s idiocy, a full scale controversy exploded at the ticket desk for Air France. With shades of Charla vs. Colin entering the picture, Bolo and Lorie protested against Aaron and Hayden purchasing tickets for teams that hadn’t even arrived yet. The two teams entered into a poorly worded battle of the (dim)wits with Bolo’s triumphant dis being “Shut up, mouth!” Kendra (who had since dropped her sociological studies to enter the fray) responded with a simple “Barbarian!” Hayden had the closest thing resembling any sort of put down when she charged: “Just ’cause you’re 5’5″ and on steriods–” to which Bolo responded, “I’m not on steroids.” I’m shocked that Lori didn’t pipe up with a rousing “But I am, bitch!” and then grab Hayden’s hair (Breasty cat fight would then ensue in slow motion, toppling into the mud pit Air France keeps near its ticketing desk).
Inexplicably, we returned from commercial break to find that the entire storm had passed — everyone was apologizing and hugging and denying steroid use. (Way to be topical, Amazing Race). I suppose the fact that everyone was able to get tickets easily mollified that whole situation. It should be noted that Kendra had still not received her croissant though.
Just because the airport spat blew over didn’t mean we couldn’t have some more cattiness. And who pray tell was in the center of this latest girl on girl imbroglio? Why Adam and blue haired Jon! Jon and Victoria accused Adam and Rebecca of following them, and of course that made Jon flip out. He should really learn to relax. Maybe he should go to a spa. You know, a spa like the one he OWNS.
With all the bickering, we almost forgot that there was a clue hanging around – at the Berlin Wall specifically. Bolo pulled over some local and asked for directions. “You know the Berlin Wall?” he asked. The woman responded with an exasperated answer that seemed to say “No, never heard of it. Is that like some socially relevant landmark that may have divided my city for many years? Oh wait, I did hear about that! I got shot when I tried to climb over it!”
The next clue instructed teams to head to a sculpture of broken chains (cue the Spielberg violin) across the street from a church ravaged from WWII (cue Tom Hanks giving Phil a little pat and saying “WWII sanctimony? I’ll take it from here, Phil.”). While most teams found the clue box along the Berlin Wall easily, a few actually meandered into the wall territory where they found themselves trapped behind.. a wall! It’s almost as if the Berlin Wall was… a wall! Who would have thought a wall could be such… a wall! Eventually the two teams made their way out of the area and sprinted back to the clue box, passing Gus and Hera, out for their usual racetime promenade. “That’s why running too fast is bad,” commented Hera. Team Slow and Steady strikes again!
At the sculpture, teams received their Detour for this leg of the race: Brats or Beers. In Brats, teams had to go to a sausage factory (Adam jokes forming…) where they were to make five continuous seven inch links. In Beer, teams had to go to a pub and hand over two steins of beer to get five custom made coasters which were hidden everywhere. Stumped by the word “stein” and apparently unable to ask a local, Freddy and Kendra bounded off to the sausage factory. Ahead of them were paragons of domestic bliss Jon and Victoria who quickly popped out their brats. The couple’s ease with the phallic objects once again supported my theory that the two dabble in porn. Feel free to spread that rumor.
As the bratwurst industry enjoyed its most high profile exposure since Paris and Nicole first introduced the sausage arts to reality TV (and arguably night vision), the sexual innuendoes poured on quickly. Bolo, Lori, and Rebecca all worked together to form one giant double-entendre interchange as they described the process. Bolo: “Is it hard?” Lori: “At first.” Rebecca: “Start pushing it in.” Snickers all around the TVgasm offices. Meanwhile, as the meat slowly firmed up the limp intestinal casing, Rebecca asked her girlfriend Adam if he was paying attention. “I’m paying attention!” he snipped. “Good God am I paying attention!” he seemed to salivate.
On the other side of the room, Bolo gave some credence to his barbarian label as he snacked on the raw innards of the sausage. As charming as it may have been to watching him slurp down the uncooked intestinal casing, I really didn’t need to see it. This just in: Bolo has died.
Over at the pub, teams were having an easy time finding their coasters. The only one with any sort of problems was Hera, who tragically learned that her father was a lush. While she desperately tried to get the clue, Gus kept sipping from his gargantuan steins. To his credit, that beer did look delicious. Still, I wouldn’t want Gus getting all drunk and showing us his man-titties again.
Back with the bratwurst, we finally got the innuendo we expected from Adam in a sausage factory. As Rebecca dispassionately urged “Keep going. Push. Push”, Adam let his true feelings out: “More than seven inches. More! I want more than seven inches. We need a pump. Can I get one of these for my house?” Is this what it sounds like when these two have sex, or, ahem, “sex”? (That was my snarky way of implying that they don’t have sex because I think Adam is gay).
While Adam lived out his sexual fantasies through the sausage grinder, Bolo and Lori offered up their links to the judges. At first they were rejected for having small sausages (those steroids really do shrink everything), but the second time around, they passed. I wonder if it was Lori’s demonic whisper chanting of “Seven. Seven. Seven.” that convinced the judge to let them go. I feared she would place some voodoo hex on his house had he sent them back again.
Not long after the wrestlers left, Rebecca and Adam finished up their set. Rebecca was proud of the last sausage: “The last one is girthy and lengthy,” she said. Ah yes. Just the way Adam likes it. What? He likes large bratwursts. And penis too. No big deal.
Around this time we realized that Jon and Victoria had a commanding lead over everyone else as they were the first to arrive at a soapbox derby Roadblock. Great. These two do not deserve first place. Alas. Jon guided his soapbox cart down the hill under the acceptable time limit, and while he and his wife tried to figure out how to get to the Pitstop, Freddy and Kendra showed up to try their hand at the Roadblock. Wow, maybe that lead wasn’t as commanding as I had thought. More on that later…
Now let’s pause to once again admire Hayden’s boobs which happily bounced up and down as she ran up to her boxcart. Did anyone else hear timpani drums going “Bum boom bum boom” in their heads? And don’t act like you didn’t notice. Those things were bouncing around so much I thought she was going to pull a lottery number out of her chest.
Meanwhile, back to the abusive couple. Because Jon yelled at Victoria before she could get proper directions from the cabbie, the two got lost, then frustrated, and then frantic. In what appeared to be heavy traffic, Jon insisted that he switch to navigator and Victoria take the driver’s seat. Great plan, except somewhere in the middle of this switcheroo, Victoria’s legs shrunk about two feet because she was suddenly bawling “I can’t reach the pedals!!!” She then realized she was sitting Indian style. Realizing that his wife was having a panic attack, Jon reclaimed the driver’s seat and relegated Victoria back to the navigator position. It was a lot of hubbub over nothing, but vacuous models Freddy and Kendra were able to capitalize on the domestic spat and take over the lead.
Well, that was unacceptable to Jonathan. Eventually the two teams burst into a foot race. Freddy took Kendra’s bag so she could run faster. Why, that was chivalrous. Meanwhile, Victoria — who was wearing the heavier bag, mind you — bounded ahead of Jon towards the Pit Stop. Perhaps feeling emasculated or impatient, Jon decided to drop his bags with some random stranger and catch up to his wife. Well, you see, race or no race, it’s not so smart leaving all your personal items with a dude on the street; so Victoria went back, grabbed her husband’s bag and labored behind him. That’s right. Jon carried nothing while his wife carried EVERYTHING. This led to the over-the-top/tragically sad image of VIctoria bawling her way down the final stretch, barely able to breathe, while Jonathan stood yelling at her, not even offering her a helping hand.
As the comedy of the scene slowly melded into ickiness, Freddy and Kendra snagged first place and a trip to exotic Mexico. The dumb models hugged and kissed while Jonathan and Victoria ceased their running and let the abuse kick in. Or shove in, I should say. Yes, in our first tangible proof that Jon is actually physically abusive as well as verbally and emotionally, the asshole pushed his wife (yes, his WIFE) who, by the way, was still struggling the breathe from all that weight on her back. And when some items fell out of her bags, she had to pick them up. I suppose this was all part of that whole “We were just playing roles, trying to make entertaining TV!” excuse they’ll no doubtedly be babbling about on their inevitable press tour. Feel free to let them know just how entertaining they are by emailing them here (and be sure to browse around the rest of that site. You might lose even more respect for John Travolta when you see that he actually associates with this douchebag).
When this unhappy couple finally reached Phil, Victoria was so ashamed and embarrassed and sad that she couldn’t even lift her face. Too bad they were eliminated. Oh yeah, they weren’t. All this drama was because they were in SECOND PLACE. As Victoria sadly shuffled off, Jon looked to the visibly disgusted Phil to get his back: “She should have left it [the bag]!” Jon yelled as one of his many complaints. With this disturbing circus unfolding in front of him, Phil had no choice but to get all disapprovingly WASPy on his ass: “Jonathan, I think you should probably talk to Victoria.” In Philspeak, that means “Get yo’ bony white ass out of my face before I bust a cap in yo’ ass!”
Phil handled the situation very calmly and with great class, but honestly, we needed a little Probst action. You just KNOW that Jeff would have told off Jon. Heck, I wouldn’t have been surprised had Jeff thrown a punch. Trump would have been another great host for this fracas. But I think possibly the most amusing matchup would have been Jon vs. Julie Chen. She probably would have just smiled, turned to the camera and said “We’ve just seen our second place team cross the finish line. Our third team is just around the corner. But first, let’s listen in on Jon as he beats Victoria.”
Anyway, mildly humbled by Phil, Jon went over to Victoria to “talk” to her. And by “talk”, I mean verbally berate her even more. “It’s a race. it’s not about compassion,” he yelled. Um, except you’re MARRIED. It’s “Til death do you part,” not “Til race do you part.”
I suppose I’m on my soapbox, and speaking of which, there were still teams racing around. Everyone seemed to be relatively close together, but Don and Mary Jean had sadly fallen to the back of the pack yet again, and I’m not sure why either. That’s not to say that they gave up. The two attacked their missions with gusto, especially Mary Jean who sped her go-cart down the hill at speeds unknown to AARP drivers (above 35 mph). As MJ careened into a bale of hay at the end of the course, I was surprised Don didn’t burst into tears and bawl “I’m so proud of her!” Ultimately, the two finished last again, and this time they were eliminated. In their exit interview, they praised each other’s love and how lucky they were to have each other. Awww… That was sweet.
Well, more domestic abuse next week. Hooray!
Update: All those feeling the need to chat with Jonathan about his charming behavior, his classy website, or his daily mousse usage, feel free to email him or add him to your buddy list: firstname.lastname@example.org.