The Amazing Race: B*tch-tastic
If I had a nickel for every time Margie, Luke, Kisha, or Jen let fly the “B” word last night, you know, the one that means lady dog, I’d probably be rocking at least a solid 50 cents. I hope those parental guidance councils that always seem to be recommending TAR for family audiences don’t use this episode as their yardstick, or the race might find itself on the blacklist with Nip/Tuck and South Park.
What led to all the, ahem, complaining, was a series of clue box scuffles between Luke and the sisters that with the help of physics, poor sportsmanship, Luke’s deafness, Margie’s oversensitivity, and some good old fashioned misunderstanding grew into something most closely resembling the old school East Coast/West Coast rap feud. First time around, Luke beat Jen to the box fair and square. She got grabby, he threw an elbow. Both were clearly in the wrong. Next time Jen was the clear winner, but momentum carried Luke’s mass straight into hers and Jen cried foul. From the first face-off onwards, both teams’ dialogue seemed to consist solely of (delicately censored) phrases like “I called him a twitch, ’cause that was a witch move” or “well, she can’t go calling me a snitch, her mama’s a glitch” repeated ad nauseam in multiple languages (counting American Sign Language). Who knew the deaf community had gone out of their way to come up with signs for swearing? By the end of the leg, Margie had mistaken Kisha & Jen’s bemused snickering detachment at how far out of hand the situation had become as mean spirited mockery of Luke’s disability, which it almost certainly wasn’t. Phil even stepped in to play Dr… um… Phil… for the dueling duos. I hope cooler heads begin to prevail during the pit stop, because I really don’t want any reasons to dislike Margie & Luke.
Enough about all of that unpleasantness, you’re probably wondering what delights the rest of the episode held. Good flight booking put everyone other than the hopelessly time delayed Mark & Michael in a dead heat in the city of Guilin, China. Tammy & Victor had the massive advantage of actually knowing how to speak Mandarin, so you can hardly blame the rest of the pack for sticking right on their heels. The road block was a marvelously cool exercise in helping local fishermen train their cormorants (a decent sized waterfowl that reminded me of a black pelican without the chin bucket) by tossing ten fish for them to retrieve. No major hurdle, but Luke took a nasty beak nip to the hand and Tammy watched in helpless amusement as her birds threatened to fly the coop. The detours were conveniently located near each other in a lovely city park and offered the option to learn a ballroom dance routine or master a primer in the art of Chinese calligraphy. Tammy & Victor, Margie & Luke, and Kisha & Jen all went for the penmanship lesson and finished in tandem, leading to a virtually simultaneous three way finish. Kisha & Jen took first for the bonus prize, but they’ll all be taking off on the next leg together. Jamie & Cara understandably opted to get their groove on, but wound up in 4th when even their professional cheerleading skills weren’t enough to impress the Chinese equivalents of Len, Bruno, and Carrie Ann on their first several attempts.
While TAR’s remarkable and underrated editors made a valiant effort to make M&M look like they had a shot for as long as possible, it became clear fairly quickly that this leg was their recreational farewell tour, and at least it was a fun one. The speed bump let them channel their inner Warren Beatty at a beauty salon where two adorable old ladies needed a wash n’ dry. And the delightfulness of seeing two little folk ballroom dance cannot be denied. They took their ouster with grace, but I’m sure they’ll always shed a little tear of shame and regret every time they pay a cabbie.
Season 14, Episode 9: Our Parents Will Cry Themselves to Death (originally aired April 19, 2009)
For another take on this episode, check out Quit Your Bitching by Alana D.
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Sundays at 8pm ET/PT on CBS
Photographs courtesy of CBS