I’ll say it up front: I love this season. I do. I love it so much I just want to yell at it and criticize it and browbeat it and tell it when it has boogers hanging out of its nose. Oh, Ronald, how did I ever enjoy The Amazing Race before you came along? You are my everything: You had me at ”Hello, you are doing that wrong, and I am giving you the full truth about that, optimism, optimism!”
But wait, I can’t jump in there. No, I must let Ronald wait in this column so I can savor it, much like when I buy a sandwich, I always eat the small half first.
So we begin: From Ireland, the teams were off to Amsterdam. They left at night, and the Goths said they didn’t mind being in the dark, because the dark is their favorite place to dwell! And then I think they said, ”Gothity Goth Goth. And in conclusion: witches!” We get it. You’re Goths.They are so overly intent on convincing the world that they’re Goths that I’m beginning to suspect that they’re actually in the witness protection program, and trying too hard to pull off a fake identity. Think about it: The colored hair, the outrageous clothes, the heavy makeup, the consonant-filled names — could it seem more like a disguise? Perhaps Henry Hill should have tried that: It would have given Goodfellas a much more flamboyant ending. Instead of living the rest of his life like a shnook, he could have spent it hanging out at the local mall’s Hot Topic trying on eyeliner.
At the Dublin airport, everyone converged on two poor ticket agents, one of whom was markedly faster than the other. It was kind of exciting waiting to see who would finish first as teams hoped for the quicker flights. Hell, if the writers’ strike drags on, these agents might get their own reality game show, racing to see who can book more tickets. Sound boring? If this strike drags on long enough, you’ll be seeing a lot more banal reality shows than that. By May, I’ll bet Fox will be holding a sweeps event at a DMV.
The tension at the airport brought out a different side to some of the players. Like Nicolas: Up until now I thought he was just a quiet, nerdy guy who schlepped along sweeping up all the profanity his grandpa Donald dropped in his wake. But he got so impatient with the ticket agent that she finally snapped, calling him rude; in all the years of the Race, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player actually crack an agent before, so Nicolas must have done something pretty special. What did he say? ”You better work faster, or I will strip my grandfather down naked and rub him in mud and parade him around this airport. You think I’m bluffing? Hey, Pops, pants!” Having seen that very thing happen later in the show, I know that’d get my attention.
Ronald did not like Nicolas’ tactics at all. (Yes, I could only hold out for six paragraphs before talking about Ronald. Can you blame me?) ”You got a mouth that starts with bad energy,” he told Nicolas, who, Ronald said, was the bad cop while Donald was his good cop. Actually, I think the two practice another classic police gambit, ”Gawky cop/inappropriate and slightly dazed cop,” which goes something like this:
Gawky Cop: ”Your fingerprints are all over the gun, and you’ve got a motive. [Long awkward silence follows.] That’s weird. [Longer awkward silence.] Heh.”
Inappropriate and Slightly Dazed Cop: ”Broads, I love ’em!”
GC: ”Hey, come on now….”
ISDC: ”You know who I miss? Ann Miller. Now that was a hoofer! Back in the day, I’d have loved to give her the old soft shoe, if you know what I mean, eh, buckeroo?”
GC: [Looks at shoes, chuckles uncomfortably.] ”Could you please confess faster?”
ISDC: ”Ooooh, that pain’s back again. Hey, pally, do me a favor and rub this liniment on my goiter, will ya? Don’t be scared, just pretend it’s Gwen Verdon’s tuchis!”
Suspect: ”I give! I’ll tell you everything! Just don’t show me the goiter!”
At first, Ronald’s outburst seemed a little weird and unexpected, but, hey, he had a point: There’s no reason to be rude. But Ronald quickly got so worked up, ranting about having just cleaned the wax out of his ears, and bellowing his final shot — ”Booger, booger!” — while Christina was left awkwardly trying to calm things down. We got an interesting insight into Ronald’s personality, but even more important, we got a weird glimpse into his obsession with boogers. After the first episode he had been one of my top picks to win, but little did I know how prescient the word ”pick” would be.
NEXT: Local fun in Amsterdam