In the lead-up to the Oscars, I’ve seen Mickey Rourke repeatedly talk up just how good friends he and fellow Best Actor Oscar nominee Sean Penn are. It got to the point where I couldn’t bear to actually watch the ceremony, because I couldn’t stand to watch brother be pitted against brother. So instead I turned on The Amazing Race, and what happened? I got two pairs of siblings being torn apart. It was like watching a Civil War documentary…one that covers the littler-known pie fight of Appomattox.
But before I get to the squabbling sibs for all you people who picked The Amazing Race over the Oscars, I should declare that episode 2 of this 14th season held up the promise of the first one: I’m feeling confident that this will be a great season. Of course, it looks like we’ll have to wait for every episode to get good after an obligatory opening montage of teams going on and on about how that deaf guy sure is inspirational, and what a good racer! The producers are so proud of what they see as their honorable casting choice that it’s quickly becoming patronizing, and at odds with Luke’s goal of proving he’s not different at all. Luke is a good player, and a strong racer, and yet the other racers talk about him like they’re talking about a three-year-old who just swung a wiffle ball bat and randomly hit a ball: ”Oooh, what a slugger he is! Look out, Yankees, here he comes!” This combined with American Idol‘s endless self-congratulation over featuring a blind contestant makes me dread the inevitable debut of a Bachelor with a cleft palate. ”And next, get ready for the most inspiring Rose Ceremony ever….”
But with that out of the way, let’s get to the Race: The next leg had everyone heading to Germany. Would Mel get to rest his wounded groin in a soothingly warm plate of spaetzle? Only time would tell. Most teams had the smarts to call ahead for tickets during their cab rides to the airport, but not miniature stuntmen Mark and Michael, who were lost in a state of cockiness. (To be honest, Mark’s ego has been out of control ever since Frankie Muniz told him, ”I don’t want anybody doing my skateboard stunts but you, you brave sumbitch” on the set of Agent Cody Banks 2.) The brothers found themselves alone on a later flight with the blondes, whose flight oversight was just due to a stubborn refusal to learn how to play this game.
Steve was feeling bad for how he snapped at weepy Linda during the last leg. He alluded to her having lived a hard life, and began treating his fragile bride with great tenderness, giving her helpful hints like, It usually doesn’t rain inside vehicles, so feel free to take off your raincoat in a cab! Because the show now cuts down on airport scenes, we didn’t get to see him give her another helpful hint at the snack bar: I think you’ll find that burger will be even tastier if you take off the wrapper, Sugarpie.
We were quickly given a taste of the sisterly tension that would be rehashed over and over throughout the episode: Both Tammy and Jen are increasingly irritated over how their older siblings (Victor and Kisha, respectively) treat them like inferiors. Tammy seemed to be less bothered by it tonight (although the coming attraction showed that it’ll come to a head next week), but with Kisha bossily (and, usually, erroneously) navigating from the rear, it looked like Jen was going to slam on the brakes, watch Kisha fly by her through the windshield and onto the road, and then quickly gun it and drive over her sister, leaving Jen an only child at last.