January 18, 2005

The Ass Episode

Do you smell that? That, my friends, is the smell of vindication, the smell of redemption, the smell of good triumphing over evil, the smell of the biggest ASS in all of Reality Television being eliminated from The Amazing Race! And, oh, the sweet irony of it, it was all because he forgot his ass.

But first, lest we forget the rest of what turned out to be a compelling episode all the way around, let's take it back to Corsica. This was not Bolo's finest hour, but he kept me in stitches. He started out by mispronouncing the city of "Nice" in the first clue, mangled the pronunciation of "Addis Ababa" in the second clue, then smacked his big head (but not, like, steroid-enhanced big or anything) above the entrance to the airplane on the way to Rome, and wrapped it up by tripping over a stone in a field, falling and executing a perfect roll without missing a beat on his way to the Roadblock. Guess all that "wrestling" training came in handy.

Kendra, on the other hand, was her usual irritating self at the start, lamenting the fact that they hadn't "researched" the ferries out of Corsica. She later had another stellar moment of global understanding when she decided that Ethiopia was "a different kind of poverty." In fact, it was "like these people choose to be this way" and "the animals aren't even as skinny" as in Dakar (a.k.a. Ghetto Africa).

But she redeemed herself a bit in my eyes at the Detour when Victoria hurt herself, and could probably be heard screeching five villages away, but Jonathan merely kept working on the challenge, flinging mud onto the side of a hut. Kendra stopped and, in her most human action yet, roared at him, "Jonathan, HELP her!" Freddy lamely chimed in when Jonathan still wasn't reacting to the situation, but to no avail, so Kendra followed up with "She's screaming in pain! Help her, you ass[bleep]!" Jonathan, however, turned to the local overseeing their work and calmly asked what more he needed to do to get the next clue. When Victoria returned to keep competing, bleeding finger and all, her darling husband's concern extended as far as saying "Mind over matter" to her. Truly a jaw-dropping example of his indifference toward his "soulmate."

When he and Victoria left the Detour with only one donkey, instead of the two they were supposed to take, my heart truly soared. It was one of those moments when you almost hesitated to believe that this could be it, the screw-up that would finally do them in. But, in the end, The Ass was one ass short of a herd and it cost them dearly. This quickly became Victoria's fault, of course, even though Jonathan had been the one to read the clue aloud. They tried to rally, but it was all over, they were eliminated. There was utter joy in Mudville, let me tell you.

There were some other good moments: Rebecca and Adam had another huge fight where she decided that she was the ass for staying and finally threw in the towel on their relationship; Kris and Jon merely smiled and smooched their way into third; Hayden and Aaron pulled it together and bounced back from last place to first even though they began with no money, and Aaron had an impish moment while transporting the donkeys when he said that he was "good at guiding asses" while pointing to Hayden...wisely out of her earshot; there were the sweetest, most adorable children ever in Lalibela, Ethiopia, who were so kind and eager to help you couldn't help but smile; and the look on Phil's face was priceless as Jonathan and Victoria trudged toward the Pit Stop with a ragtag group of kids prompted by Jonathan to hold their fists aloft in a kind of black power salute. (Memo to Jonathan: You're white.) I wonder if Phil had to spend some time practicing saying, "I'm sorry to say that you've both been elimiated from the Race," with a straight face?

Last, but hopefully not least, is The Official One Ping Only AR6 "Baby" Count™. For the first time this season, the "honeys" outnumbered the "babies" -- you can thank Kendra and Hayden for that -- and we had a "sugar" thrown in for goo measure. I almost can't wait to see what the count is for the season as a whole.

One Ping Only AR6 "Baby" Count: Episode 9 = 30