April 27, 2005

Revenge of the Gnome

What a day yesterday was! It was, apparently, just too much for one browser to take. I had so much to say and no outlet that wouldn't make me absolutely batty. I had no choice...but to sleep.

The evening got off to a great start, going out to dinner with a dear friend at one of my favorite restaurants and having an award-winning pizza that was just delicious. (I had the one with the very Californian prosciutto, caramelized onions, Gorgonzola and apples topping.) Yum-my.

Then it got even sweeter. Finally, finally, FINALLY the day had arrived. A day I had been counting down to and anticipating and salivating over for months. No, not my sabbatical; still have a few lil' ol' days left on that countdown. Yes, in fact, the Krispy Kreme in my area opened after months of rain-induced delay! (
Apparently my clue was not obscure enough, because you were able to guess that it involved doughnuts, darn it.) Surprisingly, it wasn't swamped like other new ones out here I had been to, so we were able to escape with our dozen...after getting our complimentary hot Original Glazed right off the line, of course...without delay. And it was heaven!

Lastly, it was time for Amazing Race and it was a corker. I was surprised to see how little time there was between Joyce and Uchenna (or, as they have become on TVgasm, Joychenna) arriving and leaving in first and
RA/RK, who came in 2nd/3rd. It must have taken Joychenna a really long time to find the head-shaving guy.

Anyway, it was off to Istanbul, but not before Rob was able to shoot himself in the foot by being just a little too cocky. Now, I've been an RA fan from the start, but Rob ticked even me off last night by trying to play his little mind game on Gretchen and Meredith (or, another TVgasmism, Gretchedith) and then being so smug right up until the time he learned the truth.

By trying to freak Gretchedith out by making them think there was an earlier flight to their destination from the connection in Delhi, he prompted Joychenna to make a call and find out that there was indeed an earlier flight that, inexplicably, RA/RK were unable to procure. The race was on, but RA/RK were blissfully ignorant for hours and Rob spent that time busting on the other teams. Not nice, Rob. May I introduce you to Mr. Karma? Perhaps you've heard of him?

During this time, RK were in a cab and Kelly made her already-infamous comment about Ron being a commitmentphobe, as demonstrated by his becoming a POW (he was in Iraq, did ya know?) and thereby "getting out of" his military service. It wasn't quite the grenade (so to speak) that the preview the week before had us anticipating, because Ron took it better than I think many of us would. He was sarcastic (but he didn't call her a bitch like, um, I would have) and, while you can practically see their relationship dissolving before our very eyes, the moment passed.

Once they arrived in Istanbul, things really got moving, much of it by sea. After a pair of boat rides, teams had to search an island lighthouse for something. What was it? A can of cold, refreshing Coca-Cola? A bag of Star Wars-branded "Dark Side" M&Ms? No, in a prime moment of true product placement abuse, four of the Travelocity Roaming Gnomes were hidden about this spit of land, which the teams then had to take with them for the rest of the leg and deliver to Phil at the Pit Stop. (Along the way, Meredith named his gnome Jerome, which I thought was pretty clever.) If we hadn't realized by that point that Travelocity is putting out major bucks advertising with this show, we were beaten about the head with it last night. WE GET IT ALREADY! The Race is all about travel, you are all about travel; these teams are trying to win big bucks, you can save people big bucks on travel so they don't have to compete in these harebrained reality shows. Now please take your gnome and stick him somewhere...unpleasant.

It was about this time that RA/RK realized that they were actually trailing the other two teams and they tried to kick it into high gear. The Detour unwound in its normal fashion, with Joychenna banging it out and moving on, Gretchedith wandering around looking clueless but getting it done, RA funnin' with the locals and making short work of it, and RK being passably competent as Ron showed he can follow a grid real good, by golly.

Finally we were to the Roadblock, "Storm the Fortress," wherein one person had to scale a tower, run around and find a key that was hidden in plain sight, then rappel back down the side of the tower to unlock a book with the next clue. Uchenna did Team Baldy proud and tore up the ladder -- I looked down for a moment and he was up the darn thing -- and they finished in first place again.

We anticipated that whether it was Gretchen or Meredith who took this Roadblock on, it was going to be a killer challenge for them. In true Gretchen fashion, however, she assessed the situation as they read the clue, whined, decided "this doesn't look good," whined some more...and decided she'd do it. I think she felt guilty over the whole elephant debacle and went for it without thinking it through. She struggled, but by damn, she did it and Gretchedith pulled off a miracle by coming in second!

RA/RK couldn't make up much time on the others, though RA got ahead of RK just enough to come in third as Ron looked on from atop the tower while still searching for that key. As we knew (by, you know, keeping track), it was going to be a non-elimination round, so RK hit the mat last and had all their money and belongings taken away from them.

But, in the midst of all this bad news, there was a ray of sunshine-y happiness for this season's Team Dysfunction: their stupid gnome won them $20K worth of Traveliciousness and a luxurious suite at the local Four Seasons for the night...which they could enjoy with none of their own possessions. How would you have liked to be a fly on that very expensive wall to hear The Beauty Queen wail and bemoan their fate that night? Yeah, me neither.