Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What a Wicked Race We Weave

I was going to start this post on The Amazing Race and the crappy Weaver family by using a parallel between this season and a typical Mets game where the closer fucks things up really bad. Instead, I'll use a more recent example: the Giants/Seahawks game, as seen through the eyes of a fan of Big Blue.

The Giants are a half-game up on the Cowboys in the NFC East. A win gives them momentum for the rematch, and possibly a launch pad to get home-field advantage through the NFC playoffs. But the Seahawks aren't punks, as they seek to hold their own surpremacy. Anyway, the Giants find themselves down 21-13 in the fourth quarter. No sweat....time for Eli Manning to lead his troops towards another fantastic finish. Sure enough, he gets the touchdown pass AND the two-point conversion, tying the game at 21-21. The Seahawks get the ball back at their own 25-yard-line, but go three-and-out at the 15. They punt away, and the Giants get to the 22-yard-line with four seconds left. Time for Jay Feely to win the game and send the Seattle crowd home unhappy.

(Feely misses wide left)

Okay...so we're going into overtime. And the Giants botch the coin toss. Why both teams can't be guaranteed at least one possession is beyond me. But the Seahawks go three-and-out, and the Giants rumble to Seattle's 36, setting up a 54-yarder for Feely. It's a stretch, but he'll come through, right?

(Feely kicks it short)

Shit! Still, the Seahawks can't capitalize, and they punt it away. On the first play of the drive, Tiki Barber runs 49 yards. Soon, the Giants are at the Seattle 27. Third chance for Feely. He's gotta make it, right? He just has to!

(Feely kicks it short)

If you're a Giants fan, it's basically over. Each missed kick is a cut, and the hope just bleeds out. Naturally, the Seahawks manage to kick a field goal, winning the game 24-21. And the Giants now face a tougher battle against a Cowboy team that had their own field goal fiasco on Thanksgiving. The only solace for Giants fans is that they don't root for the Jets. Yeah, things could work out in the end...and maybe we'd get the Manning vs. Manning showdown in Super Bowl XL. But you think that this is something you'd look back on and see as a turning point.

And that brings me to The Amazing Race: Family Edition. After two weeks between episodes, we went back to rooting against the Weaver family. We endured their crappy attitudes and lame nicknames ("Desperate Housewives" for the Godlewski sisters? How original). And then, we heard the most beautiful words all season: "Caution: Yield Ahead."

Yeah, we went down that road before...teams lining up on the Yield mat, ready to knock Linda and her precious brood out of the Race. The only reason why it didn't work was because poor Tammy Gaghan couldn't find the one stupid coffee bean. Weavers lived, Gaghans died, and little Carissa learned a hard lesson about luck. But this time, it would be different. This time, the Linzes (the closest to a fan fave team we have this season) were in front, and they put the Yield down. And...ohmigawd!!!...the Weavers took an impromptu scenic route, allowing the Godlewskis and Bransens to get to the Roadblock before them. The other three teams finished their task before the Weavers got there. This was it....right???

When you want something to happen, you're willing to lie to yourself. I felt it in my bones. I didn't notice a lack of a commercial for The Early Show for the latest booted team, but I had a sinking feeling that this would be a non-elimination leg. And I lied to myself. I figured that maybe it would come down to two teams in the end, instead of the customary three. The Weavers get theirs this week, then there's a nonelim next week, then an elimination leg, and two more legs for the finale. It sounded so good in my head.

And here they came. The Weavers...broken, beaten, battered...tummies full of hatred for the Linzes and Godlewskis, as well as soft-serve ice cream from McDonald's. They amble to the mat, not even wearing all their clothes in an effort to circumvent Phil Keoghan mugging them. Phil did his spiel...and for a few seconds, I thought he'd drop the hammer. But he didn't. The Weavers were still in the Race.

The worst part? Well, I wasn't that scandalized by it, but my fellow forum dwellers were horrified that Phil tried to cheer them up, pointing out that teams have come from behind to win the Race. Maybe he was thinking of last season...but I'd never compare Uchenna & Joyce to this family. How bad does it suck that Joyce can't get pregnant, but Linda pumped out three ignorant spawn? And I read the unthinkable in those forums...they want to kill Phil. Before this episode, Phil was in the select pantheon of hosts that never got abused (along with Anderson Cooper and Ralph Garman, minimum). Now? "Shut UP, Phil!" The man's doing his job...if he had his way, he wouldn't choked the life out of Jonathan Baker two seasons ago. I don't see my friends as fickle. The overwhelming suck that is the Weavers has driven everybody insane.

So you're saying to yourself, "Hey, there's three more weeks left. Surely, after Linda berates the Linzes for the Yield, karma will come in and save us from the worst possible ending." First of all, karma has signed a deal with NBC. As long as My Name Is Earl plays opposite TAR, we can't expect justice to be done. Sure, we've seen the Rogers and Schoeders knocked out early...but I'm convinced karma didn't officially hitch itself to the NBC bandwagon until about a month ago. Secondly, I found this episode description on Yahoo:

A surprise ending catches the teams off guard when they arrive at the mat.

Translation: it's a double leg. We get to around 9:55 pm, and the first team arrives, and Phil's all, "You jokers think it's over? Think again. Here's your next clue. No twelve hours of rest, no elimination." And you just know the Weavers will be in the back of the pack when we find this out. So then we wait another week...and they survive. And the next team gone? The Linzes. Why? Because it's worked like that. Because the Paolos Yielded the Weavers, and they ended up getting outlasted. Because the D-listers over at Best Week Ever need more material for "God Loves The Weavers" segments, even as they ignore the utter lack of class displayed by that family. Oh, and all heterosexual male fans who stay with CBS won't be able to enjoy the Victoria's Secret special as much as they'd like. I'm just sayin'.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I've been conditioned to see only the worst case scenario. I just have a sinking feeling that they will win the Race and the $1 million. And you can add the ugliness felt at TARCon 3 when Flo & Zach won (after Flo quit, like, a billion times in two hours) and TARCon 6 when Freddy & Kendra triumphed, and multiply it by ten. Not like we'd be throwing stuff at the Weavers should they come over. It's Highlander rules; no beheading on holy ground. But after suffering through a season of piss-poor planning, lack of enthusiasm from several Racers (Wally Bransen, I'm lookin' at you), and generally shitty behavior, we need a happy ending. If the Weavers make it to the finale, they would be only two acceptable endings for them:

1. The Guido Edit. So named after the infamous gay couple Bill & Joe (nicknamed "Team Guido" after their dog) were stranded in Alaska while TAR1 concluded in New York. It happened three seasons later, when good buddies David & Jeff found themselves going from first to done in Hawaii. The thought of the Weavers getting bum directions, then running to a route marker only to find a message saying that the Race is over? Priceless. Could you imagine the massive celebration for the finish...and the Weavers not being there? I think only two teams didn't have a problem with them: the Blacks and Gaghans. And I could be wrong about that.

2. Okay, so we cut to the teams gathered at the finish line. It's basically a repeat from last season, where Patrick is whispering for Uchenna & Joyce to beat Rob & Amber...only multiplied by 28. And over the horizon, the seven eliminated teams see...the Weavers. And as Phil throws his hands up in disgust, all 28 Racers rush to block the Weavers from reaching the finish line. DJ and Marion Paolo finally agree on something, as they team up to wrestle Linda to the ground. The teen boys and girls rush to tackle Rachel and Rebecca (except for Hunter Schroeder, since he was cool with Rolly). Carissa and Billy Gaghan cling for dear life to Rolly's ankles. The Blacks assume taekwondo positions ten yards in front of the mat; five yards behind them, Team Aiello readies themselves for their roles as the last line of defense. And all of the Racers whose hands aren't full rush to carry Wally Bransen to his reward, since his daughters are tired of lugging his ass around.

I'm sorry for the excessive flight of fancy. It's just that I've never seen a foursome so gruesome, to align themselves with a higher power, and spit on anything and anyone deemed beneath them. Chip & Kim showed up that you can believe in God and not act like a jackass in the process. I don't want these people to suffer more than losing their father. I just want them to get knocked off their high horse. But right now, I'm dreading them winning the grand prize. If that happens, it'll be a cold winter until the start of TAR9.

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