Ronald_christinahsu_theamazingrace1At the start of Sunday (Nov. 11) night’s episode, either Kate or Pat declared, "We have no illusion that God cares if we win The Amazing Race." Good to know.

[If you haven’t seen the episode, this recap’ll mess with your mind like the image of a muddy grandpa in a banana-hammock.]

Kudos to whichever of the lesbian Episcopal clergy uttered those words. Anybody can be as invested in their faith as they choose, but no single trait in a reality competitor annoys me more than the conviction that God or Jesus or Ganesha or Chuck Norris — pick your deity of choice — gives a hang about how you do on one of these show. That being said, maybe Kate and Pat shouldn’t have flaunted God’s disregard so proudly. Perhaps God doesn’t like to be used as a crutch, but he or she may not like to be told what not to care about. Thus far, none of the other contestants have mentioned God or Jesus, have they? Maybe in that vacuum, the Almighty was ready to throw his or her support behind Kate and Pat, heard their words and was all "Well I know where I’m not wanted."

But probably not.

Katelewis_pathendrickson_theamazingPat and Kate were, finally, just slow. They arrived in Amsterdam on the late flight, but they were still basically tied with Julia and Marianna and Ronald and Christina, but they didn’t execute any of the tasks quickly enough to stay in the race. The results on The Amazing Race are always more dramatic when elimination hinges on something specific — a horrible blunder, a mind-boggling bit of bad luck, a poor challenge choice or even a bit of bad sportsmanship inviting bad karma. Nope. Kate and Pat just weren’t fast enough.

While the episode’s elimination wasn’t very interesting, there was plenty of entertainment, mostly courtesy of Ronald and Christina.

The father-daughter team presents one of those awful Amazing Race choices. Ronald is so objectionable and obnoxious that I really don’t want him to succeed, since I don’t know if he’s really going to learn the right lessons from this experience. But rooting against Ronald means rooting against Christina and I can’t bring myself to do that.

Ronald and Christina have a generational and culturally specific relationship. She’s his baby and he has difficulties respecting her both because of her age and, almost certainly, because of her gender. Ronald’s behavior during the Amsterdam Detour was horrible, all pessimism and undermining. Christina was uncertain about whether to Hoist It or Hunt It and he fed off of her uncertainty and lectured her about how wrong she was at every point. Then, even after their found their bicycles at the massive garage, he still wanted to tell her how wrong she’d been.

"I’m optimistic with the real truth flavor," he explained, adding, "I’m trying to give you the real truth. Other people won’t tell you if you have boogers in your nose."

The real truth flavor was even worse at the Ditch Vaulting Roadblock, where his back-seat vaulting when she was on the verge of a jump messed her up several times. Then, even when Christina made it across, he muttered, "I think I could have done it better."

I guess it isn’t just Christina he treats this way, though. Note his lecturing Nick on proper manners at the Dublin airport, even though both of their brash attitudes had been nearly identical. If you believe the Karma Theory, the fact that Nick and Donald made it on the standby flight and Christina and Ronald were denied probably shows who was in the right.

So do we root for Ronald’s elimination? Or for them to stay in the game long enough for him to have his obligatory tear-filled moment of pride about Christina? Probably the latter.

Myriad other thoughts on the episode:

  • For now, I’ll stick to rooting for Nathan and Jen to be eliminated. For the second straight episode, philandering Nathan decided to compare his girlfriend negatively to other female contestants, but I don’t know if that justified Jen calling Shana at b**** just because she did the Roadblock faster.
  • I was all prepared to mock Shana for her Ryan Seacrest dating and her dumb blondeness, but she was an animal in the hoisting challenge and in the ditch vaulting. I respect her even if I still think she looks good for a 45-year-old.
  • Line of the episode (by far): "I’m not one of those git down-and-dirty kind of boys. I’m kind of prissy." That was Kynt, who took the ditch vaulting responsibilities because he thought a lamb was somehow involved. I just can’t take Kynt and Vyxsin seriously, though I guess they make me laugh.
  • Second best line of the episode: "My grandfather made it across the river, showing that frustration and anger pay off in the end." Nicolas, discussing the let’s-never-speak-of-this-again moment where his grandpa stripped down to his Speedo to bog-hop.
  • Jason and Lorena are a "Baby" couple, which means that they both call each other "Baby" dozens of times per challenge. I root against "Baby" couples, but that’s still better than Azaria calling Hendekea "Baby Girl." Ew.

    What’d you think of the episode? Who’d you like? Who do you hate?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg