The Amazing Race 14: Did The Moment Come In Too Late?
Like what Oscar said before, this season of The Amazing Race has been mostly blah for me.  The difference is, I skipped a couple of seasons before returning for the last season that aired over the fall--that's when my life got in the way.  Anyway, this season did face some of the problems that other reality shows don't face: a lack of personalities, and perhaps, a lack of imagination regarding tasks.  Sure, some of this season's challenges felt too easy--singing inside a karaoke cab for what seemed like forever was easier than Phil Keoghan would've wanted--but most importantly, there was nobody to hate.  The potential characters were either tossed off too early, or were very likable (see Mike and Mel), or were just unusually unlucky (Christie and Jodi made some crucial misses despite selling their travel industry experience, for instance).  So, overall, blah, but still watchable.

And then there was last Sunday's episode, with "the most memorable pit stop ever," or something like it.  Of course, it's the feud between Margie and Luke, and Kisha and Jen, one founded on what happened the week before, and one that was intensified when things got a little too physical.  It's a surprise, actually.  Luke, who was born deaf, was basically the guy who couldn't do no harm, and it felt that way, in the many times we've seen him communicate, albeit exasperatedly sometimes, with his mother.  Jen, on the other hand, was one-half of a sleeper team--I never did have an opinion of them, and I probably wouldn't care if they got eliminated.

So, last week, the mother-son team somehow fed the athletes the wrong directions en route to a stop in Bangkok.  Jen took it badly, and thanks to the power of editing, we were given slightly unnecessary foreshadowing--there goes that term again!--as to what will happen.  (Also counted was Luke's "let's see them go to a country where everybody is deaf and signed to communicate" quip.)  It got a little physical on the route marker near the hairstylist, and more so on 24 Bridge.  And then there's Jen calling Luke a "bitch", which arguably blew the entire thing out of proportion, leading to that "memorable" moment at the pit stop, when both argued the hell out of each other--we smile because we can, but you can't laugh at disabled people, blah, blah.

I watch The Amazing Race with my parents, and when the show ended, we were literally arguing about whose fault it exactly was.  Did Luke really push Jen away at the first route marker?  I actually think it's just a matter of the two getting to the stop at the same time, not after wandering aimlessly; Jen wanted first, but Luke was there first, and his arm hitting her was merely a reflex.  But she had the "bitch" remark, fuelled by her dwelling over what happened on the previous leg--notice that?  The same happened at 24 Bridge, and what looked like Luke pushing Jen was, for me, actually just physical momentum.  (Then again, we were arguing that it's Jen's retaliation for what Luke did earlier, not to mention tempers flaring when Margie told Luke of the comment.)

Inevitably, everything led to the argument--you know what happened, surely?  The argument erupts (despite Tammy and Victor keeping very mum), Luke walks out and signs "bitch", Kisha and Jen just smile, Margie erupts, accuses them of laughing at a deaf person, plays with the race card, the world collapses.  All of a sudden, we have a bitter rivalry in the race--the quiet athletes, and the quite likeable mother-son pair.  We'll still argue over who did what first, and how it'll turn out on the next leg, but wait a minute.  This came in too late, didn't it?

It's one of the things we really can't do anything about, timing who does what.  And it's another thing we really can't do anything about, how they reacted to each other's alleged jibes.  But the drama came in too late, the show milked a lot out of it (partly because we all knew who'll be eliminated), and then what?  In a season that's been generally all-nicey with some stupid mistakes, where will this lead us?  I don't feel this rivalry of sorts will figure in the next leg.  Or, this issue will never grow into something that'll define the race's dynamics because it came in later than it should be.  After all, your personalities should come out, one way or another, after a handful of legs or so--keeping it in is going to be hard.

At least we have something to talk about this season.  So whose fault is it?  Who overreacted?  Who was more insensitive?  You get the idea.  After the discussion, let us all realize that we're all just milking the hell out of this, until it runs dry.  Or until it comes up again.  It's like an oasis in the desert, this one.

Oh, and at least we have new photos.  Thank you, CBS.

-Henrik Batallones, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of CBS)