The Amazing Race 14: Previewing Episode 8 "Rooting Around In People's Mouths Could Be Unpleasant"
Two weeks ago on The Amazing Race, we had the misfortune of seeing Mel and Mike go.  Let’s give it away, as if it isn’t any obvious—they’re one of the most likable, and most liked, teams this season, which would otherwise be as run-of-the-mill as some others.  They weren’t the laugh-out-loud type of team, that’d be funny by being crazy or doing stupid mistakes (insert Mark and Michael, the team that always gets lost somewhere); instead they were just doing the race and being adorable on their own.

It was quite weird to see Mike, a movie writer who’s appeared in a handful of films (most notably as the music teacher that gets sidelines in School of Rock), on a reality show.  When the cast was announced, I was pretty skeptical: here is a guy whose career hasn’t exactly taken off (at least upon first glance), suddenly taking the reality route to get noticed.   At the same time, other reality shows took in some former celebrities (Taj Johnson-George, for instance, in Survivor: Tocantins, and pretty much most of The Celebrity Apprentice), and it felt like we’re in for some trouble.

Obviously I was wrong.   First, Mike didn’t need the exposure—it soon felt that he was happy where he was.  Plus, upon seeing the two race, it became clear why they were thrown in: apart from the surprise factor (“alas, a gay father-and-son team!”) they became the team that’s quiet, witty, yet somehow manages to get through the strenuous tasks.   Mel, after all, is the only one who got to paraglide off the mountains in Germany.  And then there are the camels in India.  It’s proof that the race isn’t just about physical prowess (Mark and Michael again) but about brains and alertness, too.

What about this week, then?   Five teams remain, with the “sinister deaf kid” (another Brown product), the cheerleaders, the fighting lawyers (literally), the athletes and the stuntmen still in the running.   The race is still up in the air, mostly because there isn’t any clear-cut leader like last time, and we won’t be surprised if anyone makes a stupid mistake.  (Toni and Dallas from season 13 comes to mind.  Aaaagh.)  Tonight they’re headed to Bangkok, where they’ll be singing karaoke in cars, and other stuff.  And, with no further interruptions—or maybe there are those teams who leave their backpacks, passports and shoes somewhere, stupidly—we’re back to 8pm on CBS.  Yipee.   If only I can say the same for the race.

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