The Amazing Race 14: The Silly Misadventures of Mark and Michael
(Before we begin, I’d like to give a shoutout to the folks at CBS.  Where are the photos from the last two episodes of The Amazing Race?  Luckily I found a photo that somehow ties in to the theme of this entry… oh, well.  Let’s get on with it.)

The cheerleaders, Cara and Jaime, did describe stuntmen Mark and Michael as a couple of cartoon characters.  When I first saw that a few weeks ago, I figured it was because their small statures don’t do justice to their physical fitness and their energy.  Who would’ve known that, weeks later, I’d see that remark in a completely different light?

I’d like to pitch a new animated series, then, perhaps more akin to those seven-minute shorts: The Silly Misadventures of Mark and Michael.  It involves two shorter-than-usual brothers who end up making stupid mistakes and almost—just almost!—paying dearly for it.  Let’s not delve into who these two are for now: the brothers, obviously named Mark and Michael, will work in tandem, and although they’d fight on a few occasions, they’ll do their deeds together, and fall in pits together.

The first short would probably entail them visiting someone’s home in a chilly part of their cartoon land, and for the next five minutes or so, they’d walk around in circles looking for the clearly-marked house, not realizing that it’s been there all along.  (All right, that’s not how it went in Siberia, but you know where I’m going to.)

Maybe the second short would see them participate in a bicycle race, and they decide to sabotage it—by putting spikes on the road, and then hiding all the tire pumps so everybody struggles with the thing.  They also decide to put a GPS device on their bike.  (Again, that’s not how it went in Phuket, but you know where I’m going to.)

And the third short… oh, never mind.  Back to my point, then—Mark and Michael are becoming the “cartoon characters” the cheerleaders described them for all the wrong reasons.  Surely, you’ve seen animated programs, and there’s always a bumbling character, either in the background, or as the star itself?  That’s what they’ve become.  It’s a little pinch of entertainment in an otherwise tepid season that, for some reason, ends up leaving me exasperated.

I mean, at first them hiding all the tire pumps during the Phuket Detour seemed like a cunning idea, but it backfired on them.  Their second flub on that leg—having a taxi follow them—was their fault, so that’s acceptable.  And an hour-long penalty doesn’t really hurt much, considering they still ended up in third place. It should only happen once, but when they decided to barter their stuff to pay for their expensive taxi-led effort to retrieve their bags, it became exasperating that they’ve done it again.  Four hours!  What exactly were you thinking, stuntmen?   I’m sure there’s a rule book somewhere, and you’re definitely briefed about these things before the race began in Los Angeles, so why disregard them?

Sometimes, if things get repetitive, things get annoying. But at this rate—three hours added to their release time, and a speed bump somewhere in China—I don’t expect the stuntmen to stay much longer.  In true cartoon fashion, the ending should be: “that’s all, folks!”

Unless, of course, somebody else stumbles big time…

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