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Wednesday, 03 August
He's Going The Distance

It's been an odd few weeks. Some of my tens of readers have no doubt been wondering, "Why isn't Skot talking about the horrible movies he watches on cable?"

I haven't watched any.

Others may be asking, "Well then, why isn't he unfairly bitching about the horrible new releases that he hasn't seen?"

I don't care right now. This despite the existence of films like Stealth and Must Like Dogs. So something's going on. (I will say that I enjoy pretending that the latter film is actually called Must Eat Dogs, a documentary about speed-eater Kobayashi.)

And still others might think, "I'm kind of bored with my vibrator. I should get a new one." To whom I say: I'm kind of bored with your vibrator too. You know what you should do instead?

You should tune into Game Show Network every night at nine and watch the reruns (every night!) of "The Amazing Race." It's what we do! And it's why we're not watching horrible movies, prejudging horrible movies, and why we're not interested in vibrator retail. GSN is running every season of TAR in order, one episode a night, and boy are we slaves to it.

We are not ones, honestly, to be seduced by reality TV. I confess I had a brief affair with the first season of "Survivor," and I once attempted, in a fit of madness, to deal with "Joe Millionaire"--I lasted about 20 minutes--but apart from these lapses, we have been immune to these unspeakable shows. The formulae are all pretty much the same: amiable throw rugs vs. the Machiavellis, with a few pitiable dolts thrown in for spice. Grrr! We hate the Machiavellis! Go throw rugs! And then sometimes the pitiable dolts fuck a mule or something, just to make things briefly interesting.

I'd like to say that TAR is fundamentally different, but it's really not. The doomed weiners are pretty evident from the very beginning, like, say, old people. Watching Season 2, I had to laugh at the "Gutsy Grandmas," especially when they (distressingly often) complained that they "couldn't run." I agree! Most grandmas cannot run! Which is why they're a perfect choice for entering . . . a race. Who could have imagined that it involved running?

TAR is very skillful in how it arranges the shows, but the Grandmas are a perfect example of how it loads the deck. Of course you have to have the Plucky Old Contestants, lest the producers be accused of agesim. Plus, it fills out the demographics. There are other must-have contestants:


He screams, she beams. Lovely! This is easily my least favorite aspect of TAR: the creepy freak who goes nuts at every turn, and the gal who loves him. At least with the second season they gave us a variant on this theme with Tara and Will: they're both screamy and intolerable! Will's tactics: threaten to quit the game at every inconvenience; occasionally call Tara a moron. Tara's tactics: behave at every moment as if you're going to fuck the brains out of some other team member. Also, tell Will to shut up.


Oh, where would TAR be without the gays? In the first season, unpleasantly, the gay team was a couple of loathsome schemers. Embarrassingly, their schemes were usually really stupid and vile, and their arrogance was somewhat overarched by the naked fact that they would usually place very poorly. (It didn't help that they dressed in matching outfits.) The Season 1 gays were just depressing and horrid, and richly deserved the every humiliation they received, which were frequent. Sadly, they were too stupid to realize when these humiliations were actually happening on television.

Season 2 was marginally better, in that the gay couple--they're just friends, you know!--were hilariously entertaining while also being completely blase about the whole game. When other teams were scrambling for . . . I don't know, really . . . these guys would go to the mall. I don't know. They just kind of cracked me up. Particularly when, after an afternoon of FREAKING OUT by the other teams, these guys would laconically show up at some pit stop, wondering what all the fuss was about.


Like I said. Doomed. But aren't they plucky? Or something? No. Doomed.


I'm not saying that all of these people are closet gays, but the show invites the viewer to think so. (Should I sound unclear, I'd like to point out that I don't really give a fuck.) These teams always seem to work extremely well, actually! They always get close to the finish line. And then they don't. Which, if you think about it, is kind of in keeping with what I imagine as a network attitude. "Are those guys fruits?" "I don't think so, boss." "Well, we don't need it one way or the other. Let's back off that angle."


Mom and eighteen-year-old girl! Separated parents who may or may not have children! Separated couples trying (or definitively not trying) to rekindle the spark! Gimli and Boromir! Awful. And even more awfully, these teams will always make it into the final run.

Don't be like me. Don't watch this show.

And whatever you do, don't root for Gimli. Have you seen that guy's legs? I think he's gay.

Note: Comments are closed on old entries.


Sorry, I know you don't care, but someone's got to, dammit! Stealth. Dear God, how can this movie exist? I mean, a machine that becomes sentient when it is struck by lightning? Just like Herbie, but with a nuclear arsenal! I think Jamie Foxx should wait for a good electrical storm and then strap his agent to the roof of a tall building with a metal pole jammed down his pants.

Comment number: 005929   Posted by: Robin on August 3, 2005 02:02 AM from IP:

The wife and I are also devouring every episode of this, as we came in, I think, in the fourth season of original broadcasts.

I have to say, as annoying as Tara and Wil are, they're nothing compared to last season's Victoria and Jonathon, who took Botoxed-psycho-assholism to whole new levels.

Comment number: 005930   Posted by: Joe on August 3, 2005 08:58 AM from IP:

Serilously though, this is the greatest thing ever. I didn't really start watching until Season 4, so its like everything is brand new to me!

Comment number: 005931   Posted by: Cory on August 3, 2005 10:48 AM from IP:

mwahahahaha! Delicious.

And seeing as tonight is the final ep of season 2 (or so they claim), here's what's coming up: I think it was Season 3 that ended in Seattle, and man, it's a doozy. I can't say more.

Though the gutsy old folks are genetically combined with the dysfunctional family, with a twist! He's the first armed forces vet...


Comment number: 005932   Posted by: beige on August 3, 2005 11:06 AM from IP:

Man, Skot. Wifely friend and I have been watching every night too. Even more frigteningly, we watched the eating contest on ESPN the other day, as I suspect you did.

Get out of my mind!

Comment number: 005933   Posted by: kaf on August 3, 2005 10:23 PM from IP:

I feel obligated to point out that old-skool blogger Cameron and his twin brother Damien Barrett are scheming to be on the show. They have a web site about it. How'd you like see a couple of balding geeks roll their large Michigan accents around the world? I don't care one way or the other but they are friends of mine (and unrelated to me) and, frankly, I think they could spice the show up with long-practiced fist-fights and knowing family asides, like, "we all know what you did with the beach towels and the poodle at grandma's house in 1993, don't we?"

Comment number: 005934   Posted by: Grant Barrett on August 4, 2005 01:19 PM from IP:

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