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Tea Time on The Amazing Race

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For me, tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race was all about attitude and outlook.  We saw whining, we saw crying, we saw complaining, and we also saw some really positive moments too (spoilers below).

At least five teams at the start of the episode complained about staying in China.  Now, they weren’t actually staying in China (not that they knew that initially), but I couldn’t figure out why exactly they were so upset about the prospect of not flying to another country.  Did I miss where China was so horrible for them?  Was everyone just tired because of the double-leg they did there? 

If that’s the case, I’m moderately disappointed.  These people have been on the race before, they should have expected a difficult time of it for this second outing.  If Phil and the producers had given the teams a simplified version of they race, they would have blown through it and we all would have been massively bored with the whole season.  Let them suffer for our amusement, isn’t that kind of the point of a reality show like this?  And, whatever their problem may have been with what they did in China, was it really such a terrible country for them to have to visit?

Well, all their whining about China aside, they can’t have loved what they found in India.  Their first task there—after waiting outside overnight—was to taste tea and find, out of 400 different cups, which was the same kind they had drank the day before in China.  Yes, multiple cups of tea were correct, but it still looked like an incredibly difficult task.  I was amazed that Ron got the right one so quickly, but a whole bunch of other teams had a lot tougher time with it.

Now, I don’t want to think that the racers we have this season are a bunch of whiners, but between the complaining about China and then the complaining about the tea task, it certainly seems like they mightPhoto Credit:  Monty Brinton/CBS be.  Luke actually broke down into tears over the whole thing which, I’m not going to lie to you, was moderately ridiculous.  

It was a hard moment to watch because I felt for him – if he hadn’t paid enough attention to the tea when he first had it in China, he would have had no basis from which to find the correct cup in India.  On the other hand, crumbling to the floor in tears was probably overselling it.  It was stupendous when he finally guessed right and got the correct cup.  The fact that everyone in the place seemed to applaud him and that he got a bunch of hugs as well was a pretty special moment even if everything that had preceded it for Luke was anything but good.

So Luke was a little happy, mostly sad, and semi-ridiculous, wholly ridiculous was Zev breaking a tea cup on purpose when he found out that he was wrong in his choice.  He got it right the next time out, but I wonder if that wasn’t just because the guy running the challenge was a little worried that if Zev was wrong again he’d smash something bigger than a cup.

I’m not going to even get into Jen & Kisha’s not opening the Snapple bottle to find the clue and that moment’s place in the realm of ridiculousness tonight.  We’ve focused on whining, crying, complaining, and stupidity enough.  Instead let’s turn our attention to something more positive.

You know who I most liked this week?  It was Flight of the Globetrotters for giving Margie & Luke a hug after seeing that Luke had fought through his troubles with the tea.  Perhaps not surprisingly, as professional athletes the Globetrotters recognize when to congratulate an opponent on a match well fought.  Sure, the last time the basketball players were on the show they quit and that kind of undercuts that whole professional sports thing, but that was giving up on themselves, not unsportsmanlike conduct towards someone else. 

I am curious to know what the teams thought of India.  Guess we’ll find out at the start of the next episode (though Jet & Cord did say tonight that it was “great”).  Whatever they thought, I do hope they express themselves in a way which doesn’t make me cringe and feel embarrassed for them, which is how I felt for a bunch of tonight’s episode.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.