The Wife:

And another season of The Amazing Race comes to an end, this time in Maui. Tammy and Victor would have had a pretty good lead, if it weren’t for the fact that the airport became the great equalizer for this leg of the race, as each team found out they had to line up at 6 a.m. to get tickets to Maui and not a moment before. Once on the islands, they hit the ground running to get to Beach Access 118, where each team had to prepare a pig for a luau and carry it 200 yards to the luau site, as well as properly prepare it for cooking.

I was really surprised at how difficult teams found it to carry pigs, which typically weigh about 230 lbs before slaughter, and presumably less without entrails. Now, I’m not saying I could do that on my own, but between two people, I imagine it wouldn’t be as hard as it looked like it was for these teams to accomplish. Margie and Luke were the only ones who carried theirs like anyone who has every carried a heavy object before (with the poles over their shoulders, as to better balance the weight on their torsos rather than in the limbs). Jaime, as expected, grew angry with Cara for dropping the pig repeatedly, whereas Victor turned his frustration into encouragement for his sister. Because encouraging people to do stuff usually makes them want to do stuff more than yelling at them.

Youre honestly telling me these girls were never in 4H? I am SHOCKED!

You're honestly telling me these girls were never in 4H? I am SHOCKED!

Once the pigs were delivered to the luau sites and the cooking scenarios properly prepared, teams headed out to McGregor Point, where they swam out to some waiting jetskis and searched a buoy field for submerged clues, which lead them to their Road Block at the surfboard fence along the Hana Highway.

There, one person from each team had to reconstruct the race based on pictures on vintage surfboards. Luke and Margie were the first to get there and Luke was very eager to do something for his mom for once. I wanted him to do well, too, because it was easy to tell that he had a lot to prove. He was also very prepared, as he said before the challenge that he’d regularly reviewed things they saw in each leg of the race when they got to the each pit stop. He did really well, actually, nailing every single leg in order . . . except for the last two in Beijing, which he had so much trouble remembering that it allowed Victor, who got there significantly later, to surpass him. (I appreciated both gentlemen stripped down to their undies to do the challenge, though, as television generally needs more skinny man thigh.) Victor also had a really good strategy of grabbing anything he knew he needed and piling it up before trying to discern the order, which ultimately meant less back and forth from the pile, thus saving a little bit of time and energy.

They may not have won, but at least they got to ride jetskis.

They may not have won, but at least they got to ride jetskis.

Once Jaime got there, she immediately freaked out and complained about not recognizing any of the images on the surfboards (which was the point, to throw in irrelevant things to confuse people like Jaime), but she eventually got the hang of it. She, too, had trouble finding one last surfboard and after Victor left and both remaining teams realized they’d lost, she and Luke worked together to solve each other’s missing piece problem. Jaime technically finished first when Luke showed her the St. Christopher surfboard, and Cara had to remind her huffy friend to help Luke, who spent so much time on his own trying to figure out that the Reflexology surfboard should have been in the 10th position only to completely blank on the fact that the last leg of the race involved eating scorpions on a stick.

Luke was visibly upset that he’d failed to remember everything on the race, and I was pretty sad for him as well. I know that he can be very needy and childish sometimes, but that’s what made me root for him in this challenge, because I wanted him to show everyone that he can do things on his own, without his mother’s help. Even Jaime was upset that she’d fucked up, and then she and Cara came in second place on the mat, she put all the blame on herself. Not on the taxi driver who got lost on the Hana Highway. Not Cara, who dropped the pig repeatedly. But on herself. And that’s pretty big of her.

Not required to win TAR: pants.

Not required to win TAR: pants.

I am very glad that Tammy and Victor won, though, as they learned how to communicate with one another over the course of the race and I think their relationship has only improved through their participation in a 3-week race around the world.

The Husband:

Don’t worry, friends. I’m pretty damn sure that Margie and Luke will be invited back for the next All Stars race. It’d be stupid not to. I would perhaps give them up to see Mike White and his father again, but I have a feeling that a.) Mike’s schedule doesn’t clear out very often, and b.) I don’t know if Mel could go through this again.

But no, do not invite Kisha and Jen. The Amazing Race does a good job of not rewarding assholes, for the most part, and that’d be sending out the wrong message. While Jeff Probst often tries to battle the network and his producers on making Survivor a more honest show, it’s still a competition of lying and backstabbing, so that goes with the territory. But TAR is almost entirely based on the effort and cooperation of two human beings, and that’s what makes it fascinating, exciting and, in the end, very uplifting. I was definitely pulling for Margie and Luke, but am 100% glad that such a positive team made it through to win the big prize. Not only were they great competitors, but they were good people. And that’s why this show works so well.

That, and Phil’s eyebrow.

And yes, keep making the final challenge related to the entire race. They didn’t really start doing this in its complete form until the Family Season (shudder) and is a great symbol to the show’s quest to make Americans less xenophobic. (See? The show is educational, too!)

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The Wife:

With no time to enjoy their victory for coming in first on the last leg of the race, Jaime and Cara headed up the second half of this double-length leg. Teams were first sent to a local street mall to find heir next clue, which asked them to search through several stores to find the Travelocity gnome, which they would have to carry with them for the rest of the race. I sincerely enjoyed the gnome sitting atop a mannequin (where its head should have been) in a clothing store, as well as the gnome sitting in a bag of nuts, wearing a tiny paper chef’s hat.

Margie and Luke and Tammy and Victor were close on the girls’ heels, and with gnomes in hand the teams headed off to Gu Gon Xi Bei Jao to get electric bikes and transport themselves beyond the Forbidden City and through Tiananmen Square where they received their Detour. Teams could either take a stab at Chinese Opera or play Chinese Waiter in a local restaurant.

  1. In Chinese Opera, teams had to go to the opera house and paint each other with the traditional operatic facepaint for a princess and a gentleman and don the correct costumes in order to receive their next clue.
  2. In Chinese Waiter, teams had to go to a nearby restaurant, take orders in Mandarin and turn those orders into the chef. When the orders given were correct, the chef would then cook the dishes and teams would deliver them to their customers.
Mom, Im sorry Im not a girl, okay?

Mom, I'm sorry I'm not a girl, okay?

As any sane person would, any team that didn’t already know how to speak Mandarin chose the opera challenge and spent time putting on makeup and clothing. Margie got a little upset with the way Luke was doing her makeup (see title of episode), but the Chinese opera workers didn’t care that it wasn’t perfect and eventually Luke told his mother to stop fighting him just because he was never taught how to put on makeup as a kid. (Frankly, for all Margie’s coddling, I am surprised Luke doesn’t know how to do his mom’s makeup.) Kisha decided that she got to be the princess, because she sees herself as the least feminine of the two, while her sister wore the gentlemen’s makeup. Rightfully, Jaime also chose the princess makeup, because she is princess of people who yell at cabbies . . . especially cabbies who take her to the wrong opera house because the only instructions she gave them involved singing horrible scales in his general direction.

Meanwhile, Tammy and Victor took on the Chinese Waiter challenge and got through it faster than anyone working on the makeup challenge. They mispronounced one order, turning Good Luck Fish into Good Luck Squid, and had to restart, but still managed to make it to the U-Turn site before anyone else and U-Turned Kisha and Jen, which was totally the right move.

The opera teams all had trouble finding the U-Turn site, even though it was in the costume museum of the opera house all along. They wandered around for, if Jaime is to be believed, three hours trying to find the location before Margie and Luke struck off on their own and found it to see that they hadn’t been U-Turned. From there, it was on to a local street market where teams faced a Road Block in which they hate to eat deep fried Chinese delicacies such as scorpion, starfish, cricket and larvae. Victor totally powered through those less-than-ideal meals and he and his sister headed off to the Pit Stop at Niao Chao, The Bird’s Nest, long before everyone else, taking first place, a spot in the finale and a trip to the Galapagos Islands.

So, that was Monthly Use Taiwanese Chicken to go, right?

So, that was Monthly Use Taiwanese Chicken to go, right?

When Kisha and Jen found that they’d been U-Turned, they took it in stride and headed off to the restaurant to attempt the second half of their Detour. Let me just give you a list of reasons why this was my favorite part of the episode, watching people with no knowledge of how tone languages function woefully mispronounce things. Here are some of the dishes that would have been made if Kisha and Jen ran a Chinese restaurant:

Monthly Use Taiwanese Chicken (my next Guitar Hero band)

Good Western Heads Lack Fish (it’s true, at least they should lack fish)

Oil Comes Again to Please the Mouth (ummm . . .)

Good Doll Basket Drum

Light Competition Red Dishes I’ve Played Before (my next album)

But the most interesting thing here is that Kisha and Jen managed to succeed at this challenge before Cara and Jaime even found the U-Turn site, rendering a tense competition for last place, as Margie and Luke were well on their way toward eating yucky fried bugs and such. In fact, Kisha and Jen managed to get to the street market first, but Jen ate her share of the buggits so slowly that Cara was able to catch up by eating quicker. And then there was the problem of Jen’s bladder. In addition to eating slowly, she downed roughly four bottles of water during the process and by the time they reached the Bird’s Nest, she seriously had to pee, allowing Jaime and Cara to check in at the mat before them. Another contributing factor to Kisha and Jen’s loss was probably the fact that they were dropped off at a different part of the Olympic compound, rather than right in front of the Bird’s Nest.

Nonetheless, I’m glad they’re gone. I don’t care for Jaime and Cara, either, but even though Jaime’s mean to cabbies, she’s not mean to other players. And besides, Jen never would have made it through the variety of water challenges lined up for the Maui finale. So perhaps its best that her bladder did her in.

The Husband:

TARheads out there, answer me this: has anybody in the history of this show done themselves in as a result of their bladder? Because I can’t think of one. Bickering, poor communication skills, stupidity, bad sense of direction; these are all regular TAR excuses for ending up in last place, but having to pee might be the dumbest one so far. I know that terrible feeling one gets with an extra-full bladder, like you are about to explode. But this is for 1 million dollars, and no way in hell am I letting my bladder get the best of me. Even if that meant peeing as I ran and forever being known as “that guy who peed his pants on CBS primetime,” I would do it. And it’s not like she was in danger of getting a bladder infection within that, I presume, one hour between the food and the pit stop. (If it was less than an hour, then I’m even more confused.)

I also really hope that those were the actual translations for whatever it was Jen and Kisha were saying, and that Bertram Van Munster wasn’t just throwing in random words into the subtitles. Because it’s very likely that the pair weren’t saying words at all, like that homeless man on the sidewalk who wants your fingernails. But I still hope above all hope that the Chinese chef was seriously pondering the statements they were presumably making. “Why yes, oil does come, quite often, and pleases my mouth. Thank you for noticing.”

The Wife:

Wow. Just . . . wow. This episode of The Amazing Race was one of the most painful things I’ve ever had to watch. And I am not talking about that near-torture foot massage participants had to face for their Road Block once they got to Beijing, but because Kisha and Jen were so bad in the water. Also surprising: Tammy and Victor aren’t very strong swimmers, which I find hard to believe, because they’re from the Bay Area and I’ve never met a person up here that doesn’t know how to swim. But at least Tammy and Victor didn’t need to wear life vests in eight-foot deep water or drag themselves down the lane lines as a means of conveyance. Seriously, there is nothing sadder than seeing two grown women don life vests in a pool.

Why swimming? Because the most recent Olympiad was held in Bejing, where Michael Phelps won his eight gold medals and the folks at TAR thought it would be cool to dress the teams up in his special shark LZR Speedo and make them swim the very pool in which he swam. But that was only the “Swim” half of the “Sync or Swim” Detour. The other half explored something that the host country of China had more prowess at: synchronized diving, in which teams had to perfect a synchronized dive and score a 5 from both judges.

Tammy and Victor and Jen and Kisha tried the dives first, but no one could figure out that the reason they were never scoring higher than a four is because they couldn’t keep their damn feet together and pointed down when they entered the water. So, eventually, both teams gave up on the dives and faced the lap pool, in which they had to complete two legs of a 400-meter relay, switching off with their partner. No one had to beat Phelps’ superhuman time, but we at home were allowed to see a comparison between the racer’s time and Phelps. That dude can swim 100 meters in under a minute. It took Jaime and Cara and Margie and Luke – all pretty good swimmers – just under 3 minutes per 100 meters.

There’s no real point in counting how long it took Tammy and Victor, or Jen and Kisha, because failing at the dive put both teams really far behind and their own fears and insecurities only put them even further behind frontrunners Margie and Luke and Jaime and Cara.

Trust me, girls, synchronized diving is harder than doing the backstroke.

Trust me, girls, synchronized diving is harder than doing the backstroke.

I realize that Jen’s fear of the water is actually quite a paralyzing fear, and I don’t want to make fun of something that causes someone so much anxiety, but somewhere in her, she had to realize that no one would let her die on national television. Dude, Salome didn’t even know how to breathe underwater on Make Me a Supermodel and she worked it out. She even learned how to stay submerged for an extended period of time. And were there stipulations that said the swimmers had to do a certain stroke on each part of the relay? Why couldn’t Jen have simply done the backstroke the whole way down, thus completely avoiding putting her head underwater and negating any fear that she’d forget how to breathe (or, you know, not breathe the water) and drown?  I just have so much trouble understanding the thought process that leads to a paralyzing fear of drowning.

But, hey, she got through it eventually, and it’s a double-length leg, which means all the more craziness next week as Cara and Jaime fight to keep their top spot!

The Husband:

Jen had clearly seen this terrifying clip from Jaws.

Seriously, though, it’s a pool, not the ocean, and the only thing that’s going to make you drown is yourself. Human bodies goddamn float, so even if you have your face down in the water, guess what? You liiiiiiiiift your heeeeeeeeeeeead above the water. With underwater cameramen there for protection in only five feet of water TOPS, there is no way anything at all is going to happen. Anxiety is one thing. Losing your common sense is another. Water is malleable. That’s the whole damn point of it.

I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. Swimming is the easiest thing in the world. If, for instance, her brother died in the tub I could understand some kind of anxiety, but we were given no clichéd movie-style explanation of anything like that. So I just chalk it up to ultimate fail.

The Wife:

Even America’s Next Top Model knows that The Amazing Race is the best fucking reality competition program on television, and you should all tune in to see hunky Phil Koeghan tell you about the world while forcing teams of two to complete totally weird and random tasks that marginally teach both the racers and viewers about the cultures of the countries they’re visiting. Actually, I totally wish Tyra could have gotten Phil to pop up to announce ANTM‘s very, very easy version of TAR. Phil knows a lot about fashion. Here, listen to him talk about how much he loves Russian boots (complete with techno soundtrack!).

So after boarding that ANTM standard aircraft with the models’ heads photoshopped into the windows, the girls arrived in Brazil and were greeted by Fernanda Motta, host of Brazil’s Next Top Model, who would later appear on judging panel and prompt Tyra to proclaim that a version of ANTM appears in over 120 countries. When she said that, I expected one of the modelettes to pipe up, wide-eyed (but not as wide-eyed as the Lemur) and say, “Really, Tyra? I didn’t even know there were that many countries in the world!” Because that’s generally the kind of idiocy exhibited on Top Model. And, hell, with the way Natalie was acting in this episode, I am now completely shocked that such a statement didn’t come out of her mouth. But I’ll get to that later!

First, Fernanda told the girls about the origin of that ubiquitous piece of MuZak “The Girl from Ipanema,” heard in elevators and piano lounges across the land. It’s based on a real person, model Helo Pinhiero, and if the girls completed their shoddy version of TAR, they would meet the legend that inspired the song. Lemur did not disappoint me at all when she expressed her disbelief that she would meet someone who inspired a famous song, because that’s as close to actual fame as she’ll ever come. Other than Tyra, of course.

Fernanda told the girls to pair up, sent them to their cabs and made them race to a flower shop to find Helo’s favorite flower, which just so happens to be the Bird of Paradise. They then raced to a park where, once all of the teams arrived, a band broke out into an appropriately MuZak-y rendition of “The Girl from Ipanema” and Helo descended the staircase in some strange, swishy white terrycloth pants, dancing to her song – all to tell the girls in her delightfully Charo-esque accent that the song was inspired by the way she move her hips like zees and to give them the keys to their new home in Sao Paulo! Not like it really matters, but Fo and Natalie technically won the race because they delivered Helo’s flowers first, which won them the strangest prize I have ever seen: baskets of Swarovski crystal-encrusted Havania flip flips.

Um, what?

Look, I realize that ANTM apparently doesn’t have a budget this year, what with their sad confetti celebration last week where they couldn’t even afford a costume for that poor nude male model, and that whatever budget they did have went to getting a new ANTM travel map graphic for the photoshopped plane sequence (to make it look slightly more TAR-ish), but giving someone a basket of $30 and under shoes, “classed up” with garish bedazzling just to make them more expensive is not a prize. The phrase “polishing a turd” comes to mind. They’re in fucking Brazil, home of amazing shoe designers – why not throw some limited edition Gabrielle Rocha their way? Ah, because that would be a real prize, not at all befitting a totally perfunctory competition such as the Amazing Model Race.

Natalie expects their new house and spends most her time complaining that they don’t have a pool. Aminat then complains about her, because Aminat is a hater, but it turns out that pretty much no one likes Natalie, which is fine by me. The first Correlo de Tyra arrives, reading: “Fight or flight? You better give me both.” And the girls are ferried off to the location of their teach/challenge involving the Brazilian martial art of capoiera, a word I had been trying to think of since I saw the preview last week where Celia kicked Aminat in her hater head. Thank you, Top Model, for solving this mystery for me. I park near someone at BART that has a “capoierista” sticker on her car, and I have been wondering what that is for the longest time. Now I know to never fuck up that girl’s car, because she will kick me in the head just like Celia did to Aminat. Clearly, I find that action so amusing that I could watch it over and over and over again.

Celia, kicking ass and taking names.

Celia, kicking ass and taking names.

After the girls learned a few moves, they were taken to meet the Js and photographer Paschoal Rodriguez, who asked them to utilize the fighting skills they had just learned in their modeling. The winner of this challenge would receive 50% more frames in their next photo shoot . . . frames that would be stolen from another girl. Teyona kind of forgot there was a camera that she was supposed to model for and delivered a photo in which she actually looked like a turtle. Celia looked like she was doing well in the shoot, but blocked her face in every shot. Fo and Allison looked the most model-fighter in their shots, while Natalie basically did the can-can. Amina looked tough, but, unfortunately, can’t make a good face in a photo to save her life. Thus, Fo was awarded the win, and, in retribution for not being chosen for the Seventeen shoot last week, stole half of Teyona’s frames for their upcoming shoot, thus officially driving a deep rift between the two girls.

Corrello de Tyra Numero Dos appeared and informed the girls that “tomorrow, you will enjoy the fruits of your labor.” And that very next day they were taken to a favela, a poor neighborhood in Sao Paulo where they would inexplicably dress like Carmen Miranda and try to embody her in a fashionable way in the shoot. Natalie got all uppity about being in Brazil’s version of the ghetto, which made me want to punch the bitch in the face. When you are lucky enough to be able to shoot on location, you do not complain about what that location is. You work there, do your job, and go sleep in your comfortable hotel room at night. Furthermore, this favela was nowhere near as impoverished as any neighborhood visited on The Amazing Race. Every year, the racers end up in some off the grid part of India or somewhere in Africa where children play in mounds of trash and families live in shelters made of found materials. This favela was nothing like that. In fact, I’d say it was cleaner and nicer-looking than some low-income neighborhoods in the Bay Area. Racers on TAR are always moved by poverty, and it either makes them grateful for everything they have, or deeply sad that they’re around people who have nothing. Celia expressed that she felt this way, but not Natalie. All that girl could see was that the neighborhood she was in wasn’t nearly as nice as her cozy home of Palos Verdes, California.

You are not in the suburbs anymore, honey.

You are not in the suburbs anymore, honey.

Natalie’s complaints aside, I myself don’t really understand why the girls were dressing as Carmen Miranda in a favela. First of all, Carmen Miranda was born in Portugal and emigrated to Rio, not Sao Paulo. Secondly, I can’t find anything that indicates she grew up in poverty. Her dad owned a barber shop, which to me would indicate that they were pretty securely middle class. In short, this shoot didn’t really make any sense, but it looked pretty, and that’s the whole point, right?

Tyra stole two babies and a pineapple this week for her Guide to Finding Your Inner Fierceness commercial for nothing, and she rambled something to these adorable babies about pursuing your dreams and, when you do, your dreams will bear fierce fruit. So . . . like . . . a cherymoya? Or a durian? Those fruits are pretty fierce, and I definitely do not want my dreams or any other part of myself to bear them. I really think Tyra is rapidly advancing toward a point of complete deconstruction as each week she shows me signs of language breaking down. This show is turning into a David Lynch movie. Next week, I bet those tiny kidnapped babies will be dancing the samba across Tyra’s screaming, crying Naomi Watts-esque visage to a swing track about inner fierceness. Just you wait. It’s going to happen.

In other news, the Brazilian judging room hurts my eyes because it’s so goddamn bright, and I think I went completely blind in my right eye when Miss J’s plaid bowtie entered the frame. On to judgment!

  • Aminat: Paulina complimented her on how luscious her skin looked this week, which she said was because she got some sun, which prompted Tyra to immediately get into mommy mode and warn her against getting too much sun. Aminat interpreted this as Tyra saying that she didn’t want the girl to get any more chocolatey, but Tyra told her it was for her health. I’m glad Tyra cares about skin cancer, which is exactly why she should have me on the damn show! Or at least on The Tyra Show. I’d go on that, especially if I were sharing my airtime with a segment involving trannies. Anyway, Aminat’s picture was declared just okay because she was doing Black Girl Model Pose 101. She continued her stank-ass attitude, though, telling Tyra and the judges that she was doing more during the shoot than what she actually did, at which point Tyra rolled her eyes and Paulina informed her that she is beautiful, but boring.
  • Natalie: Totally blasé photograph in which she looks exhausted. Fernanda tells her she’s missing her spark, and Natalie proceeds to blame her bad photograph on Mr. Jay’s direction. This is a lie, because Mr. Jay actually knows what he’s doing, and Natalie does not.
  • Celia: Tragically, Celia’s photo was really flat this week. Her body looked great, but her face didn’t.
  • Lemur Allison: The Lemur totally and completely rocked this shoot. She was cute, fun, sexy and sassy. She embodied Carmen Miranda without being too literal and gave good face.
Baruch a ta ai dios mio!

Baruch a ta ai dios mio!

  • Fo: Mr. Jay’s take from the shoot was, “It was Carmen Miranda. On crack. As a drag queen.” Nigel’s opinion, on the other hand, was, “Very cute, but it’s as if someone’s done a remake of a Carmen Miranda film.” Either way, that means it’s an actressy photo, not a modely one. And that’s not great.
  • Teyona: Tyra hates the nightie she wore to panel, but thinks she looked sassy in her shot. It’s not very Carmen Miranda, but it is editorial. Tyra then reminded everyone that Teyona had 25 fewer frames than everyone else and delivered this great of a shot, which was impressive. Not impressive? That Tyra actually said Teyona had 25 less frames, further contributing to English speakers’ general confusion between fewer and less, and making me roll my eyes.


Callouts! Lemur, Teyona, Fo and Celia, leaving my two least favorite models in the bottom two. Stank-ass Aminat was given one more chance, although I’m not sure why, and Natalie was sent home, which is fine, because she’s a horrible person and a horrible model. She may have great legs, but I think she should look into a career as a porn star, because she constantly looks like she’s on coke already, so it really wouldn’t be that much of a stretch for her.

The Husband:

My wife told me I should write the following, as it relates to modeling shows on television, despite the fact that it has nothing to do with ANTM.

Two nights ago, I couldn’t get to sleep, so I rummaged through Comcast’s OnDemand function to grab some short three-minute segments. The best are usually provided by either MTV (they have a collection of Jackass short features, for instance) or G4, a channel designed for that ADD-ridden guy with a lisp and a penchant for anime who works a few cubicles down from you. I chose “Cutting Edge,” then “G4,” then chose the “Gears & Girls” section, because I thought hey, since I’m going to sleep soon, it might be a good idea to ogle some PG-13 bikini-clad women so I could have good dreams…uhm…of my wife! (Yeah…that’s the ticket!)

The three-minute feature was called “Superbabes” or something, which was pretty much just that week’s top 10 internet “hotties.” (Disappointingly, only one of them was actually dressed like a superhero.) When the countdown got to #3, I did a double-take. Why, it’s my beloved Lucia Dvorska.

Superbabe? Indeed.

Superbabe? Indeed.

Who is this gorgeous Slovak model? She was a contestant on the stellar TLC series A Model Life with Petra Nemcova, an eight-episode series that aired its final episode almost two years ago at the end of August, 2007. In it, Czech supermodel Petra Nemcova took six various models from around the world and put them through a bout of fashion model training. There was no competition, so technically, as my wife pointed out, there were no “winners,” but three got to do a final shoot in the Bahamas, and another (Angelika, obnoxiously pronounced with the emphasis on the “lik”) definitely ended up as the sole “loser” and was not allowed the final prize given to all the other models – representation by NEXT Modeling – because of her piss-poor attitude, her fighting with the judges and her complete hatred for the modeling industry.

Five of the girls were damn good in various ways, but Lucia, especially, was not only drop-dead gorgeous but seemingly a delight to work with. Despite some competition, especially from Beatrice (the Brazilian minor who was waaaay too young to look so sexy), Lucia was the obvious stand-out, even if some of the judges worried about her weight. (As usual, she didn’t really have weight problem…at all…but looked like an actual woman.)

The next day, I went through the IMDB page of A Model Life, chased a couple links, and found that not only was Lucia now represented by Elite, she was actually in the very Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition that was sitting on my coffee table. (I don’t read SI, and I haven’t really perused the issue, but my wife certainly has.) Lo and behold, there’s that beauty, nearly two years later, from a TLC show that nobody seemed to have watched, doing better than almost every single contestants on ANTM, completely rocking one of America’s most well-known photo shoots. And her online gallery is even better.

(This is where my wife will post a pretty ridiculous picture of Lucia with some wildlife, so I hope she can also find the “other” picture that we can both agree on. She knows which one I’m talking about.)

Nothing says Top Model quite like carrying an ittle wittle lamby wamby in a bikini!

Nothing says Top Model quite like carrying an ittle wittle lamby wamby in a bikini!

Success can come from modeling television shows, and it doesn’t even have to be from a buzzed-about Tyra product. Being a good model, listening to critique, having a good onset demeanor and being an all-around good person does pay off, so let that be a lesson to, say, ANTM’s Sandra or Natalie, who did nothing but hate and bicker. Despite what Janice Dickenson may seem to promote, being a cruel soul can only take you so far. And now, the pleasant Slovak girl, described as a “newcomer” by G4, is the envy of many.

I totally failed when I posted this before, because this is the photo my husband wanted me to post. He liked it because her boobs looked nice. I liked it because I thought she had nice lines. Either way, suck it, CW.

I totally failed when I posted this before, because this is the photo my husband wanted me to post. He liked it because her boobs looked nice. I liked it because I thought she had nice lines. Either way, suck it, CW.

Suck on that, CW.

The Wife:

I missed last week’s TAR because I was having my own mini-version in the Pacific Northwest as I took a two-night trip up to Seattle to visit my soon-to-be home for graduate study. The experience was not comparable to TAR in any way other than I saw a part of a city in a day and was shuffled from place to place competing tasks such as meeting with professors, getting coffee or sitting in on a seminar during which a fire drill occurred. That was probably the most TAR-ish part, actually.

While I was in Seattle, the racers spent another leg in Thailand, flying from Phuket to Bangkok, where they had to taxi themselves to a boat yard to get their first clue. Jaime cemented my hatred of her by being completely mean and insulting to cab drivers. I’m sorry, bitch, but not everyone on the planet speaks English, nor do they want to. Just fucking learn to be patient and stop adopting the attitude that someone is less intelligent than you because they don’t speak your language. Seriously, if I were traveling with Jaime, I’d have punched her pretty little face about eight times by now because there is never a part of the race where she isn’t mean to cabbies.

Once at the boat yard, teams faced a Road Block in which one team member must attach a propeller to a long-tail boat. If done correctly, they would get a clue that would lead them to sail across the lake to their next destination. And this is where everything got totally fucked up for two of the five teams. Only Margie and Luke and Cara and Jaime had the foresight to bring their bags from their cab to the dock, just in case they weren’t returning to their cab. Once Tammy and Victor realized they were going to motor across the lake, they took the time to redock their boat and grab their things. Kisha and Jen and Mark and Michael didn’t think to do either of those things, with Kisha and Jen even leaving their passport and money bag on the dock and not turning around to get it. The part that truly baffles me about this is that it was a Road Block, so only one person was aboard the boat attaching the rudder, while the other sat on the docks. Why didn’t that other teammate grab their stuff and bring it aboard? It’s not like they didn’t have the time!

After that set-up for disaster, the teams eventually found their way to a Detour:

  1. Broken Teeth, in which they would search through 50 sets of dentures to find matches for five patients
  2. Broken Record, in which they would join a party taxi with three local ladies and sing the same karaoke song over and over until they reached their destination.


Straight up, I would totally have gone to sing karaoke with Thai ladyboys. Oh yes, as Kisha and Jen realized but Mark and Michael never did, the Thai women they shared an intimate karaoke-fueled taxi ride with were, in fact, ladyboys, some of whom were much more beautiful and real than others, but all of whom were totally fabulous. I really do applaud the Thai for creating environments that welcome alternative genders and sexualities such as ladyboys. Recently, the government created a college just for them (similar to New York City’s Harvey Milk High School for LBGTQI kids) so that they could be themselves without feeling any potential pressure from factions of society that may not understand them. All of the teams seemed to be in agreement with me, except for Margie and Luke, who avoid things involving music and singing, for obvious reasons.

“I’m a bad singer, but he’s a really bad singer!” – Margie, on Luke’s inability to sing


So the mother and son decided to play with dentures, an activity described by Phil in the episode’s title as: “Rooting around in people’s mouths could be unpleasant.” Indeed. But Margie, being a nurse, was pretty fucking good at it. So good at it, in fact, that it got her and her son to the Pit Stop at Piya Thai Palace in first place, winning themselves a trip to Puerto Rico.

Mark and Michael got into some kind of row over whether or not to get their bags, and eventually decided to spend all of their remaining money to go back to their cab and get their bags before continuing on to the Detour. Sans cash, they had to barter their personal possessions to settle their cab bill. This would come back to bite them in the ass, as apparently you cannot barter your things for money on The Amazing Race? Surely, I thought they would have some penalties for not arriving at destinations by proper means (circumventing with cabs in place of feet or boats or whatnot), but apparently what I thought were mistakes weren’t and what I thought was totally okay totally wasn’t.

Jaime and Cara checked in in second place, followed by Kisha and Jen, who made it through on free cab rides from generous Thai people and, in Kisha’s case, without shoes. Phil couldn’t check them in, however, without their bags, so he sent them back to get them in a taxi. Officially, Tammy and Victor claimed third place. Mark and Michael then arrived and were penalized two hours for each instance of bartering, thus collecting a full four hours in penalties, which allowed Kisha and Jen to return and check in before them. Luckily, this was a non-elimination leg, so the wee stuntmen would have to wait out the remaining 3 hours and 10 minutes of their penalty at the beginning of the next leg, as well as complete a Speed Bump. Ouch. I mean, they made a really boneheaded move by forgetting their bags, but I had no idea you would be punished for bartering. Were Dandrew not punished in Russia last season because the cabbie decided not to take their shoes? I mean, where’s the consistency here?

For the next leg of the race, teams flew from Bangkok to Guilin, China and taxied to Qing Xiu Lu to find a hair salon where they would receive their next clue. Somehow, Kisha and Jen managed to get on their earliest flight out, putting them in the lead for this leg, while Cara and Jaime kept pace with Tammy and Victor by booking the same flight. I always end up liking the teams that have a second language in their arsenal, and it turns out that Tammy and Victor, like so many Chinese-American kids I know, were forced by their parents into Chinese school as children, and thus read, write and speak Mandarin. (Remember now much I loved Sarah, the Browbeaten Girlfriend of Terrance the Almighty Douchenozzle, just because she spoke Portuguese?) This definitely gave them a bit of an advantage on this leg of the race (summed up by Tammy as, “Now we know when our cab drivers don’t know where they’re going”), and smart teams stayed close to them to leech off of their knowledge.

Bitch, please!

Bitch, please!


In the previews for this episode, we knew that Jen and Luke were going to get into a major altercation at the clue box, and it was on like the break of dawn when Luke ran up to that clue box in front of the beauty salon and Jen slammed into him from behind. He put up his arm to block her, and she thought this was a “bitch move” so her sister said so, which really upset Margie and, when his mother later told him, Luke. What Jen has to remember is that Luke cannot hear her approaching, so when he put his arm up, it was just a natural reaction to someone you don’t know fucking grabbing you from behind. He wasn’t necessarily doing it to be mean or to keep her from the clue box. He was just doing what one does to protect oneself. So for Kisha to call Luke a bitch was definitely uncalled for in this situation.

From the salon, teams traveled to the #24 bridge, where they participated in a Road Block involving one of my fucking favorite things in the world: Cormorant Fishing. One teammate had to go out on the river and “train” the birds to retrieve thrown fishies. First of all, cormorants are ridiculous looking birds, and I love them for that alone. But I am also fond of cormorant fishing because there are so few people in the world that still practice it. In China, it used to be a profession that was passed down from generation to generation in the provinces where it is practiced. But as fewer and fewer children want to be fisherman for a living, there are now fewer and fewer cormorant fishers. I have some mixed feelings about the process used to train the birds (where their necks are tied with strings so that they can be brought back to the boat to deposit fish), but when the birds are trained, their handlers treat them very well and revere them. It’s kind of like using a hunting dog. And, like a hunting dog, the birdies might bite you, as they did to Luke. (By the way, props to the camera man who got the horror film shot of the bird approaching with venom in its beady little bird eyes. That right there deserves an Emmy.)

OMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!

OMNOMNOMNOMNOMNOM!


Before anyone could go out and play with the birdies, though, Jen had to go and be a bitch to Luke at the clue box again. He did run a little hard into her, but I think he was trying to beat her there and she just wedged herself in front of his momentum. She definitely pushed him away, though. And not defensively. And as though the bitch calling wasn’t enough, at this point Kisha announced that she planned to smile and laugh at them anytime the mother and son attempted to discuss the brewing conflict. Way to take the high road, Kisha.

After fishing with cormorants, teams headed to Ancient South Gate where they would face their Detour, involving two Chinese leisure pursuits of calligraphy and choreography.

  1. In Choreography, teams would join dancers in the park to learn and perform a choreographed ballroom dance routine. I immediately wished the local Chinese population did this in St. Mary’s Square instead of morning tai chi and afternoon games of go. It would be a lot more fun to watch, especially if random white people joined in and totally failed at dancing.
  2. In Calligraphy, teams had to visit four calligraphy stations in the park and copy the master’s brush strokes. If they copied them correctly, they would get a stamp. Four stamps got them their next clue.


Cheerleaders Jaime and Cara chose choreography, as learning choreography was basically their job for the entire time they were employed by the Miami Dolphins. Unfortunately, they totally failed at this challenge, leading Jaime to once again grow frustrated with people who don’t speak her language and flail her arms about screaming, “Does anyone speak English??” as though it were part of the routine she didn’t learn. Maybe you’re just losing your muscle memory, Jaime! Get your ass back to a dance class!

Luke being Deaf, Margie and her son chose to follow Tammy and Victor and Kisha and Jen to the calligraphy stations. I was a bit sad to learn that Tammy and Victor felt their Chinese writing was poor because, like every other Chinese-American kid I know, they totally didn’t pay attention in Chinese school. However, their spoken prowess was good enough to wheedle their way in front of the calligraphy master before all of the other teams and begged him to stamp them first. (Best tactic ever: “If we don’t win, our parents will cry themselves to death.”) It was smart of the other teams to follow Tammy and Victor in this case as each calligraphy station spelled out the Chinese name of their next location. All the easier to find those places with Tammy and Victor reading the names aloud, right? Much easier to ask someone for directions if you know how to pronounce the characters rather than trying to read the signs!

Once these teams completed all four calligraphy stations, they made their way to the Pit Stop at Banyan Lake, where they had to find the view depicted on the scroll handed to them by the calligraphy master. Kisha and Jen arrived at the mat first, winning a trip for two to Barbados, followed by Tammy and Victor and Margie and Luke, coming in third for the first time in the entire race. (Margie and Luke are always first or fourth, it seems.) As Phil ventured to ask these three teams about the pressure now that there are only a handfull of teams left in the game, Kisha and Jen smiled and pretended everything was copasetic, while Margie and Luke fiercely debated in ASL about bringing up their altercation with the sisters. I do not even fully know what to make of this situation, except that Kisha and Jen’s smiles and, yes, laughter at Margie and Luke really drove Margie over the edge. She took it as the sisters mocking her son’s strained speech. (Yes, when he’s angry, he does try to speak and, as you’d expect, it doesn’t go very well.) She lambasted them about how Luke has been made fun of his entire life for his Deafness and that they do not know what it’s like to be different. The girls rightly pointed out my astute observation that they have been Black their whole lives, and an angry Margie tried to explain how it was different to be disabled than it is to be non-white. Phil tried to ameliorate the situation by suggesting that, perhaps, the initial act of shoving at clue boxes had been misinterpreted (it had), but that didn’t really fix the problem.

Frankly, I do think Kisha and Jen are being dicks about the situation, and I feel for Margie. No mother wants to see her child hurt in any way, and I can definitely see that name-calling is especially hurtful to someone who isn’t hearing. But I really think the bigger problem in this situation is that, because of Luke’s Deafness and his bold refusal to learn to lip read, he has become completely dependent on and been overly coddled by his mother. He’s never really learned to fight his own battles or to simply ignore things that do not matter, like being called a name or accidentally pushed into something. This shouldn’t have been a big deal, but it became one.

Anyway, Cara and Jaime eventually figured out that their dance routine and checked in fourth at the mat, leaving super-duper behind Mark and Michael to be Phileminated.

Next week, Jen pulls a Salome and cries about having to swim! Will someone explain to me why water is scary? Because your body is, like, half water. So . . . yeah . . . totally not scary. Not scary at all. (Husband Note: More than half our body, woman!) (Wife’s Retort: Technically, yes, up to 60% of the body is water, but it varies from person to person. “Like, half” is accurate.)

The Wife:

I learned some things during this episode of TAR:

1. Jaime is really mean to people who don’t speak English, and that actually makes me hate her. She’s symbolic of a problem that much of the English-speaking world has in which they think, for some reason, that everyone everywhere else in the world should also speak English. I am sure that this expectation is created not out of ignorance on the part of people like Jaime, but out of an expectation created in an age of globalization and the rise of English as the lingua franca of the business world. That said, a spice shop in Phuket, Thailand is not a regional headquarters of Microsoft in Jakarta. You have to have reasonable expectations when you travel.

2. Bandit is a super cool name, and it means “teacher” in Thai.

3. The Phuket Zoo looks like one of the craziest zoos ever.

Teams wound up at the Phuket Zoo after flying nearly 2,000 miles from Jaipur to the popular resort area and were told to find a statue of a gorilla with only a photograph as reference. Every team started this leg of the race on equal footing, as they all got on the same flight from Jaipur, but quickly, Mike and Mel got separated from the herd, who asked locals in the central square if they knew where the gorilla statute was and eventually got pointed in the correct direction, while Mike and Mel trusted their cab driver who took them way out to the beach (because that’s exactly where super white tourists want to go . . .). Once teams found the monkey statue, they then had the most fun day at the zoo ever as each team proceeded to take a picture with a tiger (whose handler only had one arm, incidentally) and participate in a traditional Thai performance in which an elephant pranced around them, massaged their backs and squatted over them.

After their fun zoo adventure, teams headed to the oldest herb shop in Old Phuket and had to ask the shop owner to open one drawer at a time in his 99-drawer cabinet of wonderments in order to find their next clue. Jaime got really, really frustrated with her inability to communicate with this man, as aforementioned. (I think yelling and waving frantically didn’t help her case much, frankly.) She and Cara were the first to arrive at the spice shop, but due to their complete failure to communicate and lack of a methodical approach to the drawers (writing down each number that had already been called, or methodically going down/across rows) they ended up leaving the shop only moments before a caught-up Mel and Mike made it there. The clues from the chest of wonderments presented teams with their Detour for this leg of the race:

  • 100 Barrels, in which teams would load a fishing ship with 47 barrels of water and 53 empty barrels for fish, enough for a week’s journey to sea
  • 2 Miles, in which teams would prepare a rickshaw and carry their teammate aboard it for 2 miles.


Mark and Michael, in the lead, chose the rickshaws, as did Tammy and Victor. Kisha and Jen, Jaime and Cara and Margie and Luke all chose the barrels, but wound up in the wrong place. Kisha and Jen decided to stay and look for the proper location, while the other two teams jumped ship and decided to go for the rickshaws. Mel and Mike eventually joined Kisha and Jen at the docks. Once their Detours were completed, teams raced to Wat Tep Nemet, their Pit Stop for the last leg of the race.

Stuntmen Mark and Michael were the first to make it to the mat, but somehow, they incurred two penalties that cost them an hour total in penalty time. I figured when I saw them ask their cab driver to lead them to the end of the rickshaw course that they would incur a penalty, but I had no idea what their second penalty would have been until Phil told us. Apparently, when they were setting up their rickshaw, they hid the bike pumps which Phil declared was “intentional tampering.” I think they likely just thought they were cleaning up after themselves and put the pumps all back in the box, but maybe I missed something and they really were being sneaky and evil. While they waited out their punishment, two teams arrived to oust them from their number one seat.

(Husband Note: Yes, you did miss something. They even told the cameras what they were doing as they tampered with the pumps.)

1st: Tammy and Victor, winning a trip for two to Ohau.
2nd: Jaime and Cara
3rd: Mark and Michael, able to check in after their penalty time had elapsed.
4th: Margie and Luke, continuing their streak of checking in either first or fourth. Dramatically, Margie fell victim to heat stroke and Phil was there to catch her, like any good sweaty Thailand-set romance novel would include (minus the ladyboys). I can’t think of many better places to have heat stroke than near the arms of Phil Koeghan. Margie’s a trooper, though. The production staff was set to take her to a Thai ER, but she wanted to press on, once she got some water in her system (and poured over her head).
5th: Kisha and Jen
6th: Mike and Mel, who were, sadly, Phileminated.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!


I kind of knew that Mel and Mike were screwed when they chose not to follow the herd, but I had hoped that they’d pull through – a hope that was especially renewed when I found out that Mark and Michael would have to wait an hour in penalty time. But, sadly, my favorite people on the race had to go home last night. I’m now rooting for either Margie and Luke (because while I don’t like Luke that much, I really love his mom), or Tammy and Victor (who seem to have really worked through their issues and are having fun together). I’m really going to miss The Whites, though. I leave you with a parting lame joke of theirs, that was totally priceless:


Mike: Do you speak any Thai, Dad?
Mel: Uh, yeah. Mai tai.

Ba dum ching!

The Husband:

Noooooooooooooooooooooooes! One of our best and quirkiest modern screenwriters and his gay father have finally fallen by the wayside, and I in good faith cannot continue posting little bits and pieces of his movies on this blog!

Oh well, I can at least leave you with this – Mike White’s best scene in The Good Girl, an incredible and incredibly sad indie film from several years back taken from White’s most dramatic script to date. (While Chuck & Buck, his breakout film, was a drama, too, it was more of the sardonic stalker variety and more awkwardly terrifying than anything else.)

The Wife:

If you wondered why we haven’t written about our usual weekend shows (i.e. Dollhouse, Animation Domination, ABC Sunday Night Chardonnay and Chocolate Fest, etc.) or even our usual Thursday night shows, it’s because we let our DVR collect morsels and goodies for us over the weekend as we headed to Arizona for Oakland A’s Spring Training. Let me tell you something, kids. Arizona is hot. My living room is much, much cooler. The first thing we watched when we got back was The Amazing Race, the safe way to travel to hot climates such as India without ever having to encounter abject poverty or leave your couch! Whee!

From the cold climes of Russia, racers flew to Jaipur, India, a place that I bet is as hot as Arizona, taking connecting flights through Moscow and New Dehli, therefore giving everyone a chance to catch up, which was especially helpful for Christine and Jodi, who faced a Speed Bump in this leg of the race after having avoiding Philemination last week. Once on the ground in India’s pink city, racers had to grab a taxi and head to a sacred tree outside the city, where they would receive their next clue by calling one of the red telephones guarded by an opium-smoking man who, for obvious reasons, made me think of the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland. Mel and Mike got off to a bit of a rough start when their taxi driver abandoned them, letting all of the other teams jet off ahead of them. Mel further endeared himself to me by not only being the most polite person to “yell” at a taxi driver in a civilized manner that still conveyed his frustration and urgency (that’s why “yell” isn’t exactly the right word), but that he also felt terrible about having to say something negative to the cabbie at all and admitted that he would feel badly about it for the rest of the day.

On their way to the sacred tree on the outskirts of Jaipur, everyone was very touched by the extreme poverty they witnessed, apparently for the first time in their lives. Even though parts of New Orleans were covered in garbage and people were living in shanties after Hurricane Katrina, I guess that’s just not as bad as seeing people who live that way when not as a result of a natural disaster. Luke cried. Cara shed some tears for all of Jaipur’s homeless animals, because she, like me, likes animals a lot more than she likes people. I remember Goth Girl Vyxen shed some tears when she visited India a few seasons back — does TAR only send racers to India so that they’ll weep about the poor? It’s starting to seem that way.

Victor and Tammy take a fast lead as the first team not only to reach the sacred tree, but also the first to quickly figure out the whole “using the phone” thing. From there, teams were told to drive to Amber Fort to get their next clue, a Road Block in which one person from each team had to care for a group of the Maharajah’s royal camels using the traditional techniques of carrying water to a trough and stacking hay. First of all, those camels sure looked purty wearing them headdresses and the like! Second of all, I sadly cannot say or hear the word maharajah without hearing this in my head. (I also think about the way Richard Roxburgh as The Duke sneers the word later in the film, with the appropriate hand gesture.)

Most people kind of sucked at following the directions on this challenge, using their water pail to carry hay when there were clearly larger hay baskets available, or, in Kisha’s case, stuffing hay down her shirt as a means of conveyance, which, though creative and functional, was definitely a strange choice. Some dude in the background got kicked by a camel, and Tammy straight up fell down, even though it was her brother who actually did this challenge. They finished first and continued their breakout lead, while Mike White worried that his dad, who chose to do this Road Block despite his age (and because Mike couldn’t do all of them) seemed to be struggling. Nonetheless, Mel White is hella gangster and finished the challenge second and, in Mike’s words, totally smoked the competition.

There is no such thing as a bad photo of Mike White.

There is no such thing as a bad photo of Mike White.

With the Road Block complete, teams taxied to a puppet stand in the local market where they were presented with their Detour for this leg of the race:

1. Movers, in which teams pedaled rickshaws 1.5 miles to a loading dock where they would unload the nine barrels on their cart and search through the hay contained within to find a tiny silver elephant.

2. Shakers, in which teams joined up with a local street band, put on horse costumes and danced for 100 rupees.

Mark and Michael chose to move the barrels of hay, although I have no fucking clue as to why. Why, when given the choice to merely dance like an idiot for coins on the street, a task involving no skill whatsoever, would you choose a task that involved you to ride a bike for 1.5 miles through Indian traffic, and then do some manual labor and then literally search through a haystack for a tiny thing? Why would you do that? That doesn’t even make sense, strategically. I knew when they chose this that they were going to come in last, or close to last, depending on how Christine and Jodi handled their Speed Bump, which, by the way, they had to do before they could do their Road Block. The Speed Bump? Painting an elephant so that it could be just as purty for an upcoming festival as the Maharajah’s camels. Honestly, that was the best Speed Bump ever. They looked like they were having fun, they didn’t even have to paint it that accurately and, most importantly, it seemed like the elephant really had a good time getting dolled up.

Once teams completed their Road Block, they taxied to Jaigar Fort, the Pit Stop for this leg of the race, which upped the cute animal quotient in this episode considerably as it was INFESTED WITH MONKEYS, which rival only koalas as the cutest infestation ever.

  1. Tammy and Victor, who won kayaks, which they promptly noted would be great for living in the Bay Area. (Fuck yeah, man. Kayaking in Drake’s Bay is AWESOME.)
  2. Mel and Mike, who I continue to adore. They’re just the nicest dudes, ever.
  3. Kisha and Jen.
  4. Margie and Luke. (Are they ever anything but first or fourth?)
  5. Cara and Jaime, which serves them right for yelling at their taxi driver and not in a Mel White kind of way.
  6. Mark and Michael, beating the flight attendants by just a hair.
  7. Phileminated: Christine and Jodi.

The Husband:

As aforementioned…

Me: Sick at home with what could be whooping cough.

Brain: Not working.

You: Watching this video from Disney’s The Jungle Book with Indian elephants.

Other You: Watching this even-better mash-up of that song from The Jungle Book, resulting in what it looks like when I have a coughing fit and start hallucinating.

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