May 29, 2003

Handicapping The Amazing Race

I'm a big fan of The Amazing Race, so I'm anxiously awaiting tonight's start. I've gone over the mini-bios on CBS' site, and here's my pre-race jump to conclusions analysis:

  • Amanda & Chris. Sioux Falls, SD. Amanda is a 25-year-old medical technician; Chris is a 28-year-old freelance graphic designer. Neither has travelled outside the US. Chris admits that "traveling takes him out of the comfort zone and causes some nervousness." He also says up front that he plans to "scheme, betray, plot and backstab more than any other contestant," which to me is a sure sign that he either A) won't really do any of that or B) will do it really really badly. Prediction: early exit.

  • David & Jeff. Los Angeles. David is a 32-year-old owner of a marketing agency; Jeff is a commercial real estate broker and residential designer and developer. Both these guys like to work out. Great--this year's set of Body Nazis. Also, both have a fear of heights, which naturally leaves me hoping for a Swiss-scale bungee jump like AR3. Jeff also fears "moving away from the beach." What the hell does that mean? Is he in the FBI Random Witness Relocation Program, where he's just going to wake up one morning and find himself with a brand-new life in Chickasha, Oklahoma? There's also an ugly rumor over at TWoP that one of them originally listed 'fat people' as a fear in his bio. I hate these guys already. Yeah, it's jealousy. Embrace the rage. Prediction: Contenders, dammit.

  • Debra & Steve. Louisville. Debra's a 49-year-old artist colony director; Steve is a 40-year-old radio news director. Token fat team #1. Debra admits to being a "controlling and dominating know-it-all" and gets jealous of her husband's devotion to his work; he admits to sometimes letting "opportunities slip through my hands." OK--so it's the Dominatrix and Mr. Indecisive. Big quote (Debra): "I raised money for opera in Oklahoma. I think I can do anything." Prediction: Their (i.e., her) tenacity will pay off in a mid-pack finish; a lot higher than their physical condition may indicate.

  • John & Al. Long Island. Clowns. Literally. They work well together, have travelled a lot, and seem to have a pretty good sense of humor. All very useful traits, and how many people can claim over 5,000 successful Human Cannonball shots? I think these guys have what it takes. Prediction: Contenders.

  • Kelly & Jon. Miami. Kelly's a 30-year-old model (I thought the mandatory retirement age for them was like 22 or something); Jon's a 28-year-old real estate agent (which, incidentally, would not endear him well to Carl Hiaasen protagonists Twilly Spree or Joe Winder). Kelly "admits to being high-strung and obsessive" so it's clear that she's being set up as TAR4's Flo. Jon is a well-travelled jock. The twist on this instantiation of the Flo/Zach model is that Kelly is the one who is "very sympathetic for others" while Jon is "extremely critical of other people." Prediction: Contenders if Jon can carry Kelly through (what we're led to believe will be) her inevitable breakdown.

  • Millie & Chuck. They're billed as 'dating 12 years / Virgins,' so it looks like CBS will be pushing the sexual tension angle. That being said, they've traveled extensively together and appear to be pretty fit, so if they can make good decisions and minimize Chuck being too "anal and meticulous" and having a "unique pouty manner" (although that may go a long way towards explaing why they've dated 12 years and are still virgins), they may go a ways. Prediction: mid-pack.

  • Monica & Sheree. Duluth, GA. Billed as "Mother/Homemakers", but how much homemaking do NFL wives really have to do? Monica doesn't like cold climates (wasn't TAR4 filmed in January? I'll have to check), Sheree doesn't like weird-looking men, and both apparently have a problem with snakes. I just don't see them going far--I think they're both too pampered to cope with the first time they have a difficult situation beyond their meager language skills (a little Spanish and very little French, respectively). Prediction: early exit.

  • Reichen & Chip. Los Angeles. Great physical condition, lots of travel experience--together and apart, and foreign language skills. Their bio hints at some possible interpersonal touchiness, but I think that's just the mandatory downside stuff. On paper, they've got all the necessary skills, and if they have agreeable personalities, they'll join the Clowns among my favorite teams. Prediction: Contenders.

  • Russell & Cindy. Los Angeles. No, not these guys. Russell is a 32-year-old model/actor/entrepreneur (i.e., he's unemployed); Cindy is 39 and describes herself as a former supermodel. If you listen closely, you can hear her head swell. Russell says people say he looks like Mel Gibson ("Objection, your honor--hearsay! And arrogant hearsay at that!" "Sustained. The court directs the defendant to not be such a self-important prick."). Cindy blows off steam by "telling the person off right to their face," so I wonder what'll happen the first time Russell screws something up. Russell is "always on the go and and cannot stand not to be doing anything," a trait that will be entertaining every time they have to wait for a plane, a train, or a rickshaw. Prediction: early exit.

  • Steve & Dave. Chicago. Team Pushing Tin appears to be TAR4's Ken & Gerard, at least in body type and sense of humor, although they are somewhat older. Work together well in a very stressful day job; don't underestimate the usefulness of that trait. I like them for the moment, but I'm not sure they'll overcome their weak language skills and minimal travel experience. Remember, just because Ken & Gerard finished top 3 doesn't mean these guys will. Prediction: mid-pack.

  • Steve & Josh. Santa Barbara / Los Angeles. TAR4's Dennis & Andrew (although Josh's sexual orientation is not stated), with the polar-opposite father-and-son vibe going. Dennis "prides himself on being a good negotiator and on being able to bullshit through anything," which is a useful skill in lots of places during TAR. Opposite warning as above: just because Dennis & Andrew tanked early doesn't mean these guys will. Prediction: mid-pack.

  • Tian & Jaree. Models. I dub them "Team Jill & Grace" since Tian just came out of the closet and Jaree is straight. I'm sure CBS will handle this angle tastefully. Tian apparently has "one of the highest IQs of all contestants" and Jaree enjoys "precision driving," although this sure smells to me like pre-race spin so they won't be dismissed as eye candy. Doesn't work -- I'm dismissing them as eye candy. Prediction: early exit.

    If forced to pick an exact order, I'd go:
  1. Reichen & Chip

  2. David & Jeff

  3. Kelly & Jon

  4. John & Al

  5. Steve & Josh

  6. Steve & Dave

  7. Millie & Chuck

  8. Debra & Steve

  9. Tian & Jaree

  10. Russell & Cindy

  11. Monica & Sheree

  12. Amanda & Chris

Posted by Chris at May 29, 2003 05:23 PM

Category: Reality TV