TAR 12 – Episode 10 – Happy Birthday, Jen!


Hallelujah. There is a God. And He/She/It watches The Amazing Race.

Fair warning, it’s all spoilers from here. But what joyful spoilers they are.

Jen may not have gotten what she wanted for her birthday, but in the oft-quoted words of the Rolling Stones, she may have gotten what everyone needed: a break. Time to get off of national television. Time to get away from her boyfriend Nate, whom she so clearly despised. Time to completely unclench. And as a parting gift, they gave us the best, most unlikely TAR Final Three I can recall.

OK, I pretty much had the hate switch nailed to the “on” position from Nate & Jen’s CBS bio:

I will hate this team. Jock and former cheerleader? I hated them in high school, why should that change now? … Teams like this seem to thrive on TAR, even though I feel we’ll be the worser for it. I anticipate lots of yelling and sniping mixed with forced teamwork and uncomfortable embraces.

I must now do the unthinkable and attempt to step back from my anger, for which I can only credit their elimination in allowing me. Thanks, Philimination!

These two were pretty much at each other’s throats the entire time, and given the circumstances of their doomed relationship (or is it?), I think that perhaps trying to gut it out with each other for money and prizes was probably the worst thing they could have done. It’s hard to watch a relationship fall apart, and on TAR, it’s happened several times over. It does make for great television — and some of those couples have come to define the show — but you start to realize as a viewer just how creepy the whole thing is.

(I know — after all my semi-jubilant comments of “Die. Just die,” I can’t believe I’m taking this tack.)

It’s just uncomfortable for all concerned to watch people in a relationship fight. Uncomfortable for her, him, Phil, us — everyone. And they fought. Oh baby, did they fight, probably as they’ve done in private life. Were they teamed with another partner, they might have come off as sassy, fun or cool instead of soul-crushing assholes. But they chose to race together and sealed their own fate, because their rotten relationship caused them undue stress and made them bicker endlessly.

They got their 15 minutes and blew it on a mammoth scale. I just shouldn’t be as giddy as I am when I watch them fail over and over and over and over again. It’s trashy, like taking pleasure in watching Britney Spears lose her kids. Stennie nailed it — it’s pure schadenfreude. Credit the Germans for coming up with a term that so perfectly articulates my feelings. I feel bad about it, but goddamn, it’s exactly right.

I danced when they lost. Now I ask for forgiveness. Boy, can I just suck all the fun out of this show. Damn you TAR, for making me search the depths of my soul. Where’s Seinfeld when you need it?

The only good thing that comes out of this is that they since they didn’t win a single leg, they don’t have to relive the whole scenario on a spa vacation in exotic Mexico while riding twin scooters. So, kudos for that.

Order of finish:

Ronald & Christina – Ron’s comic relief turn during the Jeep Roadblock might have turned the tide for me on this team. This is a team with real drive that has been thriving of late. I’ve got this sneaking suspicion that this is your winner. I’ve tried to write them off almost every week, only for them to consistently grow stronger by degrees. Think about it, this is definitely the team left with the most character development, and that hack Bruckheimer might just will it so.

Rachel & TK – The Magoo Crew didn’t disappoint, wandering aimlessly and missing a clue box. I wouldn’t doubt that they feel most at ease on this leg. The fireworks gauntlet and stony path challenges at least gave them a clearly defined route. Still probably the physically strongest team in the mix, which could make all the difference on the final leg.

Nicolas & Donald – Hooray! Nate & Jen’s loss is your gain! Probably the best all-around team left, with regards to attitude and street smarts. For their sake, I just pray it’s not a footrace at the end. Don’s 68 years old. His heart, back, legs, hips and lungs might all just quit on him in unison.

Jennifer & Nathan – Seriously, get away from each other. At the very least, please, please, no TAR All-Stars.

Predicted order of Philimination:

1. Nicolas & Donald
2. Kynt & Vyxsin
3. Ronald & Christina
4. Shana & Jennifer
5. Kate & Pat
6. Azaria & Hendekea
Ari & Staella
Marianna & Julia
9. Rachel & TK
10. Lorena & Jason
11. Jennifer & Nathan

Actual order of Philimination:

1. Ari & Staella
2. Kate & Pat
3. Marianna & Julia
4. Lorena & Jason
5. Shana & Jennifer
6. Azaria & Hendekea
7. Kynt & Vyxsin

8. Jennifer & Nathan


Well, whaddya know about that? My age-discrimination in predicting eliminations has been exposed! I still maintain that the physical challenges have been kept to a bare minimum this season, and that Don and Ron have risen to the top accordingly. I’m wondering if there’s a real back-breaker to end this fantastic season.

Next week – I was toying with the idea of live-blogging the final episode. It’d be the closest thing to attending TARcon XII. But a long-winded, thoughtful post like this one is more my style, and it’ll be an opportunity to tie a nice bow on this season, instead of dragging it out any freaking further.

Seriously, could you handle more than one more post as pointless and doddering as this one? Really? Well, wait till you read my take on the next Top Chef!

Links to previous TAR sojourns:


Posted on January 17, 2008, in TV and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. When I saw Jen and Nate were eliminated instead of my beloved Team Fulks, I can tell you honestly that I found myself COMPLETELY rescinding what I said last week about rather having N&J win over TK&R. I still am not a fan of the hippies, but better them than the Meltdown Couple. Nate and Jen’s arguments were very entertaining, but they are too loathsome to win. I’m glad they’re not in the final three.

    I’m hoping for a Nick & Don win, but would be happy with Ron and Christina, and would not throw anything at the TV if the Hippies end up pulling it out. I guess the Race is 75% luck anyway, and lord knows they have plenty of that.

  1. Pingback: TAR 12 - Episode 11 - Move on down the road « Red Herrings

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