Neither God nor the editors intervene in the conclusion of The Amazing Race 12

Something odd happened on last night’s episode of The Amazing Race 12–besides the fact that it actually started on time. Usually, the show’s editors ratchet up the tension in the final few moments, but this time, they were absent. So, too, was God, who did not intervene to help out some of his people.

  • Shana and Jennifer are determined to prove that blondes cannot transcend stereotypes. “Clearly I haven’t had a facial or a manicure, but it’s even tougher than you can even imagine,” Shana (I think) said, covering shallowness and vanity. Jennifer made sure we didn’t confuse her with someone who was either smart or who’d ever driven a car before. Driving, she said, “Well, my brights aren’t staying on, so I have to hold them with one hand for the entire way — unless I’m just an idiot?” Shana agreed with the last part: “She asks that question a lot.”
  • Usually religious people argue that God has nothing better to do than influence the results of a reality show, so it was refreshing to hear minister Kate say, “We are religious people, but we have no illusions that God cares whether or not we win the Amazing Race.” Her partner Pat asked with mock incredulity, “No?”
  • Waiting for airline tickets, Jason asked, “Why is it taking so long?” Perhaps because the airline was printing tickets on a dot matrix printer. Apparently, they were at the Museum of 1992 Technology Airport.
  • Ronald wore a t-shirt that asked “Who’s Your Daddy?”, and he made sure everyone knew that the answer was Ronald. At the airport, he parented Nicolas, who was berating an airline employee (“Please move a little faster.”) Ronald told him, “You got a mouth that basically starts with bad energy. … That’s your whole problem.” But even when he’s being an ass, and he’s frequently an ass, Ronald is hysterical. “I have maybe some problems with interpretation, but the words that come through my ear is very clear, because I cleared all the wax yesterday,” he said.
  • At the Detour, which involved hoisting furniture up the side of a building, Vyxsin said, “I felt pretty comfortable doing the knots. I used to…” Immediately I thought she would end that with, “be into S&M.” But no, my stereotyping was wrong, as she ended the sentence with an even more shocking statement: “I used to macrame.”
  • “This sucks,” Rachel said about the Detour task, which involved hoisting furniture up the side of a building. Whoever’s furniture was getting banged and scraped to shit probably thought the same thing.
  • Ronald has a way of talking in an extremely, excruciatingly annoyingly patient tone — just like the pet shop employee in “Best in Show” who has to deal with Meg Swan’s search for a Busy Bee. replacement. When he and his daughter decided to switch Detour tasks, he said, “Where do we head now? See, that’s the other thing. Is it in that direction, or here, or?”
  • Some reanimated child-size dolls from It’s a Small World were standing on the mat next to Phi, and Jason told them, “aren’t you guys cute.”
  • Ronald, who later said he has “become the Archie BUnker of the home,” also makes up his own colloquialisms. He told his increasingly frustrated daughter, “I’m trying to give you the real truth that other people won’t tell you you have boogers in your [bow/boat/bowl].”
  • Because the panty hose on his arms and makeup didn’t give it away, Kynt explained to us, “I’m not one of those get down and dirty kind of boys. I’m kind of prissy.”
  • Nicolas learned an important lesson at the Roadblock. Whenever an old person says, “Oh, I can do that,” ignore them–especially because it may sometimes lead that old person to say, “I had to strip down a little bit” and take off all his clothes except for some frighteningly large black bikini briefs. On the mat, Phil joked to Donald, “There’ve been complaints from the locals you got down to your underpants.” But Donald said, “I went further than that.”
  • Continuing to be an ass, Ronald told his daughter Christina, “You need to lose some weight.” At that very moment, their bike tipped over, and Ronald received his punishment, a “crotch-buster,” as he called it.
  • God failed to interfere in Pat and Kate’s race, and so did the editors. For once, there was no fake tension at the end of the race; for a long period of time, it was a forgone conclusion that Kate and Pat would be in last place and be eliminated. There’s something both refreshing and disorienting about a tension-less conclusion to an episode of The Amazing Race.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.