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Green Bay Press-Gazette

Monday, December 1, 2008

Amazing developments on "The Amazing Race"

"Do you believe in miracles?"

If there was a time to start watching "The Amazing Race," this Sunday is it.

That's when reality TV history could be made courtesy of the walking disasters known as Dan and Andrew, clueless frat boys from Arizona State who somehow snuck into the "Amazing Race" finale -- this after being at or near the bottom on every challenge leading to the penultimate episode, and one that already saw them at a major disadvantage considering they had to complete an extra task after luckily surviving a non-elimination round on the previous leg.

If you're in need of a refresher, that last disastrous stretch found Team Dandrew -- aka, the Detroit Lions of this year's "Race" -- without shoes because they absent-mindedly left them behind at a challenge point. Then they foolishly squandered their remaining money on new shoes at an airport kiosk, meaning they had nothing to give an angry Russian cab driver who, if he had KGB ties, would have sent the poor American schlubs on the first death train to Siberia.

And even after Dan memorably couldn't walk a straight line while pumping his arms for a Russian military march challenge -- seriously, his poor coordination made him look like a malfunctioning wind-up toy about to blow -- the team managed to finish dead last in the race's final non-elimination leg. Just competent enough to not get run over by passing traffic. Lucky them.

Meanwhile, fan favorites Toni and Dallas finished first with all the momentum swinging their way after Nick and Starr -- the New York Giants of this year's "Race" -- had gone on cruise control and endured the cab ride from hell. But first place pressure became too heavy to carry this week, as doting mom and son -- how can you not root for a mild-mannered mother and baby boy running the race together? -- made one of the biggest blunders in "Race" history. Dallas left his team's money and passports in a fleeing taxicab, leaving them flat broke and thoroughly discombobulated for the remainder of the episode. That led the pair to beg on the street for cab fare -- Russians are really generous with their rubles, by the way -- though insult to injury came in the form of not following race rules and having to head all the way back to a previous starting point before proceeding further. Ultimately, that set them so far back, host Phil Koeghan didn't even let them finish the leg, perhaps out of fear that the seasons might change before they finally ended up on his welcome mat.

A major, major downer for anyone keeping tabs on this year's standings, for sure. Personally, I got as much pleasure rooting for Toni and Dallas as I did rooting against the now-eliminated Texas Airheads. Nick and Starr are too strong to rally around (where's the fun?) and Ken and Tina are still too dysfunctional (Tina has been in deranged ex-wife mode for awhile now). So with the most sensible team in the pack gone, I have to throw my support behind the biggest underdogs in reality TV history. That's right. I'm all about the Blunder Twins.

Any team that trips over its own shoeless feet as much as Dandrew does -- like total losers rejected on Valentine's Day, they got splashed by rain water while walking alongside a Moscow street, for cripes sake! -- yet miraculously survives, deserves some hearty praise. Plus, Andrew looks like Seth Rogen and Dan is about as smooth as a "Dateline" pedophile, so a million dollars would go a long ways towards finally getting these schmucks laid.

With Toni and Dallas gone, are any other "Race" watchers pulling for Team Dandrew to defy the odds? As much crap as they've eaten, they do seem like nice enough guys.

"The Amazing Race" finale airs at 7 p.m. Sunday night on CBS.

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,

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