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Monday, May 4, 2009

In the race for one million dollars, you must pee your pants!

There are some things I wouldn't do for a million dollars.

For instance, stabbing someone in the back or resorting to blatant sabotage. I realize that wouldn't make me an ideal reality TV show contestant, which is probably why I've never been tempted to get my 15 minutes of fame on one.

I would, however, pee my pants.

I'd pee my pants. You'd pee your pants. It's a safe bet that 99 percent of the population would pee its pants if it meant they had a shot at a million large.

Jen of "The Amazing Race," however, decided that peeing her pants was a deal breaker. And because of her fateful decision, she's foolishly sitting at home today with a pile of lottery scratch-offs.

The beauty of "The Amazing Race" has long been its focus on the challenge of being dropped in harried situations ... in foreign countries ... in a race against the clock. It's a test of patience and will, and oftentimes requires a lot of luck, or more accurately, the notion that another team will screw up far worse than you ever will.

Banshee-from-hell Jaime (I seriously hate this woman) and Cara were that team last night as they spent roughly three hours on the streets of Beijing aimlessly searching for a clue box. The blunder led the two front runners -- Tammy and Victor/Margie and Luke -- to coast to next week's finale, while Jen and Kisha -- who should have been eliminated last week -- persevered despite being U-Turned (a strategic move in the race that forces a team to complete an additional challenge.)

So here it is. Game on.

Even with the U-Turn, Jen and Kisha managed to grab a comfortable lead thanks to Jaime and Cara's inability to find the right location or be kind to Chinese-speaking strangers. That meant it all came down to a stomach-churning quest to scarf down some deep-fried mainland delicacies -- larvae, scorpion, grasshopper and starfish -- at a local food stand before trekking to The Bird's Nest, one of the prominent symbols of Beijing's 2008 Summer Olympic Games.

It's easy for me to sit here and say, "It's all mind over matter, just grab the scorpion tail and go to town like it's a chicken wing!" So I won't fault Jen for taking her time and washing down each awful bite with a swig of water -- four bottles in all, apparently. But everything should have changed once Jaime and Cara arrived at the stand ... and like someone desperate to stay in the race for a million dollars, Cara turned into Kobayashi stuffing hot dogs down his gullet.

With utter disregard for that wonderful larvae aftertaste, thanks to Cara, suddenly it was neck and neck. Jen still didn't show any urgency with her careful swallows, but their early lead was enough for the sisters to break into a cab first and head toward the Bird's Nest.

"The Amazing Race" loves these moments -- clever editing and quick cutaways leading to a general feeling that the footrace to host Phil Keoghan is closer than it actually is. And usually, it's not about mere seconds, just the appearance of a photo finish. But last night, it was -- and with a small lead, Jen and Kisha made a downright mind-blowing decision that cost them a shot at being millionaires.

Jen stopped at a port-a-potty.

Let me write that again.

Jen stopped at a port-a-potty.

Mere steps away from being the last team to qualify for the top three finale Sunday, Jen stopped to take a whiz.

I don't care if it's four bottles of water. Ten bottles of water. A whole freakin' water tower that you guzzled. YOU DO NOT STOP FOR A BATHROOM BREAK MERE FEET AWAY FROM FINISHING THE SECOND TO LAST LEG OF THE RACE!

The refreshing reprieve led Jaime and Cara to swoop in and steal the third spot. Precious seconds separated both teams, precious seconds that, by Jen, were spent on a toilet. All in all, a stunning -- yeah, I'll go there, 'amazing' -- end to last night's China leg.

For as much as you endure on "The Amazing Race," holding it in for, what, 20 more seconds, was a compromise Jen wasn't willing to make? On the final leg before the finale? ON THE FINAL LEG BEFORE THE FINALE?

So here's the field: Tammy/once villainous Victor (who I'll be rooting for), Margie/Luke (who should be more sympathetic because Luke is deaf, but have been WAY too emotional this season) and Cara/Jaime (the latter a foreigner-hating hell spawn who should be bludgeoned with a copy of Rosetta Stone.)

Still pretty exciting, but it'll be awhile before I get over the thought of someone flushing (ahem) their chances for a million dollars because of bladder issues.

Anybody with me? There's no way you don't pee your pants in that moment, right?

-- Thomas Rozwadowski,



Even if I had explosive diarrhea, if $1 million was at stake, I'd make that final 20-second dash.

By Anonymous Anonymous, At May 5, 2009 at 5:44 PM  

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