In one of the best sequences of the episode, Mary says that on the race, she's making friends with people she otherwise would never have met. And God bless her, she has just hit upon the single best thing about any reality show, going back to the very first best thing about the very first big show: Julie and Heather B. "I've never known an Asian person in my life," Mary says, as we see her go over and get a warm hug from Godwin. "The Cho Brothers, I love them to death," she says. There is also some goofing around in which Jamie and Kellie are helped out in their cheering by an enthusiastic Tom. And then, in an interview, David and Mary get kind of quiet, and she says, "Honest to goodness, we... ," and he says. "Never been around... ," and she says, "We've never been around gay people." And then she says, "But, buddy, I -- I like 'em!" HA! See, this is why I'm so very, very glad they were cast. Being provincial is not a character flaw. You're born where you're born, and you have the resources and opportunities to travel and meet people that you have, and it's not lack of experience that makes you suck. It's being closed-minded as a result, and Mary and Dave do not seem to have developed that way. She's cool with me. Also, I intend to employ "I like 'em!" as often as possible in reference to various sorts of people.
The bottom-dwellers watch and cheer gamely as the lead bus (Tyler/James, Duke/Lauren, Peter/Sarah, Dustin/Kandice, Pointies) leaves. And while Peter crows on the bus about being in the "front pack," the back pack is having all the fun. Specifically, they're killing the two hours until their bus leaves by socializing and doing things together. Instead of bitching? Unheard of! Jamie and Kellie seem to be, in true cheerleader form, leading group games. It's like camp, seriously. Lyn and Karlyn are clapping and playing along, which is good to see, because I really don't think they're as sour as they've seemed at times; I think that aspect of them, and particularly about Karlyn, comes out while they're racing, which certainly can happen. There's even some tape of all the teams just kind of hanging out and fooling around together. Oh, not since long, long ago have we seen this, and it is so very auspicious to me. (Trivia: Until now, I haven't given two consecutive episodes of this show at least "A" grades since the end of season five.) Tom and Terry talk about how the back of the pack is all about bonding and hanging out together, and while I fear a kind of stratifying in which these people are the cannon fodder and that front group is the contenders, I can't not like the fact that everybody's playing around together.