The Chipsters have their first look at India during this nighttime cab ride, and Chip points out to Reichen the people living along the streets. He voices over that he's traveled in India before: "I'm not bothered by anything in India, because I really like the people, and I'm used to it." There's something about Chip's tone in saying this that I just really liked; it's very respectful, as opposed to condescending. It seems to come from a pretty genuine place of "I enjoy the people in India, and the rest of it, I have no comment about," as opposed to, "I grudgingly forgive India for not having cable." As Reichen takes in the trash and junk along certain stretches of the roads, he comments that he wasn't aware conditions were so bad. "I could have never been prepared for what I'm looking at right now." The Love Theme From Perhaps I Shouldn't Complain About That Scratch On My Fender Quite So Loudly sighs in contemplation. Reichen goes on, "I look around and I ask myself what happened. What happened to make it like this? I don't know. I'm going to be thinking about this a lot tonight." A photogenic tear trickles from the corner of his eye. Aw. I think in a lot of ways, the "I ask myself what happened" sentiment is code for the "I have to wonder why them, and not me?" question, which is harder to talk about. And he's right, of course.
There are people who react to the India episodes with a lot of discomfort, and who think the show exploits or uses the people and some of the conditions they live in. I see their point, but I'm not one of them. Look, I said the same thing in the first season -- they can't teach you about India on a show like this. The best and only thing they can really accomplish is to sample certain places on certain days and show you that this is what it looks like. I actually think they do a relatively good job of being nonjudgmental about it, and to the degree that they're trying to demonstrate that India might strike you as a little sad in some places, they demonstrate it by showing you the impression it makes on the contestants -- like what just happened with Reichen.
Commercials. I would actually need a lot less Tylenol if that commercial weren't so noisy.
We're back to India, where it's...well, crowded. At 11:30 PM, the KLM flight lands at Mumbai. As Monica and Sheree crowd into their cab, they wonder if their driver has been drinking. Then, in a move that can't feel too reassuring, they pray in the back seat as he prepares to leave. Hey, Esquire told me they had a drunken cab driver in India, too. Maybe it was the same guy. BuffJon and Kelly are looking for a cab as well, with Jon voicing over that "it looked like chaos" when they got outside the airport. In the cab, Kelly none-too-gracefully reports that "this is [her] worst nightmare." Actually, she says it twice. BuffJon cackles at her discomfort. "Welcome to Bombay," he says, apparently of the opinion that when the British name you, you stay named.