It was all relatively low-key at first, honest. It was like one of those high school party movies where some kid, probably a WB dropout, really intends to obey his parents' directive against having parties in the house while they're away, but then he invites two friends over to play chess and watch old episodes of Star Trek, and by the time the last reel starts, the police have shown up, twenty-six people have been arrested, and on the soundtrack, some band that was hot three months ago has covered a song that was never particularly good in the first place when it was done by a band that was hot twenty-seven years ago.
Ahem. Anyway, in early December, a few of the New-York-based posters from the forums came up with the notion of getting together in a bar to watch the last episode of The Amazing Race. The lovely missdona and Poptart agreed to take on the task of finding a place. When a couple of folks in other cities started asking about get-togethers in their own towns, Sars (who had already made noise about coming to the New York party) started a thread, which she called "TARcon," about last-episode parties.
Around this same time, my bustling contestant gossip grapevine (consisting of Rob) filled me in that they were all going to be in New York for the finale also. Said grapevine made an entirely offhand and entirely in jest comment to the effect of, "You should get MBTV to fly you in!" Heh. (One of the lessons of this experience is this: Never say anything to me in jest that might tempt me.) Anyway, fast forward through a whole bunch of e-mails with various folks; a spontaneous and against-my-better-judgment surf over to Orbitz, which informed me that flying to New York for a spontaneous weekend was shockingly affordable; and a lot of shaking my head at the sheer preposterousness of the very idea of what I was doing, and the long and the short of it is that I wound up running off to New York for the now-famous TARcon, an MBTV/TAR shindig that took place at the lovely and hospitable Magee's during and after the finale. Furthermore, I managed to wangle a very generous invite for Sars and myself to what I'll call Dinnercon, a dinner attended by the contestants that took place the night after the party. All in all? Quite a weekend.
So now, we bring you The Amazing Dish, a compendium of gossip, scoopage, snark, and whatever else is fit to print. Where appropriate, you'll notice we've hearkened back to recaps past, in order to remind you where we've been. Grab your popcorn and sit back.