Sniff. Much later, when it's dark, here comes the limo. Dennis and Andrew land on the mat, and are Philiminated. Phil is sad. I have to say that it really was a pretty crummy FF, in that it wasn't a very FF-friendly leg. The vast majority of the time wasn't spent on tasks, it was spent on travel, and they didn't really save any travel by getting the FF. On the other hand, I've never seen a FF that would have absorbed a difference of twenty-four hours, which is how far behind they were by the time they landed in London. 'Twas the airport did them in. Damn Cancun. They hug. Andrew says, in a really cool interview in which he seems a lot older than he does when he's jumping around and being goofy, that all his life, his dad has seen him as a little kid. He wanted to do the race to help his dad understand that he's getting older and can do things on his own. As if I didn't already really like what this team was about and what they brought to the show, I think it's great that although they did talk about the challenges they faced because Dad is a Baptist and Andrew is a gay cheerleader, they also face some of the same challenges that all fathers and sons face, which really have nothing to do with that -- like the way Dad wants him to close up the Amazing Purse so he doesn't lose the clue, and the way Andrew wants Dad not to treat him like a baby. The mix of the part of their relationship that's gimmicky and the part that's universal is what's most interesting. "Andrew, buddy, you know I love you," says Dennis, "and I'm so glad you came to me that one night and said, 'Dad, we gotta do this race.' And we've done it. We made the race. If you ever come up with another adventure, remember dear old Dad. I'm game." "I appreciate that," Andrew says.
It's not like I haven't said enough times that this is the coolest reality show ever, but I just have to point out that this episode was enormously enjoyable, and even the very unfortunate elimination of one of my early favorite teams didn't ruin it for me. Unlike Survivor and Big Brother and shows of that type, I always believe that for a lot of these folks, it really is a valuable experience whether they win or not. You can look at these guys and know that they're not just fodder lying beside the road, like early evictees from the Big Brother house. They're still a great story, and that's one of the many reasons why it drives me out of my freaking mind that this show has to try to scrape up ratings against the likes of The Bachelor while Survivor coasts along on its endless supply of vain whiners.
I like the fact that alliances are fairly useless. I like the fact that you can pretty much only win or lose on your own. I like the fact that speaking a foreign language and being kind to strangers and staying calm under pressure do more for you than having the ability to double-talk people into a coma so they don't know you're gunning for them. I like the fact that when I think about Thailand, I have Pai Plong Beach and the flower market in my head, and that when I think about India, I can see the Taj Mahal as well as the swarm of people around Momily's car, and that I know what Namibia looks like and what a township in South Africa looks like and that Seattle is the airline gateway to Anchorage. This is a good show, dammit. Keep it up, y'all. All, right, end of Bad Time Slot Pep Talk.