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'Amazing Race' recap: Son of a Buck

February 27, 2011 |  9:59 pm

Amazing In honor of that counterprogramming known as the Oscars, let’s break down tonight’s episode.

Best Foreign-Language Film:  “The Adventures of Jed and Cord,” whose stars manage to make the English language sound enticingly alien every time they open their mouths.  “Everybody else was lawnnng gawn….You ready to hawwllll butt?....Son of a buck!....Oh, my gravy!”  In addition to surviving their encounter with that strange ecosystem known as “ocean,” the Oklahoma brothers managed to put themselves back in contention without losing an ounce of their yokel-ingenue charm.  O.  Kay.

Best Art Direction: The Living Desert, “a vast barren landscape in Australia’s Outback,” and home to mutant, hyperventilating marsupials who hop through the dreary streets looking for the mystical “intersection of Mercury and Bismuth.”

Best Screenplay (or line therefrom): “But they’re going to have to do it … dressed up as kangaroos!” (Phil K)

Runner-Up:  “Vixsyn, please get me children!” (Kent, searching for natives with whom to do a victory dance)

Second Runner-Up:  “I would prefer the Spirit World.” (Ron)

Third Runner-Up:  “I don’t want to kill you!” (Mike to dad Mel)

Fourth Runner-Up:  “This is not the kind of animal I usually dress up as.” (Um, either Jaime or Kara -- I’m still working out which is which.)

Most Passive-Aggressive Contestant:  The benign-looking Ron, who has effected the trick of sounding both humble and supercilious in the same breath.  “In an environment of sleep deprivation,” he allowed, “I may revert to some of my bad habits.”  Those would include sniping at Mallory the Beauty Queen -- “Why are we following them?  She’s hysterical” -- and calling Phil “Bill.”

Most Passive Contestant:   Mel White, whose fainting spells look to become a semi-permanent feature but whose naked pleas to Sydney bystanders -- “Can you help us?  We’re desperate” -- may well have vaulted him and his son back to contention.  Like last season’s Michael, he has a knack for turning groveling weakness to advantage. 

Most Aggressive Contestant:  Christina, who urged her dad to speak to her in Chinese (“Everyone’s going to understand”) and chided him for leaving too much stuff in his jacket (“We have a freakin’ market here”) while criticizing Gary and Mallory for not knowing where they were going.  ‘Cept, Christina?  They finished one place ahead of you.

Most Surprising Intrusion of Actual Knowledge:  Kent, summoning up memories of chemistry class to translate the periodic-table symbols Hg and Bi. 

Best Costume Design:  The kangaroo foot that Margie managed to drop on the mean streets of Broken Hills, Australia.

Best Supporting Actress:  The sad, brown-eyed gal with the angry ponytail who had to swallow down her revulsion while telling our contestants that their hastily assembled mosaics were not, in fact, authentic examples of aboriginal art. 

Most Disappointing Loss of Eye Candy:  Farewell, Kris.  And farewell to your perfect, perfect torso.  Although the sadness of seeing you leave was mitigated by your faux kangaroo tail swishing insouciantly behind you.

-- Louis Bayard

Photo: Gary, Mallory, Ron and Christina. Credit: Robert Voets/CBS.