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'Amazing Race' recap: Who’s ready to search for the meaning of life?

April 11, 2011 |  8:13 am

Goths “Running with hay-ay!  In the middle of India!”  Big Easy’s improvised crooning was catchy, and I could dance to it, but nothing better crystallized Sunday night’s “Amazing Race” episode than Jen’s stevedore-like sigh -- "Man ... " -- lamenting what one does for a million dollars.

At that instant, she and Kisha were slapping patties of buffalo manure against the exterior wall of a Varavasi home.  And what did they get for their labor?  The giggles of onlooking gamines and the glare of the resident manure critic, who scornfully peeled away their handiwork and ordered them to try again.  Even in what Phil K is pleased to call “the religious heart of India,” everyone’s a critic.

“Race” does have a curious habit of immersing its contestants in dung.  (It was just a year ago that Mallory became intimately familiar with the digestive systems of Russian cows.)  But last night’s most elemental moment came when Ron, seeking scraps of wisdom from various holy men, wandered off in a perfect fog of confusion.  “I overthought it,” he later explained, but the images showed us only a lost man -– over the hill and not picking up speed.  It was the first time I actually felt for the guy, and I found I wasn’t able to summon the expected satisfaction when he and his iron-jawed daughter were booted off for good.    

Their departure also leaves me in the dire predicament of having no one to root against.  Oh, sure, there’s always Kent and Vixsyn, who manage to find some new way to be irksome in each episode.  I particularly loved the way Kent attached himself like a blood-borne parasite to Gary and then, solution in hand, galloped away, leaving the older man stranded in the Varavasi marketplace.  “Our codependency was kind of over,” Kent later said.  Which sort of implied that Kent was helping in the first place.

But let’s face it: The Goths are just too psychotically entertaining to leave.  Vixsyn, in particular, after her meltdowns in Japan and China, seems to have become, if anything, more unhinged.  How are we ever going to top that moment when Vixsyn, having grown suddenly fearful of her water-taxi driver, flung herself into the Ganges?  I’d like to think she was cleansing her soul, but Kent was ready to commit her.  “Are you insane?” he bellowed.  “Are you crazy?  Get out of that water!  You gotta get a grip, sis!”  (Kent is about the best Sassy Gay Friend a girl could have.)  Previews of next week’s episode show Vixsyn giving Kent the Big Ultimatum: “If we get eliminated again, I swear to God I’m never going to speak to you again!”  If ever a threat had a taste of paradise to it. ...

-- Louis Bayard

Photo: Vyxsin and Kent in India. Credit: CBS.

 

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