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'The Amazing Race' recap: I want my mama

March 7, 2011 |  6:29 am

Amazingmike A strange kettle of fish, "Amazing Race"-ers: wooden horses, petty theft, automobile vending machines, adult diapers, Commodore Perry, hypothermia and helpful hearse drivers. But let's start, shall we, with that single history-making moment. Jaime and Cara found the one man in civilization immune to their beauty.

Then again, the guy had just seen his side-view mirror decimated by the American gals in the midst of Tokyo traffic. And so, rather than bathing in their effulgence, he took the strategic course of getting on his phone. "We can't even have a conversation," complained Cara. "I just keep hearing 'Hm ... hm.'" Which may be the Japanese way of saying "911," because pretty soon, the police were there and things were looking dire for our hot redheads. They staggered to the finish line in darkness, certain they had lost, only to learn they were still in it.

Yes, elbowing them out of last place was the Agony Dynasty, Mike and Mel, who met their end in a vast muck and mire, scrabbling for -- and this is not a typo -- buried frogs. Frogs of luck, to be specific. And although these frogs were not, despite Cord's deeply held beliefs, alive, they might as well have been, given how cunningly they hid themselves from our crawling, shivering, half-naked contestants, who had to endure the additional indignity of being showered with mud by angry young Japanese men. It was a theater of cruelty such as Antonin Artaud might have endorsed. Or, as Kisha put it, in her characteristically direct way: "I got dirt in places dirt should not be right now." What a relief to report that Kent's makeup held up through it all. And how pleasant to hear him get his comeuppance from his normally supportive gal pal.

            Kent: Were you cold?

            Vixsyn: No, 'cause I was working really hard.

You've been served, Little Pale Prince. And the same fate may come to Flight Time and Big Easy, who inadvertently swiped Christina's fanny pack and, instead of returning it, dropped it in the men's changing room and ran. Sweet Georgia Brown! In their defense, they may have been deranged by the experience of standing under a cascade of 45-degree water from Mt. Fuji. "I want my mama," whimpered the big Trotter. If that's what Shinto cleansing rituals are like, give me the mud pit and the frogs.

And may Buddha preserve me from Ron, who bids fair to become the season's breakout villain, snarling and grouching and hurling invective and making us, all in all, rather grateful that his daughter is getting married. Soon. Fortune so far has smiled on the teams that leaven their competitive fire with abashed grins. First place was once again seized by Zev and Justin, a better married couple than most married couples. And right behind them came those Kentucky dynamos, who mean to win and who mean to have a good time doing it. Racing to her rendezvous with mud in a traditional two-piece, beauty queen Mallory was heard to cry: "This is Miss America all over again!" I believe that's as close to social critique as "Amazing Race" has ever veered.


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-- Louis Bayard

Photo: Mike in the mud. Credit: Robert Voets/CBS.