Help Me! I'm American!

By Michael Murray | TV | November 13, 2009 | Comments ()

By Michael Murray | TV | November 13, 2009 |

About as physically nuanced as a Ken and Barbie doll, they see themselves as front-runners, and not just in the race, but in life, too. Cheyene, who has stupid hair, also has the bloodless manner of automaton Tom Cruise. He speaks in platitudes, like a dull athlete in a post-game scrum, saying things like, "We've been running a good race, which is a great sign for our future compatibility," unintentionally reducing Meghan to some breeding pod who must prove herself on the field of competition.

However, Meghan, whom Cheyene met while playing competitive tetherball way back in elementary school, is no joy either. She has the blank, disdainful look of a bitch factory, and seems to have complete authority over their relationship. In the manner of an inspirational speaker or a particularly bad life coach, Meghan talks into the camera, taking pitiless jabs at her man's performance on their last task, while he drives the car.

For the most part, the show builds toward the Roadblock, in which some insane Sisyphean task is constructed to slow down the front-runners so that the rest of the field can catch up to them. At this point, after a full day, everybody is exhausted and bitter, carrying with them the grudges they've been nurturing all day. And so, not only do we have the drama of finding out who will win this leg of the race, but we also get to see which team is going to have an emotional melt-down.

Last week, the teams had to unroll bale after fucking bale of hay, until a clue fell out of one of them. It was clearly an incredibly exhausting and frustrating thing to have to do, and the brother team of Sam and Dan nearly turned homicidal on one another.

When Meghan asked Cheyene which one of them should do the grunt work of this task, he said nothing and looked away weakly. And so, Meghan chose to sacrifice herself and cut off Cheyene's balls by manning up and doing it herself. Cheyene, with his ridiculously styled hair, stood on the sidelines offering diminishing encouragements by tossing her some gloves and praising his "baby girl." Meghan, who really wasn't strong enough to do the task, kept repeating that this was the worst thing she had ever done in her life, before bursting into tears.

Intense and joyless, Cheyene and Meghan were as unpleasant to one another as they were to the world unfolding around them. Contrasting this was Flight Time and Big Easy, the Harlem Globetrotter duo who are now leading the race. Exuding an easy and good-natured charm, like they thought it was all gravy, they sailed happily through their tasks, taking the time to enjoy the world they were passing through, rather than cursing it for getting in their way.

Michael Murray is a freelance writer. For the last three and a half years he's written a weekly column for the Ottawa Citizen about watching television. He presently lives in Toronto. You can find more of his musings on his blog, or check out his Facebook page.

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