If you wonder what it feels like to be around a couple where the guy is cruel to the point of being verbally abusive and the woman is apologetic and compliant, just tune in to “The Amazing Race.”
Have you ever been around one of those couples — perhaps at a wedding reception or a reunion — where the guy is cruel to the point of being verbally abusive and the woman is apologetic and compliant, and just being around them makes you feel uncomfortable? And you eventually extricate yourself from their company and wonder, “what is that poor woman doing with such an idiot?”
If not, and you wonder what it feels like, just tune in to “The Amazing Race.”
The reality show, the 17th incarnation of which is now in its home stretch, features a dozen or so two-member teams competing in a global race for a top prize of $1 million. It also features — this season, at least — some of those uncomfortable couples: He needs to get over himself; she needs a new guy.
Those of you who have something better to do on Sunday evenings — perhaps preparing for the workweek, which, for many of us these days, involves Scotch and/or prayer — have spared yourselves the discomfort of watching Chad and Stephanie, and Nick and Vicki (with an “i,” as opposed to an eye for men).
Stephanie is saddled with a partner (and boyfriend; they're dating) who is not only a sore loser but blames all the losing on her. The “Amazing Race” fan site describes this team's weaknesses in two sentences: “Chad whines a lot if he doesn't get his way. Chad needs some anger management classes.” Bingo and bingo.
Vicki and her boyfriend/partner Nick are from Vegas (unfortunately, not everything stays there, right, Nick?). They sport plenty of tattoos and piercings, as well as positive energy (her) and poisonous negativity (him). Despite battling asthma, Vicki takes on some of the more difficult physical challenges the teams must negotiate. Nick's chief contribution is to stand sullenly on the sidelines hollering discouraging insults.
Chad and Stephanie finally came in last and are no longer in the running. But not before — get this! — Chad proposed to Stephanie on the show and — now get THIS! — she accepted. I haven't seen someone do something this stupid on TV since the Mets played their last game back in September.
Nick and Vick should also be gone — long gone. They've come in last twice. Both times, however, they were told it was a “non-elimination round,” meaning the losers live to race another day. Whether that's pure luck or some “Amazing Race” producer's idea of a plot complication, who knows. Either way, viewers can continue watching Nick coo sweet sentiments to Vicki, such as “Quit crying!” “I'm sick of you being sorry!” and “I just wanna choke somebody!”
Fortunately, such hatefulness is ameliorated by the positive energy of two all-woman teams: A pair of doctors who are best friends, and a pair of home shopping network hosts who joke, cajole and encourage each other along.
Maybe I'm in the wrong demographic — that seems to be the case more and more lately — but I find the sportsmanship, mutual support and general sunniness of the positive teams far more entertaining than the noxious and obnoxious brow-beating that defines the darker relationships.
Stephanie has a ring and far be it from me to rain on an engagement, but I would suggest to Vicki that, as soon as the current competition is over, she engage in another race: In the opposite direction of Nick.
Contact Kevin Frisch at (585) 394-0770, ext. 257, or email@example.com.