Question: Hello Matt. I like your column and hope you will print this question. I have been a huge fan of Amazing Race since about a quarter into its second season (I believe that was the one with Danny and Oswald, still my favorite AR team of all time). I know the family edition was uneven, but I fear the events of the May 3 episode might prove to be the show's undoing. What Eric and Jeremy did, canceling the cabs of both B.J. and Tyler and Ray and Yolanda, was so over the line in terms of sportsmanship and deception that it left me thoroughly disgusted. Furthermore, Joseph and Monica are fast becoming one of the most loathsome teams ever on the show (although I don't think anyone can top Jonathan and Victoria). They were all too happy to look the other way at the Frat Boys' slimy tactics, and then they have the nerve to whine and complain when the Hippies yielded them?!! I have never seen the show get this nasty and unpleasant, even during the Rob and Amber season. I was so angry after the show, there was a part of me that didn't want to see the rest of the season, though I probably will. I still think it is the best reality show on TV and I would hate to see this sorry episode lead to its downfall. Am I overreacting? Or do you share similar feelings?
Answer: While I certainly don't applaud the Frat Boys' immature prank, I do think you're overreacting a bit. Wasn't it delicious to see karma bite them in the butt when their own taxi didn't show? It's not as if they got away with it. Everyone picked up on what they'd done, and no one (with the possible exception of Joe and Monica, who at first were accused of doing this) was very happy about it. And obviously, the producers didn't feel they'd stepped so far outside the rulebook as to deserve a time penalty (as another viewer suggested should have been their comeuppance). This was foul play but nowhere near as ugly or conniving as what happened during the Rob-Amber season. This seemed to me a spontaneous prank, mischievous more than truly mean-spirited. I probably would have been far more upset if this had contributed more to the outcome of this leg of the race. But I will say that the fact that these good-time boys don't seem to have grown up one iota along this race (you would think that exposure to teams like Fran and Barry might have helped them mature just a wee bit) is one reason I'm not rooting for them. I'm also more forgiving toward MoJo. They've cracked under pressure, as so many teams tend to do, but her whining after being yielded was completely understandable. They were thisclose to getting to the yield marker first, and then they had to watch all of the other teams go ahead of them. I would have been freaking out, which is why it's a good thing I would never participate even in the best reality TV show that has ever existed. Given how miserable I can be when subjected to the indignities of traveling, I frankly marvel at how well these teams keep their cool when put to the extreme test week after week.