This Blog’s For You

Ah, reality television… I think of the years before reality TV, and it saddens me. I’d spent so many years fulfilling my need to feel superior to others by humiliating people I actually knew. How many people’s feelings could’ve been spared? How many parties might I have been invited to?

The Real World provides such easy marks, it’s hard to find it completely satisfying. Big Brother seems like an even bigger magnet for less entertaining famewhores. Survivor offers great opportunities to criticize groupthink, especially the inability of individuals to actually act in their own best interests, despite what they might tell the camera.

However, no program manages to fully capture all that is best about reality television the way that The Amazing Race does. The show’s compelling format helps; it’s a game show that takes contestants all around the world. Throw in sleep deprivation and an irregular dining schedule and you’re in for some spectacular meltdowns. Almost every couple on the race reaches some kind of breaking point, but none has fallen apart as dramatically as Colin and Christie of TAR5. The most dominant pair of the season, the couple’s paranoia and bickering got the best of them in the Philippines.

Colin & Christie’s late arrival to a clue box got them yielded by eventual winners, Chip & Kim. The yielded team was forced to wait a predetermined period of time before continuing the race, and by the time they finished and hopped in their taxi, Christie was begging their driver to run down pedestrians.

The next task required teams to use an ox to find a clue in a muddy field, one person driving the ox’s plow while the other leads. All the other teams had finished and departed before Colin & Christie arrived, giving them no example to follow. Colin proceeded to drive the ox by himself because Christie 1) didn’t think she could help, and 2) didn’t want to get muddy.

As the ox dragged Colin all over — and, at times, outside — the field, Colin quickly lost his mind. He started screaming at the ox and at Christie, who’d been less than encouraging, herself. Colin cried out, “My ox is BROKEN! This is bullsh*t!” And then he quietly muttered, “Oh God, I hate you.” Whether this was directed at the ox or Christie, only Colin really knows.

Watching this episode of TAR5 was the greatest television experience of my life. Never has one man’s tragedy been so hilarious. So, Colin, I dedicate this blog to you in the hope that some other reality show contestant will fall apart even more completely than you did, and that you will be able to watch it all, smug and content in your living room, just as all of us watched you.