Welcome to the Accidental TARist, a freshly scented, brand new weekly article from the mods and writers of the FORT staff. Each week, teams will be dissected and analyzed for the good, the bad, and the ugly for each leg of the race. Join us in laughing at each team's triumphs, misadventures, and what just might keep them in the race another leg or send them home sooner.
Hayden and Aaron a.k.a. Team Shiny Gold
24 carat goodness: The actors propel themselves back into first place this week. For the first time that I can remember, a TAR alliance actually seems to work. With the announcement of the final yield, only H & A feel totally immune to the danger—and the first place team/their model allies never consider H & A as a target. Hayden uses her ninja stealth skills, disappearing behind a potted palm so that Adam and Rebecca can’t be sure they’re in the right place. Aaron flies through the roadblock like the brakes on his window washing swing are broken, which puts them in first place. Though one of the tasks demands that they must follow a *gasp* map, they have no trouble finding the detour and they choose the quicker brick challenge. Perhaps most impressive of all, Aaron is never rattled by Hayden’s endless harping and whining. In the cab on the way to the pit stop, Hayden lists off her psychotic faults and Aaron adds “sexy” to her list—she is visibly touched. Scoring points with your race partner: priceless.
All that glitters… H & A lose precious minutes changing money at the airport in Shanghai, which exchange never benefits them. It doesn’t hurt them this week, thanks to an overnight equalizer, but with the race winding down, they can’t afford to waste time frivolously. Aaron performs the non-physical roadblock again—and I haven’t counted so I’m not sure where they stand on that—but if a serious physical challenge shows up on the last leg and Hayden’s competing against Jon and Freddy, this could cost them the win.
Fool’s gold? Or the real thing? H & A are looking quite sound. I guarantee them a one in four chance of the win.
Freddie and Kendra a.k.a. Team Shanghai Sunshine
"You're soooo sexy," - Freddie and/or Kendra: Shanghai is puuurty, according to Kendra. Except for the "ghetto" portion she complains of. She wasn't confronted or beat down by locals, though. Damn. *sigh* Annyhoo, the lovey dovey couple continues to be dovey and lovey. Kissy smoochiness occurs continuously, and for variation....some smoochy kissiness as well. They support each other, and Kendra smacks her (metaphorical) cajones on the table when she agrees to do the high in the sky squeegee task. She's a trooper, though, as her bony frame whips in the wind like an uncoordinated and wimpy Cirque du Soleil reject. A proud Freddie yells pointless support, disappearing into the air 40 stories above him. Kendra can't hear it, but we are touched (?). They manage to nab cabs early, find clues fast, and overall, easily take a numero dos spot in the final four.
Unflattering Pools of Sweat: (This subtitle is a lie...as they look wonderful whilst sweating *sigh*) Freddie chooses to yield Horn Head and Shrieky in an ego-motivated payback beyatch slap. Should they have yielded Kris and Jon? Most likely. This could bite them later. Also back, is an ominous Bo bo visit that takes us by surprise in the brick yard. Kendra mimics the oft sunshine-y Hayden and snarls at Freddie to SHUT IT . She's pissy and mean, and let's him know that he's a stupid-head. <---not exact wording. Whether she *hearts* him or not, these little outbursts are so not tasty. And so, like most couples in their situation, they will likely wed anyway.
The Glistening, Happy Prize: Do they have a chance? I'm afraid.........yes. Stupid luck has proven to be on their side. *punches stupid luck*
Kris & Jon – AKA Team Taxi Haters
Taxi! Taxi!: Kris and Jon faced their toughest test this leg as they encountered two slow cab drivers during critical points in the race. Generally they finished each task with their usual ease, but the lost cabbies erased their first place positioning and they fell to third place. John seemed to almost utter an expletive, but instead fell back on his usual laid back attitude and informed the non-English speaking residents that their cabbie “sucked”. I expect some bunching in the final stages, so no harm was done in the long run.
Look out, a bus! A bus!: We actually saw urgency and concern out of Kris and John this episode. This was going to be a non-elimination leg, but being the overachievers they are, these two almost inadvertently eliminated themselves thanks to running through traffic trying to make it across the street to the pit stop at Peace Hotel South.
With the prize money, Kris could buy pay to have all Shanghai taxi drivers eliminated: In third place, Kris and Jon have some ground to make up. If karma has anything to do with it, then hopefully they have their transportation problems behind them.
Adam and Rebecca, aka Team HellRaiser
My Fare Lady: The Shanghai surprise this time around doesn't refer to the lowest point of ex-Beatle George Harrison's career(what was he thinking?) but that the Dynamic Duo manages to keep the hatred level down to a simmer. There's not much to brag about this week concerning their performance, unless you count Rebecca's fearless rappelling down the sheer face of a downtown skyscraper. Adam would have been clinging to the side of the building like a fly stuck on flypaper.
Stop And Smell The Bitterness: Who do they have to pay to hail a taxi driver with any sense of direction? Despite the fact that the other teams share the same problem, transportation bungling slows the two down. An hour-long rest period (read Detour) courtesy of Freddy and Kendra seals their fate. No amount of Adam's kvetching eases the pain, but turn-about is fair play.
Confucius Says: It had to happen eventually. Dead last on the Pit Stop mat. But wait, there's more! It doesn't end there. A home stretch with only three teams running amok wouldn't be as thrilling, so guess who snags the last Non-Elimination pardon? Can the scrappy couple scrounge up enough money to see them through to the good ole USA? Start placing your bets now!
Special thanks to the contributors, in alphabetical order: Bill, Feifer, LG., Lucy, Mantenna, Shazzer, SnowflakeGirl, Speedbump, spegs, Texicana, and Wayner.