The Amazing Race comes down to a final four teams, and although unnecessary meaning is usually attached to "The Final Four" in elimination-type shows, here's how I feel about the remaining teams:
Colin & Christie
Giving this team a thumbs-up doesn't just call for me to push aside my feelings about them; I have to use a god-almighty steam shovel.
Take away Colin's ulcer-inducing temper tantrums or Christie's banshee voice, and basically you have an Amazing Race dream team. With one notable exception (the caviar challenge), they are fearless when faced with obstacles, recover easily from their (few) mistakes, and physically fit enough to do the running, climbing, et.al. that Amazing Race calls for.
If you're looking for them to implode because of Colin's emotional outbursts--keep looking. Unfortunately, they've just gotten stronger as the weeks roll on. Hell, in the 9/7 episode, I actually found myself liking Colin because of the sheer joy he demonstrated in completing the leg. (The bastard!)
I cannot see a final two or final three that doesn't include Colin & Christie. How they'll fare that day simply depends on which way the wind blows. If Colin can avoid beating a pack mule to death or choking the life out of some Vietnamese ferry boat captain, C&C for the win.
Chip & Kim
Note to Chip: Nice guys finish last. No, really. It benefits you absolutely zero to give another team a hand-up. There's a difference, Chip, between not hurting another team and actively helping them. It's the difference between (not) using the Yield and rolling Brandon's log out of the sand.
Where is the Chip that sat in a cab and refused to move for Kami (or Karli)? The Chip that targeted other teams for elimination? That Chip got buried in the sand somewhere in Egypt.
This team would have an equal shot at winning it all as long as Chip doesn't get caught up in helping some broken-down motorist change a flat tire in Sydney or some little old lady cross the street in Tokyo. Win the money and there'll be time enough to bring puppies to the kids' hospital and jumper-cable all the neighbors you want.
Brandon & Nicole
There is a Simpsons segment where born-again Christian Ned Flanders' son Todd gets washed away down a river. "Flanders to God, Flanders to God," he prays, "get off your cloud and save my Todd!" Lo and behold, not only does God strike down a tree to block Todd's progress down the river, but the Almighty cheerfully tells Ned, "Okily-dokily!" when He is thanked.
No doubt this is the same God that Brandon and Nicole pray to because He protects fools and children.
How else but divine intervention can you explain the fact these two galoots are still in the race? For one thing, they're one of two teams that have benefited from a non-elimination and still racing.
If they're in a final leg that sees a plague of locusts descend on Colin & Christie (highest ratings...ever!), or Kim turn into a pillar of salt, or Linda carried off by the Four Horsemen, get thee to Church the following Sunday, you heathen, because Brandon is right and his prayers have pleased Him.
Linda & Karen (aka "The Bowling Moms")
Surely this is the team no one expected to go this far. Chalk it up to a lifetime of discipline and training, a regimen of scarfing nachos and guzzling beer at the Boise Bowl-a-Rama that no doubt prepared them for the discord and physical demands of The Amazing Race.
They are the other team that have benefited from a non-elimination who are still in.
Yes, there has been some whining. Yes, there has been some vigorous head-shaking when they've been asked to do some things they didn't want to do, like a five-year-old being forced to give grandma a kiss.
And, despite all that, they've approached most of their challenges with a modicum of good sense and good humor. And that's the Eye of the Tiger.
And, frankly, let's face it--if you've raised a teenager who likes Marilyn Manson and picked up dirty underwear from a wet bathroom floor, what's so scary about eating sheep intestines and floating across the English Channel on an inflatable inner tube?