This afternoon, I had the pleasure of speaking to Steve & Josh, the most recent victims of Philimination from The Amazing Race 4. I had a hard time transcribing this interview over my own laughter, so I hope it comes through. Here's what they had to say:
What went wrong on the way to Marseilles that we didn't get to see?
Steve: We had some miscommunications on that day of the race. It didn't hurt us, but we kind of stopped communicating. I got a little pissed at Josh, he got a little pissed at me. Then we got to Marseilles, and we had to go to the Gorge du Blavet. So we went to the dock gate and asked the guard how to get there. He sent us two hours the wrong direction, to a different Gorge du Blavet, in Nemes. There we met an Englishman who told us we were at the wrong one. Once we finally got there, we had difficulty finding the mansion.
Josh: The bad directions to the Gorge were given to us by three different people.
Steve: The French weren't very helpful with us. We didn't speak the language, and if we could have spoken even a little French, we could have garnered some support. But they don't appreciate that apparently, and it really hurt us.
You slept in your car waiting for the ferry, and clips show you running out of gas. Tell us about that.
Steve: I haven't seen that yet, but I know all about it. Josh had driven all night, and I drove the last little leg. We didn't get gas, and when we pulled up, we noticed we were really low. But it was really cold, and we really needed to warm up a little bit. So I started the car, and Josh said 'Dad, whatever you do, don't let the car run very long.' Josh fell asleep right away, because we were exhausted. And I leaned my head back, just for a minute to rest my eyes. When I woke up, the car was dead, the lights were on, and the radio was playing. Josh jumped up and said 'Oh my gosh, what have you done?' We went out of to the gate and we called a taxi, went and got a couple of jugs of gas, and came back to fill up our tanks.
Josh: It ended up not affecting us at all, other than I was really pissed that he left the car running. We had just enough gas to get around on the dock and to the next gas station.
Steve: When we got out of the car, I told Josh to be quiet and not tell anyone what we'd done. Everyone saw us get in a taxi and drive away, leaving our car, and they all freaked out.
Josh: We told Steve & Dave and Jon & Al. Jon was telling us to prime the valves, because it was deisel.
You both have some vocal friends and family supporting you on the internet. Is it hard to reconcile the real experience against what your friends and the average viewers see?
Steve: Not really. We argued more than they showed, but arguing is not always bad - it's just another form of communication.
Josh: Every week, I get together with about 20 of my friends, and while we're watching, I'm explaining what really happened. They all get a kick out of seeing their friend doing what they're doing, and hearing what's really happening. Like in Venice, we walked around because we wanted to get the lay of the city. It ended up helping us, because coming out of the task, we were able to find the pit stop with ease.
Steve: We ran right to it. The one time Josh actually ran.
Josh: Oh please. It was funny, because the whole race, I was complaining how he didn't run fast enough, but that time, we saw the pit stop and I saw this flash of green whiz by.
Who coined the nicknames "Weezer and Geezer", and did that bother you at all?
Josh: I was under the impression it was Steve & Dave, but I guess it was Chris & Amanda. At the start city, they saw us and decided to label us as such, because I was wearing a Weezer t-shirt, and he's old. Steve & Dave picked up on it, and they're really vocal loud guys.
Steve: We were at the pit stop in Gmunden, and we were all at dinner, talking about nicknames, and I asked Reichen what he called us. He got red in the face, and said "Weezer and Geezer". He felt really bad about it, but it was really funny.
Steve, when Josh asked you to do the race with him, what did you think?
Steve: I actually asked Josh. His mother suggested it to us both. So having both been big fans of the show, I asked him if he was interested. He was always the obvious choice for me.
Right away, at LAX, you helped Steve & Dave line-jump, which made some other teams upset. How did you expect that to help you in the race?
Josh: At the time, we were looking at them, talking to them in line, and they were obviously smart guys. We knew if we allied against them, worst case scenario, we could outrun them. Best case scenario, we'd get to hang out with a couple of fun guys while we're doing this.
Steve: There were a couple of reasons. First off, I found out Dave's last name was Cottingham. There aren't a lot of Cottinghams around. Second, they were air traffic controllers. I thought 'half of this race is flying' - these guys know what's up with which planes fly faster, what airports have more trouble getting planes in and out. I knew, and Josh doesn't know this yet, but I knew at times that Josh can be difficult, and I thought if we had two older guys that he could buy into, then I'd have an easier time with Josh. I used that to my advantage, and it was a way to have a smoother race. And they are intelligent, fun guys to have around.
How has your relationship changed since the race?
Josh: I think we both look at each other in a different way now. I always thought of my dad as this old, kind of out of shape, kind of an old country guy. Now I see him in the race, and he kicked ass the whole time.
Steve: Josh always thought if you talked slow, you think slow.
Josh: No, I really didn't.
Steve: Well, I always kind of felt like it. But now Josh knows that just because I'm nearing 50 doesn't mean I'm nearing dead. And he knows that even though I talk slow, I think quick. And I also have come to find that Josh is a great leader - he leads well, he thinks on his feet. He's not going to have any problems in life, and it makes me feel better now, knowing that if something happens to me tomorrow, Josh is going to be just fine.
Did you get to do the Formula One detour, and who did it?
Josh: In Le Mans, I did the race car. It was really, really awesome. My dad was tired at that point.
Steve: It was obvious it was going to be a small space, and I don't fit well in a small space.
Josh: We knew we were at a race track, and we knew we were going to be driving a race car, and there was no way I wasn't going to do it. It was so fun.
You got to perform what seemed like the most elaborate Fast Forward ever. How long did it take to finally complete?
Josh: It took me like six f*in tries to do that thing. I was able to get the tray up, but I i could never get it across the floor. My dad couldn't even pick the tray up.
Steve: They only show us each dropping one tray, but in all actuality, there were about 12 trays that didn't make it across.
I heard a rumor that there was broken glass on the floor when you got there, so you thought maybe someone had beaten you to it.
Josh: My dad broke a bunch of glasses without me seeing. So I saw broken glasses in the middle of the floor, but didn't know my dad had done it.
Steve: And they were kicking them all over the place, too. But when we started, one of the dancers said "good luck", so we knew we just had to get across.
Josh: People were laughing and having fun with it. They were making jokes in their thick Austrian accent. It was a fun experience.
Steve: It was my favorite thing. Bertram (Van Munster) told us, and maybe I shouldn't say this, but I'm going to, but he said it was the most expensive Fast Forward he'd ever done. He was worried that no one would do it.
Josh: I think it looked good on TV, too. In person, it was much more majestic and overwhelming, but it came across on TV well.
Steve: As we exited the ballroom, tourists who were watching us we laughing and really digging it, it was a lot of fun.
How important would you rank foreign language and map-reading skills, having had some problems?
Josh: It's kind of important, Al spoke Italian and was able to get around better there. But several teams didn't speak any foreign languages, and they've done well so far.
Steve: In most European countries, they learn English in school, so it's not that difficult. It wasn't a big concern, we were always able to find someone to speak English. But you should learn some basic phrases - please and thank you, and so on, to ingratiate yourself with the people.
Josh: For future races, pick up a phrasebook at the airport for whatever your first destination is. And learn to read a map, because I suck with a map, which is why I did a lot of the driving.
Steve: In the gondola, we didn't speak the language, so I just highlighted the route on the map and told the guy to "go here". That worked well.
What piece of advice would you give the teams for the next race?
Josh: Pack a jacket, because I didn't. I just assumed from last seasons that it would be warm. It seemed like they stuck to warmer climates in previous races, and I thought we'd be doing that to. The warmest thing I packed was a thermal sweatshirt, and I froze my ass off the whole time. Beyond that, just be patient with each other.
Steve: Communication is everything. You have to have a way to resolve a situation. But the most important thing is to bring a smaller pack. I would say, you can raise with just the clothes on your back.
Josh, you must not have seen TAR1, when they went to Alaska.
Josh: Yeah, but they gave them gear. I assumed if we went someplace cold, they'd give us gear. I hammed it up on that one.
Steve: Everyone talks about bringing good shoes, and they're right. Shoes are a big deal. Bring good shoes, but you can go without everything else.
Thank you both for talking to us, and good luck with everything.
Steve: Thank you. We really love reading the posts on the FORT, and we appreciate everything.
Thanks so much to Steve and Josh (and their family and friends who have given us some great insight into the show), and to CBS for the interview!