Mission Incomplete: Ex-CIA Couldn't Figure out Their Cryptex Fast Enough
On ''Treasure Hunters,'' it's a comedy of errors: Despite embarrassing spelling mistakes, uneducated guesses, and idiotic arguments, three teams manage to stumble their way to the finale.
by Michael Slezak, Entertainment Weekly
It's taken a full eight episodes, but Treasure Hunters has finally hit its stride. Not as a riveting international scavenger hunt in the vein of The Amazing Race, however, but as a comedy of human ineptitude that would probably be dismissed as too farfetched by even the most imaginative sitcom-writing team. And before you tell me I shouldn't be covering a show I don't like, let me clarify that I'm not falling into my typical Treasure Hunters-induced curmudgeon mode. This week's episode had me hooting with laughter — I cannot tell a lie. (Ya like the way I worked a George Washington reference into the preceding sentence? Slick, huh?)
Seriously, though, I can't be the only one who was lapping up that guffaw-worthy moment when a befuddled Charles, a member of so-called ''Team Genius,'' asked colleague Francis Muttonchops how to spell Philadelphia. I mean, I'm pretty sure that such a magical land doesn't exist in the pages of Tolkien, but unless the dude is getting his bachelor's in Sci-Fi Action Figures, with a minor in D&D, there's simply no excuse for his stupidity. And what erroneous spelling was he entering into his Ask.com search, anyway? Philidelphya? Phillydelphia? Fillet-delphia? I'm not seeing a viable alternative. (Even crazier, minutes later, the Geniuses chose the rogue misspeller to head to the 22nd floor of the Land Title Building to complete an unknown task that, luckily, didn't involve any real grasp of the English language.) On top of that, we had Charles gettin' giddy with delight that he and his fellow Hobbits snuck out of the Gould Library ''without telling the other teams.'' Um, way to finally frackin' figure out that you're all competing in a race to win a cash prize — it took you long enough!
Also engaging in poetic asininity this week were the Southie Boys — in particular, twins Martin and Matthew, who arrived at the final puzzle of this week's leg and promptly got into a brother-on-brother physical altercation, complete with swearing, swatting, and a hissyfit lap around the local college track. Watching the twins' pal John shout ''Shut up!'' an astonishing 15 times (yeah, I counted) while trying to herd the infantile duo into Founders' Hall and avoid getting a shiner himself, I realized I should have been rooting for this team's elimination, and yet my insatiable hunger for good TV outweighed my desire to see the Southies punished for their stupidity. What's more, for the second week running, the Southies uncovered a key clue by sheer luck, instead of using the vague clues coughed up by the show's producers. When John guessed ''Liberty'' was the codeword to open the cryptex, I half expected his Motorola message would be, ''Congratulations! You've once again made a mockery of the entire game!''
But wait! The comedy doesn't end there, either, thanks to the men of Ex-CIA, or as many of you readers have astutely taken to calling them, Ex-CIA Janitors, since none of the trio seems to have any of the physical prowess, courage, or ability to read a map that you'd hope to see in even the most inexperienced field agent. This week we got a taste of drunken cretin Mark (who a couple weeks ago was mouthing off that the Southies were only a few generations removed from cave paintings) wearing a fugly historical hat and slurring to Air Force's Matt R. that he'd spent the day hitting on the latter's wife. So where's the punch line? Well, let's just agree that sometimes it's just as satisfying to laugh at people as it is to laugh with 'em. Same goes for Ex-CIA's Todd, who showed his courage under fire by whining, ''I hope I don't get dizzy with this sinus infection,'' as he climbed out the window to start the ledge challenge. I wonder if it was the sinuses that had also Todd sniffling after his team got the boot, or was the guy showing a rare glimmer of human emotion?
If Option B is the answer, perhaps Todd can have a nice heart-to-motherboard with host Laird Macintosh, who'll soon be traveling to the Emerald City to ask the Wizard for some real human organs — any of 'em will do! — to store inside his shiny metal frame. The way hostbot spat the line, ''If not for Stephen Girard, we would have lost the War of 1812, and I might be speaking to you in an English accent'' with all the warmth of a dot-matrix printer, I wanted to reach into my TV and hand the guy a pocket watch, or at least a can of WD-40.
What did you think of this week's episode? Were you unlucky enough to notice how the harness in the high-rise challenge served as sort of an obscene Wonderbra equivalent for Matt R. and John's male equipment? And is there any way competitive-yet-bland Air Force can lose in next week's finale? I sure hope not.
"Um, way to finally frackin' figure out that you're all competing in a race to win a cash prize — it took you long enough!"
Yeah, finally. No more 6 on 1 or 2
It was one of the better episodes.
I was hoping for Air force vs Southies.
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