Monday, April 23, 2007

"Yield:" An Amazing Race Rant

Possible Spoiler Warning!!! If nothing else, a ton of talk about The Amazing Race!!! You've been warned!!!

Hopefully that'll thin this out to the handful of people who read my blog and watch TAR...

Maybe you're like me, and you watch this show every time it's on. Maybe this is your first season, maybe it's your 11th, just like it is mine.

Regardless of where you are in this continuum, it seems pretty unanimous: The Yield Sucks. More importantly, teams on the show whining about the Yield, whether they've been subject to it or not, sucks hippo dick.

Personally, I've never been a fan of the fucking thing, and in this "all star" season, the whining has reached levels hitherto unexplored.

For those who didn't know, the Yield option was not part of the original show concept. In fact, for the first 4-5 seasons, all that was in place was a fast forward option at every leg. This was truly a good thing, because if two teams decided to go for it, there was pressure to make sure you did the task a) correctly the first time, and b) faster than the other team. If you failed at either one, you'd be screwed for time, and had to scramble back and do everything. Some teams overcame this hurdle with flying colors.

Then, the Rob and Amber season happened, and that was when the Yield, along with the "give us your clothes and your money" non-elimination rule (which, thankfully, no longer exists. All it did was force people to beg. Watching priviledged UStians begging on the streets of Calcutta isn't as much fun as it sounds), was introduced.

Simply, you reach a point in any given leg, and you're given the option to delay a team behind you an unspecified amount of time (from 15 minutes to 45 or so), giving you a cushion of time to get farther than this other team.

As if racing internationally isn't enough of a stress factor, or the possibility of having yourself not understood, or getting lost on your own...No, that's not enough, now you have other teams trying to screw you over to contend with. As a means of creating conflict out of whole cloth, it works. But is it necessary? I'd argue not.

Here's the thing: As much as I hate it, it's an officially sponsored rule, so it's part of the game. A sort of "go directly to jail, do not pass go" thing.

Does that stop the whining? No. What's worse is the hippocritical stance that if another team does it to you, then that team's character is now obviously in question (as opposed to if you got to it first, and doled it out to another team, you're just trying to play the game). One of the current contestants invoked some bullshit called "Yield Karma" a couple of weeks ago. It's annoying, I tell you.

Yesterday's episode introduced a new wrinkle to the "Yield" aspect.

Danny & Oswald (aka, Team Chacha, my hope for the eventual winner) found themselves in a dilemna: They were quickly running out of money, they were first to the next challenge, and the other team with them (Dustin & Kandice, aka The Beauty Queens, aka BQs) had already used the Yield. Meaning that Chachacha could use the Yield on the BQs, but not vice versa.

Chacha did a very clever thing: Offered the use of the Yield in return for money. The implied threat was that if the BQs didn't comply, the Yield would be used on them. BQs thought this over, and wisely offered $45 dollars (Chacha should've haggled) to have the Yield used on Eric & Danielle (aka Team The Frat and the Pink - she's one of those - aka, Frink). Frink had already been subject to the BQs Yield, this'd be the second time they'd been Yielded this season.

Chacha accepted, and deal went down like they'd negotiated, and then all kinds of stupid shit started happening: Charla & Mirna (aka Chmirna) became all self-righteous (there's a whole other entry dedicated to the annoyance that Chmirna represents, but I'll let someone else take that assignment); the BQs behaved as if they weren't behind the notion of yielding Frink; Frink offered a ton of violence visited upon Chacha...

It was how Chacha reacted to their own actions that rankled the most...Instead of just taking the money and dealing with their act as one borne of necessity, they put on the biggest display of LatinoAmerican Catholic guilt ever seen since...hell, you think of something.

They became whiny, self-abusive, and really bitchy at each other. They made poor decisions, like keeping their lousy cabby even though he'd repeatedly screwed them over. They didn't get directions to places they were going. All in all, they did the very opposite of things that made them one of my favorite teams ever.

Do you know what they blamed? "Yield Karma." Which is bullshit, at least under the terms they believe the concept of karma to operate. First of all, because the Yield is a part of the game, this is a competition, after all, so there is nothing inherently wrong in deciding to profit from it. That act, in the parlance of Buddhism, becomes a neutral external stimulus. It just is, neither good or bad.

Chacha's karma comes in how they reacted to the event (and please, this is greatly simplified for this discussion, so don't come a-pickin at me if you take issue...This is pointedly not in my Buddhist blog). They could've just sailed through the rest of the day, instead, they became bogged down in negativity.

Whose fault is that?

Chacha ended up not getting eliminated, thank the gods, and in the episode's exit interviews, their attitude bespoke of a decision that they'd already paid that "karmic tab." Good, I hope they're serious and recover.

The fact remains that the stupid manipulative rule upsets me enough to put this much fucking thought into it, though.

Perhaps that's the most annoying thing of all.


At 1:19 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Well said. I agree with most all of your points.

The Yield is bullshit. And Eric is a whiny fucking douche. And Danny and Oswald just made a bunch of stupid decisions.

What really rankles me is the seemingly endless supply of non-elimination legs. Eric and Danielle were marked for elimination. So, if they'd come in last, they wouldn't have been eliminated? What the fuck? It's shit like that which makes me believe that there is no really competition and that the whole thing is just completely orchestrated by the producers.

I'm wearying of this show. Which makes me sad. (Not that fucking sad, just a bit.)

At 3:56 PM, Blogger the beige one said...

What really rankles me is the seemingly endless supply of non-elimination legs.

Well, this is the third, and seemingly last non-elim round in the series, and that has always been the number.

But the past couple of seasons have suffered from some piss-poor planning, and you're right, one right after the other's a bit extreme.

So, if they'd come in last, they wouldn't have been eliminated?

Very good question, one that leads me to some rather uncomfortable answers...

That said, they haven't lost me yet, though there's been a decline in quality ever since the first Romber season.

At 5:18 PM, Blogger Stine said...

I agree with the non-elim rounds. They're for pussys. But I say that as a full-fledged fan of the Chacha. They woulda been toast this last week.

But you're both right about the Yield, it's beginning to add entirely new levels of discourse to the race.

It's meandering like 24 is meandering. Ok, now I'm sad.


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