Monday, October 19, 2009

Letters to Pauly: The Amazing Race, Vol. 4 - Digging Through Sand & Snow in Dubai

By Trisha Lynn
New York City

Editor's Note: Let's welcome back pop-culture correspondent Trisha Lynn as a guest scribe to Tao of Poker.

Dear Pauly,

When I was refreshing myself as to what happened last week and compared my thoughts to how other people see the Amazing (or not-so-Amazing) Race strategies of Maria Ho and Tiffany Michelle, what makes me snicker the most is this quote (slightly edited for readability):
I'm pretty sure that "The Poker Girls" should be amended to "The Poker Girlfriends." It's so obvious that they are a couple. There was way too much "sweetie" and "baby" going around from Tiffany to Maria during the Roadblock.
Considering that this is something the guys at Wicked Chops Poker have been riffing about ever since Maria passed on the WSOP Last Woman Standing(tm) title to Tiffany last year, I'm just surprised that it took this long for everyone watching "The Amazing Race" to notice.

By the way, when it comes to nicknames, Tiffany's YouTube page thinks the two of them should be called "Ho-Chips" as seen in this "cute" non-Race-related video featuring fellow pro Layne Flack. Do I scent a reality show pitch in the works? Is that the reason they agreed to be cast?

Anyhow, thanks to the Bills/Jets game going into overtime, the show is 1 hour and 25 min. late. The pre-credits recap covers the awesomeness of Asperger Boy and his Hetero Lifemate in the last leg, followed quickly by their downfall when they lost Zev's passport -- which is the only reason why Tiffany and Maria are still racing at all. Again, talk about sucking out at the river. That scream of anguish you heard? That was all the TAR-philes screaming in anguish because they just realized that one of the few likable teams that were on the show and aren't Harlem Globetrotters is now gone.

I am inordinately pleased when after being bunched up again at airport leaving Cambodia heading to the United Arab Emirate city of Dubai, Tiffany and Maria are the second to reach their taxis which will take them to their first clue. Their traffic problems seem to have disappeared, too, because they are the first team to sign into the first group that will go to the top of the Burj Dubai, a structure which will be the world's tallest building once it's been completed. "Good call on seeing this, sweetie!" Tiffany tells Maria when she spots the clue station and sign-in board, and I am starting to see why everyone thinks there's some LesYay going on. I am so freaking happy for them for proving that they're not completely useless at the getting into and out of airports and into/out of taxis and vehicles part of this race. This is a feeling that will not last very long.

The other three teams that go up with them to the top are the GayBros, the self-named Team Zebra (the biracial married couple) and Team Malibu Ken and Barbie (as named by Ericka, the former Miss America). From the top of the uncompleted tower, they then have to find some vehicles in a mall parking garage and drive themselves out to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve where the Roadblock task is to walk out into the desert and fill a waterskin with water from urns buried in the sand. Did I forget to mention that some of the urns are empty and it's over 120 degrees Fahrenheit?

Tiffany takes the Roadblock for her team, but it's the male Zebra who finds the water first and tells her and GayBro where the urn is. When his ladle breaks, she does something very smart and says that once she's finished scooping water into her own skin, he can use hers. Awww... and now you've redeemed yourself in my eyes, Tiff.

The GayBros try and return the favor after by saying that they'll wait for the girls after Maria reverses over a sharp stake in the sand, ripping out her radiator lines and rendering the car inoperable. "It gave the tummy of our car a tickle!" Tiffany interviews, and Maria deadpans, "That's an awesome way of looking at it." Once they get a replacement car, Maria remarks afterwards that it was "typical" that the only all-girl team is the one to break a car, but she quickly adds, "I have an excuse, because I'm an Asian female driver." Awww... and as a female Asian driver who is actually quite good at it, the hate I had for Tiffany has now gotten plopped onto Maria.

Now, the girls are headed back to Ski Dubai, an indoor ski park where the temperature inside is about 28 degrees Fahrenheit. Along with most of the other teams that show up at the same time, they attempt to find a very tiny snowman in the middle of huge-ass piles of snow, give up, and build the world's most misshapen snowmen in the heat outside instead. Maria gets some cute points back by explaining why their snowman doesn't look so great to the judge: "He ate a lot in winter." The award for the most hilariously unintentional homosexual innuendo goes to the GayBros when one of the says to the other in reference to their snowman's carrot-nose, "Just put it in!" With only a modicum of bickering in the car, the girls get to the mat and are not eliminated, giving them one more week to be on the show.

I'd like to add here that the girls could have skipped past all of the previous tasks after the tower by going to the Dubai Autodrome, an outdoor racing track (is there anything Dubai doesn't have?) and trying to do one lap in in a Formula 1 car under 45 seconds. Canaan chooses to do that instead of going to the desert, and who blames him? I totally would have done it, too, and pretended I was The Stig all the way around the track. I would totally love to hear what Maria says about choosing not to do the Fast Forward, especially since it looks like Tiffany doesn't know how to drive a car and the task would have fallen to her.

At least they're not in last place, and that is reserved to Lawyer Lance, who got them lost all over Dubai and tried to make sart remarks that fell completely flatt. The girls placed sixth, and have survived one more round.

NEXT TIME: One of the tasks consists of a trip down a near-vertical water slide. I cannot wait to see what kind of swimwear they packed for the trip.

Trisha Lynn

P.S. This episode recap has been brought to you by the letters "half a bottle of Pinot Grigiot."

Trisha Lynn is a writer from New York City. She's also a contributor to Movie

* * * * *

Dearest Trisha,

What would I do without your recaps from Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3? I wanted to watch this week's episode because I'm infatuated with Dubai, but the end of the Jets/Bills game drained me. Killed me. Despite the fact that I skipped this episode to read a Thomas Pynchon novel instead, it looks like the poker chicks have survived the elements in Dubai and are on their way to Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

Thanks again for your stellar updates.


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