Previously on The Adventures Of Some Bland Dominators, Some Midpack Teams With Control Issues, And Some Delightful Cannon Fodder: Last season. Also: FBA, who were half bland, half control issues, and all cannon fodder.
The teams for the second season of this here race around the world have been announced, and... it looks like more of the same, pretty much. Let's discuss them in more detail now, so I don't have to spend as much time discussing them when I recap the first episode, shall we?
Our first team are cousins Adam and Dane, who grew up in Tweed Heads. And, yes, if you're thinking they look at least twice as not-white as last season's entire cast, you're right. They're both Aboriginal, but that's about where the compliments for the producers end with this team. Their bio claims they're "tongue-in-cheek" about how they'll be great on the race because they never get lost, which is basically TV speak for saying the producers told them to play up the ZOMG BLACK FELLAS aspect of themselves because they may be perceived as boring otherwise and they could barely hide their revulsion. They follow it up by pointing out how hopeless they are at navigating, thus ensuring they will be the team to get lost on the way to the first episode before being eliminated and claiming the producers lied and said this was the audition for Masterchef. Dane claims to be so vain he'll struggle to last a full day without looking in a mirror, and the one consolation we can take from this is that he'll still briefly be contracted to Seven and thus will be unable to audition for the relaunched Big Brother. Not that that will stop any of the other vain nitwits who always seep through the audition process. He's also a cardiac scientist, which... the human heart isn't made of reflective glass, is it? Pass. Meanwhile, Adam is a merchant seaman, and it's like Christmas has come early. He claims to "have a huge respect for other places and their cultures", then immediately follows it up by commenting about how he loves... his own culture. Yeah, whatever, dude. I like everything I know about the culture of Kyrgyzstan, but you'll be hard-pressed to prove I know anything about Kyrgyzstan aside from asking to buy a vowel being a beheadable offence. (It's also worth noting that all the other teams are listed on Seven's website in alphabetical order, yet these two have been placed last, almost as an afterthought.)
Next up are Melbourne toyboy and sugar momma James and Sarah. He's 23 and she's 32, which is just within the socially-accepted "half your age plus seven years" rule. I hope his birthday's next, though. She's been divorced before, so clearly she knows how to pick them, especially when she calls this relationship "a bit of a car crash". Because those are always fun to watch on television, producers. (In case you can't tell, I'm being sarcastic. It's kind of a thing I do.) He works at a pub and she works in the highline world of laser hair removal, claiming she's a fan of "the odd bit of cosmetic enhancement". Which is surprising once you see her half-assed red highlights. It's like someone gave Helen Keller a paintball gun that only shoots stripes. As for race readiness? Apparently because normal shoes make her um widdle wegs huwt, she's convinced someone to make her special shoes that are a combination of runners and heels. So she's going to be fast. Their entire bio is pretty much her complaining about being too pretty for the race, so I'll spare you the rest of it (aside from saying: "I don't wear shorts." Really, lady? And you want to win THIS show?), but it closes with James also trying to use vanity as a cover for incompetence. I'm beginning to sense a running theme, and it's not one I like. Even if part of the reason is because they need a second opinion about their alleged beauty.
Third on our cavalcade of whimsy are Joseph and Grace, a brother and sister from... ew, Sydney? This does not enthuse me. They may both still live at home (they're 22 and 21 respectively), but they're apparently the sort of family where everybody has a separate bedroom for a reason, and Grace seems to think he hates it when she talks to his friends lest she say something embarrassing, so... a month of being filmed 24/7 for national television should be a walk in the park. Also, what an ass. And not in the fun, "Hey, Luke and Tom are streaking!" kind of way. He completely misuses the word "erratic" to describe her personality, and fails to display a basic knowledge of physics in the process by comparing her to not knowing which way a tennis ball will bounce. Luckily, his job as a banking analyst only requires the occasional use of algebra rather than geometry. There's yet more of the typical "they think differently, they're like NOTHING YOU'VE SEEN BEFORE" pimping of them - and you cannot possibly underestimate the level to which I care - ending with him calling her his "secretary" and her agreeing she needs to shut up and let him make the decisions. So basically they're Chris and Bambi again, except this time Lebanese instead of Greek. Because it would be too much work to find a token Mediterranean guy who isn't an overbearing douche, apparently. Way to support multicultralism, producers.
Kym and Donna are engaged Brisvegans and, despite his name, not lesbians. Which is a real shame, because remember how there was that big fuss about how there weren't any (openly) same-sex attracted contestants last year? There are none this year either. The producers have pretty much boxed themselves into a corner here - if they cast a gay team this season, it'd seem like they were pandering to a vocal minority. If they didn't, it would seem like they have an agenda against The Gays. Which is not out of the realm of possibility once you consider these producers have also done four seasons of The Amazing Race Asia and two of HaMerotz LaMillion (Israel's version) without casting a single out gay, or if they're still sponsored by Gloria Jeans. Stupid Christian fundamentalists. Perhaps it may also explain why all the minority teams also seem to be either irredeemable twats or the sort of cannonfoddery people who would struggle to last three episodes. All the better to help the hot young camera-friendly white people stay around. (Disclaimer: I am a young white guy.) And apparently there was a new team around here too, but it looks and sounds like Dave and Kelly just got a hair transplant and a wig respectively. They're one of this season's obnoxious hard luck stories, between losing one job and having to experience the floods, and to paraphrase the lovely Adam Hills CAN WE STOP CELEBRATING IDIOTS WITH LAME SOB STORIES AND NO UNDERSTANDING OF REALITY SHOWS ON REALITY SHOWS?! As a final note, she was born in New Zealand and seems to think "talking in silly accents" is entertaining. Oh, goody.
With three already-irritating couples and a dull male team, we haven't had a team of women yet, so here are Lucy and Emilia, Sydney sisters, flag enthusiasts, and teachers. And really, it's about time we had some actual teachers on The Amazing Race instead of federal agents masquerading as teachers under the misguided belief people car what you do for a living. The bio immediately opens by calling them "larger-than-life" (translation: "obnoxious and not stick figures"), but the ladies themselves also immediately make them instant favourites by claiming they only go to the gym to check out the hot guys. MY PEOPLE! Lucy, the older, tanner one (I think), calls Emilia "Wog Barbie", which you should know damn well by now is going to lead to me making jokes about Ken's shapeless bulge and ambiguous sexuality all season long. You're welcome. They're the stereotypical hand-gesturing Italians, and they seem to get along far better than basically any team we had last year. Hooray for functionality! Their mother survived cancer last year, but told them to enjoy themselves on the race, so ten points for her.
Michelle and Jo. Sydney twins. Whatever. NRL cheerleaders. Whatever. Work at an airline. Whatever. Seriously, THIS was one of the eleven most interesting teams in Australia? Bullshit, producers. I'm not even going to bother.
Paul and Steve are from Victoria, and are the first ever interracial Amazing Race team that isn't a couple. As far as we know. They claim to be workmates, even though Paul is your stereotypical Asian accountant and Steve is a bogan roadworker who will probably call Grant "Granno" or something equally inane. So presumably he might finally be the person to point out that actual road detours don't have a second option. They self-describe as "intense and arrogant", so that's going to work for them. Paul is also a bodybuilder, and it seems the producers thought having an intense, arrogant bodybuilder last season wasn't nearly enough and we were all dying to relive it. Kill me now, guys, before I jump into the "he's not all bad!" bandwagon again.
Ross and Tarryn are also from Melbourne, and he's a former AFL footballer. And with Brendan Fevola on Dancing With The Stars, Warwick Capper and Jason Akermanis on Celebrity Apprentice, and Dipper on Excess Baggage all within the last year, it looks like the producers of this show have decided to jump head first into a crowded pool. However, they've thankfully decided to avoid the usual overbearing sideshows and have instead selected a former Fitzroy vice-captain who won their Best & Fairest in 1984. Remember when Fitzroy was a thing? That people cared about? Good times. (Oh, shut up and suck it, Gold Coast.) She's been recruited as his teammate under the lesser-known father-daughter clause, and was once a state-level basketball player. The most surprising news here is that Victoria has a state basketball team. They also have the standard hook where the parent and child disagree about who knows best, and I'm bored already. Which isn't a good thing coming from, so far, my second favourite team.
Shane and Andrew are friends and Godzilla impersonators from Melbourne who, like all the other teams, seem to think their completely irrelevant job as cops makes them perfectly qualified to compete on the race. Just once, I'd like someone to claim their job doesn't help them at all. And as awesome as Melbourne is, can we get some more teams from other places next season? Between Melbourne and Sydney, this is seven teams so far. Out of... what are we up to, nine? It's fucking ridiculous. Even beyond all that, Shane earns by eternal hatred and mockery by getting all Secret-y and claiming that if they have fun, they will win "the big two fiddy". I can't decide which part detests me more. In happier news, their respective wives have apparently done my job for me and have taken to calling these two each other's "boyfriend". Hee! Why can't we have the wives instead? Surely they're more interesting than the cheerleaders, and we could get an actual gay team to fill this spot.
Our next team is, thankfully, from Launceston. Sam and "Sticky" (real name Geoff) are... well, the bio only focuses on one thing, and if you've ever read any bios for teams with obvious physical handicaps, you know exactly what it is. "Sticky" is so named (and will be soooo renamed, because I am NOT doing that for a whole season) because he was born with only half a left arm. So, what does this mean for this cricket enthusiast and (I shit you not) PROFESSIONAL JAVELIN ATHLETE? Well, basically that he wants to prove he can be just as much of a sanctimonious prick as all the able-bodied people. He also thinks "it'd be great to find love on the show". Yeah, otherwise he might not have any energy left in his hand after a few legs. (Rimshot!) Sam claims their one weakness will be that they're chronically unlucky, and... has he watched this show before? There's usually a whole bunch of tasks that are glorified chook lotteries. I don't see them lasting long, which is a shame because there are so many more obnoxious people to deal with.
Such as Sue and Teresa, who are our final team and are from Geraldton. Oh, great. You know, producers, there are other minor cities in this country. We really don't need to put up with a couple of faux-hippies who probably only applied because Kelly suggested it. Also, it's a little place called South Australia. Next year, cast someone from there. I assure you, nobody from outside Sydney will mind. They're both hairdressers, which shocks and disappoints me for so many reasons. Teresa explains that they've got a homemade "aura spray" to "get rid of any negativity", and suddenly 105! doesn't seem nearly as bad, does it? After a standard mention of the role karma will play in no doubt eliminating them early, we are done with the final profile. And not a moment too soon. Does it seem to anybody else like there's hardly a likable contestant among the entire group? I mean, there's the sisters, and then there's a wide margin to the father-daughter team and the basically invisible James, and an even wider margin to anybody else even remotely worth putting aside twelve weeks to watch. SIGH.