Everything I need to know about marriage, I’m currently learning on The Amazing Race Canada. It’s only costing me a basic cable package.
This week, the seven remaining teams travelled to Calgary from Vancouver to partake in the traditional Albertan activities of line dancing, dinosaur assembly, and coal mining. (The lessons about provincial pastimes are included free.)
The series is getting faster and fiercer each week. But it was easily the show’s two married couples — Body Break icons Hal and Joanne, and Montreal doctors Holly and Brett — who made it must-watch TV on Monday.
If the last time you saw Hal and Joanne was in a TV spot about how to choose a gym when you were just trying to choose Full House, it’s hard to convey … no, never mind, it isn’t. Their relationship is as solid as their upper bodies. There. Now you know.
Here’s a small sampling of their exchanges in episode three:
- Hal hails a cab. Joanne enthuses, “Good thinking on the whistle!”
- Joanne completes the line-dancing challenge. Hal marvels, “Jo, you looked fantastic. You looked really good. You did a fantastic job.”
When times got tough, as they do when a reality show requires you to shovel coal in the Alberta badlands after you’ve just exhausted yourself line dancing, Joanne didn’t complain. Far from it.
“Wow! This is a great workout. Upper body, lower body. No wonder the coal miners are fit,” she said, carrying right on shoveling with Hal.
After flawless co-operation the entire episode, Hal and Joanne finished first this week, and won a bonus trip anywhere in the United States.
What went wrong for the couple is basically the same stuff that gets you uninvited to the neighbourhood board game night.
At the line dancing roadblock, Holly took multiple tries to get the moves down, while Brett paced the stands complaining about being unaccustomed to losing. From those exact same stands, Hal had hollered to Joanne that she looked good (in cutoffs, a plaid shirt, cowboy boots and a cowboy hat).
Besides not being excellent at line dancing, Holly and Brett’s own nastiness began to catch up with them this week. Hippies Kristen and Darren decided to break their alliance with the doctors and hand their extra express pass to sisters Vanessa and Celina instead, reasoning that the doctors couldn’t be trusted.
They were probably correct. Minutes earlier, Holly and Brett hid all of the Alberta maps at the airport so the other teams wouldn’t be able to consult them.
This stunt made the doctors’ holier-than-thou reaction to the broken alliance particularly rich.
“I’ll be honest,” Brett said to Kristen when she explained their decision. “We’re pediatricians. We work with families. Our word is worth something.”
Somewhere, former Public Safety Minister Vic Toews applauded this logic.
This doesn’t mean you should count Holly and Brett out of the race. Becoming the show’s villains actually means they’re more likely (through the magic of reality TV) to be in this until the very end. This week turned out to be a non-elimination round, meaning that even when it looked like the end was nigh, it really wasn’t.
But it’s hard to imagine one of them not cracking in the coming weeks. Even after they assembled the dinosaur skeleton and were on their way to the pit stop, all Holly could do was panic that they were about to be eliminated and all Brett could do was shout, “Hol, don’t talk about it! I don’t want to hear about it again!”
At the same stage in the race, Hal and Joanne thanked the coal miner who had supervised their digging, and embraced him in a group hug, before getting into their truck to head to the pit stop.
They’ve been together for 25 years and I bet they get more board game night invitations than they can possibly accept.