The story of the Amazing Race Canada is this: another leg, another worthy team eliminated. Last night, that leg was Newfoundland, and that team was Jet and Dave.
“My worst nightmare is a Roadblock that I fail at that costs us everything,” Dave revealed earlier, in what is known as foreshadowing.
After taking a bus from Halifax to Sydney (the show’s budget appears to be dwindling), followed by an overnight ferry to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, it was ultimately a challenge to raise $50 busking in the streets of St. John’s that felled the best friends.
“I need money! Please donate,” Dave called out to the strangers passing him by. “Will you donate to me? I’m pathetic.”
Dave struggled to convince anyone that his singing of Row Row Row Your Boat or his mediocre devil sticks ability was worth their loose change. If this had been a Detour (completed by both members of the team) instead of a Roadblock (completed by one person), Jet and Dave would almost certainly have won. I’d pay $50 right now to watch the two of them break it down on the d-floor — their affectionate name for a dance floor.
When Jet and Dave arrived last on the mat at Cape Spear, host Jon Montgomery regretfully informed them that had been eliminated from the Amazing Race. Then he consoled them (and viewers) with this: “I have a sneaking suspicion that we haven’t seen the last of Jet and Dave.”
He’s probably right. Jet and Dave carried this show on their ridiculously broad shoulders, managing to injeci fun and levity while keeping their eye on the prize. Someday, Gordon Lightfoot will pen a song about them.
The reality TV that we know and love today first blew up with the dual U.S. debuts of Survivor and Big Brother in 1999 and 2000 respectively. I was never interested in the latter, but that first season of Survivor? Every episode was gripping. This was serious stuff! These people were surviving on rice! It took me the full season, and Richard’s ultimate triumph, to realize that the show wasn’t really about physical skill and determination. Reality survival is less Swiss Family Robinson, more Lord of the Flies.
I’m re-learning this lesson as I watch the Amazing Race Canada. No reality show – not even the most wholesome, family-friendly one – straight-up rewards its most deserving competitors. There’s luck to it, and you have to play the social game, and it’s all rather uninspiring.
Here’s an example: sisters Vanessa and Celina were in last place when they arrived at the busking roadblock in St. John’s. Celina grabbed a hula-hoop and a baton; her sister encouraged her to “push the boobs out”; and she took to the streets. Bingo. One man passed her a $20 from his car window. They finished the challenge ahead of everyone else, setting themselves up for a second-place finish and a spot in the finale.
This isn’t to say the whole episode was a disappointment. At a kitchen party, the teams all got “screeched in” — taking a shot of the Newfoundland rum and kissing a cod. “It’s not the worst kiss I’ve ever had,” said Cory, who is in first place with his brother Jody.
Vanessa got out a lipstick and left a mark on the fish.
Newfoundland was also an emotional leg. Jody recounted the story of losing his legs to a landmine in Afghanistan. Then there was Dave who tried — and failed — to not cry at the elimination line.”I totally let myself down. More importantly I let my buddy down,” he said. “It’s just gut-wrenching.”Dave quipped to the cameras later: “Winning is amazing, but I think the journey is important as well. Maybe I’m just saying that because I’m a loser.” He’ll be okay.Jet and Dave’s elimination leaves three families competing in next week’s Amazing Race finale in Toronto: sisters Vanessa and Celina, brothers Jody and Cory, and father-son team Tim Sr. and Tim Jr. Go ahead and place your bets – but no one would have predicted these teams would make up the final three when we started this race in July.