Rats! Charla and Mirna Manage to Finish First on The Amazing Race

I don't know about you, but I am still bummed about Rob and Amber not being in the race anymore. Considering I was rooting against them the first few episodes, that's certainly saying a lot.

But for the other teams, most of them weren't competing against one another but against Romber, the end-all and be-all competitors on The Amazing Race. And with them gone, I can't help but feel as though some of the teams had the wind taken out of their sails a little bit.

I'm still hoping Danny and Oswald will win this thing, even if their calm exteriors belied a little bit of friction last night when they were doing the avalanche beacon task ... and somehow finished last. But you have to give these guys some credit: they never let adversity get the better of them in the long run, and they quickly bounced back from the squabbling to their normal, buoyant selves. They genuinely seem to have fun 99 percent of the time and, despite all the craziness of the race, still find time to smell the roses, as it were. Even though they were stuck in gridlock traffic in last night's episode, they focused more on the fact that it was World AIDS Day than on the fact that they were, well, stuck in gridlock traffic. And have there ever been two nicer, more genuine racers on this show?

Charla and Mirna are officially driving me crazy. After last week's nasty confrontation of Amber after she lied to them (duh), I didn't think they could possibly irritate me more. But they proved me wrong with last night's episode! It drives me up the proverbial wall that they always, always manage to kidnap some local and force them (nearly at gunpoint) to accompany them all over the place. It's really one of the few constants in this race: Charla and Mirna stop to ask directions and before the poor local can refuse, they are suddenly being dragged along to multiple locations with no way of returning from whence they came. (My favorite has got to be when Charla and Mirna, still wearing bathing suits, jumped back into the car with a local, admitting how strange it looked.) So it was no surprise last night when they did just that, abducting someone off the street and forcing them to direct their driver. Grr. The other truly irritating thing about them is how they randomly break into inappropriate languages, like thanking Mozambique residents in Italian, or how Mirna suddenly speaks in weird, broken English with strange Spanish-sounding accents no matter where they might be. (I'm thinking of last night's "Hollywood! Hollywood!" manicure sales pitch in the market.)

So I was shrieking with frustration when this annoying twosome arrived at the Pit Stop first, the only time they've placed first the two times they've run the race. I'm really, really, really not sure why only Charla and Mirna and the Beauty Queens chose the manicure challenge over the coal-shoveling one, as it sounded so much easier and less intensive. (Especially Danny and Oswald, who always prefer pampering over labor.) Instead, nearly all the teams selected the coal-shoveling and delivery option of the Detour (except for Teri and Ian, who ended up at the wrong place and reluctantly did the manicure detour, only to discover it took all of 2 minutes to complete) and were forced to get pretty grubby in the process. People, read the clues and stop and think: what would be easier? What would take less time?

Aside: the rats used in the Roadblock were absolutely adorable. They may have changed my views on rats altogether, and who knew you could train rats to sniff for landmines?

I was really hoping that Eric and Danielle would be eliminated last night but had a feeling that (A) they'd manage to sneak ahead of Uchenna and Joyce (who terrified me by not knowing where Mozambique is) and (B) it would be a non-elimination round. But as much as Charla and Mirna annoy me, Eric and Danielle just make me seethe. Eric especially is just such a hateful, moronic person. I am beyond tired of his idiotic t-shirts (such as the one that spells college with one L), his misogynistic, homophobic attitude, and his nipple rings. Shudder. Please, Phil, work your magical powers and get these two eliminated fast. I just can't take them anymore.

As much as I love the Beauty Queens, I am not sure what the hell is going on with Dustin and Kandice this season. They are so far off their game that they might as well be on Dancing with the Stars. Just when I finally thought they had their heads together, they walked right past the backpacks and avalanche beacons because they saw an arrow pointing them to the glacier ... and then walked all the way up there and started looking for the beacons. Argh. Fortunately, they chose correctly at the Roadblock and managed to come in second. Hopefully they use their lead time wisely next week.

As for Uchenna and Joyce, they are extremely lucky that this was a non-elimination leg. But they're marked for elimination next week unless they can finish first or will receive a 30-minute time penalty. And in this race, 30 minutes is a long, long time.

Next week on The Amazing Race: Uchenna and Joyce fight to stay in the race, but Uchenna has some difficulties hitting his mark during a Roadblock, while Eric and Danielle are asked to leave a plane about to depart the runway, leading Danielle to have a breakdown in the airport terminal. I cannot wait!

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Jace is an LA-based television development and acquisitions junior exec who watches way too much television for his own good and would love a TiVo for every room in the house. (He’s halfway there.) His blog, Televisionary, can be found at televisionary.blogspot.com.