never thought I was going to do this, but there's a
first time for everything. I am going to praise Rob
Mariano's play on the current iteration of "The Amazing
Race." And I'm as surprised as you, because I thought
the finale of "Survivor: All Stars" was quite possibly
the biggest let-down in the history of the genre.
Anyway, Rob is doing something that other teams have not
thought to do so far: play the meta-game.
On it's surface, the Race is simply a rally race around
the world, with the standard twists thrown in, along
with the challenges and games that other shows have.
Anyone who plays the game just like this will not get
very far, without a heavy dose of luck, or ten clueless
teams for competition. There is so much in terms of
unexplored strategies and tactics, and now we have a
team thats doing it.
On the first episode, Rob used his notoriety from the
Survivor shows to get help from locals in the town. Now
I didn't know that "Survivor" was carried in South
America, but good for him to use his fame to help out.
The other teams call him dumb and lazy, but it must be
nice to only see him from the rear because hes kicking
your rears up and down the racecourse.
For example; he collected some spare change and money
from teams in order to bribe a bust driver to only open
the front doors, or to skip a certain stop. Other times
it was to take an Express Route. Money isnt just for
taxis and bus passes, it can be used many other ways. I
loved watching the teams sulk after the bus blew through
the station without stopping. That would have been fine,
but Rob gave the bus driver only a portion of the
collection money, he kept five dollars for himself. How
Of particular note is last week's Road Block: another
eating challenge. One member of each team was required
to eat four pounds of cooked meat. And it's not just a
big steak, there were all sorts of organ meats and yummy
stuff like that. The current rules state that a team
that does not finish a Road Block is assessed a four
hour penalty that starts from when the next team enters
the Road Block area. Rob figures out that there's no way
that he'll finish that much meat no matter what, so he
voluntarily quits the challenge. Being one of the first
teams to roll up to the barbecue pit means there are
several other teams yet to show. He manages to convince
another racer that he also wont be able to finish. The
genius of this didn't hit me until several minutes in.
Rob has guaranteed that his team won't leave the Road
Block last, and he also has a lead on those teams who
show up later. Rob knows the rules of the game, and
knows how to use them to his advantage; something we
sadly haven't seen much of so far in the shows short
So, I raise my glass to you, Boston Rob. I hope you win,
and I hope you and Amber enjoy the money, and enjoyed
the Race. Bonne chance.
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