Day 2 of my Ridonculous Race reviews, and the teams are off to Paris, minus Leonard and Tammy, who are probably still fruitlessly wandering in the Moroccan wilderness.
Like yesterday, I'll be updating my character analyses based on this episode, their plotlines, interactions, and potential. There have been some comparisons made between this round's contestants and previous Total Drama competitors, so I'll address just a few of those as the reviews go on. So, without further ado, here we go!
Tom and Jen: They are still my spirit animals. They're the cutest. It's also nice to see that they were concerned about Dwayne and Junior after their injuries (even though they caused it, whoops). Of course *they* would have free time in Paris. I like the quick shameless-self-promotion of their blog. And their excitement to go shopping is adorable. 'I have a bone to pick with you,' complete with a skeleton puppet. They've gotten some good little moments in this episode. One little complaint is that Jen's scream is a bit grating, kind of like Dakota's from TDROTI. I love that they carry their shopping bags from early in the episode through all of the additional challenges. Jen's 'determined face' in the confessional (after stating that she'll swim 'for the clothing,' thus ruining her hair) makes me pray that she has a conflict with someone else down the line, because I want to see that angry look in action. Tom is also about as stereotypically gay as the show will allow, which, being gay myself, makes me happy. If we can't have a character that's outright stated as LGBT, it's at least nice to have one that's implied. Also, a quick shout-out to the artists for upping their style to include further eye-emoting for characters with glasses.
Lorenzo and Chet: Lorenzo draws Chet as a bag of garbage for the caricature challenge. Well, at least it's a creative way of interpreting their conflict, instead of just continuing to have them beat the snot out of each other.
Dwayne and Junior: They got hit by Tom and Jen's flying carpet, and you would think that they died after that, because they basically got no more screen time outside of explaining their moped crash to the guilty bloggers.
Emma and Kitty: Emma is still overly serious. OOOOH, mention of the ex-boyfriend!! Maybe THAT'S why the girl is so sour? Some repressed emotions hiding under all of that law school focus? Hints at a future relationship budding on the show? Kitty is still cute, and putting up with her sister's attitude.
Mary and Ellody: They literally had no lines, and I am disappointed.
Ryan and Stephanie: Cheesy, forced love lines, followed by make-out. Yeah, Geoff and Bridgette re-hash. Oooh, but wait, what's this? 'Just don't let it happen, EVER AGAIN.' Stephanie looks like she has some intensity to her. Ryan seems like a big ol' teddy bear, which is surprising considering how physically intimidating he could be if he chose to show it. Having hints at a conflict when we know that they've only been dating for 2 months isn't exactly a good sign as far as their relationship is concerned.
Crimson and Ennui: HE SPEAKS. And there we go. They are just as deadpan as I imagined they could be. 'This place could be an amusement park, or a camp for kids.' They have the potential to be like TDWT-era Noah in terms of sarcasm, just clad in all black.
Jay and Mickey: Still pain magnets. Yeah, that's about all they got, besides calling the goths scary.
Owen and Noah: You can tell that Noah is very focused on the game this time around, which seems to be bumming Owen out a bit. It's nice that Owen acknowledges Brody and Geoff's relationship, but I'd still like to see a direct interaction between the two teams. Noah's caricature of Owen is spot-on. As much as I don't like the fart jokes, Noah's scale (sushi --> onion soup --> burritos) was creative. Naturally, Owen eats their cheese raft. PENALTY. They're the first team to get one in the season, and it's an interesting touch. If you break the rules, you get hit for it, and it almost cost them the race. If the trailers hadn't shown them so much, Noah fans might have had a seizure during the final segment.
Brody and Geoff: Still working well together. Their personalities are similar, so their team dynamic works well. 'Take that science. Boom.' They know they're not the smartest, but they make up for it with their determination and enthusiasm.
Taylor and Kelly: Taylor is still overconfident, and dumps on her mom. It's nice to hear that Kelly went to art school, and doesn't regret giving up on it to have her daughter. She even keeps Taylor's 'Cruella Deville' (yeah, Taylor's self-opinion as an artist is a teeensy bit exaggerated) rendition of her for after the show. Aww. She's a good Mom, even if she feels like a 'Real Housewives of Wherever' parody - I hope Taylor comes to realize that as they progress.
Devin and Carrie: Let me say, I'm glad they got Paris, the romantic location, out of the way this early in the show. Another mention of Shellie seems to crush Carrie's hopes and dreams. He called her M'lady, and she fawns over him.
Gerry and Pete: Fell asleep in the cab without telling their driver where to go. Whoops. Their interview interactions are still spot on, as they continue to nag at each other like friendly rivals should. They remind me of my college friend group, just with 40 years added on, and whiter hair. They got some physical comedy, between the cheese wheel running them over, and having a snail move faster than them. Finally, the 'foot just outside the line' gag was a clever way of cutting them, considering their rivalry began on the tennis courts.
Sanders and McArthur: Yeah, they're racing Josee and Jacques for first place. Seems like a rivalry is bound to happen. I love that McArthur calls them creepy. They win the challenge in a foot-race over the skaters, and McArthur rubs it in their face, just as you'd expect.
Josee and Jacques: Seeing Josee's eye twitch at the mention of not being a gold medalist brings back traces of Scarlett. You can tell that she's already on edge. She berates Jacques for forgetting the oars, but they push that aside and kick to shore instead. 'Adapting, it's what champions do.' Ultimately come in second, and we get another eye twitch. You just know that she's going to punch somebody in the face soon.
Rock and Spud: Did they have any lines? They air guitar'd a bit after finishing the drawing challenge . . . One small, subtle note was that Spud seemed to be passed out during the cheese raft portion of the challenge, while Rock was the only one working. If McArthur thought that Sanders was dead weight in episode 1, then what can we call Spud, based on his lack of performance/lines so far?
Laurie and Miles: Laurie's drawing of Miles as a flower was precious. They are my precious flowers. The race between the last few teams seemed to focus first on the Vegans and the Rivals, and the vegans showed that they're determined to stay by pushing themselves, surpassing the Rivals, and even keeping fairly even ground with the Rockers. We also got a few more jokes about their eating habits, courtesy of the Rivals (and the confessional scene supporting their accusations was a silly touch).
Leonard and Tammy: Probably discovering that confetti isn't a good food substitute right about now.
Samey: Wishes that she had been on the show so that she could finally beat it into Amy's head that 'parfait' is French, not German.
Overall, good further development. The Skater/Cadet rivalry is starting to take shape, and I can see it coming to a head if McArthur keeps rubbing it in Josee's face. A few teams were left without much development, namely the Geniuses and the Rockers, which never bodes well - it screams fodder in a show like this. Remember how Sadie had almost no lines after Katie's Island elimination, up until her final episode? It feels like they're getting the same treatment.
Now for some character comparisons - I'll start with Ellody. Some people have complained that she looks and sounds like Courtney - both are true. They share a voice actor, and their skin tones, and general face shape/appearance are pretty similar. What I don't like is that some people are dumping on Ellody this early, because they disliked Courtney in the original series. They're different characters with different tropes, and Ellody's personality hasn't really been explored yet. In that sense, I don't understand harsh opinions toward her at this point - if the personalities were the same, yeah, I'd be disappointed. Annnd, speaking of which . . .
One issue that I *do* have is when new characters are brought in that feel like a personality re-hash. While Ellody's previous-cast similarities are solely physical, and I can give her a pass on that, it's a bit harder to give a pass on Devin/Carrie, and to a lesser degree, Ryan/Stephanie, and Rock. I'll start with the latter groups - Rock basically feels like Geoff (and Brody, who also feels like a Geoff re-hash, but at least they're on the same team, so it makes sense), just with a guitar instead of a surfboard. I feel like he'll eventually call Spud out for not doing much (and Spud being lineless dead-weight so far is really a bigger problem in its own right), so at least they've got that potential plot-line going. Ryan and Stephanie feel like TDA Geoff/Bridgette with their cheesy lovey-dovey lines and their makeout sessions. On the other hand, it looks like they'll have some on-show tension as the competition wears them down, which will add to the intrigue in terms of the game (whereas Geoff and Bridgette's TDA conflict was pushed onto the Aftermath episodes). The biggest offenders in the early game, though, are Devin and Carrie. I said in my first review that they feel like Zoke/Skave blended together, and that still holds true. But going even further, Devin also feels like Trent. He's a normal, nice guy, but that's about as far as they've developed him. Most of his development has come from Carrie, just like much of Trent's development was centered on and around Gwen. Similarly, Carrie's development has mostly centered on Devin and her hopes with him, which actually reminds me most of Mike's pursuit of Zoey, just without the MPD. They didn't get quite as much screentime in the third episode, but I'm hoping that when the cameras come back around to them, they get some interesting development that's separate from Carrie's crush. They *are* cute, and their relationship *has* endearing moments, and real-life relatability, it's just a matter of . . . well, they basically feel like Trent and a female Mike (that's not Svetlana) in disguise. And emphasizing the same kind of love-based plot points that those characters experienced could be detrimental/BORING if they become too heavily focused upon.
Overall, I'm excited to keep the reviews going. I've let loose on a lot of characters this time around, so let me know what you guys think! What are your thoughts on Carrie and Devin's relationship? What team interactions/alliances/conflicts are you hoping for? And what other Amazing Race ideas would you like to see them implement, now that we know that penalties are in place for breaking the rules of the challenges? Leave a comment, and I'll be back again tomorrow with some more opinions!