Blast! I missed the Amazing Race episode where Mirna and Charla got booted. I knew there was something was supposed to do instead of work and parenting.
As some may recall, in the past I’ve seen the show as an interesting illustration of game theory concepts, particularly exemplifying the tension between collaboration and competition that emerges in long, difficult competitions (the sort that Robert Axelrod talks about in The Evolution of Cooperation). Of course, it’s also a laboratory for stress-testing relationships, with one-way mirrors so the audience can watch.
For some reason, The Amazing Race (CBS, Tuesdays, 10pm ET; reruns on Saturdays, 8pm ET) has built a reputation as the “classiest” reality show on TV, winning an Emmy last year in the Reality Show category. This patina of sophistication may stem from the fact that TAR takes the standard reality ingredients — fake enthusiasm, petty bickering and naked greed — and places them against the glamorous backdrop of international tourism, as contestants set off in pairs to circle the world on a kind of extreme scavenger hunt with a million-dollar prize. (Because, you know, shrieking at your loved one to “Dig! Dig your ass off!” is so much classier if you do it in the shadow of the Pyramids.) In the first five weeks of the season, Mirna and Charla quickly became the object of a love/hate cult on the web, perhaps because of the unique characteristics each brought to the competition: Charla is a dwarf (or to use the preferred term, a little person), while Mirna is a bitch (a condition for which no preferred term yet exists.)
The pairing of Mirna and Schmirna (as one fed-up TAR rival dubbed the duo) abounded in two qualities key to reality TV: sanctimonious self-regard and backstabbing treachery…. Mirna’s ethical stock sank to an all-time low this week, when she used her knowledge of Arabic (both she and her cousin are Syrian-born) to try to persuade an Egyptian reservations agent not to sell tickets to the contestants in line behind her. “They’re violent,” she confided, implying that her colleagues might pose a security threat on the plane.
Maybe one of my friends taped it.