What an amazing race to survive!

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 29, 2005

There are few network shows I watch faithfully, but there are a couple I try to never miss: CBS’s &uot;Amazing Race&uot; and &uot;Survivor.&uot;

&uot;Survivor&uot; will probably never again equal the suspense, deceit and sheer treachery of that first season, with Machiavellian winner Richard (a.k.a., the naked white gay guy) as the man we simply loved to hate. The irascible yet loveable Rudy, the plain-spoken, 70-something former Navy Seal was the guy Benny and I were rooting for.

However, this season is shaping up to be quite a dramatic one: an entire tribe lost one immunity challenge after another and ended up with only one tribe member left.

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Now Stephenie, that lone tribe member and the survivor I personally want to win the whole shebang, has joined the other folks.

There’s no more Koror or Ulong.

It’s each man or woman for himself or herself in this roller coaster of a competition where you have to outwit, outplay and outlast your opponents.

Here’s one big reason I am rooting for Stephenie: she managed to stay alive when all her other cast mates were voted off at tribal council (or in Troy resident Bobby Jon’s case, lost out by not being able to make fire as quickly as Steph did).

Steph is my gal of choice because she has done well in every physical competition, pulls her weight around camp and puts her heart and soul into the whole experience.

She’s not a lying, manipulative weasel as some survivor contestants obviously are (sure, they are fun to watch, but can you trust them in the morning?). Stephenie seems like a nice, bright, down-to-earth young woman with a lot of moxie.

I am writing this on a Wednesday because Lifestyles is due tomorrow – so I am keeping my fingers crossed Steph will make it over one more hurdle on the next episode of &uot;Survivor&uot; and stay in the game.

You go, girl!

Now, moving on to the truly amazing &uot;Amazing Race.&uot; More people should be watching this Tuesday night show.

May I say how proud I am of Meredith and Gretchen, the oldest team in seven seasons to make it to the final four in the race.

This husband and wife may occasionally bicker, but their love for each other is obvious. No one could doubt those were genuine tears Meredith shed when his wife slipped and fell and cut her face in the cave on an earlier episode.

This is a team that just won’t give up. No matter what the challenge or obstacle in this race around the world, they hang in there.

Meredith and Gretchen came in last on one occasion and not only had to turn in all their money, they had all their belongings taken away except the sweaty, stained clothes on their back and their passports.

When others would have said, &uot;we’re sunk&uot;, they put aside their pride and asked for monetary donations from the &uot;kids&uot; (the other teams) and gladly took some extra clothing from their kinder, gentler competitors.

Which leads me to my least favorite team on &uot;The Amazing Race&uot; -Amber and Rob. Amber won on &uot;Survivor&uot; by latching onto Rob, who later asked her to marry him. These two deserve each other – as my dad used to say, &uot;I wouldn’t trust ’em as far as I could throw ’em.&uot;

They’ve already got a million dollars and I definitely don’t want them to win.

I admit I stay tuned just hoping they will make a huge mistake or have a bit of bad luck somewhere along the way.

I’m sure that’s just what the CBS executives were hoping for, too.

Angie Long is the lifestyles reporter for the Greenville Advocate and can be reached at 383-9302, ext. 132 or via email at angie.long@greenvilleadvocate.com.