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A Plea to the Producers of the Amazing Race

April 15, 2012

It’s no secret that Kat Nove and I would love to get on the show The Amazing Race.

(Let me clarify: It’s no secret that Kat would love to get on the Amazing Race. She assumes that I feel the same. But I have no interest in rushing around a country with a producer filming my every stumble and wheeze – culling the most embarrassing bits for public viewing, only after getting a bunch of painful inoculations in order to visit a country I probably couldn’t find on a map. I only grudgingly acquiesced when she suggested I compile a video plea, because she is my best friend and that’s what best friends do. Damn. It.)

Okay, so if I’m to get on this bandwagon, there are some things I’d like to suggest to the producers of The Amazing Race, having watched snippets of a few seasons, again grudgingly, to please Kat. She assumes I need to bone up on Reality TV 101 and, you know… how the race actually plays out. I don’t much care because there’s not a snowballs chance in the arse-crack of Rush Limbaugh that the two of us could complete that entire race.

We are not in the fittest of fit condition. We’ve got charisma, confidence and personality in spades – but all of our combined upper body strength is in our mouths. You won’t find a six pack, eating disorder or head of blonde hair between us. (Unless an anorexic, bleach blonde aerobics instructor happens to be standing between us.)

Neither of us are apt to win a sprint unless we’re paired up against Newt & Callista Gingrich – and even then, I’m assuming those two play dirty. Newt could easily trip Kat with one of his big ‘ole feet, which would cause her to fall on top of me, allowing Callista to climb over the already sweaty pile of Decker & Nove and make it to the finish line, dragging her chubby hubby behind her.

But, here’s my question: Where are all the Reality TV worthy oddballs? People we can really sink our teeth into? Here’s my dream cast for the next Amazing Race:

A pair of nuns
Two gay guys who argue like an old married couple
An Italian grandmother/granddaughter team who have to be ‘bleeped’ every fifteen minutes because they have naughty mouths
A magician and his dimwitted apprentice
A sheep farmer and his wife
Brothers who own & operate a sex toy manufacturing business in New Jersey
An old nudist couple who have trouble keeping their clothes on
An alcoholic biker couple on the verge of divorce
Two politically incorrect humor writers (my friend Kat and I could cover that base)
A pair of karaoke rappers who have gained moderate celebrity in their Podunk town

KAT: Wait, why do YOU get to pick the cast, Jeni? Here’s my dream cast:

Two old white male politicians who have been voted out of Congress by their constituents. America and the other contestants always need someone to hate while watching the Race.

Two paroled convicts, who between the two of them have more tattoos than brains.

Two disgruntled NRA members who can’t believe they can’t carry automatic weapons across Europe.

Two sisters, one a former Miss America contestant and the other bitter and resentful.

Two pet therapists. Imagine the hilarity if any of the challenges involves pigs or goats.

A former Vegas showgirl and a third-rate standup comic who have been married, divorced, married again, divorced again, and who are now dating.

A mother and her middle-aged “mommy’s boy” son.

An octogenarian and his twenty-five year old wife.

Two politically incorrect humor writers (my friend Jeni and I could cover that base)

A drill sergeant and his Goth son.

JENI: Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way… Below are a sampling of the questions and our answers from the application. I’ll let you decide if we sound like a pair of contestants you’d tune in to see fumble their way through a leg or two of the race before being carted off on a stretcher following a mid-air heart attack after being forced to bungee jump from the Eiffel Tower.

What is your current occupation? Please describe in 2 words.

JENI: Homemaker, writer

KAT: Bookseller, writer.

In two sentences, please describe what you do.

JENI: Mine the house for shit-pebbles hidden behind the furniture by my toilet-challenged ten year old autistic son while fielding obsessively compulsive questions from my fifteen year old (also autistic) son. Then, I write about it. Also, I do laundry and cook dinner, neither very well, according to my husband.

KAT: I wait on the type of people who suggest I should join a 12-step program when they don’t like my polite and honest answers to direct questions. I write stories so funny sometimes I pee my own pants.

How will these skills help you to win the Race?

JENI: I am a multi-tasker; I have dealt with enough bodily fluids that I don’t get queasy easily, and I have a good handle on my gag reflex and temper, respectively. Also, I’m prone to forgetting to flip on that internal “edit” button most people have that keep them from discussing their hemorrhoids in public. Let’s be clear, producers. This question isn’t about any skills I have that might help me win the race – it’s about any qualities I might have to drive up ratings. Also, I’m thinking with me on board, you’ll have at least one sponsor clamoring to buy time during your show. (Preparation-H*)

KAT: I can forever erase the image of the Ugly American by always being polite to even the rudest of cab drivers. At strategic moments in the game, I can cause my competitors to waste time changing their panties/boxers, thereby giving my team the edge.

How did you meet?

JENI: I’ll let Kat take this one… I need a bathroom break.

KAT: We originally met on a writer’s workshop online. We instantly recognized each other as literary soul mates (Jeni will try to claim she coined that term…don’t believe her. As a writer, she’s a gifted liar. Of course, she would NEVER lie on this application.) We had never met in person before April Fools’ Day of this year. We both traveled to Vegas and it was if we’d known each other since kindergarten.

What do you hope to gain from participating in The Amazing Race with your partner (besides winning)?

JENI: Getting out of the house. Did you not suss that out from the mention of the two autistic kids?

KAT: I’ve always dreamed of traveling. Taking an entire day to get across Texas is not what I had in mind.

What communication issues do you have with your partner that you would want to address while on the Race?

JENI: Kat (like my kids) has toileting issues. Apparently I’d be required to be at least 50 feet from the bathroom door at any time she needed to pee and 50 miles away should the need to evacuate arise. I would address this by regularly tormenting her in this regard, since the idea of going to the bathroom anywhere out of her comfort zone (the bathroom at her house) is most certainly a mental health issue for her. I already see a sub-plot forming. (I hope I get paid extra for all this technical support I’m providing the production staff.)

KAT: Jeni and I agree on everything other than bathroom etiquette. I see no reason to post photos on the Internet of me sitting on the toilet, while she wouldn’t be averse to filming an entire documentary discussing bodily functions in graphic detail… while sitting on the toilet with her panties around her ankles.

What is the biggest disappointment you have experienced from your teammate?

JENI: She has steadfastly refused to videotape herself belly dancing so I can post it on YouTube. We’re working through it.

KAT: A script she wrote and entered in a contest. It lost to one that had the word boner in the title. I wish she would have asked my advice. I write great titles and it’s obvious all movie titles should contain the word boner to guarantee ticket sales to the male teen demographic. Her title is Far from Happy and she would have won if her title had been Far from Happy Because I Can’t Get a Boner.

How did you resolve it?

JENI: I Photoshopped her head onto the body of an overweight Belly Dancer and sent it, via-email, to sixty of our closest friends and all of her co-workers. Because, that’s how we roll.

KAT: Too late to resolve it now, but in the future I think you might see titles of her upcoming books changed to: The Peacock Mirror Reflects My Boner – I Rather Be Engulfed in Flames Than Have to Deal With Your Boner – Waiting for Karl Rove to Give Me a Boner: That Will Never Happen Because I’m a Woman, Stupid.

What famous person reminds you of yourself?

JENI: Bette Davis

KAT: Jon Stewart, when he had the goatee.

What famous person reminds you of your teammate?

JENI: Truman Capote

KAT: Will Ferrell whenever he’s topless.

What is your biggest pet peeve about your partner?

JENI: The above mentioned toileting issues and her inability to discuss said issues. I’ve suggested therapy. She’s suggested I mind my fu*%^ng business.

KAT: She won’t come live with me. Something about her autistic kids and the great school they go to up in Michigan. I tell her there are schools here. Texas is ranked 51st in the nation in education! Woo-hoo! We’re #51! (Think District of Columbia in case you’re assuming we also suck at math.)

How are you and your teammate most alike?

JENI: We have the same sense of humor as well as a great love of coffee, chocolate and cigarettes.

KAT: Our writing styles are a bit different, but due to our near-identical twisted senses of humor, we’re a perfect fit.

How are you and your teammate most different?

JENI: On paper, I’m the balls of this operation. In real life, while Kat has no problem approaching strangers with odd and often disconcerting requests, I prefer not to bother my fellow man with such trifles. That’s me: ballsy on paper, a big ‘ole puss in real life. Kat is the exact opposite. She won’t even jump into a randy forum thread if it looks like it could get ugly. But ask her to eat leftover food off someone else’s table at a restaurant and she’s your gal.

KAT: Jeni’s voice sounds like a chipmunk in heat and mine makes me sound like a middle-aged, three-pack-a-day transvestite.

What is your opinion of foreigners?

JENI: Foreigners are people too. I’m very foreigner friendly. In fact, I would probably enjoy foreigners more than most of my immediate family.

KAT: I once married a foreigner and am open to marrying another if the price is right. Sort of a reverse Russian bride thing. I have foreign relatives from Mexico & Vietnam and favorite foreign customers from Great Britain & New Zealand. I can only hope foreigners are as receptive to Texans as I am to them.

Are there any locations in the world to which you absolutely will not travel? If so, identify where and explain why.

JENI: I’d rather not spend the night at Karl Rove’s house, though I would if it was one of the stops on The Amazing Race itinerary. I’d do it, but I wouldn’t like it. Also, he’d better lock up his unmentionables, because I’m a wanderer and won’t stick to the designated areas.

KAT: While I’d be interested in scoping out Dick Cheney’s hidden bunker, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be allowed to leave. So that’s out. Other than that, I’m open to anyplace. CBS does take out kidnapping insurance, right?

Do you speak or read any foreign languages? If so, which one(s)?

JENI: My husband is Puerto Rican, so I speak a little Spanish, but only the vulgar words. Basically, enough to get me laid… or arrested. Also, the nuns taught us the Hail Mary and Our Father in German, French and Spanish, but I don’t remember any of it now – though if I’m required to do anything involving heights, I’m sure it will all come flooding back.

KAT: I can read any foreign language written in English – understanding it is another thing. I understand a little bit of Spanish, a little bit less of French, German and Italian, and almost no Danish. My one Danish word is Dansk.

If given the choice, would you rather compete with 10 other people for $1,000,000 or split the million and give everyone $100,000 each? Why?

JENI: What? I don’t understand the question. I’ve never been good at math.

KAT: Really, being nominated is the important thing. Wait! That’s my practice speech for my upcoming Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay. To be honest, it would be cool if every team got to split $100,000. (Jeni’s legs are pretty damn short and I’d hate to lose at the last minute because I have to piggy-back her to the finish line.)

Do you have any phobias?

JENI: I don’t like the sound of that question…

KAT: I have the weirdest phobia on the entire planet, a phobia which should guarantee high ratings. I can see viewers having Amazing Race parties for the sole purposes of hoping I’ll be exposed to someone …hey, wait a minute! I’m not letting millions of people know my phobia. That’s just asking for trouble. Producers, I can control it. Really. I mean it. Nothing for you to worry about.

JENI: I will absolutely reveal Kat’s ridiculously funny phobia if it gets me out of doing anything I’m scared of doing.


For the comments portion of the questionnaire, I (Jeni) proceeded to pitch them a better reality show concept, based on The Amazing Race model:

Amazing Race: Chunky Edition

All contestants must be at least 20 lbs. overweight and longtime smokers. Contestants will be given a strict diet they must adhere to during the entire race, which contains no sugar, saturated fat or carbs. Any contestant found cheating with regard to food or smokes (on first offense*) will be subjected to a loss of 4 hours of race time, and public humiliation in the form of mud-wrestling a native of whatever country we’re visiting, while wearing a bikini (applies for women AND men).

*Second offense – Immediate expulsion from the show with a parting gift of two King Size Nestle Chunky bars to comfort them on their humiliating trip home.

(NOTE TO PRODUCERS: That’s one more sponsor! You really should hire me.)

Finally, (in desperation) here’s our video plea:

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