March 09, 2011 07:30 AM by Allyson Wells
Father and son team, Mel and Mike, were the second team to be eliminated from The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business season. The unforgiving cold temperature took a toll on the elderly Mel, and they eventually had to give up on a detour. They spoke about that incident, and how they actually had hypothermia, which was not shown on the episode. They also revealed other behind the scenes information, as well as how people are portrayed on the show.
Question: Any regrets giving up on the Detour?
Mel: No. I wish it wasn’t, but the Race was too tough. The first day, we ran about 5 miles and that’s when I tipped over in the ferry, but they showed that at the beginning of the second episode! Then, I was in that frozen mud for an hour and my son just insisted that I get out. It was raining and it felt like sleet. We were both treated by doctors and were found to have serious hypothermia. I said to the doctor, “Well, it was colder than I thought.” But even bad memories are good memories when they’re with your son.
Question: How long did it take for him to convince you to get out?
Mel: I’m not really sure. They gave us eye detectors and things in our ears, but the mud had caked on my ears, so I couldn’t hear a thing. Finally, he told the producer to pull me out, and the producer came up and said, “Your son insists that you get out now.” I went, “Why?! I don’t want to get out! I want to find the damn frog!” “No, c’mon, get out.” But it felt good to get out.
Question: Did you head to the Pit Stop after Jaime and Cara found their frog?
Mel: Well, the thing was we weren’t actually last. When we got to the Pit Stop, Jaime and Cara were just arriving, so it was ironic that we could’ve found the frog, gotten some medical attention and still could’ve beaten them — if we had found the frog. I will never eat frog legs again! Frogs are off my list!
Question: You guys made the bad call to take the earlier, connecting flight, which wound up being late. Do you think you may still be in it had you taken the later, direct one?
Mel: It may have made a difference. Maybe we would’ve done the other Detour. There were only so many frogs left by the time we got there. Then we learned that the frogs that were left had been stomped down into the mud, so it was very difficult to find them. We made a wrong decision to take the earlier flight. But we couldn’t have known there would be engine trouble. Margie and I both felt this was the wrong flight, but Mike was saying that 15 minutes would’ve made a difference, so we took it. Wish we hadn’t. But, you know, it’s about the luck of the draw.
Question: How bad was the physical toll that the race took. They made it seem like you struggled a little bit, especially towards the end. Was it that bad, and was it as bad as you expected it to be?
Mel: I think it was much more challenging than I thought it would be. I thought it would be more puzzles and, you know, riddles to solve but the physical stuff, Michael and I traded back and forth and he was really protective and took some hard ones until the camels, and then I struggled over that one.
Mike: We really wanted to have a good time and have fun and compete as hard as we could, but you get so hungry and tired after like two weeks on the road. It’s hard to enjoy all of the aspects of it once you start getting really depleted, so that part of it was hard.
Mel: Mike is a vegan, and there was hardly any food that he could eat along the way and he didn’t compromise, so there were times where he hadn’t eaten for two days, anything solid.
Question: What was most different about the overall experience than what you two were expecting going into the race?
Mike: You know, the truth is that we thought it was going to be a blast and it turned out to be that and more. It was actually more fun and it kind of just held up to what all your expectations and hopes would be, and that’s rare in life. The challenging parts, the deprivation of sleep and food, was something that I wasn’t expecting to be so impactful, didn’t realize that I was actually going to hurt my energy level at times when I needed it.
Question: Were there any teams that were portrayed completely differently from what you actually remember the reality of their personalities being?
Mike: Well, sometimes you think certain teams are being portrayed that are more negative than you remember them and sometimes its the opposite. I feel like Tammy and Victor were a lot of fun on the race and even when they were competing hard they were enjoying it and so I felt like, sometimes I feel like they’re being misrepresented as just sneaky and competitive. You’re not seeing the kind of fun that they also had. Mike and Mark, too, they’re showing them to be cocky but also incompetent in certain moments, but obviously they were good racers too. But then Margie and Luke, I also feel like they were more sneaky than they are actually being shown to be. Margie and Luke are awesome, but they were just there to win and there were times when we thought we were in an alliance with them and working together, but watching the show now I realize that wasn’t the case.
What did you think of Mel and Mike’s comments? Do you think Margie and Luke are sneaky? I was sorry to see Mel and Mike eliminated so soon, as they had a sweet bond that was fun to watch play out on the show. Perhaps Ron should take some pointers on how to interact with his daughter Christina by watching this pair.
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Photo Credit: CBS