'The Amazing Race': Relationships Tough on One Leg or Two

Hi, I'm Anna David.

Reality TV and I have had a somewhat checkered past. Not only did I — serious confession time — audition to be on the San Francisco season of "The Real World," but I also produced a reality show pilot (potentially the worst reality show pilot in the history of reality shows, which I understand is saying a lot) which was based on a Playboy story I co-wrote.

Though in the past few years, my reality show experiences have been limited to viewing, analyzing, mocking and debating — with equally reality-obsessed friends or on TV — I believe there is often no better place to look for clues about what matters to us as a culture and information on how we really behave than in this much-criticized art form.

Sure, there are editors and writers and directors, and yes, most things aren’t shown exactly how they occurred, but that’s what makes the viewing, analyzing, mocking and debating so enjoyable.

In Reality Check, I’ll be doing just that for you guys — and I invite you to disagree with me or just plain tell me I’m wrong. After all, who am I but a girl who wasn’t deemed worthy of sharing a house with Puck?

"The Amazing Race"

Watching the fourth episode of "The Amazing Race," I’ve never been quite so happy to not be in a relationship.

Rob and Kimberly may have reached their Vietnamese destination first, but at what cost? While Mary (of the Virginia coal miners) told their cab driver that she loved him, Rob yelled at both driver and girlfriend, eventually concluding that he was “done talking with foreigners” which, I shouldn’t need to tell him, is not a great thing to be in this particular race at this particular time.

But the cab meltdown, as it turns out, was really just a warm-up for the serious abuse he doled out when they were rowing toward their pit stop.

To be fair, Kimberly seemed to dish it right back to him, but "Race" participants need to understand that unless they’re both saints or Virginia coal miners, one or both of them is going to come across like a nightmare.

Take Peter (of Peter and Sarah) — please. From the comments Sarah has started making, it doesn’t seem like she wants him anymore.

Thank God. I mean, this is a guy who asked Sarah to be quiet so he could concentrate on rowing a boat, a tall order from someone who yelled so many faux supportive statements when she was preparing to rock climb that she almost missed hearing the directions.

Meanwhile, why the heck was he sending his one-legged girlfriend climbing up rocks when he had two perfectly good ones supporting him and his self-satisfied grin?

The friends’ relationships fared far better in this episode — whether it was the models giving one another model-like support (“You are just the muscle man today, dude” is a direct quote), the single moms telling each other that if they can get through childbirth without drugs, they can survive this, or one of the beauty queens asking the other for a shoulder to cry on — literally — even though the other one caused the crying jag in the first place.

And the Cho brothers continue to prove the theory (which I just came up with) that siblings can get along, provided one has really long hair and one really short.

Sure, Tom and Terry, the token gay couple, were especially sweet to each other when they were eliminated — bandying about the phrase “soul mates,” praising each other and just generally making us feel like they “won” in all the cheesy ways, even while they were losing — but the straight couples on the show are more than doing their part to make relationships look more hellish than going rock-climbing on one leg.

Anna David has been on staff at Premiere and Parenting magazines and wrote a sex and relationship column for Razor. She’s done celebrity cover stories, first-person essays and reported pieces for The L.A. Times, Vanity Fair, Cosmo, People, Us Weekly, Redbook, Self, Details, Stuff, TV Guide, Women’s Health, Ocean Drive, Vegas, The Saturday Telegraph, Esquire UK, Teen Vogue, Variety, The New York Post, LA Confidential, Distinction, Calabasas, Tatler (Hong Kong), King, Fade In, Emmy and Maxim, among others.

She’s the sex expert on G4’s Attack of the Show, appears regularly on Reality Remix (FOX's Reality Network) and the "Today" show and has also been on "The Best Damn Sports Show Period," "The Other Half," "Cold Pizza," "The Modern Girl’s Guide to Life," CNN, E!, and VH1. Her first novel, "Party Girl," is coming out in July 2007 from Regan Books (HarperCollins).