'SINISTER DEAF KID' RULES 'AMAZING RACE'
By NICOLE HOMEWOOD
Luke Adams, who is profoundly deaf, and mom Margie have been dominating the field this season, showing no mercy to fellow travellers.
Posted: 2:25 am
March 23, 2009
A reality show is nothing without personalities you love, those you love to hate, and those you want to bungee off a cliff and not spring back.
In a very competitive new season of "The Amazing Race" filled with sexy former NFL cheerleaders, annoyingly attractive young couples and standout stuntmen the watercooler-worthy team people are talking about is the affable mother-and-son pair Margie and Luke Adams.
Or maybe it would be more appropriate to say, signing about.
They have won two out of five challenges thus far and are clearly the front-runners to win the $1 million prize. Not too shabby, considering that, at 51 years old, Margie is among the older contestants and Luke, 22, is profoundly deaf.
Luke's deafness might initially seem like a speedbump, if not a roadblock, to the team's success. But Margie and Luke came into the competition having long ago mastered one of the game's essential skills: communication.
Make no mistake, to win the "Race" like "Survivor" requires physical strength and stamina, street smarts and a fair amount of luck. When racing over 40,000 miles in 22 days to win a million bucks, it's best to get along and above all, understand each other.
But unlike "Survivor," this is a team game, and knowing how your teammate will react or perform is critical to your success. Margie and Luke anticipate the other's every move and use their own sign language system to talk.
Years of learning to understand each other without speaking means they have been able to strategize using only gestures.
They are mentally in-sync at all times, giving them an edge over teams like Cara Rosenthal and Jaime Edmondson whose bond was formed at tryouts for the Miami Dolphin cheerleading team and flight attendants Jodi Winchesker and Christie Volkmer who share a knowledge of the travel industry and, apparently, the benefits of peroxide.
Margie and Luke are likeable, but what has made them the most talked-about team is their ruthlessness.
Luke's tendency to mock his whining opponents caused one contestant to label him "the sinister deaf kid."
Knowing that only his mom will understand what he's saying, Luke often signs that he hopes the other teams miss their flights or similar "Race" calamities, and he constantly rolls his eyes when talking about his opponents.
The willingness of mother and son to invoke little-used options (like the "Blind U-Turn") to push already-trailing opponents farther behind in the race shows an unusual intensity even by reality TV standards.
In true parent/child fashion, they have quibbled over strategies like what detours to take, how to drive a Russian snowplow and how to carry 200 pounds of cheese down a steep Swiss hill. But in the end, Luke shrugs and says, "What can I do? She's my mom."
One footnote: all of the married or dating teams in the competition this season have already been eliminated.
Now that speaks volumes.
Nicole Homewood writes about TV for nypost.com.http://www.nypost.com/seven/03232009/tv/deaf_con_2_160896.htm