"In Control" – Vol. XV, No. 5
Recognize that? No, it's not a rare type of mushroom that grows underwater. It's not the newest creature from Super Mario Brothers, either. And it's definitely not proof that flying saucers are real. It's the balloon that flew over Colorado last week, possibly carrying a six-year-old boy. Since then we've discovered that the boy's parents, who once appeared on "Wife Swap", staged the whole thing in an effort to pitch a new reality show. They're now facing criminal charges, but it reminded us of other reality show contestants who have run afoul of the law.
Back in September, a contestant on "America's Sexiest Bachelor" was charged with murdering his live-in girlfriend. Another contestant on a VH1 reality show was suspected in murdering his wife (of 3 days), but committed suicide before charges were brought. Remember Adam Jasinski, winner of Big Brother season 9? He got arrested for trying to parlay his half-million dollar winnings to even larger sums by selling Oxycodone on the streets. He went from the Big Brother House to the Big House. Then, there's always Richard Hatch, winner of the very first Survivor. He somehow "forgot" to pay taxes and got sent up the river.
Comparatively, it seems as though The Amazing Race has had a pretty good track record with their contestants, or so you might think. You would be thinking wrong. While the "crimes" committed by former cast members of The Amazing Race may not have been as publicized as some of the other reality shows, TAR too has had its share of felons.
Let's start with season 1. Recognize those two moons? (Sorry about the poor picture quality - we write it off to the subject material.) That's Rob and Brennan. They were the winners, as we are sure you remember.
How about this picture - still recognize this character? That's a mug shot taken of Brennan after his arrest in a Minneapolis airport. It turns out that Senator Craig wasn't the only one arrested for having a "wide stance" that weekend.
An incident in Evansville, Indiana led to another not-so-well publicized arrest involving a former Amazing Racer.
On the left is the mug shot taken by the Evansville Police Department after they arrested Charla and charged her with fraud for attempting to pay the Child Price at a local Shakey's Pizza Parlor (image at right). Charges of attempted ankle-biting and shin kicking were later added after Charla attacked several police officers in the station. She had to be restrained and is shown in the straight jacket.
Our own season 4's Kelly Parks-Corso and her husband Jon Corso, were arrested for copyright infringement when they were caught selling PedEgg knockoffs known as "Scrambled PedEggs", the puzzle that works your brain while it smoothes your feet (shown in picture above).
They initially plead not guilty, but later both changed their pleas to "guilty by reason of insanity". They claimed that the only reason they even considered selling the knock-offs was that they, "had been partying pretty heavy all weekend, and were both pretty trashed". Kelly furthermore claimed that, "society was to blame". The judge did not agree, and he told them so. But as the words were leaving his lips, a noise came from behind! Bang, bang, Maxwell's silver hammer came dow....
And it was just a matter of time before Jonathan, from Season 6, was accosted. Was there any doubt he would one day be taken in for trying to cross the Canadian border with more than one day's limit of Walleye?
In the above still, captured from the camera monitoring the border crossing, we see Jonathan doing the "fish slapping dance" with what we assume to be a member of the RCMP. We're not certain if the fish he used were part of the amount that was over the limit, or if they were even walleye. He might have gotten off with a simple fine had he not added his own twist to the dance (a knee to the groin as he concluded), but the twist managed to get him 15 days as a guest of the Canadian prison system.
So the next time you start bragging to your friends about how The Amazing Race does such a great job casting non-criminal types, you might want to re-think your position. We've had our share too.