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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Expedición Imposible

Raquel Sanchez Silva, Presenter of Expedición Imposible
The Best television viewing experience that I can recall in a very long time!

I have just concluded twelve weeks of addictive television viewing with the final of the Spanish version of Expedition Impossible, an American adventure reality show. Both versions were staged in Morocco, but the major difference between the participants was that the Americans had to have certain basic survival skills, whereas the Spanish were a group of twenty people with fairly ordinary lives. I say ordinary, but they ranged from dancers and actresses and singers and models, to people who worked with bulls. One was even the former Miss Spain, 2006.

I have never followed reality shows, or even series, except "Boss" in part. I became interested in this one because of Maria Abradelo, the TV presenter and actress. We became aware of her when we first arrived here in Valencia as a personalty who dominated Channel 9, the Valencian principal television company. Since then there has been a drawing closer between herself and our family, to the extent that we were considering English lessons taught by myself to her. She was entered in the contest, together with her sister and was featured as the principal contestants in the publicity.

For the sake of jogging your memory, if you did watch the program, there were ten groups of two-person teams at the beginning. There were four teams of two women in each: Noelia and Elizabeth, both models; Maria and her sister Rommy; Raquel and Leticia; and Marbelys and Lola. There were two all-male teams: David, the super strong man, and Dani who kept finding courage and strength he never knew he had; and Ismael and Ivan, the oldest participant, for whom I was solidly in his corner as he represented us senior citizens. The remaining four teams consisted of one man and one woman.  They were: Cristina and Alejandro; Rafael and Yolanda; Alex and Roció, the person I most admired for maintaining an upbeat and positive spirit throughout. She is also a very beautiful and charming person as well. And finally, there was Felipe and his girlfriend Mirela.

Canal Cuatro aired the show, and it was presented by Raquel Sanchez Silva, a presenter of reality shows, but even she was over-awed by the complexities and challenges of this particular show. They started off with an 8.0% share which had dropped to 5.9% for the final show. That means a lot of people missed one of the most fabulous shows on televisions. I urge them to watch the re-runs.

Shortly after the contest began, which involved extremely taxing challenges throughout, both Mirela and Elizabeth, the former Miss Spain, found that they could go no further. Normally that would have meant that their partner would also drop out, but an exception was made that allowed Noelia, Elizabeth's partner to team up with Felipe. No one expected much from this change because Noelia is also a slender model, and so evidently way out of her league in the unforgiving great outdoors of Morocco.

As the episodes concluded and new ones began, teams were eliminated due to their arrival at the checkpoint in last place. Maria and Rommy were eliminated/dropped out due to illness in the fifth episode. I was so disappointed for them, yet I found it extremely difficult to understand why they were putting themselves through such agony. Yes, there was prize money to be won, but some of the things they did were dangerous in a controlled sort of way, I suppose, but always a real challenge. There must be easier ways of winning money than that!

By the tenth episode, David and courageous Dani had been eliminated, and in the eleventh episode Ismael and Ivan, the senior citizen were eliminated. Ivan said that he was competing because he wanted his grad-daughter to be proud on him. No worries Ivan, we all are! That left two teams of one man, one woman each. The woman who no one expected to stay the course, including herself, was still in the running. That was Noelia, the model, who was really struggling. She had hurt her leg and was in pain and hobbling. Meanwhile, Cristina, of Cristina and Alejandro was staying strong and cool. This couple had arrived in first place most often, which gave them the privilege of being driven straight to the end of the next episode, as well as winning a 3,000 euro prize several times.

We had come to the final in Marrakesh. The two teams didn't seem to be evenly matched, and every effort was made to break at least one of them because there could only be one winner. However, both teams stayed consistent with one another, with Noelia doing her part and simply powering through the pain. Neither team could be broken, so it came down to a matter of who would be luckier. That part of the contest was inspired, and when it turned out that Noelia and Felipe were declared the winners my eyes misted over, a massive lump appeared in my throat and I jumped out of my seat with joy. Noelia had survived and triumphed over all the massive odds placed in her path.

This is the story of all mankind, of course. In order to achieve something outstanding it is necessary that we choose to do the thing that is difficult, because it is difficult. Once we begin our journey we have to stay focused with our eyes on the prize and simply power through adversity. Everyone loves the underdog. This is not something that can be scripted but it all came together in the end.

Congratulations to Felipe and Alejandro, both very strong competitors, and to Cristina who kept her head throughout. Noelia is an enduring champion and now she is a role model. I certainly hope that all of the contestants have something lasting to remember their extreme efforts because they all contributed to a standard of television entertainment that was a cut above the normal. Congratulations also to Raquel, la Presentadora and the producers and crew.

When I say, "Well Done!" everyone, I really do mean it!

Copyright (c) 2013  Eugene  Carmichael