Last week, I was watching TV when suddenly…I recognized that music. Was it? That was Phil parading on top of a tall tower. That could have meant only one thing: Yep! It was back. A new race was about to start. We’re in for another season of disrespecting foreign cultures, of couples yelling at each other and of cruelty to animals and humans. Those poor humans will include a few racers but mostly those watching and listening. Divorce lawyers will also be disappointed with the cast because there’s only one married couple. (add the “ ” if you want) At least, there’s no athletic male duo to ruin the suspense.
If Big Brother enables its fans to scrutinize the Hamsters in their cage, The Amazing Race gives us Hamsters in a giant maze with one big piece of cheese at the end. At least, it keeps them in shape, sort of… The first leg went from the Playboy Mansion in LA to the Connemare Heritage Center in Shannon, Ireland. At the pit stop, the big duds, I mean big buds, Hairy and STELLA were eliminated. If you want my opinion, at lot of the women will finish the race at the same place that they started. Casting looked like it was done more to Hef’s taste than for the fans of the race.
For more details of that leg which could’ve been titled “Karma’s a Donkey” you can read the fine summary by Breezy .
- First to leave the Connemare Heritage Center were Brother and Sister ‘”I’m Quick Azaria”, “IQAzaria” for short and “Wrong End Akia”. The first clue told them to fly to Amsterdam then take a train to Central Station and look for a bridge. “IQAzaria” wasn’t sure if they were heading in the right direction but “Wrong End Akia” assured him they were on the right way to the airport. Yikes!
If you expect me to give you the time of departure and the intervals between each team, you must not have watched this race too often. The intervals don’t matter because we’ll soon have the most celebrated tradition of the race: The “Stop for slow teams Sign” otherwise known as the “Bunching Point”. You see, it would be too hard to cast teams that could make up a deficit and we’d miss out on colorful characters. Who wants good racers in a race when you can have out of shape married lesbians ministers instead? *rolls eyes*
- Next, the Horde of Goths was ready to unfurl over Europe once again. I was worried when I heard that there would be Goths in this race. I know, as well as anyone, that reality shows like to dip into the Cavemen gene pool when it comes to casting. On this show, that has given us some Kendras, Lakes and Jonathans in the past but we had the surprise to find out which ones were which. Even if Goths are a rung above in the evolution ladder, to have a team identified as Barbarians, it could get ugly. I was wondering if these would be vicious Visigoths or the more austere Ostrogoths. Instead, we got Kentucky Goths! Mary and David were scarier than Kan’t and Vaccine. Phil sure wanted us to know that everyone was very impressed with these two. The recap was practically a 30 second commercial singing the praise of these two.
The “Go-Go Goths” left the pit stop in second place and raced to the airport. Kan’t couldn’t wait to get to Amsterdam, I’ll let you imagine why. As they drove at night, Vaccine told us she loves to dwell in the dark. I agree, I’d prefer to turn off the lights.
- Hot on their heels were early fan favorites Rachel and TK. I don’t understand the attaction. Well, the one between these two, I can see. She’s the cutest racer and he’s a good looking rock n’ roll roady type, but I haven’t seen a personality yet. Can’t find a good nickname for either or for the team. “The Hippies” has already been used so I’ll go with “The Lovy-Dovies” *smooch*. These two were also very pleased to be going to Amsterdam. Did I call Rachel cute? That was before seeing the god-awful thing she had on her head. TK told us his relationship with Rachel was more important than the race and that they were there to enjoy seeing new places. Why race then?
- The 4th team to depart was “Freakin’ Lorena”, FLorena or even Flo for short who is dating a “benefits only” type of guy appropriately named Chasin’. Team “JaLo” was ready to prove they could work together. “We’re calm now” said “Florena”. Knowing better, “Chasin” replied: “Wait ‘till we make a wrong turn.”
- Proof of the poor team selection, we have in 5th (5th!) place Nerdy Nicky and Pops Don. A nerd with a grumpy old man. Team “Generation Gap”. This just sounds like a winning combo, doesn’t it? Well, they have as much chances as anyone at winning this crazy race even if Pops has already almost lost usage of one leg. Nerdy explained that Pops’ strategy was to go slow just to drive us insane. With that, Nerdy Nick, who is good enough to fly planes, wasn’t good enough to drive the car. Pops drove at a snail’s pace, still managed to jump a curb and get a flat tire. Where do they find these morons?! Once they had figured how a jack worked, Nerdy Nicky took the wheel.
- Leading the back pack, the second half of the peloton, we have two friends. Have you been able to differentiate between them? I’ll give you a hint: Jenn likes to show them off while the As in Shana are for her bra size, not her grades. I’ll call them “Shopping Shana” and her friend’s “Jenuine Jenn”. That should help, except that, like in most strip clubs, we have 2 buxom Jennifers and neither is the one and only Jenius Jen. We can’t have that kind of confusion in a summary, now can we? These will be the “Flirting Bimbos”. Do we have other flirting bimbos? This is gonna be tougher than I thought. Talk about type casting. I’m thinking the couch saw a lot of action! I’ll call them Team “High-Maintenance”. “Shopping Shanna” was disappointed to drive at night: “No one can see us and I haven’t had time for a facial and a manucure. That’s tougher than you can imagine.” “Jenuine Jenn” couldn’t figure out how to turn on the car’s lights and asked: “Am I an idiot?” Shana had a perfect reply: “She asks that question a lot.” “High Maintenace” still managed to see that team “Generation Gap” was stopped and they passed them, saying they wouldn’t stop unless they were dying.
- In 7th place at the start we had Father “Know-it-All” and Daughter “Disappointment”. I’m sure they have names but why bother since this team can’t last long. Team “Who’s my Daddy?” had major troubles in the first leg but staved off elimination. I think they were so focused on avoiding the first philimination that they didn’t expect to have to endure each other more than 2 days. We quickly find out why “Know-it-All” was traveling all the time. He can’t stand his daughter who always forgets something.
-Right behind, we had the Married Ministers Kat n’ Pat. That sounds like names for a team of morning radio hosts! They remind me of a joke: An Episcopal Priest and an Ordained Deacon enter a bar…OH! You already heard it. Pat doesn’t expect that God cares whether or not they win the race. Kat is disappointed by that. Should they really be so flippant?
- Next to last were the sisters “Nanni” and “WhoLia”. These are the brunette bimbos and they’re tougher to tell apart. “WhoLia” is the one that talks. No, not Nanni. “Wholia” talks and she’s a bit shorter. This will be Team “Cheap Dates”.
- Avoiding the humiliation of being first eliminated, we have “Won’t Jog Jenn” and her cheater boyfriend DomiNate. What an odd couple. Team “Jenathan” had almost as much trouble with their donkey as Jonathan. With Team “Jenathan” hitting the road, all the boisterous Americans were on the loose in Ireland. “Won’t Jog Jenn” was racing the way she likes, sitting in the back seat when she saw the sisters taking a wrong turn.
Approaching the airport, “Wrong End Akia” told us that Kan’t is on speed. That’s one way to get someone in trouble at the airport. Team “Who’s my Daddy” and the Ministers stopped along the way to look up information on the internet. “Know-it-All” kept telling his daughter to hurry up. The Ministers felt he wasn’t being very charitable. As expected, all the teams but the sisters got bunched at the airport with the counter only opening up at 6:00AM for the first flight to Dublin at 7:00. The problem was for the flight from Dublin to Amsterdam which had only 12 seats available. Apparently, the Irish also like to go party in the Netherlands.
On the first connecting flight to Amsterdam we had: - “IQAzaria” and “Wrong End Akia” - Team “Go-Go-Goths” - Team “Lovy-Dovies” - Team “JaLo” - Team “High Maintenance” - Team “Jenathan”
The other 3 teams got aboard the first flight to Dublin with seats on a later flight to Amsterdam.Team “Cheap Dates” arrived at the airport after everybody had boarded. The girls were told they were last by the ticket agent. WhoLia commented: “One wrong turn, you’re in last place.” What brilliance, you see why she speaks for the team.
In Dublin, Teams “Generation Gap” and “Who’s my Daddy” raced to the counter to be first on Stand-By. They each found an agent to help them. Nerdy Nicky was stressing out that someone could get ahead of them. The agent telling him to wait wasn’t helping. “Know-it-All” was telling us that he was using his usual politeness and not trying to be pushy. He didn’t appreciate Nerdy’s aggressive behavior so Daddy let him have it: - “You have a mouth that starts with bad energy…That’s your problem, your Grand-Pa is the good cop and you’re the Bad Cop…Booger, Booger!” So that’s what polite means for him! Wait, there’d be much worse. In the end, Nerdy Nicky and Pops received the last two tickets, frustrating “Know-it-All” even more.
As the first flight carrying 7 teams left for Amsterdam, Nanni and WhoLia arrived in Dublin to see the Ministers who were “thrilled” the see the sisters. “Know-it-All” also saw the sisters and told his Daughter: “Now it’s a foot race. Do you have your shoes and everything?”
Arriving to Schiphol international airport in Amsterdam “Wrong End Akia” made a right move by telling IQAzaria: “We can just run into the train and pay there.” One sibling is smart. The other teams, trying to buy tickets, missed the first train. “IQAzaria” reached the bridge first and went for the next clue. I was hoping it would read: “Jump off the Bridge” but no, it was a Detour and an appearance from Phil.
“In this detour, teams have to choose between two activities commonly seen around Amsterdam. The choice: “Hoist it” or “Hunt it”. In “Hoist it” teams use a traditional rope and pulley system to hoist 5 pieces of furniture up a typical Amsterdam residence. Once all the furniture has been moved inside, the foreman will hand the teams their next clue. The task requires brains and brawn but the buildings are just a few feet away so teams do not need to travel far. In “Hunt it”, teams make their way on foot several blocks to a parking lot and search through thousands of bicycles to find the two bikes tagged with the specific colors designated in their clue. After finding their bikes, teams must ride them five miles to an attendant, who will give them their next clue. The task is not terribly physical but it requires a tremendous amount of attention to details and teams without keen eyes could find themselves falling behind.”
With “IQAzaria” telling us how smart he is and seeing how fit he looks you had to expect he would choose the Brain and Brawn task, wouldn’t you? No, “IQ” told us: “We’re not smart enough to tie ropes together and make knots.”
Our engineers: “You mean we actually have to do it, not just design it”
So, the siblings went to “Hunt it”. The search tasks are rarely the good choice. Except for the “Find the key in a stack of Tomatos” one, I don’t remember a search task that ended well. It wouldn’t be different this time.
While they went to hunt for bikes, all the other teams arrived at the station, jumped off the train and started running for the bridge. Well, not all the other teams ran…Team “Generation Gap” was taking their time, Pops Don walking at a leisurely pace.
Team “JaLo” and the “Go-Go-Goths” decided to “Hoist it”. Chasin decided to do the knots…Wait, I thought that he didn’t want to tie the knot.
Chasin: “Florena can’t say I don’t want to tie the knot.
Maybe she also misunderstood because Florena was all excited when she ran in the building. Gothic Vaccine told us that she can do the knots because she used to do macrame. (Somewhere, Theodoric the 1st is spinning in his grave.) So, let me get this straight: Kan’t won’t ride a bike over a cliff, he won’t tie knots and he’s not strong enough to hoist furniture. What is he good for?
As “IQ” and “Wrong End Akia” reached the parking lot, Team “High Maintenance” arrived at the bridge, putting them in 4th place. These two delicate women decided to…“Hoist it”. (Did you see that, IQ?) Anyway, “Shopping Shana” attacked the furniture as if it was a “70% off all merchandise” day in a luxury store. She started lifting that furniture like there was no (sales) tomorrow. More exactly, the furniture started lifting her!! That was a funny sight: She’d get 5 feet off the ground for every story the furniture needed to climb and it had to reach the 4th floor. But she kept at it!
Teams “Lovy-Dovy” and “Jenathan” arrived in the mean time. With a strong guy in each team, of course they went for “Hoist it”. Then, Team “Generation Gap” made it to the bridge and went slooooowly hunting. At the residence “DomiNate” was doing a good jog according to “Won’t Jog Jenn” who liked this leg better than the first. Chasin was making quick work of the furniture. Florena was amazed and told us they worked together really well. Together? All you had to do, Florena, was to look out the window and grab a piece of furniture. That’s work? They did complete the task first and their next clue told them to take the bus to the rural village of Ransdorp and locate a field to find their next clue. They just missed the first bus available.
As IQ found one bike, Pops and Nerdy Nicky arrived at the parking lot. At the residence, Vaccine showed she has a thing for cartoons: “At one point, it was very like Bugs Bunny. I had a 300lbs weight over my head, so I was…Yikes!!”
The Bugs Bunny moment. Will she get flattened?
(Bugs Bunny, the energizer bunny, what’s next? Roger Rabbit) After lifting 4 pieces, Vaccine told Kan’t he’d have to do the last one. At least, he didn’t complain and finished the task in second place.
TK was starting to get ticked off with his inability to make a knot. Rachel was looking on, not worried at all even if they had not scored one piece of furniture yet. “Won’t Jog Jenn” was getting frustrated even if they had 4. For some reason, DomiNate couldn’t figure out how to do the last one, so they had to switch. Shana completed the task in third place and collapsed to the ground, requesting a massage. At the same time, the siblings found their second bike and Pops found a first one. Team Jenathan finished 4th but were 3rd at the bus station where team “JaLo” and team “High-Maintenace” were still waiting. Shopping Shana decided it was a perfect time to redo her make-up. The “Go-Go-Goths” were nowhere to be seen and they missed the bus. Kan’t probably ran out of speed.
IQAzaria: “I can do the manly tasks.”
“IQAzaria” and “Wrong End Akia” completed their task in 5th place and joined Kan’t and Vaccine at the bus stop. Pops had just found the second bike and the team was starting their long ride while TK…TK was still trying to figure out his knots. A very Zen Rachel told us “It’s a crappy feeling when teams start passing you and it starts slowly slipping away.” She told TK that it wasn’t working and he replied “That’s because you don’t know what you’re doing...Can you stop talking now.” Pardon me? Isn’t it you that isn’t doing it right? Anyway, they switched and little Rachel lifted the 5 pieces of furniture. TK commented: “The furniture went flying up like nothing.” (Did you see that IQ?) They were in 6th place. They joined the “Go-Go-Goths” and the siblings who were still waiting for a bus to Ransdorp. They were also joined by team “Generation Gap”.
The last 3 teams were just then landing in Amsterdam and making their way to Central Station.
The first three teams arrived in the Ransdorp field to discover a Roadblock. Once again, Phil explained:
“A roadblock is a task that only one person may perform. In this roadblock that person must master a skill once used by Dutch farmers in their fields and is now a regional sport: Ditch Vaulting. Team members must complete a single vault, successfully touching both feet to the marshy grass at the opposite side. Once across, they must retrieve their next clue and then return to their partner in any muddy way they like.”
“Won’t Jog Jen” can apparently pole vault as does Shopping Shana. (That could be a useful trick, vaulting over aisles)
Shana: “Weeee! Look at me!”
Since the task involved vaulting and running away from your partner, Chasin was prepared for the task. He rushed right through it, successfully vaulting and racing to the clue box. Chasin had to come back to Florena but they were in first place. The clue told them to ride “Cargo Bikes”, Bakfiets, through the countryside while searching for the Pit Stop at the “Durgerdam Yatch Club.” Back in the field, “Won’t Jog Jen” took a hard dive into the ditch. She wasn’t pleased when the judge signaled “No Good”. Since Shana had made it on her first attempt, DomiNate had this savory comment: “Jenn, she freakin’ made it.”
DomiNate: “Why can’t you be like that other girl.”
That didn’t please “Won’t Jog Jenn” but “Jenuine Jenn” was hooting it up, joyfully yelling. Shana was sprinting back but, in her hurry, took a nose dive in the ditch.
Shana: “I’m going to meet rich men in a Yatch club and I look and smell like poop.”
“Won’t Jog Jen” made it on her third attempt with this comment from DomiNate: “I know she was trying her hardest.” He looked like he wanted to add “It’s just not good enough.” They were still third heading to the Pit Stop but “Won’t Jog Jen” wasn’t pleased: “That freaking little b*tch did it.”
The last three teams made it to the bridge. Team “Cheap Dates” and the Ministers immediately decided to “Hunt it” so they made their way to the parking lot while Team “Who’s my Daddy” decided to “Hoist it”. “Know-it-All” wasn’t sure: “I don’t know, I’m already confused by that knot.” His Daughter “Disappointment” told him she knew what she was doing. “Know-it-All” let her decide until he decided to switch task. But now, he didn’t know in which direction was the parking lot.
Arriving in Durgerdam, Team JaLo was first at the Pit Stop. Phil was accompanied by two cute Dutch children dressed in traditional clothes. Florena told us: “Chasin and I feel more confident with each other and our decisions.” Team “Jenathan” made it in second place while Team “High-Maintenance” were right behind in third place.
Nanni and WhoLia found their bikes and headed out of the parking lot just as team “Who’s my Daddy” arrived. The last place team saw the Ministers and were happy to still be in the race. Neither team proved to be good Hunters but “Know-It-All” was so all over the place in that “ocean of Bikes” that Kat n’ Pat kept losing their concentration and looking at him rather than searching for the bikes. Team “Who’s my Daddy” completed the task in 9th place. They were still fighting, Daddy saying to his daughter “You have Boogers in your bones”. Despite that, they made it to the bus stop with the “Cheap Dates” still there. The argument continued at the bus Stop, “Know-it-All” calling his Daughter “Disappointment”. She said his words hit her like punches. It was an awful sight. The two teams got on the bus and it left just before Pat n’ Kat arrived. They had to wait for a minibus service as there were no night buses to Ransdorp.
The four teams in the second group arrived at the Ransdorp Roadblock and somehow Kan’t was under the impression that Ditch Vaulting had something to do with a sheep that was in the field. He decided he would do it as did “Wrong End Akia” and Rachel. When Kan’t found out exactly what the roadblock was, he told us: “I’m not one of those ‘get-down-and-dirty’ kind of boys. I’m kinda prissy” You don’t say? I’m astonished that “Pinky” isn’t athletic. He did so poorly trying to get to the other side that the image of Katie Gallagher from Survivor Palau trying to swing a rope to make it to a platform came to mind. Kan’t couldn’t. Nerdy Nicky and Pops were observing Wrong End Akia attempting a vault before deciding which one was the acrobat. Why did they settle on Pops after seeing the athletic engineer take a dive in the ditch, I don’t know. Maybe it was seeing Rachel barely getting over on her first try. I saw a lot of mud on her back side but the judges cleared Rachel. Kan’t made it in 5th place just ahead of “Wrong End Akia”.
The cargo bike. Note Rachel’s hat
Three teams were off to meet Phil while Pops kept getting bogged down. His clothes got so muddy, he felt he was being weighed down so he got rid of all extra layers, thankfully keeping his shorts. They looked like they had 5 pounds of mud in the crotch so that was an another awful sight.
On the way to the pit Stop, Vaccine got upset with Kan’t who was being the cargo and she told him to ride the bike. TK rode his bike straight in front of Phil without seeing him. Phil looked on, he was amused that this was one of the better teams! They rode all the way around the Yatch club and saw “IQAzaria” and “Wrong End Akia” approaching. Both teams rode together. Kan’t and Vaccine profited from the mistake from team “Lovy-Dovy” to reach the pit stop in 4th place. Phil called the siblings in 5th place while team “Lovy-Dovy” was in 6th.
Back in the fields, Pops was still trying to vault the ditch but he wasn’t having any success and the next two teams caught up to him. Nanni decided to do the task because she used to pole vault and “Disappointment” said she was the acrobat of the “Who’s my Daddy” team. Thank you! I couldn’t take seeing “Know-it-All” in his skivvies. Speaking of skivvies, Pops had a mercy call, the judge accepting his jump even if we saw a lot of water splashing. There are no coach challenges or instant replays in the Amazing Race so the call on the field stood. Good thing, because I couldn't take another try with Nerdy Nicky asking his Pops to keep his legs up.
The Horror. I had to see it, so do you.
Nanni’s first attempt cleared the ditch by a large margin so team “Cheap Dates” quickly got on their cargo bike. “Know-it-All” started coaching “Disappointment” like the worst kind of Tennis dad. At the Yatch club, Team “Generation Gap” missed the drop off point, letting team “Cheap Dates” finish in 7th place. Finally finishing 8th we learned that Pops had gone naked for his vault. The editors had the good sense to cut that scene rather than use blurs.
Back at the ditch, “Know-it-All” was explaining the principle of the jump, “Disappointment” was exasperated and that boosted her across. “Know-it-All” joked that he thought he could’ve done it better. For someone that was a hero in episode #1, he certainly became a zero quickly. Riding the cargo bike, “Know-it-All” told his daughter that she needed to lose weight and then he took a spill. They somehow still made it to the pit stop in 9th place. I’m not sure if “Disappointment” really wanted to continue the race but she did say they wanted badly to go on, only calling it a differnce in work style. “Know-it-All” recognized the importance of communication skills, ackowledging that he was a little bit (sic) crass in the way he treated his daughter. “I’ve become the Archie Bunker of the home”. Even Archie wasn’t that bad. Can a daughter divorce her father?
Kat n’ Pat made it to Ransdorp. Pat completed the roadblock and they joined Phil as night was falling. They were happy to have completed the task together but they wished they could’ve gone further. “It proves we are meant to be together” were their final words.
So, the order of finish: 1- Team “JaLo”, Florena and Chasin 2- Team Jenathan, “Won’t Jog Jen” and DomiNate 3- Team High-Maintenance Shopping Shana and Jenuine Jen 4- The Go-Go-Goths, Kan’t and Vaccine 5- The Siblings, “IQAzaria” and “Wrong End Akia” 6- Team “Lovy-Dovy”, TK and Rachel 7- Team “Cheap Dates” Nanni and WhoLia 8- Team “Generation Gap”, Nerdy Nicky and Pops Don 9- Team “Who’s my Daddy”, “Know-it-All” and “Disappointment” Philiminated: The Married Ministers, Kat n’ Pat
Next time on the Amazing Race Team “Who’s my Daddy” argue over their camels while Florena shows her Flo side.