amazing race

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The Amazing Race: Globetrotters, Cowboys, and Indians

I want to preface this recap by saying that I am slightly grumpy because I am out of wine, but I will soldier on with a vodka and tonic instead because that’s just the type of dedication I bring to these recaps.

I also have a correction from last week’s episode. The “Couple” did not U-Turn the Globetrotters. The Cheerleaders did. I apologize for any evil thoughts you may have sent to Kynt and Vyxsin and encourage you to direct all future evil thoughts at the Cheerleaders.

Okay, let’s get down to business!

The Cowboys were the first team to depart the pit stop at 2:14 p.m and learned that they had to travel to the Jin Fu Yi Zhan tea shop for a tasting of papaya and mango infused tea. What they didn’t know was that this tea would appear in a later leg of the race.

Father/Daughter left  two minutes after, then Deaf Kid and his Umbilical Cord. Deaf kid was pissed that they were staying in China, which may be a little bit racist.

Father/Daughter found the tea shop first, then the Cowboys showed up. Mallory said the tea tasted like peach. Close, very close. Not really. Christina asked what kind of tea it is, and learned it was papaya mango. Smart. Zev had no idea what it tasted like. Maybe like tea? At least say it tasted like tea.

The teams next had to travel by plane to Kolkata, India where they had to find the Town Hall to receive their next clue. When the teams arrived in India, they ran out of the airport like lunatics and/or rock stars. Lunatic rock stars. Think Russell Brand on speed, or just think Russell Brand.

All of the teams looked like they were having a fun time passing each other in India’s notoriously dangerous cabs, being generally silly, running red lights, playing chicken, almost getting hit by a truck. When they arrived at the Town Hall, they learned that they would have to spend the night outside because it didn’t open until the next morning. Big Easy said he was going to pitch a tent which was sort of TMI for TAR.

Oh ha! When the back of the pack showed up at the Town Hall, the Globetrotters told them to run! run! run! There’s a clue box and you have to sign up for a time! Father/Daughter and Deaf Kid and his Umbilical Cord were dodging and weaving trying to find the clue box! I love the Globetrotters, and everyone had a good laugh which they probably needed because they were about to sleep on the streets in India.

The gates opened at 10 a.m. and everyone ran inside where they were greeted by a Roadblock. The Roadblock was all about flavors. One team member had to participate in an ancient Indian tradition of tea tasting. The team members had to find the flavor of tea that they had tasted in China, about two days ago in an entirely different country. To make matters worse, there was a lot of tea! There were thousands and thousands of cups of tea to taste! I have to pee just looking at all of that tea.

Old Yeller did something smart. Rather than drink a thousand cups of tea, he smelled the cups and looked at the color and immediately chose the correct cup of tea. He basically just put the “amazing” in the Amazing Race. Rather than a regular clue, Old Yeller was handed a bottle of Snapple iced tea sans label. He popped the cap off and underneath it said to go to the Tiwari tea stall to find their next clue.

Zev took a sip and had no clue what the tea tasted like. Luke was totally confused. Everyone was just randomly bringing cups of tea to the judge. Then, Jet started smelling the teas and he found the correct cup. Smell, people, smell!

Kisha selected the correct tea next, but the Sisters were confused about the Snapple bottle. Rather than look under the cap, they began asking people where the Snapple factory was and asked their cab driver to take them there. Rookie mistake, Sisters.

Back at the mile-long tea tasting, Mallory began praying to Jeezus. In India. Wrong God, lady. Kynt  selected the correct tea, and Luke escalated his freak-out. Then, Mallory smelled the teas and was able to select the correct cup. Smell, people, smell!

There were three racers left tasting tea: Luke, Flight Time, and Zev. Zev selected the correct tea next, and Margie clapped for him which is either nice, or sign language telling Luke to hurry up.

Meanwhile, the Sisters wandered around in the middle of nowhere asking people where they make Snapple. Finally, Kisha got thirsty and opened up the bottle for a sip of tea and ah ha! There’s a clue under the cap!

The “Couple” arrived at the tea stall first and received their next clue. Detour! The teams had to decide between Hindu Art or Bengali Literature. In Hindu Art, teams had to paint, dress and adorn a statue of a Hindu God. In Bengali Literature teams had to go to a bookstore and collect eight stacks of books which must be taken to a school in a rickshaw.

The “Couple” chose Hindu Art and were very happy that the body of the statue had to be painted pink and accessorized with sparkly things, just like them. Whatever, people.

Father/Daughter chose Bengali Literature. They loaded the books into a large cage attached to the back of a bicycle which I guess is a rickshaw. Then, they climbed into the cage themselves. This might be the strangest mode of transportation in TAR history.

The Cowboys and the Nerds also chose the bookshop, while the Sisters, Old Yeller and the “Couple” did the painting. Old Yeller put in ear plugs to complete the task because the music was too loud for him. Sheesh, old people!

Flight Time and Deaf Kid were still enjoying hating the tea party. Flight Time got it wrong. Deaf Kid got it wrong. Flight Time got it wrong. Deaf Kid got it wrong. Flight Time finally got it…wrong again. Then, Flight Time chose correctly, leaving Deaf Kid as the only one left at the task. Deaf Kid was annoyed and frustrated. He was crying. He was wailing. It was sad, and also….ugh. He threw himself onto the floor in a crumpled, defeated mess, crying for his mother.

I’m sorry, but I have to jump in here. Nut up, Deaf Kid! You’re being a big baby. You’re being a momma’s boy. You need to suck it up and get the job done. Oh what? You heard me? Deaf Kid sucked it up and completed the task! All of the tea people hugged Deaf Kid and carried him on their shoulders like a hero and promised to name a special new tea after him. I think one of them suggested Sobbing American. It’s a white tea. Look for it in the beverage aisle at your local Whole Foods.

Father/Daughter finished the painting Detour first and were directed to the pit stop across town at the Fountain of Joy. The Nerds finished the book delivery next, and then the Cowboys.

The Globetrotters, on the other hand, arrived at the painting task just as Father/Daughter arrived at the pit stop as Team Number One. Oh look, there’s an Amazing Race-flavored Snapple and their reward is to be the first humans to taste the tea. The tea had previously only been tasted by special tasting helper monkeys, like in Raiders of the Lost Ark. If Father/Daugher survived this tasting, Snapple would put the tea on the market. They also got a Bollywood performance and 1,000,000 rupees which I am surprised to learn is over $20,000.

The Cowboys, Old Yeller and the Nerds were all stuck in a traffic jam on the way to the pit stop and arrived at the same time, just as Phil was rolling the lifeless bodies of Father/Daughter off of the mat. I’m kidding, they survived, look for the limited edition papaya mango Snapple in the beverage department of your local Whole Foods, right next to Sobbing American Tea. The “Couple” showed up a minute later, followed by the Sisters.

The Globetrotters were in a race for last place with Deaf Kid and his Umbilical Cord. Both teams chose the painting task, and the Globetrotters finished first. Before heading to the pit stop, Flight Time gave Deaf Kid and his Umbilical Cord a hug because the Globetrotters are just such wonderful people. Although they had trouble finding a cab, they finally got one and despite some fancy editing the Globetrotters got to the pit stop first.

Deaf Kid and his Umbilical Cord arrived holding hands which, ugh, is part of the problem. He’s deaf, Margie, not blind! Luke sat down on the mat and broke down in another round of tears when he learned that they had been eliminated from the race. He apologized to his Umbilical Cord, and she said she was proud of him. So that’s nice. They both looked completely exhausted so this was probably for the best.

The Race continues in two weeks, when the Sisters play with dung and Zev kind of freaks out from sensory overload. There are seven teams left so we’re getting down to the wire here. Anyone want to call a winner? I’ve got my money on the Cowboys, but the Sisters are looking pretty strong, too.

Finally, today CBS announced the Amazing Race will be renewed for a 19th race.

The Amazing Race: U-Turn-O-Rama

Where were we? Oh right, the “Couple” lost their fanny pack which contained all of their worldly and otherworldly possessions. Kynt had a queasy look about him and I got the impression that he knew he had left the waist-luggage on the gondola. Was he right? Yup. The “Couple” climbed all the way back up the mountain (via gondola) and there it was, waiting for them in some sort of makeshift lost-and-found. Kynt was so relieved that he kissed the fanny pack, which is more intimate than he has ever been with Vyxsin.

In the meantime, the Nerds learned they are still racing and had to travel by train to the city of Kunming where they were to search for their next clue in the Dounan Flower Market.

Deaf Kid and his Umbilical Cord arrived at the train station at noon and learn that there is only one train which left at 7 p.m. Sad trombones played as they realized that their lead was lost. Oh TAR, you’re such a tease with the transportation equalizers. Also? He can’t hear the sad trombones.

When the “Couple” finally reach Phil they were so overjoyed that they were still racing that Kynt kissed the clue! No he didn’t, but he wanted to kiss the clue a lot more than he wanted to kiss Vyxsin. Because they took the wrong flight, they incurred a 30 minute penalty which they would have to wait out at the next pit stop.

What happened next was strange and wonderful. It appears that Flight Time has been lugging a basketball halfway around the world in a giant fanny pack. So while they were waiting for their train, the Cowboys, the Sisters, and the Globetrotters shot some hoops in the parking lot while the Cheerleaders cheered. It was an amazing little glimpse at how much fun racing around the world can be, and I have made a mental note to bring a basketball the next time I find myself at a train station in China with seven hours to kill.

All teams boarded a triple-decker train to Kunming. What is a triple-decker train you ask? It’s a train with beds stacked three high. The top bunk looked about ten feet off of the ground, and there was no visible ladder so I assume climbing up involved a great deal of gymnastics. Or, if you’re the Globetrotters, just sitting down.

Upon arriving in Kunming, Old Yeller noted that by speaking Chinese, they have the home court advantage. Not to be outdone, the Nerds added that “Ron and Christina must know exactly where they’re going.” Because China is a small town?

The Sisters located the clue first amongst the flowery flowers of the flower market. Teams were directed to the Golden Horse and Jade Cock Memorial Arches to search for their next clue. No joke, I had to rewind three times because I thought Phil said “gay cock.” Now that would have been an interesting Detour.

Detour! The teams had a choice between honoring the past, or embracing the future. In Honor the Past, teams had to watch a traditional Tibetan performance and place a set of 15 dolls representing the characters in the show in the same order as they appeared on the stage. In Embrace the Future, teams had to offload a water heating system, carry it to the roof of a building, and properly install it.

Dance, dance, dance, dolls, dolls, dolls, and the Nerds finished the task and were the first team headed towards the dreaded Double U-Turn. The Sisters and Old Yeller were close on their heels. Because Old Yeller knows all of China everywhere, the two teams decided to follow Old Yeller’s cab.  Unfortunately, Old Yeller’s cab driver did not know China as well as they did and led all three teams to the wrong location. Oops! That’s what you get for following another team.

Over at Embracing the Future, Deaf Kid and Umbilical Cord lugged the materials up to the roof like champs! Behind them were the Cheerleaders and the “Couple” who seemed to already know about the dreaded Double U-Turn. The “Couple” were having a bit of trouble carrying heavy things because Kynt has wispy, pale little twigs for arm. To add insult to injury, the Cowboys blazed past them on the staircase like they were carrying marshmallows topped with feathers. The Globetrotters eventually showed up, picked up two toothpicks, and stepped onto the rooftop.

Deaf Kid and Umbilical Cord finished the task and headed for the dreaded Double U-Turn. When a team is U-Turned, they have to go back and complete the other task which can really slow a team down considerably. Deaf Kid arrived first and decided not to U-Turn anyone because they were pretty sure that they were in first place. Which they were. But still, it’s a race for a bazillion dollars! Play hard or don’t play at all, folks!  Another team that didn’t U-Turn anyone? The Cowboys. I don’t understand the nicey-nice strategy, but okay.

The “Couple” and the Cheerleaders arrived at the U-Turn almost at the same time, but the “Couple” muscled the Cheerleaders out of the way at the last second. First, they U-Turned the Globetrotters because they knew that they were still behind them. But what other team was behind them? Psst! They’re standing right behind you! The lightbulb went off in Kynt’s head and they U-Turned the Cheerleaders right to their faces! Ha ha! It was evil and awesome and the smartest thing they’ve done in days.

Roadblock! Teams had to take a cab to the Stone Forest outside of the city. Most of the teams bunched up and followed one cab to the Stone Forest where they had to reconstruct a 20-foot life-sized dinosaur model. The task looked really hard and physically exhausting.

The Cheerleaders arrived at the second task while the Globetrotters realized that they had been U-Turned. Poor Globetrotters. The Cheerleaders finished before they even showed up.  But, the Globetrotters made quick work of it and the Cheerleaders’ cab had to stop for gas, so the Globetrotters passed the Cheerleaders on the way to the Stone Forest.

The Nerds and Father/Daughter got totally lost and were having communication problems. At one point, they were miming “stone” and “forest.” As a result, they were the last two teams to arrive at the task.

Most teams were struggling to properly complete their dinosaur models. Father/Daughter took one look at the task and decided to use their Express Pass. Remember that? They got it for winning the first leg and it allows them to skip any task. Bam! Off to the pit stop at Green Light Park in Kun Ming Zhan!

The Cowboys did a great job of being careful and checking the diagram a million times and finished the task before the rest of the teams. They even let out a little yeeeeehaw! And, because Father/Daughter were having trouble finding a cab, the Cowboys passed them and won this leg of the Race! Another hearty yeeeehaw! and the ginger one even threw his hat in the air! And, rather than another romantic vacation, they each won $5,000 which they can spend on hats and belt buckles and other cowboy accessories. Good for you, Cowboys, I think you got your groove back!

Back at the task from hell, Jaimie was getting pissed, Zev was disassembling his dinosaur again, and Kynt climbed up on a ladder to grab the top of the dinosaur tail and did some sort of a swan dive onto the ground.

Umbilical Cord finished next, then the Sisters, then the “Couple” (who still have a 30 minute penalty to wait out), and then Big Easy who looked like he just picked up a few dinosaur bones and placed them at his feet. Finally Christina finished and I have to say, good for you, Ron. You kept your big mouth shut and let your daughter do the task without any berating or micromanaging. See how well that worked? The only teams left at the task were the Nerds and the Cheerleaders, and neither of them were even close to finishing.

Eventually, Justin finished his dinosaur. Jaimie looked like she wanted to give give up. She threw a mini-tantrum, waving her arms around like a tyrannosaurus rex, and…pressed on. Exhausted and broken, she finished the task knowing that they were going to be the last team to arrive. The Cheerleaders were eliminated, but I give them credit because they finally showed something closely resembling grace.

Next week, the teams are off to Calcutta, India and have to do a tea tasting that supposedly brings Luke to his breaking point (fingers crossed!). Also, Luke loses his sleeves.

So? Are you as happy as I am that the Globetrotters caught up and the Cheerleaders were eliminated? How badly did you want to join in that game of hoops at the bus terminal? And where exactly was Flight Time stashing that basketball?

The Amazing Race Recap: Big In Japan

Welcome back to a busy leg of The Amazing Race! In what I think may be a race first, instead of lolling about at a resort until the morning, after the teams checked into the pit stop they were sent on an overnight train ride from The Outback to Somewhere With Airplanes. The Nerds (Zev and Justin) were the first to leave the pit stop and learned that they had to fly to Tokyo, Japan. They reminisced about the last time they were in Japan and had to eat fistfuls of wasabi. Otherwise, they were nonplused by their destination.  One person that was super duper OMG! holy cow we’re going to Japan! Did you read that? We’re going to Jah-payyyuuun!!!! Whoooo! was the Daughter half of Father/Daughter. Maybe Japan was on her bucket list, or maybe she just really likes sushi and questionable fashion trends. I don’t know. But she was excited.

Eventually the teams all figured out that there were two flights to Japan–a direct flight that got in at 6:15am, and a connecting flight that got in at 6:00am. Now, I’ve watched enough seasons of TAR to know that you do not risk a connection over fifteen minutes. But despite having actually run the race before, some teams did not know this. People, please. If you’re going on a reality television show, do yourself a favor and watch a few seasons beforehand. You can learn lots of great stuff, like never give away an immunity idol, never make a dress that could be worn by the mother of a bride, and never choose a connecting flight over a direct flight to save fifteen minutes. Sheesh!

The Nerds and the Globetrotters were waffling back and forth between the direct flight and the connecting flight, and eventually decided to go for the one that got in earlier. But, waffling takes time, and time is not your friend on TAR. By the time they went to purchase their tickets for the connecting flight, there were only 2 seats left. What would they do? Flip a coin? Rock, Paper, Scissors? Thunderdome? Nope. The Globetrotters let the Nerds have the last two seats because the Nerds had helped them out with a clue earlier. Have I mentioned that I love these guys?

Along with the Nerds, the “Couple,” The Deaf Kid And His Umbilical Cord, Mel and Mike, and the Cheerleaders all opted to take the connecting flight. The bad news is that there were engine troubles with the connecting flight. The good news is, they were on the ground when they found out about the engine troubles. But it did delay their flight, and I hate to say I told you so (that’s not true, I actually love it), but the direct flight landed first.

Once in Japan, the teams had to drive themselves to city of Kamakura and find the Yabusame Dojo. The parking garage was the coolest thing ever! The cars rotated on a giant Wonder Wheel and spit out of a slot like a vending machine. And for an added bonus, the Globetrotters looked like they were driving a little clown car, which may or may not be part of their basketball routine.

All of the teams seemed to get a bit lost, and Old Yeller started doing his yelling thing again. But, berating his daughter paid off because they got to the Roadblock first. Way to reward bad behavior, TAR.

At the Roadblock, one team member had to participate in a Yabusame training exercise. Old Yeller himself chose to do the Roadblock and was dressed as a samurai and given a bow and arrow. I would not have given an angry, short-tempered old man a weapon, but hey, that’s just me. The Sisters Who Peed In China, the Globetrotters, and Father/Daughter arrived shortly afterwards and got suited up and began practicing the routine which involved some sort of bending exercises and shooting an arrow through a piece of plywood while riding a mechanical bull set to “easy peasy lemon squeezy” mode.

The Sister hit the target first, and that pissed off Old Yeller. Next was Justin. Bam! Hit the target. Then the Father. Old Yeller must’ve been steaming at that. The “Couple”, Mel and Mike, and the Deaf Kid And His Umbilical Cord showed up at the Roadblock just as the Globetrotters completed the task. Finally, Old Yeller let out a yelp and hit the target and his daughter cheerfully exclaimed “good job, Daddy!” What a nice family, I think they’re going to really bond over this experience.

Two teams were missing in action–the Cowboys and the Cheerleaders. The Cowboys were very, very, very lost. Their navigational plan was to drive “south.” I’m not sure if they understood that Japan is an island, and too much driving “south” would lead to a very long swim.

In contrast to the Cowboys’ lackadaisical approach, the Cheerleaders rammed right into another car. They hit a side mirror, and the car’s owner called the police. The Cheerleaders broke a mirror. Ha! Throw them in jail for Extreme Irony (and Horribleness)! Although the police did not throw them in jail (they ordered the Cheerleaders to hug the other driver, figuring forcing these women to be nice was the cruelest punishment of all), the incident did slow down their race considerably.

All teams eventually completed the Roadblock and were sent to a railway station to find a statue and their next clue. The Nerds and Father/Daughter got there first. The teams had a choice between two tasks–Prayer of Purity or Frog of Life. In Prayer of Purity, the teams had to complete a cleansing ritual and then stand under a freezing cold waterfall for one minute. In Frog of Life, teams had to strip down, get into a mud pit, and search for a plastic frog while being pelted with mud by boisterous locals. Please choose Frogs of Life, please choose Frogs of Life, please choose Frogs of Life!

They chose Frogs of Life! Whoo hoo! The task looked absolutely awful. Not only were they looking for a small frog in a mud pit while wearing nothing but a diaper, but the locals were serious about pelting them with mud. The Nerds found the frog first and had to drive to the pit stop in Kuriyama, Japan. Father/Daughter were close on their heels, so to speed things up, the Nerds hopped in their car pantsless.  I am now performing a purity ritual on my eyeballs.

Speaking of purity rituals, Old Yeller and the Globetrotters were the only teams to choose this task. I hope the ritual cleansed the evil out of Old Yeller, because he was in rare form. The Globetrotters made quick work of the task and completed the task first.  While grabbing their backpacks to leave, they accidentally picked up Old Yeller’s fanny pack which contained Ron and Christina’s passports. Whoops!  Realizing their mistake, the Globetrotters left the fanny pack in the changing room. This left Old Yeller fuming because he had spent a few minutes berating his daughter for not being more careful. Good work, Globetrotters! You pushed that man one step closer to the edge.

As the Cheerleaders headed to the frog task, the Nerds were running to the mat. For the second week in a row, the Nerds were team number one. Good for you, pantsless boys! Father/Daughter were next, followed by the Globetrotters and Old Yeller. Old Yeller was not happy about the fanny pack situation and complained to Phil, who gave the Globetrotters a 30 minute penalty. Fair enough I suppose, but still, it was a bit of a snitchy thing to do.

Meanwhile, more digging through mud, more frogs and diapers, and the Cheerleaders finally made it to the mud pit. The sun had gone down, and the only other team left was Mel and Mike. Poor Mel was a wreck. Mike had the good senses to take his father to a nearby ambulance to warm up. Unfortunately, getting into an ambulance is never a good strategy for winning TAR.

The Cheerleaders found the frog pretty quickly, which meant Mel and Mike were the last ones left at the task. The Cheerleaders never saw Mel and Mike in the ambulance, so when they got to the mat, they assumed that they were going to be eliminated. When Phil told them that they were team number nine, something horrible happened. One of the Cheerleaders (I don’t know which one, they both look the same, it’s kind of creeping me out) said “shut the front door!” as a substitute for “shut the fuck up!” No. Just no. There is no place for cleaned up churchy-speak on TAR, and I hope that the next time one of them pulls crap like that, the producers bleep it out so that my ears do not have to be offended by their non-potty-mouths.

Mel and Mike didn’t finish the task and were eliminated. That’s too bad, but it was bound to happen eventually, and Mike did say that he didn’t want to kill his father, so mission accomplished. The teams are off to China for the next leg, where it looks like the “Couple” takes a long drive in the wrong direction. Fun!

So what did you think? Did the Globetrotters deserve the penalty? Were you hoping this was a non-elimination leg, or would it have been cruel to force Mel to continue?