Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Chickens Pluck and Goats Ram (on The Amazing Race)

"Is that a chicken or a goat?!"

This week on The Amazing Race, we remain in poverty-stricken Africa to learn more local customs and compete for more luxurious prizes. Get ready to stoke the local economy with Leg Number Four!

So here we are, still in Burkina Faso, which Phil tells us is internationally known for festivals celebrating art, music and filmmaking. Yes, any time I think about the fine arts Burkina Faso comes to mind. Especially because Burkina Faso bears such a strong resemblance to Universal Studios.

One big magical world of entertainment

Phil reminds us that we are in a village called Bingo, where the teams have spent their last Pit Stop, and then he ponders over how the teams will fare on this upcoming leg.

The Siblings came in first, so they get to leave first at 7:58 AM. Their “clue” tells them to travel to a neighboring village and find the village chief, who will give them another clue and a “gift of generosity.” Yes, that’s exactly what the rich Americans need – a gift of generosity from the destitute locals – brilliant. As The Siblings set out, Azaria immediately starts hounding Hendekea to run faster, so they grab hands and skip happily down the dirt trail together, in quest of another romantic getaway prize.

"Maybe this time will be Hawaii!"

Azaria mentions that Hendekea has “physical limitations” and she says, “like I’m a retard or something?” CBS has bleeped and blurred the word “retard” because that is the most offensive thing going on here. They find the village chief who points behind him to a pen of chickens – the gift of generosity, so Hendekea scoops one up and puts it in a mesh bag and then the chief hands them their next clue. The next task is to travel by taxi 100 miles (nap time for me!) to the town of Bouda Pelegtanga for their next clue and PS, they have to keep the chicken with them at all times and present it when they check in at the Pit Stop. No chicken, no check in. Oh, you CBS writers! I’m so glad this was filmed before your strike. The Siblings jog over to the road to find a taxi, with Azaria barking, “Pick it up! Pick it up!” the entire time. Ew, that would induce me to trudge slowly along because as I have mentioned before, I could never keep up and the nagging would drive me insane.

The Hippies set out next and they tell us they have decided not to pressure themselves because that would just mess them up. They are going to proceed calmly along and enjoy themselves. Yes, that will get you the win for sure, man. The Babies go next, and I am dismayed to note that Jennifer has put her black leggings back on. There are a lot of leggings this season, which flatter no one. All these girls look like freaky little skeletons with ultra large heads. Jem and Rio are fourth in line and Rio tells us that their “Gothic orientation” has served them well so far. Hmm, not sure that’s been the deciding factor, but whatever. Moronald and Christina go and Moronald tells us that they are improving, having gone from last place to fifth place, and Christina tells him to stop talking and conserve his energy for when his hernia acts up. Grandpa Donald and Nicholas are next, and speculate that all Grandpa Donald’s years of experience should give them a leg up.

The Hippies quickly capture their chicken, but The Babies are having a tougher time as the chickens keep fluttering out of Jennifer’s hands. I can see Nathan mentally preparing to freak out on her, but they finally get it together and catch a taxi. I have to note here that every time a chicken appears on camera there are chicken sound effects, like clucking and squawking. Very amusing. The Siblings bask in how at-home and welcome they feel in Africa while Jem and Rio round up a chicken (cluck, squawk). Nick, needless to say, looks on as Grandpa Donald gets their chicken, and Moronald and Christina manage to get one into a bag without bursting Moronald’s abdomen.

The LA Blondes are just now leaving the Pit Stop and telling us about how they are BFF’s. Wow, congratulations girls. As they enter the chicken pen, one of them says to the other, “They’re going to pluck you and everything.” Pluck you? Well that should be a relief because I’m sure it’s been a while since you two have had an eyebrow wax, so you should be happy that the chickens are able to help out and pluck you. It’s peck, brainiac, whichever one of you said that. The chickens may peck you. But I’m sure that neither of you know the difference. The little one is all freaked out as they get the chicken into the bag, but she pulls it together for the taxi ride. They decide to name their chicken Phil due to the similarity in looks between their host and the chicken – you know, spiky hair and all. The chicken just sits there looking extremely uncomfortable having to listen to them.

"Hello, my name is Phil."

The Siblings arrive at the end of their 100 mile taxi journey, but just as Azaria is gearing up to ride Hendekea’s butt, she decides to look for a bathroom, nearly putting Azaria over the edge. Imagine the nerve of her, having to pee after 100 miles through the desert! Because Hendekea is dawdling around going to the bathroom, The Babies get to the clue first and learn that it is a Detour. Phil? Please explain. Well, it’s like this. The teams can either shake their pan – trying out a local trade by panning for one ounce of gold out of a mud hole, or shake their booty – trying out a local art form by learning a tribal dance from some performers who keep bringing to my mind this big muppet:

Well, I was raised in America.

The dance will be judged by some local “celebrities,” and the teams must incorporate some of their own creativity into their performance. If the judges like the dance, they will get the next clue, but if not, they will get a 10 minute penalty. Thanks, Phil!

The Babies decide to shake their booties, because, as Jennifer tells us, she has just finished a season of being a dancer for the LA Clippers. Really? Her? Aren’t those girls supposed to be pretty? Oh there I go getting snippy. The Hippies also decide to shake their booties, as do The Siblings. Just about now Lorena and Jason are finally heading out from the Pit Stop in last place. Lorena’s face is all red and puffy from crying for about six hours yesterday under the camel, but she’s putting on a happy face for this leg. Meanwhile Nick and Grandpa Donald hound their taxi driver into passing the taxi containing Jem and Rio. Then Moronald and Christina’s taxi passes them as well. Look out for angry Goths. Lorena and Jason grab a chicken and a taxi and they are still in this race!

The Clippers girl smugly thinks she is picking right up on the tribal dance moves and Nathan yells at her to not talk to him in dance terms. You know, like “two on this side, two on that side.” It’s just too confusing if you haven’t been to Juilliard. For their performance, Jennifer stomps back and forth while Nathan looks like he’s having an epileptic seizure and the locals look on snickering and hiding their heads. When they randomly stop dancing the judges tell them that they showed no creativity and to get in the naughty corner for their 10 minute penalty.

She used to dance for the Burkina Faso Hunters.
Don't mess with her.

The Hippies try to learn the dance for a minute and then give up and decide to go and pan for gold. Don’t worry, TK and Rachel. Not everyone can dance for the LA Clippers. Nicholas is busy sending Grandpa Donald into the mud hole to get to work panning for gold and The Siblings perform their dance and as they wait for the judges’ decision Azaria says “merci,” thinking that means “please” in French. Retard. Oops, how obscene of me – I need to be bleeped. The judges tell them they were very good and I call favoritism. The next clue tells them to head for the Pelegtanga Market, but warns that there is a U-Turn ahead. Goody! That means Phil is back to explain.

"Will YOU-TURN a team around?"

There are only two U-Turns during the entire race and U-Turns are found at the end of a Detour. If a team chooses to use the U-Turn, they send the team of their choice backward to complete the second half of the Detour that they originally chose not to do. You can only use a U-Turn once, so it is important to be strategic.

Jem and Rio choose to shake their booties just as The Babies are being released from the naughty corner and Jennifer complains that she will get “so much crap from the dancing world” when she gets home. The dancing world? Oh like those people on Dancelife with Jennifer Lopez? Yes, I’d be really worried about what those grand successes have to say. The Siblings do not use the U-Turn at this point and collect the next clue, which is to travel by taxi to the Tampouy Goat Market for further instructions. The Hippies are wandering aimlessly through the wilderness looking for the panning challenge. Grandpa Donald continues digging away for gold and Moronald and Christina get ready to impress the judges with some booty shaking since Moronald is “a wild dancer,” or so Christina tells us. Their dance is slightly disturbing, with them literally bumping their butts together while holding their poles. Icky. The locals think so too.

Just... no.

Christina says “S'il vous plait,” which is the correct way to say “please” in French, but the judges are not impressed and send them off to the naughty corner. Grandpa Donald has panned enough gold to take the stash over to the gold judges to be weighed. Nicholas stands around watching as the judges determine that they have panned sufficient gold and can receive the clue to head on to the Pelegtanga Market. Nick goes, “That was pretty easy.” Gee, hasn’t every task been pretty easy for you, Nick? How hard is it to watch? As they head out The Hippies finally locate the gold panning and start into the mud hole. The Babies arrive at the U-Turn and choose not to use it. Jennifer says, “We’re going to win this race like freakin’ men.” Thanks for that shout out to your gender, Jennifer, you traitor. They’re off to the Goat Market.

The LA Blondes shock no one by choosing to shake their booties – remember, they’re using their bodies to win this thing – and Lorena and Jason are still riding along with their chicken on the 100 mile journey. Jason yells “Rapido!” at their driver, which accomplishes nothing in all the wrong languages. The Hippies are having no luck panning for gold and Jem and Rio get ready to start their dance. They start out tribal and then Rio takes off on his own “Star Wars Kid” tangent, light saber fighting all over the place which thrills the locals to no end.

A Jedi's strength flows from the Force.

After all my ranting last week about hoping CBS does something for the locals, I am overjoyed to see that they have provided them with a lifetime’s worth of entertainment by having the racers attempt to dance for them. If nothing else, they are being paid in abundant amusement and laughter. The judges tell Jem and Rio they are wonderful and send them along.

Nick and Grandpa Donald can not find the Pelegtanga Market so Jem and Rio beat them to the U-Turn box and announce that they will not be using the U-Turn at this juncture. On their way to the Goat Market, Rio tells us that to the Africans they look like aliens from outer space and yet everyone has been so warm and friendly to them. Here is where it occurs to me that Jem and Rio have taken special care each day to apply their wacky makeup. It must be really important to them if they feel the need to paint their faces for the African tribes. Oh, and Rio? You look like aliens to everyone, not just the Africans. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Moronald and Christina do not U-Turn anyone and neither do Nick and Grandpa Donald, who have finally found the market. The Hippies finally find some gold and the LA Blondes begin their dance. Now this is funny. They start by kitty cat crawling along on the ground and I can see that they are making an attempt at the sexy angle – and that it’s definitely not working. They stand up and roll their heads around and then do some hip gyrations, all the while counting aloud, and not quietly. Gee that looks so African.

"Isn't anyone going to offer us cash?"

The judges unbelievably let them move on, and the only conclusion I can come to is that they have blonde hair. They were unquestionably worse than The Babies and Moronald and Christina. Maybe the judges are just tired of watching their culture made into a mockery at this point, who knows? The Blondes move along and so do The Hippies, as they have managed to find an ounce of gold.

The Blondes approach the U-Turn box and notice The Hippies very close on their heels, so they decide to U-Turn them and assure themselves a safe lead. This would probably be a good move if they had actually pulled out The Hippies’ picture and stuck it on the sign. Instead they pull out Jason and Lorena’s picture – apparently mistaking The Hippies for the never-to-be-marrieds. As we all know, Jason and Lorena haven’t even arrived at the Detour yet and pose virtually no threat at this point. Another brilliant move by the LA Blondes. The big blonde feels bad about doing the U-Turn, but the little one assures her that it’s all part of the game and other teams wouldn’t hesitate to do it to them. Again, true, but usually U-Turns serve some sort of strategic purpose, not just delaying a team who is already trailing way behind, and all because The Blondes can not identify their fellow racers. As they post up the picture (one of Jason and Lorena to be U-Turned, and one of themselves as the U-Turners) they stop to admire what a good picture it is of themselves. It is actually a deceptively good picture. Now get out of here, girls.

Who are they?

The Hippies see the U-Turn and tell us that it is not a very wise move by The Blondes since now they will have a target on their backs. The Blondes must be pretty confused when The Hippies don’t turn around to finish the Detour, but board a taxi of their own and head to the Goat Market. In the taxi, the little blonde says that they love Jason and Lorena, but felt it was the right decision to U-Turn them. The big blonde whimpers that karma is a bitch. Do I sense a blonde feud coming on?

Jason and Lorena arrive at the Detour at last and decide to shake their booties. Little do they know, they will also be shaking a pan. Meanwhile The Siblings and The Babies are arriving at the Goat Market and spotting goats and chickens being transported in very uncomfortable-looking methods to the market to be sold. The Siblings get to the clue first, and wouldn’t you know it – it’s a Road Block. Phil?

Only one person can perform this task, which is to load up a bicycle (popular item this season) with a giant ton of awkward items, including a goat, then pedal their loaded bicycles to another market and deliver their supplies to an individually specified vendor. Azaria takes this one, and so does Jennifer. The goats look so uncomfortable strapped into their little laundry baskets, but I’m not going to quibble with the starving. Other items they have to load are blankets, water containers, tea kettles and a plant.


Jason and Lorena perform their dance for the celebrity judges and Lorena tells us that Puerto Ricans love to dance – apparently she’s Puerto Rican. Jason tells us that when he first saw Lorena she was on a dance floor and he wanted to dance with her because she’s hot. True love, I tell you. They get through their crazy routine and Jason says he feels like he’s on American Idol – in Africa. Jason, you card. The judges let them pass and they (and we) bid farewell to the judges and all of the dancing muppets.

"See you next time!"

The Hippies manage to surpass The Blondes in their taxi – again I’m wondering how confused The Blondes must be at seeing this – and Jennifer has her bicycle all loaded up and ready to ride to the market. Nathan is off to the side yelling at her, of course. As she stops to ask a local for directions, her goat tries to eat her clue. Hooray, little goat! The next three teams arrive at the Goat Market, these being Jem and Rio, Grandpa and Nick, and Moronald and Christina. Jem naturally takes the challenge, and so does Christina to spare her father from a hernia flare-up, and then we have a Festivus miracle when lanky Nicholas participates in his very first challenge and decides to tackle the Road Block! Way to get in the race, Nick! Grandpa, have a seat.

Right about now Jason and Lorena are finding out that they have been U-Turned and must go back and pan for gold. Lorena looks dangerously close to having another hysterical breakdown, but Jason does his upbeat best to keep her positive so he won’t have to deal with the little girl from The Exorcist again.

Back at the market, Azaria has managed to locate his specified vendor, but Jennifer isn’t having such luck. She’s starting to panic and tells us this is the worst culture shock she’s ever had because she doesn’t speak French. Yeah, Jennifer. That’s what made this challenge weird, not the crying goat on the back of your bike or any of the other bizarre items you’re lugging through the destitute African marketplace. At last she finds her vendor and the next clue is to take yet another taxi to the Hotel De Ville, located in the Ouagadougou City Hall. This is the Pit Stop, so they must arrive with a chicken and the last team may be eliminated. The way Jennifer says “merci” when her vendor hands her the clue is soooooo dumb American. “Mare-see, mare-see.” Whatever you do, Jen, don’t try to imitate what you hear. Just sound as dumb as possible – that’s the American way! The Siblings and The Babies embark on their taxi race to the Pit Stop. Nathan tries to hug Jennifer, but she announces that she can’t be touched. Then she relents. Mare-see!

Lorena and Jason pan away for gold and Moronald is all up in Christina’s face trying to tell her the proper way to load her bicycle while she begs him to stop. Jem tips her bicycle over, which means she has to start again with all the loading. Nick sets off on his bicycle and I have to look twice to make sure my eyes are not deceiving me, but it’s really Nick this time, not Grandpa, and as Christina sets off, Moronald calls out, “May the force of good fortune be with you.” That will do, Moronald.

"Sorry about my father, sorry about my father."

Rachel of The Hippies decides to do the Road Block and so does the little blonde. How these girls generate enough strength out of their little 90 pound bodies to walk is beyond me. And now they’re going to ride a loaded bicycle? Good luck. Rio starts pestering Jem to put down her kickstand, which she claims won’t help and we witness our first Gothic bicker. The big blonde confides in TK that they U-Turned Jason and Lorena, which he already knows and says he wouldn’t have done. The big blonde is now trembling in fear of her karma.

And speaking of the U-Turned, they are just now having their ounce of gold approved and the big blonde is regretting her decision more as every minute passes. Jason continues his perky mood, I’m guessing in a desperate attempt to not have to nurse Lorena through another sobbing fit, and I can’t blame him. They set out for the Goat Market determined to stay positive because you never know what will happen in this race and Lorena is no fun without her medication. Nicholas and Christina are now searching for their vendors and Jem is setting off on her loaded bicycle and starts noticing how grim her surroundings are. Finally, someone noticed.

As the little blonde tries to tie her goat to her bicycle she worries that it might bite her. I have to agree, because don’t goats eat everything? Jennifer’s tried to eat her clue. The big blonde says that goats don’t bite, they ram. Um, it’s not a bull, big blonde, it’s a baby goat – strapped into a basket. How’s your chicken? Has it plucked you yet?

The Siblings and The Babies are nearing the Pit Stop and gearing themselves all up for a foot race, and this one actually looks legitimate, not just the result of clever editing. As they race frantically to Phil and his mat, Jennifer yells out, “Come on you guys, you got first three times!” causing The Siblings to stop running, rethink everything and step aside for The Babies to win… in their dreams! What kind of logic is that? It’s a race, Jennifer! The goal is to win! And win The Siblings do – just barely. As the two teams stand there Phil asks if they have their chickens because remember, without a chicken, there is no check in. It’s still funny a second time, isn’t it? They show their chickens (cluck, squawk). The Siblings win Yamaha scooters and Jennifer is sour grapes. She tearily says that The Siblings have already won twice and everyone should get their chance. Oh shut up, Jennifer. Like you would step aside if you were on a winning streak? Never! Hendekea states the obvious, that they’re here to win and she didn’t feel comfortable letting another team win. No duh.

"How selfish can you be, Hendekea?"

Nicholas, Christina and Jem have all managed to find their vendors and Jason and Lorena are continuing on their “happy” streak, hoping they might still be able to beat at least one team. In their taxi on the way to the Pit Stop, Jem starts talking about how crazy and depressing it was to witness the extreme poverty on this leg of the race.

Rio notices for the first time.

She even tears up as she realizes the circumstances that these people live in and that they aren’t going anywhere. This is all they’ll ever have. Thank you, Jem, for having a heart and an appreciation for the suffering you’ve just witnessed. I’m so glad someone brought it up. Rio isn’t sure what to do and just sits there confused as she cries on his shoulder.

Lorena and Jason are still in their taxi and Lorena talks about putting out good energy so that it will come back to them. She really is from LA. And she’s read The Secret. Nice try, hon, but it doesn’t look good. The big blonde is still near tears waiting for the karma god to strike her down. Moronald and Christina run up to Phil’s mat, hernia blaring, in third place, chicken and all (cluck, squawk). Grandpa Donald and Nicholas are right behind them in fourth place.

Hippie Rachel finally locates her vendor and so does the little blonde. The Blondes get into their final taxi, but Rachel has gotten lost trying to find her way back to TK. Will this give Jason and Lorena the chance they need to be back in this thing? Jem and Rio get to Phil in fifth place and he asks what kind of reaction they’ve gotten from the locals. Rio says that everyone has been tolerant, warm and smiling.

Like this sweetheart.

Jem tells us privately that even though this is a race and they want to win, they aren’t blind and it’s been difficult to see how little these wonderful people really have. Aw, thank you again, Jem, for being the only one to notice. The Blondes arrive next and Rachel is still roaming around trying to find her way back to TK. She eventually backtracks through the market and they are able to get into their taxi. They’re gone before Jason and Lorena even arrive.

Jason does the Road Block and says “mercy,” to the locals, which is also wrong and dumb American, but he maintains his perkiness as he and Lorena get into their taxi. The Hippies get seventh place and Lorena starts to cry in the taxi.

"Aw, crap on a stick."

Jason goes into urgent damage control mode, begging her not to panic because maybe this won’t be an elimination leg and besides, they can make a million dollars some other way. Yes, good luck with that. Then he says, “Money doesn’t make you wealthy, all right?” Actually, Jason, yes it does. It might not make you happy, but it can certainly make you wealthy – especially a million dollars, don’t kid yourself. When they finally make it Phil greets them with the sad news that they are eliminated. Phil asks, “What’s the future for Lorener and Jason?” Ah, the New Zealand accent. Or whatever that is.

Lorener tells us that marriage is still very important to her, but participating in The Amazing Race has taught her not to be in such a big hurry. Funny, I thought it would have taught her the opposite, but okay. Jason tells us that he loves Lorena, but finds marriage confining. He wants to remain free because if they are both free, then they are in the relationship because they want to be and that’s a deeper love. Oh Jason, who are you kidding? Is Lorena really buying that garbage? One of two things will happen: Jason will triumph by escaping or Lorena will triumph by bullying him into an unwanted marriage. Many happy returns!

These expressions say it all.

Next week Moronald falls down and The Blondes have a blonde bicker over the U-Turn decision. Then they’re almost hit by a bus. See you then!

So what do you guys think? Are there wedding bells in Lorena’s future? Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

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