Saturday, November 10, 2007

Off We Go on Another Amazing Race!

Ready... Set... RACE!

Hello dear readers! I must apologize right off as I embark on this new adventure of recapping The Amazing Race. I am shamefully late this week, but I do have a valid excuse, and that is that I moved this week. If you have ever moved, you will sympathize with my nightmare and give me a second chance to bring you my thoughts on this show. Never again shall I be this tardy! As for episode one, it’s always a bit confusing. We meet a bunch of new people who spread way out along the race and we bounce around between all of them. I’ll try to keep things as clear as possible, and I’m sure as we get to know and love our contestants (and as more are eliminated) things will be easier to follow. Lets get this party started!

Hooray! It’s Season 12 of The Amazing Race! Right off we meet our new 11 teams en route to the Playboy Mansion where they will begin the race. The Playboy Mansion? What, is Kendra going to kick things off for us? She’d have to be able to read cue cards. Okay, let’s see who we’ve got!

Team 1: Marianna and Julia – Sisters. These two think that they have the hearts of soldiers because they will be using the good looks of a woman, but the competitiveness of a man. Yes, I understand that was George Patton’s strategy in Europe as well. Worked for him!

Team 2: Ronald and Christina – Father and Daughter. Ronald says that he traveled a lot while Christina grew up and Christina is looking forward to spending this time with her father who is almost 60 years old. No word on strategy, but this will definitely be bonding time for this pair.

Team 3: Kynt and Vyxsin – Dating Goths. Yowsa! And yes, the subscript under their names actually does say “Dating Goths.” They’re Goths. And they’re dating. My first thoughts here are Jem and Rio. Truly outrageous. Remember Jem? Here’s a picture. Kynt says that Goth is a celebration of beauty and art with a darker edge and that they are like real life cartoon characters. I knew it! So far all image and no strategy.

Team 4: Nicholas and Donald – Grandson and Grandfather. Nicholas is a 23-year-old airline pilot. Apparently Grandpa has a foul mouth and talks about girls inappropriately. That’s always nice. I get nervous when I see old people setting out on these strenuous adventures. My old roommate applied for this show once and I saw the waivers – you have to sign your life away. Good luck Donald! Please be careful. CBS isn’t responsible if you’re not.

Team 5: Nathan and Jennifer – Dating. These two have been together for two years but have trust issues because Nathan cheated on Jennifer. He says it was a mistake and Jennifer stuck around. Oh honey – if you choose to stay, you forfeit complaining rights. Not a word out of you! We see these two running gleefully through the surf, so I guess that’s their strategy – bubblegum commercialism.

Team 6: Azaria and Hendekea – Brother and Sister. They’re siblings, but they act like a couple in their little video montage. They’re both engineers so their strategy is being smarter than everyone else. If they can stop cuddling long enough…

Team 7: Lorena and Jason – Dating. Lorena says she’s been waiting three years for Jason to make a bigger commitment than just living together. Jason says he likes having one foot out the door. I’m embarrassed for all women. Perhaps Lorena thinks that being a good Amazing Racer will help with her wife audition.

Team 8: Kate and Pat – Married Ministers. Lest this sounds too commonplace, don’t worry, they’re both women. These are definitely the kind of lesbians guys fantasize about, right guys? They claim that being clergy doesn’t make them wimps and they will not be staying out of anyone’s way. Step aside!

Team 9: Ari and Staella – Best Friends. These two work together and according to Ari, Staella is book smart and a goody two-shoes, but he is not afraid to step on toes and back stab. He even says, “Karma’s a bitch, but I’m a bigger bitch.” He seems like a really bossy, mean Jack MacFarland.

Team 10: Shana and Jennifer – Friends. Not best friends, apparently. Oh dear, these two are complete blonde LA stereotypes. They make me ashamed to be a blonde in LA. They plan to flaunt, flirt, and sleep their way to the finish line first. They seem to be under the impression that they are much more beautiful than they are.

Team 11: TK and Rachel – Newly Dating. All I can really say so far is that TK needs to get a comb through his hair STAT. Rachel thinks she wants to spend the rest of her life with TK. Notice they are newly dating.

Ah, here we are at the Playboy Mansion where Holly, Bridget and Kendra are tethered to the grotto and Phil Keoghan is waiting on the front lawn to explain the game to all 11 teams. He tells them that there are 11 legs in the race, each leg ending in a Pit Stop, and representing for us the end of that particular episode. During 8 of these 11 legs, the last team to arrive at the Pit Stop will be eliminated. Of course there are many adventures and challenges along each leg. The first team to cross the finish line at the end of the 11th leg wins a million dollars. Got all that? Good. Here we go!

Is that Holly in the window?

Everyone rushes over to their duffel bags to get their first “clue,” which is more of an instruction than a clue. I mean, do they save each “clue” and then solve a mystery at the end? No, they just do what it tells them inside the yellow envelope. Anyway, their first “clue” tells them to go to Shannon, Ireland. Shannon, Ireland sounds so cheerful and beautiful, but I read Angela’s Ashes so who knows what awaits on the other side of the Atlantic? Each team jumps into an SUV to try and find the LA airport.

Los Angeles is enormous and confusing, so for anybody who doesn’t live there, and even for a lot of people who do, finding LAX is no small feat. Right away, everyone turns different directions on Sunset Boulevard and the drama begins. My favorite line comes courtesy of Kynt, who says, “Oh my Goth, where are we going?” Yes Kynt, we get it. You are Goth. The pink tiger shirt and 3 inches of white pancake makeup tipped us off. Lorena and Jason are from LA, so they have the advantage and should be the first to arrive. Of course, the blondes are from LA too, but I won’t bet on them having any advantage unless a challenge involves boobs. On the way to the airport, Kate and Pat decide to pray, Ronald is literally Christina’s backseat driver, telling her to “watch her distance” from the car in front of her, one of the ditzy blondes claims to be Irish, and Nicholas and Donald lead a bunch of other teams on a wild goose chase.

Lorena and Jason do our city proud by making it to the airport first. They get their tickets no problem, followed immediately by the LA blondes. The Lesbian Ministers Kate and Pat arrive as well, along with Nathan and Jennifer. Sisters Marianna and Julia also get seats on this first flight, and then the flight is full! Azaria and Hendekea are mad to be the first team to have to find an alternate flight. They team up with Ronald and Christina to try and figure out the next fastest way to get to Shannon. Hendekea even borrows someone’s cell phone to make taxi reservations for both teams! Aw, the collaboration is so touching. The remaining teams make it onto an Aer Lingus flight. It looks like neither flight goes directly to Shannon. The first flight connects through London and the second flight connects through Dublin. That’s the thing with this show. You always want to be in the lead, but everyone catches up eventually and the lead only matters in the final moments of each leg of the race. For instance, just now the first flight gets delayed as they wait to take off from London to Ireland. Arriving first at the airport didn’t pay off!

We bounce to Shannon, where the second group of teams to get a flight has already arrived and Ari and Staella immediately steal the taxi that Hendekea ordered for Ronald and Christina. They high five each other for being so clever and devious.

"Karma's got nothing on us!"

The next thing everyone has to do is take a ferry over to an island containing the ruins of what is supposedly the smallest church in the world. At said church, they will sign up for another ferry ride that will depart the next morning. The first teams to arrive get the earliest ferries, the later teams will get later ferries. Azaria and Hendekea are now in first place, getting the first ferry over to the ruins, and when everyone begins to arrive at the ferry launching place, Ronald and Christina call out Ari and Staella for stealing their taxi. Of course Ari and Staella act innocent, saying they had no idea. Sure. They must have been high fiving over Ari’s spiky hair.

Kate and Pat take a moment to explain to us that The Amazing Race is a love letter to the earth because it gives people a chance to hop all over the world and see its beauty. That’s nice, but honestly it’s not really like they have a chance to see anything on this show. They are racing around like headless chickens, jumping trains and hopping planes – I’d be surprised if they even remember where they’ve been. A leisurely self-guided tour of the world would be more my cup of tea.

Everyone gets to the island and I have to note here that Ireland looks awfully cold and drizzly. I guess that’s why it stays so green. What can I say? You can’t get something for nothing, right? Unless it’s Ronald and Christina’s taxi. They all scurry off to follow some path and look for the ruins. Nathan starts yelling at Jennifer for going too slow and this is when I decide I would never go on this show because my partner would continually be screaming at me for going too slow. (I’ll probably point out several times per episode yet another reason I have decided to never go on this show. Not that I don’t greatly admire those who can and do!) Seriously, if I were jogging along in an Irish downpour, I would sit down in a puddle and sob. I would be good for nothing. Jennifer resorts to screaming back at Nathan that she’s doing her best and I cringe – again like I’m looking into a mirror – then she runs off ahead of him. She tells us privately that this is making her wonder if she wants to spend the rest of her life with someone like Nathan. Yeah, the cheating is no big deal, but when he starts nagging her to run faster, that’s where she draws the line.

"This is your last chance. I mean it this time!"

At the end of the rainy sprint, the teams have to climb a hill to the little church ruins. Lorena and Jason make it first again and get to sign up for the earliest ferry – 8:00 in the morning. Nathan and Jennifer get signed up for the second ferry at 8:30 and here Nathan decides to be nice and tell Jennifer how much he loves her. Jennifer says this is the hardest thing she’s ever had to do and I begin to seriously wonder how far she’s going to make it on this race before either collapsing or being beaten to a pulp by her boyfriend.

Grandpa Donald trips and falls on his way up the hill and I flashback to those evil CBS waivers again and hope that Nicholas can keep Grandpa alive through this grand adventure. Seeing old people fall down makes me cry. Ronald and Christina are last to arrive at the ruins and also at the bed and breakfast where everyone is spending the night. Azaria and Hendekea continue with their little alliance and offer Ronald and Christina one of the two twin beds in their room. So Christina is sleeping in a twin bed with her dad and Hendekea is sleeping in a twin bed with her brother? I’ll stay out of this one. Elsewhere in the hotel the LA Blondes are pouting over getting onto the last ferry the next morning. I guess they weren’t able to flirt their way up that soaking wet hill.

The next morning as the leading teams board Ferry #1, Vyxsin reminds us again of her Gothic orientation as she and Kynt board holding hands. She says, “Two fairies on a ferry.” Well, those fairies are fast, I’ll give them that. At the end of each ferry ride the teams have to pick a car from a line of identical cars, each with a “clue” waiting on the windshield, instructing them to drive to Cleggan Farm, 42 miles away. Then they will have to ride tandem bicycles over a muddy trail to retrieve their next “clue.” Jason and Lorena are still in the lead and speed off without waiting for the others, causing Lorena to wonder if they are even headed in the right direction. Lorena starts yelling and crying that they are going the wrong way – another behavior I can totally see myself doing if I were freezing cold, dirty and running on no sleep. Anyone want to be my partner? Jason just continues along, not heeding Lorena’s hysterical pleading. It turns out they were, in fact, going the wrong way and eventually have to stop for directions. Lorena tells Jason they aren’t communicating well, which is also their problem in real life. Well, that’s one of their problems. Another is that she’s desperate to marry a guy who has no interest in getting married.

The teams who didn’t get lost are now on their tandem bicycles making their way to the next clue. Kynt and Vyxsin break their bicycle chain and end up having to carry their bike. Ungroomed TK and Rachel get to the clue first, which asks, “Who’s ready to pedal for their partner?” This clue is a roadblock, which Phil appears to explain is a task that only one team member can perform. This roadblock requires the person to ride a high-wire bicycle suspended 200 feet above a ravine. The partner will dangle eight feet below the bicycle. Here’s a picture. I’ll give you one guess as to whether I would be willing to do this.

Piece of cake.

As TK and Rachel get going, the LA Blondes are in last place and stopping for directions and Grandpa Donald has gotten the windshield wipers stuck in the “on” position. Once across the ravine the teams have to choose from a line of donkeys, load 15 pieces of peat into each of two baskets suspended on each side of the donkey, then walk the donkey back to the entrance of the farm for the next clue. TK and Rachel set off, still in first place, while the other teams trickle across the ravine on their bicycles.

Nathan and Jennifer can’t load up their donkey baskets without screaming at each other, and Ari and Staella take a long time filling their baskets, allowing other teams to pass them up. Azaria and Hendekea choose a donkey who wants to trot so they eventually gain on Nathan and Jennifer, causing that dear couple to start snapping at each other again. Lorena and Jason, formerly in first place until getting lost in the car, are just now starting their high-wire bicycle ride. Meanwhile Nathan and Jennifer’s donkey decides to stop walking altogether. Ha! I wonder if they’ll scratch each other’s eyes out trying to get the donkey to move. Well almost. As Nathan loses his temper Jennifer screams that he can’t be like that and the donkey goes into hysterical honking. Take a good look, Nathan and Jennifer. You are looking at your future together should you decide to have children.

Proof that dysfunction will not move a donkey.

As they scream at their donkey, Kynt and Vyxsin glide by with Vyxsin sweetly coaxing her donkey along saying, “Come on, sweetheart.” See? If you are nice to animals, they cooperate. Even donkeys, right? Just kidding, I’m sure donkeys do only what they want to do at all times, screaming or not.

Another team is having trouble getting their donkey to walk and that team is Ari and Staella. They can’t even get moving away from the original hitching post and stand there watching team after team load up their donkeys and set off. Right about now TK and Rachel are making it back to the entrance of the farm with their donkey and retrieving their final clue telling them to drive to their Pit Stop. It’s 13 miles away at the Connemara Heritage Centre, a tribute to Irish agriculture. I’m sure everyone is excited to read all about the potato famine instead of falling directly into bed. Azaria and Hendekea are in second place and Kynt and Vyxsin are close behind. Oops, TK and Rachel take a wrong turn and fall into third place. You just never know on The Amazing Race!

Nathan and Jennifer are still screaming at their donkey who keeps honking and wheezing like he’s about to keel over. If I have to watch an animal collapse after watching an old man trip and fall, I may just have to boycott this entire ordeal. Lorena and Jason pass the stubborn donkey with absolutely no sympathy.

Well! Azaria and Hendekea run up to Phil to arrive at the Pit Stop in first place. They embrace like newlyweds and learn that they have won a trip for two to Alberta Canada. That should be romantic for them.

"I can't wait for our little getaway, sis."

Back on the donkey trail Ari is trying to bribe his motionless donkey by waving hay in its face, but the donkey is having none of it. Why don’t they load their peat onto another donkey and try again? I don’t think they’ve gone more than a few feet. Ronald and Christina are just now doing their high-wire bike ride and Ronald is singing the wrong words to “Danny Boy” all the way across. Nathan and Jennifer are still livid at their donkey and each other as Grandpa Donald and Nicholas stroll on past with a cooperative donkey. Ronald and Christina pass Ari and Staella screaming at their donkey and Christina is appalled. After all, she tells us, donkeys have souls too. Pretty soon even the last place LA Blondes have caught up to Ari and Staella, causing them to despair that their donkey has cost them the race. At this point it actually does look like the teams who talk nicely to their donkeys are getting the best results. Coincidence?

As team after team passes Jennifer and Nathan, Jennifer starts to bawl that she doesn’t want to lose. She finally thinks to go behind the donkey and start pushing it. Um, hello? You stood here for how long before you finally thought of that, genius? It works and they finally start making some progress, but Ari and Staella are still unsuccessful with their donkey. I think Nathan has lost his mind because now he is taking a turn pushing the donkey and he keeps yelling, “Ya, ya, hoy!” as if it will make a difference.

Ronald and Christina arrive at the Pit Stop in seventh place and Ronald starts yelling, “Who’s your daddy?” which makes me a little uneasy. He gets sentimental saying that having been an absent father in Christina’s early years he didn’t want to disappoint her. If only all absent fathers could come on The Amazing Race the world would be a much happier place. The Lesbian Ministers arrive shortly after and have a nice cuddle. Marianna and Julia are next, along with Nathan and Jennifer, who once again switch from loathing to jubilance as they realize they are still in this race in tenth place.

Sadly Ari and Staella arrive in last place and must leave in shame. Ari says that karma came back and bit them in the ass. I guess he isn’t the biggest bitch after all. He gave it a good try, though, stealing taxis and verbally abusing a donkey.

"Uh, did I really say I could out-bitch karma?"

Next week Christina works on her daddy issues and Grandpa Donald falls again. There’s only so much my little heart can take.

So what did you think? Who do you love, and more importantly, who do you hate?

Thanks for reading!
-Honey Gangsta

1 comment:

NoiXdeCoco said...

Is Phil getting edgier every cycle or is it me? I swear that man gets hotter by the minute. His hair had all sorts of product and made spiky, and had on a leather jacket, and that Kiwi accent.

Man, if he shows up one day barefoot, I might have to hunt him down.