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Isn't This The Most James Bond Thing You've Ever Done? – The Amazing Race 9, Episode 1


by LauraBelle and Carrie

Okay … they have a lot to prove tonight. There were many dedicated Amazing Race fans who just weren’t too impressed with last season’s family edition. I myself still enjoyed it, but I know many others did not. So a lot is riding on tonight. The question is will the show live up to its old hype?

The Amazing Race 9 is starting off at the Red Rocks Amphitheater in Denver, Colorado, and is back to the format of eleven teams of two.

Lake and Michelle are married parents. She believes she is a typical Southern woman, and sees Lake as a strong personality who is short on compassion.

Danielle and Dani are childhood friends and say they love boys. Honestly, they said that. They are always seen so far wearing pink.

BJ and Tyler are best friends, and say they seek the joy in life. Watching them, I have no doubts about that statement.

Ray and Yolanda are dating, and she calls them smart, capable and athletic. He calls himself from the ‘hood, and believes they will be physically the group to beat.

John and Scott are lifelong friends, and say they are like family to each other. Scott’s dad calls John his tallest daughter. John says Scott is like a brother, and nothing more.

Joseph and Monica are dating, and say they had a friendship before a romantic relationship. He sees himself as an aggressive competitor.

Eric and Jeremy are best friends who play volleyball together. They will make no apologies, and say they like the way they are.

Lisa and Joni are sisters, and refer to themselves as “Glamazon,” being that they are six feet tall, but are girly girls.

Fran and Barry started dating at 16, and have just celebrated their 40th anniversary. They are too competitive, they think, to be seen as kindly grandparents.

Wanda and Desiree are mother and daughter, respectively. They respect each other, and Wanda says it will be a challenge to not be controlling of Desiree. Desiree says her mom isn’t the frumpy Christmas sweater type of mom.

Dave and Lori are dating, and call themselves the biggest nerds you will meet. He says she is really great at card games, and he is good at taking tests. Okay.

Phil Keoghan tells the teams their first clue is inside the envelope sitting on top of their luggage. He tells them to travel safe, and starts them off. Ray and Yolanda, and BJ and Tyler are the first pairs to get to the clues. They will drive to the airport, and catch one of three flights, on American Airlines, Continental or United Airlines, to San Paolo, Brazil where they will find the next clue on the Hotel Unique rooftop. They know the departure times of the flights, but not the arrivals, so they don’t really know which flight will arrive first, but everyone assumes it is the American Airlines flight.

Danielle and Dani note the high altitude as they reach their clue all breathy. I’m pretty sure there are at least a few guys that enjoyed their breathiness. Lisa and Joni are still chugging along, saying slow and steady wins the race. Monica tells Joseph not to drive recklessly. She notes the hippies are in front of them. That would be BJ and Tyler. In a mutual admiration society type of thing, they refer to Monica as Barbie and wonder what happened to Ken. They figure he was replaced by someone that was anatomically correct. Wondering how the hippies got ahead, Monica figures it’s because they haven’t smoked pot in awhile. Why don’t you make a few more judgments after seeing someone for all of five minutes?

Eric and Jeremy say, “This car rocks!” Honestly, they said that. They move on to talking about picking up chicks, and say it’s okay that Danielle and Dani passed them up as they’re hot. Danielle and Dani say they need a brush and makeup right now. Thanks for being stereotypical. That goes out to all four of you. Self-proclaimed nerd David, after noting the journey ahead, says, “Oh MyLanta.” Yeah, I remember hearing that in junior high. Wanda and Desiree are calling themselves Bourica (Team Puerto Rican), but call Lori and Dave the Einstein Couple because they wear glasses. John and Scott say the “Frosties” are behind them. That would be Lisa and Joni, both with frosted hair. They wonder if they’ll have to eat monkey testicles in Brazil. I have not a clue where that came from.

Lisa and Joni wonder if people will be able to tell they are tourists, and decide being six feet tall and wearing matching bandanas, they will. I’m not sure which one of the two says it, but she would like to “unsheath her womanhood” during the race. She is fifty years old and wants to break out of the mom and wife role.

Michelle is deciding to let Lake take over, as he has so much confidence in himself. He decides they should be the only ones to pull off and arrange their flight by phone before they get to the airport. Luckily for them, they get the first flight out on American Airlines. Unluckily for them, once back on the road, Michelle reads the clue in full, and sees they aren’t supposed to prearrange these flights. Oops.

Eric/Jeremy and BJ/Tyler greet each other at the Pikes Peak shuttle parking with, “What’s up, Dude?” Carrying their bags, either BJ or Tyler says, “Holy Heavy Bag, Batman.” I have a feeling these two will be providing some good sound bytes. The heavy bags make Lisa and Joni feel like pack mules. John and Scott tell Lisa and Joni they call them “Frosties”, and they answer that they had heard that.

BJ and Tyler greet Danielle and Dani in line to buy tickets. The guys ask if they can call them “Double D”, which they are of course overjoyed with. It’s determined that the American Airlines flight lands first, followed by United and then Continental. Seeing the long line at the American Airlines desk, Eric/Jeremy, Wanda/Desiree, and Dave/Lori all head straight to United. They others wait in line until American Airlines is filled up, then go to United. When United is full, they all run to Continental. When all is said and done, the American Airlines flight carries Danielle/Dani, BJ/Tyler, and Fran/Barry. Continental carries Lisa/Joni, Lake/Michelle (who assumably exchanged their tickets for ones within the rules), Ray/Yolanda, and Joseph/Monica. On the United flight are Eric/Jeremy, Wanda/Desiree, Dave/Lori, and John/Scott.

The American Airlines flight is delayed, and actually ends up landing five minutes after the United flight. Wanda figures she and Desiree can get by in Portugese-speaking Brazil with the Spanish and very little Portugese that they knows. She figures they’ll be like peas and carrots. Eric and Jeremy ask around to see if the pretty girls with big boobs or a mom and daughter have passed them. BJ and Tyler in Portugese tell their cab driver “You are the best” and “Would you pass that car?” Danielle and Dani are asked by their driver if they are celebrities. They laugh and say yes.

Wanda and Desiree are the first to the Hotel Unique rooftop. They receive a clue to go to the Viaduto Santa Efigenia and find the next clue on the historic bridge. Eric/Jeremy, John/Scott, and BJ/Tyler arrive at the rooftop in second, third and fourth. Eric and Jeremy didn’t have the foresight to hold their cab, and are now without, allowing BJ and Tyler to pass them by. David and Lori reach the rooftop and do some weird handshake, saying nerds rule – they are in fifth place, and Fran and Barry arrive in sixth place, with Danielle and Dani arriving in seventh.

John and Scott become alarmed that their cab driver doesn’t know where he is going, while Joseph/Monica and Lake/Michelle arrive at the hotel in eighth and ninth place. while Yolanda asks Ray how he would feel if in the position of the cab driver, having some big black man sitting behind you saying, “Are we close?” They arrive in tenth place, with Lisa and Joni bringing up the rear.

Wanda and Desiree are again the first to reach the next clue on the bridge, and find a Detour – Motorhead or Rotorhead. In Motorhead the teams will travel to a motorcycle shop and finish assembling a motorcycle. In Rotorhead, the teams will travel to a helicopter port, find a fight directory, and locate one of three buildings in there. They will then travel by helicopter to that location to find their next clue. There are limited helicopters available, and only so many clues at each of the three buildings. Wanda and Desiree decide on Rotorhead, as do BJ/Tyler, Eric/Jeremy, and David/Lori. Meanwhile, Fran and Barry walk right past the clue on the bridge, and keep doing so. They get frustrated after thirty minutes of searching.

Traveling to Rotorhead, Desiree tells her mom to calm down, and says it’s her role here to keep them on task. BJ and Tyler say so what if they didn’t wear deodorant this morning. Is that really what you want to admit on national TV or are they joking? Not really sure with these two. In an odd move, Danielle and Dani decide they are perfect for Motorhead. They pay a guy to help them assemble the motorcycle, but he leaves with them complaining about what they paid for his services.

Wanda/Desiree, Eric/Jeremy, and BJ/Tyler all reach the wrong entrance to the helicopter port. It’s David and Lori that are the first to arrive at the correct entrance. BJ and Tyler (too early in the season to keep them straight) jump around yelling, “We’re flying! We’re flying!” Which is followed up with, “Holy Smackers!”

Fran and Barry are still looking for their clue on the bridge. Joseph and Monica find it, which then leads Fran and Barry to find it. Joseph and Monica will do Rotorhead, with Fran saying she thinks she can put the motorcycle together in Motorhead. Lake and Michelle reach the bridge in eighth place, with him admonishing her to not second guess him. This is after he has already caused them to break the rules. It’s funny; he looks like a Baldwin brother, and kind of acts like one too. And is that a nicotine patch behind his ear? Could explain some of the tension.

Ray and Yolanda get to the clue box and quickly choose Motorhead. Meanwhile, the Frosties are complaining about the smell in the cab and wondering if someone farted, or if it’s just what the city smells like. These two are such charmers. John and Scott have had enough and get out of their cab, only to wander around looking like lost puppies as they search for someone who speaks English.

Eric and Jeremy’s helicopter takes off and they are pumped. BJ and Tyler take off as well yelling “Hot Dog!”. Since both teams are headed to the same location, BJ and Tyler must wait for Eric and Jeremy to land first and find their clue. Eric and Jeremy get the clue which instructs them to head to the Santa Cecilia district where they will find a warehouse. Inside, they will find a traditional Candomble ceremony taking place, and each team must light a white candle for their good fortune before receiving their next clue.

BJ and Tyler also get their clue, and when they meet back up with Eric and Jeremy, Tyler asks, “Is this the most James Bond thing you’ve ever done?” These two teams seem to really get along well, surprisingly enough. Dave and Lori make short work of their helicopter ride and clue-finding, stealing kisses and just looking generally happy the entire time.

Wanda and Desiree are very impressed with the view of Sao Paolo from the helicopter. Wanda is equally impressed with the suite where they must search for their clue. I’m hoping they get to win at least one leg of the race and with it a trip somewhere extremely fancy, just so Wanda can enjoy this kind of suite for a bit longer than 30 seconds.

Over at the scene of the Motorhead detour, Double D are not having much luck with either bribing the local men, or figuring out the motorcycle on their own. They decide to give up and head over to Rotorhead. Fran and Barry are having trouble with Motorhead as well, but Lake and Michelle arrive and Lake promises to help them out once he’s finished with his own cycle. Ray and Yolanda are working on their motorcycle too, and the local men are hooting and hollering, admiring Yolanda’s body. Ray is not impressed. Their concentration is admirable though, as they stay focused on the task at hand.

Scott and John are still looking for the bridge and bickering over how they are lacking direction. The Frosties decide to get out of their cab, and both teams find the clue to the Detour at roughly the same time, relieved that they’re not alone at the back of the pack. They both pick Rotorhead, and John is a bit concerned over his fear of flying. Poor guy – he’s being tested to the max right out of the gate. I just want to hug him and feed him cookies. Why is that?

Back at the heliport, Eric and Jeremy are done and hailing a cab to take them to Santa Cecilia. BJ and Tyler are right behind them, and are still in awe of the whole helicopter experience. Barbie, er, Monica and Joseph arrive and head for the maps. Dave and Lori return, as do Wanda and Desiree, and both teams are off to light candles. In their cab, Dave and Lori share another nerd handshake which is adorable and disturbing at the same time.

Monica and Joseph (who have named themselves “MoJo” complete with logo-emblazoned t-shirts) finish their Detour and head off, currently in fifth place. Back at the auto shop, Fran is getting extremely frustrated that the motorcycle isn’t made by Ikea, and therefore doesn’t have detailed instructions for assembly. Lake is extolling his own virtues, praising himself for doing a wonderful job. He calls someone over to start up the engine, and I’m hoping it doesn’t start just so I can stick my tongue out at this guy and say “neener neener, loser”. The Race Gods are not smiling down upon me however, as the motor starts and Lake excitedly calls out for his next clue.

Fran, seeing that Lake is finished, frantically asks him to make good on his promise to help them. Lake gives her some quick instructions, and he’s out the door with Michelle to find Santa Cecilia. Fran and Barry have had it, and leave to do Rotorhead, convinced that they are now too far behind everyone else and will be eliminated. Come on folks, that’s a terrible attitude to have!

Ray and Yolanda watch Fran and Barry leaving, thinking that they’ve completed the task. Over at Rotorhead, Double D is in their helicopter and on their way to finding their next clue. John and Scott and the Frosties arrive just ahead of Fran and Barry, who are thrilled to discover that they’re not the poster children for elimination as they had previously thought. Lisa and Joni are screaming and hollering about everything now – it’s like they figure they may just end up in last place here and need to get as much camera time as they can.

All three teams at the heliport eventually get their tickets and head off, with Fran and Barry first out and John and Scott bringing up the rear. John is worried about the helicopter ride, and says that he has been in one once before when he was much younger, but he screamed so loudly that the pilot was forced to land. Heehee – I wonder if that will happen this time?

The two teams at the head of the pack, Eric and Jeremy, and BJ and Tyler, have found the warehouse and lit their candles. Both teams have some fun with a dancing guy wearing a large snake wrapped around his shoulders. (It’s not rude, honestly, even though it sounds like it is.) Their next clue tells them to go by taxi to Estadio de Pacaembu, a World Cup Soccer stadium that is also the pit stop for this leg of the race. Finally – I was starting to get worried that we were kicking things off with a “to be continued” episode.

Dave and Lori reach the warehouse and light their candle, followed closely by Wanda and Desiree. Wanda knows the words to the song the locals are singing, and looks right at home in the midst of the celebration.

Ray and Yolanda finally get their motorcycle together, and thankfully it starts. They head off to Santa Cecilia and are currently in seventh place. Double D is also finishing up their helicopter ride and looking for a cab. Fran and Barry are in the air in their helicopter, enjoying the scenery and each other. They find their clue just as Lisa and Joni are landing. The Frosties find their clue quickly as well, and scream all the way back to the helicopter, saying that in the air, they are that much closer to heaven.

John and Scott are definitely in last place, but John handles the helicopter ride extremely well. He’s also just as impressed with the suite where their clue is hidden as Wanda was. John says that he’s proud of himself for opening up and trying all of this, and that he hopes this will allow him to break out of his shell and have a life. I hope so too John, you seem like a real sweetie.

Michelle and Lake arrive at the warehouse, followed by Monica and Joseph. While MoJo has chilled out a bit and seem to be enjoying themselves, Michelle seems to be getting more irritated by the minute. I gotta say that if I was married to Lake, I’d be in a perpetual state of irritation too.

Joni and Lisa land and start back out, but they can’t find a cab and so they have to act like the world has come to a grinding halt. They’re worried that they’re losing valuable time as John and Scott catch up to them. It’s going to be a race to the finish between the Glamazons and John and Scott. Go John and Scott!

Phil is waiting at the stadium along with a soccer player who is doing tricks with a soccer ball. Fun! Eric and Jeremy are the first to arrive, and they’ve won $10,000 each. Nice! One of them mentions that they can drop out of college now. Um, no boys. Might I suggest you stick around and take both remedial mathematics and economics?

BJ and Tyler are in second place, and they run to the mat and slide in, yelling “Touchdown!”. They’re both really pumped up and having a great time, and personally I’m just relieved that these guys turned out to be entertaining and fun rather than irritating. Dave and Lori enter the stadium through the wrong gate, so Wanda and Desiree bypass them to finish in third place. Dave and Lori finish fourth, and Phil comments on how well they seem to be working together. They’re very smiley, these two.

Ray and Yolanda get to the warehouse, followed by Fran and Barry and Double D. Lake and Michelle arrive at the stadium, where Phil calls Lake “expressive”. That Phil – master of the understatement. But he does have the best wardrobe on television, so we’ll cut him some slack. Monica and Joseph finish, uneventfully, in sixth place.

In their cab, John suggests to Scott that it’s time to bring out the genie. Um … what? I don’t know whether to watch, turn away, or run from the room in terror. As it turns out, “the genie” is actually John crossing his arms in front of him, closing his eyes, and thinking positive thoughts – followed by a quick little nod for emphasis. Whew. John says that the genie has never failed them.

Lisa and Joni are lost and stressing. As they are making life miserable for their poor cab driver, Ray and Yolanda finish in seventh place, and seem to be truly surprised that they’re not last. Fran and Barry are next in eighth place, followed by Dani and Danielle in ninth.

Joni and Lisa are walking, searching for the warehouse. They end up going the wrong way, screaming at each other, and then finally finding the place. John and Scott find it as well, and as predicted it’s a race to the finish. Unfortunately (well, for me anyway), Lisa and Joni finish in tenth place, leaving John and Scott eliminated. Rats.

John and Scott are holding hands as they tell Phil that this was a bonding experience for them. Boy, am I sorry to see them go. Phil asks John how the helicopter ride went, and John says that it was so beautiful that he forgot to be afraid. Scott is proud of his friend, and says that John opened up his fear closet and just started ripping things out. John says that, although he didn’t win the money, he’s won the key to the door of his life and he’s looking forward to doing things he’s always been afraid to do before. I’ve got a lump in my throat the size of a small village now. What a guy.

Well, after the slow and steady plodding of the Family Edition, this new season of The Amazing Race has started off with a bang. Big personalities and interesting team dynamics combine with refreshing international locations once again to bring back the Race we’ve come to know and love. Woot! Let the games begin.

Next week on The Amazing Race: Dani and Danielle discover that they have chemistry with Eric and Jeremy (oh, now there’s a surprise), and Danielle must face a fear of heights. Fran struggles with a physical task while Barry stand by unable to help her.

Check out LauraBelle’s Blog, or contact her at LauraBelle@realityshack.com.

You can read Carrie’s weekly column, Reality Shack’s Dish Rack, or contact her at carrie@realityshack.com.


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