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Amazing Race 15, Episode 3 – Those Zebras Are Beating You To the Mat


Hey, Amazing Race. You know I love you. Seriously, you had me at “Swing you fat bastard, swing.” Which is why I can forgive you for the occasional, ever-so-rare misstep. Like this episode. Not that there was anything really wrong with it, but it was just sort of … there. I mean, swimming puppets, playground equipment and bashing VCRs are kind of fun, but not all that memorable. Plus, we knew Ron and Marcy were not long for this race, so it was just a matter of time.

Besides the enjoyment of any run-of-the-mill Race episodes, what did we really have this week? We had Lance and Keri. They are well on their way to new levels of Race assholery. Because what they are building towards is the obnoxiousness of Jonathan and Wil, coupled with the irritating bickering of, well, Jonathan and Wil. I’d say they haven’t officially gotten there yet, but they have way surpassed the bickering and annoyance levels of Ian/ Teri and Lake/ Michelle and have already reached the Rob/Kim and Nate/Jen levels. Give them a few more episodes and they will make Wil and Tara look like Kris/Jon.

Lance likes to believe that he is a ‘lion” and the rest of the teams are gazelles and zebras. The first question I have is, “do people really talk like that?” It is fascinating to me to see someone have such a high opinion of themselves to the point where it becomes egotistical. I mean, Lance looks like Jon Favreau’s beefier second cousin, but with the personality of the mean fraternity’s pledge master from 1980s films. Keri meanwhile is like Susie Essman’s younger sister who always dates the rude guys because they drive a Camaro.

The best part about Lance and Keri … they suck. I guess it is possible they could shake it off and run a successful race – if I recall, Reichen and Chip were awful early, as were Teri and Ian. Even Colin and Christie stumbled the first couple of legs. But none of them looked stupid while doing it. First, they came within seconds of never making it out of LA at all. Second, they decided to check their brains at the pit stop before this leg.

Let’s do a Lance/Keri Stupidity Tracker!

1. Keri thinks they are in Ho Chi Minh City. Granted, they were transported to parts unknown, but she seemed convinced, for no apparent reason at all, that she was in Ho Chi Minh City.
2. They were the only team to not figure out you had to open the bullet to get the clue for the post office. I was worried for them for a moment – who knows what the cultural significance there is to presenting someone with a bullet? Lance the Lion almost wound up in a duel with some Vietnamese bystander.
3. The Lion and Lioness were the only team to actually go into the post office rather than go to the clue box outside.
4. The Lion crashed into the poor animal statue wrangler’s chair. You can’t let lions loose among fake animals and furniture.
5. The Lions wind up at the wrong location for the Roadblock and almost walked directly into a street sign. Lion Boy promptly blamed the Lioness for not knowing where they were, leading to her great quote, “Like I’m the Direction Queen?”
6. They fail to outrun the Aspberger Dude to the mat and finish second to last, this despite the Lion tearing into the VCRs at the Roadblock with his big, meaty paws. He couldn’t catch a gazelle, but that recording device didn’t stand a chance.

Other than the Saga of the Lions, the other notable event was the elimination of the Internet dating seniors, Ron and Marcy. What did them in? Sheer stupidity in Detour Management. They were the only team to take the non-physical alternative task – oftentimes a very poor choice. In this one, they go to a rooftop and watch the traffic circle below and try to spot six mopeds carrying Vietnamese letters. Then they must unscramble them to form the Vietnamese word for “independence.”

OK, Race fans. There have been 14 completed races so far, presented with a task where you must form a foreign language word, in a language you don’t understand, and you are smack dab in the middle of hundreds and hundreds of people who do speak that language, what do you do? Of course, try to figure out the language yourself by reading street signs. Older teams cannot win the Amazing Race on strength and stamina. They must use their smarts, determination and some luck. That’s how 40ish teams like Chip/Kim won, and others like Teri/Ian, Meredith/Gretchen, Ronald and Donald from AR12 teams, and others managed to get very far. So, goodbye Marcy and Ron, we hardly knew you.

Although, as she says in Elimination Station, Marcy is a bit of a witch. Perhaps she could use some Hermoine-like skills for the next time she tries to work some magic.

Route Markers:

• I like the Globetrotters so far, but I can do without excessive discussions about Big Easy’s father passing away. I truly feel sorry for him, but I hope the he and the show do not milk it too much. To me, the many references seemed cobbled together in the editing room, but we’ll see in the upcoming legs how true that is.

• How often do you ever get to say “dragon water puppet theater?” And what was with Mika and Canaan dancing around the dragons? Did they except to win the clue from the power of their dance? Tiffany’s plan of talking to the puppet may have actually been a better plan than dancing like you’ve never danced before.

• Why was the clue placed inside a bullet? Am I missing some significance here?

• The 14-year-old boy in me giggled when Marcy exclaimed, “There’s a P, I got a P.”

• Here’s a new children’s story – Zev and Justin with their Sad Broken Giraffe. Seriously guys, low center of gravity. Look into it.

• Brian and Ericka’s funniest moment yet – “ We decided to go for the zebra, it worked well for us!” HA! Also, kudos for them for running a great leg, moving from last to the middle of the pack.

• Keri loses her red balloon. Floating in the summer sky.

• Were you hoping as I was that the lion-costumed dancers in the background would turn out to be Oswald and Danny?

• Matt totally seems the type to take VCRs apart for fun. They are starting to grow on me; although Gary’s sleeveless muscle shirt is a tad disturbing.

• Is it me, or does smashing a VCR with a mallet not seem to be a good way to recycle parts?

• Cute moment for Meghan – her sad groan after learning she lost out on a trip to Aruba by a few Globetrotter strides.

• Phil to Lion Lance – “Right now the zebras are beating you to the mat.” HA! Phil with a verbal smackdown!

Detour – Child’s Play (transport a ceramic animal to a playground, with five balloons) or Word Play (Unscramble letters found in traffic to form a Vietnamese word)
Child’s Play – Everyone other than Marcy/Ron. Word Play – um…Marcy/Ron

Roadblock – Break down 2 VCRs for a chop shop recycling store: Flight Time, Cheyne, Matt, Brian, Sam, Tiffany, Justin, Canaan, Lance, Ron.

Order of Finish
1. Flight Time/Big Easy – Globetrotters (easier to write)
2. Meghan/Cheyne
3. Gary/Matt
4. Brian/Ericka – (am tempted to call them the zebras based on their joke. Tempted)
5. Sam/Dan
6. Maria/Tiffany
7. Mike/Canaan
8. Zev/Justin
9. Lance/Keri – The Lions
10. Ron/Marcy – ELIMINATED

Next week – some idiot team Pulls a Dallas and loses their passports.

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