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Amazing Race 16, Ep. 1 Commentary – Come On Dude, Nana’s Kicking Your Butt


Louie and Michael – One small thing. I know you guys are cops, but I doubt the Amazing Race is requiring you to clean up Valparaiso’s growing graffiti problem. And, I am positive that every Amazing Race challenge has had at least one person nearby to supervise. I’m just saying.

Other things – why would you make a big guy like Adrian walk across that tightrope when you have a smaller partner? That turned out well for them, didn’t it? Why wouldn’t the new Sam/Dan (now with half as much gay, but the same amount of Dan) go back and get a new bunch of paints when you know there would be a penalty for showing up without a brush? And Brother Jordan, way to be “helpful” in your instructions, and when I say helpful, I mean passive-aggressive.

First task – I loved having to use public transportation to get to the airport. It was vintage first season. Even better to have them have to do it in a notorious car culture city. Not a lot of drama was produced, but it was still a good idea. Also, LAX-related, how screwed over were Dana/Adrian? They made the first flight to get an hour lead, only to have Brandy’s magical jinx actually work. If they had that hour, perhaps Adrian may have been able to take his time and finish the Roadblock.

Roadblock – After the bus rides from Santiago to Valparaiso, the teams must go across a 100-yard tightrope, in a strange homage to the many clotheslines in the city. I would have preferred that they make them have to hang laundry along the way. Girl Jordan commented how it is “windy as sh*t,” and I wonder what bizarre stuff happens in her bathroom. The wind is a factor as several of the Racers (not large Adrian, but especially skinny Dan and Brandy) fight off the wind to dramatic effect. Dan is blown off the wire, but is able to “Tszuj” his way across on his hands, thanks to his harness keeping him airborne. If I recall from my Queer Eye viewing, tszujing has very little to do with tightrope walking.

Also, Adrian’s fall was a bit shocking in as much as it was less of a slip and more of a full-body shutdown. I was more amazed that he seemed to give up after being brought back to the start. What did he think would happen? The four-hour penalty would work in the first episode? Amazing. Having Phil eliminate you on the course during the first leg puts them in the Amazing Race Hall of Shame, which if it really existed would probably be located next to the Giant Office Chair in Alabama.)

Extra task – Valparaiso does an awesome beautification project for its very colorful buildings. TAR producers have tapped into that and provided 11 walls for painting. Teams must carry the supplies, find their matching color and finish the wall, after riding a funicular down the mountain. Not much here other than the dumb decisions mentioned above, in fact, we actually see very few of them paint their wall, especially Steve/Allie. The last we saw of that team they were trespassing, the next, they were at the Mat.

Impressive things at the challenge? The stellar comebacks of Monique/Shawne and the Cowboys who rocked the challenge and went from the back of the pack to the Top Three.

Route Markers

• Nice to see a cameo from Friday Night Lights’ Aimee Teegarden. At least she isn’t portraying angst for once.

• Boy Jordan (his new nickname) is going to totally get on my nerves this season. First of all, he memorized Caite’s infamous speech? Memorized it? Too much free time. Second, was it necessary to then repeat it to everyone else? This isn’t Survivor where you use these things to get someone voted out. On The Amazing Race, that’s just mean.

• As my wife watched the intro packages and watched the Undercover Cops present their faux “Cops” raid, she commented, “You mean, former undercover cops.” I love when we make the same jokes.

• Brandy – “Who takes the bus in LA?” We know what can happen to buses in LA.

• Jeff, explaining the existence of Chile to Girl Jordan, “Didn’t you ever see Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?”

• Is it me or does Brent look an awful lot like Survivor: Samoa’s resident mute, Brett? I am wondering if it is his evil twin.

• Another from Jeff (am I actually starting to like him?), asking first-time international traveler Girl Jordan about customs, “Do you have any illegal plants or fruits?”

• Jody – “I have the balance of a drunken, elderly woman.” I doubt that. I also love how she was so encouraging to her granddaughter. I hope these two last for a while. Also fun? The cops telling her they thought she was Shannon’s mom. Heh.

• Lastly, Jeff/Jordan wins a trip to Vancouver and skeleton lessons. This to those not watching the Winter Olympics is headfirst luge. In light of the tragedy and the insanely bad, and offensive, handling of the Georgian sledder’s death by the Olympic officials, this couldn’t have been a worse-timed prize ever.

Roadblock – Caite, Girl Jordan, Joe, Dan, Allie, Brandy, Shawne, Adrian, Louie, Shannon, Cord

Standings – 1) Jeff/Jordan, 2) The Claires, 3) The Cowboys, 4) Steve/Allie, 5) Joe/Heidi, 6) Carol/Brandy, 7) Brent/Caite, 8) Dan/Jordan, 9) Louie/Michael, 10) Jody/Shannon, and 11) Dana/Adrian (ELIMINATED)

Next week – Airport drama and someone pissed off the guys who carry guns for a living.

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