This is going to be the season of the sound bytes for Amazing Race. Normally there is one or two to spice up your recap, but tonight’s show was chockfull of them. It is going to be interesting. Not to mention the fact that there is not just one couple like Colin and Christie from last season, but three! That certainly spices up those sound bytes.
We start off the show waiting for the eleven teams to arrive in Chicago via speedboats across Lake Michigan. The teams consist of Kris/Jon – dating long distance, Lena/Kristy – Mormon sister models, Lori/Bolo – married professional wrestlers, Don/Mary Jean – married grandparents, Avi/Joe – best friends from New York, Hayden/Aaron – dating actors from Hollywood, Gus/Hera – an ex-CIA agent and his daughter, Jonathon/Victoria – married entrepreneurs, Freddie/Kendra – engaged models, Meredith/Maria – best friends and roommates, Adam/Rebecca – ex-lovers. These teams will race over forty thousand miles for the prize of one million dollars.
As the teams arrive onshore, host Phil Keoghan informs them there is an envelope placed on top of all their sets of luggage that contains their first clue and a small amount of cash for this leg of the race. When he gives the mark, they are off. I have always liked Phil. Mom, watching the show for the first time last summer, found him smarmy. I don’t see it; I like him.
As the teams open their clue, they find they need to run downtown and catch a train, called the Blue Line, to O’Hare airport. There they will catch one of three flights to Iceland. All flights are to leave at separate times and have different connecting cities – Baltimore, Boston and Minneapolis, but are scheduled to arrive in Iceland within five minutes of each other. At this point it is too hard to always place faces to names, but one woman is excited to go to Iceland as that’s where her favorite band is from, and another woman wonders if it is cold there.
The wrestlers are arguing as they are looking for the Blue Line. Lori and Bolo argue over where to find it. He believes they will enjoy an advantage as pain is not an issue for them because of their profession. This makes me wonder if they have ever seen the show, as enduring pain usually isn’t as big of a factor as being cunning, and keeping calm under stress. Engaged models Freddie and Kendra feel they will have an advantage since they are used to traveling. Victoria and Jonathon are also arguing as he is behind her telling her to stick with him. Immediately after his second line in the show, “I told you I knew where I was going,” I make the assumption he is an arrogant ass. I never change that assumption throughout the show.
The eleven teams end up catching two separate trains. On the first, Adam, sporting two tiny short ponytails springing from his head, is nicknamed Hellboy by the others. On the other train, Gus is attempting to create an alliance with those teams with him. He admits to being a control nut. Jonathon asks a person on the train with a cell phone to borrow it to call on the three fights. The others join him in this.
At O’Hare, Victoria and Jonathon are once again arguing, this time over whether they need to catch international or domestic since their ultimate destination is another country, but have a domestic connection. They toss the word “idiot” around. Jonathan, dressed in yellow, tells blue-dressed Bolo they are like superheroes dressed in these colors. What an odd thing to say to someone you are meeting for the first time, and also happens to be two times your size.
One of the three flights is on United, while the others are on American Airlines. While the teams wander around O’Hare, I am glad they won’t be utilizing the baggage area. Traveling and returning home to O’Hare last week, our whole flight’s luggage was lost for an hour and a half. Just tonight, after Amazing Race, I saw that a deer was seen wandering around baggage claim.
The teams on the Boston connecting flight have been delayed forty-five minutes due to bad weather. The teams are getting upset, and I realize they are getting a baptism by fire of what the traveling will be like during their duration in the show.
As the teams eventually land in Reykjavik, Iceland, they catch waiting marked cars, where they will drive one-hundred thirty miles to the Seljalandsfoss waterfall. I had to look online to get the correct spelling of this. All I kept thinking was when they were saying it was Sultenfuss after watching “My Girl” this weekend. Adam feels the navigating Rebecca has her “thumb up her ass” as she is looking at how beautiful the mist is above the land while they are driving.
Avi and Joe feel they will do well here, since they have opposite personalities and think and react differently. My friend and I have often thought of joining Amazing Race for exactly the same reason, so I am extra interested in how they do. Avi and Joe begin a singsong “New York Jews in Iceland.” Lena tells Kristy there is no way they can screw up; they would have to be idiots. Uh-oh, that’s not good; those words could come back to haunt her.
Pulling into town to get directions, Mary Jean and Don think everyone in town is ripped. Probably, what are are you going to do when it’s that cold? Adam is worried about his sunglasses, and Rebecca wants to know why he keeps worrying about those “stupid things.” He tells her to watch it or he will “put you in a bag and close the trunk.” Okie dokie.
Looking for the waterfall, Kristy and Lena wonder if what they are looking at is a waterfall. No, it’s just a mountain with a river of water running off it. They eventually decide it is a waterfall, but not the waterfall they need, and drive on. Having trouble finding it, they ask each other, “How are we so stupid?”
Not finding the waterfall quickly enough, all think they are behind. Eventually the teams of Avi and Joe, Gus and Hera, Haydenand Aaron, and Lori and Bolo all arrive at the waterfall around the same time. They run up, inside the falling water, to get the clue. They now need to travel to the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajokull. As Adam and Rebecca, Kris and Jon, Freddy and Kendra, Lena and Kristy and Jonathon and Victoria arrive at the waterfall, Kris wants to jump in it.
Gus feels the other teams are driving way too fast and taking too many chances. He won’t let Hera drive like them. Don and Mary Jean arrive at the waterfall and decide to walk instead of run, as they are worried about spraining their ankles. Thinking like that will guarantee them nothing better than tenth place. Meredith and Maria run into Adam and Rebecca and are disconcerted to find that Adam and Rebecca have already been to the waterfall and moved on, while Meredith and Maria haven’t found it yet! Adam tells them it was about an hour and a half back. Jonathon tells Victoria he thinks she’s so wrong, and she needs to find her boundaries. It also sounded like he was muttering something about divorce.
Arriving at the glacier, the teams need to sign up for a shuttle to take them to the edge of the glacier and their next clue. There are four different shuttles scheduled, and the best slots in the first and second shuttles fill up quickly. Once off the shuttle, they find another clue box, which tells them to hop on the waiting snowmobiles, and travel two-and-a-half miles to a campsite where they will spend the evening. Each tent has one of four different times on it – 10:00 AM, 10:30 AM, 11:00 AM, and 11:30 AM. The tent with the time will be their ticket on a leaving shuttle the next morning.
Lena admits she doesn’t like roughing it. Looking at their teammate swallowed up in a blue parka, one racer says, “Dude, you look like a smurf!” Rebecca says Adam has never been out of his element like this, as he lives at home still. Ari and Joe decide they are a long way from Brooklyn. Bolo and Lori spend the time wrestling in the snow. Meredith and Maria, so far behind, eventually arrive on their snowmobile after catching an unscheduled fifth shuttle, and are cheered by the rest.
The next morning, Adam remarks how white it is outside his tent. Jonathon asks Victoria, “Do we love each other again?” This about makes me lose my enchrito dinner. Gus exits his tent snow-bathing without a shirt. Lori says, “My implants are frozen!”
The teams now need to drive to Glacier Ice Beach, exciting some. They are met by a clue box informing them of a Detour. They can either pick Ice Climbing or Ice Searching. In Ice Climbing the teams need to trek the glacier, and climb up the slippery ice with ice picks. They can get this done quickly, but it is a long distance to get there. In Ice Search, it is a short distance to get there and not scary, but it can be time-consuming as they comb a large lagoon searching by boat for an orange buoy holding their clue.
I don’t even have the correct words of a reply to Jonathon as he tells Victoria, “Don’t talk to me like that.” Kris is so excited to be on her first Detour, and is obviously an Amazing Race fan. Avi and Joe decide to do the Ice Search, and are not having an easy time of it. They begin calling it like a pet, “Here Buoy, Buoy … Here Buoy, Buoy.” All of the other teams that have already arrived are choosing the Ice Cleaning, which they finish quickly. Their next clue takes them to Blue Lagoon for their first pit stop. Oddly, I see no Brooke Shields or Christopher Atkins.
Jonathon and Victoria arrive to do the ice searching, and look for a boat where the driver has his “game face” on. Once on the boat, they find the buoy right away, while Joe and Avi continue to search. Gus and Hera are the only other racers to attempt looking for the buoy. Once Avi and Joe find the buoy and reach land again, they exclaim, “Aloha, welcome to the big island, everyone!” They decide to take the back roads to get to Blue Lagoon, hoping to regain some time.
Climbing the ice, Kristy asks her sister, “How does my butt look?” Bolo and Lori argue, as do Jonathon and Victoria, of course. Don and Mary Jean, the token older couple, argue about his driver’s seat position. Bolo eventually admits to making a mistake with the map, and warns Lori not to keep running her mouth like a dumbass redneck.
As Gus and Hera take their time, knowing they are last, Hayden and Aaron arrive at Blue Lagoon first. Phil informs them they are first, and tries to inform them they have won a trip to Hawaii, but is interruped by them hugging him. Meredith and Maria and Don and Mary Jean are the last to attempt the Ice Climbing. Finishing it, Don says he would rather put that ice in a martini.
Kris and Jon arrive at the pit stop second, followed closely by Lena and Kristy for third, which they are quite surprised with. Making great time, Adam and Rebecca need to stop for gas, or as he said, “to feed the lizard.” Rebecca realizes she made a mistake putting regular gas in the car instead of diesel, and asks if that is a big problem. The mechanic comes out and says he will need to “suck it out.” When Adam asks how he knows this, the mechanic says, “Because I am a mechanic.” They get this done more quickly than they had thought, and Adam and Rebecca are back on the road. Freddie and Kendra arrive for a much unexpected fourth place. Jonathon says, “First eliminated won’t be us!” as he and Victoria arrive for fifth place. Lori and Bolo take sixth as they argue about it.
Avi and Joe are in their own little world, as Avi remarks, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey.” Hera tells her dad not to tell her to be careful, as she says wants to be right on Avi and Joe’s butt. They arrive at what they think is Blue Lagoon, but it appears to be the more touristy side, not the area set up for the pit stop. They head back to their car, seeing Avi and Joe along the way. When told it was the wrong place, Avi wants to go check it out anyway, just in case the others missed something. They of course see the same thing.
Adam and Rebecca, Meredith and Maria, and Don and Mary Jean take seventh, eighth and ninth in that order. Hoping Avi and Joe are still behind them, Hera and Gus run in and take tenth place, which they are very happy with, after their mistake nearly caused them to be eliminated. Avi and Joe arrive, and are told they are last and eliminated, which is shocking to them.
Avi and Joe had the right attitude going in and going out of this race. They weren’t arguing, kept their light-hearted sense of humor along the way, and accepted the journey for what it was and still felt they accomplished things that had previously never dreamed of. All of the racers should be so lucky.
I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com