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Amazing Race 20 – Ep 2 – The Episode Where We Watch Water Boil

That’s right. This week, on The Amazing Race, the millions of fans of the show sat back to watch teams watch a pot of water boil. In fact, the show was centered on two tasks which featured boiling water and long division. Who said TAR didn’t provide excitement! Tea and math. So, your Aunt Mary and Mrs. Luftig, your fifth grade teacher, could have made an excellent pair this week! And yes, I have several Aunt Marys and my fifth grade teacher was Mrs. Luftig – best teacher I ever had.

Oh, let’s not forget that with the boiling water and math, we also got a montage of teams sleeping. We really did.

In what was likely the lowest rated TAR episode in a while, as many fans were likely watching Billy Crystal host one of the lamest Oscar telecasts in recent memory (seriously, Letterman gets crap for his turn in 94, but in retrospect it really wasn’t so bad). I guess it would be the best time to have a boiling water episode when the fewest people were watching.

I kid, Amazing Race, because I love. The second consecutive episode to take place in Argentina (a recent trend on the show to cut costs – multiple eps in one country), also gave us a quick equalizer to wipe the slate clean from last week. Gone was the three hour lead Army Wives had over the Dumbbells. One note – Joey Fitness sure likes to tweet and retweet (and thanks to Nary from the Fed Agents and JJ from the Border guys for their retweets this week). The Agents are also revealed – through a hilarious graphic x-ing out their Federal Agents tag and replacing it with Schoolteachers. They are pulling a Team Peyton and lying about their profession to take the so-called target off their back. Not exactly sure why being Federal Agents would put a target on their back – none of these teams are trafficking drugs or are part of terrorist cells (we assume).
And, why Amazing Race teams feel that having targets on their back really matter is beyond me. Survivor, yes. Guatemala’s Gary had to lie about being a former NFL quarterback. Russell had to lie about being a rich oil man. The other people in your tribe hold your fate in their hands. On the Amazing Race, your fate is in both your own hands, and subject to the will of the race course. Very rarely can teams gang up on you – it can happen from time to time, but really, your biggest concerns are from your own decisions, ability to complete tasks, and avoiding the random pitfalls along the way. You know, like exploding bus windows.

That’s what this week’s Race came down to – an exploding bus window, and one team’s inability to perform a task. Throw in a surprisingly wise decision by the Dumbbells to join forces with the Twins at the math challenge – identifying Dave the Clown’s failure to do long division – as a perfect opportunity to move ahead in the Race. That team-up was one way teams can conspire, but it was focused more on convenience – Dave was there and tripping up – rather than on fear of the New Clowns’ abilities. The bus window tumbled the middle of the three buses to Buenos Aires – containing Stalkers, New Clowns, Dumbbells, and the Twins – into last place. Nothing they could do about that – and since the window seemed to remain broken, I’m not all that sure how they wound up so far behind. What did they actually do to that bus in all that time?

The other big thing this week was my – and many non-Big Brother fans – introduction to Brendon and Rachel. I said last week that I was going in with an open mind with them – but after this week, I can see how they irk BB fans. I am actually stunned that she won that show. Is it possible that BB is actually more ridiculous than I thought it was in the first place? They are just – strange. As a PhD student, you would assume that he’s a relatively intelligent guy. So what is he doing with this woman who is clearly still a child emotionally? When she chose to do the challenge and it turned out to be a math task, she whined incessantly, “But I’m baaaad at math!!” And then she ran away in what appeared to be a hissy fit.

Seriously, I have seen kindergarteners do that exact same “whine, run and flail” move that she did on national television. She claimed to be “just a girl” and “not as smart” as her partner. These are not things a grown woman utters. At least not one with even a speck of self-esteem and respect. I find myself puzzled at what he sees in her – unless it is that age old thing that many guys see in some women.

All I have to say about that – she’s not my cup of tea.

So, Team Army Wife, JJArt, and BB continue to have some good results early on, and the rest of them waver. Based on early edits, I don’t expect to see much from the FBI Schoolteachers or the Twins – they have really gotten the short end of screen time. Team Bopper had a good week – and I have a feeling they will be up and down all season long. I’ve been somewhat unimpressed with the vast majority of the teams so far in two episodes – but there is plenty of time left for the nine remaining to show something.

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