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Amazing Race 20 – Ep 5 – Once Upon A Time…

…There was a long-running reality show, which has been awesome for many years. It was once in constant danger of cancellation, but thanks to a groundswell of support from fans and a good Sunday night timeslot, it survived and pushed away many challengers. And then came the Evil Queen, Snow White and the other story time characters on Once Upon A Time. This would be a real challenge. So, anticipating the time slot competitor, producers of the Amazing Race crafted an episode that poked a little fun at fairy tales as racers tromped their way across Bavaria.

And it was good.

That’s right – gather round friends and enjoy as Racers delve into fairy tale-ish challenges. We have the lovable fools – Boppers. We have the evil stepmother – Stalker. We have the fools – Big Brother. We have it all.

In all seriousness, I kinda dug this episode, as the challenges were fun and provided much drama at times. I do think that the theme was intentional by the show to tweak their timeslot competitor, and that’s fine. Now, if Mr. Gold, Emma, Regina, Mary Margaret, David and Henry start racing around Storybrooke searching for clues, then you know something is up. That’s right – I’m into that show. Thank goodness for DVR.

JJArt started the leg with a four and a half hour lead thanks to the Fast Forward, and while they would be caught up to, they continued their stellar racing and constant bragging. The teams head to Bavaria in Germany and a restaurant full of Roaming Gnomes. The product placement for the company that saved the Race years ago was incredibly shameless – but I am often impressed at how the show manages to get that darn gnome integrated into challenges. Get a load of this sentence, in relation to the Roadblock – Team members played an ancient form of curling, which required them to slide gnome statues across the ice onto a target.

Teams get mostly equalized on the trip to Bavaria – as they head into the Detour. JJArt, Army Wife and the Dumbbells get their first, but the other teams eventually wind up catching up with the leaders to some extent. The Detour was goofy – as I think the more complicated task was the easiest one.

Detour – <Fairy Tale or Champion Male. Why it wasn’t Bearded Male, I don’t understand. But anyway – in Fairy Tale, teams follow a trail of gingerbread, while picking up the various pieces. They arrive at a Hansel & Gretel village and must make the roof of a model gingerbread house. A hysterical looking witch stirring a cauldron will hand them the clue. In Champion Male – they style the beard of some dudes with super long beards, and have it match the photo that each man is holding. Teams don’t see the photo until they select their man.

To me, manscaping a beard just seemed too difficult. Plus, the fairy tale challenge seemed so cool! The three frontrunners all choose the beard, with the Dumbbells selecting the longest beard because of Danny’s hunch that it would be easier. It wasn’t – in fact; it was harder since the more hair meant a more complicated design. The ladies shined, and the Jersey Shore dudes knew all about mousse. But amazingly, it was Art who turned into a beard savant. He was like Britta with the flower designs. (Seriously, everyone watch Community on NBC – you won’t regret it.)

The others all arrived in Bavaria – and the Cousins got lost. I am sure that won’t be foreshadowing or anything.

Boppers move up in the pack and get to the gnome restaurant before the others, and get their Speed Bump. They have to yodel. The boys dive head first into the challenge – costumes and all – and have a grand time learning to (barely) master the tune. The yodeler lightly mocks their American style of yodeling. Needless to say, I don’t see the fad catching on here.

So, Baby and Cousins arrive at the Gingy challenge and instantly go the wrong way. Do’h! That enables Bopper to get a little bit of a lead. Bopper cackles at the witch while making the roof – so, add that to the list of fun stuff with these guys.

The next clue is at the “Sleeping Beauty” castle and King Ludwig II’s bedroom. Presumably, the King ain’t gonna be there. Nor will Sleeping Beauty. However, there is a horse-drawn carriage to take teams up the hill to the castle. If they don’t want to take the huge hike – and JJArt was smart enough to snag a carriage. Most other teams? Not so much. Vanessa most adamantly did not want to hike – “We can’t hike that, are you guys high?!?” She was just making an effort not kill Ralph at that point. And it got uglier – Ralph threw her stuff at her for her to carry as she whined. She said, “Congratulations, you made YouTube.” As if that wasn’t the plan all along.

Meanwhile, Army Wife and the Feds manage to make their way to the wrong castle. And not just that, but wound up on a tour before realizing it!! Hehe. Incredibly, the Cousins and Boppers do the same thing! Except they realize it right away.

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