Category Archives: Racing

The Amazing Race, Oct. 30 – Time to Cut the Hay

I was finally put out of my misery last week with the elimination of Liz and Marie. Not that I didn’t like them as a team, as I did. It was just impossible to tell them apart. Actually, there aren’t really any teams this season that I don’t like. It’s an fun season.

The first team to leave Bangkok, Thailand, are Amani and Marcus at 7:22 AM. Their clue tells them fly to Lilongwe, Malawi, in Africa, where they’ll head to a Tobacco Warehouse to get their next clue. Marcus mentions the patience he needs at home with their special needs child. Amani knows this is how they have learned to appreciate even the smallest of milestones. He wants to be able to show their daughter to never give up. They’re very excited to be headed to Africa.

One minute later, Bill and Cathi are the next team to leave. She calls Africa just fabulous. One more minute later, Ernie and Cindy leave. She notes they have made a mistake in every single leg, except for the first one. They want to try and minimize those. Justin and Jennifer leave at 7:29 AM. She teaches Special Ed., and says she would do almost anything for her students. and that’s how she feels about this race. It’s her baby. Andy and Tommy leave at 8:06 AM, and Laurence and Zac leave one minute after that. Jeremy and Sandy are the last to leave at 9:22 AM. They’ve been dating for about eight months, but had a strong friendship beforehand. 

Amani and Marcus hit the airport first, but find there is only one flight out to Malawi, and everyone will end up on the same flight. One of the racers notes they’ll all be together like “one big freaking family.”

Once they hit Malawi, the teams flag down taxis to take them to the Tobacco Warehouse. Jennifer explains they’ve never been to Africa, so they’re just going to try and relax and take it all in. Cindy uses the opportunity to expound on some of the trivia she learned about Malawi. Over sixty percent of the country’s income comes from the sale of tobacco leaves. Tommy mentions the reason he’s never been to this country is because there’s no snow there. And apparently he doesn’t have use for buying tobacco leaves. Bill and Cathi get out of the airport in last place. She tells the driver that as farmers they love this country, as it’s very spacious.

The first team to arrive at the warehouse are Jeremy and Sandy. They find a Roadblock. One person from each team will don a worker’s uniform and steer massive bales of tobacco through a maze-like warehouse using a short-handled dolly. Once they’ve transported ten bales, they’ll get the next clue.

Sandy requests that Jeremy do this task, as to her it looks really hard to do this amidst a lot of chaos. Ernie and Cindy arrive next, followed by Justin and Jennifer. Both of the guys will be doing the heavy lifting here. Jeremy states the obviously, that moving these two-hundred pound bales is a lot of work.Not only are they heavy, but everyone is running into each other and their bales. Sandy says the workers are getting in their way. Hmm, they might think it’s the other way around.

Laurence and Zac arrive next, and the senior member of this team will be performing this task, interestingly enough. Andy and Tommy arrive just after with Tommy agreeing to do this Roadblock. Amani and Marcus are caught in traffic that resembles a parade, and Bill and Cathi are just behind them, resigned to making up this time somehow. Both teams are very frustrated.

While the racers continue to transport the bales of tobacco, Cindy notes that the people here have so much energy. Everyone is so happy and vibrant, singing and dancing. They sing and dance and cheer the whole time while they’re watching the others move around the bales.Andy seems to be enjoying it.

Amani and Marcus arrive at Gate No. 7, but don’t see the cluebox, so continue on. Bill and Cathi get out of the car and reach the cluebox. Bill will be transporting the tobacco. She knows with Amani and Marcus behind them that there’s no way she could make up any time moving these heavy bales. He spent a couple years behind hand trucks, and explains, “When it’s time to cut the hay, it’s time to cut the hay.”

Amani and Marcus finally find the cluebox, and he wisely decides to do this Roadblock. She just laughs at him in his orange outfit. Justin is starting to have a hard time breathing with all the tobacco all over, but Jennifer thinks it smells like her dad, as he’s been smoking her whole life. It’s like a piece of home to her. Laurence is really tired, but he’s moving. Marcus feels like an NFL rookie all over again. 

The first to finish delivering his bales is Jeremy. He and Sandy get a clue telling them to make their way to Memorial Tower and search the area for their next clue. Ernie is the next to finish, followed by Justin. He talks about Marcus struggling, and says none of them have ever done this before, except for possibly Bill on the farm. Tommy finishes next.

Jeremy and Sandy reach Memorial Tower and find the next clue, a Detour – All Sewn Up or Not Grown Up. In All Sewn Up, teams will make their way to a tailor shop in the Old Market, use old style manual sewing machines, and fix the unfinished seams of the suit jacket and pant legs of a customer. When he’s satisfied with the fit, the teams will get their next clue. In Not Grown Up, teams will visit a school and use scrap materials to build two traditional toy trucks that will be test-driven by the students. Sandy decides they will do Not Grown Up, as she can’t sew to save her life, and doesn’t know if she can hem a pair of pants. 

Laurence is the next racer to finish transporting the bales of tobacco, and calls the task “killer,” and a “young man’s deal.” Ernie/Cindy and Justin/Jennifer land on the grounds of Memorial Tower, the first team deciding to do the sewing, and the second team deciding on the toy trucks, as Justin thinks sewing machines can be tricky, getting tangled up all the time. Jennifer likes this task as well, as it’s something for students at a school, and that’s her whole life. 

Andy and Tommy arrive, and they, too, decide on building the toy trucks, as Tommy doesn’t think they’re quite grown up yet. Laurence and Zac arrive just after them, and they also are choosing to build the toy trucks.  Laurence suggests they’ll be like animals building it.

Cathi calls Amani and Marcus good people, but says every leg is survival here. It’s every woman for herself; every man for imself. The farmer does this task well, as he surprisingly finishes before the football player. Bill remarks it reminded him of hauling hay. Marcus finishes shortly after with Amani saying he enjoys hard work and admires what these Malawian men do for a living. The workers chant and shout and help him out of the work clothes. Near tears, he says that moment of those men supporting him was very special to him.

Jeremy and Sandy reach the school and start building. Jeremy has a six-year-old son, and notes going to this school makes him miss him like crazy. While it’s great to see these other kids, he wishes he could see his son. Ernie and Sandy’s driver can’t find the tailor shop and has to stop for directions. Bill and Cathi land at Memorial Tower, and she is a really good seamstress, so they decide on All Sewn Up. 

Justin and Jennifer  arrive at the school to build the toy trucks as Jeremy and Sandy are in the process of building theirs. Justin mentions being a physician, and at the root of surgery, it’s about breaking things down to build them back up, and he feels it’s the same with these trucks. Sandy wants to play soccer with the boys, and indeed gets to head butt a ball back to them.

Amani and Marcus reach Memorial Tower and decide to do the sewing. His mom and grandmother are both sewers, so he hopes this will pay off for them. Andy/Tommy and Laurence/Zac arrive at the school to build the toy trucks at the time same time. Laurence tells Sandy he would have figured she’d do the sewing challenge, figuring that’s what she does in the O.R. She’s a nurse practitioner, and does sew bodies, but not clothing. Laurence sticks himself with a tool as he’s saying all this, so it’s probably good he didn’t sew either. 

Ernie and Cindy arrive at the tailor shop at the same time as Bill and Cathi. They get the clothing to start sewing, and sit down at the machines. Cathi gets Bill’s help with the pedal. Jennifer is finding appreciation being at the school, saying it’s easier for them to buy toys at the store, while these people have to make their own. Tommy wants to build one of these trucks for his son later, but needs to remember how to do it.

Amani and Marcus arrive at the tailor shop while the other two teams are hard at work with this. Cathi knows some thing is not right with what she just sewed. The man at the shop tells her she wasn’t really sewing anything as the thread wasn’t in the needle. They sewed a whole leg without really doing anything. Bill knows they should have switched machines, but didn’t. Ernie and Cindy are still holding onto their Express Pass, but want to save it for later in the game when they really need it. Cathi gets the pants done, and Cindy knows she’s killing them. Marcus sits down to get this sewing done, saying his grandma is a great seamstress. 

Jeremy and Sandy think they have the trucks done. Once two kids are able to play with the trucks they built, they receive their next clue. It tells them to find the R-K Furniture Shop, a roadside market. Sandy kicks a soccer ball on her way out. Justin and Jennifer finish this task as well, as do Andy and Tommy. Tommy compares American kids with their fancy toys, to these kids that don’t need that much, just a simple truck that’s handmade. 

Back at the tailor, Ernie makes note that he holds the pants normally in their relationship, but with her doing the sewing, it seems to make things work more efficiently, as it was with Cathi doing the sewing for her and Bill. Meanwhile, Amani and Marcus are both doing the sewing. Cathi’s machine comes unthreaded again, while Ernie and Cindy finish. She is hoping the other Detour task was tougher. 

Sandy knows Justin and Jennifer are right on their tail, and indeed Justin and Jennifer reach the furniture shop just before them. They will now have to transport and carry two locally-made beds to Kumbali Village, the pit stop for this leg of the Race. They’ll need their beds for an overnight stay here. They are also told in these clues to have someone at the shop call a driver to help with the transport. Andy and Tommy arrive at this step as well.

Laurence and Zac finish building the trucks, with the dad being a little down that the task is over already. Bill and Cathi finish sewing their suit and take off for the furniture shop. Justin and Jennifer have their beds loaded and are on their way to the pit stop. Jeremy and Sandy are looking for a driver, but Andy and Tommy grab the next truck that arrives. Sandy is asking why they don’t have a truck when they got there second. Ernie and Cindy arrive at the furniture shop just before Bill and Cathi. 

Marcus and Amani finish sewing the suit, with him saying his grandma would be proud. They take off for the furniture shop, but when the drive doesn’t seem to go very quickly, he says he’s on a  high speed chase, and they seem to be on the opposite of that.

Laurence and Zac’s driver brings a car. The beds can’t fit in there, but Zac is trying to find a way to open the doors and get it to fit anyway. Jeremy and Sandy finally find a truck, while Laurence and Zac go back to ask for a different driver and vehicle. Ernie and Cindy get theirs loaded in a truck, and as they ride in the back with it, she says she’s never felt so unsafe in her life.

Laurence and Zac flag down a truck and load up their beds while Bill and Cathi ride in the back of a truck with their beds. He stands up yelling, “Yeehaw!” while she admonishes him for the danger in that. Laurence tells their driver they’re in a race and if the others get there before them, they’re done. Amani and Marcus arrive in last place again and quickly grab a truck and get on there way, while she pleads, “Please don’t let us get eliminated.”

Justin and Jennifer arrive at the village, with Andy and Tommy doing the same. They have to carry the beds quite a distance through the village. Jeremy and Sandy also arrive and start carrying their beds, but she’s struggling to carry hers, telling him she’s trying, so she needs him to stop yelling at her. Amani and Marcus’ vehicle breaks down, as he yells, “Shoot!” I think I’d be yelling something stronger and only four letters long, whether I’m being filmed for a reality TV show or not. They get another cab pretty quickly, but he’s still really worried.

Justin and Jennifer carry their beds all the way to Phil’s mat, and are welcomed by some villagers, as Andy and Tommy are arriving right behind them. Phil announces they’ll be sleeping on these beds tonight. Justin and Jennifer are told they need to go back and pay their driver before they can be checked in. This means Andy and Tommy are the winners of this leg of the race, grabbing first place once again. They have won a Travelocity trip for two to a private island in the British Isles. They are stoked.

Bill and Cathi start carrying their beds, as she says they only need to pay the driver if he asks. Jeremy is complaining that Sandy isn’t carrying her bed correctly. Cathi is doing okay with this, saying that living on a farm, they understand manual labor. Cindy is struggling some with this, like Sandy, saying she was hoping for a day without bruises, but she doesn’t think it’s going to happen. Cindy tries carrying the bed on her head, but the weight collapses her with her now being trapped under the bed. 

Justin and Jennifer are still running back to the beginning. They pay their driver and find Bill and Cathi’s driver waiting as well, knowing this gives them a little time to get back to the pit stop. Cathi is carrying her bed without much trouble, saying it’s not bad for a 62-year-old woman. Meanwhile, Sandy is still struggling. Ernie and Cindy get passed up. 

Justin and Jennifer end up back on the mat to be officially named team number two. Bill and Cathi arrive and are told to stay where they are, as Jeremy and Sandy arrive as well. Jeremy and Sandy are team number three, and Bill an Cathi are told they need to go back and pay their driver. Amani and Marcus arrive and begin carrying their beds. 

Laurence and Zac reach the mat, and Laurence gets a big hug from a local as they are named team number four, with Ernie and Cindy team number five. Bill and Cathi pass Amani and Marcus and pay their driver. It’s a race back to Phil’s mat, but Bill and Cathi get there first. Amani and Marcus arrive in last place. She’s not ready for it to be over. They are told they will need these beds, as they are still in the Race. It’s another non-elimination leg. She sheds tears of joy, again saying they want to show their daughter to keep trying. She finds it a great example for not just their kids, but all kids.

Amani and Marcus will still have a Speed Bump to complete, but even if they don’t have an equalizer of a flight on the next leg, they are only minutes behind the lead here. They are still very much in this race. Having started this leg in first place, they can still easily get back there again.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Check out our Facebook page and sign up for the RSS Feeds . Read a daily list of what’s hot on TV at The Reality Shack Blog, and catch up on my movie reviews and other things by following me on Twitter.

Amazing Race 19 Commentary – Ep 5 – An Elephant’s Word Is 100%

I meant what I said, and I said what I meant. Horton notwithstanding, one this is also for sure – elephants are greatly entertaining. Or if you’re the Twins, they are the equal to the reaction of a Girl Scout Troup at a Justin Bieber concert.

The elephants were the best part of this episode, and as you know, it pains me to criticize The Amazing Race because even its poorest episodes would be better than most of the crap you can find out there. But this one was one of the poorest episodes in recent memory, at least in my opinion.

Why? A couple of reasons. First and foremost, we had one of my most disliked themes in the 19 years of The Amazing Race – religious preaching. For those new to the blog, I likely am more sensitive to this issue than most other people. As a proud atheist, I subscribe to no organized religion. I have my own reasons for doing so, but to me, those so-called lack of beliefs are just as sacred as anyone else’s own religious beliefs. As much as a devout church-goer would be offended by someone else telling them how stupid they are for believing what they do, and how far superior other thoughts are, is how I feel about getting preached to.

The vast majority of people don’t do this – their faith is part of who they are, they go about their business quietly and leave the rest of us the hell alone. I wish that it was at all possible for an atheist to one day become President, but that won’t happen in my lifetime. Personally, I respect others for their own choices – whether it was a conscious choice or imposed upon them by their parents – and I expect the same in return.

Now there is a pop culture phenomenon that has to stop – that is the belief that whatever higher power you may believe in actually gives a crap about what you do on this earth, just as long as you are living a good life. I think every god, deity, demigod or Elvis will agree – just don’t screw with other people, keep your hands to yourself, and be kind are really, basically all they want from us. Maybe a fried peanut butter and banana sandwich. But that’s it. Any home runs you hit, touchdowns you score, acting awards you win, hit singles that go platinum, elected offices you hold, are all fine, well and good. But it ain’t their problem.

That especially goes for reality show successes. And that at long last brings me to my point. I have totally loved the Dudes this season. As you know. And then they had to come out with some hard core religious pontificating. And now I am soured a bit. I still like them, but enthusiasm level has dropped substantially. Why can’t people of one religion hold others with respect? Why can’t they go into a temple in Thailand and appreciate the spirituality, instead of feeling as if they are cheating on their god? Millions of tourists come through famous churches every day, and not all of them are Christians or Catholics. I have been to Notre Dame, to St. Patrick’s, to St. Isaac’s and the Church on Spilled Blood , and found them to be fascinating to behold. All these guys were asked to do was to take apart and put back together a mini temple scene. They weren’t asked to pledge a blood oath. Boo. Hiss.

Anyway, enough of that. I also didn’t much care for the Roadblock #1. Do you think that could have been slightly easier? It was almost as easy as finding a hidden immunity idol on Survivor. I get that the real twist was that the other person had to do the harder challenge, but was that really much of a twist? Why did one have to be easy? Why can’t they both be challenging? Some fans of the show have complained about the dumbing down of the show, and while I can see where that comes from, I still don’t think it does that overall.

However, in episodes like this one, I totally can see the point.
And why was there a flautist in the middle of this lagoon for no apparent reason? It was like Dom Deluise randomly rowing his boat and finding a banjo-playing, singing frog.
Another ugly moment in the show came from another team I had liked – the Magellans. When the twist was unfurled and they realized Zac had to reconstruct the temple scene, Daddy Dearest turned on him. Zac had said when they were breaking it down that they should take notes on where everything went just in case and dad scoffed at that. Once it became known that Zac was right, Dad started to lash out, and blamed his son for the delays when Zac had to go back and take notes. He even claimed that he could have done it without notes.

It is here that I must break out my Bullsh*t stamp and slam in all over those comments. Unless Laurence has a photographic memory – and I am sure he does not – there is no way he does that without notes. That was classic dad-son dynamic where dad screws up and manages to blame son. I am sure in no way will son resent that. Not that I have any idea of that dynamic, of course (whistles innocently).

Of course, Laurence didn’t stop there with the bad ideas. The best bad idea he had was reading too much into the show’s no 1st class ticket rule. That rule is in place for air travel, as many times before teams have upgraded to better cabins on trains, buses, etc. On the express bus, Laurence panics, gets off the bus, has the team run three miles back to the station, gets on a later and slower bus and almost caused their elimination. If the Twins had actually either had money, or figured out earlier that as hot blonde twins they could get people to do whatever they asked, the Magellans would have been out because of Laurence and only Laurence.

So next time you blame the kid, look in the mirror, my friend.
But instead, let’s find a couple of good things. The Twins were extremely likable this week as they geeked their way though Thailand. You see, they love elephants. I mean REALLY love elephants. To the point of starting a fringe group of pachyderm-philes, with their own twitter feed – @BabarRules. They screeched and yelled throughout the ride and Speed Bump-induced bathing like 1960s teenagers upon first view of The Beatles. It was quite endearing.

However, we also learned that for every great force of good (elephants) there is an equal force of evil (fish). Marie hates fish. Not Phish. That would be crazy. Not Fish – no one hates Abe Vigoda. She hates fish. It was a sad day for pisces-philes around the globe.

I’ll miss the Twins – I was impressed that they were willing to essentially pull a Forrest Gump and run across Thailand rather than ask for money or help. They brought a lot of enthusiasm, blondeness and well, hot blonde twinness to the Race. They will be missed.

Route Markers
• Did Jennifer offer the elephant a back massage with her feet? Will she be drawn and quartered by the Twins after this for honing in on their elephant love?
• I felt badly for Ernie who is basically getting edited as being Cindy’s buffoonish partner. He called himself a B student compared to her Type A personality, and with his Laurence-esque error at the challenge, is being shown has the Jim Belushi to her Courtney Thorne-Smith. Or the Kevin James to her Leah Remini. Or the Ty Burrell to her Julie Bowen. Or the…oh, you get it.
• I love checking out the time of departures, especially on the episodes directly after non-elims, because you get a real sense of the margin between first and last. The Dudes left at 10:07, basically a one-hour lead over the Siblings who left second. Jeremy 2.0 went third at 11:14 am. Then eight minutes separated the Magellans, Control Freak and the Peytons. Geritol left over two hours after the Dudes. The Twins had a three hour deficit from the Dudes, and over an hour behind Geritol. Without an airport equalizer, and with little money, that became very difficult to overcome.
• I give huge props to those who thought to take notes the first time through during Roadblock #2. Especially to Jennifer who had the wherewithal to use the cab driver’s phone to take a picture. Very clever, and well done.
• In the Things We Could Have Done Without Category – the close up shot of elephant crap. Thanks, Show.
• 550 mile bus ride across Thailand – well, at least THAT part was classic Amazing Race.
• Making my point for me, my unexpected new Amazing Race friend Jennifer, said that despite being a Christian, she respected the temple because it “warrants the same amount of respect” as she would expect at her church. Good. For. Her.
• Has anyone ever been more excited in the history of everything for cleaning up giant piles of crap than the Twins were?
• That taxi ride of $150 when it seems most teams barely had that much money, or had less, was an interesting twist which I wonder if was intended, or was just a quirk of the Race. That said, not exactly Ernie and Cindy’s finest hour as they argued with the cabbie and some Random Angry Woman. I sensed another Colin in Tanzania moment on its way.
• Ernie – “I think I got it, if I didn’t get it, Cindy is going to kill me.” Contrast that with Laurence and Zac and that bungled challenge.
• Moral of the Twins’ saga this week – if you are blonde, tall and hot female twins , people will do anything you ask of them. Even stop a commuter bus and drive you to it for free. You just have to ask them to do it. Of course, this advice is limited to very few people in the world.
• Was the final challenge this week to feed fish or did I imagine I was in a Mister Rogers episode?
• Dudes had a moment there didn’t they? When they went to the school for directions and the woman was taking a long time returning, Andy suggested they pace, because that’s what people do when waiting. And Tommy responded with a very slight, and very subtle, moment of irritation. They are not Born Again Christian robots designed to mimic and overthrow Shaun White! They are human!!
• When the Twins read the Pit Stop clue there was a moment of disappointment that I think I noticed. I read that as being their hope that there was going to be a Detour and glimmer of hope for them.
• All this and no mention of the Peytons and Geritol winning the leg (and finishing barely second). Sorry guys, but well done! And just a second on Jeremy 2.0’s almost fatal decision to wander off on foot, even though the Pit Stop was far away. Those two need to shake it off, because Killer Fatigue seems to be setting in.

Roadblock 1 – Search a lagoon for a sack containing a ceramic fish, in which the clue lies. Really. That was it. Andy, Justin, Sandy, Laurence, Marcus, Cindy, Cathi, Marie.

Roadblock 2 – Reassemble the just taken apart spirit house. Tommy, Jennifer, Jeremy, Zac, Amani, Ernie, Bill, Liz.

Order of Finish – Peytons (win a trip to Bali), Geritol, Control Freak, Siblings, Dudes, Magellan, Jeremy 2.0, Twins (ELIMINATED)

Next week – Africa. Tobacco Derby? And something with bed frames.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Sign up for the RSS Feeds.

The Amazing Race, Oct. 23 – Smiling Through Elephant Poop

Last week was a great leg of The Amazing Race. It wasn’t predictable at all, until the last few minutes when it just took on the feel of a non-elimination leg. Twins Liz and Marie survived coming in last place, but will now have to complete a Speed Bump during tonight’s leg of the Race. Whether or not they succeed mainly depends on two things, if there will be some type of equalizer of time, such as a flight out of Thailand, and how great the time difference is between them and the team that came in second to last, Bill and Cathi. 

The first team to leave Ko Panyi, Thailand is once again Andy and Tommy, departing at 10:07 AM. Their clue tells them to use local transportation to a river, then travel by elephant up the river to get their next clue. Andy talks about his faith in God being very important both to himself and to Tommy. On his belt, he has written “Proverbs 19:2,” which he explains is “Do not have zeal without knowledge, or be hasty and miss the way.” Tommy’s reads “I Thes 5:16,” which he explains is “Be joyful always; pray continually.” They want to run the Race with a lot of joy. Andy feels God opened up the door, and they’re just grateful to be there.

Andy and Tommy reach the elephants and ride together on the back of one. Andy never dreamed elephants could be this nimble. When the Race is over, he’d like to buy an elephant, as they can do some serious four-wheeling. 

Justin and Jennifer leave nearly an hour later at 11:01 AM. Jeremy and Sandy leave at 11:44 AM, and Laurence and Zac one minute after that. Laurence is proud of his son and all he’s accomplished at such a young age. Yet he recognizes every young person wants to be seen as wise beyond their years, but they don’t always have the wisdom for that. He knows as the father, that Zac will always heed what he says. This doesn’t bode well for this leg. Either Zac will refuse to listen, or Laurence is going to be wrong. He tells Zac now they have to be sure they stick to the clue and travel by local transport. This is after they messed up the clue and received a penalty a few weeks earlier.

Jennifer is happy to be riding on the elephant and says, “I feel like I’m in the circus.” Ernie and Cindy leave at 11:52 AM. She knows they grew up in very different environments. Academics just wasn’t pushed as much to him as it was in her family. He went through life being a B student, and wonders why someone like Cindy would even love him as much as she does. He wants to prove during the Race that he can take it to the next level.

Amani and Marcus are the next to leave, one minute later. Andy and Tommy finally reach the next clue while riding on the elephant.  They find a Roadblock. One person from each team will need to follow the sound of the music which will take them to a waterfall with a traditional Thai floutist. They’ll search at the site for their next clue. 

The snowboarders do rock, paper, scissors, and Andy is the loser, meaning he will do this task. He dives into the water and finds the floutist right away, but isn’t sure where to look for the clue. He goes to the spot in the water directly in front of the musician, and finds the clue right away. Wrapped in burlap is a ceramic koi fish that when broken bears a clue telling them to travel to a local shop where they will disassemble a spirit house, then deliver all the pieces to a temple to get the next clue.

Bill and Cathi leave at 12:22 PM, while Justin and Jennifer have reached the next clue on the back of the elephant. The circus is over, as Justin decides to do this Roadblock. Justin pokes around in the water with a stick, saying he’s not finding anything. 

Jeremy/Sandy and Laurence/Zac arrive at the elephants, as Sandy says she loves her Dumbo. I think she means the elephant and not Jeremy. Justin keeps looking for his clue, and finally finds it, while Jennifer appears to be having an intimate moment with the elephant. Ernie/Cindy and Amani/Marcus arrive at the elephants, with Marcus being a little nervous to go up the hills riding atop the elephant’s back.

Andy and Tommy arrive at the local shop and look for a spirit house. They try to take a mental note of how the house is put together in case they end up putting it back together in the end. They get it taken apart quickly and are on their way to deliver it. Sandy is not enjoying the elephant ride, being “a little scared.” 

Andy and Tommy get the next clue and find a second Roadblock. I don’t remember ever seeing a second Roadblock before, but I could be wrong. If you remember one, email me at and let me know. Whichever team member didn’t do the first Roadblock must reassemble the spirit house, just as the snowboarders were assuming. Tommy must do it this time, which Andy acknowledges is his friend getting stuck with the hard part. Tommy talks about them being Christians, making it interesting for them to work with the Buddhists and their temples. Faith might come into play here, as he has no idea where some of the spirit house pieces go. 

Jeremy/Sandy and Laurence/Zac arrive at the first Roadblock, with Sandy and Laurence jumping in the river to search for the clue. Tommy reassembles the house, but it isn’t correct. He did one side, and Andy the other, when they were taking it apart, so he doesn’t know what the other side is supposed to look like. His second attempt fails, so he and Andy run back to the local shop to look at the houses already set up. The only thing working in their favor with this is that others will probably struggle as well. 

Laurence and Sandy find their clues and take off for the local shop. Tommy draws out the spirit house on the back of the clue and takes off before anyone else sees him. Just now, Liz and Marie are leaving the pit stop at 1:35 PM, over an hour after Bill and Cathi. They aren’t sure why they’re smiling being in last place and having to do a Speed Bump, and they next launch into a story about their dad recently passing away, and that he taught them to stay in it and be successful. 

Amani/Marcus and Ernie/Cindy reach the first Roadblock with Marcus and Cindy opting to look for the clue in the water. Tommy finally reconstructs the house and gets a thumbs up from the person judging it. Their next clue tells them to travel by bus to Bangkok, and head to the Bangkok Noi Canal where they need to feed the fish to get the next clue. It makes sense to Tommy, as he thought it smelled like fish food.

Justin and Jennifer arrive at the local shop, and Marcus has the same concerns the snowboarders did. He’s worried they will have to put it back together and won’t remember how. Jennifer gets smart and has their cab driver take a picture of it with his camera phone. 

Marcus finds the next clue just before Cindy. They both take off for the local shop with their partners. Amani and Marcus arrive at the second Roadblock, and she will have to do this one. Jeremy/Sandy and Laurence/Zac arrive at the local shop, and Sandy tells Jeremy to pay attention, as she’s sure they’ll have to reassemble the spirit house. Jeremy takes notes, and Zac feels they should as well, but his dad tells him no, which will bite them in the butt in a little bit., and could be the reason we hear Laurence explaining earlier about Zac following everything he says

Amani wants to be sure she gives the proper respect to the spirit house as she reassembles it, saying she wouldn’t want anyone to come into her church and disrespect her crosses. She gets the rebuilding wrong on the first try and asks for the driver’s phone to refresh her memory. She had forgotten a few pieces in the taxi. She gets it approved on the second attempt, and they take off for the bus terminal..

Liz and Marie are ecstatic to be around the elephants, as it’s the favorite animal of one of them. (Still can’t keep them straight unless they are saying their names.) Laurence/Zac and Jeremy/Sandy arrive at the second Roadblock, and Zac and Jeremy must do the task since their partners did the first Roadblock. 

Bill and Cathi land at the first Roadblock, and Cathi decides to do this one. Zac fails at his first attempt at rebuilding the spirit house, as Jeremy notes he’s doing it all wrong. Zac fails for a second and third time, and says his dad didn’t want him to take notes, but he’s going to have to go back and take them anyway. Meanwhile, Jeremy passes, and he and Sandy take off for the bus station. Laurence is ticked that Zac has to go back and take notes, feeling he could have sailed through it himself. I wonder if that would turn out like him saying how easy it was to navigate off a map, then getting lost last week.

Cathi finally finds the clue, and she and Bill take off. Liz and Marie get to work with the elephants for their Speed Bump, and they’re ecstatic. They have to/get to wash and clean up after the elephants. They enjoy it. Zac takes his notes and heads back to the Roadblock as Ernie/Cindy and Amani/Marcus are arriving at the local shop. While Amani takes notes, Cindy just wants a second look at what the houses are supposed to look like, but Ernie doesn’t even want to take the time to do that, reasoning it doesn’t say they have to reassemble it.

Zac arrives back at the second Roadblock and this time is approved when he rebuilds the house. He and his dad take off for the bus station, and he explains they lost some time because they were rushing through it. Amani and Ernie start rebuilding the spirit houses, with Ernie saying he thinks he remembers what it’s supposed to look like. 

Liz and Marie are still cleaning up elephant poop, and are so ecstatic to clean the baby elephants. Bill and Cathi come striding by on their elephant transport and ask how it’s going. The twins say it’s awesome. They get done and get to “board” their newly cleaned transport.

Andy and Tommy pay their cabdriver, and give him the $150 he’s demanding. They only had $186 to start off with. They go to buy bus tickets and are told the next bus leaves at 4:30 PM, and will get them there at 6:00 AM, a thirteen hour ride. Justin and Jennifer arrive and buy tickets, as do Jeremy and Sandy after also paying their cab driver a large fee. Laurence and Zac also arrive and take a bus departing at 4:30 PM, but theirs is a “first class” bus. Zac asks his dad if he thinks it will be an issue, but is told no.

Ernie’s first spirit house rebuild fails, and he has to go back for a second look at the houses. He notes it’s another bad day for Team Ernie and Cindy, explaining they have a lot of them, and they all seem to be his fault. Amani is passed on her first attempt at rebuilding the house. Cindy knows they should have just written it down earlier. 

Liz and Marie arrive at the first Roadblock, and Marie decides to do it. I only know that because they mentioned her name. She gets the clue fairly quickly, and the twins head to the local shop. Bill and Cathi arrive at the local shop as Ernie is arriving for the second time. Ernie jots down his notes and takes off, and knows if he doesn’t get it right, Cindy will kill him.

Zac convinces his dad to get off the bus, as they aren’t supposed to take first class transport. They start walking back to the bus station. Ernie works on putting the spirit house together as Bill and Cathi arrive, with Bill having to be the one to rebuild the spirit house. Ernie gets it right this time, and he and Cindy head to the bus station.

Laurence and Zach run back to the bus station to buy new non-first class tickets, as Liz and Marie arrive at the local shop, and start taking apart the spirit house while taking notes in case they have to reassemble it. Bill gets the rebuilding right on his first attempt, and they take off for the bus station.

Liz uses her notes to try and put the spirit house back together, but Marie is worried, and her twin doesn’t always remember things very well. Amani and Marcus book tickets on a 5:30 bus to Bangkok, as do Bill and Cathi. Ernie and Cindy arrive, and their driver asks for 4500 baht. Ernie decides that’s $100 American. The driver then comes after them and tells them that’s not enough. Ernie argues it out with him, saying $100 American is more than 4500 baht. The driver wants them to pay in Thai money though. Someone Cindy explains is a “crazy woman” insists they’re ripping off the driver. Ernie tells her he doesn’t even know who she is, as Cindy is insisting to the driver the he was a “terrible driver.” The crazy woman offers to call the police. She finally tells them to pay him $150. They do, and it’s all good. 

Laurence and Zac arrive at the bus station just after the 5:30 bus takes off. They will now have to wait for the 8:00 bus, after originally being on the 4:30 bus. Liz’s spirit house is approved, and they’re on their way to the bus terminal. Laurence and Zac board their 8:00 bus, with the twins arriving shortly after. They buy tickets for the bus to Bangkok, and are told they need to get on the bus right then. Not so fast, as their driver is looking for more payola. They tell their driver they don’t have any more money, yet their bus is leaving. Not only will they be stuck further behind, but they don’t have any more money to buy more tickets. Their driver agrees to take the last of their money, and he then drives them to catch up to the bus. 

Ernie and Cindy are nervous being on a bus alone, while Sandy and Jeremy are nervous on their bus with Andy/Tommy and Justin/Jennifer, as they were supposed to arrive at 5:30, and it’s now 6 AM, as they still continue to drive. Bill and Cathi are worried that the bus carrying them and Amani and Marcus spent too much time dropping off passengers. 

Ernie and Cindy’s bus is the first to arrive, arriving ahead of schedule. She remembers being in Bangkok a few years ago, but he doesn’t think that’s going to help them at all. She jokes the only way it will is if they are told to find “lady boys,” whatever that is. The bus carrying Jeremy/Sandy, Andy/Tommy, and Justin/Jennifer arrives, and they take taxis to the fish pond. The bus carrying Amani/Marcus and Bill/Cathi arrive as well. Laurence/Zac’s bus and Liz/Marie’s bus are still in transit. 

Having fed the fish, Ernie and Cindy’s next clue tells them to head to the M.R. Kukrit Heritage Home, the pit stop for this leg of the Race. Their driver doesn’t know where it is, but he agrees to phone a friend for help. Maybe he should ask the audience instead. 

Jeremy’Sandy, Justin/Jennifer, and Andy/Tommy are stuck in a traffic jam, as Bill/Cathi and Amani/Marcus are the next teams to arrive at the fish pond. They feed the fish and get the clues sending them to the pit stop. Laurence and Zac’s bus arrives, followed by Liz and Marie’s. They are told it’s three blocks away and try walking since they’re out of cash, as Ernie and Cindy are stuck in traffic. They get out and try hoofing it. 

Bill/Cathi and Amani/Marcus are on their way to the pit stop. Marcus notes the other team may look like “Ma and Pop,” but they can run. Cindy is now pissed that she and Ernie got out of the cab. They other two teams arrive and run for the pit stop. The first team to arrive are Amani and Marcus. They are the first team to arrive, and are definitely ecstatic. So are Bill and Cathi standing nearby, as they know they are now team number two. Amani and Marcus win a trip for two to Bali. Marcus thinks they’re starting to get momentum and could be a team to watch out for.  Ernie and Cindy arrive and are told they are team number three. More ecstatic people.

Liz and Marie ask for directions, and this person tells them it will probably take them five hours to walk to the fish pond. That’s a long three blocks. They don’t have any money, so have no choice but to do it anyway. They’re in a really poor area and don’t feel right begging those people for money. 

Andy and Tommy arrive at the fish pond, just before Jeremy and Sandy. They feed the fish and head to the pit stop. Andy and Tommy try to run it, while Jeremy and Sandy hop in a cab. Justin and Jennifer arrive and feed the fish and take off for the pit stop. Liz and Marie stop walking and beg a taxi driver to take them, telling him they have no money. He agrees. 

Andy and Tommy stop for directions at a school, and the woman takes their clue and runs off to find someone with the answer, telling them to wait. They hope she gets an answer and that they’re not wasting their time. Laurence and Zac arrive at the fish pond and take off for the pit stop. 

Andy and Tommy are still waiting for the woman to come back, and Andy suggests they start pacing. A woman comes out and tells them the other woman is upstairs teaching, so they need to come inside and wait. They explain they are on a race and can’t. They ask to go up there, and are told no. They ask if they can call her. Andy feels it’s God’s will. A man comes down with their clue and the directions. They get in a cab this time. 

Justin and Jennifer arrive on Phil’s mat to be named team number four. They were hoping for first place, but will take fourth. Do they have a choice? Jeremy and Sandy ask for directions when their taxi stops and decide to walk. She doesn’t want to, saying they don’t know where they are. Liz and Marie arrive at the fish pond and know they have to beg for another free cab ride. They get another taker. 

Jeremy and Sandy are still out wandering around looking for the pit stop. Jeremy isn’t sure how others will do this, as everyone is low on cash, and they’re taking cabs all over the place. Andy and Tommy arrive on the mat, with Laurence and Zac just after them. Somehow after all this, these two teams are together again. They’re teams five and six. Phil asks what father and son were thinking to get off the first bus. They explain, and Phil tells them the first class travel rule only applies to air travel. They got off the bus for nothing. 

Sandy explains if this this the end for them, she’s very proud of Jeremy as he’s done more than she expected. He’s proud of her too. They wanted to make it further along than this though. Liz and Marie note that it eventually worked out for them, slowly but surely. It’s Jeremy and Sandy who are the next to arrive with Phil. He suggests they know what he’s going to say. Sandy starts crying, saying it’s been a rough day. He’s pleased to tell them, though, that they’re team number seven. She sheds even more tears, and Phil offers to eliminate them anyway.

Liz and Marie arrive on Phil’s mat. They are the last to arrive, and this time they are eliminated. He asks if this was about the money. They cry saying their dad passed away in December, and they wanted to do it for him to show him they’ll never give up. Phil suggests he’d be proud of them anyway. They think he would be too, as they’ve done a lot.

Not only that, but Liz and Marie should be proud of themselves. They showed a lot on this last leg of the Race. They were down, but not out. They continued through most of it with a smile on their faces, even though they knew they had a good chance of being eliminated. Even when faced with a five-hour walk, they tried it, instead of quitting. No matter what faith you have, Dad has to be smiling about that, no matter where he is.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Check out our Facebook page and sign up for the RSS Feeds . Read a daily list of what’s hot on TV at The Reality Shack Blog, and catch up on my movie reviews and other things by following me on Twitter.

Amazing Race 19 Commentary – Ep 4 – A Mighty Wind’s A-Blowin’

Honest to Blog! The Amazing Race has an episode which turned on wind. Wind! Phuket, Thailand!!

Yeah, I made a Juno joke, what of it? Along with a Christopher Guest joke. I must say, I see nothing wrong with either one of those things.

But seriously, amazing how the Phuket (pronounced Poo-ket, folks) winds played such a major factor in the Detour. Granted, for the second time in four episodes, we had a non-elimination leg, so the stakes were less than they could have been. However, it was still fascinating and just a small taste of how cool this show continues to be. This came down to something as simple as weather. For such a huge show, played out over the game board called The Entire Earth, it is amazing how such tiny details can occasionally make a huge difference. Strong winds, a flat tire, traffic, things like that are the factors that teams cannot prepare for prior to the Race, no matter how much Cindy may want to.

In this case, the Detour presented the options of helping to rebuild Phuket’s tsunami-destroyed coral reef, or doing an tradition AR task of mimicking a display (similar to the task in last year’s finale at the trailer park). At first, most teams chose the coral challenge. I would tend to agree with that choice – first of all, it is a much cooler task. Second, those display challenges require such a precise attention to detail which I find difficult normally, much less under extreme pressure and lack of rest.

The Dudes were first out on the kayak after assembling the blue frame of the Phuket IKEA Coral Nursery Collection. They had to balance the structure on the kayak and hold onto the tray with the little coral babies. There’s a cartoon just waiting to be written, by the way. The wind out on the ocean was very, very strong and kept blowing the items and the kayak around. Thankfully for them, the Dudes have surfing skills not just on snow but on the water and had some game. They were also wise to find a rock down below to place upon the frame to hold it in place. Their ability to keep the kayak around the location, tread water effectively and manage the props served them well. The Siblings also managed to pull it off, but did so by accident when the frame drifted into a rock. Nevertheless, only these two teams managed to get this task right.

Meanwhile, over at the other location, teams had to find their assigned beach chairs and umbrellas and then set them up to match the proper layout of Phuket Beach Society. I don’t know, it was just what it was. The Twins were excited about doing this one because they have lifeguarding experience. I need to call a foul on this one. Last time I checked, and it may have been in an episode of Baywatch , lifeguards have a lot of things they have to do. Setting up umbrellas is not one of them. I want my lifeguard paying attention to me as the waves come crashing down, not worrying about how many chairs need to line up in a row. So, saying your lifeguard skills will help the beach layout is like saying that an NFL referee’s skills on the football field will help him throw a touchdown pass.

The wind was brutal on this task, especially to the Twins, who spent hours trying to do it. The wind knocked over the umbrellas, one time right onto one of the Twins’ head, it blew around the chairs. It was a serious wild card in the challenge. It took some strength to get the umbrellas done – Marcus and Sandy each tried to give them some help. Sandy gave them a hand opening an umbrella, Marcus told them to spin it into the ground to get it to stay. I don’t know if it was anything other than the Twins’ lack of upper body strength, but that seemed to be a primary problem. They just could not get that umbrella to stay in the ground.

We did get some interesting character moments from the teams through all of the wind gusts. The Dudes continue to be a joy to watch. I found it interesting that upon learning that they messed up their flight and squandered their lead that they didn’t respond with anger, they essentially said, “bummer.” Magellans really didn’t have much of an episode except for one moment – on the speedboats heading towards the Pit Stop, they managed to get lost. The guys who circumnavigated the globe got lost on a boat. Classic. Basic Navigation, guys. Their attitude was not anger or rage, it was self-deprecation, a bunch of useless sailors we are. Sounds like the makings of a good shanty.

New Jeremy finally got some attention, and after their nasty bickering, I would like them to fad back into the background. Jeremy barked at her to “come here, now” on the beach and continued to talk fairly aggressively to her. If this how they are going to find out about their relationship, I sense a lot of uncomfortable moments during Thanksgiving dinners for them. Regardless, it sure ain’t fun to watch that unfold on television.

The Siblings fought again. Sigh. However, they also were successful, even if some luck was involved regarding the coral. Successful and bickering is not a good combination for the viewers of the show. The Twins are kind of fun, but they cry a lot, and break down a lot. They got saved this week, but can you really see them going very deep into the season with so much self-imposed drama? Geritol just keeps hanging around and Bill is proving to be a surprisingly tough challenge guy. He scaled that mountain during the Roadblock like a pro.

The Peytons are fun – there is no doubt. Marcus shouting “go crazy” was endearing and gave me two flashbacks. One was Prince. Another was Jack Buck. Leave it to my warped mind to combine the Amazing Race, Marcus Pollard, 80s pop, and famous playoff homeruns. And it was a nice moment for them when they paid back the Race karma earned when the Dudes gave them the help last week by helping the Twins with the umbrellas.

Lastly, Control Freak and Cindy’s mad prep. We previously heard all about her prep plan, and this week we learned you could add rock climbing to the list. This could be fun this season; I sense a lot of comedy in my future. Not sure if it will be funny…but nevertheless, I’ll be mining the Cindy prep book. Not in the book – speedboat navigation. How do you get lost on the ocean, with a land mass as your clue? Heck, I think Wilson the Volleyball could find it quicker.

So, in Phuket – not Bucket or Kirby Puckett – we revisit a location where Mel/Mike got knocked out in S14, and it looks like quite the nice place to visit and the continuation of a fun season. I think that the Show putting two early non-elim legs in this season was a good idea. We got to know these teams a bit. It likely means fewer non-elims later on – and to me, that’s a good thing. It adds a lot more drama late in the season, where it belongs, and makes the early episodes have a little bit more mystery.

Route Markers
• Indonesia has 129 volcanoes. I have nothing there, I just found that interesting.
• Laurence said something wise about Race strategy – he said that if they make a mistake, he wants to make sure they make it with another team. That makes sense since you know that at least you have a 50-50 shot to beat one team.
• Jeremy 2.0 said that going to Bucket (sigh) was going to be foreign. Great, we have another Captain Obvious this season.
• I know the show harped on the Dudes and Magellans mistake about going to Jakarta, but that wasn’t the problem. Their problem was not booking the second leg. Unless the rules changed, they can book that and change for a better flight. If they did change, then it was risky to pass up on the easy safe option for what might have been just a slight gain.
• It was worth it though to see the Dudes fool around and tickle the Magellans on the line. That was pretty funny. And how did they pass the Magellans in Phuket? That seems like an inconsequential bad cab ride to me.
• Gotta love hilarious cab drivers. A Race staple.
• Anyone not see the Bunching coming after the flight? Oh, well, hello and welcome to your first episode of The Amazing Race. Better late than never.
• How come I am not surprised that the Siblings were the ones to make the King of the World Titanic joke?
• How fortunate the Pollards watched a show on the 2004 tsunami with the kids before the Race. That sounds like something Cindy would do.
• Juvenile Humor of the Week – Sandy: “Why is this not long enough?”
• I love how Thailand has all of these fun names for the islands. This season it is Soap Island, in Season 1 it was Chicken Island. Lots of fun.
• Either the NFL is not as tough as I thought, or the Amazing Race is tougher than it appears, but a kayak challenge whipped Marcus more than anything in his life? This man was a pro football player!
• There exists a floating village in this world? That was cool. And they have their own soccer field!
• How many people upon learning that they just won five thousand dollars would instantly think of other people? Dudes – “Our wives are coming on the trips with us!” And, complementing the greeter’s beard? Perfect.
• My son has a responsibility chart on his wall, where he gets magnets for doing tasks and chores. One chore is to not whine. I hate whining. Meanwhile, the Twins, not so much. “You’re going so sa-low-uh!” Ugh. Bad moment.

DetourCoral Restoration or Beach Preparation – In Coral, teams help rebuild the coral reef and Thai tourism years after the 2004 tsunami hit. In Beach, they put 20 chairs and 10 umbrellas in the proper order on the beach. Coral – Dudes and Siblings. Peytons, New Jeremy, and Geritol all flipped from this to Beach. Beach also had Control Freak, Magellans and the Twins.

Roadblock – Who wants to be King of the Hill? Climb the side of an island rock face to get a clue out of a birds nest. I wonder what kind of bird lays Amazing Race clues. Roadblock taken by – Andy, Jennifer, Zac, Amani, Jeremy, Ernie, Bill and Marie.

Order of Finish – Dudes (win five grand each), Siblings, New Jeremy, Magellans, Control Freak, Peytons, Geritol and Twins (NOT ELIMINATED)

Next week – We have elephants. And somehow the Twins have no money.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Sign up for the RSS Feeds.

The Amazing Race, Oct. 16 – Expecting the Unexpected

What’s making this a great season so far of The Amazing Race is that it’s been very unpredictable, both in challenges and rules, as well as how it’s playing out. There are no gimmes. The challenges are tough and aren’t just something the teams need to walk through. They need to use their athleticism as well as their intelligence, and one little mistake can get them eliminated, while a big mistake can seem to not matter at all. It keeps it exciting, and given the choice of watching the Race or X-Factor first Sunday night, I chose the Race.

Leaving first from Indonesia are Andy and Tommy at 8:17 AM. The clue tells them to fly to Phuket, Thailand, where they’ll race to a marina to get their next clue. Tommy mentions they just want to win a leg of the Race cleanly. Laurence and Zac ran a great leg, but used too many buckets at once on the Detour, and were penalized, which gave first place to the snowboarders.

Next to leave are father and son Laurence and Zac at 8:28 AM. Laurence states they don’t want to make the same mistakes they did in the previous leg. He supports my opening argument, telling him the Race is unexpected. Apparently they’re beginning to pick up the Big Brother tagline of “Expect the Unexpected.” The snowboarders arrive at the airport and find there is no direct flight, but they can get a flight to Jakarta at 9:40 AM, to hopefully find a flight there that will take them to Phuket. They help father and son out, telling them where to get the tickets to be on the same flight as them.

Jeremy and Sandy leave the pit stop at the exact time the first two teams are leaving the country. He thinks the Race is showing what they need to work on still in their relationship, as she points out it shows how they handle stressful situations. Justin and Jennifer leave one minute later, and Ernie and Cindy one minute after that. For them, it’s exciting, as they were just in Thailand. Amani and Marcus leave at 9:46 AM, and he is hoping to show his kids about perseverance while they’re on the Race.

Bill and Kathi leave at 9:56 AM, with her noting they are almost thirty years older than the other teams, yet they wake up each day ready to go. She thinks they’ll be here for awhile. Liz and Marie leave at 10:05 AM, and note their dad recently died suddenly of a heart attack. He would be thrilled with this opportunity of theirs. 

As these other teams arrive at the airport, they are told they can get a flight with a stopover in Jakarta that leaves at 12:45 PM and lands in Phuket at 6:50 PM.  Everyone, except Andy/Tommy and Laurence/Zac, of course, are on this flight. Yet those other two teams don’t have a connecting flight yet, so maybe they’ll end up catching the same connecting flight.

As the first two teams arrive in Jakarta, and find the next flight to Phuket is fully booked, they hear there’s a flight to Bangkok that will connect them and have them arriving in Phuket at 7:40 PM. Had they bothered to get connecting flights before, they could have been on that 6:50 flight. Instead of being the first two, they’ll now be the last two teams. 

The first flight arrives in Phuket, and the teams catch cabs to the marina. If the snowboarders and the father/son team are lucky, the challenge will involve something that isn’t open overnight, and everyone will be waiting until the morning at the marina. In fact, Sandy is hoping when they get there they’ll be going to bed. Liz and Marie never had time to exchange their money, and are carrying around Indonesian cash. One of them is already wearing an “In Love with Thai” button. Maybe that will help them. Bill and Kathy get a thumbs up and “chop chop” from their cabdriver, as he pulls ahead of several teams.

The second flight arrives, and when they ask for taxis at a cab stand, the employee tells them she knows exactly where they are going because of the others. They ask how long ago and are told an hour. They are definitely worried now. Funnily enough, the next commercial announces, “Someone didn’t book with Travelocity!”

Jeremy and Sandy are the first team to arrive at the marina, and Sandy asks why “the guys” aren’t there. Jeremy then sees a sign announcing that the dock doesn’t open until 8:00 AM. It looks like the guys just caught a break. Liz and Marie arrive next, as Liz announces that the Thai people are the nicest in the world. Their driver just drove them there for nothing, since all they have is Indonesian cash. They others arrive and try to figure out what happened to the guys. They finally arrive, and someone announces the game is “so unpredictable.”

At 8 AM, Justin says they know where the clue is,  out there in an orange/yellow garbage can at the end of a “wobbly dock.” They just don’t know how they’ll get out there, but Jennifer is sure she’ll be puking on a speedboat. One of each team runs down the wobbly deck. In the lead is Tommy, followed by Laurence. 

The clue mentions the tsunami that devastated Phuket, and that the Detour will give the teams a chance to help rebuild the tourism industry. They’ll choose from Coral Reconstruction or Beach Preparation. In Coral, teams will construct a coral nursery and load it onto a kayak. Thy’ll take it out to buoy, and place the coral into the nursery. A marine biologist will approve their work. In Beach, teams will collect ten umbrellas and chairs, and match them up via corresponding sticker from their clue, and set them up per the standards of the club. 

Ernie/Cindy, Laurence/Zac, and Liz/Marie do the Beach Construction, while the other five teams do Beach Preparation. Justin rides the front of the speedboat on the way to the Coral Reconstruction, saying, “I’m the king of the world!” Sandy mentions her rough night sleeping on the beach, but is happy to be on the water now, as it’s so pretty. 

Andy and Tommy are the first to arrive in their speedboat, and start constructing the coral nursery right away. The other teams land behind them and all start heading to their chosen Detour. Laurence and Zac go the wrong way and head towards Beach Prep instead of Coral Reconstruct. They realize their mistake and decide to stick with it. Building the nursery, Amani remembers watching a program about the coral reef being damaged along with their kids. It’s nothing new here, as Justin and Jennifer are arguing once again. 

Liz and Marie can’t find the right chairs and umbrellas. Ernie gets in there and grabs what he and  Cindy need, saying he feels sorry for the twins, as if you don’t have a lot of strength, you won’t be able to get what you need, because everything is stacked on top of each of each other. Cindy tells Ernie they need more chairs, because they need two for each umbrella. 

Andy and Tommy start kayaking their nursery out. Armani and Marcus are right behind them, but their nursery falls apart before they hit the water. Jeremy and Sandy struggle to build it, as he says he doesn’t want to break it. The snowboarders hit the buoy, and try to set up the nursery, but they start drifting away. They know how all this goes due to also being surfers. They drag it back to the right place and use a rock to hold it where it needs to be. 

Justin/Jennifer and Amani/Marcus set out for their buoys as well. Andy and Tommy get the thumbs up and the next clue. Jennifer decides to let Justin do all the work while she sits in the boat. Marcus notes how tough this is, saying he swims, but isn’t a competitive swimmer. Before they head out, Jeremy makes sure Sandy wants to try planting the coral. The snowboarders clue tells them to use the compass that came with the clue and travel north for thirteen minutes to find the island pictured on a medallion. They know they slayed it, but think the others are going to really struggle.

The people with the chairs and umbrellas are still working on lining all this up. Obviously sticking with the water would have been better for the father/son boaters. Jennifer is still riding the boat, trying to tell Justin to “grab the boat,” while he’s trying to also do the planting. She eventually jumps out, and that helps them. They, too, have the nursery anchored by a big rock, and they are the second team to finish the task. 

Jeremy and Sandy struggle, with the nursery falling apart on them, and knocking the tray of seedlings into the water. Amani loses things out of hers and Marcus’ kayak as well. Bill/Cathi and  Jeremy/Sandy give up on the coral and decide to go gather beach chairs and umbrellas. 

Marcus explains that the hardest part of the coral challenge is getting in the kayak, as they’re fighting the wind, against the current and undercurrent, and it is exhausting him. He says once they get back to shore that he’s never been so tired and whooped. Remember, this is a former NFL player. He always prided himself in being able to do anything, but that’s the hardest thing he’s ever tried to do. They head to the beach challenge as well. 

Jeremy demands Sandy join him, and she’s upset that he’s being so negative, and in fact she’s shocked. He didn’t really want to make this change, but she did. The same wind that was making it difficult in the water is making it difficult on the beach. The chairs and umbrellas won’t stay set. One of the twins gets hit in the head by an umbrella that gets uprooted, and cries, asking why it’s so hard for them. Meanwhile, locals sit nearby and laugh their asses off. 

Andy and Tommy have found the island that matches the one of their medallion and find a Roadblock. One member from each team needs to climb a sheer rock wall. If they make it up as far as a birds nest, they’ll find a clue waiting for them in the nest. Andy will be doing the climb. Justin and Jennifer find the island as well, and Jennifer “guesses” she’ll do the task. 

Ernie and Cindy have come up with an idea for getting the umbrellas and chairs to stay put. They get ocean water and pour it around the bases of the beach furniture trying to make the sand more heavy and dense. Laurence and Zac are just muscling in their furniture. Marcus keeps shouting “Let’s go crazy,” and Amani laughs, saying he just likes to pick up little catchphrases, so they’ll be going crazy the rest of the day. 

Liz and Marie explain you would think they would know how to put up the chairs and umbrellas, as they were beach lifeguards, but there was a chair and umbrella person who did that, who they have newfound respect for. They somehow get Sandy to ignore her own challenge for a little bit to help them. Jeremy is upset with her because she just put the furniture up, not paying any attention to spacing. He believes they can move their relationship forward in leaps and bounds, and learn from the experiences.

Andy and Tommy arrive at the sheer cliff, and Andy begins the climb. Tommy thinks he looks like a little monkey. He gets the clue fairly quickly. The clue from the nest tells them to drive in the boat to the next pit stop, a stadium at a floating village that was designed to provide easy access to fishing. They want to take off before seeing any other teams, and do.

Justin and Jennifer are arriving, and Jennifer starts the climb, making Justin nervous. He tells her to use her legs. She does, and makes it easily. He’s proud of her, and it’s a very nice change of pace for these siblings. Ernie and CIndy are the first to get the tables and umbrellas set up correctly, and get the clue to head out with the compass. The next to finish are Laurence and Zac. 

Sandy thinks they are done as well, but Jeremy asks if the chair rungs matter. She claims they don’t. She would be wrong. Amani and Marcus get theirs approved, as Cathi notices hers and Bill’s are further back than theirs. They try to copy that style. Marcus gives Liz and Marie some tips as they head out. Jeremy and Sandy are finally approved. 

Andy and Tommy arrive in the floating village and run through looking for Phil and his mat. They find him fairly quickly and are named team number one for the third time. They receive $5000 each. Andy says “the wives are comin’ on the trips” with them. Phil notes that they absolutely “smoked this course.” Tommy replies they are just so stoked on this thing about “claiming first.” They’re going to just continue to play it smart. Andy is just too busy being enamored by the local greeter’s beard.

Justin and Jennifer arrive at the pit stop and Phil names them team number two. She explains it’s been a rough day, Phil tells her his measure of a rough day is when she does her look. He asks her to shown him the look, and she does. He’s working on learning it, and for him it will only work if he raises that eyebrow.

Laurence and Zac reach the Roadblock with Zac deciding to do it. Liz and Marie are still losing their umbrellas as Bill and Cathi get approved. Cathi tells the girls to keep at it and try to find a shovel or something to help them dig. Ernie and Cindy are lost on their way to the Roadblock, as Armani and Marcus make it before them. She expresses she wants to do the Roadblock, but is mostly asking more than telling.

As Zac makes the climb, Laurence explains he doesn’t like heights too much, as he has a bit of vertigo. Ernie and Cindy realize they are a little off course. Jeremy and Sandy grab the clue at the Roadblock and see there are only three left after them. Liz and Cindy are still trying to bury their furniture. 

Ernie and Cindy see a boat with flags and think at first that it’s a clue, but instead it’s just a boat with flags. They have no idea where they are, as she says, “This is not good.” They finally see the correct destination, realizing he was reading the compass wrong. Liz and Marie continue working, and now arguing, on the beach, complaining that they’ve been there for about three hours.

Zac gets his clue from the nest, and as he and his dad look at a map of the pit stop, Laurence explains they’ve navigated around the world, and this is just basic navigation. Something about that statement spells trouble. Ernie and Cindy finally reach the Roadblock with him deciding he’ll do it. Liz and Marie are finally approved, and one of them starts crying, but denies it.

Amani starts her rock climb as Jeremy and Sandy arrive, with him deciding he’ll do it. Sandy has confidence in Jeremy, and Marcus encourages Amani, as she reaches it before Jeremy. They take off for the pit stop as Jeremy gets the clue from the nest. They see Ernie and Cindy pull up. Sandy asks Cindy what happened, then helps her out, telling her there are still two teams behind them. Cindy knows this won’t be any problem for Ernie, as they practiced rock-climbing before starting the Race. Bill and Cathi arrive at the Roadblock, and he tells her he will do the Roadblock.

Apparently the navigating thing wasn’t as easy as Laurence felt it would be, as they are lost. He figures either the map or compass is off. Ernie gets the clue, and they leave for the pit stop. Liz and Marie reach the Roadblock and hurry to the cliff to begin the climb. Bill starts the climb, as Cathi explains they had already decided they don’t know how long they will remain in the Race, so when it makes sense for him to do a Roadblock, he will. She also shouts out to him that she likes her view; this is said while she watches him climb from the back. The twins aren’t there yet still, so she thinks they’re in good shape.

Laurence and Zac see another boat or racers and follow them. Laurence calls himself and his son “useless sailors.” Approaching the floating village, Marcus says he’s seen a lot of stadiums, but never played in one. He hopes he can get a lot of applause and finish fourth. They arrive around the same time as Jeremy and Sandy, and Laurence and Zac finally get there right after. They’re all wandering the village looking for the stadium. 

The first team to reach Phil’s mat are Jeremy and Sandy who are shocked to find they are team number three. She knows they still have a lot to work on, and need to just continually be positive. He talks about other people having communcation problems, and believes they just need to cut each other some slack sometimes. Arriving right behind them are Laurence and Zac to be named team number four.

Amani and Marcus are still searching for the stadium as Ernie and Cindy arrive. The latter are named team number five, and Amani and Marcus team number six. Liz and Marie are disappointed on the way to the pit stop, saying it’s like riding to their death. You never know; maybe this will be a non-elimination. It kind of has that feel to it.

Bill and Cathi arrive on Phil’s mat and are named team number seven. Liz and Marie get there next and say they figured they were the last to arrive, as they haven’t seen anyone else for a couple hours. Phil asks if they are glad they came on the Race. Here it comes. He hasn’t eliminated them yet, so probably won’t. He tells them it’s their lucky day, and one of them screams so loudly I got chills. They are setting out to prove they deserve to be there, saying it’s not as easy as it looks.

Well, it’s been going unpredictably, and this week only became prodictable at the very end. There was just a feel to it. I had a hunch Liz and Marie weren’t going home, and once Phil just said they were last, but didn’t say they were eliminated, it was obvious. After watching Andy and Tommy go from first to last to first again in one leg, anything can happen next week.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Check out our Facebook page and sign up for the RSS Feeds . Read a daily list of what’s hot on TV at The Reality Shack Blog, and catch up on my movie reviews and other things by following me on Twitter.

Amazing Race 19 Commentary – Ep 3 – 263 Buddhas?!?

Now that’s how you get a good twist!

Instead of the manufactured drama from last week, this episode had a challenge-based and organic drama which led to surprises, comebacks and some lighthearted moments. Lesson to this 800 time Emmy winner – don’t force it. You’ve been doing pretty well so far.

I’ll make this post somewhat short; being that it is rather late. I am still waiting for that 25th hour in the day to be invented so I can catch up on all the crap I don’t do in time. The main points for this second Indonesian leg – the Dudes emerge, the Peytons recover, and the Showgirls get upended.

The Dudes. They are BJ/Tyler except minus the pretension. If BJ had approached the Dutch cyclists to ask which one was “feeling it,” he’d have completely hammed it up and made all about him. Look at me!! I’m a free spirit!! Not Andy and Tommy. They are truly fantastic dudes. Their rug really does tie the room together. They made it about the Dutch guy. And the offhand “nice work guys” remark to the rice workers? Again, it felt like natural politeness rather than desperate posing. These dudes are just dudes.

Having them say that they didn’t have enough grass made me wonder – just how commonplace is that dilemma for these guys? Yeah, that’s me making a 1970s era pot slang joke.

The big moment for the Dudes was during the detour and their team up with the Magellans. The clue said they can only use two buckets for the task, but Laurence used more. The Dudes saw this and said aloud, “read your clues, guys.” They could have said nothing, they could have called attention to themselves, and instead they gave a little clue of their own. Not their fault it was ignored.

Yet again, as they entered the majestic old temple we got a “that’s why you do the Amazing Race, stuff right here.” I got authentic and not self-promotion.

The Peytons started the leg in last place and stayed there through virtually the entire leg. They even switched Detours and swapped out their cab. We did get the hysterical image of Marcus during the first detour scooping up the little lamb under his arm like a football. They had a great comeback up their sleeve which actually intersected with the Dudes’ awesomeness.

After the Dudes and Magellans finished the Roadblock together, the Dudes actually crossed paths with the Peytons, who were headed towards the Roadblock in last place. The Dudes actually gave Amani the correct answer to the Roadblock challenge. Amazing generosity – borderline idiotic, but still generous. And incredible luck for the Peytons. Unfortunately, Marcus was not paying close attention and due to the grueling nature of the arrival at the Roadblock, he took the challenge instead of Amani. If only they could get some more luck…


Route Markers
• The Dutch Bicycle Club – the first task for the Racers – required teams to cycle with a leisurely bunch to another part of the city. This group re-enacts the 1940s Dutch bicycle patrol and if I had those bitchin uniforms, I’d do it too.
• I knew the Showgirls were doomed when we started getting the kid photos early on. Kiss of Death on reality shows.
• Cindy made her packing list three months prior to the Race, had the two of them study geography and languages, which doing an exercise routine. Insane and obsessive? Yes. But in this case, more teams should learn from Cindy and come to the Race with more knowledge than shouting “Arriba” in random countries.
• Did Cathi really joke about dying soon? Really?
• Indonesian taxis are labeled as “taksi.” Gotta love phonetics.
• When sent to the “restaurant in the wilderness,” I was totally expecting a classic Amazing Race food challenge. Instead, the somewhat boring Detour.
• Marcus chanting “buma aye” made me laugh. If anyone didn’t get that reference – here you go
• Ernie’s broken pedal knocked them down to the bottom, but they made a heck of a good comeback via taxi. Pointless in the grand scheme of the Race, but still, good for them.
• Can we get a long Cathi falling down montage? Because that would be comic gold.
• Zac to Dad at the Roadblock – “Take your time.” Andy to Zac – “Take your time? What are you guys doing?” HA!
• Marcus yelling “shoot” in a sacred temple just doesn’t seem like a good idea.
• Dudes get a Dubai trip because Magellan’s error at the Roadblock got them a 15 minute penalty. This despite Laurence essentially getting them both through the Roadblock. They could give up the trip, but as Andy jokes, “Then we gotta face our wives…” HA! At least they offered them some snowboard gear assistance. Not the gear, but assistance. Heh.

DetourRice Field or Grass Fed – Rice Field had them deliver meals to field workers, and then plant 300 rice seedlings in the thick mud. Grass Fed had them fill two bags of grass, gather up two sheep and use two buckets to full up their water basket. Rice – Showgirls and Twins. Grass – Dudes, Magellan, Control Freak, New Jeremy, Geritol, Siblings, and Peytons (who flipped to Rice after starting here). Surprising to me, but Rice turned out to be easier than Grass. I saw the thick mud and expected the worst.

Roadblock – Counting Buddha statues which were featuring four distinct hand gestures. They had to count each one, mimic the gesture and get the clue. Laurence, Tommy, Marie, Lisa, Bill, Ernie, Justin, Jeremy and Marcus.

Order of Finish – Dudes, Magellan, New Jeremy, Siblings, Control Freak, Peytons, Geritol, Twins, and Showgirls (ELIMINATED)

Next week – Back to Thailand and something with umbrellas.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Sign up for the RSS Feeds.

The Amazing Race, Oct. 9 – “Not Over Until It’s Over”

It’s still hard for me to believe that Jenna and Ethan are out of The Amazing Race already. It should be another feather in Boston Rob’s cap, though, as I don’t think there’s anything that those other two winners of Survivor can do that he hasn’t. He lasted longer in both his stints on The Amazing Race. But for CBS, they must be kicking themselves, saying, “Not again!” after watching Evel Dick leave in the first week of Big Brother over the summer. That season managed to persevere, and I think this Amazing Race season will do the same.

The first team to leave Jakarta, Indonesia, are Andy and Tommy at 7:38 AM. Their clue has them joining a group that reenacts the bicycle patrols of the 1940s. When they arrive at Fort Vredeburg, they’ll get the next clue. Andy and Tommy do their best to joke around with the bicycle patrol, but they don’t seem to be biting at all. The snowboarders then just do what they know, and do wheelies and other tricks while riding the bikes.

Next to leave are Laurence and Zac, at 7:57 AM. Zach thinks his dad is one of the best traveling partners, and explains when he sailed around the world, his dad was there in each port. Laurence thinks that experience on the seas will only bring out the best of them. Kaylani and Lisa leave just five minutes later, and Kaylani mentions that as a single mom, her daughter is her motivation for the Race, to show her what the possibilities are in challenging yourself.

Ernie and Cindy leave at 8:14 AM, and she admits freely that she’s a bit of a control freak. She made a packing list three months before leaving for the Race, studied lost of geography books, taken intensive language courses, and did a lot of exercising. This means Ernie was on her schedule for the past six months. I just want to say I don’t see anything wrong with making a packing list three months beforehand and beginning to pack two to three weeks beforehand. It may seem overboard to some, but I also have everything I need. Ernie’s dad is a cop, so she thinks he’s feeling at home right now on the bike patrol.

Liz and Marie leave at 8:18 AM, and make a crack about twins riding bicycles side by side. I’m not sure what that’s supposed to mean. Jeremy and Sandy leave three minutes later, and Bill and Cathi are one minute behind them. They went through all the other teams, and realized they are forty years older than the youngest team. Everyone looks like they could be their children. Yet they’re fearless, and at their age, they know they’re going to die soon anyway, so it’s okay. Hey, she said that, not me.

Andy and Tommy complete their patrol and get a clue telling them to travel by taxi to Salakmalang Village to a get their next clue. Laurence and Zach complete this first task as well. Tommy is figuring there are still teams that haven’t even left the pit stop yet.

Tommy would be right. Justine and Jennifer leave at 8:31 AM. He mentions that the others have all gotten a chance to see how volatile their relationship is. They’re just trying to focus as much as they can on the positives and stay as far away as possible on the negatives. She has a problem riding the bike and even runs square into some shrubs. Amani and Marcus leave at 8:32 AM, and he’s feeling the heat being at the back of the pack, yet was once in a game being down twenty-one points with four minutes left, and came back and won. It’s definitely not over until it’s over.

Cindy’s pedal falls off her bike. That’s one of the things meticulous planning doesn’t help you with. Ernie asks if they can just continue on without the pedal, but the rest of the bike patrol wants to fix it, telling them, “No worries. No Worries. No worries.” Liz and Marie pass them up, and soon everyone else does as well, save for Amani and Marcus. Cindy’s pedal finally gets fixed. It just doesn’t seem like it should have taken nearly that long, as all they appeared to do was tie it back on.

Kaylani/Lisa, Liz/Marie, Jeremy/Sandy, Bill/Cathi, and Justin/Jennifer reach the end of the bike patrol and take off for the restaurant. Sandy doesn’t even want to take the time for Jeremy to read the clue, telling him, “We can’t pronounce it. Let’s go.” They all board taxis, with Cathi saying they are team number one when clearly they aren’t. Ernie and Cindy finally reach the end of their bike patrol, and Amani and Marcus finish behind them.

Andy and Tommy reach the restaurant and find a Detour – Rice Fields or Grass Fed. In Rice Fields, teams ill deliver a midday meal to workers in the field, and while the workers eat, the teams must plant 300 rice seedlings. When the farmers are satisfied the planting is done, the racers will get their next clue. In Grass Fed, teams will need to fill two bags with freshly cut grass, pick up two sheep, and bring them to a shed. They’ll then gather six buckets of water from a well, and pour them in a trough. When all is complete, they’ll get the next clue.

Andy and Tommy decide to do Grass Fed. They start throwing grass into a bag and run back right away. Bill and Cathi are still on their way there, insisting they are team number one. Somehow Ernie and Cindy catch up to this group of taxis. Jeremy and Sandy pass Kaylani and Lisa, and their driver can only laugh. Amani and Marcus have a driver who is also laughing, and they think he’s lost.

Grabbing the sheep, Andy and Tommy walk them and the bags of grass to get the water, only for the farmer on hand to indicate through hand motions that they don’t have enough grass, and need to go back and top off the bags. Of course, they need to do this while dragging two sheep.

Laurence and Zac arrive at the Detour and decide to do Grass Fed. Andy and Tommy have deposited their sheep somewhere and now have bags that are completely stuffed. They pick up the sheep again, drop them off, and begin to fill up the buckets with water as Laurence and Zac arrive. Zac has a hard time controlling his sheep. Tommy notices that the father/son team are getting this challenge done very quickly, but admonishes them to read their clue, as it clearly states to only fill two buckets at a time, and they were doing four. Andy and Tommy finish first and receive a clue telling them to take a taxi to Borobudur Temple, and climb the stairs to get the next clue. Laurence and Zac finish shortly after.

The next teams to arrive are Jeremy/Sandy and Justin/Jennifer. They both decide to do grass fed, as it seems quicker, along with Ernie/Cindy and Bill/Cathi. Kaylani/Lisa and Liz/Marie decide to do Rice Fields. Team members for teams heading to both challenges are slipping and falling as they run. One of Kaylani and Lisa state it’s her first time planting rice, and “I’ll be okay if I never plant rice again.” Cathi is falling down yet again. Jennifer tells her sheep that it sounds like it smokes six packs a day. Cathi falls down yet again. Amani fears that their driver is still lost.

Andy/Tommy and Laurence/Zac reach the Temple. They need to go through the International entrance and have to put wraps on. Andy takes a look at the Temple and says, “That’s why you do The Amazing Race`, for stuff like this right here.” Yet, it’s Laurence and Zac who reach the top first, and they find a Roadblock. One member from each of the teams will move around the temple and count the buddhas with distinct hand positions. They also need to realize while doing this that they need to demonstrate the hand positions and tell how many statues are doing each. With a proper count for statues, they’ll get the next clue.

Laurence decides to do the Roadblock, and Tommy wins Rock, Paper, Scissors to do it over Andy. He suggests to Laurence that they count together. What Laurence likes about he and Andy is their similar roots. There’s a spirit of adventure that the four men all share.

Kaylani and Lisa finish their planting, as do Lisa and Marie. They get their next clue and leave for the Temple. While they’re leaving, they pass Amani and Marcus just arriving. They decide to do Grass Fed. Cathi is finally able to stay upright, but now she can’t control her sheep, as it runs after kids playing. She yells at them to stop. I don’t think anyone listens to her, kids, sheep, or even Bill. She and Bill decide to carry the sheep. For someone who is having a hard time walking walking herself, it might not be a good idea.

Jeremy and Sandy finish Grass Fed and get the next clue, as do Ernie and Cindy. Justin and Jennifer finish shortly after, while Amani and Marcus are working swiftly to get caught up. They catch up to Bill and Cathi, only to be told their bags aren’t full enough. They decide instead to plant rice. Just after, Bill and Cathi finish the task. Amani and Marcus realize everyone else is gone, so they need to hurry.

Tommy and Laurence continue their counting, and come up with 17, 17, 17, and 18, but are told it’s wrong, as they need to know the different hand positions. Laurence says he needs to go back around. Kaylani/Lisa and Liz/Marie reach the Temple, and Lisa mentions it looks like it’s been there a really long time. Wow, that’s astute. Kaylani and Lisa reach the top first. Kaylani tells Lisa, who is breathing heavily while reading the clue, that if she is tired, she shouldn’t do it. Marie does the task, as Lisa insists on doing it as well.

Jeremy and Sandy are concerned about their taxi holding up, and when it breaks down, they just have the driver drop them off. They’re told the Temple is one kilometer away. Bill and Cathi reach the top of the Temple, and she wants him to do the Roadblock, as he’s better with directions. Ernie and Justin will be doing the challenge for their teams as well. Jeremy and Sandy continue to run.

Ernie isn’t sure which buddhas they’re supposed to be counting, He guesses 71 and is wrong. Justin is wrong with 69, Lisa is wrong with 63, and Ernie is wrong with his second guess of 87. On her second try, Lisa not only tries 200, but also 201, 202, and 203. Marie is wrong with 68. She and Lisa compare notes.

Jeremy and Sandy arrive at the top of the Temple finally, which was probably a tough climb after having to walk partially there, and she tells him to do the Roadblock, as he has more energy than her. He tries asking a worker how many buddhas there are. Amani and Marcus finally finish planting rice and head to the Temple. He notes they’re tired, disgusted, dirty, disappointed, frustrated, and angry, but they won’t quit.

Laurence shows how many of each the hand positions and is the first to get it right. He and Zac get the next clue which tells them to head to the pit stop, which is somewhere on the grounds of the Temple. Tommy, of course, is correct as well. Amani and Marcus let their taxi go when they get to the temple, because he was so bad. They run into Andy and Tommy who want to help them out, so Tommy gives Amani the counts and hand signals for the Roadblock. The snowboarders have figured out they can choose who to have in the Race with them. Once at the top of the Temple, though, Amani is too tired to do it, so Marcus does the Roadblock. Marie is wrong with 127, and Jeremy is wrong with 47. Marie reads the clue again, as does Lisa.

Laurence/Zac and Andy/Tommy are both searching around the Temple grounds for Phil and his mat. The first team there are Laurence and Zac. However, since they used more than two buckets back at the Detour, they have incurred a fifteen-minute penalty. They wait it out under the tree. Andy and Tommy run onto the mat and told they are the second team to arrive, then advised of Laurence and Zac’s penalty. The snowboarders have won a trip for two to Dubai from Travelocity. Tommy feels bad about the win, since Laurence helped him on the task. Phil tells them they should give the trip to Laurence and Zach, but Andy doesn’t think that will go over well with their wives. Instead, they tell them they owe them one. Father and son’s time expires, and they are named team number two.

Justin, Ernie, Marie, and Jeremy collect notes to figure out what isn’t working. Ernie then realizes they need to know how many of each hand position. Marcus stood by eavesdropping. He wasn’t paying enough attention to Andy and Tommy to know what he’s supposed to be getting here, but knows it’s something about statues and hand positions. He collects himself and starts counting again. The other four try working together.

Bill tries guessing how many of each hand position, with Cathi admonishing him for being too loud, but he is wrong. Lisa tries again with “four.” It’s obviously not right. She then works together with Marcus. The other group of four collect their notes too. Bill takes another stab at it, and this time gets it correct. He and Cathi have to go down and get their bags from the taxi, settle up with the driver, then start searching for the pit stop.

Justin is finally correct, as is Ernie, Marie, and Jeremy. Lisa is correct too, as is Marcus. Everyone’s done and racing for the end. Jeremy and Sandy are the first of that bunch to reach Phil and be named team number three. The others are all complaining about having to go back and pay their taxis, and this is what will save Marcus and Amani, as they sent their cab away. Justin and Jennifer even have to take the time to argue with their driver about the amount, and Lisa complains to Kaylani that she’s not as rested as she is and is going as fast as she can.

Team number four is Justin and Jennifer and Ernie and Cindy team number five. Bill/Cathi can’t find their taxi, but finally do. Kaylani/Lisa and Liz/Marie are still searching for theirs. Marcus and Amani reach Phil’s mat, and he asks if they know what position they ended up in. They have no idea, and when told they are team number six, they are elated. Phil thinks they look like they just won the Super Bowl. Marcus says he feels like it, as when you do that, you need a lot of luck on your side.

The next to arrive on Phil’s mat are Bill and Cathi and are named team number seven. LizMarie finally find their taxi driver in what looks like a market, get their backpacks and pay him, and take off. They are named team number eight. They are so excited, as they thought they were last.

Kaylani and Lisa finally show up on the mat and are eliminated. Lisa calls it a good experience, fun, and hard work. They went to places they’ve never been to before, and probably never will again. Kaylani can only cry, and says she just misses her little girl so much. She feels like she failed her, but Phil tells her her daughter won’t feel like that. She will be proud of her.

This was a great challenge and the end. It was one where it wasn’t so time-related, but one where they had to figure out exactly how they needed to do it, so the finishing order was questionable throughout. We need more challenges like that, as that’s what makes it exciting.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Check out our Facebook page and sign up for the RSS Feeds . Read a daily list of what’s hot on TV at The Reality Shack Blog, and catch up on my movie reviews and other things by following me on Twitter.

The Amazing Race, Oct. 2 – “We’re Not Toast Yet”

Last week’s season premiere of The Amazing Race shows they’re trying to keep it interesting, as they have added more to the game. They have kept the Express Pass and added in the Hazard. Additionally, they are going with a double elimination this week following a non-elimination last week. And they’ve also kept up with CBS’ current reality show ploy of having past contestants come back, even if it means bringing them over from a different CBS reality show. Let’s hope it stays new and exciting all season.

The first team to leave Taipei, Taiwan, are Ernie and Cindy at 9:28 PM. Their clue tells them to fly to Jakarta,, Indonesia. One there, they’ll take an overnight train to Yogyakarta. Cindy is nervous about the double elimination, not because of a fear of their own safety, but because this new twist means it might be one of many.

Jeremy and Sandy leave at 9:35 PM, and she’s worried about it as well, as it means they have to make sure they beat two teams, not just one. Justin and Jennifer leave four minutes later, and ask their cab driver if they can borrow his phone to get flight information. He notes sibling rivaly is a real thing, and they both may get angry, but they’ll keep moving. She tries getting the flight info. He asks her if she wants him to do it instead. Her reply? No.

Ethan and Jennifer leave at 10:07 PM. He was okay with coming in fourth place, as if they were first it would have put an even bigger target on their backs, as being the Survivor winners already makes for a big enough target. This is “kinda cool,” as it allows the others to see that they make mistakes and bicker.

Amani and Marcus leave at 10:15 PM, and Laurence and Zac leave seven minutes later. Zac tries to explain what the double elimination could mean for them, but Laurence is only interested in pointing out he has a banana. Andy and Tommy leave at 10:23 PM, and joke that Indonesia is the ultimate place for a snowboarder to go. It’s just the first few minutes, and I think I’ve already heard “Dude” about ten times. Andy even tells Tommy, “Don’t ‘Dude’ me, Dude.”

The teams begin arriving at the airport. Ernie and Cindy ask around for flights, and find the next available flight is at 9:45 AM, as she pints out, “It looks like a night at the airport.” Ron and Bill leave at 10:48 PM, with Bill noting they’re not on a mission to change the way people think about gay couples. but they have a thirteen-year relationship with truth and honesty, and are truly in love with each other and best friends. Kaylani and Lisa leave at 11:09 PM and Kaylani hits her head on the way into the taxi, making the driver crack up. LizMarie leave at 11:31 PM, and one of them admits she’s being negative, then agrees not to be anymore.

Ethan and Jenna arrive at the airport, with Sandy knowing they have a pretty good shot at doing well in this game like they did on Survivor. Justin figures Ethan and Jenna are expecting to be top competitors because of their time on Survivor. Ernie thinks Jenna seems nice, but mentions her Medusa eye thing she has going on, where you can’t really trust them too much.

The big talk among the racers is what happened to Bill and Cathi, or “Ma and Pa,” as Andy refers to them. No one has seen them, and they thought they were eliminated, but now with the double elimination, they wonder if they’re still in the game. They leave at 3:57 AM, with her admitting to their shock at the non-elimination. He notes it’s only making them step up their game, as they have to worry about the speed bump now, as well as the double elimination. They know the other races won’t be so happy to see they’re still in the game, “We’t not toast yet.” Instead, the others are happy to see them, with Andy noting Mom and Pa have a good energy about them.

All the teams make the same flight for Jakarta. Once the flight lands, they all take off looking for the overnight train. Ron and Bill are told the earliest train will be 5:30. Justin wants a phone to find out more about the area, but Jennifer asks if he’d rather take the train now or talk on the phone. This breaks out into a brother vs. sister argument, and the other racers are definitely noticing. The irritating thing is they both continue to try and talk over the other, and neither stops. But they both think the other is the bad communicator. She leaves to go wait it out on the train.

The train takes off with everyone being a little upset that they’re still all bunched together. Once they arrive in the morning, they will travel by taxi to Goa Jomblang Cave to get their next clue. One the train arrives, they all race to the taxis, with Cathi being excited that their driver has them in the lead. Amani and Marcus oddly try to push the car from inside to get them into the lead. It works to get them past Laurence and Zac.

Bill of Bill and Cathi is worried about the speed bump, and it’s making him anxious. The others are all worried about the double elimination. Additionally, LizMarie are worried about being driven in a foreign country and cling to each other in the back seat of the taxi. The other racers are worried as well, with Ernie noting their driver is driving like a bat out of hell. Bill knows it’s making Ron tense.

Bill and Cathi are the first to arrive at the cave and find a Roadblock. One person from each team will have to go spelunking. They will descend into the dark cave and search for a Japanese mask and indigenous dagger. They’ll then scale a large bamboo ladder and deliver the artifacts to get the next clue. But first, Bill and Cathi need to complete their speed bump. They have to untangle a knotted rope, and having that done, will continue on with the Roadblock. He considers this like “Christmas tree lights gone crazy.”

The other teams are beginning to arrive, with Marcus comparing the bumpy road to the ones found in Detroit. Ernie is shocked to see Bill and Cathi there already. Cindy decides to do this task as LizMarie arrive with one of them doing it, of course. Bill and Cathi make it through their speed bump, with Bill doing the Roadblock and Cathi urging him to hurry to stay ahead. Amani and Marcus arrive, with him agreeing to do it, even though he doesn’t know what spelunking is. Cindy has a blast doing this, comparing it to a Jurassic Park jungle.

The graphic has helped me out to show me it’s Marie doing the Roadblock. Now that he knows what spelunking is, Marcus calls it no problem, as he’s a deer hunter and used to being up in trees. Bill, Marcus, and Marie all enjoy the experience of the spelunking, calling it beautiful.

Jeremy and Sandy arrive at the Roadblock, with him deciding to do it. Andy and Tommy arrive as well, with Tommy doing the spelunking. Justin/Jennifer and Ethan/Jenna also arrive, and Justin and Ethan do the challenge. Lisa of Kaylani and Lisa will be spelunking, as will Zac of Laurence and Zac, and Bill of Roger and Bill.

Cindy and Lisa are on their way back, and Ethan marks he feels like a monkey on his descent. Someone refers to this as Indiana Jones and the Temple of Jakarta. Kaylani is impressed with the beauty. Cindy has a hard time climbing the ladder as her legs are too short for the wide gaps in the bamboo. Marie explains her legs are much longer, so is climbing much faster, and Bill of Bill/Cathi is faster because he says he has upper body strength.

Bill is the first to return his found items, complete the Roadblock, and get the next clue. This sends them on a Detour – Shake Your Moneymaker or Be a Ticket-Taker. I love those titles! In Shake Your Moneymaker, the teams will go to a congested intersection, and one team member will learn a complicated dance, while the other accompanies them on a percussion instrument. They need to earn 30,000 Rupiah in tips. In Be a Ticket-Taker, teams will head to a mall and work as parking attendants to earn 15,000 Rupiah. All teams will then head to an orphanage and donate earnings to get the next clue. They must also realize the fine print on the sign at the orphanage telling them to also give “all the money in your possession to help the orphans.”

Bill and Cathi decide to be ticket-takers. Marie finishes, and she and Liz decide to entertain, as do Ernie and Cindy. Bill is upset to find out that while their driver did a fantastic job in getting them there first, he parked badly, and now Liz and Marie have left ahead of them. Marcus completes the Roadblock and decides he and Amani will dance.

Zac knows he and his dad are dead last right now, and it’s not a good place to be, but Kaylani and Lisa are even further behind, as are Ron and Bill. Bill notes Ron is a great motivator to him, and he needs that. Ron continues to talk him through this.

Liz and Marie hit the Moneymaker Detour, and work on getting tips. Bill/Cathi and Ernie/arrive at the mall and compete with each other at parking the bikes.

Jeremy and Sandy get done with the Roadblock, and she’d rather dance. Justin and Jennifer finish as well, and he wants to be Ticket-Takers. Andy and Tommy also decide to be Ticket-Takers. Tommy is fine with whatever happens, as long as they don’t come in last or second to last. Sandy realizes a mistake at this point could be fatal. Ethan finishes the Roadblock, and he and Jenna decide to do the dancing. He thinks there is only one team behind them, but she corrects him that there are three.

Zac finishes the Detour, and he and his dad decide to park motorcycles. They realize this could be the game. Kaylani and Lisa finish the Detour and decide to shake their moneymakers. Ron and Bill finish and decide to shake their moneymakers. They know being dead last they have to raise the money quickly. Bill is concerned they’re going home on just the second leg.

Liz complains her rhythm is completely off, prompting Marie’s dancing to be off. Ernie and Cindy are “upstream” for the bike-parking, while Ernie and Cindy are in the middle. Because of this, Ernie and Cindy are getting all the customers. Andy and Tommy arrive and start in the same spot as Ma and Pa. Marcus and Amani arrive to shake their moneymakers. Bill sees Ernie and Cindy leave and knows they had the better spot. Marcus is breaking out the latest Michael Jackson for Amani as she dances.

Bill and Cathi earn the money they need and take off, and Liz and Marie finally have enough as well. LizMarie have never been to an orphanage their whole lives, but just lost their dad, so it makes it more special to them. Ethan and Jenna arrive, and she dances while he plays the drums. He calls it easy.

Ernie and Cindy arrive at the orphanage and give the money to the orphans, telling them they have a gift for them. The note telling them to give all the money in their possession is posted there very largely on the table. Their clue tells them to make it to Kraton Palace, where the current Sultan of the town lives, and the pit stop of this leg of the Race. Bill and Cathi arrive with her telling the orphans they have had a wonderful day in their city. Liz and Marie arrive and give their money as well.

The bike parkers keep working on this with each feeling they’re close. Andy and Tommy finish, with Justin and Jennifer right behind them. Laurence and Zac arrive to park bikes, and Kaylani and Lisa arrive to shake their moneymakers. Marcus and Amani finish, as do Jeremy and Sandy. Ron and Bill arrive to entertain, and rhythm just isn’t their best friend. Andy and Tommy arrive at the orphanage and give up their earnings.

Ernie and Cindy are the first team to arrive at the pit stop, but are informed there was a problem. Right then, Andy and Tommy are leaving the orphanage, and Andy sees the large sign telling them to give all the money in their possession. They do so, as Ernie and Cindy are being told to go back and give all their money before they can be checked in. She loses it and starts crying, explaining she grew up in a competitive Asian environment, where nothing short of success is accepted. Andy and Tommy are happy to have saved up these first two legs, as all of that goes to the orphans.

The entertainers are working on earning their cash, as Ethan and Jenna finish. They leave their Detour clue behind, as he asks her if she has everything, and she “yeah yeah yeahs” him. Laurence and Zach finish parking, and Kaylani and Lisa finish dancing. Ethan notices in the car that they don’t have the clue, and they argue over whose responsibility it was to have it as they run back to get it.

Justin/Sandy, Marcus/Amani, and Jeremy/Sandy arrive at the orphanage. They give up their tips and no one seems to notice the clue to give all their money. Liz and Marie are the second team to arrive on Phil’s mat, but as he explains they didn’t hand over all their money, they realize they need to go back. Laurence sees the sign about giving up all their money while at the orphanage, as does Kaylani when she and Lisa arrive.

Bill and Cathi are the third team to arrive at the pit stop, however need to go back and hand over all their cash. Ethan and Jenna pick up the clue, and he reprimands her for the clue being left behind. Andy and Tommy are the fourth team to arrive, but because the others had to go back and give up all their money, they are officially team number one and have won a Travelocity trip to Ireland. Andy notes they’re having an awesome time so far, and Tommy calls it huge to see that sign at the orphanage.

Cindy is still beating herself up for missing the sign as she and Ernie arrive at the orphanage. They give up all the money and take off again. Ron and Bill have finally earned their money, as Ron notes it’s the most money he’s ever earned with his moneymaker. If they’re going out on this leg, he’s happy to have done it with style.

Jeremy and Sandy didn’t hand over all their money and are told to go back and do so. Justin and Jennifer are arguing again, this time about her not moving quickly enough on their way to the pit stop. Lord help them if they have to go back and give up their money to the orphans. Sure enough, they are asked to go back, as are Amani and Marcus.

Liz and Marie hit the orphanage and give up the rest of their money and take off again. Ethan explains in the taxi that this money is going to the orphanage, and that’s what he’s all about. However, he appears to miss the sign instructing them to give up all their cash. Laurence and Zac are the eighth team to arrive, but because they are only the second team to give up all their money, they are officially team number two.

Jeremy and Sandy give up their money, just before Bill and Cathi. Ethan and Jenna are told to go back and hand over all their money. He calls it unbelievable. Kaylani and Lisa are the tenth team to arrive, and it’s a double elimination, but because they gave up all their money, they are team number three and still in the Race. Ernie and Cindy are now pronounced team number four. Liz and Marie, Jeremy and Sandy, and Bill and Cathi, are now team numbers five, six, and seven. Justin and Jennifer are now team number eight. He announces to her raised eyebrows that his goal isn’t to pick on her, but to win a million dollars. She explains through tears she feels terrible because she can’t run.

Ron and Bill arrive at the orphanage and give their tips, although don’t appear to give them the extra. Amani and Marcus give them their extra, as do Ethan and Jenna. They see Ron and Bill and know they were in last place, but as Ethan points out, they don’t know if they gave up all their money or not. Ethan is sure they can outrun the others.

Ron and Bill arrive at the pit stop and are told they were meant to hand over all their cash. They have to go back. The race is now between Amani and Marcus and Ethan and Jenna, to see who will be in ninth place, and who will be the first of the two teams to be eliminated tonight. The next to arrive are Amani and Marcus.

Ethan and Jenna arrive and are told they are the tenth team to arrive and are being eliminated. Something these two aren’t used to. Ethan calls it sad news, and says they’re disappointed, but can’t fault themselves for trying. After he beat cancer, they made a promise to themselves they were going to take advantage of every single moment. Just to be there traveling the world is what matters the most.

Ron and Bill get back to the orphanage to hand over the rest of their cash, Bill knows they have more than anyone could ever win on a TV show, and people would pay millions to have what they have. He tells Phil they can take the news, as they’re strong. They are indeed eliminated, as Bill says it was absolutely incredible. Ron calls it fun, exhilarating, and amazing. Bill calls it a chapter in their race. It’s been amazing and will continue to be so. Leaving early doesn’t take anything away for them.

Sadly, it seems the two teams leaving this week are two who were doing this not for the money as much as the experience, which seems to counteract with the Detour was all about. They should have been the two who were first to the mat. The good news about that is that they succeeded with it. The orphanage challenge was a good one, and it gives these teams something to take away with them. They may not have won the Race or made it very far, but they’ll always know they helped some very needy children, and that just might be worth a million.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Check out our Facebook page and sign up for the RSS Feeds . Read a daily list of what’s hot on TV at The Reality Shack Blog, and catch up on my movie reviews and other things by following me on Twitter.

Amazing Race 19 Commentary – Ep 1 – How Tweet It Is

Welcome back for the 19th Amazing Race, fresh off of their eighth Emmy win for Best Reality Show. I must admit, next to its first win, this one was most surprising. I really thought Top Chef: All-Stars was a better show last year, but I am certainly not complaining. Year in and year out, the Race is of high quality. Perhaps some more than others, but high quality nonetheless. And now we have the 19th edition, embarking yet again from California.
Now – the teams.

Ethan and Jenna – Yep, THAT Ethan and Jenna. The winners of Survivor: Africa and Amazon, contestants on All-Stars, and long-time dating couple. Both have been very involved in charitable activities since their fame and fortune was achieved, and Ethan had a very public battle with cancer. On Survivor, Ethan was the “good guy” on Africa and a very amiable person. Jenna had a strange Amazon experience, going from spoiled sorority brat to challenge monster, to lesser of two evils. Jenna is one-half of the infamous peanut butter and chocolate flashers that season. They have Rob and Amber as their precedent setters as Survivor crossovers. Romber were villainous on Survivor, but were mostly fun to watch on the Race. We shall see how these guys are going to be.

Ethan and Jenna are the big casting story, but there are some other interesting teams. Nicknames will be needed.

Andy and Tommy – They are former Olympic snowboarders from 2002 and 2006. They claim to not be slackers, but the two of them raced this first leg as if they had just gotten back from a Grateful Dead concert.

Laurence and Zac – That’s Laurence with a U and Zac with no H or K. So, that’s some fun spelling. Larry is English or Aussie, which is interesting. I don’t recall there ever being someone from another country on the show before, so that’s a first. Zac is the youngest person to sail around the world. So, while the rest of us were bowling and hanging out at Denny’s at his age, he was pulling a Magellan.

Ernie and Cindy – She is a control freak. Excellent. That always goes well on this show.

Justin and Jennifer – The two of them are going to be loads of fun, as there will be some crazy sibling blowups with these two hotheads.

Bill and Cathi – Grandparent farmers who “understand manual labor.” We also have another creative speller on our hands. Older couples have been on most seasons, but few have ever really been relevant. After this first episode, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.

Liz and Marie Blond gorgeous twins. Well, that’s something for some fan fiction. Oh, and stereotypical ditzy blondes. Awesome. So, they are going to be chock full of comedy. They are better looking than the previous ditzy blonde twins – AR5 Kami/Karli – but might actually be denser.

Jeremy and Sandy – My namesake gets some chance for redemption. The previous Jeremy was the tool counterpart to Eric/Jeremy on AR9. They were one of the best teams ever, but all he talked about was screwing the other Racers, greeters, travel agents, farm animals, etc. This Jeremy and his lady friend are both divorced and are the latest team to use the Race as a test of their relationship.

Ron and Bill – And our latest gay couple entry. They are easily the first nickname of the season – Guido 2. Heck, both have team members named Bill. They are flight attendants, which could come in handy during the travel portion of the Race.

Marcus and Amani – This team features former Indianapolis Colts tight end Marcus Pollard and his wife. Pollard was a very good player – a good receiver and as a tight end, part of the offensive line. Those huge players are tasked with opening holes for the running backs to run through, and for protecting the quarterback. In Pollard’s case, one of those quarterbacks was Peyton Manning, one of the best ever. Marcus has lots of energy and enthusiasm, and unlike Ethan/Jenna, should be able to hide his fame nicely.

Kaylani and Lisa – These are former Las Vegas showgirls with really, really attractive bodies. I mean, they are really good looking. They also claim to be smart as well as attractive. This episode does not prove their point.

The season will feature the return of the Express Pass, given to the winner of the first leg, and to be used no later than the 8th leg. Just like last year, the starting line features a challenge, where the last place team faces a penalty. The first time they did this, the team was eliminated on the spot. The next time, it was the Fully Ironic U-Turning of Amanda/Kris. This time, it is a new challenge called a Hazard. This is basically a Speed Bump on this leg for the loser of the challenge. At this rate, the next penalty will wind up being some harsh words from Phil.

I have been saying for a long time that the show needed to start doing earlier non-elimination legs. They did one a couple of seasons ago on the first leg to coincide with that Starting Line elimination, but I thought a cool thing would be a clean first leg reprieve for a team. Thus enabling them to have another few minutes of fame, and for us, the viewer, to get to know them a bit more. And the show has done that this week, so, thanks for that.

However, instead of using one of the regular non-elimination legs, the show is compensating by having an unprecedented double elimination. Well, sort of unprecedented. In AR12, Bilal and Sa’eed got taken out mid-leg, before Vipul and Arti went out at the regular elimination point. This time, it appears that the second to last and last to arrive at the Mat will be eliminated.

Now, for the most important things to take place on this leg.

Twitter – What could have been the dumbest move in the history of the Amazing Race turned into the luckiest moment in Race history. As teams scramble to get to LAX, several of them stop to ask directions at a gas station. That’s happened every year, but this year, it is a major plot point. Leggy showgirls pull in to ask directions and hightail it out of there. However, Kaylani drops her passport on the pavement, and they take off. Uh oh.

As Toni/Dallas and Zev/Justin understand – no passport, no Race. The girls figure it out and go back to the station, but it is gone. Amazingly, they just go to LAX and hope that some other Racer found it. Basically, Phil is going to have to make his earliest appearance ever. So, they appear to be screwed. In fact, the girls start to turn on each other – rather quickly, I must say. However…

The guy that the snowboarders previously asked for help noticed the passport was dropped. They must have arrived in a bang-bang fashion because the dude was pumping gas when the boys showed up. Well, you can read the NY Times story on it here – but basically, he tweeted that Racers ran into him and he found a passport. It was tweeted back to him that he needs to get it to LAX right away to save them. And he did!! And Team Showgirls gets to move on.

Grandma Gets Really Lost – Team Geritol was close to becoming permanent residents of Taiwan. In a great way of providing a clue, teams had to show up in a downtown square and “look up” to find the clue. No clue box. Nothing. They had to realize the video screen above with the red and yellow balloons was the clue and the Chinese letters revealed was the next location. Awesome. Even better – there was red and yellow everywhere, including some guys shorts showing through his pants. Teams seemed to take a while to finally figure this out, and then ask for help translating.

Geritol had trouble. So much so, they thought “look up” meant to go to the tallest building and check there. They wandered for four hours, and with the later flight deficit, there was no way they could recover. They benefit from the surprise non-elimination, but now they have to overcome a Speed Bump, and finish ninth or better to survive.

Challenges – While the casting this season looks interesting, the star of this week’s episode was really the Race itself. I can’t say anyone really stood out as successful or as a breakout character. Yet. But it was a good Race showing. The passport/Twitter thing was a Race dynamic and rule coming into play. But more specifically, it was a run of decent challenges which emerged as the cool factor.

The opening challenge was a bit of a Word Jumble, with a giant rack of umbrellas presented to teams. They are given the letters WANPEI, and must figure out the missing three letters needed, which are written on the umbrellas. Its only flaw is allowing teams to randomly pick umbrellas and rush to Phil, with teams copying the lucky ones who find it. Jenna seems to be the only one who figures out that TAI is needed for TAI-PEI, TAI-WAN. Regardless of execution, it was at least good in concept, and required thought. Same goes for the aforementioned balloon task later on.

The Roadblock was another good one – just as every Survivor challenge isn’t a grueling physical task, a simple skill on the Amazing Race can be tested. In this case, memory. Racers have to listen to a message, a Confucius proverb, and repeat it back word for word. Not easy. The proverb was – “In all things success depends on previous preparation, and without such previous preparation there is sure to be failure.” Lots of similar words, and a bunch of conjunctions to drop. The blondes struggled the most, as it seems Liz did it about 3000 times, the same way each time, incorrectly. Teams were drenched in sweat from the heat and the pressure. Another good task.

The Hazard was Speed Bumpish in simplicity, but at least it was fun to watch. The Showgirls had to do an indoor bungee jump in a mall. Imagine that the next time you take your kids to the Gap. There was also a rowing task with a Chinese sort-of-crew team, which was fun if only for the team chants. It meant nothing for the Race itself, but it was a cool idea, a beautiful series of pictures for us, and a cooler Racer moment than viewer moment.

All in all, a good opening salvo from the Amazing Race, which still has lots to offer in its 19th season. I am looking forward to the season and meeting these Racers. Not sure who I am rooting for yet, but at least I don’t hate anyone yet either!

Route Markers
• 15 minutes in and someone already made a vomit reference. Not many other shows can handle that.
• Big time editing – Team Snowboard Dudes get the umbrella first and arrive at the ticket counter in seventh. Medicinal marijuana stop, anyone?
• Loved the contrast of Jenna saying they were not revealing their fame, and the entire group of Racers talking about their fame.
• If Team Geritol can survive, we may get more Bill-isms – “We got the tail end of the duck.” He said that after they were so slow to get out of the airport in Taiwan that they literally missed the bus to the challenge.
• Team Dude gets a reggae theme, a la the Cowboys and Trotters themes. Could be cool, could be annoying.
• Cindy on the dragon boat – “I feel so Asian right now.” Billions of people just said excuse me.
• Loved the locations, especially the Martyrs Shrine for the first Pit Stop. Here is a tribute to fallen Taiwanese soldiers with a changing of the guard each hour. Martyrs Shrine in other parts of the world would take on a totally different meaning.
• Kaylani would do anything for a million dollars. I am sure Twitter Boy heard that and is getting right on the job.
• My wife was fascinated by Phil’s necklace, which looked like a day camp project, but was probably some sacred Kiwi symbol.
• Amazing Race still can’t show men kissing, as Guido 2 gets the Guido 1 edit on the Mat. Let’s see if that changes at all during the season.
• Team Showgirls – “I guess that’s why they call it the Amazing Race…because anything can happen.” No, then it would be called the Anything Can Happen Race.

Roadblock – Repeat back a phrase. Cindy, Sandy, Jennifer, Ethan, Amani, Zac, Andy, Ron, Lisa, Liz, Cathi.

Order of Finish – Control Freak, New Jeremy, Siblings, Survivors, Peytons, Magellan, Dudes, Guido 2, Showgirls, Twins, and Geritol (NON-ELIMINATED)

Next week – Two go home. The siblings fight and Ethan lost the clue.

Don’t miss a single recap of this show or others. Sign up for the RSS Feeds.

The Amazing Race, Sept. 25 – “Color Me Stupid”

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems like an inordinate amount of time since the end of the last Amazing Race. It seems like more than just having the summer off. I’m ready for some racing, some bad taxi rides, some arguing about tickets for flights, and for some of Phil Keoghan’s eyebrows.

Continue reading The Amazing Race, Sept. 25 – “Color Me Stupid”

Everything Reality TV