Sunday, May 9, 2010

May 9, 2010: Amazing Race Recap: Finale Night

As Dan Pious so astutely declared in this episode, "This is, like, the Super Bowl of the Amazing Race." I'm not sure if the season finale of the 16th episode of a Reality TV show (which, admittedly, I love) is comparable to the most-watched television event in the world every year...but we'll let him have his comparison. It's Finale Night, and we're all in a good mood, so let's cut Dan a break on that one. I wouldn't want him to have another seizure in a taxi like last week.

As I mentioned, this is the 16th season of the Amazing Race, but when are they going to get with the times and start having an extended episode for the Finale and/or a reunion special? I look forward to the Survivor and Big Brother reunions almost as much as finding out who won, and TAR should get with the program. Imagine how great a reunion would have been after this season?

And if you're only going to give us a one-hour Finale, then ditch the 6-minute season recap at the beginning of the episode before you even roll the opening credits. There's no time! (Although I did enjoy the montage of Brent and Caite's mistakes throughout the season.)

All three teams found themselves at the airport waiting for the same flight to San Francisco. Then Backpack-gate happened as Jordan placed his bag between the other two teams who had arrived before him, and declared himself to be second in line due to the little-known 'backpack proximity lineup' rule. This was kind of idiotic, and I was surprised that Jet and Cord didn't say anything at the time, even though Cord appeared to be sleeping, but clearly wasn't since everybody was high-fiving and congratulating each other.

Then when the ticket agent opened, Jet and Cord made a bunch of threats about 'knocking teeth in" and "the gloves coming off", but then just stood there and allowed it to happen. I love the Cowboys, but I certainly don't find them threatening or intimidating at all...I mean, if I was threatened by either of them, I feel like the worst that would happen is a noogie. Either way, the idle threats made no difference as Dan and Jordan booked their flights first.

At the end of the situation, Jordan proclaimed to the camera "You can hate the game all you want, just don't hate the player, you know?" which sounded idiotic because he said it backwards! It's "Don't hate the player. Hate the game.", and nothing sound less thug-like than getting a bad-ass catch phrase wrong. Could you imagine if he had said "It's time to rumble. Let's get ready to do it!" See? Sounds stupid, doesn't it?

But then he added insult to injury as he patted the Cowboys on the shoulder after he got their tickets, and advised them "Don't hate." Again, Jordan...please remember you are not a tough guy, and the only one less intimidating than the Cowboys on this race is you. Although I do have to give them credit for the 'move up to the empty seats in First Class' move. How have we never seen this before in 16 seasons of The Amazing Race...and how did the other teams not notice?

Off the teams went to San Francisco, which automatically reminded me of Season 2 of TAR, which also had the teams racing to the finish line there. Oh how I loved Tara and Wil from Season 2, watching him constantly yell at her, and declare how well he knew San Francisco...only to lose in the finale.

As the teams went to pick up a clue at The Presidio, I was reminded of the classic movie of the same name starring Sean Connery, Mark Harmon, and my adolescent crush, Meg Ryan...and it saddened me because back 1988, Meg Ryan was still attractive, instead of the melting wax mannequin she has become now.But I digress...back to the teams racing around the City by the Bay, where Brent and Caite were saddled with another inept cab driver, which led them to stop and consult...wait for it...a map. (Please insert your own Caite + Maps joke here, I've already done too many this season.)
The map apparently told them the correct way, but for some reason, this information didn't make it to the cab driver, who kept driving around aimlessly, frustrating the Models to no end, and leading to what is arguably my favourite exchange in this entire season.

Caite: (to the cab driver) "Dumbass."
Brent: "Babe, you gotta get a grip."
Caite: "Shut up, you're not helping."
Brent: "You're not helping."
Caite: "I want to punch you in the face."

Here's what I love about this exchange: a) that this was the second time this episode that Caite had threatened to punch Brent in the face. Healthy relationship, huh? (Wouldn't you think that models would be considerate enough to threaten to punch somewhere that wouldn't bruise, like a good old-fashioned kidney punch?), b) that Caite accuses Brent of not helping, when that's really all he's trying to do by attempting to calm her down, and c) that, even though he's right that Caite isn't helping, Brent's juvenile response to her can only escalate the situation. When have you ever known the "You shut up. No YOU shut up," argument to ever result in defusing the situation? Never.

But face punches and tower climbs aside, the teams soon found themselves heading off to Industrial Light and Magic for their next challenge. As I stated in yesterday's post, it seems that it always comes back to Star Wars, doesn't it? I loved that they had to go and get the clue from a place called "The Yoda Fountain", because it reminded me of this picture from my trip to Las Vegas last month.
I have to say, the Star Wars challenge at ILM was definitely the best challenge I've ever seen on TAR. THIS is what it's supposed to be, not riding a damn elevator and grabbing a clue like in Dubai last season. The challenge itself was fantastic, and the twist (pardon the pun) at the end of having to figure out how to read the spinning clue was even better.
A couple of thoughts from this challenge. First, I thought that Cord yelling while Dan was trying to direct Jordan was hilarious, especially after the earlier airplane counter encounter. Second, the black cowboy hat on Jet's animated character was a nice touch. Third, why on earth did Jet not just walk into Jordan when he was blocked? I mean, I can understand the cowboys are trying to be the honourable guys, but there's a fine line between honour and pushover. Unless there was a rule specifically stating that you couldn't make contact with another team, it made no sense. But then again, there should have been a rule about impeding another team's progress.
And I'll leave it to you to make your own joke on Jordan's comment about wearing the motion-capture suit, "I strap on that skinny suit with these balls all around me." It's just too easy, and I'm not taking the bait...not even on Finale Night.

I thought Brent and Caite would be a disaster at this challenge, but they were surprisingly good at it...although in the cab immediately after, Caite turned to Brent and said "Brent, where is our money and stuff?"...and I missed Brent's response because I was laughing too hard. Add it to the "Plenty of Mistakes" montage because we wouldn't see The Models again until other 2 teams crossed the finish line and the Race was over.

This week's "Bro" count for Dan and Jordan was a record-setting 21 times in one episode...including 7 times in one challenge, as Dan scaled the Coit Tower. And apparently, Jet and Cord thought they were in a Speedy Gonzalez cartoon, because they kept hollering "Arriba!" for no reason. (Although we did hear the old standard "Oh My Gravy!" a few times.)

I always love the final memory challenge because it is so ridiculously complex and at least one teams gets horribly stuck on one part. But this year's "put the legs in the right order" was ridiculously easy, and Jordan had written them all down (What is this? The Mole?), which made it even easier. What ever happened to labelled surfboards that you had to search through, or the jigsaw puzzle in the Niagara Gorge for the (horrible) Amazing Race Family Edition? There used to be great final challenges! We went from the Star Wars challenge to this? Very very weak.

Despite the fake drama that we saw at the end, it was evident that Dan and Jordan were going to win it after they completed the final challenge. I have to say that I was surprisingly disappointed that they won, especially since I didn't really have a problem with them all season. And as much as I was rooting for the Cowboys, I didn't really love them enough to be disappointed for that reason. I think that I was disappointed with what happened at the ticket counter at the beginning of the episode. Certain things like U-Turns and alliances are tools to be used within the parameters of the game, and I found what Dan and Jordan did to be quite unethical, and I think I had a big problem with that.

I guess things change with a million dollars on the line, as we saw Dan and Jordan scramble to the end, freaking out and swearing more than they have all season, while the Cowboys just shrugged and declared that there were things more important than money. These two were really hard not to like...and I hope good things happen for them after the Race.

And shockingly, we heard Dan ONCE AGAIN declare that he was happy to have "made my little brother's dream come true. That sound you heard? That was me vomiting.

But the real story coming out of the finish of the Race was the confrontation between Caite and Brandy. I wasn't sure that I agreed with the closing moment of the season being one of conflict, but it certainly was good TV. You could tell something was brewing with Brandy's refusal to clap for Brent and Caite as they ran to the finish. It only got worse from there.

Caite turned to Carol and Brandy and seemingly was starting to offer an (unnecessary) apology, but Brandy cut her off, snarking back at her, "I don't want to hear sorry from you. You purposely whacked us!" Then, in perhaps the most unsportsmanlike moment in the history of this show, she went on to single out the cowboys and say how THEY should have been U-Turned instead.

Bitter much?

So much to say about this ridiculous situation:

- Did you see how embarrassed Carol was when Brandy started ranting? She looked away as if to say "I want no part of this." At least she offered a token round of applause as they ran in, as the teams always do. Amend the title of "Angry Lesbians" to now only be singular for this fiasco.

- Why was Brandi so mad at Caite and Caite alone? They made the choice as a team, it wasn't just Caite. And I can imagine after watching the season, she probably hates Louie and Michael, too.

- Caite had NO reason to apologize since they were just using a tool in the game. As I've pointed out before, if you don't think stealing bases in baseball is unethical, then shut your mouth when you are U-Turned in TAR.

- Who the hell does Brandy think she is insisting that other teams play the game according to her priorities? Unbelievably ignorant.

- The phrase 'you purposely whacked us' is laughable because, well...that's the point of the game. To eliminate all the other teams. I play poker, and if I'm in a poker tournament, and the goal is to eliminate everyone else, I can't pick my spots and only go after certain players. You have to take the opportunities that are given to you, and go with it.

- Kudos to Caite for just shrugging off the anger and saying, "Well, I'm the one up here." I've given her (and Brent) a hard time all season, and deservedly so, but they didn't deserve that treatment at the Final Mat. I'm 100% with Caite on this one. It was classless and infantile behaviour from an angry witch. Plain and simple.

- After watching the exchange between Brandy and Caite, I was talking to my eight-year-old son about it, and he was shocked how mean Brandy was. This is what he told me, verbatim: "Dad, there's a mini-world in your brain. And if you don't have anything nice to say, you should just throw it in the mini-garbage in your mini-world." (I don't know exactly what it means, but I was still a very proud dad.)

So that does it for another season of The Amazing Race. I thought it was a pretty decent season, but I'm really looking forward to the next season, which is filming now, and is an All-Star Edition. Should be great!

Thanks for reading the Recaps this season, I hope you've enjoyed them. To all of the new readers who have come along in the past couple of months, I hope you'll be back to keep reading. Feel free to bookmark the site, or add me on Facebook, where I post all new posts.

See you next season!


Anonymous said...

I was really glad to see that a team such as, such as, like U.S. Americans, such as - THE Brent and Caite such as did NOT win. I was laughing along with you Sean when they forgot their money after leaving Coit Tower. I think you could have heard my laughter all the way to The Iraq. As for the Queer/Not Queer Alliance - I'm with you on this one. They didn't really bro-ther (sorry bo-ther) me too much until the last couple of episodes. I simply wanted to see them lose so that they could hissy, spazz out on the turf of Candlestick Park. No luck there. I can't say they cheated, but it felt like they did. I hope they invest their $1 Million in the next future Lehman Brothers. As for the Cowboys, you're right. They wussed out. Guess they really believe in poor but honest. Suckers. I do wish them well in the "next life". Hope they get their own show or just make some good gravy off their 15 minutes of fame. And yes...Martina Navratilova and Ellen Degeneres were also shaking their heads at Bitter Brandy as she bombed The Iraq out of Caite at the end. Quite embarassaing. Still a good season. And by the way...yes Sean we DO notice the photo captions...and they're VERY FUNNY indeed. Good Gravy. Very good.

Peter Chan said...

Great recap! I thought the finale was a bit underwhelming, tasks and drama-wise.

I was fine with the Brothers winning even though they were, well... underwhelming. Just as long as the Models didn't win.

I did a season recap on my blog, check it out if you get the chance.

Connay said...

I've just discovered your blog (a year late) and I've been reading and laughing all night. Seriously, this is great stuff! Thanks for posting! By the way, there is a race rule saying that you can't make contact with another team, which is why Jet didn't just run over Jordan.