In last week’s Amazing Race recap, I commented on the ridiculous kangaroo outfits the teams had to wear, and said “I'm sure that Kisha & Jen, Luke & Margie, and Jaime & Cara all had no problem with them, because at least they weren't running around St. Petersburg in their underwear in the winter like last time.”
Remember when TAR went through that phase, where seemingly every other challenge had teams stripping down to their skivvies for Detours and Roadblocks? From winter jogging, to playing giant golf in the wind, to the incredibly awkward “SaunaBuss” (remember THAT one?), to the Estonian mud volleyball…it seemed like Bertram van Munster just wanted the teams stripping down all season long?
On a side note, that mud volleyball challenge in Estonia will forever remain one of my favourites of all time. Remember how Sam and Dan (the gay brothers) had their crotches blurred out during the challenge, and I speculated in my recap why that was? Well, that led to my absolute favourite Google search ever that led a reader to one of my recaps. Somebody actually Googled…and I’m not making this up…”Amazing Race Mud Volleyball Boners.”
But my point was this, after seeing the promo photos and clips for this week’s episode, which featured teams frolicking in the mud in what appeared to be giant diapers, I feared we were traveling back down the Road to Race Disrobing. Is that actually the case? Which team needs a Japanese driving lesson? And where the hell is my fanny pack?
My Random Thoughts:
- Only 31 minutes separated all 10 teams, and we saw them all racing off to Japan at the same time. But upon arriving at the airport, we saw that they had 2 different options: a direct flight that landed at 6:15, or a connecting flight that landed at 6:00. This led to a new kind of airport drama...take the connecting flight and risk connection problems for the reward of a 15 minute lead, or take the sure thing. As much as it seemed like a gamble, as long as there were other teams on the connecting flight with you (and there were 5 of them), it wasn't that bad since you were all in the same boat. Of course there was a delay, but in the grand scheme of things, that 90 minutes didn't seem to matter much.
- So, off to Japan they went, and after being reminded of one of my favourite TAR moments (EAT THE WASAAAAABIIII!), the teams headed off to a rotating garage to pick up their vehicles. The garage looked like something straight out of a Star Wars movie, and after lame vending machine jokes from Mallory and Jet, Zev and Justin saved the comedy gold with a Press Your Luck "No Whammies!" comment.
- Mallory seems to be even more manic than last time. She's apparently prone to mini-seizures, spasms, and random noises for no reason. I was at a hockey game the other night, and there was a 10-year-old kid in our section who was pounding back a giant bag of cotton candy before the game even started, drinking pop and iced tea throughout the game, and powering down a box of mini-donuts in the third period. At every whistle, once the arena music started, he would jump out into the aisle and start dancing frantically, including some incredibly awkward pelvic thrusts at times. That's how I view Mallory each week.
- After getting their cars, the teams were off to a compound where it was some sort of Japanese jousting / horse riding / archery / samurai theme. Essentially, it was Kill Bill meets A Knights Tale meets Robin Hood, set in a Medieval Times Dinner Theatre. While most of the teams were able to balance the Form and Precision needed to complete the Roadblock, Ron had a lot of trouble, and while he and Christina arrived in 1st place, they left in 5th place.
- Jaime and Cara ran into some car troubles, in the form of driving into another car. While they were dealing with the situation, Jaime said “The language barrier here makes it very difficult to communicate,” which was a decidedly different approach than her last exposure to non-English speaking people she would encounter on the Race. I suppose it's just human nature when the other person is on the phone with the police after you've driven into their car! Maybe this isn't the best time to yell "Learn English!"
- Did you see the flag-waving kids at the clue box for the Detour? At first, they were enthusiastically waving their mini Japanese flags over their heads as the teams arrived, but as the last few teams arrived, their interest was clearly waning, and the flags were apathetically being waved at their knees...and by the time Jaime and Cara arrived, they were hardly moving at all, obviously just hoping they could head home soon.
- For the Detour, the Frog of Luck portion had teams undressing in the cold and searching through the mud for a frog that was under the surface somewhere, all while being pelted by mud from other partygoers. (Was it a party? Seemed like a party to me?). The most confusing part of the whole challenge was someone--who appeared to be Taboo from The Black Eyed Peas--running around and randomly doing belly flops in the mud for no reason. Mallory looked like a muddy Gypsy/hippie, and Cord slid headlong into the mud, since he thought he was looking for a live frog, and his frog-wrangling experience had taught him that's the way to flush the little buggers out of their hiding spots. - For the Prayer of Purity element, teams had to do a Japanese ritual that culminated in standing under an ice-cold waterfall running down from Mt. Fuji (now looking even more amazing in HD!) Flight Time and Big Easy performed an incantation at the incense portion of the ritual, and apparently, they just said "Ching Chang, Sing Sang" over and over, which was good enough. Wouldn't you think "Globetrotters" would be more culturally sensitive?
Even though it was ice-cold water and cold outside, this would have been the obvious choice for me. I'm never a fan of the needle in the haystack challenges.
- Zev and Justin were the 10th team to receive their car, but once again, they were the 1st to arrive at the Pit Stop, which apparently was named for Commodore Chandler Bing. (I hope some of you get that joke.)
- Ron seemed more interested in using big words like “lackadaisically”, “ineptitude“, and "consternation" than working on the Race. Somebody ought to tell the old codger that he's not making money per syllable on the Race, and maybe he should focus on getting along with his daughter and getting ahead for a shot at the million dollars.
- Is Kent now just fondling all of the clue givers?? Between the Australian surfer ass-slap and the Japanese muddy hug, I'm sensing a pattern.
- Fanny Pack-gate was a topic of discussion at the Pit Stop Mat after the Globetrotters inadvertently took Ron and Christina's Travel Documents and just left them with their clothes instead of returning them back to the Detour site. It was an honest mistake, and I would have had no problem whatsoever if they were assessed a penalty for it. But I thought it was a horrible decision for Phil to assess the penalty after Ron and Christina whined on the mat about it. The show has always handed out penalties based on the fact that they see everything that happens with the accompanying cameras. If it wasn't a penalty when the Globetrotters landed on the mat, NO WAY it should have been a penalty after the fact based on Ron and Christina telling Phil about it.
- Mel & Mike were unable to deal with the cold, and Jaime and Cara--already miles behind everyone else from their fender-bender--passed them on the Detour as they shivered in an ambulance. It was a tough way to go out, but as I mentioned last week, Mel just isn't able to physically cope with the demands of the Race. Then, a tender moment followed, as Mike talked about his dad, and we even got a close-up shot (in HD!) of Phil welling up. But let me ask you this, isn't the tender closing sentiment of how much Mike cares about his dad, and how Mel's health was more important than the Race, somewhat diluted when we see Mike wearing a Vegan Mafia T-shirt?
Next Week: Ron freaks out and The Goths veer off course.
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