Sunday, March 20, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: The Return Of The Double U-Turn

Last week’s episode of The Amazing Race ended with seven teams continuing on in the Race after the Pit Stop, Zev and Justin still working on the final task, while Kent and Vyxsin tried to convince a speeding bus to turn around so they could look for their fannypack, which they left behind.

A lot of people have commented that they don’t like the “double legs” that we’ve been seeing so far this season. I actually like them, and think it’s a nice change to see the teams have to keep going without being able to rest. These teams have all done the Race before, and I’m all for making it as hard as possible for them this time around. However, if we end up seeing a double leg turn into a Non-Elimination leg, that will piss me off.

My Random Thoughts:

- Kent and Vyxsin had to turn around and head back to the mountain gondola to look for their missing fannypack, which contained all of their money and travel documents. Luckily for them, it was still there (likely turned in), and they were about to continue. Hey, here’s an idea…if you have a fannypack, wear the damn thing. Pretty hard to lose it when it’s attached to your body, isn’t it? How many people do you know who have ever just randomly wondered “Hey, where the hell is my belt?” And for the record, that looked more like a binoculars case than a fannypack.

After the documents were found, and we learned that all of the teams would be on the same train 7 hours later, we were treated to an abbreviated version of Kent and Vyxsin completing their final tasks from last week, which included Vyxsin's reason for choosing Hammer over Horn because "I don’t want to have to navigate." I know you had a tough day Vyxsin, but maybe a race around the world isn't the best idea if you "don't want to have to navigate."

- When the Goths caught up with the rest of the teams, they decided not to share the news that Phil told them, that they had a 30 minute penalty to serve at the next Pit Stop. I understand the logic, but why on Earth didn't they own up about the 30 minute penalty, but then tell everyone that it was already served when they checked in with Phil at the last Pit Stop? Yes, Phil told them that they were still racing, but the clues are still referring to that point as a Pit Stop, so it's entirely believable if they said that the penalty was incurred, and served, already.
- I loved the impromptu basketball game at the train station. Especially because we don't hear or see anymore of those mandatory rest periods that allow teams to "eat, sleep, and mingle." Did you see how badly Big Easy stuffed Jet on one of the Cowbro's shots...without even leaving his feet? REJECTED! I thought it was a good team-building, light-hearted moment for everyone, complete with former NFL cheerleaders Jaime and Cara dancing on the sidelines. Even Big Easy's "Don't ruin the basketball game" after hearing the Goths had arrived, couldn't spoil a fun moment.

- At the flower garden, teams were instructed to find the next clue box at "The Golden Arches", which was explained as the location of the Golden Horse and Jade Cock Memorial Garden. Did some of the teams mis-interpret the Golden Arches part of the clue and end up at McDonald's...or was that just a coincidence where the cabs dropped them off? Maybe Ron was just hungry again and looking for food?

The fact that they had to go to a place called the Jade Cock Memorial Garden would lead one to believe I have to make the obligatory dirty joke here, but instead, I will tell you a true story from this weekend:

I was listening to the radio in the car yesterday, and a commercial came on the radio for a GE brand of caulking. The line in the ad was as follows, word-for-word, "Now you can have a high-performace caulk without the sticky, stringy mess." Honest to God, that's what it said. I can't make that up. (Well...I suppose I could, but I didn't.)

- For the Detour, teams had to choose between Honour the Past and Embrace the Future, the Amazing Race's tried, tested, and true fork in the road where you have to decide between memory and brute force. Embrace the Future seemed like the easier task across the board, with teams donning bright green jackets (Happy St. Patrick's Day!) and lugging heavy boxes up stairs to put together solar panels.
Honour the Past saw teams dress in traditional garb--which appeared to include giant mortarboards with Ramen noodles hanging off of them as headwear--and watch a traditional routine of chanting and dancing/marching before having to remember the order of the participants. I get the concept, but how much are you really "Honouring The Past", when the participants are using cordless microphones?

Jen and Kisha breezed through it, reminding us all that they are a force in this Race, as long as they're not swimming. I still think that they're a pretty good combination of everything you need to win the Race, minus the water skills.

- A lot has been said on this season, and in their original season, about Ron's strained relationship wth Christina. They both talk about having to improve the way they interact with each other, and I'm thinking that Ron closing the cab door on her leg as Christina was getting out, is probably a couple of steps backwards.

- Kent and Vyxsin U-Turned the Redheads right in front of them, which was a pretty ballsy move, if you ask me. But I like the immediate accountability of that decision. As I've stated before, the U-Turn is a tool to be used within the parameters of the game, and any team that doesn't use it to get ahead is foolish. Kent and Vyxsin had to U-turn somebody, and after their mistake last time, Jaime and Cara were the logical choice. The Redheads had no choice but to use the other U-Turn as well...if you have to do another Detour, then you need to make sure someone else does too.

The one thing that does bother me about the U-Turn, is when teams apologize for using it. It's part of the game...within the rules! Do you think that when a baseball player steals second base, he gets up, calls time with the umpire, brushes the dirt off of his uniform...and then apologizes to the second baseman?

- In the cab afterwards, Cara indicated that she was frustrated, but they would do their best to overcome the new obstacle. I admired her reaction to being U-Turned...while Jaime just sat there with a look on her face that indicated she was thinking about all the different things she could do with Kent's head after she cut it off.

Then their cab driver had to stop for gas, and she complained "it's like Hawaii all over again." Hey, here's an idea...when you get a taxi, just ask if he's got enough gas when you hire him, because you don't have time to stop since you're in a Race. Seems pretty straightforward to me.

- At the Stone Forest, the Roadblock saw one team member putting together a life-sized dinosaur puzzle, which from the get-go looked like an incredibly difficult and physically demanding challenge.

Team Freeloader looked to do as little as possible again as Margie turned to Kisha for direction on how to help her get started. Why on earth would Kisha offer any assistance after the exchanges between these two teams last time? And again, because another team helped them, Margie and Luke actually finished the task, and this leg, ahead of Kisha and Jen. Team Freeloader wins again.

Christina was explaining the main structural challenge of putting the dinosaur together:“if the hips were not wedged in correctly, then you were basically toast.” Yes Christina, Shakira would have indeed been proud of your assessment, but the beautiful irony of it all was that you had it upside-down!
Gary and Mallory arrived at the Road Block last, and made the no-brainer decision of using their Express Pass to skip it and head straight to the Pit Stop, where Phil would assuredly tell them about a wonderful prize coming their way for finishing first. But not so fast, Bubbly Daughter and Superman Father! (Cue the City Slickers theme song) Jet and Cord finished the Road Block and won the $10,000 cab and footrace to the mat. Way to go, Cowbros...Oh My Gravy!

- Flight time asked Cara why they were U-Turned, and she passed the blame on to Vyxsin, explaining that "they started it", to which Vyxsin responded by explaining the necessity of using the U-Turn since they had a time penalty coming at the mat. I think a much better argument for Vyxsin would have been to tell the truth, that Jaime and Cara were yelling at them to U-Turn the Globetrotters. I'm sure that would have carried a lot of weight with Flight Time, and it would have been pretty hard for Cara to deny.
- The Globetrotters were able to overcome the U-Turn, but Jaime & Cara were not. They can blame the cab driver's tank, or the U-Turn if they like, but I think it's probably more due to the fact that Jaime kept falling off of her mini-ladder and wasn't able to put the dinosaur together (couldn't she just look at the other ones that were completed?)
When she finally did finish, she snatched the clue out of the paleontologist's hands, which was the exact opposite reaction that Christina had. (Did you see her going in for the kiss on that guy before the camera cut away? Awkward.) One of Jaime's closing comments was that "it never goes our way”, which I think is a pretty ignorant statement from someone on a team that made it to the Finale last time.

Next Week: A Calcutta Tea Party makes Luke a blubbering mess. (I can’t wait...I'm such a prick.)

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Anonymous said...

I hate Margie and Luke with a blazing passion. I'm so glad to see the baby crying. I almost died when Jet and Cord got first. God, I love them.

PsyTyphlo said...

I like the cowboys too.

While I don't really hate anyone I do agree with Sean that Margie and Luke are only winning because of pity. Can't they do anything by themselves for a change?

To me, it's kind of obvious that Kent and Vyxsin were going to be spared as everyone would expect them to lose.

And with the redheads going home, I'm kind of bummed. They were my favorites (don't hate me for this). But I think the Phil and the other producers wanted to get rid of them as soon as possible since everybody seems to hate them so much. Keeping them would only cause more hate. So this was their to do so. I bet it was the same case with Amanda and Kris since they are viewed as boring people, that I agree on.

So yeah.

Anonymous said...

Fun read Sean! I think you hit the nail on the head (in MANY spots).

I was so sure the Gary/Malory were getting the 'instant 1st place' award, due to the Express Pass. What a wonderful surprise that the Cowboys snagged that puppy instead. Yee Haw!


Beth said...

Since they got eliminated anyway, this is sort of a moot point, but shouldn't Jaime & Cara have had to turn back and complete the other Detour immediately, BEFORE checking in at the U-turn mat and having the opportunity to U-turn another team? (And in a way, it isn't a moot point, because their U-turn of the Globetrotters surely affected the pit stop order.)

R.P. McMurphy said...

I don't mind the "double leg" but didn't the late train departure this week make last week's leg virtually worthless?

I understand Kent and Vyxsin got their 1/2 hour penalty because of last week but what difference did it make to everyone else? Isn't it just another way to call it a non-elimnation leg?

Choirchick22 said...

This whole episode I wanted The goths to go. They are so whiny. I gotta say them u-turning the redheads was awesome though. Nothin like a slap in the face to get you racing. Super glad the cowboys got there first! I was a little worried for Zev and Justin though. I don't see why Ron and Christina got the spot before them when they didn't have both people on the mat first.
When I saw the preview of next weeks episode I laughed. I know we don't know what the task is, but I thought "What's so hard about drinking tea?" Should be interesting to find out.

Amy said...

Why is there such nastiness on the message boards about your blog? That's how I found you, and I'm glad I did. Your recaps are a lot of fun!

Sean said...

PsyTyphlo, I don't think the prodcuers were "getting rid of" anyone. And I don't think the redheads were hated, just edited for Jaime to look mean. (Cara was fine).

Beth, since this is the first time this has happened, I can only assume it was explained to the teams that they would be able to use the U-turn if they had been U-Turned already.

Choirchick22, I usually agree with your comments, but I'm a big fan of Kent and Vyxsin, although I can see how they're coming across pretty whiny this last couple of episodes.

Amy, I'm not sure where all the anger comes from on the EW message boards. I tried last year to respond to it, but it's a mob mentality of verbally abusive lowlifes who hide behind anonymity, so I don't bother anymore.

There is no accountability on that site, and with all of the hatred...and spoilers...that get posted, I don't even read there anymore. I make my initial comment on each episode, provide my link, and be done with it.

I've received a couple of emails asking if I go back and post responses under other names, but I don't go back after I make my initial post. Not worth it.

I've been told some of you have come to my defense on there, and have as a result been attacked and even accused of being me. I thank you for your support, but I advise you to avoid those boards. You'll be better off not responding to the anonymous angry folk.

And Amy, I'm glad you found me, and I'm happy you enjoy the site. Thank you for the kind words.

Anonymous said...

I too like the "Goths" and I'm hoping they make it further.

Thanks again for a great blog Sean!


Anonymous said...

Great commentary, Sean! Always look forward to reading it. I was so happy when the Cowboys beat Gary & Mallory for the first spot. Sucks to use your Express Pass and come in second (hehe). LOVE the Cowboys!

And I totally agree with Beth's point below. The Redheads shouldn't have been able to U-Turn the Globetrotters (my second fave team!) until they came back. TAR should clarify the rules next time.

p.s. I laughed out loud at the "Where's the saddle?" comment on Jet's photo :) I really hope the Cowboys win!

Your Humble Scribe said...

We don't seem to watch the same shows, but I appreciate the style of your blog. Thanks for the interesting read!