Sunday, April 17, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "I Just Need You To Stop Acting Like A Chick."

6 teams are left on The Amazing Race, and this week they all headed off to Austria. Which teams can't stomach the local cuisine? Who's having a major drama queen meltdown? And where the hell is Julie Andrews?

My Random Thoughts:

- All 6 of the teams left the Pit Stop within 90 minutes of each other, and considering that they were traveling from India to Austria, and all leaving in the middle of the night, the flight situation was once again going to be the Great Equalizer as the teams could all end up on the same flights. All the teams ended up at the awesomely named Akbar Travel Agency, which, despite the alternate spelling, only made me think of one thing...
Mallory found out it was going to be cold in Austria and just went with "Rats!" instead of a full-on shriek like usual. We're starting to see a calmer, mellower Mallory, just as we did last season...right before they were eliminated. That, coupled with her (and the editors') reminder that they got the boot on the 8th leg last time as well, made for some eerie foreshadowing that this might be the end for Gary and Mallory.

Jet and Cord, in the meantime, made perhaps the worst Amazing Race play on words ever, when they told us why they were happy to be leaving India: "We're done playing Cowboys and Indians." You could see the look on both of their faces that they absolutely hated themselves for making that horrible joke. They then, once again, decided to take a different flight from everyone else (shockingly not named after one of them this time...was there no Cordster Airlines in India?), which never makes any sense to me. I understand their logic that flights MAY be delayed, but if all six teams are on the same flight, it doesn't affect anyone since you're all in the same boat. Sometimes these Cowbros are not so bright.

- Upon arriving in Vienna, we were treated to a 7-minute long commercial for the "2012 Ford Focus" and all of it's wonderful new features. Pardon me while I vomit.  I've tolerated the ridiculous Travelocity gnome for years on TAR, but the product placement has been way over-the-top this year...first with the Snapple, and now with the Ford Focus. Even Big Brother was looking at this season and saying "You guys are sell-outs!" The only thing of note with this Ford ad, was that, for the first time I can ever remember, the teams were told in advance what the prize for winning the leg would be.

And no Kent, your contrived "I love this Ford Focus” as you were driving away is NOT going to score you a commercial deal. Now maybe if you said "2012 Ford Focus"...

- Is it just me, or would it seem logical that when you're going to a new city, and you know you're going to want to buy a map, you would buy it in advance? Even if it's not available in your departing airport, why not get it in your arrival airport before you get to your car instead of having to make a stop at a gas station? And did you notice that ALL SIX teams ended up stopping for directions at the same gas station? How desolate is it around the Vienna airport?

- So the teams headed off to Schloss Schallenburg where they received their next clue from someone who looked like they just popped out from either a Narnia or Harry Potter movie. And as far as I could tell, that was a woman, right? Despite what Kent said? "Look, there's a special man. Let's go visit him. He looks nice." Kent was in a weird zone here, wasn't he, with that soft voice he sounded all spacy. And after getting the clue, he rambled on again as they were heading back to the car: "Faster. We're going down the hill, now." Look Kent, I know your clue just told you to head to the National Library, but that doesn't mean you need to turn into the Children's Librarian at storytime.

- Kent then had the first of many quasi-meltdowns in this episode when he didn't turn where Vyxsin had told him to. As he whined about it being her fault, she shot back at him “I just need you to stop acting like a chick!” Hands up if you laughed out loud at that moment. Way to go, Vyxsin!
- The roadblock was a choice between carrying a couch one mile from Sigmund Freud's office to the University, or eating an Austrian meal on a Ferris wheel. I don't understand why anyone would have picked the Meal option because the Walk option was a finite course of may take a while to do it, but it's very black and can't really "fail" it.

But three teams still chose the Meal option, and I have to assume there was some sort of rule about just picking that giant piece of schnitzel up and eating it like a sandwich, because they all daintily cut it up with their knives and forks. And even though we had some comic relief, with Jen commenting "that’ll be the biggest wiener I’ll ever eat”, no one even came close. Gary was the only one who finished his own plate, but having to down those two plates in 12 minutes was a tall task, and Mallory had no chance. Personally, the violin music would have driven me crazy.
3 attempts...3 failures. Or as I call it, giving the Cowbros a shot to get back in the Race.

- Did Flight Time just take a leak on the National Library? Did I see that right?

- Kent was a drama queen supreme in this episode, whining and complaining at every turn, most of the time in a weird soft voice usually reserved for people trying to offer children free candy. And most of the time he was melting down and Vyxsin called him on it, he just kept saying that he wasn't doing it. He would turn when she said not to, and not turn when she told him to go straight (insert your own joke about Vyxsin telling Kent to "go straight"), and then try to say that he was holding it all together.

After last week's episode, a lot of people commented that Kent was getting to them, and that he was getting too whiny. I maintained that it was just editing, and that there always needs to be one "semi-villain" to root against.  The cab incident in India set a lot of people off, but then it was revealed that the guy that Kent and Vyxsin kicked out of the cab, was just a random guy sleeping in the back of a cab...well, you could see the editing swerve. But this week it was crystal clear: Kent was a whiny bitch.

Vyxsin's line to Kent was too perfect not to be the title of this recap, but my back-up plan was "The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Kent Whining."

- At the Road Block, teams had to become Dick Van Dyke and act as chimney sweeps. Wait a minute, isn't this Austrian episode supposed to be themed after The Sound Of Music? Now we're getting a Mary Poppins reference with the chimney sweep challenge? And don't even try to tell me there was no correlation...the clue even said "Who feels as lucky as lucky can be?", a direct quote from Mary Poppins.


Seriously, if you're going to give us Mary Poppins and Sound Of Music references in ONE episode, shouldn't she be at the Pit Stop with Phil? Or maybe even driving around in Zev and Justin's spiffy new "2012 Ford Focus!" Could there not have been a cross-dressing challenge to pay homage to Victor/Victoria?

Gary and Mallory were hoping that they could gain some ground in last place if the Road Block was a difficult one, but I have to say, that was probably the easiest Road Block I've ever seen. Everyone breezed through it, including Vyxsin, who I was shocked was the one doing it, since Kent could have touched up his eyebrows with the soot from the chimney. And for Jet and's an idea, if you're about to do a challenge that involves chimney soot, and you're the one wearing the WHITE Cowboy hat...switch hats!

- Gary and Mallory were the last team to arrive at the Villa Trapp Pit Stop, only to be told by Phil and Non-Julie Andrews that this was a non-elimination leg. Were any of you surprised? I wasn't. Now they have a Speed Bump in the next leg, but let's hope it's something of consequence instead of the lame 5-minute delays we've seen for the last few seasons.

Next Week: Something in Liechtenstein, but I was distracted because the voice on the teaser wasn't Phil's. What the hell?

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Anonymous said...

Great recap- I thought I would be the only one who noticed that phil did not do the voice over- I wonder if they reedited the trailer or something for next week?

Anonymous said...

The voice scared me. I've never NOT heard Phil's voice on the preview for the next episode.

Choirchick22 said...

First off, I can't believe you didn't mention Mal saying "I can throw up and try again" after the meal challenge. I couldn't not believe what I was hearing!! I don't like Team Pink and Black. I haven't from the start and I really still don't like them.

Also I read this before the preview came on and I was confused, then the preview came on and I was like WOAHHHHHHH What?? That's super weird he didn't do the voiceover.

Anonymous said...

Not only was it not Phil's voice (even for the classic "Next time on the Amazing Race"), but it was almost like someone was trying to imitate it....disturbing. As if any loyal fan wouldn't hear the difference.

Question: Is it forbidden to use the car's gps navigation system? Doesn't seem like good marketing for Ford that all the teams have these high-tech systems at their fingertips but everyone has their maps sprawled out instead. I'm sure "Schloss Schallaburg" would've been listed. My guess is that Ford didn't want them used, in case it ended in bad publicity for the navigation system or something, but then the show should've made it clear that the teams couldn't use them so that it wouldn't look like the teams preferred to use old-fashioned maps.

Sean said...

I assume the GPS was either disabled or forbidden. Allowing teams to use the GPS in a navigational Race is kind of like allowing a kid in a spelling bee to use a dictionary.

Anonymous said...

All of the Ervins throw up after eating! They are a wrestling family so it is nothing new to them :)

Anonymous said...

Agreed about the spelling bee, but then the analogy would be that the bee is sponsored by Webster's who gives brand-new, feature-filled dictionaries to the kids, just to hold during the competition :)

M.T. said...

I did hear that and was taken aback by Mallory's comment - she 'appears' to be a good girl - for that to come out of her mouth was shocking.

I agree with you Sean, always take the path of least resistance type of challenge is best...

I was surprised at the teams that did not use the 'dolly' to push the couch along - the Globetrotters did...they all simply carried it.

Anonymous said...

Is no one as incensed as I am over Flight Time's disrespect for the National Library? I'm surprised he wasn't arrested. Vienna is a very clean city and I'm sure they do not appreciated someone just taking a leak on the side of a building.

Sean said...

Anonymous, I'm not sure that's the best analogy. More they were given fully loaded iPhones and weren't able to use the dictionary feature...but they could still use the rest of the phone.

Anonymous said...

Well to be fair Sean, your spelling bee analogy wasn't the best either....after all, there's a lot more to TAR than just navigation.

But I totally agree that the iPhone would be the better parallel product. So back to my original point - if Apple was sponsoring some sort of competition that rewarded contestants who are resourceful, and gave them iPhones use as part of a product placement deal, then the presenters should make it clear to the audience that the contestants aren't allowed to use one specific and obvious app that could help them. Otherwise it could reflect badly on the iPhone or Apple, making it look like it wasn't easy to use the app or that the contestants didn't trust it. And considering the sponsor is paying a large sum for the placement...well it just surprised me that they didn't take 2 seconds to clarify it.

Then again I'm a marketing consultant and I used to work for Volvo so I know I'm probably more curious than most about how they handle these things. Nevertheless I think we've all had enough marketing forced upon us for one Race season...

JennCO said...

When teams get into cabs they aren't doing the navigating so it's comparable to having the advantage of gps navigation. Sometimes the cabbies even have gps themselves. But then there's the unpredictability of cabbies. If the clue is difficult to decipher, then it would make sense to let them use the car's gps system because there wouldn't be a certainty that they have the right destination.

A lot of great lines in the episode but loved Flight Time's assessment of Freud.

Mal's lunch said...

Great role model there Mallory! Shame on you for saying you can throw up and start over! How many little girls did you give the bulimia idea too. Bad move.