Sunday, April 24, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "We're Just Here For The Fondue Of It."

Tonight's episode of The Amazing Race finds the six remaining teams heading off to Liechtenstein and Switzerland for a Cheese Feast and Motorcycle Ride. Will Gary and Mallory be able to overcome their Speed Bump? Let's get to it.

My Random Thoughts:

- This week’s episode started off with a continuation of last week’s commercial for the all-new “2012 Ford Focus”, as Zev and Justin took a tour of the spiffy new vehicles that they won last week. Ok, ok…I’ll admit defeat and just accept the overt product placement this season, by let me ask you an interesting question about those cars: Why did they have Michigan plates? If you’re going to give away a car in Austria, are you really going to ensure that the plates are from Detroit? The Motor City? God Bless America, the auto industry is back!

- As the teams left the Pit Stop to start this leg, they found out that they had to go to tiny Liechtenstein by train, and were cautioned that there was a Double U-Turn that would appear on this leg. A Speed Bump and a Double U-Turn in one episode? My God, is it sweeps already? I thought that was in May. (sarcasm fully intended)

- Zev and Justin told their cab driver, “Don’t worry, we’re good American people”, which seemed like a response to the cabbie’s suggestion that they may be terrorists…but I viewed it as more of an apology for last week’s display by Flight Time. At least once a season, there is always one instance of the “ugly American’ stereotype, and Flight Time peeing on the wall of the National Library of Vienna was this season's worst. I actually sent Flight Time a message on Facebook after that episode, asking if it was indeed the way it appeared, or if it was editing. He did confirm for me that he was guilty as charged, stating "When you gotta go, you gotta go."

- Gary and Mallory ran into a delay from the get-go on this leg, with a cab driver who was more interested in finding the destination on his GPS than actually getting moving in the car. If it's not stopping for gas, it's always something, isn't it? And speaking of gas, add this to the long line-up of lame Speed Bumps. Really? Measure the gas and oil to start the motorbike? That's it? They didn't even have to fill it...just prep the gas that they would have used? LAME.

- I absolutely loved the Road Block itself, as one team member had to "measure the country" by following a map and driving end to end figuring out exactly how many kilometers (not miles) it was in length. An incorrect guess would result in a 44km penalty: having to drive 22km back to the starting point, and then 22km to the destination once again. I love challenges like this, where doing it wrong results in major delays (kind of like Speed Bumps should be: major delays.)
Jet said he felt like "Dumb and Dumber", which made me laugh because I couldn't help but think of this image. Flight Time complained about being cold, while riding a motorized bike around with his jacket undone, and declared "The map is pretty straightforward. I do have to read it." Yes, of course, as opposed to just folding it up in your pocket and having it seep into your body through DO have to read it.

Jen lost her map, but teamed up with Justin, and both of them shared info with Flight Time, who then got all "Pay It Forward' and helped Gary with the correct answer. Vyxsin seemingly figured it out all on her own, although Gary worked with her at one point. Essentially, 5 teams left the Road Block to continue on in the race, while the Cowbros were a mile behind. With the threat of a Double U-Turn coming up, the result of the episode was becoming pretty apparent at this point.
With the camaraderie built by sharing the info at that point of the Race, and knowing that the Cowbros were so far behind, I would have been shocked to see any of the teams actually use the U-Turn on each other instead of the Cowbros. Kent said it best: "I wanna put some cowboys on ice today.”

- At the Detour, teams had to decide between Cheese and Wheeze. When I saw that part of the Detour was called "Cheese", I was hoping for a flashback to one of the best Detours in Amazing Race history, the cheese-rolling-down-the-hill Detour that saw hijinks aplenty in season 14.

But alas, it was simply the second eating challenge in as many weeks (accompanied by maddening live European music once again), as teams had to consume a pot of cheese fondue. Now, that doesn't seem so bad, except that you have to consider that to eat fondue, you have to dip something in can't just use a spoon and eat it like soup. Factoring that in, it's really all the bread that was the heavy part of this challenge.

By my estimation, it looked like about 3 pounds of cheese, but the bread is the killer. My girlfriend and I just went to our favourite Italian Restaurant, Mulberry Italian Ristorante in Upstate New York, and we're always "Cheese Drunk" when we leave, so I can appreciate what Zev and Justin were feeling. (Read my post on my first trip to Mulberry.)

That must have been a tough choice after the last leg (especially for the teams that failed the schnitzel eating Detour), but if I walked into a Detour and saw puke buckets, I would turn around at that moment and do the other one.

In "Wheeze", teams had to run around Switzerland at night performing luggage delivery. Not a lot to talk about on this one, other than to give credit to Gary and Mallory, and Jet and Cord, for having the presence of mind to find someone to help them pre-circle all of the hotels on a map.

In her porter uniform, Vyxsin looked like one of the Guards from the Wizard of Oz, and ended up carting Kent around to deal with his whining (which wasn't as bad as last week.) As she put him on the luggage cart, she told him not to fall off because "If you fall off, I'll be sad", but you know part of her would have laughed a bit inside after the past couple of legs.

- The Pit Stop was a Swiss Chalet, which made me crave rotisserie chicken (Canadian readers will understand), and Zev and Justin won their fourth leg and a trip to Curacao. I had to laugh at Mallory upon arriving at the mat, as she stood there mouth agape like a baby bird waiting for regurgitated food from its mother.
- The Globetrotters had no choice but to use the U-Turn, seeing as they were already in 5th place. The traditional "race to the mat" drama was replaced by the "race to the U-Turn Box" drama, but let's be honest, we all knew what was going to happen.

The simple math is as follows: 44 kms + 20 pieces of luggage + 3 lbs of cheese = too much to overcome. And with one final "Oh My Gravy", the Cowbros headed off into the sunset, complete with requisite City Slickers music. (of course!)

Next Week: Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen.

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Thanks for reading.


Choirchick22 said...

Ugh. So pissed at the information sharing that killed the Cowboys. They are the only ones who played fair. They didn't cheat like everyone else has been doing all season long. It's just despicable.

Sean said...

I understand your frustration, and I liked the Cowboys too. But there was no cheating.

The other teams shared info with each other, that's just personal preference, not cheating.

Choirchick22 said...

I consider it cheating when you don't do the challenge the way it was meant to be done. It wasn't a cross-team challenge. Same thing as waaay back in the beginning with the password flag thingy. I get that technically it's not cheating, but I think it should be.

Pam said...

To be honest, there is nothing wrong with sharing information with the other teams. I believe that it's not forbidden in TAR rules.

However, how come the Globetrotters did not receive 30 minutes penalty? I believe that Flight Time did not go back to mile 0 like what the clue said (i need to re-watch the show again tomorrow).

Also, Jen and Kisha should have received 30 minutes penalty since Jen lost her map while completing the roadblock. Dan and Jordan from Season 16 got 30 mins penalty because Dan lost his paint brush in one of the detours.

I wonder if TAR rating will go down next week

Sean said...

Flight Time didn't have to go back because he didn't submit an incorrect guess. He got the answer before he guessed.

And Jen losing her map isn't like Dan and Jordan losing a paintbrush. The map was giving directions, not an essential tool to complete the task.

Anonymous said...

Egads. I am scared Gallory is going to win this whole thing! Anyone checked Jaime out in May's Playboy? Hot as ever!

TARtarus said...

A Challenge without the challenge?

It might not be cheating, but when teams just give away answers it takes away the challenge. Hopefully future editions will make this practice illegal.

Anonymous said...

This season's TAR is over for me - when the Cowboys went, I went. It's sad that they went out in such a lousy way with the other teams conspiring. But, as always, the Cowboys kept it classy all the way. And, if the Globetrotters win the season TAR is over for me FOREVER!

Eudaemon said...

I agree cross-team assistance should not be allowed during detours/roadblocks as these should remain as mandatory challenges that teams must complete on their own (as opposed to navigating point-to-point).

I support the Cowboys too, but ultimately, they were undone by all their own bad decision-making. Jet made a crucial one abandoning Gary, especially knowing he had taken a wrong turn and would not have the right distance. Surely he should be confident of outpacing Gary after the detour? When he met Gary, he knew he had taken a 6.5km wrong turn, but notice he probably ended up adding that difference to his eventual total, and gave a 35km answer (13km extra). Their unnecessary bad flight decisions in the last two legs also flagged them out as strong teams who are able to come from behind to the others, which led to the information conspiracy and their eventual demise in the game. Too bad this season just got a lot less interesting without them.

ms7168 said...

I didn't like the way they ganged up on the Cowboys just because they were a good team. I'm from Oklahoma also. But it won't make me stop watching. I still want to see who wins it.