Sunday, May 1, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: "I Want To Eat That Gnome"

There was a lot written and talked about last week about the other teams “cheating” by sharing information on the last leg of the Race, causing the beloved Cowboys to be eliminated. Cries of  “I’m never watching this show again” echoed around the Amazing Race Universe in the days following the airing of the episode.

Look, there was nothing in the rules (or in the Detour instructions) that said that the answer had to be calculated/gathered/figured out "on your own."

What about if two of the teams decided at the beginning of the Detour to ride together, and figure it out together? Is that cheating? There have been numerous instances where teams have worked together on a task...this is, and should be, an accepted form of an alliance in TAR.

What about when Racers involve the locals who help them find where they are going, or help them push a cart through town or something? Is that cheating?

When Mallory helped Luke on the charm challenge in China, was that cheating? Or was she just helping a friend?

A HUGE amount of what happens on this show isn't done on the Racers "own merit" : Cab drivers, locals, alliances, lucky breaks, and so much more...

I agree that the teams should have to be responsible for their own challenges, but that's a flaw in the show that should likely be changed. It needs to be specified that you can't just give another team the answer.

Blame the show, not the Racers. They acted within the parameters of the rules. Nobody cheated.

On to this week’s episode:

My Random Thoughts:

- Mallory went back to her customary shriek upon opening the envelope, but Gary was all business, working on tracking Kent and Vyxsin’s shoe treads to find their way to the cab that they needed to track down.
Gary and Mallory found a cab pretty quickly, but Kent and Vyxsin had a lot of trouble getting one to stop for them. This aggravated Kent to no end, even though they had only moments earlier said that they are starting the legs off happier than normal, and he declared that he wanted to “beat someone up today”, and that the whole situation “makes me want to kick some ass even more.”

I was confused by the “even more” in that sentence, because up until this point, when has Kent declared that he wanted to kick any ass whatsoever? And could there be a less intimidating threat than finding out that Kent wants to throw down with you?

And be honest, if you were a cab driver in this Swiss town, and early one morning, you saw Kent and Vyxsin running around trying to flag you down, and even tapping on your window as you drove by...would you stop? Kent went back to using that creepy whisper voice again too, which only would have made me drive away faster if I was the cab driver.

- The Globetrotters reflected on their last-place finish in the last leg, using a basketball analogy to point out that even if you've had 3 bad quarters, you can always score 45 points in the 4th quarter to win the game. Good point, although I think it's significantly easier to score 45 points in the 4th quarter WHEN YOUR GAMES ARE FIXED!

Sorry if I burst anyone's bubble on that one, but the Washington Generals are not really an "opponent", if you know what I mean. Email me if you want the real scoop on Santa Claus, The Easter Bunny, The Tooth Fairy, and the WWE.
 - The Detour was a choice between Search and Rescue, both of which involved spectacular rides in a helicopter up the Matterhorn...sickeningly beautiful. I was sorry to not be watching this week's episode in HD.

The Search portion of the Detour had the teams using a beeping beacon to find a dummy that was buried somewhere in the snow on the mountainside. Two teams (Zev and Justin and Gary and Mallory) chose this part, and while finding the dummy proved to be quite easy, the digging was the tough part, especially when you could see how windy it was. (I never would have chosen this one to begin with, but the second I saw that wind, I would have been instructing the helicopter pilot to head to the other one.)

Both teams struggled with the digging, with Justin telling Zev to alternately get out of his way and then to get in the hole and dig. Mallory kept flinging snow into her dad's face as she flailed wildly while apparently facing away from the hole, and both teams completed what I would have to consider to be the Worst Rescue Ever. That is, unless you consider ripping the survivor in half as a successful rescue. There's no way either of them should have been able to consider this task "completed" without recovering a full, intact dummy.

Zev and Justin left the Detour in last place, and ruminated on back-to-back Detours that each took them an exceptionally long time to complete. Justin said "I'm not sure what we could have done differently." I know...Pick the other Detour!

The Rescue portion of the Detour had teams rappelling down a crevasse to save a "live" (translation: "not eligible to be ripped in half") survivor. I saw a commercial this week that was teasing this episode, and when they showed the scene of one of the teams descending into the crevasse, the giant graphic on the screen read “Repel” (see image below), which made the English Major in me cringe.
You see, defines the word ‘Rappel’ as “a method of moving down a steep incline or past an overhang by means of a double rope secured above and placed around the body, usually under the left thigh and over the right shoulder, and paid out gradually in the descent.” Whereas the word ‘Repel’ is defined as “to drive or force back.”

So, unless the producers were trying to tell us in this picture that Flight Time was "forcing everybody back", this is a pretty embarrassing mistake on the part of CBS. Shame on you.

But back to the Detour itself. I was surprised that Jen jumped at the chance to go in the helicopter and down the crevasse. She's scared of water, but not heights, depths, or enclosed spaces? Interesting. As Kisha lifted Jen out of the hole, she complained about how much Jen weighed, and I braced myself for the inevitable "She ain't heavy, she's my sister" line that thankfully never came.

Vyxsin had seemingly had enough of Kent's whining, and after putting his hood up for him and wiping his nose (is she his mother or his girlfriend?), she "accidentally" just kept lowering him down the crevasse past the rescue victim. Kent meanwhile, was content to just repeatedly holler the most obvious instructions possible at Vyxsin, including "Down!" "Up!" and "Grab His Hand!" And I had to laugh when they made a joke about the rescue victim and the look on his face seeing them come to save the day...but you wondered why the cab didn't stop for you?
- The Road Block was the return of the Travelocity Gnome, but instead of just carrying a Gnome for no reason other than a Travelocity commercial, this time the teams actually had to make one out of chocolate. Much better than just having to take it to the Pit Stop for absolutely no reason. Remember when they used to have prizes on the bottom of some of the Gnomes? At least then there was a it's just a safety hazard. Think about it, someone is running to the mat at the end of a leg in a footrace, and trips and impales themself on the Gnome. They say all publicity is good publicity, but I have to think that a bloody Gnome hat poking out of someone's chest like a scene from Alien would be bad for business.
- There was some manufactured drama at the Road Block where one team may have taken another's mold. I didn't see that anything like that happened, and didn't feel the need to go back and check. But I have to say that if that would have happened, I'm sure that there would have been a penalty. I mean, if the Globetrotters can accidentally take Ron and Christina's fannypack and incur a penalty, then I'm sure one of the cameras caught Flight Time's mold getting stolen. The fact that there was no penalty shows that there was no theft, despite Big Easy's angry rant.

In the completely unnecessary category, was Kent's trash talking to the camera about Big Easy. 3 thoughts on this: 1) That of course he was saying this to the camera instead of to Big Easy, 2) That Kent's "Word!" and faux gang symbol at the end of his rant was less thug than his threats of violence were intimidating, and 3) That bragging about beating them in the last leg and beating them again was pretty much a guarantee that the Globetrotters would win the leg.

- Kent and Vyxsin left the Road Block in first place, but their inability to read the instructions on the clue (New Viewer Note: when they flash the words "on foot" in red when they show the clue, someone is about to get a penalty) put them in last. The Globetrotters were the first of the teams to reach the mat and be accosted by what appeared to be a drunk St. Bernard (oh come on, you know those dogs get into those neck casks.)
I was shocked to see the way Kent treated Vyxsin at the end of this leg, and while (once again) I appreciate the role that editing plays in this show, there's only so much that can be manufactured. Extra Glitter for this leg or not, Kent was definitely not a Shiny Happy Person, as he claimed to be. Not a good way to go out.

With only 4 teams left and one double-sized episode, Who's your pick to win?I'm going with Kisha and Jen.

Next Week: The Season Finale is a race to the finish in the Florida Keys. 

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Thanks for reading.

Photo credits: and Reality Fan Forum.


James said...

Kent and Vyxsin as usual self-destructed on their way to the pit stop. Usually I would cheer for them to be out, but it sucks for any team to be eliminated because of silly mistakes. Also, they were bullied by practically everyone. The black guys were obviously tight with the girls and zev and justin, and even mallory was kinda beating them down at the chocolatier.
I would have loved to see them last till brazil and get eliminated in fourth. flight and easy should go and I was so pissed that zev and justin were saved by the goth's stupidity. Indeed, I have learnt from the goths and zev & justin that one mistake can kill your whole game.

Too many undeserving teams in the finals. Flight time and big easy rode coattails all the way with help from zev and justin, kisha and jen. Gary's basically been a one-man show...
I'm not a fan of the cowboys but where's good, solid independent gameplay when you need it? Also at least the goths did their fair share of work without help, like vyxsin in the liechtenstein roadblock. Even a team as mediocre as the goths, deserved to be there over coattail riders mallory and the globetrotters.

This was such a great episode with the drama, good tasks and spectacular location. It's no wonder the Race always comes back to Switzerland.

Zev & justin have won too many legs and are way too cocky, flight time and big easy have just scraped past by help from others, gallory are rich and don't need the money, kisha and jen are the most likable and deserving to win the million, but if they win it will be anticlimactic with back-to-back first female teams winning from seasons 17 and 18, so I don't know who to cheer for!

Emily said...

Eh, I guess now I'll pick Jen and Kisha to root for. They are the team that catches my intrest the most.

HoH8 said...

As a Big Brother fanatic, i was happy to see the Gnome back...i will never forget Marcellas gnome in BB3, ahh the good old days, lol...

as for the Finale im picking
1st....the Trotters
2nd....Zev Justin
3rd....Jen Kisha
4th....Mallory Gary

but overall its anybody's game at this bad taxi ride or a mis-reading of a clue or a missed plane ride can do any team in....i love all the teams left so it doesnt matter to me :-)

Anonymous said...

keep telling yourself its alright i would have been upset with any other team this happen to, just not right don't like watching tv like this have watch the show for years no MORE

TARtarus said...

Will the Globetrotters win?


Will Justin & Zev win, only to then give it to the GT's?

Michael Harmstone said...

Hoping for Gallory to take it home - they're the last team I fully like in the race. Globetrotters wouldn't be a result I'd grumble at, but lost a bit of happiness over their existence with them taking out the Cowboys. Zev & Justin are waaaaay too cocky and Kisha and Jen are still as irritating as they were in Season 14. They'll go next if there's any justice.

Eudaemon said...

As posted in your last episode recap, I agree the producers need to set the rule that challenges should be completed by teams individually. Currently, just not enough teams are taking advantage of this loophole in the rules to race strategically. But TAR should never be meant to be played this way - with blatant alliances. Otherwise it could just become another Survivor, with three of the weakest teams allying and ending in the final so that they have the best chance against each other (which would make terrible ratings hint hint). Troubled by a detour choice? Pick the one that your allies can help you in! TAR should be won by who races best IMO. Playing a social game (at least with respect to other teams) should not be a deciding factor, as they can still help out each other in navigation already.

That Lever said...

I wonder if Kynt & Vyxsin did incur a penalty for taking the wrong mold but the show edited it out. With one 30-minute penalty it could have easily gone either way and the tension at the end of the episode was high.

OTOH, if they had received two 30-minute penalties there would have been no question that Justin & Zev would catch them, leading to a dull finish for the episode.

In that scenario, I could see the producers deciding to simply edit out the shots that made the mold-stealing clear and Phil's informing K&V about the penalty but keeping the taxi-penalty (much harder to edit out) for dramatic tension.

UnclePeJay said...

Sean, I don't know if you caught it on last night's show, but did you hear Zev say, on the helicopter ride, that the Matterhorn was named after the ride at DisneyLand? I just about fell out of my chair when I heard that and had to rewind the DVR a couple of times to make sure I really heard it. Please tell me he wasn't serious.

Anonymous said...

"So, unless the producers were trying to tell us in this picture that Flight Time was "forcing everybody back", this is a pretty embarrassing mistake on the part of CBS. Shame on you."

uhhh...Flight Time & Big Easy were obviously wearing Red parka's last night. Keisha and Jen were in the lime green. So...shame on you too


Sean said...

James, you're right, one mistake can kill you. We've seen it time and time again on TAR. I have to think, though, that if you pull up in a cab at the Pit Stop location, and you see everyone else walking, maybe you double-check your clue again for the exact wording. I don't think the Final Four teams are 'undeserving', but it should be a good Finale.

HoH8, love the Marcellas Gnome callback! Nice!

Anonymous (1:05), people who claim they're not watching the show anymore while reading a recap on the show are full of hot air. You know you're watching the Finale.

TARtarus - LOL!

Michael, I don't find Zev and Justin cocky at's just their sense of humour. And I don't find Kisha and Jen irritating either. But having said that, I have no problem if Gallory wins the Race.

Eudaemon - good points. We haven't seen it a lot on this show, and as I've stated, I think the increase in this season is due to the fact that many of the teams know each other AND the nuances of the Race. I too would like to see some rule changes made for next season to prevent this.

That Lever - I would say the chances of them getting a penalty and it being edited out are about 0%...possibly even lower.

UnclePeJay - yes I caught it and laughed as hard as you did. Love the Zingers!

Anonymous (7:33) - I see, you're the person who tries to correct anything and everything you can find, and then add a smiley face to make it appear that you're not being a douchebag? :) (See, I can do it, too.)

Choirchick22 said...

Honestly the only team I want to win is Zev and Justin. They are nice, they do challenges for themselves, and they don't give up. Plus they really support each other, even when frustrated. As long as the Globetrotters don't win, it's a good finale though. Those guys are rude and could care less about the places and cultures they visit. (Peeing on that building anyone?)

Snitz said...

I liked Kent & Vyxsin - they had personality! I'm not thrilled with any of the final 4 contestants.... especially Jen & Kiesha - BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORING. To be honest, I was shocked they were even invited back to compete in this round of TAR since I barely even remembered them in their first season. Zev kinda gets on my nerves although I like Justin. The Globetrotters got annoying really quickly since they can never manage to do anything on their own. I guess if I had to pick a team, I'd go with Gary & Mallory - as much as Mallory annoys me with her big gaping mouth always flapping open - I really like Gary and I'd love to see a father/daughter team win!