Sunday, May 8, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: Unfinished Business Season Finale

The Season Finale of the Amazing Race Unfinished Business is in the books, and which of the four remaning second-chance teams took home the million dollar prize? Let's find out...

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on The Amazing Race, a reminder of the demise of each of the remaining four teams in their original seasons, and a recap of the 7 teams eliminated so far this season, who will all be relegated to lining the finish line and applauding as if they care who wins. But, at least I got to see the footage of Luke melting down at the tea challenge once again, and that makes me happy. I wonder what he got Margie for Mother’s Day, clearly the most important day of the year for these two…I picture it as kind of like “Date Night” in their house.

- Back to the Matterhorn where Flight Time and Big Easy are cuddling up with the Travelocity Gnome and shooting the requisite commercial for the episode as they excitedly checked out their trip options online.

- Was it just me, or was the exit point about 10 feet from the ticket booth where they had to buy their train tickets? Didn’t they check in on the mountain in a Swiss cabin? Whatever happened to them leaving from the same spot where they checked in at the Pit Stop? The 4 teams were only 19 minutes apart on their exit times, and even though the last team left at 7:31 and the train left at 7:39, they were all on the same train? That seemed pretty fishy to me.

- Jen reminded us that what happened on the Finale of their previous season will not happen again, as she told us “I WILL pee my pants to win The Amazing Race.” Which is pretty much what everyone was saying after they lost in Season 14.

- When the teams found out that they were going to Brazil, Mallory screamed in delight (shocking, I know…), and the Globetrotters decided to give the other teams a reminder that in Brazil, some of the ladies are men. So they gave some advice on how to play Spot the Tranny (which is my favourite game to play when I walk around the West End of Vancouver) by looking for Adam’s apples and man-type hands and feet. Personally, I think these Globetrotters were thinking of Thailand.

- After all of the teams being on the same train, they found themselves all on same flight as well, but it was almost a situation where The Globetrotters and Zev and Justin would have landed a whopping TEN HOURS earlier…until Big Easy gave it all away with the worst cover-up lie I’ve ever seen on this show. I’m making a note to invite Big Easy to my next poker game.

- The Globetrotters fell behind on their arrival to Brazil, and as Justin put it best, “being last off the plane really hurt them” this time. The last ones off the plane ended up being the last ones to get a cab, which brought them to the train they needed to take after the rest of the teams had already departed. And even though the train was still in sight…Flight Time and Big Easy were unable to get them to stop so they could get on, putting them a full 30 minutes behind having to wait for the next train.
- I’m glad the drama that was teased before the commercial break was real and not the typical Amazing Race trick of teasing drama before the break that never actually happens. And did you see the track that the train had to travel on? My God that thing was narrow! It looked like an Olympic gymnastics balance beam.

- At the Road Block, teams had to learn the Samba in the streets of Brazil amid a Carnival atmosphere. First of all, when Phil was explaining the Road Block among the dancing Brazilians, why wasn’t he dancing along with them? There have been times on the Amazing Race where his explanation clip includes him partaking in what the Racers are about to do. Even later in this episode, he was down in the water using one of the personal submarines explaining that Road Block, so does Captain Eyebrow only choose the fun ones to take part in?

- I’m never a fan of challenges where a judge tells you whether you did it right or not, because including subjectivity into the equation as to whether a task is “completed” or not always seems fishy to me. And it invites the accusation that the competition is fixed or favoured to protect or punish certain teams. I don’t believe that is the case, and it wasn’t an issue in this episode, but judging challenges, especially at this point of the Race, seems odd to me.

- The Samba Road Block itself was fun to watch, even if the contestants all looked like the birds from the new animated movie Rio…if they were re-imagined as WWE wrestlers. Zev had an incredible amount of trouble with it, while Mallory looked like she could have actually been the one teaching the lessons instead of learning. Plus, she looked like she was having the most fun in her entire life (but to be fair, she looks that way a have to admire her enthusiasm, don't you?)

I had to laugh at Justin's instructions to Zev, because I can't really think of a more unachievable goal than when Justin yelled at Zev to "be like Jay-Z. Come on, be smooth."

- After this week's episode of So You Think You Can Samba, all of the team members had to head of for a "Brazilian waxing session." Yes, you heard that right...bring on the obvious joke...but instead of it being what all of you dirty-minded readers are thinking, this waxing session was confined to only TV-friendly areas of the body. (I'm surprised the next clue didn't direct them to a "landing strip.")
Flight time decided this would be a good time to flirt with the woman ripping the hair out of his body, Mallory was incredibly NOT shrieking for the first time in the Race (and this would have been the time we all understood), and watching Zev and Justin's session was actually painful to watch. I mean, when you're getting hair ripped out that way, the strip is supposed to be torn away in one fluid motion, but did you see how many times it didn't come all the way off and they had to grab it and yank again? That would have been so painful. I could completely understand when Justin asked“What’s the penalty for knocking her out cold?”

- The Detour was a choice between On the Rocks and On The Beach, the second of which was what I described as an impossible task. The description stated that the teams had to walk around a beach and try to sell bikinis to people who would then model them, but let's look at what it actually was: two people walking around a beach with bikinis who are trying to convince women to come into their little cloth cylinder, which they are holding for them, get partially naked in there, WHILE A TV CREW IS FILMING IT...and pay for the bikinis!

You could have offered to pay them, and I still think that it's impossible. And keep in mind that this is on a beach in Brazil where apparently it was necessary to blur out almost all of the asses that appeared on camera. If this can't even work on a beach in Brazil, then where could it work? Add in the fact that you're trying to sell to a bunch of people who already have bikinis on, and that the only two people who tried it were half waxed/half hairy, with all of their exposed skin beet red from the waxing, and it's justifiable that people on the beach wanted nothing to do with this. I'm surprised the police didn't get called! It would have been more achievable if the Detour instructions had said "Grow a pair of wings and learn to fly,"

Although one of the reasons I love this show, is where else on TV (or anywhere for that matter) could you hear the sentence “When they do, a bikini seller will give them their next clue.”

– All the teams ended up choosing On The Rocks, which involved making 100 drinks in a beachside bar stand. It was very straightforward, but what is with this season insisting that every task has to be accompanied by a group of local musicians?
- Zev and Justin found themselves too far behind after trying the bikini portion of the Detour, and drowned their sorrows in a couple of drinks in the cab on the way to the Pit Stop, which they thought "would be romantic if we were a couple.” While they didn't lose their passports, they wouldn't be heading off to the Final Leg and racing for the million dollars.

- The Final Leg of the Race saw the 3 remaining teams heading from Brazil to Miami, or as I'd like to say, "taking their talents to South Beach." At the airport, Gary pushed Mallory around in a cart, and the Globetrotters kissed their bags goodbye, by checking them and not keeping them for the Final Leg of the Race. Wouldn't there be some sort of legal ramification for just leaving your bags behind unclaimed at an aiport?

-As the teams departed the airport in their cabs, there was a great overhead shot which was reminiscent of a CSI: Miami opening sequence. I was waiting for Phil to show up and do his best Horatio Caine impression, taking off his sunglasses and stating: "Well, Frank. It looks like these three teams have some (pause)...Unfinished Business."


- Gary and Mallory got into their cab and declared that 'you just gotta have faith and a feeling.” Well, that and a cab driver other than Sterling who knows where he’s going. I hate when a team runs a great Race and gets screwed in the Final Leg by having a crappy cab driver. I wish that they would have had cars waiting for them. If they get lost on their own, then it's much easier to accept. Sterling put them too far behind to be competetive in the Final was now a two-team Race.
- I enjoyed the Dry Dock Roadblock, but I was hoping at least one team would have dropped the boat. It actually looked pretty easy for both Flight Time and Jen, and if you're telling me that Gary has to do a challenge on a forklift, I'll take him over anyone else in the Race. It's unfortunate that they were too far behind to be in it at this point.

- Off to Key Largo and Jules' Undersea Lodge. Back to back Roadblocks? I like it. Seriously, how cool was this Roadblock, and how badly do you now want to ride in one of those personal submarines? Two quick thoughts from this challenge, both of which involve teams learning from their previous experiences on the Race: 1) I was impressed to hear that Jen took swimming lessons specifically to run the Race again, which was incredibly smart on her part (I get so frustrated when people don't make the effort to learn how to do something they know that they will have to do on the Race, like driving a stick shift.) and 2) I was also impressed at the Globetrotters' instructions to their cab driver to go get gas and then come back and wait for us. Smart thinking.

- The next sequences were a frenetic mix of Route Info gathering: head to mile marker 29, walk  across the water to Horseshoe Island and get a clue, walk back across the water, take a boat, walk again, and end up at a Mobile Home park. As they were walking back in the water, this was obviously the time that Jen would have been able to take that final bathroom break instead of looking for a bathroom on the Final stretch
- 67...that's the number of basketball analogies that Flight Time and Big Easy used in this episode. "Fourth Quarter", "Overtime", "Sudden Death"...yes, we get it, you're basketball players...give it a rest. And for the record, basketball overtime ISN'T SUDDEN DEATH! Not like they would know since their games are fixed. (BOOM! There is is again.)  

- At the Mobile Home park, the teams needed to set up their own “trailerhood” according to a picture they got in a brochure. What? No complex memory challenge like we usually see at the end? Just a big model to build? As they were building their "trailerhoods", the wind picked up in a big way, and let's be honest, one of the last places I want to be when a storm is rolling in, is a Trailer Park, or as I call them, Tornado Magnets.

I did, however, enjoy the crowd at the Trailer Park who were watching the teams. From the sign that said "Pirate's Pub: Hot Women and Cold Beer" to the guy in the John Deere camouflage ballcap and the T-shirt that said (this is not a joke, go back and look) "So Many Cats: So Few Good Recipes" and looked remarkably like Piers Morgan, it was an entertaining slice of Americana.

Miss Rose was a creation all her own, with her insane hair and rat-like teeth. Standing beside Big Easy, this little woman resembled an Oompa Loompa, but she broke into a big grin as she handed Jen and Kisha the clue that would lead them to the Final Pit Stop.

- After biking across the Seven Mile Bridge, and keeping their lead on the Globetrotters (remember that Jen and Kisha were both NCAA Varsity Athletes), they crossed the finish line first and won the million dollars, as I predicted last week.
As they approached the end, we saw shots of all of the eliminated teams waiting and clapping: there's the Cowbros, and Zev in his silver pyjamas, and Luke wearing a T-Shirt reading "The Sinister Deaf Kid", and...wait...who the hell is that? Oh yeah, Amanda and Kris. Forgot you were here...maybe if they give them a third shot on the Race, we'll remember who they are. But probably not.

Overall, I thought this was a pretty good season. Congratulations to Jen and Kisha on a great Race, they are indeed very deserving winners, and as they stated, never won a leg until the end when it really mattered. I was moved by their closing comments on what they plan to do with the money to help their mother, who raised them as a single mom. As a son of single mom, that was a wonderful message to hear, and it was timed perfectly on Mother's Day.

That's going to do it for another season of the Amazing Race, but I hope you'll bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left for when it returns in the fall.  If you're a fan of Survivor, make sure to check for my Finale recap next Sunday, and if you watch Big Brother, keep in mind that I will be recapping the entire season this summer. I hope to see you back.

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Thanks for reading this season.


R.P. McMurphy said...

Another season down. Thanks for the great recaps. As someone who didn't find TAR until recently, I have a question that I've never seen formally addressed. Is each teammate required to do an equal amount of challenges throughout the season? A certain percentage? Any requirement? Having Justin do the Samba challenge instead of Zev sure would have made a difference but I thought I heard them say Zev had to do it. Thanks.

Fred said...

I have to agree about the "local judge" roadblocks and detours being a bit unfair late in the competition. It was hard to tell what Zev was doing wrong. Also, unless Miss Rose was some kind of savant, hard to believe she had the picture that memorized.

I also think, though unintentional, the Brasil leg seemed a bit fixed against Zev and Justin. First, the only "white guy" team had to dance (some stereotypes are true), then they, as the hairiest team, had to also endure the wax. Then they had no chance to make up time in one of the most straightforward detours ever, make a bunch of cocktails (they chose the sales, knowing they could not make up time on the other task, as a hail mary).

Also, way to go, CBS, spoiling one of the final 3 in a preview, when the Globetrotters were shown on a boat that clearly was on the Miami leg.

I also agree about cars waiting in the final leg or legs. It is annoying to see a race for $1M determined by cab drivers. That, or they should chose more iconic destinations in the final city, rather than some random dry dock.

As you can probably tell, I was disappointed to see Zev and Justin go. I may not remember right, but I think they were the only team left that figured out both the flag clue in Australia right and the moped clue in Lichtenstein all by themselves. In fact, any of the other 3 could have found themselves out if not for getting some of that info from them. Seems like it would have been nice for them to be rewarded for it.

Fred said...

By the way, I also share R.P.'s question about roadblocks. Even if the limit was 6, seems like Zev and Justin should have been able to go into the final 6-4 on RBs. Seems this is a new rule, probably so each member would have to do one in the two-RB Miami leg.

I tweeted Phil during the finale that question, which he dismissively answered saying they are required to have an equal number (which, me thinking there would be only 11 RBs had me confused, as there was no way they could finish even).

Anonymous said...

They specifically said they had to have completed 5 roadblocks each heading into the final leg.