Monday, October 24, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Clean Elephants And Free Cab Rides”

On this 5th leg of the Race, teams were still in Thailand, traveling from Phuket to Bangkok. Which team was threatened with a potential police visit? Who is downright giddy at the sight of an elephant? And who knows where to find the local ladyboys?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on The Amazing Race…don’t forget that Liz and Marie don’t have very much money. Did you hear that? The twins have hardly any money. Are you following me? No matter what you do…don’t forget that they have VERY LITTLE MONEY! You know…just in case it’s relevant later.

- From the floating village, teams had to take a taxi to a spot where they would have to ride an elephant up a river. Team Snowboarders had a big lead, so they had the whole place to themselves, and seemed to really enjoy it. As their pachyderm climbed the watery rocks, Tommy said “I never dreamed an elephant could be this nimble”, and said that he wants to buy one. Well, so much for the wives coming on those trips, huh Tommy?
- On the way to the Elephant Ride, Laurence and Zac were talking about how the clue specified that they had to take “local transportation.” Laurence even shook his fatherly finger at Zac to specify “we’ve got to make sure we travel by local transport." Would this be something we need to remember for later? Are the editors of Survivor working on this show now?

- I had to have a laugh at all of the different instructions given to the elephants along the way: “Giddy-up” (Andy), “Come on elephant, I’ll give you a back massage with my feet” (Jennifer), and “I love my Dumbo” (Sandy).

- After the Elephant Ride, teams were faced with Roadblock where they had to find the man who was playing the insanity-inducing flute music at the waterfall. Am I wrong? Wasn’t that incessant flute music driving anyone else crazy?

Teams had to deduce that once they found the bastard, they then had to dive down in the water (or simply reach down) to retrieve a bag off the bottom which contained a tiny statue of a fish…which they then had to smash to get the clue that was inside. Watching someone smash a statue in the jungle to get to what is inside, made me really miss Lost.
- After the Road Block, teams then had to travel to another location where they had to “disassemble a spirit house” and take it to a different location. Once there, they were surprised with a second Roadblock, and instructions that the other team member had to do it. I loved this twist…a second Roadblock instead of a Detour, and the forced participation of both members on one leg. I hope we see more of this staggered throughout this and future seasons.

The second Roadblock was the re-assembly of the spirit house, and some teams were ill-prepared compared to others. Some took notes, some used camera phones, and others had to travel back to see the original. Look, I’m just going to be blunt on this one: if you didn’t know after disassembling that you were going to have to re-assemble…then you may be too stupid to actually be on this Race. Did you think you were just going to drop off all the pieces, pick up your next clue and go? Come on! How could anyone be so foolish as to not take notes?

- As they were completing the re-assembly of the spirit house, we heard Andy and Tommy talk about their faith, and say that “God is greater than a temple” and “We know the one true God. It’s pretty straightforward when you read the Bible.”

Are you kidding me? The Snowboarders are that likeable, that now you have to try and paint them as religiously intolerant? I don’t buy it for a second. Shameful how they also threw in Justin and Jennifer talking about having respect for other religions. Nice editing, CBS.

The only thing I was really annoyed by during this Roadblock, was Cindy’s complaining about what they should have done after Ernie stumbled from not taking notes. I never understand why teams bitch and moan about what already happened instead of just focusing their energy on the task at hand. We also heard a soundbite from Ernie about his insecurities over being a B student and how that affects his relationship with Cindy.

- Liz and Marie left a full 3 ½ hours after Andy and Tommy, and had to face a Speed Bump (and don’t forget they are short on money!), so it was looking like an uphill climb for the Twins. I was pleased to see that instead of a lame Speed Bump like smelling tea, untying a knot, or sitting on a bus for five minutes, this one actually had some substance to it…washing an elephant. But my pleasure paled in comparison to Liz and Marie’s, whose squeals of joy were neverending during this Speed Bump. How many times have you ever seen a team working on a penalty and exclaiming “This is awesome”?
- I’m getting confused by Sandy. I know that the teams generally try to become associated with a certain colour, like Ernie and Cindy always wearing yellow, or Season 17’s Beach Volleyballers Katie and Rachel always wearing green (go Team Lime!), but I wish Sandy would make up her mind already. Is it purple, or is it yellow? The best I can tell is that she’s a Lakers fan. Wait…is that a blue shirt over her yellow shirt, now? I give up.

- After the Dual Roadblocks, teams then had to travel 550 miles on bus to Bangkok, which took 13 hours. There was a lot of irrelevant drama surrounding the buses, but it can be boiled down to this: express buses get there faster, and first class buses are ok.

- The more entertaining part of the bus scenario, was Taxi-Gate on the way to the bus terminal. First, Ernie and Cindy tried to short-change their cab driver and only pay him 2/3 of the fare, until some “crazy lady” came along, threatened to call the police, and Team Banana reluctantly coughed up the dough.
The most offensive part of this exchange, was that Ernie and Cindy justified the self-reduced rate because, as Cindy said, ‘You are terrible driver!” Not “You are A terrible driver”, just “terrible driver.” Leave it to the one Asian contestant to use an ethnic stereotype in her communication.

- The second part of Taxi-Gate was the drama surrounding Liz and Marie trying to pay for their cab, and their bus tickets, without enough money. Wait a minute…you didn’t forget that they were low on money, did you? I told you not to forget!

First of all, it was ridiculous that they left the cab to go buy the bus tickets before they settled their fare. What cab driver would let them do that, and not argue that the money you just spent on the tickets should go towards your fare? (I’m wondering if the bus fare was covered by TAR just as flights would be, but the point is still valid.)

Second, after being $40 short, finding out the bus is leaving, and the driver wont accept a partial fare, we go to commercial with the Twins in serious jeopardy…only to come back from break to find out that not only has the cab driver now accepted the cash, but the bus has also stopped to wait for them??? COME ON!

Once that bus stopped, Liz and Marie were so excited, I thought they were going to wash another elephant, but it smelled of the “plane turning around” controversy from the Finale on Rob and Amber’s season. If this leg didn’t end with Liz and Marie going home, you would have heard a lot more conspiracy theories surrounding this.

- After arriving in Bangkok, teams then had to travel to a bridge and feed some fish with the pouch of food that was provided to them by The Golden Child after finishing the second Roadblock. On the way, Ernie and Cindy told us that they were in Bangkok two years ago, but Ernie didn’t think that would help them much. Cindy then awkwardly offered “Unless they tell us to find some ladyboys. We know where that’s at?” If you don’t understand that comment, see The Hangover 2.

- Why the hell would Andy and Tommy hand over their clue to someone who just left to go teach a class? I didn’t understand that whole part.

- At the Pit Stop, Phil was actually waiting with a Bangkok Ladyboy, and they happily told Marcus and Amani that they finished the leg in 1st place, followed closely by The Oldsters Bill and Cathi. Marcus predictably compared the race to an NFL game, and found out that they had won a trip to Bali. Justin acted snide finding out he was in fourth, and Team Sailors learned they switched buses for nothing.

- With no money for the Twins after the bus ride (remember!), they had to find a way to get to the bridge since it was a 5 hour walk. They refused to beg, but for some reason, justified that it was ok to ask a cab driver to take them for free?

Let’s take a poll: how many of you think they would have talked their way into a free cab ride (equivalent to a 5 hour walk) in Bangkok if they weren’t young, blond, and pretty? They told us to “never underestimate the generosity of people”, and immediately following that line, my neice Emma (who was watching with us), said “or the creepiness of old Thai men.” They even got a second free cab ride after feeding the fish from someone who looked like he would be on the cast of Jersey Shore: Thai Edition.

- In the end, Liz and Marie were too far behind to catch up, and their elimination was never really in doubt. I liked them, but it wasn’t meant to be. At least they got to wash an elephant.

Next Week: Tobacco Bumper Cars and Carrying Beds in Africa.

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Thanks for reading.

(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)


Pedak said...

“We know the one true God. It’s pretty straightforward when you read the Bible.”

One thing the Bible is not, is straightforward.

Anonymous said...

After showing the religious intolerance of the snowboarders, the contrasting tolerance lesson by Justin and Jennifer was anything but "shameful." It was required to demonstrate that not all Americans/TAR contestants are close-minded fools.

Kurt Sahr said...

If this had been a scripted series, I would have thought Liz & Marie's sudden change of fortune at the bus station to be far too convenient. In a reality series, something seemed really out of place.

Pretty, young American blonde girls being followed by a camera crew, I can understand getting a free cab ride. I don't quite buy the fact that there was no producer intervention at the bus terminal.

Anonymous said...

I checked, and 4500 bhat = $150 US so the intervening Thai lady was bang on. Pay up!

R.P. McMurphy said...

Love the LOST reference, that's what brought me to you in the first place!

I've got some important things going on today so I spent the night writing bible verses all over my clothing. I'm sure that will help. It's pretty straightforward, right?

Sorry to see the twins go. It looks like they may have been running low on money anyway.

Anonymous said...

How did the twins run low on money ??

Sean said...

WHAT? The Twins were low on money? I missed that!

Anonymous @ 9:50 am, what I was trying to say is that the editing of 'Look, this teams is intolerant, and this team is accepting of other religions" is what is shameful. That segment was 100% editing. If you sat those two teams down, I'm betting you wouldn't hear about intolerance, I imagine you would see them agreeing.

Anonymous said...

I actually don't think it's editing. I know the editors love to mess around with our minds, but in this case, it wasn't just a line cut in one place and then taken at out of context. They actually said "God is greater than a temple" and "We know the one true God, it's pretty straightforward when you read the Bible" while looking at the spirit temple, and there aren't too many different contexts to take that in.

Rick1987 said...

How much editing can be done to a sentence like - "God is greater than a temple" or "We know there is only one God" or "It is pretty straightforward in the Bible"? There are not too many context to it. One may claim that it is edited but cannot claim they didn't say it. Their 'obvious' religious intolerance is an example of xenophobia. We know people come in zillion ways and even if the snowboarders does not look like typical conservative people does not mean they are not.