Sunday, November 6, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Just Standing Around In Malawi”

Tonight's episode marks the return of the dreaded Double U-Turn, as the teams remain in Malawi for the next leg. Will the Double U-Turn be used…and if so, would it be a factor?

My Random Thoughts:

- Previously on The Amazing Race…Justin and Jennifer narrowly missed out on a first place finish, and Team NFL was saved by a third non-elimination leg.

- Teams were shown at the Pit Stop in Malawi, as they checked in and set up their own beds in huts where would be spending the night. Everyone seemed to embrace the concept except for Ernie and Cindy, who were shown complaining about the size of the huts, mosquito nets, and the straw roof. (Editor’s message #1: We want you not to like Ernie and Cindy for this leg.)

- We saw a recap on Andy and Tommy, and how they had won 4 legs of the race so far, 3 of which have been a result of other people’s mistakes. (Editor’s message #2: Andy and Tommy are probably going to win this leg, and maybe due to a mistake by another team.)
- Justin talked about being gay and coming out to his sister. (Editor’s message #3: Justin and Jennifer will be eliminated this week, that’s why we’re showing you more about their personal life that we haven’t shown you before…just like we did when we introduced the concept of Kaylani’s daughter on the episode that Team Vegas was eliminated.)

- Laurence and Zac told us “the reality is, if you need to U-turn somebody to stay in the race, you need to do it. That’s all there is to it.” (Editor’s message #4: Laurence and Zac will definitely U-Turn someone on this leg.)

- Ernie and Cindy then said “we’ll probably have to use our Express Pass to get ahead.” (Editor’s message #5: Remember that Ernie and Cindy have the Express Pass, since they will be using it on this leg.)

- I found that the first part of the episode was essentially a way to remind viewers of what they needed to know for the episode, or foreshadow what was about to happen. Usually we see a bit of it, but this was all pretty blatant.
- The most entertaining thing for me was Marcus and Amani’s reaction upon finding out that they were only given $1.00 for this leg of the Race. Marcus responded by saying, “What are we going to ride, a pachyderm?”

Where the hell can I find a $1.00 elephant ride? Seriously…I want to know.

- After the teams took a Bus to Salima, Marcus and Amani were faced with a Speed Bump as soon as they got off the bus. I immediately did the following math in my head: Speed Bump + Bus = SaunaBuss? I was seriously hoping for a repeat of the most awesome and most awkward Speed Bump of all time…but alas, it was just a slide puzzle.

A slide puzzle? Are you kidding me? And with the picture provided for you? With the flag hanging right there? How did these two not solve this in less time? That was ridiculously easy, and not worthy of being a part of this Race. As I’ve said before, I’d rather the last place team on Non-Elimination legs receive no penalty rather than a lame-ass one that makes a mockery of the Race.

- In Salima, the teams encountered their Roadblock, which saw one member of the team delivering fish via bicycle taxi. Except that instead of being the passenger on the taxi, they would have to be the driver, and carry someone on the bike with them. And of course, they would also have to deal with the obligatory Handlebar-cam that we see any time TAR has a bike challenge.
- On the Roadblock, Laurence and Sandy were trying to work together, but were unsure of where they were going, which prompted Laurence to say that it was “like finding a hair on an elephant’s butt.”

I’m sorry, but I was really confused by that, because I had no idea that an elephant’s butt was so hairless that it would seem odd to find a hair there. Are elephant’s butt’s hairless? Is that why the rides only cost $1.00? And why do I really care? Is it just me, or is this week heavy on the elephant references? 

As far as comfort was concerned, Laurence said that the bike seat was “something that could crush your balls in a heartbeat if you got the wrong bump”, and Sandy said that she wasn’t going to be able to have kids after the ride.

- Cindy was commenting on what she saw in Malawi, saying that it was more primitive, less developed, and wondering why the kids weren’t in school. She was also frustrated that English is the official language in Malawi, but she couldn’t find anyone that understands her. (Don’t forget Editor’s Message #1 from earlier.)
- The order of finish for the Roadblock was Cindy, Andy, Cathi, Laurence and Sandy, Marcus, and then Jennifer. Well, Jennifer was actually in 4th place at the point where she delivered the fish, but upon finding out that she had left the clue with Justin, had no idea that she was to return to the starting point. So what did she do? Did she ride back to Justin and get the clue to find out what was required (which would have completed the task, since he was where she needed to go)? Nope.

Instead, she inexplicably thought that the best strategy was to just stand around and wait, hoping for the answer to come to her in the form of another team that would be gracious enough to stop and show her the clue. What a terrible strategy. And when she finally did decide to head back, she did it with no urgency whatsoever. Now, instead of 4th place, she and Justin were in dead last. (Please remember Editor’s Message #3)

- As Marcus and Amani left the Roadblock, Amani told their cab driver to drive fast “like your mama’s in the hospital and you gotta get there.” Marcus, meanwhile was yelling at the goats on the road and telling the driver to lean on the horn, just like he used to do in the NFL: “Get out the way, Miami Dolphins, I’m coming!” (One of three NFL reference from Stringer Bell this week.)

- Did anyone else catch the part when Bill said that he and Cathi worked well together because they have been together for 50 years, and they know each other’s “modem operandi”? Is that a part of your computer?

- This week’s Detour took place at Lake Malawi, which Phil told us “has more species of freshwater fish than any other lake in the world.” The teams would have to choose between Dugout or Lugout. In Dugout, teams would have to participate in the Lake Malawi Dugout Canoe Race, and in Lugout, teams would have to unload cargo from a ferry boat “just like the locals”, and that cargo would include 8 passengers “who expect to stay dry.” Did you notice that the wording was just that they "expect" to stay dry? Not that you actually had to keep them dry? Interesting.

- Most of the teams chose Dugout, but after Ernie and Cindy struggled with the canoe, and watched Tommy and Andy speed off, they decided to use the Express Pass (Editor’s Message #5), stating that with a Double U-Turn ahead, “even if someone U-Turned us, it wouldn’t matter.” Is that true. I don’t remember hearing that before? It was a non-issue in this episode, but I’d like clarification on if (and why) that is the case.

- Jeremy tried to direct Sandy on how to paddle the canoe properly, but his directions were painfully vague, and not really helpful at all. He told her “you put the thing in the thing and you turn it like that.” Meanwhile, Laurence and Zac struggled with their own paddling rhythm. I guess if it doesn’t have sails, these two have some problems.
- Andy and Tommy were having fun, flipping off of their canoe into the water and dancing and running with kids on the beach. Seriously, how can you not love these guys? They soon caught up to Ernie and Cindy, who made a mistake by leaving the Beachside village looking for the Jamaica Shop, only to find that they had to go back down. Now they were neck and neck.

- After finding the Jamaica Shop (which was difficult for most teams, despite the clue saying “find the Jamaica shop in the village”), teams were now faced with the option of using the Double U-Turn (now featuring iPads!) After making their decision at the U-Turn mat, the next stop was the Pit Stop at the Sunbird Livingstonia Resort.
- Nobody decided to actually use the U-Turn except for Laurence and Zac (Editor’s message #4) who decided to U-Turn Amani and Marcus...even though they had just run into them AS THEY WERE RUNNING AWAY FROM THE DOUBLE U-TURN. “I hope they hadn’t just come past. They were going the wrong way”, Laurence told us. How on Earth could he assume that?

- This was by far the most irrelevant U-Turn ever, since the only team that used it decided to U-Turn a team in front of them. Somewhere, Kent and Vyxsin were shouting “Yes! It wasn’t just us!” At least there was no whining about teams bitter that the U-Turn was used on them. Maybe next week, since it looks like it’s making a return…

- The race for the Pit Stop Mat came down to a footrace between Team Yellow and Team Snowboard. Even though Ernie was carrying both packs, he was still ahead of Cindy, who was lagging behind, allowing the snowboarders to catch up. Had they not left the village looking for the Jamaica Shop, they would have definitely won the leg.
Just as the Pit Stop came into sight on the beach, Andy and Tommy passed Ernie and Cindy to win the leg, their 5th win in 7 legs (Editor’s Message #2). I know some of you are going to say “Come on, they’ve already won 4 legs.” So what? It’s the same argument as saying that a team that doesn’t need the money shouldn’t win. I love their competitive spirit. I really do. And how lame was it that as they were being passed on the beach, Cindy called out to them, “Boys, please let us win”?

Andy and Tommy then found out that they won $15,000 on a Discover card. You know what that means, right? They can now take the wives on all 3 of the trips, AND buy that elephant that they want, which they will undoubtedly make sure has no hair on it’s butt before they start charging $1 to ride it.

- Justin and Jennifer were too far behind to catch up, and they were eliminated after arriving to the Pit Stop mat last. No more UNC hat? Oh well…Go Duke!

Next Week: Dancing In Denmark, Circus Rabbits, and Another Double U-Turn (Hey, if it didn't work this week, keep trying...)

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Thanks for reading.

(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)


Galileocan said...

1. I really hope Ernie and Cindy get eliminated. She is unwelcome as bedbugs in a hotel room
2. I really hope Ernie leaves Cindy during the remained of TAR, and starts up his own independent team, leaving Cindy to whine (and unwhine-d) on her own
3. I hope that Zac and Ernie decide to team up leaving Laurence and Cindy to form a team further enhancing our desire to see those two lose, and lose in a painful way
4. If I can't get Cindy off the show, I would like to see her come second in every episode remaining, always losing by a few seconds and having her whine and scream in vain. How fun
5. On the next Double U Turn I would like to see a team U Turn Ernie and Cindy and then have another team show up and U Turn Ernie and Cindy again, just because. Would love to see them as the first team in TAR history to be Double, Double U Turned
6. Go Snowboarders.

Galileocan said...

Isn't the photo caption on Sandy's picture somewhat controversial? Where are The Cowboys when you need them to clarify a questionable innuendo...?

Sean said...

Controversial? Not really.

Suggestive? Probably.

No $1 Elephant Rides for you! :)

Galileocan said...

I hate to take up space on your blog, but I have to say one more time.......I really am not fond of Cindy, and I do hope that she falls in a pile of elephant dung, or loses the "control" in her tag line and simply becomes just the "freak" that we all know she is. Is there any way we can advise Ernie to drop her so that he can avoid what will inevitably be huge legal fees to free himself from this blitch (sorry..sp.) once he ultimately marries her. ERNIE TRULY NEEDS AN INTERVENTION

The Amazing Fan said...

Seems like there's a tad bit of hate for the yellow team on here but nonetheless a good post :)

Just to back one of my favourite teams up... GO ERNIE AND CINDY! Props to Cindy for pushing herself to the finish line and Ernie for being a gentlemen. These guys are a very competitive yet amazingly cute couple. I love their sarcastic comments and fun spirit. I wish them all the best in the race and in life!

Last words: All my favourite teams are still in it! :D Andy and Tommy, Ernie and Cindy, Bill and Cathi for the top 3!

Anonymous said...

I think what Cindy meant by the U-Turn not mattering is, by using the Express Pass, they knew they would get there first, and it would not matter if anyone U-Turned them.

Pretty clear next week Ernie and Cindy will try to U-Turn the snowboarders in payback. I bet Cindy screws something up later and still comes in behind the snowboarders.

I also bet next season there is a new rule. The first 2 teams to the Double U-Turn are required to U-Turn someone. People have been getting to nice with the U-Turn.

Anonymous said...

I'm good at Cross Word puzzles,but horrible in picture remus,and slide puzzles.I kind of identified with team NFL.Who wouldn't go back to the point of origin if you didn't know your next move?I really think Jennifer was ready to go home,just by her standing around.This is an college educated school teacher,so she's not dumb.I thought this team would be around until at least F3.Disappointing.The snow boarders are making it look too easy.I like them,and the older couple,but I want to see them have to hustle a bit,and appreciate how the other teams feels at the back of the pack .Enjoy your blog Sean,never would have read it if I didn't read EW.I think a few others read it too,but they would never admit it.

Licia said...

I did find the editing against Ernie & Cindy pretty interesting. When Cindy said that she couldn't find anyone who understood English, it was emphasized as a "bad" comment with that music in the background and everything. A few minutes later Sandy pretty much said the exact same thing and it wasn't a big deal. I'm thinking this means that Ernie & Cindy place 2nd or 3rd - they always like a villain team in the Final 3, but not as the winner.

Licia said...

I do like Ernie & Cindy, though. And I have a lot of respect for Cindy, she has asthma but really gave her it all in that final run.

I actually think that Ernie & Cindy and Andy & Tommy are kind of similar and I like them both for similar reasons. They're both very competitive teams, will do what it takes to win, but have a lot of fun along the way.

Oh, and in the opening credits for Ernie & Cindy, their fist bump vs. hi-five scene makes me laugh every time.

R.P. McMurphy said...

I took what Cindy meant by the U-Turn not affecting them to be the same as what Anonymous said, they knew they'd be in first and wouldn't have to do it if anyone chose them.

What if the producers kept the double u-turn in and made at least one of them mandatory? I guess if you still wanted to be nice you could u-turn someone that you knew was in front of you but at least the first team to arrive would have to do it to someone. The way some of these shows change rules, that could be one way to make it more interesting.

There's nothing wrong with using the U-turn. It's in the rules! You're playing for a million dollars! When I watch the U-turn episodes, I feel like I'm playing Chutes and Ladders with my 3 and 5 year old children. I debate about making them go back when they land on a chute because it would upset them and I might not be willing to deal with it at the time. In the end, I make them go back (heartless, I know) because I want them to learn to play by the rules.

Ask Marcus if you should decline a 15-yard personal foul that would put your team in a position to win the game or not. Certainly wouldn't want to upset anyone in a competition!

This isn't Survivor: no isthmus, very few tiles, and NO VOTE! Use the U-Turn!

Beth said...

I'm just now catching up on this episode (shocking, I know), and my reactions, in no particular order, are:

1. I love the U-Turn iPads! Cool!
2. I agree with everyone else that Jennifer should've just gone back and found Justin to get the clue and find out what she was supposed to do next.
3. I'm terrible at slide puzzles, so this one probably would've kicked my butt. At least it was more challenging than sitting in a SaunaBuss! ;-)
4. How close were the snowboarders behind Ernie & Cindy? I would've either U-Turned them or, if they were near enough, told them "We won't U-Turn you if you let us come in first." People make those kinds of deals on Survivor all the time.

Speaking of which, now I need to go catch up on tonight's episode...