Sunday, November 27, 2011

Amazing Race Recap: “Mustangs, Pigeons, and Waffles”

Tonight's episode of The Amazing Race continues where last week's cliffhanger left off...with the teams starting a new leg immediately after reaching the Pit Stop. Would Cindy and Ernie be penalized for stowing away on a train last week? Can Bill and Cathi keep going strong into the final stages? And how many NFL Analogies will Marcus make this week?

My Random Thoughts:

- I loved the reaction of Amani upon finding out that the next leg was starting right away. First she dropped an “oh brother”, and then went crazy and exclaimed “shucks!” Someone get this woman and her language under control! At least it was better than the constant audio clip we hear for Marcus at least 3 times an episode, of him screaming “Whoooo!” like he’s Ric Flair.
- The opening Route Info for the next leg of the Race instructed teams to drive themselves to the Ford Proving Ground in Lommel, Belgium. In the car, Marcus told us that “everybody wants to take the champ out”, and I understand what he was getting at…but you’re hardly “the champ” at this point…you just won one leg. The champ wouldn’t have been as woefully lost as you were on the way to Lommel.

- Ernie and Cindy arrived 2nd at the Pit Stop, and when Phil said “You’re team number Two. However…” I fist-pumped and yelled “YES!” at my TV, expecting them to be penalized for stowing away on the train to Brussels last week. But my soul was crushed when Phil followed it up with “…the next leg of the race starts now” and dismissed them with no penalty. That was absolutely brutal.

- Meanwhile, both Andy and Tommy, and Bill and Cathi were still striking a pose at the bodybuilding challenge, which I think was just another way to work in a second week of gratuitous Speedo shots. If you think I’m wrong, watch the camera shot of the Snowboarders ripping open their clue after they finished.

After they arrived at the Pit Stop, they were sent on to the next leg as well, which makes me ask the obvious question: If Amani and Marcus won a trip for winning the leg, how come nobody was eliminated? And even if I buy the excuse that this was an absurd FOURTH non-elimination leg this season, why was that not mentioned? And why was there no Speed Bump? So now, coming in last in a leg incurs no penalty whatsoever?

- At the RoadBlock in Lommel, one member of the team would have to get behind the wheel of “an American icon”, which made wonder what Bob Barker had to do with anything…but I soon found out that Phil was just talking about the Ford Mustang. After the earlier Ford Focus episode, and this week’s Mustang-centric adventure…we get it…Ford is a sponsor!

- The Roadblock itself was described as a 3-part task, but nobody had a problem with part #1 (speeding and braking), or part #3 (double victory donut…which, frankly, sounds delicious if it were a pastry). The second part was a slalom course that had to be completed and stopped in a specified zone in under 16 seconds, and this was problematic for most of the teams.

- Did you notice the difference in the first two instructors we saw at this Roadblock? Jeremy’s instructor was very personable and supportive, giving clear directions along with handshakes and back patting and fist bumps. Ernie’s instructor, on the other hand, was all business, and seemed incredibly disinterested.
Honestly, he came across like a German interrogator in a WWII movie, offering terse and pithy comments like “here you lose” and “start again.” Ernie had a lot of trouble with the slalom, constantly missing his time and ramming the balloon car off the track. At the end, when Ernie finally completed it, the instructor told him in a monotone voice “Well done”, which obviously meant “You have wasted my day. Be gone, you fool!”

- Marcus said that the Roadblock was more of an adrenalin rush than catching touchdown passes, and after completing the entire thing, he arrived back to meet up with Amani, and promptly yelled at her happily “from now on, THAT’S HOW YOU DRIVE!” it’s not.

- Tommy ended up doing the Roadblock for Team Snowboarders. Andy explained to us, that since Tommy had trouble with the poem on the last leg, Andy was now going to do the “mind ones” when it comes to Roadblocks. Is it just me, or did he essentially call Tommy stupid and say “I’m doing the ones that involve thinking”?

- After the Roadblock, teams travelled to Gent and found their next clue, which was a Detour offering them a choice between “two things that Belgium is in no short supply of”, Water, or Waffles.

- 3 of the teams chose the Water portion, in which they had to build a raft and search the Gent waterways for two halves of a clue which would tell them their next destination. While they were building their respective rafts, Marcus yelled at the Snowboarders, “You guys are gonna get creamed!”, and they responded by smiling, building their raft, finding both clues, and arriving back before Team NFL was even on the water.
- Both Ernie and Cindy, and Jeremy and Sandy chose Waffles, which involved assembling a waffle stand, and forcing the team to “bake and decorate 18 perfectly formed waffles.” After making butter a few legs ago, this didn’t seem that difficult.

Looking at their waffle machine, Cindy said “that it is spurting like a monster. We’ll call that waffle Ernie”, which made me cringe until I realized that she was talking about flatulence. Jeremy and Sandy had problems, and the Waffle-Maker Judge only offered to them “It’s not quite right. Please go check the demonstration.”

This is what I was saying last week about the Bodybuilding Judges! They should have just given them the score and teams would have to figure out what was wrong instead of being told explicitly. Now, they implement the same logic on the Waffle Detour? If the judges last week could tell them exactly what to do differently, why couldn’t the 15-year-old Belgian kid this week say “Sorry, your blueberries are falling off?”

- On a side note, CTV in Canada has once again been showing a commercial for Dukoral, a medication that helps to control “Traveller’s Diarrhea”, and they showed it right after this challenge. Must be from all of the butter and waffles, this season. This is something that I have ranted about in a previous blog post.

- Ernie and Cindy completed the Detour first, and led the charge to De Muur Van Geraardsbergen, where the next clue told them that they would have to help a pigeon trainer release a flock of homing pigeons. Phil told us “when it comes to international pigeon racing, Belgium is team number one.” Phil, you’re so crafty with your wordplay!

After “helping” the pigeon trainer release the pigeons, they would then have to race to a pre-determined address where they would meet up with the flock and get their next clue from the band on the leg of one of the birds. The reason I put “helping” in quotation marks is because all any of the teams did was watch the trainer open the coop and let the birds out. How is that helping?

I liked the concept of this in principle, but let’s be honest, there’s no way to know if those damn birds flew to that address. For all we know, they just released a bunch of pigeons, gave the teams an address, and planted one bird at that address with the next clue on its leg. I don’t care if that’s what they did, but I’m just saying that it’s not a certainty that all of those birds were even homing pigeons.

- The clue on the bird’s leg told the teams that they could now head to the Pit Stop at the Atomium in Brussels. Ernie and Cindy left in first place, but got lost again, leading to tension between them as Cindy barked at Ernie to stop for directions. Our pal Ernie may be reaching his breaking point as he snapped back “I couldn’t park there because people are on my ass. Chill the hell out.”
- Without having to stop for directions, Andy and Tommy arrived first and won their 6th leg. The prize…wait for it…was a BRAND NEW MUSTANG (gasp!) for each of them. They also won the option to customize the car exactly how they would like it. I guarantee that the next episode starts with Andy and Tommy on the Ford website customizing their cars. You just wait.

- Jeremy and Sandy were team #2, and Ernie and Cindy arrived #3, steaming Cindy once again that they lost out on the prize. Never mind that you’re now in the Final Four and really close to winning the million dollar prize, she’s still annoyed at losing out on short-term gains.

- Amani and Marcus were in the car on the way to the Pit Stop, and we saw Marcus clapping and pumping himself up with sports catch-phrases. He told us that the “next leg is the Conference championship, then on to the Super Bowl.” What do I know, I was watching the Amazing Race while The Grey Cup was on. (For those of you who don’t know, the Grey Cup is the CFL’s version of the Super Bowl.)
- In the end, Bill and Cathi were eliminated, but let’s give them some credit, because they really did great on this Race. They had a great relationship, and a great attitude, even though Cathi fell a lot.

Bill summed it up by saying “It’s been a hoot.” I agree.

Next Week: The Final Four are Panicked in Panama.

Amazing Race fans, feel free to bookmark the site or add your name as a Follower on the sidebar to the left. You can also add me on Facebook or on Twitter, where I post all of the recaps as soon as they go up. Don’t forget to mouse over the pictures for captions, and please leave a Comment in the Comments section if you’re so inclined.

Thanks for reading.

(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)


Emma Furfaro said...

Emma's Random Thoughts:
-Cindy's a bitch. Every time she talks I just want her to shut up.
-Marcus is hilarious and I loved your line about him trash talking the snowboarders and then they wrecked in the challenge.
-Ernie's driver was definitely a crazy German.
-There is no way the next episode is starting with them customizing their cars because if you listen to Phil he said "Once you get home.."
-Next episode: Everyone is stressed about something, except Andy and Tommy (as usual)

Great job Uncle Sean! Awesome recap.

Sean said...

They'll get the cars when they get home. They will customize them on the episode next week, just like when a trip is sponsored by Travelocity, they sometimes show them booking it on the site the following week.

Thanks Emma! :)

shipaddict said...

One thing I caught on tonight's episode ... two different teams using a phrase I thought died way back in the 50s ... "hot diggity." Who the heck says that anymore?

I'll miss the oldsters! They were fun to watch.

Kurt Sahr said...

I expect Bill & Cathi to show up on the next All-Stars season. They seem to have one older pair on every season, and they seem the most likable and competent older team we've seen in quite a while.

Anonymous said...

The Snowboarders are just like the Surfers on the Australian Edition . Mustang is a better win than a Ford Focus ,thanks for the recaps each week .

H said...

Hi Sean, love your blogs! This is my first time responding. I had to bring this up: Did you catch the confessional Andy gave, right after Tommy completed the Mustang challenge? He said, "I was feeling bitter towards Tommy for doing that challenge because I wanted to do it. I had to ask Christ for forgiveness. To take that bitterness out of my heart."

I thought he was going to start crying right there on the screen!!! To be fair, in the previous episode, Tommy did NOT "struggle" with the poem. He got the lines right on the first try, he just didn't say the words with *emotion* for the bony-looking critic.

Anonymous said...

H - I thought the same thing. And then he goes on and on about praying for forgiveness for having envy. I was really rooting for the snowboarders but the religious references have really gotten on my nerves.

Anonymous said...

Love your recaps! Thanks Sean.


HoH8 said...

Hey, where do i sign up to be on TAR??? that we know that we can go on a train w/o any tickets, i will buy them and just throw them away, or just hop in the train w/o any tickets, i will win every leg, lol...i will bring a dvd copy of this episode to prove my case to the producers....

i am postive that the producers interfered in the train for them NOT to push to see the tickets... they saw all the cameras and figured everything was on the up and up....what a set-up TAR is...

Sean said...

Anonymous, he didn't go "on and on" about it...he made one passing comment in the car. That's why I didn't include it in the recap, it was one inconsequential line that took 5 seconds of the show.

Licia said...

The train ticket thing was kind of like the TAR rule for speeding - you only get a penalty if you're caught. Ernie & Cindy didn't get caught, so no penalty.

I'm Christian and I like the snowboarders, but I have to admit that the bitterness comment was bizarre. But at least now Andy has his own Mustang to drive around, haha!

Anonymous said...

Has it occur to anyone that Cindy's constant rant about not coming in first is an indication that they might cross the finish line first? The amount of time they have shown this now made me wonder. I could be wrong.

Beth said...

I really doubt the producers interfered in the train ticket situation. On several trips to Europe, I've ridden a lot of trains, and it hasn't been unusual not to see a conductor. It's really just the luck of the draw. A lot of things in Europe seem to be on the honor system: for instance, I attended an event at which Coca-Cola was served in glasses, with two different prices. If you paid the lower price, you were supposed to drink your Coke and then leave your glass on a tray, but if you paid a bit more, you could keep the glass. There was no sticker or any special marking; you were simply expected to return your glass if you hadn't paid for it. And, as far as I could tell, everyone did! I hate to disparage my own country, but here in the U.S., I think the people running that refreshment stand would've been missing a lot of Coke glasses.