Welcome back to all of the returning readers, and for those of you new to my blog and my Amazing Race Recaps, a hearty welcome as well, and a couple of things you should know: a) the recaps should be up within 60 minutes (often less) of when the show ends on the East Coast, b) the pictures will all have hidden captions underneath, so make sure to mouse over them if you want to see them, and c) I love Comments, so let’s all get involved in the Comments section for this season.
As I normally do with the Season Premiere, tonight’s recap is going to be my first impressions of this season’s teams, along with my Random Thoughts at the end.
Nary and Jamie, the Federal Agents –We didn’t learn a lot about these two, but based on the pre-Race footage we were shown, apparently they really like to shoot guns. I mean, REALLY, like to shoot guns. I understand if you’re trying to show that they use firearms as part of their job as Federal Agents, but what was with the repeated shots of them using automatic weapons…and then a happy posing shot while holding 2 handguns?
Misa and Maiya, the Sisters – Pretty girls who like playing football on the beach, surfing, and golfing in bright colours.
Joey and Danny, the Guidos – Obviously being presented as two Jersey Shore wannabes who like to spend their time either in the club, or walking along the river together. One of them can’t drive standard, which is shocking to me that anyone can still go on this show without learning how to drive standard in advance (much like learning to build fire on Survivor), and even MORE shocking that he told us his mom told him to learn it before the show!
Dave and Cherie, the Married Clowns – Two “ambassadors of laughter” who think that their time with Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey will give them good karma. It seemed to me that, for an "ambassador of laughter”, Cherie was rather prone to panic, crying in car during the first leg, as they left the first airport, only because she couldn’t see the other teams.
Bopper and Mark, the Kentucky Boys – Claim to be from the “other side of the tracks”, which looked like a shack? Two likable guys who apparently want to say “baby” a lot. I was confused by the Kentucky T-Shirts at the beginning. While they were the same colours, it didn’t look they they were shirts for the basketball team, so were they just promoting the State? Wouldn’t that be fun…a season where everyone had to wear a shirt stating where they were from?
Kerri and Stacy, the Southern Cousins – Two Southern gals who apparently deserve the requisite hillbilly music as we watch them playing around on a tractor. According to Mark and Bopper, they “have the badonka-donk.” I seriously have no idea what that means.
Vanessa and Ralph, the Dating Divorcees – After last season’s Jeremy and Sandy (who I loved as a team), is “dating divorcees” a new TAR genre? We get it Ralph, you’re very strong…strong enough to do pushups with Vanessa on your back, but does every gesture you make have to result in you displaying your arms? God forbid there is a clue on this season that involves anyone having to legitimately ask “Which way to the beach?”
Art and JJ, the Border Patrol Agents –Didn’t learn much about them, but it looked like they like to drive their ATVs on the beach as they patrol the coastline.
Dave and Rachel, the Army Couple –I don’t feel like I learned anything about them, except that they’ve been married for 2 years, and have a really tiny dog. To avoid confusion this season, I will be referring to this Rachel as “Good Rachel.”
My Random Thoughts:
- Just before the Race started, Phil gave the standard instructions before telling the teams that they would need to find their first clue hidden among the baskets of 100 mini hot-air balloons in the vineyard behind them. After that, they would have to jump in their Ford Taurus (Ford is back as a sponsor, doncha know?), and head off to Santa Barbara. He also told them that the winner of the first leg would win the coveted Express Pass, which would only be good until 8th leg.
Two thoughts on this opening segment: First, that I really liked the pre-Race bike ride to the starting point. Make those bitches work for it, Phil! Second, the Race always starts with Phil’s instructions, and teams blowing past him when he drops his arm and yells “GO!”, but this time, they all ran to the side and around the pond to get to the vineyard. It was a funny visual.
- After everyone found their clues, they learned that they would be heading to Santa Barbara, Argentina, with the first 6 teams to reach the airport getting the best flight, which resulted in a two-and-a-half hour lead over the other teams.
- Mark and Bopper gave us two great lines early in this episode: a) “Throw up and get it up, and let’s go win that money, baby!”, and “When you got loot on the line like this, baby, you pee your pants if you have to.” Somewhere, Jennifer Hoffman was shaking her head at her television.
I think I'm going to have to implement a weekly "baby" count for Mark and Bopper, and cross-reference it with a weekly "bro" count for Joey and Danny. It's only the first episode and it's already over the top for both teams.
- Upon landing, teams had to travel to Santa Barbara (in a Ford SUV of course), and find their next clue, which directed them to the Aerodromo Gilberto Lavaque, and their first Road Block. This Road Block saw one of the team members having to skydive while the other one had to use the SUV to find their landing spot.
- Could you imagine being the tandem instructor having to jump with Rachel…hearing her voice screaming all the way down? That would only have been slightly worse than being the cameraman filming her face flapping around as she fell. What the hell was that? Up the next botox treatment, Rach.
- The clue switcheroo affected Stacy and Kerri most of all, as Kerri was saying that she was “about to throw up” and completely freaking out…while she was still in the hangar! In the plane, she asked: “If the parachute doesn’t open, what is going to happen to me?” Well, at the risk of sounding flippant, you’re probably going to die.
- After the Skydive, teams got their next clue, which instructed them to drive to Patios De Cafayate. On the way, Team Brenchel was hot on the heels of Art and JJ, which riled Brendon up, as he ranted about the Border Agents, “I’m half Mexican, and I hate them for a reason!”
What reason would that be, Brendon? What an ignorant statement. Rachel responded by telling him to stop, and I say this: How dumb is what you just said if even Rachel thinks it was stupid?
- At the Patios De Cafayate, teams found out that they had to participate in an Empanada contest which would see them make 120 total empanadas (60 meat and 60 cheese). They key was that there were different dough-crimping patterns for each kind, and teams had to work while being surrounded by emphatic dancing and clapping, and an incredible number of flies. They had an “ongoing demonstation” that they could refer to when they needed, which had me feeling sorry for the Argentinian women hired to make the sample empanadas all day while this challenge took place.
Second, I loved that the clue said “once the region’s reigning Empanada champion approves your work, search the grounds for Phil and the first Pit Stop.” The reason I love that is that the woman that was judging the empanadas wasn’t just an expert, nor was she simply an empanada “champion”…she was the “region’s reigning empanada champion.”
That says to me that not only are there regular competitions, which crown champions, but they are also regionalized? Does that mean there is a State final? Nationals? Is it an Olympic demonstration sport in 2012?
- Team Brenchel came in 2nd, Team Border Patrol 3rd, Team Feds 4th, Vanessa and Pipes 5th, The Rocker-Socker Connection 6th, Team Cousins 7th, The Clowns 8th, and the Kentucky Boys 9th, which left The Guidos and The Sisters to claim the 10th and final spot.
- An incredible finish, and a spectacularly heartbreaking ending for Misa and Maiya.
Overall, it looks like a fun season, except that the previews showed the inevitable drama that will be caused by Rachel and her fake tears.
Next Week: The Drama Begins.
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(Photo Credits: Reality Fan Forum, CBS)