Monday, March 5, 2012

Amazing Race Recap: “Stacking Watermelons In Paraguay Was On My Bucket List.”

Sorry for the delay in getting this week’s recap up a day later than normal. I was away on Sunday and wasn’t able to watch the episode until tonight. This week’s episode certainly was a nail-biter (no joke…I was actually biting my nails), and with the preview showing teams having a task involving watermelons, I was obviously hoping we would revisit one of the greatest moments in Amazing Race History.

(NOTE: Sorry, no Pictures/Captions this week since it's going up late)

My Random Thoughts:

- Before I get to tonight’s episode, I have to revisit last week’s Pit Stop, which featured Phil and a Diego Maradona impersonator. I have to mention that on a number of message boards, there were people who were trying to say that it was the real Diego Maradona, which is ridiculous. It was a Fake Maradona…guaranteed. Trust me.

- On to tonight’s episode, which started with Team Army (Good Rachel and Dave) and Team Border Patrol (Art and JJ) departing only minutes apart, just after midnight, and finding out that the teams would now be traveling to Paraguay…which I hope you figured out from the title of this recap, if you hadn’t already seen the episode.

Team Army wants us to know that they’re aggressive, competitive, and a target, while Team Border Patrol would like to point out that they are on their way to another Spanish speaking country, which is an advantage for them, and since both of these teams “protect America”, they will dominate.

- When they arrived at the airport, both teams learned that there were two options for flights: an 8:45 am flight or a 10:40 am flight. The earlier flight was full, but they would be able to put their names on the standby list at the check-in counters.

Flash forward to early morning, where we then saw all nine teams at the airport. I have to say, as I have mentioned in the past, I love when the producers do this…no fake drama and unnecessary footage of each team at the Pit Stop Mat opening their first clue to start the leg. It was essentially “OK, everyone is here. Everyone wants the early flight. Now you’re caught up.”

- Not everyone knew about the earlier flight, but for some reason Team Fake Teachers decided to tell as many people as possible about the earlier flight. Once all of the teams (or most of them) had put their name on the standby list, the teams that arrived later started trying to sweet talk the ticket agents into circumventing the priority list, and give them the tickets.

Thankfully, that didn’t work, and karma reigned, as the 8 tickets that ended up being available on the early flight went to the first four teams that arrived: Team Army, Team Border Patrol, Team Fake Teachers, and Team Kentucky.

This pleased Art and JJ to no end, as they started waxing poetic about how strong they were as a team, and how the other teams were just letting them “run the Race for them”, and following what they do. They then compared themselves to Michael Jordan, because he won 6 championships, and Art ended the rant with a Randy “Macho Man” Savage-esque growl of “OHHH YEAHHH!”

Frankly, the Michael Jordan comparison was ridiculous, because if you’re going to compare yourself to MJ because he’s won six championships, when all you’ve done so far is come 3rd and 2nd in two races…well, you have a pretty weak argument.

The rest of the teams were stuck on the 10:40 flight, and Rachel had one of her meltdowns prior to even getting on the plane. “I’m not calm, Brendon”, she whined, “This is a Race, and I’m not about to lose it to some doo-heads.” At least I think that’s what she said…

- Upon arriving in Asuncion, Paraguay, teams had to take a taxi to a junkyard, enter the junkyard via a kiddie slide, and then search through a bunch of BBQs until they found their next clue. I know that TAR usually designs these challenges based on cultural traditions and customs in each country, but what did this one mean? That Paraguayans love children’s park slides, trashy looking yards, and BBQ?

And bring on the cultural traditions they did, as teams were now faced with a Detour after finding their next clue. Teams had to choose between Stacked Up, which would require building a pyramid 0f watermelons, and Strung Out, which would require teams to string a harp.

Phil told us that Stacked Up would take place in “Paraguay’s favourite fruit market” during the “busy watermelon season”, but let’s be honest…as soon as we heard watermelons, we were all hoping this would happen again. We also learned that the harp is the National Instrument of Paraguay. Now you know!

Personally, I would have chosen Strung Out, solely because of the math of it. With the harp, you only had to untangle and then string a total of 36 strings. With Stacked Up, you had to construct a 10 x 10 pyramid that would have to be built outside in the heat, after you carried all of the watermelons, and with a high probability of problems, since you’re stacking a total of 385 ROUND objects (do the math…it’s 385.)

- Most of the teams chose Stacked Up, and while Team Border Patrol breezed through it, many of the other teams had problems, leading to the time-honoured tradition of allowing the locals to laugh uproariously at the contestants. The problems included arguments, collapses, and even Bopper getting hit in the head with a watermelon, which prompted him to utter the title of tonight’s episode: “Bust Me Right In The Head With It.”

And for the record, I don’t consider that getting busted in the head with it…this is.

Vanessa tried to get in Bad Rachel’s kitchen, first suggesting that Team Divorce block in Team Reality Whores with their watermelon cart, but Ralph was more focused on getting the task done, than the ridiculously simple task of annoying Bad Rachel. Then there was talk of being able to see Bad Rachel’s ass while she was unloading watermelons, and it all resulted in Brenchel leaving and switching Detour tasks.

The reasoning Brendon gave us was: “Real quickly, Rachel and I realized that this task was going to be very very difficult.” Let me translate that for you: “Because Vanessa was being mean to my TV girlfriend, we decided to run away. You see, we like to talk about people behind their back instead of to their face on this Race. We’re cowards.”

Obviously, the major factor in the switch for Team Reality Whores was the fact that Vanessa was “talking smack”, as Rachel put it. Oh the irony…the Queen of Smack Talk from two seasons of Big Brother can’t take it when another strong-willed woman calls her out?

And of course, once Brenchel were in the cab, the venom started spewing, as Brendon said that “Vanessa is one of those girls who tries to be all sweet and pretty and nice”, which is CLEARLY a foreign concept to him, considering who his fiancé is. And then Rachel cattily said about Vanessa, “her disgusting smile is painted on just like her overdone makeup.”

- Strung Out was anticlimactic, and all of the teams that struggled with the watermelons ended up here. It was just a matter of hunkering down and getting it done, and most teams finished it in a decent amount of time, except for Team Twins. The only major element that came out of this was when Team Army arrived after switching, and saw all the other teams there…they decided to use their Express Pass.

- After finishing the Detour first, Team Border Patrol were instructed to head to Plaza De La Democracia where they found a Road Block that asked “Who’s ready to use their head?” Hey, I remember someone in a previous season who had to use their head! (That's right, FOUR times in one recap! BOOYAH!)

The Road Block required teams to learn a traditional Paraguayan Bottle Dance, which would mean they had to do specific dance moves while balancing a bottle on their head. If the bottle fell and broke, teams would be able to try again, but if they used all of the bottles they were provided (50 total) without accomplishing it, they would incur a two-hour penalty.

A couple of thoughts about this Road Block: First, I thought it was going to be so hard for teams, that it may have been a good strategy to just smash all of your bottles and get your 2 hour penalty started as soon as possible (remember Rob Mariano voluntarily taking the 4-hour penalty in TAR 7?), but most teams were able to do it.

Second, did you notice how easily the bottles were breaking? Either they were made of clear peanut brittle, or they were stunt glass bottles. That would explain the fact that, even though the Paraguayan women were sweeping up the pieces, nobody was cutting themselves by having bottles break in their hands, getting down on their stomach on the ground, and having the bottom of the bottle simply fall off while it was on their head.

- Team Border Patrol was confident, as JJ told us “Art’s got a big fat head, so this is gonna be good for him.” And sure enough, they finished the Road Block before another team had even arrived, and continued on to the Pit Stop at Escalinata De Antiquera, where Phil told them that they had won a trip to the Bahamas, although I’m not sure if Art actually heard what the prize was, since he was too busy breathing heavily and telling the model beside Phil “Wow, you’re really pretty.”

- Team Army was the second team to arrive at the Road Block after using their express pass, and Dave didn’t have a hope in hell of completing it, as he quickly smashed all 50 bottles while Good Rachel looked on helplessly. After winning the first two legs, they would now be faced with a two-hour penalty.

Here’s what I don’t get, though…why were they even given the clue and allowed to serve the penalty at the Pit Stop? In the past, teams had to wait out the penalty AT the site of the Detour/Road Block/Challenge, and then receive their next clue once the penalty time had elapsed. I didn’t understand why it was different this time.

- After everything was said and done at the Road Block, the order of finish at the Pit Stop was as follows: Team Reality Whores in 2nd (accompanied by more fake mat drama from Bad Rachel, whining and coughing), Team Guidos in 3rd, Team Kentucky in 4th, Team Fake Teachers in 5th, and Post-Penalty Team Army in 6th…only mere seconds out of 4th place.

Talk about a bad leg for Dave and Good Rachel. After winning the first two legs, they failed miserably on the Watermelon Detour, used the Express Pass late, and then failed even MORE miserably at the Road Block, resulting in a two hour penalty, dropping them from first to sixth. On top of that, they had to endure a speech from Phil at the mat, telling them that they were the first team to not complete a task and stay in the Race. (Translation: Everyone else did it, losers.)

- Team Badonkadonk finished in 7th, leaving only two teams…both of whom were still back at the Detour: Team Twins with the harps, and Team Divorce at the watermelons. Both teams considering switching, but stayed with their initial choice, working into the night to finally finish and move on to the Road Block.

And at the Road Block in the dark, once they saw the other team there, they were both revitalized. I wondered if this overall setup for the Road Block was fair, since when Vanessa and Ralph arrived, they (and presumably other teams before them) could clearly see what the Road Block was, therefore making the decision on who would do it easier, as Vanessa told Ralph “your head’s harder than mine.”

- She was right, and Hard-Headed Ralph finished first, launching Team Divorce into the 8th and final spot at the Pit Stop, with Elliot and Andrew close behind, finding out they were eliminated from the Race.

Not a good season for siblings.

Next Week: The Teams Travel To Italy, And Rachel Hates Brendon.

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Thanks for reading.


Anonymous said...

I like your recap this week. The reason why dave and rachel got to wait out the penalty at the pitstop was bc the road block was the last task before the pitstop. regardless of where the penalty was served, they still had to find the pit stop.

Kurt Sahr said...

I don't think Vanessa was talking about seeing Rachel's whole ass, I'm pretty sure her pants were tight enough Vanessa was talking about something else. I don't think they would have censored out the word "ass."

Michou said...

Call me crazy but I was rooting for bad Rachel when Vanessa was laughing at her :/

Kurt Sahr said...

Michou, I can't say I was rooting for Rachel, but Vanessa's comments did seem awfully unnecessary and really kind of changed my opinion of her (Vanessa).

HoH8 said...

Tsk,Tsk,Tsk now ur calling the Great Team of Brenchel "Team Reality Whores"...good for u that they are making u SUFFER watching them race, lol...

2nd Place again..Oh Yeah!!

so now as a Brenchel Fan, i have 3 teams that i HATE that they also hate...Team Divorce...Team Army... and Team Border Patrol, who im hoping will leave soon...☺...

Anonymous said...

She was REALLY pretty!

Art and JJ

oggy said...

like this . kute .

Beth said...

I don't know how anyone else feels about it, but my boyfriend and I both think Team Army totally wasted their Express Pass. To us, the point of an Express Pass is to skip a task you literally cannot do or to save yourself from elimination, not just to skip something you don't feel like doing or to try to finish a little higher in the pack. Actually, we think they probably could have finished higher if they'd gone ahead and strung the harp, because then they could have skipped the bottle dance (the task they actually had problems with) and checked in at the pit stop.

Barefootchorister said...

Let me preface my comment by saying I'm a HUGE "bad" Rachel fan.
Now that that's taken care of-
I have to say that either A) I'm watching TAR and SOW when I'm tired and can't guess anything, B) the editors are getting better, or C) the contestants are actually competing neck and neck this season. Or a combo of all three. I could not believe that Team Army ended up so far back in the pack, I thought for sure that they would wait out their time and then check in becaue of how far behind the other teams were. I thought stacking watermelons would be easier. And I'm a musician!
I was a little surprised you didn't say more about Vanessa carrying on about whatever she thought she was seeing of Rachel's (I mean there wasn't a blur was there?). I mean I know you HATE Brenchel because they essentially ruined BB for you, and yeah maybe CBS is editting to drum up sympathy for Brenchel (hey I can admit it), but yelling your head off about another woman's butt, much less her lady parts is a major bitch move. I thought it deserved more comment, even if it was a "this Vanessa girl is HEE-larious".
On that note, as a woman, I think Vanessa is appalling and disgusting. I mean really, you are in a foreign country, you are on national television, conduct yourself like it. Wouldn't it have been an interesting turn of events if she had merely gone up to Rachel and said "Hon, your bits are showing"? Then we all could have had a good laugh at Rachel's expense and moved on to wondering why it would take a soccer player so long to balance something on his head.

Looking forward to your next update and happy be-lated birthday! :)

Licia said...

@Beth, in hindsight it seems clear that Dave & Rachel would have been able to survive the leg anyway as long as they weren't absolutely terrible at stringing harps. However I think in the moment Dave & Rachel actually thought they were in danger of elimination, because they were the last team to arrive at the Harp Detour and didn't know that Elliot & Andrew and Vanessa & Ralph would struggle so much at the Detour. Even if they hadn't used the Express Pass, they probably would've used it at the Roadblock to avoid the 2 hour penalty (the only reason they survived it this time was because they had a lead from the Express Pass). I thought it was a pretty good call on their part since it would have been a complete waste to be eliminated with the Express Pass still in hand.

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