Great news everyone! The Amazing Race 9 premiered on Tuesday with nary a family, a patriotic ode, nor a hypocritically religious crazy woman suffering from a bad perm. It’s all we could have asked for, really. Yes, our favorite adventure reality show returned in fine form — although, I must admit that the first twenty minutes were oddly slow to me. Maybe that’s because I watched it last night while deadly tired. Still, once the teams arrived in Brazil, the show definitely perked up — or maybe I caught my second wind (notice my reticence to ever bash The Amazing Race). I don’t know. Either way, I’m glad the Race is back.The big show started out with none other than Phil Keoghan greeting us from the fine city of Denver, Colorado. He came to us with slightly shorter hair than usual (must have been enjoying a summer holiday in Auckland), but more importantly, that old trademark was back. The one thing that let us know we were back to basics in season nine. Yes, Phil was decked out in his big, puffy, ribbed turtleneck — a sartorial gesture that seemed to say, “It’s okay. It’ll be just like old times.” What a way to start the season!
We then caught up with the teams who were filing into Colorado’s famous Red Rocks Amphitheater. First up were Lake and Michelle, a married couple who also served as dentist and dentist’s assistant. If thoughts of Steve Martin in Little Shop of Horrors came to mind, you were not far off. Yes, Blake was the typical insane Southern maniac who excused his behavior as merely rampant and misunderstood “intensity.” I’m sure that’s how Hitler described himself too. Of course, at this early point in the episode, we couldn’t really tell just how villainous Blake was or will be, but I had a bad feeling about him — mostly due to his uncanny resemblance to Phil. He was kind of like Phil with brown hair. A DarkPhil, if you will. And DarkPhil can only mean one thing: PURE EVIL. If only he had an eye patch…
LightPhil vs. DarkPhil
As for Lake’s wife, Michelle, she was merely content to live in a fantasy world — one where her existence was validated by some delusion of carrying the Scarlett O’Hara torch. She noted that her relationship with Lake “probably does exemplify women from the South, the old era of Scarlett making it through the war and doing whatever she has to do.” Never mind that it’s 2006, not 1864, we’ll just let Michelle be. I’m sure she’ll be taking enough abuse throughout the season.
The next duo we met were Danielle and Dani, childhood friends from Staten Island who apparently derived great joy from dancing awkwardly on bar tops. Then there were BJ and Tyler, two Harvard hippie friends who surely ripened any form of mass transportation with their patchouli “essence.” The guys described themselves as “searchers for the funny and ironic” — as evidenced by them swinging fake swords, shooting imaginary guns, and plucking ukuleles. I could tell that I would have massive disdain for these two, but then when they promised feats of treachery and deceit, I retracted my stinkin’ thinkin’. Maybe there was more to these guys than met the eye (or the nostril).
We then met Ray and Yolanda, a long-distance dating African American couple. They seemed like pretty friendly people. I took a shine to them, and who couldn’t appreciate Yolanda’s uninhibited use of extreme super short shorts? Next were John and Scott, the “lifelong friends” whose love for life was only exceeded by their passion for lumbering, gigantic dogs. The two men had apparently been friends from high school, and back in those days, Scott’s dad once called John “his tallest daughter.” Yes, these two were the token gay couple of the season. Or were they? “I love him like a brother, and nothing more than that,” Scott said of John. So they weren’t a couple? Or were they? Yes, it was the real life incarnation of the Ambiguously Gay Duo, not seen since Big Brother 5′s Jase and Scott. Well, then there was Landon and MJ on The Real World: Philly too. Okay, I guess this really isn’t a very unique phenomenon. Moving on…
Either those dogs are really big, or John and Scott are really small.
Of course, no season could ever be complete without a bland, forgettable couple with tendencies towards bitterness and scoffing. This time around, that honor went to Joseph and Monica, a milquetoast duo who annoyingly merged their names into “Team Mojo.” Personally, I would have opted for Team Moseph or Josica, but that’s just me. “There’s no stopping the Mojo,” Joseph laughed in an interview. Pure genius, Joseph. Your humor will be the backbone of this season.
Next were the affable Eric and Jeremy, two beach bums who contentedly spent their days working as a bartender and valet respectively. The two talked about gettin’ girls and whatnot, and while they seemed ripe for ridicule and mocking, the truth was that they were just two dorky guys trying to have fun. “We would like to be millionaires,” Jeremy started.
“But we don’t want to work for it,” Eric then said, causing the two to chuckle. Hey, at least they’re honest about it.
Next were two tall women with vaguely lesbianish appearances. Turns out they were sisters named Lisa and Joanie. But wait, they were more than just two middle-aged women with Alexis Stewart’s hairstyle. “We are superheroes! We are the Glamazons!” they proclaimed. And this was demonstrated by the two trying on tiaras and applying rhinestones with a Bedazzler. These two women annoyed me, but I was amused by their cartoonish reaction to successfully bedazzling one stud onto a piece of fabric. Seriously, how much mileage has Bedazzler gotten out of reality TV?
We then met Fran and Barry, our obligatory old couple. For some reason, I always root for the old fogeys. Probably has something to do with underdogs and whatnot. These two didn’t really bring anything to the table that we haven’t already seen. Then there were Wanda and Desiree, or as I like to call them, Wanda and Norah Jones. Yes, this mother and daughter team was ready to attack the Race, well, as soon as they were done with their fondue set. I really do wonder who choses the inane props these people must play with at the beginning of every season. Anyway, I liked these two, and let it be known that Desiree was absolutely beautiful. Just let it be known.
Last, but not least were Dave and Lori, two self-proclaimed nerds of the group (as opposed to the completely un-nerdy duos of BJ and Tyler and Jeremy and Eric). These two were all sweet and cuddly, full of big grins, awkward teeth, and proud accomplishments. “I’m really great at taking tests,” David bragged. And as we all know, The Amazing Race is littered with SATs and MCATs.
With all the teams out of the way, we could finally move onto the race. Phil told everyone all the rules, and then, with a twinkle in his eye and a puff in his turtleneck, he swooshed his arm down, thus officially kicking off the race. The teams immediately scrambled out of the amphitheater, finding their bags in a nearby parking lot and learning that they would then be flying to São Paulo, Brazil. They could only take one of three flights on either Continental, United, and American. Oh, and they couldn’t call ahead and book their tickets. Everyone hopped into their Mercedeses (looks like the show has become quite flashy in old age), and as they sped off to the airport, those always wonderful opening credits scrolled across the screen.
About five minutes later (I needed about four and a half minutes to replay the intro, hum the music to myself), we returned to the race where Monica (she of Team MoJo) marveled at how the hippies had somehow gotten in front of her and Joseph. “How the hell did they run so fast? They haven’t been smoking pot for a while, I guess,” she said. Look, they’re searching for the funny and ironic! Nothing’s going to stop them! NOTHING!
The Glamazon sisters, meanwhile, marveled at their budget for this leg of the race. “We have $140 bucks… to probably eat monkey testicles or something like that,” one of them said, later adding, “That money could be going towards a new Bedazzler. A wacky, wacky Bedazzler. Like us! We’re wacky!!”
Also concerned about their money were Eric and Jeremy who wanted to use their funds on barhopping and picking up chicks. At this point, Jeremy made some harmless joke (his second or third one) and followed it up with this strange, little, high-pitched, panting/laughing noise. We got to see it a few times in the episode, and I’m convinced it will become a running theme. Watch for it, people.
We later cut back to the sisters who explained a little bit why they were on this crazy race to begin with. “I’m almost fifty, and I want to unsheathe my womanhood,” said one of them. I didn’t exactly know what she meant by that, but it sort of sounded gross and disturbing coming from her. Glamazon? More like GLAMADON’T! Sorry, I felt like being sassy for a moment.
Meanwhile, over in Scarlett O’Hara’s Mercedes of antebellum glee, Lake told his wife to pull over and book the plane tickets from a pay phone. Sounds like a good idea, but as we all knew, NOT ALLOWED. Looks like somebody didn’t want to read all of his clue. This could only end with a lot of hissing and “dang nabbits.”
Well, while Lake and Michelle pulled over and violated the hallowed rules of The Amazing Race, everyone else parked their cars and boarded various airline shuttles. John and Scott and Lisa and Joni wound up on one bus together, and unsurprisingly, they hit it off immediately. The guys were so happy with their new female companions (platonically, natch) that they even revealed their special nicknames for them: Frosties. Why? Don’t know. Maybe it had to do with something in their hair? Or maybe John and Scott were just painfully uncreative. Yeah, probably that. Either way, the girls were tickled pink — or lime green, rather (their designated color) — but then again, it didn’t take much to get Lisa and Joni screaming. They could come across an acorn on the sidewalk and be yelling with joy two seconds later.
Anyway, the teams finally entered the airport where they had to choose between flights. American arrived in Brazil first, followed by United, and Continental. This, of course, led to lots of sprinting across the terminals, followed by anxious mingling in the ticket lines. Danielle and Dani were big hits with the guys, with Tyler and BJ anointing them Team Double D. Monica, meanwhile, began tearing up when it became evident that she and Joseph wouldn’t be Mojo-ing on the American Airlines flight. “Are you seriously crying?” Joseph asked unsympathetically. Hark! The decline of Team MOJO!!!
Back on the road, Michelle suddenly realized that Lake had made a huge mistake. You see, she actually deigned to read the instructions on the clue (so very Scarlett of her) and discovered that their little pay phone move was in fact verboten. “Dang gummit!” Lake said (or something like that. My Twang-To-English translators were a little off). Anyway, this caused Lake to have a pensive moment, leading him to eventually admit, “I’m sorry. That was partially my fault, really.” Partially? Who else’s fault was it? God’s? Phil Keoghan’s? The camera man’s?
Meanwhile, in the airport, teams continued to book their flights. Well, most of the teams did. Dave and Lori were busy kissing and cooing to each other. They were a cute duo, albeit, slightly annoying with their nonstop affection. And it didn’t really help that any time the camera trained on them, the producers played whimsically silly “Nerds In Love!” music. Still, it’s hard to scoff at two people who seem to have no Hollywood aspirations (you know Mojo is blanketing Hollywood with their headshots as we speak). By the way, Lori is totally the Amazing Race‘s version of Diana Eng.
Elsewhere in the Denver International Airport, Lake and Michelle bolted to the ticket desk, outpacing Ray and Yolanda. “Michelle, you better run! That black girl’ll outrun you!!” Lake yelled. Oh, so he’s one of THOSE! Well, let’s sharpen up our knives, shall we?? Maybe Lake and Michelle really are living in 1864 after all…
A few minutes later, the two teams caught up with each other in line and made fast friends. “Hey, what’s your name, man?” Ray asked. Don’t worry, Lake. You can speak to the black man. “Lake, man,” he said, adding, “Like the ocean.” Well, lakes and oceans are two entirely differently things, but that’s okay.
Ray then responded, “Ray. Like the sun.” Okay, seriously, what’s with the vaguely naturalistic/Native American introductions? Was Michelle going to say “My name is Michelle, like the mighty buffalo on the prairie wide”?
Anyway, everyone finally boarded their planes, and to my great thrill, the producers provided us with an elaborate flight diagram. You know the type — with lots of lines all moving to different places and connecting cities. The best. We then cut to Phil appearing atop the next destination, the Hotel Unique. Sadly, Phil had shed his turtleneck for the more apt button down black shirt. I suppose it was the sensible thing to do in the steamy Brazilian climate, but if he really wanted to make up for last season, he would wear that damn turtleneck all day every day.
Well, even though American was slated to arrive first, the flight actually had a delay, and United wound up touching down at the front of the pack (United? Without a delay? This really is a bizarro season already). Anyway, Eric and Jeremy hopped into a cab and frantically asked the driver if he had possibly seen Team Double D on the prowl. “Did you see pretty girls with big boobs?” Eric asked. Dude, you’re in Brazil. Pretty girls with big boobs are EVERYWHERE! Nevertheless, Danielle and Dani were nearby, and luckily for them, their cabbie thought they were celebrities. I would have liked to have seen them attempt an Olsen twins fakeout, but that’s just me.
Elsewhere, Lisa and Joni received a crash course in romantic languages. You see, one of the sisters (I can’t tell them apart yet) didn’t realize that Spanish and Portuguese were two different languages. And who could blame her? I mean, just because they sound different and just because they’re spoken by different populations and just because one is called “Spanish” and the other is called “Portuguese” doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re actually two different languages. “I thought Spanish was like the universal language of the world,” the sister said. Okay, she’s clearly been depending on The Amazing Race too much for her knowledge of other cultures. Let’s not forget, this is the show that has popularized yelling “RAPIDO! RAPIDO!” in countries such as Russia and India.
Anyway, teams began showing up at the Hotel Unique, which was a strange, semi-circle-shaped building. This, of course, led to many, many people commenting things like “Gosh, this really is unique!” or “I can see why they call this unique!” or “When man created the word ‘Unique’ this is what he meant!” Okay, we get it. It’s unique! It’s in the hotel’s name. You don’t have to reiterate it!
Wow! That IS unique!
Nevertheless, once teams found their clue on the hotel roof, they then had to drive three miles away to the Viaduto Santa Efigenia, which was basically, an old bridge. Wanda and Desiree led the pack, but Jeremy and Eric were hot on their tails. Their beautiful, beautiful tails. The two beach bums took pause, however, when they encountered their dream girls — a.k.a. Danielle and Dani — outside the hotel unloading their cab.
“Hi Pinkies!” Eric called out to them. “That’s Jeremy, and I’m Eric, by the way.”
“Oh hi, Jeremy and Eric. See you later!” the girls said, quickly brushing past them. SCORE! Well played, guys. Well played. Later, the girls mocked the two. “‘Hi, I’m Jeremy and I’m Eric.’ Shut up,” one of them laughed.
“Yeah, shut the frig up. ‘Hi Pinkies!’” the other said in response.
“Is that what they said? Retards,” the first girl then said. Sadly, we all know the two teams will totally be hooking up with each other by the end of week three.
Dave and Lorie, meanwhile, were already hooking up. Again. And again. And again. Yes, it was all kisses, all the time on this voyage, and there was no occasion that wasn’t kiss worthy. Grab the clue? Kissy time! Hail a cab? How about a kiss! Scratch your elbow? I smell a kiss!! But even better was the secret Dave and Lorie handshake, which they premiered in the back seat of one cab. It was your standard hand-clenching, finger-flapping, elaborate display. Kind of sweet, kind of nerdy — just like them. You know that if it were Diana Eng, magnets would be involved.
As for John and Scott, they had been doing well, but they were mired in that most dangerous and unpredictable of Amazing Race pitfalls: the crappy taxi driver. Yes, they were stuck in traffic with a cabbie who had no idea where to go. This could only lead to bad things, but since these guys weren’t particularly interesting, I didn’t mind that much. Besides, John was turning into a major priss. Just stay in the traffic and be eliminated. Good riddance.
Meanwhile, DarkPhil and Michelle bolted into the Hotel Unique, yelling, “Hey, did a black team just come through here?” Gosh, those pesky black people are just the bane of Lake’s existence! Poor Lake. If only he had been one season earlier, he could have said things like “That Black family” or “That Black person” and gotten away with it.
Speaking of “a black team,” Ray and Yolanda were presently racing through the streets in their cab. Ray urged the cabbie to speed up, but Yolanda calmed him down, doing a funny impression that sadly just doesn’t translate to text. Nevertheless, the fact that she did it upped her coolness level quite a bit.
Over at the bridge, Wanda and Desiree found the clue box which housed this season’s first Detour: motor head or rotor head. In motor head, teams had to assemble a motorcycle. It could be difficult, but those who were mechanically inclined might speed through it, or so Phil said. In rotor head, teams had to travel to a heliport, locate one of three buildings in a flight directory, take a ticket for said building, and then fly to it in a helicopter. Once there, they then had to search the area for a clue. But lo! Each building had a limited number of tickets, so while some people could fly over to a building nearby, others might have to travel a long distance to complete the task. Sounds more complicated than it really was. Basically, teams had to take a helicopter ride.
Well, various teams got their clue from the bridge, and then there were Fran and Barry. Like every single old couple since the show’s inception — it seems — they talked a big talk about wisdom and competing against youth, and then what did they do? They wandered bewilderedly right by the clue box over and over and over again. Could we have one old couple that doesn’t get lost and disoriented? Just once? For thirty minutes these two walked up and down the bridge, and at multiple times, they marched right past the box. This led to the camera frequently zooming in on the box, as if to say “IDIOTS!!!” At one point, the camera seemed to be already trained on the box before the couple had even walked by, and yet Fran and Barry still missed it. Guys — when you see your camera man focusing on a box on the side of the bridge, chances are, that’s THE BOX!
Seriously, how do you miss that?
Faring better were the hippies who were already on the way to the heliport. “So what if we didn’t wear deodorant this morning?” BJ asked. So what?? Hey, I can smell you through the TV. Can’t you just stop off at a Brazilian Rite-Aid and pick up some Old Spice?
Random aside: what’s Abruzzi from Prison Break doing in this Volkswagen commercial?
Back at the bridge, Fran and Barry continued to wander around while Team Double D snuck in and snatched a clue out from right under their noses. In a surprise move, the girls actually opted for the motorcycle challenge. I always love seeing people on The Amazing Race doing something I never would have expected them to do. That being said, I could not see this ending favorably for these two.
Meanwhile, John and Scott had come to a critical — and passive aggressive — impasse. John wanted to get out of the cab, and Scott, well, he didn’t really talk much. He was more of a “Hey, let me ignore you and look out of the window” type. Nevertheless, this caused dramatic John to remark, “Okay, YOU stop being so negative and try to help.” I was hoping he’d top this off with a few air snaps, but alas, no such luck.
Well, Dave and Lori surprisingly showed up at the heliport first and were soon joined by BJ, Tyler, Eric, and Jeremy who had all wound up at a military base by accident. Oops. And over at the motorcycle place, Team Double D showed up and were immediately and utterly lost. They weren’t as lost as Fran and Barry, however, who were STILL hunting for the damn clue box. They might as well have worn t-shirts that said “We’re old and clueless.” It wasn’t until Mojo showed up that the old people finally figured out that the clue box was right. under. their. noses. Well, Mojo opted for Rotor while Fran and Barry chose… Motor? Again, another odd choice, but apparently Fran insisted that she could do it. Why are the most random, mechanically disinclined people choosing the motorcycle challenge?
Moments later, Lake and Michelle arrived at the bridge, causing Joseph to comment, “There is Scott Peterson right there.” Okay, Joseph earns a point on the cool scale for that. He’s still got quite a ways to go before escaping the Frendra stigma though. As for Lake, he found the clue box pretty easily, but I’m surprised he didn’t yell out, “Anyone see the black feller? Black guy? Anywhere?”
And hey, remember those annoying sisters? Well, they were stuck in traffic — and a stench. “Did you fart?” one of them asked. Luckily, her sister said no, but still, did we really need the image of a “Glamazon” farting?
As hour two began (feel free to pause here, get a snack or whatnot. This is a loooong recap), we found John and Scott still sitting in their damn cab. Finally, they stepped out and wandered around the streets, passing the time with some stereotypically gay snipping and passive aggressive bickering. Unsurprisingly, no one wanted to help these guys, let alone talk with them. If only they had their oversized dogs with them. A little canine intimidation surely would have done the trick.
Back with the Frosties a.k.a. the Glamazons a.k.a. Bee & Dazzler, the time in the cab had afforded them an opportunity to reflect on the Brazilian lifestyle. “They live like this,” one of the sisters said, adding, “They don’t know. It’s a culture!” What are you babbling about? You’re making no sense right now. By the way, did anyone else notice how gigantic her hand looked at that angle? It was a behemoth. Nevertheless, the sisters ended this thought-provoking discussion by urging their cabbie, “Fast, fast.” Hey, at least they didn’t yell “RAPIDO! RAPIDO! ANDELE!!!”
That is a large hand.
Well, Jeremy and Eric, or Jeric (as I referred to them in my notes) were the first team to complete the Detour, and for their next stop, they had to trek to the neighborhood of Santa Cecilia, find a warehouse, witness a traditional religious ceremony, and light a candle to get the next clue. They hopped into their helicopter and headed off while another one swooped in to pick up BJ and Tyler. “Dude, is this the most James Bond thing you’ve ever done?” Tyler asked, marveling at the helicopters. I don’t know if I would have said “James Bond.” More like Action News 8 Traffic Tracker. But I guess that doesn’t sound as cool (unless you work for Fox, whose Los Angeles affiliate treats their traffic reporter like a Navy SEAL who frees hostages every time he takes off in Skyfox 11).
Meanwhile, Dave and Lori’s helicopter landed on a building, and the two lovebirds hustled down a staircase and into a random office to search for their clue. And as always, they had their special “We’re nerds, and we’re happy about it!” music playing all the while. They quickly found their bright yellow envelope sitting under a coffee machine in the office kitchenette. Now, how random was that? Could you imagine being at work, and there’s a damn clue for the Amazing Race right in the break room? That’s like walking into your cubicle and finding Tribal Council going on. I can just imagine Jeff Probst rolling his eyes and saying, “Excuse me, but we’re in the middle of this.” At which point I would slink away.
Well, Dave and Lori headed back on their helicopter, as did Wanda and Desiree who found their clue hidden in a luxurious suite in the third building (Wanda could not stop gushing about how wonderful it was. Hey, if you like it so much, why don’t you just marry it, WANDA?). Meanwhile, down on the ground, Team Mojo found themselves with one of those typically lame cab drivers who drives slowly and goes in the wrong direction. C’mon cabbie! This is a race! Get with the program! They have matching t-shirts, dammit!!
Any cool points Joseph earned by calling Lake “Scott Peterson,” were soon lost, however, when he grew frustrated with the driver and scoffed as if he were in the scoffing championships. Eventually, Joseph resorted to simply yelling “Amigo! Amigo!” It’s understandable, really. When I get annoyed, I often yell “FRIEND! FRIEND!” It’s pretty effective. You should try it.
Over at the motorcycle place, Double D was about to throw in the towel when all of a sudden, Fran and Barry showed up. If grandma could put this thing together (and she assured us she could), then maybe it was worth sticking around for after all. So Danielle and Dani loitered a bit, trying to glean any information off Team Frarry (in case you can’t tell, I have a mild fixation with smushing names. Portmanteaus, if you will). It didn’t take too long for the girls to realize that Fran had absolutely no idea what she was doing (surprising, given her proficiency with finding that clue box before), and off they went to the helicopters, hoping to salvage whatever they could from this ill-advised Detour choice.
Rhett and Scarlett showed up at the motorcycle place next, and as they assembled their bike, Lake promised the old couple that he’d help them once he was done — and had Fran and Barry not been totally clueless, they would have simply left right then and there because honestly, did anyone believe that Lake would really help them?
Yolanda and Ray arrived at the place next, causing Lake to snip, “He’ll never put that together quicker than I will.” He then added, “That black guy, all he can do is eat watermelon and fried chicken. Yeehaw!!” Okay, maybe Lake isn’t that bad, but it sher is fun to vilify him! As for Yolanda, she had to deal with the unwanted catcalls and jeers of the local Brazilian men, all of whom were fixated on watching her grab various motorcycle parts. But don’t worry. Ray leveled them all with the evilest of evil eyes. Even I felt like I had done something wrong. If we’re lucky, we’ll get to see him snap sometimes this series. And it won’t be pretty.
Back at the bridge, John and Scott’s traffic woes finally passed as they found the Detour clue. They opted for rotor head, even though John had a debilitating fear of flying. Moments later, the sisters happened upon the clue box, and after a spate of ear-piercing screaming, they too decided to go for the helicopters. And with that, more screaming was had.
Meanwhile, David and Lori landed on terra firma, and as they headed to the religious ceremony, Dave reflected, “We kissed in a helicopter above São Paulo… We’ll remember that forever.” Aw, that’s sweet. Granted, they probably have a lot of those “memories”:
“We kissed at the Olive Garden just as our breadsticks arrived. We’ll remember that forever.”
“We kissed at the Olive Garden AFTER our breadsticks arrived. We’ll remember that forever.”
“We kissed at the Olive Garden just as our second basket of breadsticks arrived. We’ll remember that forever.”
Elsewhere in the huge city of São Paulo, Mojo finally got to the heliport thanks to their new AMIGO! AMIGO! and like Dave and Lori, they flew to the second building and also had to scour an office for their clue. This time, they brushed by some woman standing around, Xeroxing. And again, I couldn’t help but think how random it would be to be copying something and then have the Amazing Race literally speed in behind me. I think that would be awesome. I’d totally be one of those people who aggressively helps a team. You know, go along for a ride all day and help with local navigation — only to be dropped off in some remote location with absolutely no idea how to get back to my car.
Back in the motorcycle shop, Fran and Barry still stood around, waiting for Lake to help out. By the way, Fran and Barry totally remind me of that old couple in the Citibank commercial that plays the ukulele. You know the one? Where at the end, the wife says that her husband missed a verse. Are you with me people? Huh? Okay, I’ll move on. Anyway, point was that Fran and Barry were clearly making a huge strategic mistake by waiting around for another team to save them. And while they twiddled their thumbs, Lake attacked the motorcycle like it were some alligator he was trying to strangle.
“Don’t be my DEMISE!!!” he seethed at one point. And yes, that’s totally going to be my new catch phrase. I just hope he doesn’t say that to his poor, poor dental patients when pulling a tooth. (You know he does.)
Eventually, Lake and Michelle finished the task, and as they put on their backpacks, the angry dentist gave Fran and Barry some vague assistance along the lines of “The screw goes in the spark plug. The spark plug goes next to the engine. The engine goes under the seat. And that’s all folks!” Yes, in a move that surprised no one but the gullible old folks, DarkPhil gave about three pieces of advice and then jetted outta there. Fran and Barry then toiled for about thirty seconds until they realized that maybe this Detour might not be such a great idea. And so they hopped in a cab and drove to the helicopters.
“This could be our downfall,” Fran uttered. Well, I would have pegged the downfall on spending over a half an hour walking by the clue box on the bridge, but I suppose this works too. Fran then seemed to get mildly choked up as she said, “This is very sad. A sad day.” Okay, it’s not like the Holocaust just happened all over again. You just messed up a little on a glorified game show. Keep it together, Fran.
Also in need of keeping it together were the Glamazons who were becoming increasingly annoying with every passing minute they were on screen. In fact, I had a feeling they were hamming it up for the cameras. My strongest bit of evidence: the non-stop screaming from these two. When they arrived at the Detour, they once again lost it for no real reason. They did quiet down for a few precious seconds as they skimmed through the flight handbook, but once they received tickets to go up in a helicopter, the screaming began again. Louder. And louder. And louder still. One of them even claimed to have peed in her pants, which was good — she deserved to soak in her own nastiness after all the auditory pain we’d had to suffer through. (Don’t worry, I can be bitter like that because it was clear that she hadn’t actually peed in her pants.)
Meanwhile, Fran and Barry and Scott and John had also arrived at the Detour and were all furiously leafing through their flight handbooks. The old people rebounded from previous idiocy to find a building very quickly, and on top of that, it happened to be the closest building of all. Scott and John, however, had no such luck, thus leading to a cavalcade of rolled eyes, annoyed sighs, snippy remarks, and fussy turning of the pages.
Over at the front of the pack, Jeremy and Eric and Tyler and BJ arrived at the religious ceremony. After a little dancing with the locals (including a massive snake) the teams received their next clue which sent them to the Estadio de Pacaembu where Phil and his soccer sidekick awaited. I didn’t know who the sidekick was (probably some former superstar like Pélé), but he seemed contented to hang out and bounce a ball on his head. I personally would have liked to have seen Phil take a stab at it a few times. I bet he could balance that ball on his nose like a seal.
Up in the skies, we then paused for an Awww moments as Barry told Fran, “I couldn’t think of anybody I’d want to do this with more. You’re the best.” I could almost hear a woman sing, “Every kiss begins with Kay…” Elsewhere, Rhett and Scarlett showed up at the religious ceremony. I was surprised Lake didn’t pull Michelle aside and whisper “Black people! Everywhere!” Back at the Detour, the sisters retrieved their clue and returned back to the heliport, but alas, there were no cabs to be found. Perhaps the incessant screaming had scared off all cabbies in a three mile radius. Anyway, in typical Amazing Race style, the show went to commercial, and when we came back, sure enough, the sisters found a cab. Ain’t it wonderful how that works?
Meanwhile, at the soccer stadium, the hippies and the beach bums raced for first place, but in the end total slackertude beat out groovy body odor. Jeremy and Eric slid into at Phil’s mat, taking first place and a cool $10,000 each. “Don’t go to school! Drop out!!” yelled an excited Eric. Yay lessons from reality TV!
Well, BJ and Tyler arrived in second place, and even though Dave and Lori showed up at the stadium next, they entered through the wrong gate, allowing Wanda and Desiree to sneak into third place. And no, Dave and Lori did not reflect, “We kissed at the soccer stadium after we walked in the wrong gate. We’ll always remember that!”
Lake and Michelle took fifth place, causing Lake to freak out with excitement. “RIGHT HERE!” he yelled, beckoning Michelle to slap him five. His poor kids must be mortified when he shows up to Little League games. You just know he’s that guy in the stands cheering way too competitively.
Coming in sixth place was the ever bland Team Mojo, followed by Ray and Yolanda and Team Double D. So now it was down to John and Scott and Lisa and Joni. I had to admit, I was pretty happy. Usually on the season premieres, I grow frustrated that a potentially interesting and fun team gets squashed before we get to know them (like those two hillbilly guys on season seven). But I could do without either of these bottom-dwelling teams. Surely I thought John and Scott would be goners, but then again, they had an ace up the sleeve. A little something they like to call, “The Genie.”
“Genie power is we have to think of what we want, and then it comes true,” John explained. Oh, totally scientific. “Let’s hope it works. Hasn’t failed us yet,” John said. And with that, he crossed his arms, Barbara Eden style, and made some sort of weird, supposedly genie-esque sound. Well! Looks like these guys have it in the bag now!
Sadly for them, looks like the genie was busy doing other things because the Glamazons took that last available spot on Phil’s mat. Oh well. The guys approached Phil with trepidation, and when our host gave them an extra long PhilStare™, they knew something was up.
“Talk,” John urged. Listen, when it comes to Phil Keoghan, you do NOT call the shots, Mister! Nevertheless, John and Scott suffered the first Philimination of the season. On the bright side, now they could go back home and tend to their colossal, Skull Island-sized dogs. Bring on the second leg!
What did you think? Happy with the teams? Who’s your favorite? Who do you hate? And what do you think about Lake’s comments — underlying racism or just a poorly worded phrase taken out of context?