The Amazing Race continued its high-speed trek around the globe last night as it spent another eventful night touring the fish markets and ancient ruins of Sicily. The episode wasn’t quite as exciting as last week’s pulse-pounding adventure, but it still was entertaining and funny enough to pass the hour effortlessly. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find any ratings information, but I’m hoping the show recaptured some of the viewers it had lost in that dark and lonely Tuesday timeslot. I mean, how could people resist the Race? Phil even danced, and if that’s not worth a few ratings points, I don’t know what is.The show started off in the ancient town of Segesta, Italy where the Hippies emerged from the Pit Stop first. Their clue told them to drive to the city of Catania, and thus, this week’s Phonics Butchery Olympics began. The Hippies called the town “Catalina” (wrong) and then after a little bit of stuttering, Tyler simply said, “Let’s drive to that town that we can’t pronounce.” Man, if these Harvard-educated hippies couldn’t tackle “Catania,” I couldn’t even imagine how the other teams would mangle it. I already had visions of Monica saying “Catolona? Catooono? Coconut? Paller-mo?”
Anyway, as the Hippies trotted off, we then caught up with them in an interview as they talked about their friendly rivals, Jeremy and Eric. “They’re definitely dumb,” BJ said. Yeah, that’s like me announcing that Martin Luther King Jr. is black. Nevertheless, BJ continued: “But people who are very dumb wind up having the best luck a lot of time. But eventually, dumb luck runs out.” And when dumb luck runs out, that’s when the fun begins:
We then returned to the Hippies, who had taken a brief pause from the race to scratch a dog’s belly. A stray dog’s belly, mind you. Uh, who were they calling dumb before? Hope they enjoy the rabies! Cut to BJ foaming at the mouth, trying to bite Phil. Creepy.
Next out of the gate was the ever lovable, ever thick-headed Team Jeric. “As a valet and a waiter, we haven’t traveled the world as much as the Hippies,” Eric said. He then added, “Come to think of it, as a valet and a waiter, we haven’t really done much of anything at all. Wow… Hey, look! A cotton ball!”
Okay, okay. He didn’t say that last part, but that didn’t prevent me from hearing the quiet calliope music playing in Jeremy’s head. The two mimbos then ran off in chase of those infernal Hippies and their “pixie dust” (as Jeremy called it), and then next, we found Joseph and Monica, Team Jomo! Oh, I mean, Mojo. Sure enough, they butchered “Catania” by calling it “Catina,” but personally, I was more bothered by the fact that in their interview, the two were literally sitting on top of each other. Seriously, there are two seats. SPREAD OUT!
They HATE multiple chairs.
Anyway, as Mojo trekked to the mysterious town of “Catina,” they stopped some random dude on the street and asked for directions. Moments later, Joseph noted how crazy it was in these countries how you could stop someone at 5 AM, and they don’t expect to be murdered. Listen, Joseph, you’re in Sicily. They do murder differently there:
Next on the road were Fran and Barry who were so sure about where to go that they didn’t even need to stop for directions. After all, driving around and following maps is their thing, as they’re often proud to note. Unfortunately, for two people who brag so much about their navigational skills, you’d think they’d find something better than the little map they were using in their tourist guide book. I mean, if Jeric could find a sprawling map (literally, it like took up the whole dashboard), I think Fran and Barry should have been able to find one also. Then again, chances are Fran and Barry walked by the map vendor twelve times, saying, “There has to be someone around here who sells maps. I can’t believe this. Keep an eye out!”
Meanwhile, at the front of the pack, the Hippies arrived at the next destination, and here’s a shock: the old ruins they were supposed to access wouldn’t be open until 8:30 AM. With nothing else to do, the guys then found a pen and paper and decided to write a “team order” sign and post it on the gate, just to see if anyone would fall for it. Chances are no one would fall for it — after all, it was handwritten on what looked like Sheraton stationery, but then again, you can never overlook the stupidity of Jeric. They actually covered their heads when they saw the trailer for Chicken Little.
Back at the Pit Stop, Lake and Michelle emerged full of the usual hyper-kinetic energy, and right off the bat, they were making blunders. The clue said they had $63 for this leg of the race, but wait! They only had $61! “We’re short! We’re short!” Blake panicked. Dang GUMMIT! We done didn’t get our moneys!!!
Luckily, eagle-eyed Michelle knew something was up. She opened up the clue again and guess what? She found the two remaining dollars! KAN-KO-WEE-GO!!!
The couple then hopped in their car and began their trek across the island. “It’s not hard to figure out where to go, obviously,” Lake said. Mmm hmmm. This comes from the man who makes at least three wrong turns every episode (triple dang nabbit on that). Anyway, as the two drove, Lake revealed that he really wanted to sleep a few hours longer and that all the sleep deprivation was starting to irritate him. Wow, and here I thought it was them black people that was gettin’ his goat.
Next out of the gate were the Nerds who were especially excited to go to, sigh, “Cantonia,” wherever THAT was. As the two happily headed off to the sound of their special clarinet music, Dave then told us that on the last leg, “I was supremely frustrated with Lori.” Huh? He then added, “I was so mad. I even ROLLED MY EYES. But not when she was looking. Oh god, that would just be abusive.”
Last out of the Pit Stop were the quietly wonderful duo of Ray and Yolanda, and just like every other team, they too offered their own unique twist on “Catania.”
“Like ‘Cat’ and ‘Nia,’” Yolanda explained to Ray, nearly forcing him to say more than a syllable in response. Luckily, some kind local was friendly enough to say that it was Cat-ah-nia, not Catnia. As the two learned the finer nuances of Italian phonics and pronunciation, Jeric arrived at the next destination where they found the Hippies’ waiting list. And like the goofy idiots that they are, the two guys actually signed it. “This is kind of ghetto,” Jeremy remarked. Yeah, that’s because it’s FAKE!
“Wait a second,” Eric then said. “Did they write this?” NO. It’s from Les Moonves. Sadly, the guys caught on to the joke when they realized the pen and the paper and everything about it was clearly from BJ and Tyler. “It looked so official!” Eric later commented. Other things that look official to Eric: unicorns.
Back on the road, Frankenberry was completely lost. Yes, I know. Shocker. Barry expressed some consternation, saying quietly, “We’re screwed.” To which Fran sternly replied, “CALM DOWN! OKAY? CALM DOWN!” Whoa, YOU calm down! I can just imagine Barry going to a restaurant with Fran and not knowing what to order. Barry: “I’m thinking about the chicken, but that steak looks pretty good too.” Fran: “JUST CALM DOWN!!! CALM DOWN, I SAY!!!”
Anyway, over in Catania, the ruins finally opened up, and the Hippies and Jeric learned that they’d have to count the decorative heads adorning the fence around the entire attraction and then report the number to a groundskeeper hanging out in the ruins. The guys quickly ran around and counted all forty-one heads and then received their next clue, which happened to be the Detour. This week’s options: “Big Fish” or “Little Fish.”
In “Big Fish,” teams had to carry a thirty-two pound swordfish a third of a mile through the narrow, winding streets to a vendor in a local marketplace. In “Little Fish,” teams had to go to that marketplace and sell four kilos worth of cocaine. Oops, I meant fish. Anyway, the Hippies briefly contemplated “Little Fish,” but as Tyler noted, “It’s going to be hard to sell fish in the morning.” Yeah, it’s not like fish markets are known for their early morning crowds or anything. And besides, no one likes fresh fish in the morning. The real buyers come out at noontime when the hot sun’s been beating down on all the rotting corpses. Tasty!
Well, Jeric and the Hippies both opted to carry their swordfish (Jeremy and Eric are never ones to deny long, hard objects), and while they lugged their piscine buddies around town, we then returned to Frankenberry who were still (surprise, surprise) lost. By this time, Barry really had grown quite testy, probably because Fran kept telling him to “Make a right” over and over again (hint to old people: constant right turns = A LOOP). If it made Barry feel any better, he wasn’t the only one struggling. Our favorite dentist and wife, Lake and Michelle, were also confounded by the Catania traffic. They tried desperately to find road signs to the next route marker, but, well, it’s kind of hard to do that if you don’t have any concept of what a road sign looks like.
“What is that thing right there??” Lake yelped excitedly.
“A school bus,” Michelle answered.
“DAMN!” Lake then replied. So yes, he actually entertained the thought that a school bus was a road sign. Either that, or they were simply playing I Spy.
Elsewhere on the road were the Nerds, who also faced massive congestion. “We are stuck in traffic,” Dave said, adding, “Oh well.” Wow. He is SO frustrated right now! Sometimes I wish he could just control his temper.
Back at the Detour, the guys were still hauling their swordfish around town. “I feel like I’m holding a wet cat,” one of the Hippies said. “I feel like I’m riding a smelly human. Oh wait, I am,” replied the swordfish. After a few more minutes of running around and talking like Mario and Luigi, they finally found their fish vendor and received the next clue: drive to Siracusa! Yay!
The Hippies and Jeric each hopped in their cars and drove while the oldsters FINALLY found the ruins. And about two second later, they were confused again. Barry struggled with the clue, reading, “Count the heads on the fence post. The fence post. The…” FENCE POST. FENCE POST. How much more explicit can they be? FENCE POST!
Luckily, Frankenberry didn’t take four hours to find the fence post, and after counting up all the little heads, they then encountered their next giant obstacle: finding the groundskeeper. This meant that Fran went running around the ruins, saying “Hello??” after every corner. It was almost as if she were playing some lame, alterna-version of Marco Polo.
Meanwhile, Mojo had arrived at the Detour, and like the two teams before them, they decided to carry the fish. It seemed like fun times for these lovebirds, and Monica sure got a kick out of terrorizing locals with the swordfish’s beak. Of course, you know that if anyone were to ever point one of those things at her, she’d be the first to scream.
Elsewhere in the city, the Nerds finally arrived at the ruins, causing Dave to say, “Let me just find somewhere to park.” Seriously, get this man an anger management class. He’s borderline psychotic with his frustration.
Hey, remember Raylonda? Well, they were still hangin’ around, but unlike the other teams, they just couldn’t find the ruins. So what did they do? They parked their car in a random alley and walked around on foot. Seemed like a risky move, but hey, it was their choice, not mine. Anyway, the two tried to ask people where the ruins were, but all they got was the cold shoulder. Whenever Ray even opened his mouth, people just automatically said, “NO!” Ah yes. Racism, Sicilian style!
Back in Frankenberry land, the two seniors decided that carrying heavy fish wasn’t really their thang. So instead they opted to sell four kilos of fish instead. Easier said than done. You see, Barry had chosen this day to wear his sexy tank-top, which allowed everyone to see his thick fleece of body hair. I’m just gonna go out on a limb here and say that people don’t always want to buy fish from very, very hairy men. That, and Fran kept yelling “4 KILOS!!!” I often love when foreigners yell random weights and measurements at me. The other day, a Russian woman yelled “14 MILLIGRAMS!” and I nearly fainted with excitement.
As for Mojo, their spirits had suddenly taken a turn for the worst. It’s almost as if the balloon of glee they had been riding in had been fatally punctured — punctured by a SWORDFISH. You see, what had started out as a fun, “taunt the Sicilians with our swordfish!” romp had turned into an arduous test of endurance and patience. The two simply could not find their fishmonger at the market. They kept going from place to place, and with each wrong vendor, Monica grew more petulant and fatigued. And worse yet, SHE WAS GETTING DIRTY!!! Soon, she was crying for no real reason, and as we all know with these pretty, young Amazing Race girls, crying begets whining. And whining begets wrathful boyfriends. “Jooooseeeph…” Monica whined.
“WHAAT!!!!!” he yelled with incredible hatred and vitriol. He then followed this up with “WHAT DO YOU WANT???” It was pretty bad, but nothing compared to Dave’s temper (loco!).
After more wandering, Monica then descended into self-pitying hyperbole, complaining, “This is the worst thing I’ve ever done!” The worst? Wow, this girl has really led a charmed life. I hope the next challenge has her crawling through a mound of cow dung. (Come to think of it, they already did that in season four. Huh. They really think of everything on this show.)
Eventually, Mojo found their man, but not before Monica made even more of a fool of herself by full on bawling in the market. Think about it. What would you do if you saw a random blonde girl hauling a swordfish around and crying? I’d think I’d just been transported into some avant-garde film. Later, after the Detour was over, we could see Monica wanting to wipe away her tears with her shirt, but oops! It was covered in FISH GOO! HA! WORST DAY EVER!
“Drive yourself to the town of [sigh] and find the whatever,” Joseph said as he read the next clue. Mojo’s spirits: officially broken. Later, in the car, Monica would not shut up about her fish-stained clothes. Not only did she complain, but she kept talking about other women on the street and how un-fishy they were. Look, Monica. It’s not like you guys are going out to a bar. Just get over it already.
Well, Mojo (and Frankenberry too — they sold their kilos) headed off to Siracusa, and back at the ruins, Lake and Michelle ran around frenetically, looking for the groundskeeper. At one point, they encountered a random dude and said to him: “41.” Since the guy really didn’t know what was going on, he smiled bashfully and replied, “41.”
“Is that correct?” Lake then asked. And again, not knowing any better, the guy replied, “Correct!” KAN-KO-WEE-GO!!! Lake immediately burst into a mini-rapture and slapped the guy five. This was then followed by awkward silence as Lake waited expectantly for the guy to then hand over a clue. Eventually, Lake and Michelle realized this was a big mixup (dang GUMMIT!), but don’t worry, they found the groundskeeper soon enough. They then headed over to the Detour, and when Michelle suggested taking a cab, Lake snapped back, “On foot, DING DONG!” Hey, at least he’s not calling her a Ho-Ho, if you catch my drift.
Anyway, Rhett & Scarlett decided to carry the swordfish, which wasn’t going to be a problem, at least according to Michelle. “I have a three-year-old child that weighs forty pounds. Surely, I can carry a thirty-five pound swordfish!” she told us. Well, have you ever carried your three-year-old for a third of a mile? I didn’t think so, DING DONG!
Nevertheless, Lake and Michelle made short work of the Detour, and when as they opened up their next clue, Lake excitedly yelled, “PIT STOP! PIT STOP!!” Sorry. Go to Syracusa. DANG GUMMIT! This was almost as bad as the time they had to go to Russia (retroactive dang gummit for that).
At the back of the group, Ray and Yolanda finally reached the Detour, and no surprise here, they chose brawn over luck. And if it wasn’t already obvious how jacked Ray was, he proceeded to walk around with that swordfish in one hand as if he were a waiter delivering champagne on a tray. Dave and Lori also tackled the big fish, and you know what that meant: back sweat! Yay! Whoever buys that fish better cook it very, very well.
Meanwhile, Jeremy and Eric arrived in Syracusa where they found the Roadblock. One of them would have to join in on a game of kayak polo and score a goal for his team. Jeremy volunteered for this challenge, but instead of focusing on tossing the ball in the goal, he went around and tried to ram other kayaks. Or as he calls them, “floaty people things.”
Back in Catania, Dave and Lori were wrapping up their Detour. “Lori?” Dave asked.
“What?” she replied.
“I love you,” he said. Aww. It’s like we just walked into a “Best of The Carpenters” commercial!
Anyway, over at the Roadblock, Jeric and then the Hippies and then later Mojo all succeeded in scoring goals, which meant they were all off to see Phil at the Pit Stop. Frankenberry arrived at the Roadblock fourth, and unfortunately, Barry was something of a mess with the kayak polo. He couldn’t quite seem to get any leverage on the ball. Maybe all that arm hair was weighing him down.
Meanwhile, Jeremy and Eric showed up at the Pit Stop first, and in a nice little gesture, the producers arranged for an orchestra/band to play some sweet-ass Sicilian tunes upon arrival. Phil happily welcomed the frat boys to his mat, and after bestowing them with another Travelocity reward, he said, “I have to tell you. You guys STINK.” Wait ’till he greets the Hippies: swordfish, body odor, and patchouli. An intoxicating combination.
Nevertheless, Jeremy countered Phil’s comment by saying, “It’s a new cologne we’re trying out. It’s called ‘Sword.’” And with that, Phil simply stared at Jeremy as if to say, “You really aren’t very funny at all.” Swordfish are very sacred to Phil. He doesn’t joke about them. Ever.
Phil is not amused.
But this is some pretty sweet cologne.
Back at the Roadblock, Barry finally scored a goal, and as he and Fran ran off to find Phil, Lake and Michelle showed up to tackle an old fashioned game of kayak pool. Surprisingly, Lake actually wanted Michelle to do the challenge, but as usual, she had reservations. She didn’t think she could do it. I mean, what if she had to get NAKED! Or worse, what if there were RUSSIANS WATCHING?!?! Nevertheless, she actually did it, and after a few attempts, she scored. Yeeehawww!!! I couldn’t imagine that it was too difficult for Michelle. The other kayakers didn’t look like they were even trying. They must have felt pity for the poor Ding Dong.
As expected, Lake was going completely bonkers by this point as he yelled “PIT STOP!!!” Yes, yes, we know. Simmer down. Michelle then read, “Make your way on foot–” at which point Lake interrupted and literally screamed, “FOOT!?!?! YES!!!!” He then added, “THAT’S MY FAVORITE MODE OF TRANSPORTATION!!!” Okay, not really. Most amusing to us, however, was not Lake’s general craziness but the strange image of Michelle’s microphone pack straddling her breasts. It kind of made them look like two water balloons.
We then cut to Phil at the Pit Stop and by George, he was DANCING!!! Phil was dancing!! It was absolutely amazing. And the look of pure glee on his face was priceless. I couldn’t help but wonder if this little jig were somehow tied to a fond childhood memory — perhaps one of candy apples and marshmallows. Nevertheless, Mojo soon marched up to the mat, followed by Fran and Barry, who didn’t carry any fish, but probably smelled all the same.
Shake your PhilBon.
Lake and Michelle grabbed fifth place, and then it was race for the last spot between Raylonda and the Nerds. Well, there was no question that this would be a non-elimination episode. After all, Ray and Yolanda had a huge lead over the Nerds. Even with Ray capsizing during kayak polo, the team was still over and done with the challenge before Dave and Lori had even arrived. The producers never show such a glaring gap when there’s an elimination involved. Then again, we can never overlook Ray and Yolanda’s ability to get lost on a straight path.
As the two wandered off in search of Phil, the Nerds arrived at the Roadblock and got to work. Dave hopped in a kayak, causing Lori to say, “May the Force be with you.” You know, it’s pretty impressive that we’ve gone this long before hearing a Star Wars reference from the Nerds. Sadly, like all other things George Lucas touches these days, everything turned to crap for the Nerds. Ray and Yolanda easily found Phil and took sixth place, leaving Dave and Lori for last place. As they hiked to Phil, the Nerds tried to stay optimistic, saying that this might be a non-elimination round, and even though I should have recognized that as misdirection, for some reason, it only verified in my mind that these two would be safe. I was so sure that this was non-elimination that I hardly was even paying attention by the time Dave and Lori reached Phil’s mat. When our dancing host suddenly announced that they had been Philiminated, I did a little “Wait, what?” action. I couldn’t believe that he’d actually swung the ax.
But alas, this was the end of the line for our dear Dave and Lori. As one would expect, the two broke out in tears. Real tears. The sort of tears they both probably shed in sixth grade gym class. Poor guys. They did well. No one really expected them to last this long; so hey, at least there’s that. What did you think about this episode?