Last week on The Amazing Race, the teams fell into complete chaos as they tried to navigate through the confusing streets of Moscow. In the process, the entire linear nature of the race (1st place, 2nd place, 3rd place, etc) fell to the wayside as everyone seemed to be equally confused as the next person. The good news for us was that this made for exciting and unpredictable television. We couldn’t even begin to guess who would be eliminated. Luckily, no one actually was eliminated because it turned out that the episode was one of those Fake Pit Stop shows — the type where everyone arrives at the mat, Phil holds out his hand, and then at the last second, he pulls it back through his hair and says “PSYCH!” Good times. So now here we were — still in Russia, still waiting to see how all the pieces would come together, and still reminding ourselves at how much better this season is than Family Edition.
Tuesday’s episode kicked off just where the last one left off: Moscow!
I’m sorry. That “Moscow” didn’t do justice to the kinetic energy of the intro montage. Let’s try this again:
Tuesday’s episode kicked off just where the last one left off: MOSCOW!!! MOSCOW!!! MOSCOWWWW!!!! (imagine reverb on that last one). We once again relived that wonderful moment from last week as an eager Team Jeric showed up at the mat expecting a special prize. “What’s up, Big Philly style?” they asked him, perhaps softening the host with a little light humor. But if there’s anything that can turn Phil icy, it’s a lame riff on an already lame Will Smith line. I’m surprised Phil didn’t just shake his head and walk away at that very moment.
Anyway, the guys learned they’d be traveling from the land of Stalin to the land of Hitler. Yes, they were off to Frankfurt, Germany where they’d then have to catch a train to Stuttgart and then make their way to the flagship Mercedes factory. But first things first: Frankfurt. “How do we get there?” Jeremy asked.
“Airport?” Eric responded. Oooh, good answer. I was thinking hot air balloon or perhaps hovercraft, but yes, airport is much more logical.
Not long after the mimbos headed off, Lake and Michelle arrived at the mat, all excited to be in second place. If Lake only had two revolvers, he’d have been going all Yosemite Sam in front of Phil. Well, the celebration was short lived as they learned that the leg was not, in fact, over.
“OH SHOOT!” Michelle exclaimed loudly. SHE MIGHT STILL HAVE TO GET NAKED!
Over in their cab, Jeremy and Eric reflected on the beauty of Red Square. “That would have been a prime spot, you know, to be holding hands… with the chicks,” Jeremy said. Nice save at the end there, buddy.
“I mean, it wasn’t very romantic with Jeremy and I,” Eric added, causing Jeremy to respond, “Yeah, it was a little gay. A little gay.” Yeah, especially when they took off their clothes:
Soon, Lake and Michelle found their own cab (KAN-KO-WEE-GO!!!), and they too marveled at the entire experience. “We ran across Red Square,” Michelle said. “No one else we know could ever say that!” Except, you know, the other eight teams on the race. But that’s just me nitpicking again.
Other teams eventually made their way over to the mat, and one after another was shocked by Phil’s announcement. Yolanda even stole Michelle’s line by yelling, “Oh shoot!” Sadly, Ray did not then punch the air and yell, “DANG GUMMIT!!!”
Meanwhile, over in that theater of nesting doll hell, Fran and Barry were still searching for their microscopic clue. I feared that by the time those two left that place, another Russian Revolution would have come and gone. Luckily, they did finally find what they were looking for, and they zipped off, hot on the trails of some Phil lovin’. Meanwhile, the hippies arrived at the mat fourth and even gave Phil a dollar tip for his good work (cheap bastards. Phil deserves at least five), but they took back the cash when they realized that maybe, just maybe, they might need that dollar. Crazier things have happened on this race.
Amazingly, despite having been stuck with those nesting dolls for a near eternity, Team Frankenberry showed up at the mat right on the heels of the hippies, causing hugs all around. Yay! We’re all together!! “Barry and Fran are still in it!” Barry exclaimed. Uh oh — that sort of brazen confidence usually leads to one thing: PHILIMINATION!
Meanwhile, over at the airport, Jeremy and Eric managed to book themselves on a flight leaving at 7 PM, but when Lake and Michelle tried to get on that very same plane a few minutes later, they learned that ticketing was closed. “Dang gummit!” Lake seethed. You see, people? This is why he hates Russia!
Back at Phil’s mat, the teams who had been washing trolleys slowly began to filter in. Team Double D and Wanda and Desiree arrived sixth and seventh respectively and were eventually followed by Mojo in eighth place. Showing up last were the Nerds, which meant they got the old fashioned Phil Fakeout. For a moment, it looked like the songbirds and butterflies that swirl around these two might have just died as Dave and Lori’s faces dropped in sadness. However, Phil soon gave them the great news that the leg wasn’t over, and just like that, the goofy smiles rightfully returned to their goofy visages. As they headed off, I half imagined the moon winking at them and chuckling.
“So being his dramatic self!” Lori said of Phil. Yes, Lori, just another day at the “psych-you-out Pit Stop,” as Dave called it.
Soon, all the teams were all bunched up again, this time at the Moscow airport. With Jeric long gone en route to Frankfurt, the other teams were just hoping to get any sort of flight leaving that evening. Lake and Michelle wound up on a later flight, and by dumb luck, so did the Hippies, but as for the rest, they just had to keep on waiting. And waiting. And waiting. Lines in Russia? Who would have thought? Oh, and then we found out a computer broke. I never would have expected such a run-down operation!
Over in Germany, Eric and Jeremy safely arrived and hopped on a train to Stuttgart. Well, we know how this goes: close quarters, constant motion, full-moon. This was going to be the erotic journey these boys had always dreamt of. Let the gentle caresses begin!
Back in Moscow, the surly ticketing agents did what they do best: yank down the shades on their windows and say NYET! No one would be able to leave that night. The earliest flight was the next morning at 7 AM. I personally loved this. It meant less bunching up and more chaos. This show should really go to Russia more often. Next season — I’m thinking Siberia.
While Mojo set up camp in the airport, Team Jeric was having a fine time on their train, especially when they met an enigmatic stranger named Johan. (Yes, yes, the homoeroticism was off the charts.) Anyway, the guys quizzed Johan about the locals, asking, “Are there some pretty ladies in Germany?” They then added, “Because we’d like to avoid them and go right to the leather glory hole dungeons we’ve been hearing so much about. You know anything about them?”
By the way, who asks if there are pretty ladies in Germany? It’s GERMANY. Land of blonde hair/blue eyes? Where the leading law firm is Klum & Schiffer, if you get my drift?
Anyway, Jeric eventually arrived at the Mercedes factory, and sure enough, it didn’t open until 8:30 AM. Who’d have thunk it? Once it did open, teams would then have to find a driver and take a high speed, nearly vertical drive — sans safety helmet! — in the Mercedes “Wall of Death,” which seemed like an oddly inappropriate name or a testing facility. Or any facility in Germany, come to think of it.
Well, the next morning, as the majority of the teams filed onto their flight to Frankfurt, the guys (along with Lake, Michelle, and the Hippies — all of whom had caught up) finally entered the factory where a stern fellow announced, “Good morning. I’ll be your driver today.” (Just imagine a thick, imposing German accent, and that entire line becomes way funnier). I thought for sure Lake would go absolutely insane with this challenge, letting out a constant stream of orgasmic “DAAAAANG GUMMMMITT!!!”s and “KAN-KO-WEEEEEEE-GO!!!!”s, but instead, all he did was let out a diminutive “Baby.” Sounds like somebody left his adrenaline back in Red Square.
Once the teams completed this lap through the Wall of Death, they then had to drive 200 miles to a marked field in rural Bavaria. Ah, the thick scent of a tedious Roadblock was in the air! But before we could see what Sisyphean task lay ahead for the guys, we then cut to Frankfurt where, at 11:15 AM, the rest of the teams were arriving. They all boarded a train, and upon arriving in Stuttgart, they immediately scrambled for the nearest taxi. Wanda, meanwhile, was sure to learn some of the local language.
“How do you say ‘fast’ in German?” she asked her driver, to which he answered “Schnell.” She then said “Schnell” over and over again, which really didn’t make sense considering the driver clearly understood what fast meant. Oddly enough, over the course of their drive, Wanda stopped saying “Schnell,” instead opting for the more bizarre word choice of “Schlop.” It was the equivalent of having someone getting into your car and yelling “BLAH!!!!!”
The teams soon arrived at the WALL OF DEATH (thunderclap!), and Joseph was so excited to get going that he actually hopped into the driver’s seat. I’m surprised the Mercedes administrators didn’t give him a good lashing for that. Had there been no cameras around, they probably would have tied him to the hood of the car and forced him to experience the Wall of Death all up close and personal.
Well, Joseph LOVED the Wall of Death as he proved to be the most emotive person of all. He out-Laked Lake. On the other end of the spectrum was Barry who adopted a 1960s groovy dude reaction. “That’s wild…” he said with a big, mellow grin on his face. I could almost hear the sitars playing. I bet Tyler and BJ have a lot to learn from Fran and Barry.
“I love Mandiiiiissssaaaaa!!!!”
With the challenge done, the teams hit the road in their own Mercedes, off to find the next route marker. Wanda asked some locals where the hell she should go and even attempted a few words in German, but this ended in failure, mostly due to her constant use of a Spanish accent. Before I could even make fun of her though, Desiree balked, “Do you have to speak everything in Spanglish?” Did I mention that I love Desiree?
The Nerds, meanwhile, asked for directions from pretty much the most stereotypical Asian/gay/German guy around. Literally, he could have walked right out of an artsy Volkswagen commercial. Well, even though they had shared taxis in Russia, Dave and Lori decided to cut the cord with Mojo and lied about not knowing where to go (even though they had procured solid directions, thanks to Herr Gaysian.)
Out on the open road, Wanda and Desiree were totally lost in their attempt to head towards Munich. “I haven’t seen any signs for Munich,” Desiree said, just as a sign for Munich PASSED BY IN THE REAR WINDOW!!! Oh, I love those wonderful Amazing Race shots. The good news for these two was that they quickly realized they were going the wrong way. The bad news: they were the worst U-Turners in the world. To be fair, they weren’t doing a real U-Turn. They had to pull off the highway and get on again in the opposite direction. Not so easy when you’re in a foreign country and no one speaks Spanglish. Adding to the stress of the situation was that Team Double D (a.k.a. Team We Can’t Do It Ourselves) was quietly following the mom and daughter, making this a veritable caravan of navigational ineptitude.
While all the gals tried to figure out what to do, Jeric finally arrived at the big field, and no surprise here — Roadblock time! And not only Roadblock time, but blatant Travelocity product placement time! Yes, this was that most favorite of challenges: find the Travelocity gnome and bring it back to Phil in one piece. Just once, I’d like to see a team break it. Anyway, a member from each team had to search through a large field in which was scattered 150 gnome “parts” — ie. conical hats and stumpy boots. Hidden under a fraction of these parts were actual Travelocity gnomes. Once a gnome was found, the team would receive its next clue. I always love the searching challenges because they tend to really screw up the order of things, but after that heinous nesting doll challenge, this was like a walk in the park.
Well, Jeric found their gnome quickly and zipped off to their next destination: Bavaria Film. Lake and Michelle, meanwhile, couldn’t quite find the big field, but they did manage to find a young guy strolling along the street. They asked if the guy could drive them to farm, but he just smiled bashfully and said, “I-I-I can’t drive. I’m too drunk anymore.” Keep in mind that it was about 1 PM. Note to self: plan trip to Bavaria.
Anyway, Lake and Michelle arrived at the challenge soon after, and for sure I thought Michelle would do the Roadblock, but again, she let her husband do it. Maybe she thought she’d have to run through the field naked. Well, the Hippies arrived a few moments later, and after a little bit of searching, both teams found their gnomes. They were then going to travel together to Bavaria film, but, uh, they had to drop that drunk German guy off at his house. Such a random, domestic diversion. I can just imagine that guy trying to explain this all to his friends.
“I was walking home from the beer garden when all of a sudden, this crazy man and his wife picked me up in their car and made me take them to a field where they could search for gnomes with two hippies!”
“Oh shut up, Fritz. You’re just having one of your dreams again. Have some schnitzel!”
Frankenberry showed up at the Roadblock next, and even though this seemed like a total Fran event, Barry volunteered to do it instead. He adopted a nonsensical method of searching only under gnome feet. Why? I don’t know, but I thought for sure this would lead to disaster. I was wrong, however, and Barry quickly found his own little gnome. A BarryGnome.
With a fresh clue in hand, the oldsters hopped into their Mercedes and prepared for battle. Barry bragged that driving with a map in a car is “their thing.” Also their thing: messing up in the easiest way. Nevertheless, Barry was super proud of their navigational sense. “That’s what we do. Today, we hit our stride,” he said. They’re so getting lost.
Speaking of lost, Wanda, Desiree, Dani and Danielle were STILL looping around that same area. No progress had been made. We cut to commercial break, fearing that they might never get back on the right track, but of course, the Amazing Race commercial break cures all, and as soon as we returned, they managed to finally, FINALLY head in the right direction.
Jeric, meanwhile, arrived at the Bavarian film studios where they encountered the goofiest Detour of all time: Break It or Slap It. We then cut to Phil, who came to us wearing a sensible barn coat, despite being indoors. Oh Phil. His pursuit of all things glorious and L. L. Bean will never cease.
Anyway, Phil explained that in Break It, teams had to smash stunt bottles over each other’s heads until they found “Prost” (Cheers, in German — and excitingly close to the word “Probst”) written on the back of a wine bottle’s label. One catch: only one bottle could be broken per cuckoo of the cuckoo clock. We then cut to a cuckoo bird popping out of a clock. This task called for a headache in so many different ways.
In Slap It, teams had to learn a series of steps from a traditional folk dance know as the schuplapapapamop (or as Wanda calls it, “Schlop”). I couldn’t even begin to tell you how to pronounce the dance, let alone spell it. But now curiosity has grabbed hold of me, and I must research this! Okay, not even the CBS site has bothered to write the word, but some careful Googling has yielded this: SCHUHPLATTLER! My work here is done.
Anyway, I thought for certain that Jeremy and Eric would gravitate towards the dancing — the allure of “slapping it” would surely be too hard to resist — however, they instead went for the bottles. But first — Lederhosen!! Yes, in a wonderfully sadistic move, the producers made the teams change into dorky lederhosen before taking on the Detour, which meant plenty of opportunities to point and laugh. “I think these things are going to be jammed up our ass,” one of the guys said. Fear not. I’m sure Johan from the train got them plenty prepared for that.
Once changed into their outfits (which shockingly made Jeremy and Eric look less silly), the two buddies prepared for battle. Jeremy was first to wield a stunt bottle, but like any man fearing for his lover’s health, he expressed hesitation. “No! This is heavy! Oh my gosh!” he said, reluctant to smash the bottle over Eric’s poor, delicate head. But the cuckoo beckoned. There was no time for cold feet. Eric’s bottle cherry had to be popped. Sure enough, Jeremy took the plunge, and so kicked off a series of highly amusing bottle smashings, including a faux-knighting ceremony and a new take on karate. It was all totally silly, but you couldn’t deny the amount of fun these guys were having. If only Johan could have been there.
“I hurt you because I love you.”
Several broken bottles later, Jeric finally found their clue which had them running off to Munich for the next Pit Stop (for reals this time). As they left, the Hippies came in. Surely BJ and Tyler lived for the chance to bash bottles over their head, but they ran into an unforeseen obstacle at the Roadblock: Tyler needed a changing room — he wasn’t wearing underwear. Note to Germany: after this is all done, BURN THOSE LEDERHOSEN!
Lake and Michelle arrived at the Detour moments later, and they too chose to bash bottles over each other’s head — something they probably already do at home. Poor Jonathan Baker. This Detour was made for him and Victoria.
Anyway, Michelle was not totally into this challenge. “You’re going to break a bottle on my head?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Lake, matter-of-fact-ly.
“Do I have to be naked?” she then asked. Okay, she didn’t ask that, but you know she was thinking that. The only thing that could have made this whole ordeal worse would have been if she had to do it in front of Russians. We all know how much she hates that.
Luckily for Michelle, she and Lake found their clue after one light tap over the head with the bottle. Seconds later, the Hippies found their “Prost” too. As the two teams headed off, Fran and Barry went against the grain and opted for Slap It, becoming the first team to attempt the Schuhplattler. Needless to say, Frankenberry had about as much rhythm as a sack of potatoes (and/or Master P). It was slightly painful to watch these seniors trying to grasp the fine art of Bavarian folk dance. That being said, I do hope the Schuhplattler makes its way onto Dancing with the Stars next season. Oh, the randy jokes Tom Bergeron will make!
Lord of the AWFUL Dance
Meanwhile, Jeremy and Eric showed up first at the Pit Stop where a real life gnome named Peter greeted them. It was a bizarre sight. Kind of like what I’d expect the Keebler elves to grow up to be.
“Young men, you have reunited this man with his child. For that, we are eternally grateful.”
Anyway, as winners of this very special Travelocity leg of the race, Jeremy and Eric earned a trip for two to Africa, a vacation which they’d no doubt enjoy greatly.
Phil then made quite the observation: “You guys are the biggest casanovas we’ve ever had on The Amazing Race,” he said. I’m sorry, did he say “casanovas” or “dorks?” I couldn’t quite hear him.
Nevertheless, the guys were thrilled with this description and began talking about Danielle and Dani. Jeremy noted, “Man, we just hope they make it to the mat so we can, you know, do a little more tongue wrestling, whatever.” He then added, “I mean, me and Eric can tongue wrestle. They can watch. That’s all we’re saying.”
Okay, Jeremy didn’t say that, but Phil did shoot them a cold, disapproving look as if to say, “You better act like gentlemen while you’re on MY race!”
Coming up next were Lake and Michelle who were so close yet so far away. You see, they managed to somehow get lost in Munich, despite Phil standing under a very, very recognizable arch. Michelle began moping that they were lost, but Lake chided her, saying he need some positive energy, dang gummit!
“LET’S GO BABE! YOU CAN DO IT!” Michelle then yelled, and kan-ko-wee-go, it worked! Unfortunately, it was too little too late. BJ and Tyler snuck into second place, and in an odd, inexplicable move, they approached Phil by walking backwards. I think it was supposed to be funny, but it was more like the sort of thing that made me want to chuck them into traffic.
Then the craziest thing happened. Phil turned to his sidekick and said, “They’re running backwards. You see that, Peter?” As far as I could remember, this was the very first time I’d ever seen Phil interact with his local friend. What a monumental gesture! It’s like when Sandra Bullock hugged her maid in Crash! Amazing Race for Best Picture!!!
“Peter, did you remember to Tivo Grey’s Anatomy?”
“Uh… I thought we could just play board games tonight.”
“I hate it when you do that, Peter. It’s passive-aggressive.”
“I was just saying–”
Anyway, Lake and Michelle took third place, and back at the Detour, Fran and Barry finally managed to complete their little dance tutorial. As they headed off, Mojo, Rolanda, and the Nerds showed up too, and those that could fit into their lederhosen (sorry Dave and Ray) started breaking bottles over their heads. Don’t worry, though. After some strategic tucking and sucking, everyone managed to squeeze their vital organs into the tight-fitting uniforms.
Hey, remember Wanda and Desiree? Well, they and Double D had just arrived at the Roadblock. The bad news was that they were hours behind the other teams. The even worse news for Wanda and Desiree was that Dani/elle found their gnome in like two seconds. The situation was dire, and Wanda wasn’t making it any better with her flagrant mispronunciations.
“It’s a guhnome,” she called out to her daughter.
“Mom, it’s a gnome. The ‘G’ is silent!” Desiree said. Hey, at least Wanda didn’t call it “Schlop.”
As we hit our final commercial break, it looked like all hope was lost for Desiree. Night had fallen, and she couldn’t find a gnome anywhere. It was curtains for this team. Luckily, after the break, she finally plucked a pesky gnome from the earth, but we could tell they were too far behind to even still be in this game. Oh well. It was a good run…
Over at the Pit Stop, Frankenberry clocked in at a personal best forth place. Maybe that dance was a smart move after all. Sure enough, back at the Detour, Monica and Joseph had given up on the bottles, opting instead to dance the schuhplattler. They turned out to be quick studies, and boom! They were out the door! This inspired Ray and Yolanda to try the dance as well, and guess what? They aced it too. (The Nerds, meanwhile, had lucked out with their bottle and had left way before Mojo had even begun dancing). Well, no need to dwell on these middle teams. Dave and Lori took fifth place, followed by Monica and Joseph and then Ray and Yolanda.
Now it was all down to Double D vs. Desiree and Wanda — a team that has frustratingly never had a solid nickname. Well, Dani and Danielle showed up at the Detour first and chose Slap It, which they completed in about two seconds. As they headed out, they bumped into Wanda and Desiree, which made me realize the two teams were much closer to each other than I had previously realized. In many ways, the mother and daughter were still in this game. Dani and Danielle had proven themselves to be fairly useless with directions, and one wrong turn could totally change the outcome.
Well, Wanda and Desiree flew through the dancing (or so the editing would have us believe), and sure enough, we then saw footage of Double D lost on the road, asking for directions. This could be a close one! This could be close! As both cars approached the Pit Stop, Wanda asked, “Is that the other team? Is that a Mercedes?” A Mercedes?!?!?!? In Germany?? No way!!
Anyway, it looked like it was time for a foot race, but alas, there was none. Double D arrived safely in ninth place, which meant that Wanda and Desiree indeed were last. And yes, they were eliminated. How sad. Even Peter the Man-Gnome looked crestfallen. And so ended the wonderful reign of Wanda and Desiree. At least they lasted longer than the Glamazons.
What did you think about the episode?