Brazil has treated us well for the second week in a row on The Amazing Race. Tuesday’s episode was fairly simply in terms of route, but that’s okay. It still packed all the fun and excitement we’ve come to expect, and on top of it all, one of my least favorite teams got the boot. Not a bad way to start the season: eliminate the boring, keep the fun. Plus, we even had a nifty chemistry experiment right in the middle of the action. See — The Amazing Race is fun AND educational. Perfect for the whole family! (Uh, for the family to view, not participate. Don’t get any crazy ideas, producers.)This week’s episode began in SÃƒÂ£o Paulo with surfers / horndogs Eric and Jeremy busting out of the gate first. Their destination was an office building a few miles away, and while they certainly cared about getting there as quickly as possible, they also had other pressing matters on their minds (and by “minds,” I mean a tiny smattering of neurons and synapses).
“We definitely have girls on the brain. And if we get some sex on the race…” Eric said, pausing perhaps to fantasize one brief second.
“Or dating or something,” Jeremy added.
“Or sex, then it’s good,” Eric said. Something tells me these two guys will be saying the same thing twenty-five years from now when they have receding hairlines, small hoop earrings, and all access tickets to the latest singles cruise leaving Miami.
Quite the uneven tuck you got going on there, Phil.
Anyway, a few other teams headed out on this leg of the race (the hippies, Wanda & Desiree), and then we suddenly heard a man say, “Being in love with each other…” I didn’t even have to listen to the rest of the quote. As hearts and songbirds cluttered up my living room, it was obvious that Dave and Lori — nerds in love and nerdy in love — had emerged from the Pit Stop. But in the spirit of Eric and Jeremy’s off-color sexual remarks, Dave got down and dirty, calling Lori his “hotty boom-botty with the naughty Pilates.” Ooooh! RisquÃƒÂ©! But don’t worry. In case you feared for a nanosecond that Dave’s love for Lori had perhaps turned into wanton lust, he then added, “I love you.” I can almost hear the Carpenters song that perpetually plays inside their heads…
Meanwhile, back in Jeremy and Eric’s taxi, the two surfers saw a bunch of hotties roaming the dark streets of SÃƒÂ£o Paulo. “Hey, there’re prostitutes!” Jeremy remarked. Well, you guys said you wanted sex. Looks like you’ve got your chance! For a moment, I actually thought the guys might call over one of the ladies, especially after Eric admire their asses, but then Jeremy made a stunning discovery: “Oh, that’s a man! Oh my gosh!” Woops! That could have been very awkward — for them at least. It would have been hilarious for the rest of us.
Well, after this near reenactment of The Eddie Murphy Story, the guys reached the office building only to find that the doors didn’t open until eight that morning. Who’d have thunk it? Meanwhile, back at the Pitstop, ADHD sufferer and dentist from hell, Lake, zipped off with his fawning wife Michelle trailing behind. They had a certain urgency in their step — almost as if a black person were right on their heels. Actually, the only people in striking distance were the dynamic duo of soporific splendor, Monica and Joseph, or as they’re known in superhero circles, Team Mojo. They were followed by Ray and Yolanda (a.k.a. Raylanda) as well as Fran and Barry (a.k.a. Frankenberry — thanks to reader Flypay’s son). Around this time, we learned that Fran was a cancer survivor, which added more empathy to my already high default empathy for old couples. Still, cancer didn’t excuse last week’s bumbling stupidity on their part. They better get their act together this time around.
Last to depart were the ever annoying sisters, Lisa and Joni, or the “Glamazons” as they erroneously called themselves. In typical form, they busted out of the gate with an ear-piercing “Yahoo!” and I instantly wanted to rename them Team SHUTUP-azons. Nevertheless, they rejoined all the other teams, and at 8 AM, the doors opened up and everyone could snatch their next clue. And what might that next clue be? Why, the very first Roadblock of the new season. Yay!
In this arduous task, one member from each team had to climb up one of three fire escapes, all the way to the roof of this building. Oh, and did I mention this building was like gazillion stories tall? Once at the top, that person would then have to rappel down again to receive the next clue. Not a crazy Roadblock, but I liked the staircase element. Made it much more interesting than the standard “Rappel down and try not to get scared” challenge. Unfortunately, Phil described this all whilst slowly climbing a fire escape. Don’t the producers realize that if there’s ever a rooftop to summit, Phil should always be atop it, safely harnessed to avoid any unspeakable accidents?
Well, the various racers all attacked the staircases, and I immediately felt bad for Dave. The poor guy gets back sweat by scratching his forehead. How was he going to handle all these stairs? He literally might die. Faring better was Jeremy who sprinted up the stairs. His (life?) partner Eric cheered him on from down below and also gave encouragement to Danielle who was struggling on the stairs. Why? “I gotta make the girls feel good so I can get in their pants later,” Eric told us. Wow, Eric and Jeremy are two wild and crazy guys! Is it me, or are they living some goofy ’80s movie?
Meanwhile, Fran unsurprisingly struggled with the massive staircase as well, but luckily, Barry summoned a force so strong, only a select few can wield it: “Come on, Fran!” he yelled. “Show ‘em that senior power!” Wow! SENIOR POWER! I then expected Fran to pull out a sword, stare deeply into it, and then call out, “Senior… senior… senior… Seniorcats, HO!!!” This would then be followed by a montage of seniors citizens gathering in a high tech rover while the bright image of Estelle Getty appeared in the sky.
Nevertheless, Jeremy arrived at the roof first, thanks to more gentle cheerleading from Eric. “Jeremy, you look amazing, buddy!” Eric yelled. It’s too late for Brokeback jokes, right? Dammit. Anyway, after rappelling down the side of the building, Jeremy received the next clue. Teams then had to trek to a bus station and get on one of three charter buses (all leaving at different times, first come first serve) to the town of Brotas. Once there, they’d have to choose one of many VW bugs to get their next clue. There wasn’t anything inherently exciting about these directions, but later, when Lake read them out loud, he yelled, “Travel by bus. HELL YEAH!!!” And honestly, who isn’t turned on by mass transportation? Trolleys, trams, light rail — it’s all incredible. I’d personally like to see Lake pass by a Greyhound terminal. Can’t be sure, but I predict a full-scale orgasm.
Meanwhile, atop the building, Danielle of Team Double D was freakin’ out about the task ahead of her. You see, she was totally afraid of heights. I don’t know why she opted for this Roadblock. I know teams don’t know what the challenge is until after they’ve opened up the envelope, but at this point, when The Amazing Race has a challenge at an office building, chances are, it involves scary use of heights. Nevertheless, Danielle paced and fretted as she waited, and Fran looked like she wanted to punch the young girl right in the face and toss her over the side (senior power!). Eventually, Fran’s maternal instincts kicked in, and she embraced her alarmed competitor, hoping to soothe her nerves and restore peace and quiet. Yes, it was a hug of SHUT THE HELL UP!
Like many Amazing Race dramas, this too came to pass as Danielle easily mustered up the courage to rappel down the building. Eventually, everyone wound up reunited with their partners (no unseemly death falls, sadly), and then it was off to the bus terminal. The hippies, surfers, and Team Mojo grabbed seats on the first bus while Raylonda wound up on the second one. Lake and Michelle, meanwhile, accidentally showed up at the wrong bus terminal, which caused might guffaws from me (and frantic hissing from Lake). I’m surprised Michelle didn’t equate this setback with one of Scarlett O’Hara’s travails in Gone With The Wind. Their lives are quite similar, after all. At least, according to Michelle.
Later, Team Double D showed up at the bus terminal where Jeremy and Eric continued their ever so smooth flirtations. Eric was all hands as he touched various parts of Dani’s body (or was it Danielle’s?), and even though last week, the girls scoffed at their cheeseball suitors, they didn’t seem to mind them as much this time around. In fact, they happily played along as one of the girls proudly displayed her biceps for all to touch and ogle over. I never would have predicted it. Anyway, the first bus soon departed, and when the teams reached their VW Bugs, they found their next clue, which happened to be the suggestively named Detour, “Press It or Climb It.” In Press It, teams had to go to a plantation (Michelle’s getting excited already), process raw sugar cane into juice, distill the juice into ethanol, and then pour the ethanol into the VW’s gas tank. Phil also noted that ethanol is an alternative fuel source used by nearly one third of all Brazilians. Was that your passive aggressive way of telling us we should be less dependent on oil, Phil? No need to peddle your environmental agenda on us, PHIL! We don’t want your ACTIVISM!!
Anyway, as you can imagine, Press It was a rather lengthy chore, but not too physically demanding. If you wanted physically demanding, you’d be better off with Climb It, which had teams scampering up a rock wall / waterfall using only a rope and a device called “an ascender.” Well, BJ and Tyler opted for Climb It, and as they jumped into their Beetle, they remarked, “Back to our roots in these VWs, huh man?” Yeah, except you weren’t alive during the sixties.
Jeremy and Eric decided to Climb It as well, and so they happily motored along just behind BJ and Tyler, letting the hippies guide the way. “You know, all in all, it’s fun just following,” Jeremy said in one of the more amusing and wildly apt lines of the season. Well, the teams arrived at the challenge where we paused briefly to take in the magnanimity of the entire ordeal. Steep cliffs! Raging water! Little ants carrying leaves!!! RAH RAH RAH!! The guys trudged forward through a river to the cliffs, causing Jeremy to complain, “These are my suede shoes, man!” Memo to Jeremy: don’t bring fancy clothes on The Amazing Race. Post Scriptum: seriously, have you even seen the show? Suede shoes??
As the locals helped rig the guys up in their harnesses and whatnot, Jeremy then asked, “Where’s all the girls helping us? We need girls in swimsuits.” Literally, they live in a beer commercial fantasy land. I love Amazing Race casting, but if they knew what was right for them, they would have cast two die-hard feminists this season too. Possibly lesbians. That would be some solid conflict. Anyway, BJ and Tyler made it through the Detour first and received the next clue: travel twenty miles to the Pit Stop, which happened to be located at a place called “Fazenda Primavera Da Serra.” Doesn’t sound too funny, but try to imagine Phil saying it. Yeah, now it’s funny, right?
Meanwhile, the always forgettable team Mojo arrived third at the challenge, and Monica easily slid into the cheerleader role, calling out, “Go Joseph! Use your Mojo!!” Sigh. Moments later, we then cut back to the hippies who were driving off in their VVW. “Hippie power!” they yelled out. You know, I’d like to see Hippie Power go up against Senior Power. Or maybe they should join forces and take down the evil power of Mojo.
Later, after team Mojo had harnessed all its Mojo power to make it over the Mojo cliff of doom, Monica lustfully told Joseph, “I’m filthy, and I LOVE IT!” Grrrrowl! Looks like there’ll be plenty of Mojo Pit Stop. You know the drill, Phil. If there VW’s a rockin’, don’t come a knockin’.
Elsewhere on the race, the third bus of people finally arrived, and in a bad omen for them, Lisa and Joni were the only people of their group to take the “long” task of making ethanol. Their chances of Race survival grew slimmer and slimmer by the second, especially once we discovered that underneath Lisa’s perky Glamazon exterior was a high-strung, emotionally unstable personality. The Bedazzler pro turned out to be quite the handful as she freaked out behind the wheel of the Volkswagen. Believe it or not, I actually found her aggravation to be quite refreshing because for once, we were seeing her true personality, not some lame, screaming, tiara-wearin’ character.
Meanwhile, out on the open road, Eric and Jeremy passed by Double D and immediately feared that their dream girls might not survive this leg of the race. “Then what do we do?” Jeremy asked. “Hook up with hippies?” Be careful what you wish for. I see this ending up awkwardly in a hot tub some day.
As for Lori and Dave, they obviously picked the Press It challenge (hello? Scientific experiment + nerds? It’s like asking Michael Jordon to play HORSE against Stephen Hawking). The two arrived in a flurry of love and flop sweat and quickly encountered a set of scientists who looked like they meant business. I half expected them to put Dave and Lori through an intense initiation ceremony. One that culminated in the scientist leader saying, “Once you’ve converted sugar cane juices into ethanol, you join an elite brotherhood. It’s a bond that’s forged for life. We are the few. The proud. The sugar scientists.”
We are SCIENTISTS.
Well, Dave and Lori crushed their sugar (and no, this did not yield any comments like “You’re sweet as sugar.” “No, you are!” “No, you are!”), and then the two sat through the painstaking ethanol distillation. I’m sure most people would have found this a completely tedious process to sit through, but the lovebirds seemed perfectly content to watch science in action — not to mention give Dave some time to let his back dry out. Wanda and Desiree soon joined them, and as they watched the sloooow magic of ethanol-makin’, Desiree noted, “This is karma for all the times I passed out during chemistry class.” Not really. All you’re doing is sitting there and watching. It’s not like you’re being called upon to engage in some high level, on-the-spot stoichiometry.
Back at the cliffs, Ray and Yolanda showed up to do some climbing. They really didn’t do anything remarkable, but I’m always amused by Ray who looks like he might snap into a dangerous rage at any second. He knows how to give the evil eye, no matter what the target. I swear I saw him staring down a tuft of grass on one of those rocky ledges. Arriving after Raylonda were Frankenberry, who as usual, foreshadowed their own doom by saying, “I think we’re better at climbing than trying to figure out how to turn pure sugar cane into ethanol.” In this case, I’d put my money on the ethanol.
Meanwhile, up at the front of the pack, BJ and Tyler arrived first at the mat where Phil and his Brazilian sidekick — a humble farmer of some sort — awarded the two with a trip to Tahiti, courtesy of Travelocity, natch. “Trip for two!” the hippies exclaimed, jumping on each other as if they were both two giant duffel bags of pot. Not long after, Jeremy and Eric made their way to the mat, with Jeremy yelling, “Phil, do you know how cranky I am right now? I’m going to smack you, woman!” Phil, of course, rebuffed this comment with a raised eyebrow, one that seemed to say, “Oh reeeeallly.” If you want to get to Phil, you gotta go through the eyebrow first.
“You’re going to smack me, Phil Keoghan?”
“I highly doubt that.”
“I will make you the servant to my pain.”
Anyway, Jeremy and Eric took second place, followed by Mojo at third, and eventually the nerds, Raylonda, and Wanda and Desiree. Back at the cliffs, turns out that Fran wasn’t so great with those ascender devices. Bitch couldn’t get up the rope, and instead, twirled around like a helpless leaf caught in a stray spider web. Oh, Fran. You can do this. You’re an active elder! We saw you skiing in the opening credits! Use your right foot! Use your arms! For god sakes, USE YOUR SENIOR POWER!!!
Meanwhile, our old friends Lake and Michelle showed up at the cliffs, and as expected, the two were all sorts of crazy. “GET YOUR ASS UP THAT MOUNTAIN!!” Lake yelled to his wife. I’m shocked he didn’t add, “Pretend there’s a black guy followin’ you!” Michelle managed to zip past Fran (not hard, considering Fran had ascended maybe three inches from the ground), and then it was Lake’s turn to climb up. This meant lots of psychotic grunting and screaming. It was almost as if Lake were actually giving birth to that very cliff. I hope he doesn’t make all these noises when pulling teeth. I feel badly for whoever is unlucky enough to be his patient.
Through some feat of will power and luck, Fran managed to figure out how to use her damn ascender, and after a few days, got herself to the top. Then it was Barry’s turn. You’d think he’d have time to study Fran and the other teams and figure out what to do. Not so much. He floundered just as much as she did. Seriously, what happened to all their Senior Power?
Out on the open road, Lisa and Joni were still driving around, braving the fumes from their car and not-so-happily getting lost at every turn. Making matters worse, their car seemed to really suck, which meant Lisa had to keep one foot constantly on the clutch — a burden she was none too pleased about. Eventually, they wound up at the Press It detour where they labored to crush their sugar canes. “Pretend you’re givin’ birth to a child,” Joni said, trying to encourage her sourpuss sister. “I didn’t. I had a C-Section!” Lisa retorted. Hmmm… Okay. Well, then pretend your’re Bedazzling a really big rhinestone!
Elsewhere in Brazil, Lake and Michelle were trying to navigate their way to the Pit Stop. One problem: they were lost. Another problem: they weren’t about to get directions either. Why not? Ask Lake! “Do NOT expect ME to ask ANYONE!” he yelled. “I am OVERDONE with SPANISH!!” Okay. That’s fair enough. But in Brazil, they speak PORTUGUESE! (Luckily, Michelle was quick to point that out. How very Scarlett of her.)
As for Fran and Barry, by some miracle, they made it through the challenge — only to be saddled with a much greater setback: their car. It died. You know what that means: time to wait for the backup. And so while the old geezers stood by the side of the road, Lake and Michelle (who had finally gotten their bearings) reached Phil in seventh place, followed by Danielle and Dani in eighth. By the time Frankenberry’s new car arrived, it was already dark. Surely, they’d be out of this. But then again, those sisters had been distilling ethanol for quite a long time. Maybe the old people had a shot after all.
Indeed, they did. The two managed to take ninth place (insert obligatory Senior Power freak out here), thus dooming the Glamazons to last place. By the time the sisters arrived, Lisa was already crying. Or bawling, really. Okay, make that CRAZY SOBBING. Phil quietly eliminated them, and even I felt bad for these two. They had been annoying, but in this episode, at least they showed that they weren’t all an act. “From the first moment I saw the show, I wanted to do this,” Lisa cried. Well, you did get to do it. Albeit, for a short time. But it’s for the best because had you stuck around any longer, chances are America would mock you more than you probably have ever experienced. Just enjoy the free trip to Brazil, and we’ll see you again at the finish line.
“I am — how you say? — in love.”
What did you think? Happy that the sisters are gone?