Man, after last week’s insane two hour episode of The Amazing Race, I thought for sure I’d be getting a week off. After all, doesn’t CBS always have a tendency to throw country music award shows into the primetime lineup like every month? For sure I thought the doubling up last week meant clearing out some space in the schedule for an ode to Leann Rhimes or Alan Jackson. But NO. Just when I finally was getting ready for some R&R, I happened to notice that the Tivo was recording a brand spankin’ new episode of Amazing Race. Oy. Gotta recap after all. Hey, but you know, how can I stay mad at the best cast on the best reality show on TV? Even if I might know who wins the whole thing due to an egregious reader tossing an un-warned spoiler into the forums (NOW do you understand why I was so mad last week??), I’ll still be able to enjoy these wonderful characters as they zip around the globe. Granted, if that spoiler turns out to be right, chances are I’ll probably go off on a bitter tirade, but hey, that’s okay. Everything’s happy and fun when it comes to The Amazing Race.I wouldn’t call last night’s installment the most exciting leg so far, but then again, following in the literal footsteps of last week’s ridiculous ending was no easy task. Wow, I mentioned “leg” and “foot” in the same sentence without realizing it. If only I had worked in a podiatrist reference too. Oh well.
Anyway, before the racers had even emerged from their moon-like Pit Stop, Phil asked us an important question. “Will Ron and Kelly’s relationship be able to withstand the challenges ahead?” We then saw the couple gazing over a pond. Was that the challenge ahead? Oh no! Will they conquer THE POND??? To be fair, the pond did feature crocodiles carrying chainsaws and pepper spray (they have an intense fear of being mugged). The POW and his beauty queen ripped open their first clue and learned they’d be heading to Sankuyo Village where they’d find their next clue under a water tower. As the two loaded up their SUV, Kelly rambled on about how she read the Love Chapter in the Bible the night before and kept substituting her name instead of “love”. That’s a little odd. Luckily, Kelly gave us examples of what the hell she was talking about: “Kelly is kind, Kelly is patient, Kelly is forgiving,” she said. It’s bad enough to be so immodest, but to be so immodest in the third person? And in a biblical context? Somebody better smack this bitch.
Truth be told, I couldn’t really fault her though. It was sort of fun using “Kelly” for “Love”. Now I can say “Kelly’s a bitch” and actually be making a cynical statement about romance. I wonder, does Kelly sign her letters, “Kelly, Kelly”? And would it be proper to say that the score of a tennis game is 40 – Kelly? Man, the Kelly/Love substitution is awesome. Let’s try some other phrases: “That delinquent needs some tough Kelly”, “I think I’m in Kelly”, “What this world needs now is Kelly, sweet Kelly”, “What’s Kelly got to do with it?”, “You Give Kelly a Bad Name.” Hmmm… I guess I kind of veered into cheesy song titles. Okay, joke’s over. Man, I KELLY the Kelly joke.
Anyway, after all this ridiculous Kelly babble, we knew she and her man would be in for a long day. I mean, not only did Phil have to ask if they’d be able to keep it together (were they not keeping it together already, PHIL?), but in the first five minutes, Kelly had already pledged to be nicer to and more forgiving of Ron. Whaa? Since when were they having so many problems? I guess they kept it private. You know, don’t ask don’t tell style.
MInutes later, Rob and Amber reared their reality whore heads and noted that they get along mahhvelously as a couple. You know, say what you will about these two, but you can’t argue on that front. As teams go, they are very good to each other. That being said, Rob still opens up himself up for criticism with his constant penchant for hypocricy. “The gloves are off. We’re playing for ourselves,” Rob declared as they drove off. Weren’t they always playing for themselves? Like more so than any other team out there? Take a step back, B-Side. Don’t question, just enjoy. Shit, I just referred to myself in the third person. Too much Kelly joking. It’s on the brain now.
Uchenna and Joyce departed next out of the Pit Stop and were soon followed by Alex and Lynn who claimed they were honest, polite, and, well, “sneaky”. Okay CBS. What are you setting us up for? What sneaky incident awaits us in the bush? Well, we’d have to wait on that answer because they never did anything sneaky this episode, or at least not that I could tell. Meanwhile, Gretchen and Meredith left the Pit Stop full of the peppy glee normally only found on Centrum Silver commercials. I particularly enjoyed their scant supplies all crammed in a yellow Banana Republic-ish shopping bag. Old people aren’t nearly as fun with giant backpacks weighing them down.
Last to leave was my new favorite team, Brohans Brian and Greg. They continued to earn points with me by opening their first clue while chanting “No whammies! No whammies!” Later, as they drove along the marked road, Brian joked around in the car, acting like a deranged tracker as he claimed he sensed fresh dirt. Man, these guys really do crack me up, and not at their expense. Amazing! The humorous moments turned affectionate though as the two brothers pondered how wonderful it was to see the sun rise over the African savannah and how special it was that they’d shared so many sunrises over the past few weeks. “We should be dating,” said Greg. Oh YOU! Regular jokers they are!
Now my memory is a little fuzzy in here, but somewhere along the way, Ramber appeared on screen in an interview. I don’t really remember what the context was, but that’s because I was distracted by the fact that Rob was wearing a dumb red bandana around his forehead. Was there a Bruce Springsteen homage that I missed along the way? Maybe a Band-Aid reenactment?
Hey, I didn’t know there were NASCAR events in Africa!
Anyway, on the road, Lynn and Alex encountered a bovine transient population trekking across the lanes. Luckily, the cows came to a halt, allowing our couple to drive past without interruption. “Thank you cow cow,” said Lynn, prompting Alex to bust out a little “How now brown cow.” Honestly, give these guys one word, and they can banter about it forever.
Ron and Kelly reached the next clue first and found this leg’s Detour: Carry It or Milk It. That’s what SHE said! Rimshot! Teams had the choice between milking some goats or balancing some items on their head. Just to illustrate the dangers of the Carry It choice, the producers were sure to include a POV shot of some corn falling to the ground. Oh dear! And then after a second, the basket carrying the corn fell too! OH NO! That’s some gripping footage. NICE SIMULATION. Actually, it would have been pretty sweet if the next thing we saw was a pool of blood slowly seeping into view. Now that would have been intriguing!
Ron and Kelly attempted to balance stuff, but the beauty queen somehow missed out on all that book-on-the-head junk I assumed pageant-goers spend days on. Frustrated at his girlfriend, Ron finally tossed in the towel and moved over to the milking. Not like it mattered. Ron and Kelly had been blatantly using their hands to hold their items up. They probably would have earned a few DQs anyway.
Back on the road, the brothers suffered a serious setback when they encountered a water tower and assumed the route marker would be near by. Unfortunately, this water tower was not in the proper location. As a result, they spent a good chunk of time poking around it, searching for a clue box. Brian even endeavored to climb up it, despite the clue saying the next route marker would be UNDER the water tower. Luckily for them, this was the episode where nearly everyone seemed to screw up something. So maybe they’d have a chance to make up for lost ground. Time to cross the fingers.
Back at the Detour, Ron continued to PA to Kelly. For the first time ever, Ron decided to harp on something that didn’t pertain to the military. The new obsession: Kelly’s inability to balance water on her head. No matter what she said, he wound up snipping about the balancing. Kelly: “It really is a beautiful day.” Ron: “It would have been more beautiful if you had balanced the water.” Kelly: “Hey, remember that show Family Ties? Did you like that?” Ron: “I don’t know. Was that the show about the girl who was too dumb to balance water? Oh no, that was you.”
Amidst all this bickering, Ramber arrived at the Detour and immediately attempted to balance foodstuffs. Unfortunately, Rob couldn’t handle the pressure, moaning “This is so hahhhd.” They too gave up and headed for the goats. Amber seemed to have a real talent for milking the udders, causing Rob to let loose a series of sexual innuendoes so amusing, even CBS had to play some porn-ish music in the background. And why yes, we do have the audio. Right here.
On the road, Alex spoke prophetic words of doom as he praised their SUV. “I love this car,” he said, moments before wondering why people in Los Angeles drive them. Silly Alex. They drive them because they’re idiots. (Says me, the guy who salivates any time an Escalade drives by. Then again, $2.59 per gallon in Los Angeles? I’ll stick with a tricycle).
Soon most of the teams were all at the Detour. Meredith dazzled all with his sexy new tank top while Kelly leaned over and revealed, whoa, big boobies! Appropriately, Gretchen provided yet another amusing quote as she wrangled in a goat and said “Here’s a goat with nice, big teats!” Oh Gretch, don’t talk dirty like that! Seriously. Don’t.
Uchenna and Joyce didn’t bother with the lil’ goats because they absolutely rocked with the balancing act. Pretty impressive. Alex and Lynn meanwhile had some minor difficulty grabbing their frightened beasts. As the goats scampered all over the place, Lynn yelled “Hey STOP IT! Seriously!” Um, just so you know, goats don’t respond to sass.
Ron and Kelly and Rob and Amber finally squeezed a cup’s worth of milk from their goats and proceeded to the next clue which had them driving through the bush (heh) to the Khwai River. I half expected Ron to say “Khwai River? Oh, more water. Don’t worry Kelly, you won’t have to balance it on your head. Not that you would anyway.” Nevertheless, the two teams were off for another neck and neck competition. The other pairs followed not far behind, although chaos set in as Gretchen and Meredith got lost, AGAIN (wow, they’re really making Uchenna and Joyce look like cartographers). Even worse though, Alex and Lynn’s wonderful car broke down, necessitating a replacement. Ouch, looking rough. Meanwhile, where were the brothers? I know they stopped to check out that water tower, but did they have lunch too?
The two teams in the lead reached the next clue at around the same time and found the Roadblock which proved to be fairly interesting and involved. One person would drive the car through a crocodile-laden river crossing and to an area where they could take one of many different routes. Each route had a marked post that had to be collected. Then, the driver would have to clear off two heavy logs from the road (Phil said an elephant had knocked them down, but luckily, that clumsy pachyderm was kind enough to attach straps to the obstacles so that they could be easily towed away). Ron and Kelly started the Roadblock first and man, did they go deep in the water. I mean, it even came through the air vents. Sorry, I’m easily awed.
Meanwhile, on the road, Uchenna and Joyce seemed to be experiencing a safari tour of a lifetime. They saw zebras, elephants, ostriches, boars, giraffes, and gazelles. It was as if every animal had come out to greet them. To be fair, the other teams saw their fair share of wildlife as well, but Joychenna (I just made that up) appeared to be having the most fun. Seriously, if a pack of zebras ran in front of my car, I’d be pretty wowed. Actually, who needs zebras? If a pack of donkeys ran across the street, I’d be stunned. Seriously, how often do you see that? I must add that I did enjoy Meredith and Gretchen’s reactions to the animals. Every time they saw one, they’d ooh and ahh and then suddenly become deathly afraid of some exotic roadkill accident. Then again, I’d probably panic too. Chances are I’d honk my horn and cause a fatal boar stampede.
Our next folly of the evening occurred while Uchenna and Joyce navigated through the Roadblock. They snatched the ribbon off their route post, but they didn’t actually take the post. Uh oh. A slow-mo shot highlighted that this would catch up to them later. Meanwhile, Rob and Amber emerged from the Roadblock in first place. Why it’s a conspiracy! Their goats were pre-loaded with more milk! Their logs were lighter than the others. A group of elephants made a giant wall behind them and let them take the lead! Okay, maybe the conspiracy is over.
Amusingly enough, Ramber was stunned with the local animals, and as they encountered a giraffe, Rob inanely asked “What’s on his back? A monkey?” Amber politely informed him that it was a tail. A TAIL! Yeah, um, last time I checked, monkeys weren’t skinny little rope things with a bushy sprout at the end. Oh, and they also DON’T RIDE GIRAFFES! Although, I wouldn’t be opposed to some sort of bizarre monkey/giraffe racing sport. Rob then looked off to the side and yelled “Holy shit! A brontosaurus!” at which point Amber had to say “No Rob, it’s just boulder.”
Meanwhile, Lynn and Alex received their replacement car and made their way to the Roadblock. Alex opted to take it, but unfortunately, once he committed to the task, he couldn’t turn back, which was a problem considering he didn’t know how to drive stick. Lynn displayed amazing patience as he guided his boyfriend through the challenge. You know, these guys make bitchy, shallow, and funny comments all the time, but when it comes time for them to step up as good human beings, they really do a bang up job. That was good because midway through the roadblock, they got a flat tire. Yup, it was on to car number three. Man, no one’s having any luck today.
Elsewhere in Africa, Ron and Kelly had devolved into a mess amidst the Roadblock. Kelly accused Ron of cursing her out, although, from what we could see, he had only said “Kelly, chill for a minute.” Still, regardless of what he did or didn’t say, I enjoyed her rebuttal: “You’re a piece of trash redneck.” Yeehaw! To paraphrase the Black Eyed Peas (and Hanson), Where’s the Kelly???
Ultimately, Rob, Amber, Ron, and Kelly relived their check in foot race from last week, but this time Ramber won as they arrived in first place. Also different: they won a five day trip to Monte Carlo. Wow, that’s almost as good as Ron and Kelly’s prize of… wait, they didn’t win anything at all, did they? Ha. That sucks. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer. Marx would HATE the Amazing Race.
Checking in third were “Uchenner” and Joyce, but unfortunately, Phil sent them back to the Roadblock, noting that they had failed complete it correctly. Uh oh spaghetti-o. I’m sure as they raced off, Phil turned to his sidekick and laughed, “They had no idear.” The dunderheaded mistakes continued though as Meredith and Gretchen managed to drive right by their clue at the end of the Roadblock. These two are just ridiculous sometimes. They drove all the way to the Pit Stop where Phil reprimanded them like an angry nun. “How did you know how to get here?” he asked with great hostility (for him at least. Jeff Probst would have tore into them). Meredith and Gretchen simply shrugged sheepishly and muttered that they had followed the route markers. Soon enough, they too were sent back to the course to find their overlooked clue.
With all this craziness going on (Lynn and Alex with the flat tire, Uchenna and Joyce with the forgotten post, Meredith and Gretchen with the missed clue), the brothers suddenly seemed poised for another miraculous comeback. I was still confused as to how they screwed up so badly, but hey, that’s okay. Joychenna quickly found their post, and as luck would have it, they managed to check in third after all. Meanwhile, Lynn and Alex moved onto their third vehicle and eventually finished the Roadblock, convinced that they were in last place. On the off chance that it was a non-elimination leg, Alex suited up in about ten different layers of clothing so that they’d be prepared to lose their belongings. Turned out it was all for naught as they snagged fourth place.
“WHAT?” they both yelled, completely surprised. Phil smiled and assured them that it was true, they had checked in fourth. The guys let out a sigh of relief and explained how they had layered for the occasion. Phil tried to keep up with the gay humor as he joked, “The fashion police are going to arrest you here in Africa.” Lynn and Alex suddenly became very serious and said “Actually, I guess now would be as good a time as any to inform you that we ARE the fashion police. We need to talk to you about your tight jeans and puffy turtlenecks. You’re looking at a very steep fine.”
While Meredith and Gretchen struggled to find their long lost clue, the brothers decided that they were in last place; so they better plan for a non-elimination leg. What else to do but put on some bathing suits, hats, and scarves? Little did they know that while they dillydallied with the costumes, the old folks were wandering around the Roadblock looking for answers. Still, it was pretty apparent that the bros had no shot, and sure enough, Meredith and Gretchen found their clue and checked in at fifth place, calling themselves old Energizer Bunnies in the process. Hey, at least they didn’t say old Playboy Bunnies.
In the end, Brian and Greg bounded onto Phil’s welcome mat looking silly as always, and not even our hardened host could repress his giggles. I enjoyed watching Phil laugh, say “Um” and then suddenly enter his hardened robotic elimination voice. Ultimately, it turned out this wasn’t a non-elimination leg, which was too bad because I really would have liked to have seen the guys run around the Third World dressed like doofuses (or even more like doofuses). Sadly, this happy duo was left with little else to do beyond gulping back some tears and jumping into the nearby pool. It’s been fun, Bros. May the spirit of Zach Braff forever be with you. And remember: we’ll always Kelly you.