When we last left our intrepid teams on The Amazing Race, everyone was piling into an internet café in Budapest while wrestlers Lori and Bolo nestled in for a long night in a rural Hungarian train station. What pray tell would happen?? Well, if you answered “The show would turn into an informercial for AOL,” you were correct! Yes, inside that little internet cafe Phil Koegan appeared to teams in the form of a Quicktime movie (very Princess Leia hologram) and informed us that “teams must log on to America Online by using a wireless Intel Centrino laptop.” Thanks Phil. For a moment I thought they’d have to log on using a pineapple. Phil went on to explain “Teams then had to sit in a chair, a common device used to alleviate stress on the legs, the traditional limbs used for standing in the human race.” After Phil’s generous AOL plug, the show moved on to the next – oh, wait – the AOL lovemaking session wasn’t over. Jonathan: “Logging onto AOL is like communicating with my best friend” (his best friend is an ISP, apparently). Okay, well, I’m sure that was it for the AOL product placement. But no. Here’s a summary of the next minute of the show: AOL is awesome. AOL can do everything. AOL’s going to be my best man. AOL is friends with Sharon Stone. Must… purchase… AOL… Eventually, the cyber madness stopped and the show lurched forward to the next clue which directed teams to a rail museum that wouldn’t open until 10 AM the next morning. Hmmm… I wonder how those wrestlers are doing?Funny I should mention them. Turns out that whole thing about no trains leaving until seven in the morning was sort of, well, wrong. And just like that, two weeks of suspense was dispelled as Lori and Bolo clamored onto an early morning train and headed to Budapest. Not all was well in wrestler-land though. Lori balked at the mediocre decor, asking “This is the train?” Apparently she was expecting a lavish dining car with waiters who juggle Fabergé eggs and reenact Agatha Christie scenes.
Back at the internet café, people were still splooging about how wonderful and easy it was to get online. Well, everyone except Adam who seemed to be frustrated by the entire experience. Apparently the producers had blocked out leatherfetishboys.com. Oh, and before I get attacked with more accusations of homophobia, please remember that what I wrote was a JOKE dammit. So sensitive these people are.
With nothing to do except kill some time, the various teams ambled through the scenic city, an experience that summoned deep emotions in Kris. “All this gothic architecture. It just feels so… so… so…” Gothic? Hungarian? Spit it out! Yes, once again, Kris and Jon managed to find beauty in the experience as they cooed “This is so amazing!” If only there were some way to document the entire trip. You know, all edited together to make it exciting and stuff! That would be rad!
Also out for a stroll were Adam and Rebecca, but while she wanted to tag along with Kris, Jon, Hayden, and Aaron, Adam wanted to have some quiet, romantic alone time. Well, they had alone time, but it wasn’t very romantic. I guess when Rebecca said “I don’t want to date you,” that whole chemistry thing went out the window. In an interview, Rebecca explained her actions by saying “I look at Kris and Jon and Hayden and Aaron and it seems so much healthier.” Look, just because both members of each couple are heterosexual doesn’t mean that it’s “healthy.” God, she’s such a homophobe.
As dawn approached, the wrestlers finally stepped off their hellish train (and by “hellish”, I mean “rather clean and quiet”) and received their clue. A closeup on their wireless Intel Centrino laptop (with AOL broadband service, natch!) revealed their AOL username: Lorbolar6. Heh. Time to cyberstalk the wrestlers! Oh wait. LorBolAR6. AR6. It’s just a name created for the show. Blast! Well, time to strike up the Tivo and see if we can catch any of the other team names. Rewind to Hayden and Aaron and oh, we gotta closeup! And their screenname is… Lorbolar6? Either the producers recycled a shot or… they read Lori and Bolo’s mail! DAMN THEM!!! Penalize, Phil! Penalize!
Well, after reading their clue, Lori and Bolo simply headed to the next spot and waited for the doors to open while the other teams slept in a hotel. Eventually everyone woke up and headed over. Jonathan and Victoria took a cab, which resulted in our resident dickwad gesticulating like mad and flailing his hands all over the place. The cabbie said he could speak English, not sign language. Die Jonathan.
Teams eventually encountered Lori and Bolo, causing detective Rebecca to ask “You guys went to the internet café?” No. They decided to randomly find a bench in Hungary to sleep on and this one just happened to be at the clue.
Anyhoo, 10:30 AM finally arrived and teams lined up at a gate which promptly rose on the half hour. And then promptly fell about a second later… on Freddy’s head. And, well, Hera’s head too. Nurse Kendra quickly tended to her ailing model/fiancé with a customary “You okay, baby?” A woozy Freddy muttered something back, probably “I’m… bland… so very… very… bland.” But no head injury could stop the models as they joined the other teams in pouncing on a little board with numbers on it. Like a pack of dogs, the teams literally wrestled on the ground for the best numbers, and well, when it comes to wrestling, Bolo’s sort of got the upper hand – and deltoids, biceps, triceps, and laterals. When all the dust settled, Freddy took it upon himself to assert his toughness as he launched a tirade on whoever slammed the gate down on him. Uh, Freddy, that would be gravity. But no matter, Freddy was out for blood as he threatened “Whoever did that I will snap in two!” Yes, nothing’s more lethal than an angry 35 year old male model! Especially one with no discernible muscle mass! Do I spot you trembling, Bolo?
Actually, Bolo was simply standing proudly with his #1 card while Jonathan of all people told Freddy to chill out. Wow, that’s bad. That’s like Hitler telling a despot to maybe tone it down a smidge. But I shouldn’t be mean to Jonathan. After all, he was just playing an over the top character. Yes, that’s Jonathan’s latest excuse. Who would have thought he’d ever EVER claim that?
Meanwhile, the true nature of Freddy’s pussiness came out when Hera gave him the old “Uh, the gate fell on my head too, but I’m not crying about it. And I’m a girl!” attitude. Nevertheless, I’m sure it did hurt. In fact, Freddie said “It felt like a bat on my face.” At that point Victoria chimed in, saying “Oh, I hate that feeling. Jonathan always slams me with a Louisville Slugger and—” and then Jonathan silenced her with a bat to the face.
Amidst all this bawling, the race continued. Lori and Bolo had marker #1, so they were first to take a little rail vehicle to the next clue which featured the ever elusive Fast Forward. Pause for chorus of awe. We then cut to a subterranean Phil wandering around a dark, ominous, candlelit passage with an altar and a generally pagan-ish interior design. What are they gonna have to do? Drink blood? Oh wait. They really do have to do that. Well, if there’s anyone who can chug a brandy glass of Type A cocktail, it’s Lori and Bolo, and wouldn’t you know it, they opted to go after the Fast Forward.
While the wrestlers went off to some vampirish libation saloon, the rest of the teams were sent to the Danube, or “D’noob” as Aaron called it. I’m partial to “Dah-nubé” or “Day-noo-bee”. Wow, is this what I’ve come to? Making fun of someone’s misguided pronunciation of the Danube? I really need to get a life. Besides, I could never be as funny as Bolo who managed to skewer Freddy quite effectively in the cab ride to the Fast Forward. Lesson learned: Lori and Bolo are way funnier when sleep deprived. And I feel like this is as good a moment as any to mention Bolo’s regal last name: Dar’tainian. Was Bolo the lost spawn of some French nobility? Hmmm… I smell a reality version of King Ralph!
Anyway, teams all had to scurry to the next clue, which meant more taxi antics. Apparently the gate thwacking didn’t shock any synapses into action as Freddy asked a cabbie the dense question, “The Danube River. Do you know what that is?” Come on. It’s not like a stream behind some rocky outcropping. I half expected the driver to respond “Danube river? Never heard of it. But there is a giant waterway that crosses my country. I always call it the Big Rivery Thing. Probably not the same.”
Everyone eventually made it to the next route marker where they received the next Detour: swim or paddle. Teams could either don a speedo and attempt to score on a professional water polo goalie, or they could inflate a raft and cross the mysterious Danube. Well, thanks to prolific CBS promos, we knew Gus wouldn’t be opting for the speedo – thank god. However, he and Hera were the only team to brave the river wild. Everyone else went up against the goalie and seemed to score easily. Wow this was the worst goalie ever. Even Victoria managed to get the ball by him. Has the Hungarian water polo team ever blocked a ball? In other news, Estelle Getty has just single-handedly eliminated Team Budapest from the 2008 Olympic qualifying heats.
Over at the Fast Forward, Lori and Bolo fretted that their cabbie had gotten lost. “This doesn’t look right,” Lori scowled. I suppose her extensive knowledge of Hungarian geography and landmarks was kicking in. Eventually they found the labyrinthine caverns leading to their next task, and as their heads grazed the low ceiling, I was thankful that Freddie opted to eschew the Fast Forward, lest his noggin bump the rocks. “Who dropped the ceiling on me?!?! Whoever lowered the height of these caverns is going to get it!”
Nevertheless, Lori and Bolo downed their goblets of blood without complaint and received directions to the Pitstop. As usual Phil warned that the last team may be eliminated, but this time his ominous words were accentuated by a hostile man snapping a whip. So if you’re last, you’re eliminated AND flogged? Man, this show is getting harsh. Lori and Bolo obviously wound up checking in first, where the whip man yelled “WELCOME TO BUDAPEST!” Shhhhh! Use your Iron Curtain voice!
While drinking human blood sounds unappetizing, it surely wasn’t as bad as the 24 oz. Hungarian soup that racers had to consume during the Roadblock. Oh, and by the way, Phil was careful to mention that “This soup is extremely hot.” Cut to a poor production assistant swallowing the Tabasco red stew with a pained look on his face as if to say “This was the wrong day to get hemorrhoids.”
Kris and Jon arrived first, and as the big guy tackled his bowl of spicy soup, the scene became oddly Terry Gilliam-ish as a Hungarian band crowded around him oppressively. Honestly, give him a little space. The band’s attention was soon re-directed onto Aaron who showed up next with great enthusiasm. Hayden of course contributed nothing except cold encouragement worthy of a DMV worker.
Jonathan and Victoria arrived outside the little restaurant in the usual tizzy, and upon reading the clue which was something cutesy like “Who wants to spice up their life?” (did the Amazing Race just quote the Spice Girls?), Jon immediately volunteered his wife. Cut to us in the TVgasm offices gearing up for some good ole spousal abuse. Sure enough, Jonathan did not disappoint. As Victoria struggled with her soup, Jonathan yelled “You’re not doing it right!” I’m sorry, but I didn’t realize soup ingestion required some sort of technical skill. It’s not like she was raising her spoon to her eye.
As Jonathan became increasingly shrill, Aaron scoffed “Why didn’t you do it, Jonathan?” to which he replied “She wanted to do it.” Wow. If by “She wanted to do it” he meant “I was too big of a pussy”, then yes, he was correct. Still, Jonathan continued to browbeat Victoria, especially once Rebecca arrived and housed EVERYONE. While Rebecca’s soup consumption was impressive, my favorite part was her enthusiasm at the getgo which Aaron dispelled with a grim “I said that in the beginning too.” Who knew that he had such capabilities to channel the grizzly tone of Jack Palance in “City Slickers”? And, well, “City Slicker’s 2: The Legend of Curly’s Gold”, I suppose.
Soon Jon, Kris, Rebecca, and Adam were gone, leaving only Victoria and Aaron with their soup and their nutty partners. As Jon became more high strung, Victoria devolved into an illogical, teary mess. “There’s a hair in my soup!” she squealed at one point. Did she want to send it back? Get a new bowl? Eventually V grabbed Jon’s empty bowl and kicked off the inevitable portion of any food challenge: the copious vomiting. Through it all, the band played on, but vomit begat vomit and soon Aaron became queasy, eventually wretching all over his lap and the floor. It was so violent and unexpected that even the band came to a halt. Awkward…
Eventually Aaron and Victoria finished, and they joined the teams racing to the Pitstop. Freddy and Kendra arrived at the vomit palace next where even the steadfast musicians were beginning to hurl. Freddy seemed to be doing okay at first — the blow to the head had removed his ability to sense spice — but then Kendra unwisely pulled a “Oh look at the vomit on the floor!” and boom! Insta-boot! Luckily, the Amazing Race is a classy show and never shows vomit, but Freddie was sure to challenge that. You see, when it was his turn to spew his brains out, he sort of didn’t aim at the floor. No, Freddy just returned his stomach contents into his soup bowl.
Yes, he had to eat his own vomit on national television.
Upon realizing this, Kendra reacted as if she were being shipped back to Senegal and convulsed with a series of gags. Way to stay strong! As we alternately laughed and cringed, Freddy valiantly scooped up his gooey puke and shoveled it back in his mouth. Tasty!
Meanwhile, the other teams scrambled up to the Pitstop, although not before Jonathan managed to berate a random old Hungarian lady for blocking the doorway to a tram-like vehicle. Apparently her slight frame posed a threat for Jonathan who would have had to sidestep (the horror!) in order to reach the door. She could have cost him the race! Just like that ticketing agent! And the taxi driver! And that guy on the other side of the street who coughed and made Jonathan look over there and slow down his pace for two seconds! Why can’t someone think of Jonathan for once. Dammit!
Jon and Kris arrived chez Phil in second place, followed by our domestic abusers, and then Hayden and Aaron. Upon arriving, Aaron was sweet enough to kiss Hayden on the lips. I suppose she’s really attracted to Tobasco/vomit breath. Adam and Rebecca somehow lost their huge lead and wound up in fifth place while Freddy and Kendra slipped in at sixth.
And oh yeah, Gus and Hera. Well, sadly their Danube crossing turned out to be a lengthy affair. The producers did their best to make it look like they were launching some massive come from behind upset over Freddy and Kendra, but it just wasn’t in the cards. To Gus’s credit, he did power through that soup, but then again, did anyone think he wouldn’t? After he was done, I sort of expected him to say “That was some nice soup. Now what’s the Roadblock?” Sadly, Team Slow and Steady finally ran out of gas, and we lost yet another affable team. If Kris and Jon fall next, I might just cry. Well, maybe I’ll just rant on this site. Or, you know, make another King Ralph reference. Either way, it could be very embarrassing.