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Well, ladies and gentlemen, this is it. The final episode of The Amazing Race 10. Going into this season’s finale, the odds were stacked against a likable team winning. First problem: none of the teams were very, well, likable. Lyn and Karlyn have become my default favorites, but that’s only because a) they’re underdogs, and b) they were well liked by David and Mary. Truth is that while they seem nice enough, Karlyn’s general crabbiness has prevented me from ever truly loving them the way I thought I might. Then there’s Tyler and James, the former drug addicts turned models. James has been fairly tolerable, but Tyler and his cocky grin have grated me for episodes on end, and in general these two have taken the term “bland” to unexciting new levels. Lastly, there’s Kimberly and Rob, two dating idiots who repeatedly cause me to question the progress of human civilization. It’s unfortunate that such a strong season with so many colorful characters has come down to this motley crew of racers, but we’ll take what we can get. Best case scenario: ‘Bama wins. Worst case: Kimberob takes the million. And most forgettable case: Tyler and James. What would we be left with? Answer after the jump!Well, the big season finale started off in the wonderful metropolis of Barcelona where Phil Keoghan told us, “Overlooking this city is–” Tyra Banks? Miss J. Alexander? Twiggy? CARIDEE??? Perhaps. Phil was referring to last week’s Pit Stop, which just so happened to be the same spot where Tyra Banks anointed this season’s new Top Model (at least, according to the file footage that the producers always flashed before “panel,” which was most likely taped in some sound stage high up in the Pyrenees). But I digress…
Anyway, Phil reintroduced us to the Pit Stop, and for a brief moment, we were able to see his nifty new shirt, which was either lightly bedazzled or simply retrieved from the Pinochet estate sale. Seriously, it looked very Military Dictator Chic.
First to leave the Pit Stop this week were our old friend Rob and Kimberly, and for the seventh or eighth straight episode, it appeared as if no one had a razor to spare poor, scruffy, salt-and-pepper’d Rob. Beards become many men. Not Rob. At this point, he’s one cardboard sign away from being a homeless bum. Nevertheless, the first clue directed them to find a church that’s been under construction for 124 years. Once teams found this famed landmark (the Sagrada Familia), they would then have to search a park behind the building for the next clue.
As Kimberob set off on this final leg of the race, they mused about the journey thus far. “For Kimberly and I to be the final three,” Rob said, “it’s just an amazing accomplishment.” He then added, “You know, because we’re huge idiots and all. I don’t even know what clouds are. Seriously, what are they? Are they at the circus? Do they all pile in cars? Oh wait, that’s clowns, not clouds. Dude, I’m super confused right now.”
Well, Kimberly and Rob found the church fairly easily, and while they hunted around for the clue, Lyn and Karlyn emerged next. The two were still riding high on being the first all-women team to crack the top three. “We have made history!” Lyn said proudly, sadly mistaking “status on a reality show” for “history.” Look, ladies. I think we’re all impressed with your progress, but it’s not like you’re the second coming of Geraldine Ferraro (or as I like to call her, G-Far).
Last out of the gate were James and Tyler, and just like everything else they’ve done in the race, they were unremarkable. While they blandly headed towards the church, Kimberly and Rob finally stumbled upon the next clue, which was a photo of the Eiffel Tower. That’s right, the teams had to fly to Paris, France and find their next clue on the third floor of the famed landmark. Kimberob were quite elated by this development, and honestly, I was surprised they even knew what the Eiffel Tower was. I almost expected them to hop on a flight to Vegas in search of “That tower-y thing on top of that one casino called Paris.”
Second to find the clue were the models, and even though this temporarily put ‘Bama in third place, it really didn’t matter because soon everyone was at the airport, trying to book flights. Unfortunately, the ticketing desk didn’t open until 4 AM, which meant there was little for anyone to do but sleep on the floor. James actually wanted to find the Internet and try to book a flight that way, but Tyler simply balked at this idea. Seriously, James. What a dumb plan. What are you, on crack? Oh wait, don’t answer that.
Anyway, once the ticketing desk opened up, Kimberob managed to book a flight for Paris that left at 6 AM, arriving in Charles De Gaulle airport. They managed to snag the last two seats on the flight, which meant the models and ‘Bama had to find crappy alternatives. Well, Lyn/Lyn headed off to Liberia Airlines to purchase tickets for a 7:20 AM flight while Tyler and James opted for a 7:00 AM flight on Air France. Unfortunately for the guys, the Air France desk wouldn’t open until 5 AM, which meant they had little to do except stand around and be snippy. James in particular became fairly cranky as he did the old “Told you so” to Tyler, whining that they should have gone on the Internet instead of sleeping on the floor.
“Why didn’t you speak up?” Tyler asekd.
“I did!” James responded. But Tyler only retorted with his patented asshole sarcasm. “So loud. You really spoke up SO loud.” Hey douchebag, he mentioned it like ten times. You’re the one who shot him down. Then again, James could have been a bit more assertive with his plan. Lesson of the story: they’re both dumb.
While the two guys had a male-model fight, Lyn/Lyn were busy booking their 7:25 AM flight to Paris, which actually arrived in Orly (a crossword puzzle fave), not Charles De Gaulle. The good new for the ladies was that Orly was significantly closer to the city than CDG, and so even though they had the last flight out of Barthelona, maybe they’d be able to save some time with the Orly advantage.
We then saw what would be our last airplane diagram of the season. It was small but welcomed, especially in that it showcased three little airplane lines growing together. The more lines the merrier. Anyway, Kimberly and Rob landed in France first, and they happily revealed to us that they’d be taking a train to the Eiffel Tower because apparently it was faster than the cab or whatever. Similarly, when the models arrived an hour later, they also wanted to take the train, but uh oh — there was a huge line! This might have been just the sort of advantage ‘Bama needed to sneak into second place.
What I didn’t realize (having never visited France) was that Orly was significantly closer to downtown than Charles De Gaulle. This meant that even though the girls landed last, they actually arrived first, beating out not just Tyler and James, but Kimberly and Rob, who had landed over an hour earlier. Needless to say, Rob was not very happy when he saw the women’s bags sitting at the base of the Eiffel Tower. And by the way, officials LOVE when people leave random backpacks at the base of international landmarks. It’s not alarming or anything.
Luckily for the teams, the French authorities had better things to do than investigating mysterious bags (rumor has it there was an impervious crook aboard un bateau mouche!). Lyn and Karlyn managed to find the next clue and retrieve their bags without incident. Next destination: take a train to the Caen airport (about 145 miles away) and search for the next clue. Armed with this new information, the girls headed off to the train station, and surprisingly, Karlyn was actually in a good mood. She was apparently still feeling proud of their luck with Orly, saying, “Now that’s thinking!” Actually, it wasn’t so much thinking as it was luck. It’s not like you chose the flight based on Orly. Stop acting like an Orlyphile!
Later on, after the first two teams had come and gone, Tyler and James arrived at the clue box where some random tourist took a picture of them.
I can just imagine the guy returning to work after his vacation, strutting around the office and saying, “Guess who I saw at the Eiffel Tower? That’s right. The Hanes guy. Yeah. For real.”
By the way, thanks to Justin In Boston for the pic.
Anyway, the first teams showed up at the train station and learned that the next train to Caen wouldn’t be until 12:25 PM. Great. This had equalizer written all over it. Then again, knowing that the teams would be flying back to North America anyway, we knew everything until those flights would be equalized anyway. But let’s pretend like we’re not Amazing Race savvy and enjoy the show.
Sure enough, all three teams wound up on the train, thus rendering moot all the drama about the three different flights to Paris. Sigh. We then headed to the Caen airport (Caen is a town in Normandy, btw) where we discovered the last Roadblock of the season. I’m always happy to see the Roadblock, but knowing that the teams would probably all be equalized at the airport (see above paragraph), it seemed kind of redundant to have any challenges prior to North America. Nevertheless, for this Roadblock, both team members would fly up into the sky in a small plane, and one member would tandem skydive down to the ground in a rather lame recreation of D-Day. The other teammate would be treated to a surprise nosedive (delightful!), and then the two would be reunited at a train station where they’d receive their next clue. It seemed like a fun challenge, but not particularly, um, difficult. Not a lot of skill or luck involved.
Anyway, Tyler and James arrived at the Roadblock first, followed by ‘Bama. Coming in third were the Bickersons, and in a move that was total Kimberob, Kimberly somehow managed to completely wipe out at the clue box. I actually just assumed it was Rob, based on his past history of wiping out and/or being idiotic. I personally was shocked that this pratfall didn’t lead to general yelling and screaming.
Well, Kimberly volunteered to do the Roadblock, and when she and Rob discovered that the challenge involved skydiving, he immediately became cranky. Apparently Rob wanted to skydive. What I didn’t mention before was that when the two had pulled up to the airport, Rob had surmised that the next challenge might involve skydiving, which leads to me to ask — if you sensed that there’d be skydiving, why didn’t you volunteer your dumb ass to do the Roadblock? We’ll just file this one under “Further Evidence That Rob Is An Idiot.”
Anyway, all three teams were soon in the air and jumping out of their planes. The only truly notable moment came when ‘Bama’s plane went into a nose dive, causing Lyn’s face to contort into all sorts of uncomfortable looking weirdness.
Later on, as the teammates all scuttled over to the train station, Rob told us, “I’m really really jealous. That was like the one thing I wanted to do.” Again, why the hell didn’t you volunteer? Stop complaining.
Teams then learned that they had to head on back to Paris by train and find their next clue at La Place De La Concorde. Of course, “travel by train” can only mean one thing: another equalizer! Way to nullify the entire Roadblock (which didn’t cause that much separation anyway). Well, all the teams wound up purchasing tickets for a 5:23 PM, and because they had time to spare, Rob and Kimberly headed off to the post office to exchange their money. Unfortunately for them, while they were gone, the train to Paris arrived about thirteen minutes early, which meant they were suddenly left behind from the pack while everyone else headed into the city. Ooops! Kimberly and Rob boarded a later train (the actual 5:23 train, as it turns out), and ultimately, all three teams reunited at a transfer; so it wasn’t really a big deal, but it sure was worth it to see the sheer look of horror and confusion on Rob’s face when he thought for a moment that he might have missed the train. He was probably more confounded than the time Kimberly saw all those crazy dog/sheep in Africa.
Anyway, once the teams arrived in Paris, ‘Bama and Kimberob easily hailed cabs, but Tyler and James found themselves shunned by every taxi in a ten mile radius, it seemed. Yes, the two models had somehow become untouchable citizens, and as we headed into the commercial break, we were left to ponder the age old Amazing Race question: would they EVER be able to get a cab???
Sure enough, the magic of the commercial break never ceases to disappoint. The models did get a cab! Memo to the producers: stop relying on taxi intrigue for your cliffhangers. It’s not like we don’t know what’ll happen after the break. Anyway, Kimberly and Rob arrived at the clue box first and discovered the Detour: Art or Fashion.
In Art, teams had to pick up a painting and take it through the streets to an artist who would give them a clue. In Fashion, teams had to travel to a fashion studio and create a jacket using specific tools and materials. This meant cutting, pinning, and fitting the jacket onto a mannequin. Both options seemed interesting, but again, I couldn’t help feeling like it was all redundant since there was an equalizing flight to America in the near future.
Well, surprisingly, all three teams opted for Fashion, which seemed odd since it looked to be the harder challenge of the two. Nevertheless, everyone made their way over to the studio and began working on their garments, briefly turning the show into an extremely low-rent version of Project Runway. Oddly enough, this Detour was still considerably more fascinating than Tommy Hilfiger’s The Cut (and I think it had more fashion in it too).
Anyway, almost instantly, Rob transformed into a six-year-old-boy (or as I like to call it, his “everyday self”) when Kimberly took over the project. “I wanna do the sleeve. I can do that!” he whined, adding, “Gimme gimme gimme!!! I wanna! I wanna!!! YOU’RE NOT RESPECTING MY NEEDS!!!!”
Meanwhile, Lyn/Lyn finished their jacket first, but it wasn’t up to the standards of the fashion instructor, who doled out the first of many, many haughty “No’s”. If only Catherine Malandrino were their to level the teams with a casual “This look reeedeeeculous.”
Finishing this sartorial task first were Tyler and James, who learned that the next destination was The Big Apple. That’s right, New York City. Time to come back to America! Specifically, teams had to fly to New York and locate The News Building, which, coincidentally, was where my dad used to work years ago (I always remembered the giant globe in the lobby as a child. Ah, memories). Well, the models zipped off to the airport with ‘Bama right behind them. The only difference was that while Tyler and James (and later Kimberly and Rob) drove back to Charles De Gaulle, ‘Bama thought they’d get a leg up by going to Orly. Sounded smart. Unfortunately, as J-Unit quickly informed me, Orly only serves mainly European flights, not anything wildly international like America. “I don’t think the other teams know about Orly,” the girls said proudly, but our fears were confirmed when the producers punctuated this comment with the CYMBAL CRASH OF DOOM! This could not be good…
Meanwhile, as Kimberob traveled to CDG, Rob began complaining about the damn skydiving again. “The one thing I wanted to do on this whole trip was skydive, and I didn’t get a chance to do it,” he kvetched.
“Are you gonna get over it?” Kimberly asked deservedly.
“No. I’m sorry!” Rob replied.
“I thought we were doing this to win a million dollars, not to skydive!” Kimberly then asked, rightfully so.
WELL! Confronted with this “logic” (whatever THAT is), Rob was left with no other recourse than to yell, “DON’T YELL AT ME!!! STOP YELLING AT ME!!!!” He then began crying and asking for a juice box. Okay, maybe that didn’t happen, but I do hope that in watching this over, Rob realized that the only person who was actually yelling was, you know, him.
Anyway, at Charles De Gaulle, Tyler and James learned that the next flight to New York City was at 8:35 AM. Unfortunately, except for business class, it was all booked. With little else to do (beyond booking a 9:55 AM flight to Newark), the models put themselves on the 8:35 AM waiting list and hoped for the best.
Meanwhile, ‘Bama arrived at Orly and discovered that there were no direct flights to New York City. They had to go to De Gaulle. Dunh dunh DUNH! Personally, I would have taken a quick flight to Heathrow and flown to New York from there. I’m sure there had to be more options, but instead the moms simply hauled ass to Charles De Gaulle. Something tells me the producers didn’t allow them to fly via London. I don’t know why. They probably wanted to avoid the chances of one team being ridiculously farther ahead than the other two (if that were to happen).
Back at Charles De Gaulle, Kimberob arrive and tried to get on that 8:35 AM flight. Luckily for them, their ticketing agent (who sounded kind of like a Muppet) referred them to a manager, and sure enough, after some pleading, these two assholes secured seats on the flight. DAMMIT!!!
The next morning, Lyn and Karlyn put themselves on the waiting list with the models, but unfortunately, the flight was insanely booked. Neither team appeared to be getting on that plane, and as Rob and Kimberly took their seats, they optimistically said, “We’re gonna win this thing.” UGH!!!
Luckily, my MisdirectionSense told me that this cocky statement probably meant they’d lose, which made me feel better. But how could they lose if they were the only ones on the early flight??? AND THERE WERE NO ROADBLOCKS OR DETOURS???
Well, after the commercial break, there was another Amazing Race miracle: Tyler and James landed seats on the plane. I felt marginally better in knowing that Kimberob wouldn’t have a secure lead anymore, but unless Lyn/Lyn made it on that flight also, I would not be happy. The two moms pleaded and pleaded with the ticketing agent, and after some climaxing music and hopeful images, they learned that… they couldn’t get on the flight. Yes, ladies and gents. The race was pretty much over for these two. So not fair. I guess Orly screwed them over after all. Had they gone directly to De Gaulle, maybe they would have been higher on the waiting list. Would’ve, could’ve, should’ve. Blah. Worst turn of events EVER!
After I finally finished my Rob-esque tantrum, I resumed the show and found the junkie models and Kimberob hailing taxis at JFK (at this point, fyi, ‘Bama was neither seen nor heard from again until the very end). Tyler and James had a slight lead on their idiot friends, who intensely trailed them, despite the models’ attempts to shake them. Ultimately, however, the guys gained an advantage when their cabbie busted out the EZ Pass. Kimberob’s lowly driver only had cash, which meant that at the toll plaza, the boys gained an easy five minute lead (although, in New York traffic, that really doesn’t mean anything).
Well, Tyler and James arrived at the News Building first (home of The Daily News) and learned that they now had to walk by foot to the East Village (which was about two miles away) and find a sculpture. But was the sculpture at Astor Place or Union Square? Soon, Kimberly and Rob were also running through Manhattan, searching for the sculpture, and even though they seemed to be booking it, the models still found the sculpture first. By the way, even if ‘Bama had gotten on the flight, they surely would have fallen behind thanks to this rigorous trek.
Anyway, the junkie models learned they now had to take a cab up to Garrison, NY in Putnam County (home of the Paolo family!). Once there, they’d have to find St. Basil Academy. The first to arrive would win! Well, both teams soon wound up in cabs, and then the race was on to go upstate! I felt kind of badly for Tyler and James, only because their cabbie looked like a complete slob. Nevertheless, this sequence was very exciting for me because not only was the race about to be decided, but they totally drove through Westchester, NY (which is where I’m from). In fact, I’m fairly sure the cars were about a mile or two away from my aunt’s house. It was thrilling.
Well, even though the models seemed to have the lead, we really couldn’t tell who was in first place. After all, there are a million ways to get up to Garrison and consequently, a million different ways to get caught in traffic. We then headed over to the finish line where we found Phil and all the other teams clapping and smiling and containing their jealousy. Suddenly, a cab pulled up to the academy, but who would step out? Who would be America’s Next Top Amazing Race Runner?
Believe me, I was definitely happy that Kimberob had lost (although, a perverse side of me kind of wanted them to beat out Tyler and James, just so I could bitch about it more). The two guys ran up to Phil where they learned that they had won the grand prize of one million dollars. This was met with cheers and happiness and smiles and tears. All the usual junk.
Arriving second — and only slightly bitter — were Rob and Kimberly, the latter of whom arrived with giant nipple erections going full force. Apparently, it was a bit chilly at the finish line. Phil then asked Kimberly how this second place finish would affect Rob purchasing a giant rock for her finger. “Now he’s just going to have to work for it,” Kimberly joked as Rob’s face fell. Work? What’s that? DON’T YELL AT ME!!!! STOP!!!
Last but certainly not least were Lyn and Karlyn, who arrived with defeated faces. They cried about how they felt so proud to have made Amazing Race history and all that junk, and then later on we went back to Rob, who told us how the race had affected his relationship with Kimberly. “We had our up and downs,” he said. Yeah, I’d say you mostly had downs. It was kind of like you had your downs and your really downs.
Once everyone had said their piece, Phil then announced that Tyler and James would get to share this moment with their families. Nearly everyone seemed to break out into tears as they looked around the area for some homely parents to come marching out. Unfortunately, Phil giveth and he taketh away. He pulled out a Sprint phone instead and said the guys could call home. Haha — and you thought you’d get to see your mommy! SUCKERS!!!
We then were treated to a dumb moment as Tyler spoke/cried to his mom, and James chatted with his “pops” — who had crazy, crazy eyebrows, I might add.
Eventually, the season ended with Tyler telling us, “We won the game of life, and now we won the Amazing Race too. It’s awesome.” Aren’t they a bit young to be saying that they won the game of life? That is, unless they were talking about the board game, which totally makes sense. Looks like they have only one more mountain to climb: Monopoly! (Hint: totally go for Baltic Avenue!).
What did you think about this episode? And what did you think about the season?