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My main question as this episode began was: Is there TARAS life without Romber?
The answer: Only one way to find out. Let’s watch!
The show opens with other teams talking about Romber while TARAS plays some awesome Romber black and white footage. I’m really enjoying TARAS’s use of the slo-mo black and white. It makes me feel like I’m watching a PBS special… “Yeah, I was in the shit with Romber. It was tough. Real tough. You civvies can’t guess what we went through.”
And I’m not the only one who’s emotional. Ian is “shocked” by Romber’s elimination. Joyce says that they were a great team to beat, because they were such good competitors. And Mirna tells us that the other teams were very happy that Team Crazypants was the team to beat Romber and kick them out of the Race.
OK, so here’s something I never thought I’d say: I agree with Mirna. Although Mirna said it because she thinks her team is awesome (wrong way to look at it). And I just find it funny that Romber, one of the stronger teams on the Race, was outraced by a little person and a person with no grip on reality (right way to look at it).
And at this point, I hope you guys are done missing Romber, because black and white footage time is over, and it’s time to get some racing done. Danny and Oswald are the first team to leave, and their clue tells us that the teams must travel by taxi to the base of the Marshall Mountain chain. There they must ride a chair lift and then hike half a mile where they’ll use an avalanche beacon to search for another avalanche beacon that’s buried with the clue.
Eric and Dani are the next to leave. These two always give good interview. Normally, Eric is the one in charge of talking, because he’s amazing and can walk and talk at the same time. But this week we got a nice little interview with Dani who tells us “Eric thinks he’s the best at everything, so it’s a little annoying. He’s very cocky, but I don’t care because we’re in second place.” Is anyone else afraid that Dani will end up with a rich guy who hits her? “He might hit me, but I don’t care, because look at my new tennis bracelet!!”
Guido leaves. And then the BQ’s, who explains the following: “We’ve been playing very safe, so that the other teams won’t perceive us as the sneaky blondes, the competitive blondes. We really can’t afford to do that any more.”
Very tricky, Blondies, very tricky. I thought that following Ian and Teri for miles of being lost, and then following Rob for miles while he’s confused about the difference between north and south, was just foolishness. Turns out, everyone, it was strategy. Be warned, and be looking for our BQ’s to kick it into high gear. I can hardly wait to see them take over the Race with this strategy change.
Joyce and Uchenna leave next. And Mirna and Shmirna leave last. And even though we’re only a few moments into the show, Mirna is in full Mirna glory. She babbles on about how they “muster up our strength every leg of the race. We just pull through it. It doesn’t matter how much pain we’re in.” I really like how Mirna thinks that they’re the only ones who have to put in any effort. And this is when I start to play the new drinking game that I invented myself. It’s called “Shut up, Mirna!” and you drink whenever she’s being self-righteous or annoying. Warning – with this game, you’re sure to get really, really drunk.
Poor Team Crazypants is cold as they head to the glacier. As Mirna says, “We’re going to be icicles before this day is over.” And Shmirna replies: “We’ll just be a popsicles. Somebody can just suck us.” At that horrible moment, I had the thought of sucking and of Shmirna in my head at the same time. It burns! It burns!
Luckily, Team Crazypants’s idiocy served to distract me almost immediately. Here’s the conversation they had in the car. Mirna: “What the hell is an avalanche beacon?” Shmirna: “An avalanche is, like, when the snow falls down.” And I am comforted with the thought that two people who can have a conversation this dumb can never win TAR.
Oh, and Drink, people! Drink!
Meanwhile, Cha Cha Cha gets to the chair lift, only to discover that it’s closed until 8am. I hate it when TAR gives us an exciting start and then bunches everyone together again like that. So everyone goes back to the hotel for the night.
But the next morning, Team Guido is in first. And I am sad that Cha Cha Cha isn’t in first place. I heard a rumor – you know, one of those “my friend works with a guy who was a sound guy”… and he said that Oswald and Danny were everyone’s favorites, and while other teams were trying to save their money for the next leg, Cha Cha Cha would take the crew out drinking with their leftover money. And that made me love them even more (just when I thought I couldn’t possibly!), and also made me wonder if that’s why they weren’t first in line the next morning.
Anyway, Teri and Ian are second in line, and note that Team Guido’s hats say “Team Guido” on them. Ian asks them if their underwear is also tagged with their team name. Guido gives them fair warning… They say “You don’t want to see our underwear.” And they’re right, I don’t. But Ian can’t let it go. He says “We have paper, so…” Guido: “We have thongs. Sometimes they give you wedgies.” And Ian looks grossed out. But honestly, it’s his own fault – when someone tells you not to ask, don’t ask!
This leaves me with a lot of questions. A) Why is Ian so worried about the Guido’s underwear? B) Do teams really bring paper underwear with them on the race and then throw it out? Is this common? And this leads me to C) which is really an overarching series of questions…. Can the teams never do laundry? Are they all wearing paper underwear? What bras? And socks? What other TAR packing secrets do I not know about??
Eric and Dani join the line, and they’re unhappy to see Team Guido in the front. Or, as Eric says, “They’ll probably die on the way up the chair lift.” Wow. That’s a lot of anger. I really hate Team Crazypants, but I don’t want them to die in the chair lift. I would really like to see them fall off the chair lift and flail around in the snow for a while, but not die.
But no one dies, they just get off the chair lift, grab a backpack pre-stocked with shovels and beacons, and start on their half mile hike.
Before Eric can say “Now I hope you drop your beacon and there’s a giant avalanche, you stupid Guidos,” Team Guido has found their clue. Next up for the teams: Traveling 7000 miles to the city of Maputo, Mozambique in Southeast Africa. Disembodied PhilVoiceâ„¢ tells us that teams have to use a travel agency, because they can’t buy tickets themselves at the airport. But TAR has also provided them with tickets to the last available flight, which is at 3pm.
Searching for clues has begun when the BQ’s realize that they don’t have their backpack with their beacon. “That’s what we get for not reading the clue,” they say as they start the half mile hike back down to the chair lift where they were supposed to pick up the backpack initially. Ah, very clever new strategy, BQ’s. I think this is the first time anyone has used the “Let’s Not Read the Clues and Just See What Happens” strategy.
As they pass Team Crazypants, Crazy feels free to judge. “They’re dumb.” And “They’re not that smart.” Awfully judgmental coming from the team that had to figure out what an avalanche is… And also a team that thinks that Charla should hold the avalanche beacon because she’s closer to the ground. I’ve always wondered why avalanche rescue teams are only made up of little people and snakes, and now I know the answer! Low to the ground!
Joyce and Uchenna are the second team to find their clue. As they run off, Joyce takes a moment to wonder if Mozambique is in Africa. OK, I know it’s easy to armchair quarterback… But if you are going on TAR, a show that announces with every episode that it is a race around the world, would you not study a map before you left? Particularly if you’re then going to refer to Africa in the next breath as your “motherland.” I’m pretty sure if it’s your motherland, you should have at least heard of the countries that make up the continent.
Meanwhile, we get a first glimpse at a chink in Cha Cha Cha. They’re getting a little upset and snipity with each other, and I don’t like to watch that. They’re generally so easy-going as a team that it’s hard to watch them picking at each other. And the picking certainly isn’t working, because they are having no luck finding any sort of signal.
Meanwhile, Eric and Dani find a clue. The BQs return with their equipment. Team Crazypants finds their clue. And then the BQ’s find their clue. And Cha Cha Cha are still looking. And we break for a commercial with the looming feeling that Cha Cha Cha may spend the rest of their lives stuck on the mountain…. But we return from commercial, and all is corrected and Cha Cha Cha finds their clue.
And immediately Cha Cha Cha is happy again. Oswald even slides down the ice.
And they do an interview where they say “Danny and I found out on this leg of the Race that if you get caught I an avalanche, never come looking for Oswald and Danny to get you out.” And yet another reason to love Cha Cha Cha – they get stressed out when things aren’t going their way, but they get over it and are back to their fun awesome selves in no time. Heart them!
The teams all make their way to travel agents. And there’s a little bit of confusion, but in pretty short order all the teams are booked on the 9:40 flight. So yet again, The Amazing Race is evened out as everyone gets onto the same flight. That bugs me.
The teams all fly, together, to Mozambique, where they must choose a marked car and driver and then make their way 45 miles to Apopo Training Field where they’ll find their next clue. The plane lands and there’s the typical rush to get to the cars.
Joyce and Uchenna arrive first, but the Training Field isn’t open. So yet again the Race evens everyone up. How many times are they going to do this in one episode?
On the road, Eric and Dani find themselves right behind the Guidos. They tell their driver to go faster and pass the Guidos, but the Guidos will not be passed and speed up. Then, when they all stop to wait for the Field to open, the Guidos and Eric have a confrontation. There was a lot of “Watch your speed, guy,” and “Watch your jokes, guy,” and “Freaks, freaks, freaks”. And then in an interview, Dani says that the Guidos “have weird personalities, they’re Jekyll and Hyde, they’re totally nuts.”
Remember when they previewed this last week, and the Show tried to make this look all interesting and threatening? Well, it wasn’t. It was kind of Much Ado About Boring. And, Dani, I am pretty sure you don’t know who Jekyll and Hyde are, but unless the Guidos are actually freaking out and killing people at night, stop it with that comparison.
Finally the Training Center opens and the teams hit a Roadblock. As Phil explains, Mozambique was once overrun by guerilla warfare, and now trained rats save lives by locating leftover land mines. One person from each team must guide a rat in search for a race marker buried above a deactivated mine.
Was anyone else really bothered that they turned landmines into a game?
While there was much talk about rats being gross or scary or whatever, there was little actual contact with rats in the challenge. All our folks had to do was lead it by a string. It’s not like the challenge was “Take this rat out behind the middle school and get it pregnant.”
Oswald tells his rat “I’ll set you free after… and I’ll take you to a nice lab where they’ll apply make-up on you.” Couldn’t he just set it free? Poor rat is in a lose-lose situation – either a landmine or make-up testing. Can’t Oswald take him home and apply make-up to him there? That’s the kind of life a rat destined to be blown up in a mine could look forward to!
The Guidos are the first to finish and get their clue, which instructs them to go back to Maputo and find a building designed by Gustav Eiffel where they will find their next clue. Other teams finish up pretty easily, too, and eventually it’s just Shmirna left with her rat. And I’m really hoping this means the end of Team Crazypants. And I didn’t mean a landmine, I just meant that they’d fall behind and get eliminated.
But then I’m distracted because CBS plays a commercial announcing that they are searching for contestants for Big Brother 8.
Please, everyone go and apply. Let’s get a TVGasm insider in the Big Brother house!!
Now, here’s a challenge for our teams: There are two ways to go to Maputo – left or straight. Straight gets you there. Left gets you lost. Joyce and Uchenna go left. And Eric and Dani follow them. And the BQ’s follow them. Because the BQs apparently still haven’t learned that following has gotten them in trouble every time. Either that, or this is another sneaky BQ strategy that I just can’t understand, not being a Beauty Queen and all.
Mirna and Shmirna finally find their landmine and get their clue. In the car, they say that they’ve “been in worse situations before and we’ve managed to make up the time and still stay in the race.” And at this point I’m pretty sure they’re going home. After all, that’s what TAR likes to do to us – show us a team who talks about how confident they are and how they can make a comeback… and then eliminating them (see: Elimination, Romber or Elimination, Last Week)
Meanwhile, Team Guido is the first to find the clue. It’s a Detour – Pamper (painting nails until they earn enough money) or Porter (filling 10 large 45-pound bags with coal, sewing them shut and then delivering one bag).
And at this point, I am totally playing “What Would I Do?” and I think I would have picked the coal. My reasoning: Tasks where you have to earn money are often deceptively difficult. Let’s see how this choice would have worked out for me on the real race…
The Guidos and Cha Cha Cha both pick Porter. Eric & Dani, Ian & Teri, and the BQs are all still lost together. And Mirna and Shmirna have finished and on their way to Maputo they go straight instead of right, so they don’t get lost. And then they stop and ask a guy for directions, and he agrees to lead them there. Sigh. Why does Crazypants pick this time in the Race to pull it together? They are not yelling and they have managed to hide all of their crazy, so people are willing to help them out.
And the coal is hot, sweaty, gross work. And really dirty.
And the fingernail painting is not. We know, because before we can blink an eye, Team Crazypants is done.
Boo. And they take off for the Pit Stop at Fortaleza, the oldest building in Maputo. At this point, I realize that the only hope we have left for Crazypants not to come in first is that avalanche we were hoping for back in Argentina… But, since snow avalanches are rare in Mozambique…
Team Crazypants runs up to the mat, screeching and jumping. Phil declares them Team #1 and they screech some more and jump and fall on top of each other.
And after the hot lesbian action subsides (grossest porn image ever, so don’t think about it) and I finish throwing up, we learn that it’s their first first on the Race. Phil starts to tell them their prize, but there is so much screeching that I don’t hear it because I had to mute the sound on the television.
But I unmute (demute? resound?) in time for a Mirna Lesson: Their win proves that it doesn’t matter if someone is “a little shorter or a little skinner.” Ah, yes, everyone knows that the Race was designed to favor tall, fat people. She forgets to mention that their win also proves that the Race wasn’t designed to weed out the people who suck the most.
And another Mirna lesson: “If coming in first makes people have a little more respect for us, then that’s a wonderful thing for us to accomplish.” Note to Mirna: It doesn’t.
By now, Joyce and Uchenna have also decided to do the coal. Here’s the spot in the recap where I’m supposed to comment on their coal shoveling abilities or something, but I was mainly distracted by Joyce’s boobs throughout this sequence. What I learned is that Joyce has a huge rack.
The BQ’s decide to leave the Lost Crew, and soon find the Clue. They decide to paint nails, and because painting nails turns out to be the easiest task ever on TAR, before we know it they’re done, too. To put it in perspective, they do this all before the Guidos are finished filling their last bag of coal.
Eric and Dani and Teri and Ian finally find the clue and both decide to do the coal. Teri and Ian get lost (again) and end up at the painting nail location instead of the coal location. They decide to paint nails, which was a wise choice, considering that they, too, manage to have little trouble with the task. Apparently Ian can actually handle any task that doesn’t involve navigation or investigation. And because the task actually goes well, he doesn’t have to yell at Teri, so everyone wins.
Over at the Pit Stop, the BQ’s check in as Team #2. Phil greets them with: “Pretty in pink in Mozambique” in a tone of voice that immediately made me think “Oh my God! Is Phil hitting on the BQ’s?!” And then I thought “Well, why wouldn’t he? Why wouldn’t he put those PhilPackageâ„¢ powers to use? I know if I was on the Race, I’d make out with him.”
As Eric and Dani show up at the coal location, Cha Cha Cha and Guido are both sewing up their bags of coal. You might not recognize the Guidos at first, as they cleverly disguised themselves as Hitlers:
Not the disguise I would have gone for (I’m much more partial to Fidel Castro, myself. The uniform gives me a certain je ne sais quoi), but it fooled Dani, who never suspected that Hyde could sneak past them disguised that way.
Cha Cha Cha finishes sewing first, and heads out to make their delivery. It takes them a while to find the house, but they do, and then rush off to the Pit Stop. In the car on the way there, Oswald tells Danny that he looks like a “faggy raccoon.” It might sound mean to read, but it super cute and affectionate when it said it. Danny responds by trying to wipe coal on Oswald’s dirty face, and Oswald responds with “Don’t get me dirty, Danny.” You know, ‘coz the coal shoveling didn’t do that… Oh, you silly Cha Cha Chas!
At the Pit Stop, Teri and Ian check in as Team #3. Uchenna and Joyce finally finish loading the coal, leaving only Eric and Danielle behind. But, luckily for Eric and Dani, Uchenna and Joyce get very lost.
Eric and Dani finish and get a group of kids to lead them directly to their house, and bypass Joyce and Uchenna. Eventually Joyce and Uchenna find the house, deliver their coal, and race to the Pit Stop, trying to make up for lost time.
Cha Cha Cha arrives at the Pit Stop, but there’s some important business to take care of before checking in… Oswald runs to Phil, calling out “I’m hugging you, I’m hugging you.” Phil starts to run and there’s a classic Amazing Race.
Oswald, sadly, never catches him, and they all end up back on the mat. Pulling himself together, Phil checks Cha Cha Cha in as Team #4. While he’s checking them in, Phil tells them “I’m surprised you went for the coal, but hey, that’s just me.” And now that I’m done wondering about Phil and the BQ’s, I’m now wondering if that remark was a little bit homophobic. And then I started to wonder why this episode has way more Phil to analyze than normal.
Then we get more excitement, because the Guidos pull up to the Pit Stop and Eric and Dani pull up right behind them and we have a FOOT RACE!! Eric is running and screaming “Run, Danielle! RUN!!!” But despite Eric’s orders, Dani isn’t fast enough and the Guidos reach the mat first. Eric gives Danielle a “Damn it, Danielle.” But despite Eric’s anger, the Guidos are #5 and Eric and Danielle are #6.
The Guidos are proud that they outran Eric and Danielle. I guess Dr. Jeckyll has been doing his cardio. But Eric is unhappy – he says “We should have beat them. The Guidos remind me of old women who are past their prime. She got beat by a bunch of Queens.” Well, technically, Eric, you were not only beat by the Guido Queens, but also Beauty Queens, Crazy Queens and Cuban Queens. So there’s no need to take your anger out on the Guidos.
Finally Joyce and Uchenna run up. At this point, I’m sad and nervous because I like them and don’t want them to go. Joyce and Uchenna think they’re about to be elminated, but then Phil tells them that it’s a non-elimination leg! But that means they’re marked for elimination next week, so if they don’t come in first, they’ll get a 30 minute penalty. In their post-last place interview, they talk about they’re “going to work like hell to come in first.” And I believe they will. And obviously they will summon the Power of the Giant Rack.
All in all, an entertaining episode – exciting and also very funny. We learned that there are non-elimination legs, even for All-Stars, although we still don’t know for sure about Fast Forwards of Yields. And we learned that TARAS can still be lots of fun, even without Romber. So much to look forward to for next week!