So the big question of this week was “Can The Amazing Race still be entertaining without Jonathan and Victoria?” I think the overwhelming answer to that is yes. Yes it can. Is it actually more entertaining with them gone? Well, it’s hard to say. To be honest, I vaguely wanted to see them maneuver an elephant or climb a palm tree, but I tend to think we were better off having put them to pasture in the reality graveyard. Of course, without the terrible twosome on the race, we now had to change our outlook from rooting against a team to rooting for a team. Easier said than done. Every season I seem to face a reality TV version of Sophie’s Choice as I try to weigh which team I could possibly spare at the end of each episode. This time around, however, I’ve only formed fleeting attachments to the racers, with most of my favorites already junked in the loser bin. I guess there’s always Kris and Jon, the peppiest couple since Jon Vito and Jill, but considering that last night’s episode presented us with the final five teams, I found myself alarmingly apathetic about which duo might be eliminated. That’s okay though. As long Lori and Bolo are around, I’ll be happy…The show began on a grim note as Phil told us that this episode was filmed in Sri Lanka months before the deadly tsunamis. Therefore, the next hour was dedicated to the victims of the disaster and their families. Hmmm… can’t be snarky about that. Luckily, Amazing Race remembered it was a reality show and quickly cut to footage of Jonathan and Victoria freaking out at the mud huts last week. Phew. I thought we were gonna get all serious and tsunami-telethon-ish for a moment.
After the credits rolled, we began the race in earnest with Phil asking his usual provocative questions. This time he was curious to know if Adam and Rebecca will be able to mend or will their fiery relationship cause them to lose. As Rebecca would say, “So many questions…” Anyway, teams learned they had to head to Lalibella airport and take a charter plane back to Addis Ababa where they’d find they’re next clue. Bolo once again proved that he was not, in fact, hooked on phonics as he pronounced “Lalibella” like “Labia” and “Addis” like “Adidas.” He then turned to Lori and said “Okay, so we’re looking for a giant vagina and a sneaker shop. Let’s go!”
Fresh off proclaiming how Ethiopia has a cute and special poverty, Kendra began this leg of the race with that trademark of Third World ailments: nausea. Gone were her precious memories of the local village children as she seethed, “It was the Ethiopian food!” I half expected to see her in some old courtroom drama where a prosecutor asks “Would you please tell the court who upset your stomach?” and then Kendra points to a pile of Ethiopian food and yells “It was he! It was he!” Nevertheless, Kendra found a shabby little bathroom in the Labia Airport — I mean Lalibella (damn you, Bolo!) — and puked her heart out. Amazingly, Freddy did not chime in to say “You’d be surprised at how good that stuff tastes.”
In Addis Ababa, teams had to make their way over to a stadium where they would run a 4 x 4 relay race with some locals for the next clue. Bolo and Lori arrived first at the track and immediately took flight. Now if there’s anything funnier than watching Bolo trying to pronounce things, it’s watching Bolo running. The man is like a giant windup toy – limbs flailing, legs chugging, but still not going very fast. What Bolo lacks in speed though, he makes up for in motivational heft. “Run like the cops are chasing you!” he encouraged the Ethiopian track stars. Yeah, a white man telling the black kids to run from the cops. Had this been L.A., Bolo might have been running too. Lori meanwhile had her own unique motivation: she had to pee. I feared that her lap would be marred by some ungainly bladder incident, ultimately ending with her patented scowl of “BOLO!!!” Luckily, Lori kept it all in. Good girl!
Hayden arrived at the stadium boasting about her past life as a track star. The relay was her event in college, she explained. Apparently she meant the “awkward relay” as moments later she became the first woman ever to run the 400m in capri pants. At least she fared better than Kendra who arrived at the stadium still suffering from gastro-intestinal malaise. Oh how I would have enjoyed seeing her vomit right there on the track. Alas, she and Freddy powered through without incident. And by the way, what was up with Freddy’s random poncho? Was he hoping to harvest some coffee beans while in Ethiopia? Actually, possibly the most awkward sight was Adam as he ran/waddled his lap. He kind of looked like a bowlegged cowboy suffering from hemorrhoids. Just trust me. It was awkward.
Anyway, next stop on the Amazing Race was Sri Lanka. Cut to Phil waving his hands and yelling “We didn’t know there’d be tsunamis! We swear!” Teams had to fly to Colombo, ride a train, and find a tuk tuk — a little motorcycle-ish vehicle which joins Hungary’s Trabant in this season’s Small Cute Car department. Rumor has it that next week teams will drive Volkswagen Beetles while holding puppies and kittens.
Bolo and Lori arrived at Addis Ababa airport and asked for tickets to, and I kid you not, “Sari Kelanka”. Oh Bolo. Poor, poor Bolo. Will you ever learn the finer nuances of our language (or “lane-gwagg-ee” as you say)? I’m surprised he can pronounce his own last name: Dar’tainian. You know he probably introduces himself as “Bolo Dar-apostrophe-ketain-ain-ian”.
Everyone eventually made their way to Sari Kelanka, formerly known as Sri Lanka… which was formerly known as Ceylon… which in turn was formerly known as Sri Lanka. There, everyone managed to catch a train except Rebecca and Adam, who somehow wound up at the bottom of the pack again. The two frantically asked a local if he had seen other white people with backpacks, and the guy simply laughed at them, adding “They went away.” Sri Lanka: come for the tuk tuks, stay for the condescension.
Facing a time deficit of over an hour and a half, Adam suddenly freaked out and began making nonsensical demands. First he wanted to go to the airport, then he wanted to go home, then he wanted to go to a Madonna concert. All the usual things. Eventually his temper tantrum hit fever pitch as he whined “I don’t want to be here!” Mommy! When Rebecca refused to cave into his demands, I was fairly surprised that he didn’t counter with “So do you want me to throw myself in front of that elephant? ‘Cause I will! I will do that, Re-becc-a!” Of course, two hours later, when they were safely on the train, Adam retracted his words, instead trying to make good with an assault of little, annoying kisses. “If it means sucking it up and being his girlfriend, then fine,” she confided to the camera. Ironically, sucking it up and being the girlfriend is one of Adam’s favorite hobbies also. Hey-oh!
Next up was the Detour, creatively titled: “Tree trunks or elephant trunks.” Teams could either climb up and down some palm trees and ropes, or they could hop on an elephant and play polo. Surely I expected Bolo to say: “Polo sounds like Bolo. Me Bolo. Bolo play polo. Ha ha ha. Bolo.” But instead Bolo and everyone else chose the trees. Well, everyone went for the trees except Freddy and Kendra. Apparently Freddy didn’t want to handle all that palm sap, lest he accidentally spill some on his man-poncho.
Most people seemed to have few problems with the trees. Jon in particular zipped up and down like a little monkey — a smiling, super friendly monkey. Just about the only one who had any difficulty was Hayden who shook so violently on the ropes that you’d think an electrical current was running through her. Where are your track skills now, biatch!
Elsewhere in Sri-town, the engaged models played a rousing game of elephant polo. Kendra blabbed about how wonderful the elephant was, and for a moment it appeared as though she had been cured of her nausea (which had worsened after the Sri Lankan train system proved to be far less hygienic than AmTrak). So let’s do a little Kendra checklist:
Senegal – bad (ghetto bad)
Ethiopia – good (fun poverty!)
Ethiopian children – great!
Ethiopian food – BAD
Ethiopia in retrospect – Bad (Senegal in disguise!)
Sri Lankan trains – stinky
Elephants – Bestest Evah!
After the detour, everyone headed to Kandy to fetch some rice for their next clue. Unfortunately, the rice wouldn’t be available until the next morning and yada yada yada – Adam and Rebecca were back with the pack. The next day, teams bought their rice and delivered it to The Temple of the Tooth, which if I’m not mistaken, is the name of a metal band from 1973. Teams then headed to Lion Rock (again with the 1970s band names) where they received their Roadblock. Basically someone had to climb a big-ass staircase, use some binoculars to find a flag, climb back down, and then navigate to the flag. Oh, and at the flag, teams had to swim across a pool and check in with Phil on the other end. Swim across a pool? That seems oddly excessive. It wasn’t even Olympic sized. I mean a river – that makes sense. Now, if the pool had snakes in it, that would have been awesome.
Everyone pretty much descended on the Roadblock at once, and of course, Kris and Jon finished first. Adam had some difficulties with the binoculars, complaining “I’m all screwed up.” He then added, “Everything looks so far away. How am I supposed to find anything at all?!? This doesn’t make sense! Oh wait, they’re backwards.”
Aaron, Hayden, Freddy, Kendra, Rebecca, and Adam wound up in a close foot race to the end, and after Freddy passed Adam on the trail, he giggled to Kendra, “That Adam is such a nancy boy. I passed him.” Freddy then added, “You see, being a male model is in no way indicative of nancy boyness.” A gate then fell on his head and he cried.
Ultimately, we had a near photo-finish with Hayden and Aaron snagging second place, Freddy and Kendra at third (props to Freddy for yanking Kendra out of the pool with one arm. Very un-nancy boyish), and Adam and Rebecca landing fourth. As for our wrestlers? Well, Lori forgot her admission ticket to Lion Rock, something she needed to present about halfway up the staircase. Moments later, we heard a chainsaw— I mean Lori’s voice — yelling with full redneck passion, “BOLO! BRING ME THE F–KIN’ TICKET!” Oops. Bolo forget to read clue right. Bolo sad now. Bolo cry.
In the end, not even a surprisingly graceful dive by Bolo into the pool could save the wrestlers. Their time was up, and sadly, they were eliminated. So heading into the final four, we’ve got dating models, dating actors, dating actor/models, and dating model/actors. Fantastic!