This was a special two hour episode, so let’s try to get into it quickly because we have no time to mess around. Unlike TAR, which had plenty of time to mess around with plane tickets, bus departure times and other nonsense in order to get the teams on more even footing. But we here at TVGasm have no time to mess around. We have television to recap, people! We have Fake Chopin! We have puking BQ’s! We have puking Shmirnas! We have hours and hour spent sitting in travel agencies and sitting in airports! What’s not to love?!
Well, for Phil, it’s boy kisses, but let’s move on anyway!Team CrazyPants, our favorites Mirna and Shmirna, are the first team to leave at 4:20am. From the clue, we learn that teams must fly to Warsaw, Poland. They must make their way to Czapski Palace, Frederic Chopin’s childhood home, where they’ll find a man dressed as Chopin playing the piano and guarding their clue. I love how TAR isn’t ashamed to make the locals dress up in embarrassing costumes, so we Americans watching on our TV sets at home can watch and think “Them there folks in Warsaw sure are quaint!”
Since flights to Warsaw are limited, TAR is providing all the teams with tickets for a flight that will arrive at 11:35am the next day. Given how screwy the flights were last time, we can be sure that TAR fired some PAs and got someone professional to find our teams some good tickets, right?
The Cha Cha Cha’s get their clue at 4:28am and they share a taxi with Team CrazyPants to a travel agency that opens at 8:30am. Joyce and Uchenna are the third team to leave, departing at 7:55am. They decide to make their way to South African Airlines, which also opens at 8:30am.
The BQ’s are the fourth team to leave. There is a lot of excitement on Dustin’s part, as she’s declares with full beauty queen enthusiasm “We’re going to see Chopin playing piano!” This causes much other BQ confusion, as Kandace asks “For real?” forcing Dustin to explains, “Well, he’s dead.”
And this made me wonder what Kandace’s talent was in the Miss America competition, because it obviously wasn’t music. Or trivia (Is that a talent? Because it should be.). I think her talent might have been dance, but I didn’t get official confirmation because I got distracted in my search by this:
Sure, it opens up a lot more questions than it answers: What does Kandace have to do with Madame Tussauds? Or eyeballs? Or a slutty Mrs. Santa Claus who loves eyeballs? Why don’t I know Chinese? But even with all those questions, it’s still worth checking out.
Team CrazyPants, Cha Cha Cha and the BQ’s all congregate at the travel agency. The travel agent finally arrives, and the phone is ringing as she unlocks the door. Who could it be? A local Zanzibarian hoping to travel away from Mecca, what with the influx of travelers we experienced in last week’s episode? Chopin, calling for Kandace from the Great Beyond to ask about Christmas and eyeballs? ET, phoning home?
Nope. It’s Uchenna, calling from the South African Airways office, hoping to find a travel agent who can help him. When the BQ’s and Team CrazyPants realize who it is, they ask her to hang up. And she does. Travel agents in Zanzibar love little people! Or do they love beauty queens? Or are they just grateful that Shmirna finally taught them how to work a phone – So magic! So simple!
One travel agent in the office starts to work with Cha Cha Cha and CrazyPants, while the other travel agent works with the BQ’s. Mirna quickly instructs their agent not to share information with the other agent, explaining then asking “Do you understand me, sister?” This sweet Muslim working woman seems thrilled to be Mirna’s sister.
She is Mirna, hear her roar, for it is the Sisterhood of the Traveling Agent!
Mirna continues to lean across the desk, waving her hands at the woman and ordering her in broken English “Check next one!” “You concentrate!”
Mirna’s strategy backfires, oddly enough, because the other travel agent gets the BQ’s the last two tickets on a flight through Frankfurt that lands in Warsaw at 9:10am. Shocked, Mirna demands to know how the BQ’s could have booked tickets, when she specifically ordered the woman to concentrate on getting her a ticket.
But it’s too late – somehow the flight the BQ’s are on is full. The BQ’s blow kisses to their sister, the travel agent, and depart. Mirna is pissed, and reveals that they have been there four hours and that she now wants to look herself for better flights. Personally, I would have done that after about 45 minutes of waiting. But I guess it’s pretty all-consuming to spend hours leaning across a desk getting in someone’s personal space.
Back at the South Africa Airways office, Uchenna and Joyce also manage to book a ticket. Although their initial route is different from the BQ’s, they are both on the flight from Frankfurt that arrives at 9:10. The only difference – Uchenna and Joyce have to pick up their tickets in the Frankfurt airport. But that won’t be a problem, right? Because we had enough of airports in last weeks All-Airport Amazing Race Extravaganza. Let’s give us someplace else to look at, Show, besides our Teams in waiting lounges.
It’s now 3:15pm and Eric and Dani are just getting their clue. Dani tells us that the Race is putting a strain on their relationship. Considering that Dani is in Staten Island while Eric is off bartending in Florida, I’d put my money on the fact that their relationship was already strained… What lovely Floridian cougar could resist Eric and his nipple rings? But Dani feels sad: “I’m his teammate and I think that I should be able to ask a question and put my opinion in there. But sometimes he gets, like, snippy.”
As I hate it when people get, like, snippy, I start to feel bad for Dani. But then it’s all ruined when she asks Eric if Warsaw is, like, in Zanzibar. He tells her that Warsaw is in Poland. And while I don’t approve of him calling her a “knucklehead” (Mighty bold from a guy who couldn’t remember the Tasmanian Devil. Also is Eric from 1957? Who says “knucklehead”?), Dani’s response was “Poland!!!” Yes, Dani, Poland has, like, cities! It’s crazy!
Eric and Dani arrive at the travel agency, where they find themselves in line behind Team CrazyPants and Cha Cha Cha. And this isn’t a line you want to be in – at this point, the other teams have been waiting for seven hours. And honestly, I can’t believe this recap is already this long and nothing has happened. Are you doing this to me – making me watch all this footage of people sitting in travel agencies – because I said that I didn’t want to see people sitting in airports?
Eric immediately suggests going elsewhere, so I know it must be a good idea, because it is what a non-knucklehead would do. Dani doesn’t think it’s a good idea, so now I doubly know that it is, in fact, a good idea. Then they bicker for a while about whether they should go or stay and talk about how annoyed they are with each other. Here’s a note to future couples on TAR. If you’re going to bicker, bicker like Rob and Kimberly last season: Yell! Freak out! Throw things! Overuse the word “babe”! Whining about how annoying your partner is: SHUT UP, BABE!
Eric and Dani leave and continue their bickering in the car. But as soon as they leave, the travel agent announces: “I found something. Another flight just opened up!” Airports are magic! Sometimes flights are added hours before their departure! Going just where you want to go!
Cha Cha Cha and CrazyPants get tickets on this magical flight scheduled to arrive in Warsaw at 9:45am. But Eric and Dani can’t find a better flight, so decide to use the one provided by the Race. This spurs them to have conversations like this:
Dani: “Eric and I are not getting along at all.”
Eric: “She’s a little touchy, I guess.”
Dani: “No, I’m not touchy.”
Me: SHUT UP, BABES!
The Guidos finally get their clue at 7:10pm, way, way far behind. They rush to get to the airport and barely make the flight that takes them through Kilimanjaro and Amsterdam. But when they land in Kilimanjaro, they discover that they’re too late to board the next flight. They ask. They beg. They curse The Race, because these were the stupid flights that the Show gave them.
Joe Guido even runs out to yell and ring a bell at the plane.
Normally in my experience when I run out onto a tarmac ringing a bell at a plane, the pilot sees me and turns right around, because it’s a fact that pilots love bells. But maybe Zanzibarian pilots do not, because the plane took off without our Teams.
In Frankfurt, the BQ’s board the flight to Warsaw. But Joyce and Uchenna are too late, too, and are not allowed on the flight. And, yes, this is happening again! I sort of got wrapped up in the excitement while I was watching, but now that I’m writing about it, it seems kind of boring. So let’s sum it up with “Getting flights is hard” and move on to the Detour.
The BQ’s are in Warsaw, where the locals like to hang out in the town square in their armor – “Them there folks in Warsaw sure are quaint!”
Dustin is excited, because meeting Chopin is like meeting Santa Claus — a weird comparison because you don’t leave Chopin cookies and milk on Christmas Eve. At least I never did. But maybe that’s why I never got that pony.
The BQ’s find their clue and it’s a Detour – Perfect Pitch or Perfect Angle. In Perfect Pitch, teams must tune one key on a Grand Piano. A concert pianist then plays a piece by Chopin and if the piano is in tune, they will get the next clue. In Perfect Angle, the teams must make the way Â½ mile to the Escada Boutique where they must pick up a mannequin. They must bring that mannequin to a lab and x-ray it to locate the clue inside.
The BQ’s rush off to do Perfect Pitch. And about this time, Cha Cha Cha and Team CrazyPants arrive in Warsaw. Team Crazy immediately does what they do best – endearing themselves to the locals. How, you ask? Let’s listen to what they say to their cab driver: “You like Polish hot dogs?” “You like Polish sausage? Sausage? Good?” Yay for classy Americans – I’m surprised they didn’t ask “You like Polish jokes? Jokes? Polish? How many Poles take to screw lightbulb? How many?!”
The BQ’s get to the piano, tune it with little trouble and get the next clue.
They have to travel to a statue of a king of Poland – Jan III Sobieski Lazienki. Jan, as you probably know, is known for bringing stability to Poland after the turmoil of Chmielnicki’s Uprising. He also like Polish sausage and Polish hot dog.
Also, a fun fact from the interweb (so it must be true): Jan III Sobieski’s son is Leelee Sobieski’s great, great, great great uncle. Never say that you didn’t learn anything from TVGasm.
The cab driver drops Team CrazyPants off at a church, presumably leaving them at the wrong location on purpose just to get them out of his cab. From here, the girls can’t get anyone to help them. Mirna, getting frustrated, asks someone “Do you know how to speak? Can you talk?” And here is where we learn that Poland is a nation full of mutes. Being completely incapable of speech is the only explanation as to why someone wouldn’t want to help Mirna and Shmirna.
Mirna then decides that perhaps it’s because the Polish people have never seen a little person. And then she declares: “Nobody even wants to talk to us, it’s like we’re The Plague or something.” And it is true that no one wants to talk to The Plague. But even The Plague is less annoying than Mirna. They finally go into a hotel – where presumably they are not familiar with The Plague but are familiar with annoying tourists – and get directions to the Palace. They rush off, but are behind Cha Cha Cha.
Meanwhile, the BQ’s find Uncle III Sobieski and get the next clue — they have to search the grounds of the Palace and find the Pit Stop. They do it pretty easily, find Phil pretty easily, check in as Team #1 and win a trip to Puerto Rico. Yay!
Joyce and Uchenna have landed in Warsaw and are searching for Chopin. But they’re looking in a music school which makes it way more confusing, because there are piano players everywhere, yet not a Fake Chopin in site. We also learn that you cannot find Chopin by looking in the bathroom of a music school. Whoops!
Both Cha Cha Cha and Team CrazyPants have decided to do Perfect Pitch. Cha Cha Cha is having little success in tuning their piano – they quickly break a string. And then another string. But Team Crazy isn’t doing much better – Mirna suspects that the piano is out of tune because it’s dirty. And then suggests that they tackle the task by tuning every single string on the piano. None of these things seems to work however. I suspect it’s because the Polish piano is working against them, as it has never seen a little person before.
After much frustration, Cha Cha Cha finally thinks they have it and call over the piano player. Oswald does a special little magic move over the piano player’s head
And it works, because they get the clue. The guys are thrilled, and Oswald tells their piano player “I love you. If I were in town, I’d ask for your number.” And this is for the guy who wasn’t even dressed as Chopin!
Mirna and Shmirna get frustrated and decide to switch to Perfect Angle. They take a taxi to the Escada boutique. They get their mannequin and then walk down the street yelling “Does anybody speak English?”
Team CrazyPants is horrified that no one will help them.
And this is where I came up with a new game. I call it “If This Happened in America”, and thought about what I would do if I was walking down the street and passed someone carrying a mannequin, yelling in a language that I did not understand. Think about it. Now laugh.
Meanwhile, Cha Cha Cha checks in as Team #2. And Joyce and Uchenna find Fake Chopin and decide to do Perfect Pitch. Joyce used to play the piano, and they finish the tuning in pretty short order. They get their clue, and make it to the statue and check in as Team #3, a fact that surprises and excites Joyce.
Team CrazyPants finally find some poor unsuspecting English speaker to help them. After taking exactly one X-Ray, they already start to whine about how ridiculous the task is. But they finally get it and take a cab to the statue and check in as Team #4.
At this point, Eric and Dani and the Guidos finally land in Warsaw. And while they’re arriving in Warsaw, the BQ’s are already starting the next leg of the Race. They open their clue at 10:54pm, and learn that they must travel 150 miles to Auschwitz Concentration Camp. To get to the camp, they must locate a monument to the Polish underground resistance movement and take one of two buses, leaving at 1pm and 5pm the next day.
Auschwitz. Yikes. Let’s let the BQ’s sum it up: “Wow. It’s gonna be sad.”
Also, with 14 hours until the bus leaves – methinks TAR is trying to even the teams up again. I hate that.
Eric and Dani and the Guidos both get to Fake Chopin at the same time. Eric and Dani decide to do the piano while the Guidos decide to do the mannequin. The Guidos pick what they declare is the “hunkiest mannequin” and take him out of the store. I can’t help but notice that there is a tag still on his pants
And I kind of hope that someone will accuse them of stealing, because that sounds like some fun drama. Wouldn’t you like to see what the Guidos would do in a Polish jail with a hunky mannequin? But they get to the lab with little trouble, and after a discussion of who has better pecs – the Guidos or the mannequin – they get to the x-raying.
In the end, Eric and Dani finish their task ahead of the Guidos, although neither task is that interesting. They rush and check in as Team #5. This leaves the Guidos as Team #6, but it’s a non-elimination round, so we get the whole “marked for elimination” and have the “30 minute penalty” speech. But the non-elim makes Joe so happy, he tries to kiss Phil
But there is no kissing Phil! He instructs Joe to kiss Bill and leave his PhilLips alone. And there have been a few instances that have made me wonder if Phil might be a wee bit of a homophobe, but I prefer not to think about that, because my job is think about the Race. While Phil is avoiding the unwanted Kiss Attack, the first teams – the BQ’s, Cha Cha Cha and Joyce and Uchenna – board their bus to Auschwitz.
They arrive, they light candles and have a moment of silence. It’s actually moving and respectful. And I feel nothing more should be said in a recap because it’s Auschwitz. And while I still think that their trip there was pointless and perhaps TAR filler to even up the teams (could that ticket holder have looked more like it was made in 10 minutes?), it was at least treated with the proper respect.
Meanwhile, back in Warsaw, the lag between bus departures gives Eric and Dani more time to argue. The Guidos mention that they might not be able to beat Dani and Eric in a footrace, but that they can beat them with brainpower. They then spend 15 minutes walking around looking for their bus tickets when they were standing right in front of the bus tickets. I guess at this point, all signs point to Guido Elimination.
After leaving Auschwitz, the teams take taxis 40 miles to Krakow to the Juliusz Slowacki Theater. The BQ’s get lost, so Cha Cha Cha and Joyce and Uchenna are the first to the clue box. They discover that it’s an Intersection, where teams must join with another team and work together. But in addition there’s a fast forward. These seem a bit contradictory – Why throw in an intersection, which seems added on purpose to force one team to wait for hours, with a Fast Forward, which allows the first teams to jump even further ahead?
Cha Cha Cha and Joyce and Uchenna take the fast forward, where they must hike two towers, count the steps in both and give a guard the total number. If their total number is right, they get the clue. It’s easy – they climb the towers, they get their numbers, they do the basic math, they get the clue, and they get to the Pit Stop – Pieskowa Skala Castle – all in the blink of an eye.
Cha Cha Cha and Joyce and Uchenna jump on the mat together, so they are one giant Team #1.
But Phil tells them that there is only one prize, which seems unfair. In earlier seasons, didn’t both teams get prizes? I’m just saying that with all that product placement Sprint is doing, Oswald and Danny should get a phone or at least free text messaging.
Finally the BQ’s arrive at the clue box and learn that because it’s an intersection, they will have to wait hours for the next team to arrive. I would have been pissed and swearing up and down the streets of Krakow. But the BQ’s are way more classy than I. In their sweet BQ way, they announce: “This totally stinks.”
So the BQ’s wait. And wait. And wait. And they talk about how the last team that they would want to work with would be Shmirna and Mirna. And you know what that means… Team CrazyPants shows up first! The BQ’s hide, hoping that another team will show up.
But no one else shows, so it’s the BQ’s and Crazy working together. The teams must decide to Eat It Up or Roll It Up. In Eat It Up, each team member must make one three-inch link of Polish sausage, and then eat two feet of sausage. In Roll It Out, the teams must roll out 20 bagels and then deliver them.
The BQ’s want to do the sausage, although Mirna is worried. She explains: “I’m not a big eater.” You know, because the BQ’s are such piggly wigglies. But the BQ’s prevail. In the midst of sausage making, Mirna entertained us all with things like “Three inches, that’s not much.” – You know, the kind of jokes that I told when I was 9, and thought that any reference to sex was naughty and thus funny.
They finish the sausage making and begin the sausage eating. Well, first they pray, then they eat sausage. In the words of the BQ’s: “Lord, help us to get this sausage down, and help it to taste great.” I have been wondering why the situation in Darfur has been so bad, and now I know that it’s because the Lord has been busy helping Polish sausage taste good.
Back at the intersection, Eric and Dani have no choice but to team up with the Guidos. They decide to do the bagels, but then they get lost, because oddly enough the Jewish quarter of Krakow is well hidden. The teams decide to switch and do the sausage task. When they ask a local, his directions consist of: “Go somewhere there.” Muy helpful!
Despite this, they find the sausage shop, and they are not deterred when Mirna plays a clever Jedi mind trick, trying to fool them into believing that the sausage tastes like poop. The task then becomes a speed eating contest.
Between bites, Mirna yells at Shmirna, of course, because it wouldn’t be TAR without Mirna yelling at Shmirna. Eric eats pretty slowly, and I can’t help but wonder if he’s doing it on purpose. After all, the Guidos need a full half hour lead, and Eric has the power to slow them down considerably.
Joe finishes his sausage first. And Kandace finishes her sausage second. And at this point, everyone looks like they’re in pain while they’re eating. Dustin finally finishes, but then leans over and throws it all up. This gives Eric the best line of the night, when he announces: “Ladies and gentlemen, Miss California!” And I realized that I would probably actually watch Miss America if it involved different kinds of contests, like speed eating. Wouldn’t a woman who could speed eat a bunch of pies be a lot better role model for American girls than one who could just look good in a bikini?
Mirna finishes next, so now can pick full time at Shmirna. Shmirna decides she can’t eat any more and will make herself throw up by sticking a knife down her throat. After some lovely gagging noises, she throws up. And that makes it Week #2 of Shmirna Puking. We’ve had sea sickness and bulimia – maybe next episode will be All-Team puking from sausage related food poisoning?
Bill finishes next, so we’re down to a contest between Shmirna vs. Eric and Dani. Considering that Shmirna’s stomach must be half the size of Eric’s, she does have a disadvantage here. Eric and Dani finish first and they get their clue – they must drive to the Skala castle where they’ll get their next clue.
The girls finish shortly after and rush out. And because Eric and Dani and the Guidos were looking for taxis because they didn’t see the “drive yourself” part, things even up again.
Of course, the CrazyPants drama continues, because Mirna and Shmirna can’t figure out how to release the emergency brake in their car, and the delay makes them the last team out. They finally get started and find a taxi driver to follow. But the taxi stops part-way there to the castle, of course causing a CrazyPants freak-out. Mirna yells again, explaining “I’m in a hurry, my friend.” Yet again Mirna shows a complete inability to understand why the entire world isn’t invested in her performance in the Race.
The taxi driver asks for $100 to lead them to the castle. Mirna says that she doesn’t have it, but you can’t fool a camera, as we see her squirreling away money in her purse. When the taxi driver threatens to walk away, she starts to cry and yells “Have a little sympathy as a human being!!” Here’s a chance for another fun game – this one’s called “How Quickly Can We Forget?” Answer: Just hours after visiting Auschwitz, you can convince a self-centered person that the worst thing that could happen to a human being is to overpay a cabdriver.
She finally agrees to pay him $50 and they take off. While they drive, Mirna asks God to help her “get out of this country.” I’m sure God would be happy to oblige, if he weren’t so busy making the Polish sausage taste good.
The BQ’s are the first to arrive. It’s a Road Block, where one team member must don a suit of medieval armor and lead a horse a half mile through the forest to a castle. They must deliver the horse to the stable boy and then search for the Pit Stop.
Dustin starts, but Team CrazyPants isn’t far behind as Shmirna prepares for the challenge. That’s a logical decision – let Shmirna sit out the non-physical mail sorting challenge, but have her dress up in armor and lead around a horse.
Eric and Dani and the Guidos arrive and start with the task as well. Dustin is doing okay with the horse, although the outfit makes her feel like a tin can. Shmirna is having a lot of trouble and is mainly leading her horse around in circles. This inability to control the horse is driving Mirna crazy and resulting in lots and lots of yelling. Meanwhile, the Guidos are doing pretty well, due to the strategy of treating the horse like their dog Guido. I’m assuming they don’t dress up in armor and lead Guido through the forest in the dead of night to a young man dressed as a stable boy. But if they do, who am I to judge?
The BQ’s finish up the task and check in as Team #3. But Team CrazyPants is still struggling. About this time, Shmirna falls over, face first. Mirna helps her up and Shmirna keeps trying, but she really has no control over the horse whatsoever. She tries to lure him by telling him that she has sausage. Presumably even Polish horses like Polish sausage, like Polish hot dogs.
Shmirna falls over again, although this time it’s less funny and more scary because she lands near the horse’s feet. And while I do want Team CrazyPants to be eliminated in a humiliating way, I don’t want them to be trampled by horses. After all, they are human beings!
They finally make it to the stable boy and Team CrazyPants checks in as Team #4. They’re followed by the Guidos as Team #5. But even as they’re checking in, you can see Eric and Dani in the far background, so you know there is no way that 30 minute penalty is going to get them.
And before we know it, Eric and Dani are checking in, and the Guidos are eliminated.
We’re down to just 5 teams – Cha Cha Cha, Joyce and Uchenna, the BQ’s, Team CrazyPants and Eric and Dani. The first teams still seem to have such a big jump on the last teams, but it seems like TAR has been working hard in the last few episodes to even that up. Maybe next time they’ll give us a Yield?
I’m dying to see who will make it into the Final Three – although I’m going to be honest about my hopes that it’s Cha Cha Cha, Joyce and Uchenna and the BQ’s. So let’s get ready for the next episode and see what happens!!