The producers of The Amazing Race spent a lot of time picking out the teams to compete in this All Stars edition. Obviously they want the toughest, most competitive and most driven teams to be their All Stars, right? They only picked the best of the best. The most amazing (since amazing is, after all, in their name). The competitors who would make those of us sitting at home eating an entire pizza by ourselves feel bad. Right?
But they picked Drew. And I no longer feel bad about the entire pizza (although I do feel kind of bad about the entire carton of Ben & Jerry’s I followed it up with). Let’s find out why….
There is very little about Drew that says “All Star”. Drew gets outrun by a little person. He trips over his own feet. He doesn’t know Ecuador from Peru. He whines a lot about his back and his legs. He doesn’t know how to change a flat. Honestly, if this is who qualifies for All Stars, I can hardly wait to see Peter O’Toole competing against Dustin Diamond in The Amazing Race Celebrity Edition.
It is just moments into this episode of TARAS before All Star Drew has another problem. The altitude in Quito, Ecuador is making him sick and he has to have oxygen administered four times.
But the race stops for no altitude, and certainly not for big babies, so soon it’s time for Romber to depart. The clue sends the teams to Santiago, Chile. Once there, they must travel 12 miles by taxi to a copper mining company. Before they go, Rob takes time to announce to the camera that he wants the other teams to be preoccupied by them, because thinking about Romber will distract them from the Race. Note this as time Number One that Rob discusses other teams – we’ll be keeping count for a reason!
Other teams depart as well, and Eric warns Danielle about falling down the hill. Aw, nice, right? Nope, he actually tells her that if she fell down the hill like Humpty Dumpty, he’d start calling her “Humpty Dumbass”. Eric then tells the camera that he doesn’t think that he has any problems in his relationship with Danielle. Dr. Phil agrees. His office issued the following statement: “Any relationship where the man calls the woman dumbass is healthy. They should get married and have 75 dumbass babies immediately.”
Soon after, Mirna and Shmirna are off too. Last week, I was quite confused about Shmirna’s name – Charla, Charna, Shmarla, Shmarna. I really can’t keep it all straight. So they will now be known as Mirna and Shmirna, because I can remember names that rhyme. They might also need to be known as Team Crazypants, but more on that later.
Mirna and Shmirna take off, with the insightful comment that “It might be chilly in Chile.” I am pretty sure that Chile will have to pay The Amazing Race royalties when they adopt that as their national slogan. Just to get a piece of the action myself, I plan to copyright “You Canda in Uganda”, and “It’s always Wowee in Malawi”.
Mirna and Shmirna decide that they are going to follow Dave and Mary. At this point I was wondering if Mirna and Shmirna had watched last season, because if I were on TARAS, I wouldn’t have aligned with Kentucky. It seems to me that while Mary and Dave really benefited from the alliances that they formed, the other teams didn’t get much out of it for themselves.
But it quickly became clear that there is a very good reason that I am not on TARAS, and that reason is that I am too dumb. Because as they’re following Kentucky, Mirna and Shmirna get suck in a watery ditch of a pothole. And Dave and Mary quickly pitch in to tow them out. Which is the right thing to do. And is also the right answer to the question WWCBD? So yay for the return of the Kentucky we know and love. Even Mirna is grateful, and announces that they owe Kentucky.
Drew and Kevin are the last to leave. Drew manages to slip after just a few steps. Which I think, according to TARAS rules, makes Drew Humpty Dumbass. They get to their car and immediately begin to bicker about whether or not Kevin hit Drew’s shoulder. At first this made me tense, because it wasn’t the kind of bickering that is funny, like Rob and Kimberly last season.
But I didn’t have time to think about that, because Drew quickly drove his car into one of those potholes. And since Kentucky was long gone, the question WWCBD is totally irrelevant. And it turns out Drew and Kevin have a plan of their own – Kevin will tie the tow rope around his own waist and pull the car out of the pothole. Which makes me really wish that Kentucky wasn’t there for Mirna and Shmirna, because wouldn’t you have really loved to see Shmirna self-towing a car?
I was pretty sure Kevin’s move was going to be a disaster. But yet again I prove that I am too dumb for TARAS, because their move actually works and the car practically flies out of the pothole. Technically, it practically flies out of the pothole into Kevin. Apparently Drew forgot that Kevin was tied to the car and just kept on driving. Either that or he’s really tired of Kevin and decided to run him over. Drew seems like an angry man and I wouldn’t put it past him.
Meanwhile, Romber reaches the airport. They buy tickets for a flight that will arrive in chilly Chile at 1:50 am. Rob asks the woman at the ticket counter not to let anyone else on the same flight and the woman agrees. I wish I’d known earlier that this was something airlines allowed. From now on, I’m going to take advantage of this perk. I plan to pinpoint all the people with screaming babies and B.O. problems and ask for them to be excluded from my flights. I will also ask them to always include Jake Gyllenhaal and extra ice cream on my flights. I’m pretty sure Jet Blue will do it.
Danny and Oswald aren’t affected by Romber’s flight ban. Apparently the news of the ban didn’t reach all Ecuadorian travel agents, and Team Cha Cha is able to get on the 1:50am flight. Everyone else ends up on a flight that arrives at 2:30am. Since we see the other teams buying tickets from many different agents, the obvious conclusion is that Romber’s power reaches far and wide and Cha Cha Cha somehow managed to sneak under the radar, par usual.
Romber boards their flight, and Rob confesses that the race is about Romber as a team and the course. It is not about the other teams. Note: This is time Number Two Rob talks about other teams. Yup, still keeping count.
Romber has a layover in Lima (not chilly) before heading to Santiago. In Lima, Rob boasts that they will be the first team to arrive. “If anything [the other teams] are probably a little bit paranoid about where we are.” Count that as Number Three reference to the other teams in about 15 minutes of show… and all this by a guy who doesn’t care about the other teams… Also count that as awesome TARAS foreshadowing, because as soon as Rob announces that they’ll be the first to arrive, we learn that the flight to Santiago, Chilly has been delayed. Whoops.
While Romber sits in the airport, the other teams board their flight. Kentucky puts their backpacks in the first class section, so they can grab them on the way off the flight. Drew gets very upset about Kentucky’s behavior.
And I think for good reason – Drew knows that the classes should be separated. If you’re rich and sitting in first class, you shouldn’t have to deal with the baggage of the peasants in coach. In Drew’s graduate thesis titled “India’s Caste System and Why It Should Be Emulated”, Drew writes: “If you’re not in first class, don’t put your belongings in the first class bin… Put your s*** where your seat it.” Well put, Professor Humpty Dumbass, well put.
Drew’s anger management issues make Team Guido laugh. But Dave refuses to be intimidated, announcing that if Drew is going to play dirty, then “It’s on.” Nothing actually appears to be “on,” as we never learn how the tense luggage situation is resolved. But despite the lack of closure, let’s all take a moment to imagine a fight: Kentucky vs. Kevin and Drew. Odds on Mary beating Drew down: 100%.
Let’s all take another moment to learn about relaxing during air travel:
Team Guido knows how to do it.
Meanwhile, Romber is joined in the airport by Team Cha Cha Cha. Their flight finally leaves, too, and all seems to be well in the world…. Except the earlier delay makes them miss their connection to Santiago. And, as if God is laughing at them, they only miss it by moments and can actually see the plane pulling away as they beg the stewardess to hold it for them. Let’s reenact that: Romber: “Please hold that plane!” Stewardess: “Too bad!” God: “Ha!”
Harrowing music is played, and I start to worry that Cha Cha Cha might be eliminated. And then we learn that their flight will arrive about 15 minutes later than the other teams. Note to TAR producers: Please save that scary music for times when I really need to be scared. Don’t let me waste my scared on things on like this!
The first plane, which was supposed to be the second plane, lands in Santiago. We’re treated to a TAR montage of all the teams running and getting taxis. No one has any trouble finding the copper mining company, which is a little disappointing. I am mad at TAR for having our All Stars spend so much time in Spanish speaking countries. Too many of the All Stars speak Spanish, so they’re getting around and buying tickets and directing cabs with no trouble at all. And, really, shouldn’t this season be the ultimate test? You’re not an All Star if you can speak Spanish. You’re an All Star if you can get around that country in Africa where they speak the click language. Come on, Show, take it up a notch.
At the copper company, there’s a Roadblock. In the company’s boardroom, the team member must figure out that the letters strewn about the room spell out the name of a copper mine that is pictured in the room.
Joyce and Eric are the first two into the room. Don’t get confused at this point, just because this board room is nothing like the board room on The Apprentice. And it’s not just because there’s no one with a comb over. In Chilly, board of director members actually look remarkably like they came from the following casting call: Supporting/ Male / 25 to 35 / Good Looking / Can pretend to be talking about business while really talking about going to the gym later. Must provide own clothing already embroidered with letters.
Eric and Joyce poke around the board room, but can’t figure out what they’re supposed to be doing there. The BQ’s are the third to arrive, but the first to figure out to look at the pictures on the walls. While Joyce and Eric are guessing things like “Aquarium” and “Planetarium”, the BQ has figured out that the answer is Chuquicamata. You can see why that would be confused with Planetarium, right?!
Chuquicamata is the name of everyone’s favorite copper mine. The BQ copies the name from the wall, rushes out, and gets the clue. The BQ’s leave to go to Chuquicamata, which we learn is the world’s largest open pit copper mine. Which shows us that TAR worked closely with Chilly’s tourism board to find the loveliest sites that Chilly has to offer. There is nothing more beautiful than an open pit mine….
The second plane with Romber and Cha Cha Cha finally lands. But that’s boring, because in the board room, Team Guido is guessing the clue and taking off. Teri and Ian arrive, and Ian the Former Police Officer decides that he’s the one to search for the clues. After all, he’s a detective. There is no way a detective (i.e. someone trained in the art of detection) couldn’t figure out a clue before coal miners from Kentucky, right?!
Well, Kentucky Mary immediately writes down all the names of all the pictures on the wall. I don’t know if this is WWCBD, but it probably is, because it’s pretty smart, and so were the Cho Bros. And just this simple move already puts her way further along than Sherlock Holmes Ian, who must have been the worst detective in the world. Any bad guy who hid his drugs in a dresser drawer could have stumped Ian.
As the remaining teams continue to puzzle away, Romber and Cha Cha Cha finally arrive. It doesn’t take Amber long to figure out the answer. I know I talked in last week’s recap about how I don’t really care for Rob and Amber. And I don’t. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t recognize that fact that they play the game well. They are fast and driven and figure the clues out pretty quickly, so they’re definitely a team to contend with. But I also think they’re overexposed and self-absorbed and I’m tired of them. But, that being said, Amber still rocked on the clue, and I love that she helped out Oswald.
Romber and Cha Cha Cha take off. And Eric and Joyce are still in the board room, clueless. They obviously weren’t figuring this out on their own, so I can’t understand why they didn’t just start watching the other teams. Let’s say that around you, a string of people looked at a picture, wrote the name of the picture down, ran off and never returned. Wouldn’t you think that maybe that picture might have something to do with the clue?
Mary’s the next to figure it out. Before leaving, Mary tells Shmirna what’s she’s doing. Apparently Shmirna doesn’t think she has to do any work of her own while she waits for Mary.
Mary might have figured out the clue fairly quickly, but she still isn’t the best at the game playing. She loudly reads the clue aloud to the guard. And Kevin, who is standing right behind her overhears. He runs back into the board room to find the picture for the spelling.
While inside, Kevin also tells Shmirna that Mary got the clue right. Shmirna rushes out, Mary feeds her the clue, and those two teams are off. Remember when Mirna said that she owed Kentucky one? Well, now she owes Kentucky at least two or three. And Drew and Kevin owe her. Because Kevin goes back into the boardroom, writes down the name of the picture and leaves. All of this happens without Eric, Joyce or Sherlock Holmes noticing anything.
And now it’s time for a commercial break. This week we get to find out what kind of music helps David and Mary through the race. This time I was a little curious, so I went online and learned that David and Mary like Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks (no surprise there), Cherry Pie by Warrant, and Jesus Take the Wheel by Carrie Underwood.
We’re back from the commercial, and while all the departed teams are at the airport, Sherlock Ian and Joyce are still in the board room. Joyce is guessing “Sand pit” and “Rock pit.” Which is really close to Chuquicamata. Finally Sherlock has the brilliant idea that the clue might be something in the room. This leads Joyce to the pictures and finally the right answer. Which means that the detective was actually the last one to figure out the right answer.
At the airport, a new ticketing agent opens up a line and Eric quickly jumps over, making him first in that line. Rob gets worked up and scolds Eric for playing unfairly, but then claims that it’s all part of his strategy of trying to stir the pot and rile up the other teams. Amber thinks that his behavior made him look silly, which makes me think that I might actually like Amber, because he did look silly. But Rob insists that there’s a method to his madness. But that’s exactly what the mentally ill guy who lives on my corner says when he’s trying to get the aliens to come back for him.
We soon discover that all the clue solving didn’t really make a difference, because all ten teams end up on the same flight to Calama, Chile. We get another montage of racing for the taxi and trying to get the taxi to race past other teams. And before we know it, Romber are in first place again. Or, as Shmirna says, “Rob and Amber, of course they can go fast.” I do enjoy that other teams now think that Romber can make their taxi go faster just by the fact that they are Romber.
The teams arrive at the mine, where they encounter a detour – By Hand or By Machine. By Hand means they have to put bolts and washers on a two ton tire to secure it to a truck; By Machine means they have to use a backhoe to pile gravel around a post.
Rob used to work in construction, so they choose By Machine. So does Team Guido.
Everyone else chooses By Hand.
The By Hand quickly leads to bickering. There is some debate within the Kentucky team on how to put on the washers, but it’s quickly put aside in favor of speed. Shmirna decides that in order to help she will need a stepstool. And this is the beginning of where Mirna and Shmirna turn into Team Crazypants. Mirna yells at Shmirna for wanting a stepstool. Shmirna does seem unreasonable. Everyone knows that a little person can reach the top of a two ton tire using only her magical skills. Oh, wait, that would make her a leprechaun. Shmirna needs a stepstool. Mirna finally decides that she’ll help drag the stepstool over, but then starts to yell at Shmirna about her hands bleeding.
Romber has little trouble with their task and finishes first. They learn from their clue that they have to get in one of the vehicles parked nearby and drive 25 miles to The Valley of the Moon. They must pass into the Valley of the Dead, where they will find the Pit Stop. Because The Valley of the Moon has many sharp turns, they can only go 40 kilometers an hour, but once they exit the Valley of the Moon, they can go faster.
Team Cha Cha Cha finishes up their tire and is the second to leave. They’re followed by Joyce and Uchenna and Eric and Danielle. But things aren’t going so well for the other teams in By Hand Land. Drew is taking some breaks to take his medicine. And Mirna and Shmirna decide to forgo that pesky stepstool in favor of using Mirna as a ladder.
Dave and Mary think they’re finished, only to discover that they put the washers on the wrong way, so they have to redo almost all of them. Will this be the downfall of Kentucky? It seems pretty consistently that Dave has some good suggestions and Mary ignores him. So let’s keep our eyes on that and hope Mary gets a little nicer to Dave.
Meanwhile, there is a little confusion on Team Guido. The clue specifies that both team members must work the backhoe. This causes a short delay, but before we know it, Team Guido is on the road, too.
They’re followed by Teri and Ian. But Teri and Ian somehow completely miss the cars that they’re supposed to drive and get a taxi to take them to the front gate. Other things Ian hasn’t noticed: That Teri’s face hasn’t moved since 1995. Also, I’m officially changing their name to Team Magoo.
Kevin and Drew finally finish up with their tire. And Drew, barely able to contain his excitement, slowly strolls to the car. Seriously, Drew is so excited to be on TARAS that he can barely muster the excitement to lift his feet and get in the car.
Teri and Ian finally find their invisible car and hit the road. Mirna and Shmirna finally finish, as do the BQ’s. They run to their cars, and Mirna and Shmirna decide to pay a cab to lead them to the Valley. And Dave and Mary finally finish. Well, Dave finally finishes the work. And Mary finally finishes standing there with her arms crossed.
Mirna and Shmirna hit the road, and this is where Team Crazypants fully comes out. Mirna decides that she is not happy that the BQ’s are following them when they are paying a cab a lot of money to lead them to the Valley. So everyone pulls over, and Mirna suggests that if the BQ’s are going to follow, they should split the cab fee. The BQ’s aren’t opposed to this, but before a millisecond can pass, Team Crazypants is insisting that they need an answer. Right that second. And their insisting involves a lot of yelling.
And when they BQ’s learn that it’s going to cost $100, too much money, they suggest that they pay the cab driver a lesser fee to draw them a map. Doesn’t seem unreasonable… except if you’re from Team Crazypants. They hate maps. Crazypants starts to yell again, and the BQ’s decide that instead of dealing with it they’ll just ask someone else.
Just as the BQ’s pull away, Team Magoo passes by. Which only sets Crazypants off even further. Mirna runs to the car and gets out her purse. She forces it on a very, very confused cab driver and both women start to yell at him to take all their money. Mirna even takes out $20 dollars and gives it to the cab driver, explaining that she will now not be able to eat. You know, because being on The Amazing Race is a way, way tougher life than that of a Chilean cab driver.
In their car, Team Crazypants has a thing or two to say about the BQ’s. Apparently the BQ’s were using them. And while “it’s easy to make yourself beautiful with plastic surgery but to have a pure heart and to have morals is not easy to make up.” Very true. Other things that can’t be made up: Taking the express train to Looneytown.
Romber arrives at the entrance to the Valley of the Dead, followed by Team Cha Cha Cha. I’m not sure if Romber took a wrong turn and then corrected themselves or not, but they arrive first at the pit stop. As the first place team, they both win an off road motorcycle. And they do a little butt shaking dance, which is pretty cute.
Cha Cha Cha comes in second. Meanwhile, Eric and Danielle, Joyce and Uchenna and Team Guido make their way through the Valley. At a fork, Eric and Danielle and Team Guido both veer to the left, while Joyce and Uchenna veer to the right. It quickly becomes clear that the right way was actually the wrong way, so Joyce and Uchenna turn around. Meanwhile, Eric’s car stalls, giving Team Guido the chance to make it to the Pit Stop as Team 3. But Eric and Danielle are right behind them as Team 4, and Joyce and Uchenna are right behind them as Team 5.
Meanwhile, there is a great deal of confusion with the other teams that have congregated at the gate to the Valley of the Moon. They all wait in line and then finally get in, and then there’s a lot of drama when teams start to pass each other. Drew and Kevin are talking a lot about the 40 kilometer speed limit. In fact, they decide to drive in the middle of the road so no one can pass them without breaking the speed limit.
Too bad Drew and Kevin are spending all their time congratulating themselves for blocking the others and not enough time paying attention to the landscape, because they miss the sign that tells them that they have exited the Valley and can speed up. Other teams are not quite as clueless, and quickly pass Drew and Kevin by. Drew and Kevin are angry, but just talk more about sticking to the speed limit. Morale of this section: Drew and Kevin really like rules.
When they reach the fork, the BQ’s go to the right. Meanwhile, on the road, Mirna and Shmirna pass Dave and Mary. And this is not okay with Mary. Mary thinks that since they have been so helpful to Team Crazypants, the women shouldn’t try to pass them. So Dave & Mary pass them by again. Which doesn’t seem to bother Team Crazypants, because they realize that they can just follow Kentucky without all that pesky having to think for themselves about directions.
At the fork in the road, Mary uses the smarts that helped her solve the board room puzzle and declares that Dave should turn right because it’s the sign “has the most words.” Luckily War and Peace wasn’t printed on a sign pointing to Russia. But Mary and Dave head to the right, and Mirna and Shmirna follow them, and Teri and Ian follow them, and Drew and Kevin follow them. Which means we have a whole string of team going in the wrong direction.
The BQ’s stop to ask directions, and are told to return to the fork and go left. They get nervous when everyone passes them going in the opposite directions, so they get directions from someone else who also tells them to go back to where they came from. So they do. And Teri and Ian follow them. And they were smart to do so, because the BQ’s check in as Team Six, and Teri and Ian as Team Seven.
Back on the wrong road, Drew finally decides to turn around. But because he’s Drew, he decides that instead of watching the road, he’s going to get in a fight with Kevin over whether or not they have any water. During this drama, he almost hits Mirna and Shmirna, who have also turned around and are following another car to the Valley. Drew ends up blocking Mirna and Shmirna from the car they were following, and then further aggravates them by sticking to his strict 40 kilometers an hour rule.
Finally, Dave and Mary also turn around. They may be dumb enough to follow a sign because it has a lot of words, but not dumb enough to recognize a sign that says “Speed Limit 50 kilometers an hour” so they quickly pass Drew and Kevin by. But, again, being Drew, he isn’t going to bother to speed up. Drew must really have believed the old adage: “Slow and steady wins the race.” So instead of speeding up, he just yells “Speeding” out of the car.
Mirna and Shmirna arrive at the mat first and are Team Eight. Kentucky is right behind them and joins them on the mat. Phil notices Mary’s displeasure, and it quickly becomes clear that she’s mad about Mirna and Shmirna passing them. Mary explains to the camera that for two races, all she’s done is helped people and she isn’t going to help any more. While I was upset about the way Kentucky were playing last week, I have to agree with Mary on this one. No point in aligning with the crazies, Mary.
And finally Drew and Kevin wander in. When Phil tells them they are the last team to arrive, Drew steps off the mat and starts to walk away. Phil has to ask them back so he can officially eliminate them. Any team that shows such disrespect to Phil clearly deserves to be sent packing.
And so it goes. Drew and Kevin join John Vito and Jill in Elimination Station. Is anyone else watching those videos? Does anyone else find them disappointing – there must be more happening, and I feel like we need more videos. Any thoughts on what happened with Dave and Mary this week? How crazy with Mirna and Shmirna get? Will Rob and Amber continue to dominate? Let’s discuss!!