Monday, November 06, 2006

The Amazing Race Episode 8

Last Week on The Amazing Race:
- Barbies came in first place!
- David and Mary started in first place, but stupidly chose to switch detours after everybody had already left, leaving them in last place.
- David and Mary were saved by a NEL again.
- The producers like David and Mary.
- Barbies and Rob/Kimberly had car trouble.
- Barbies and Alabama fought over basically nothing.
- The "Six Pack" alliance openly share information with each other and help each other in challenges. When someone not in their alliance wants to share information or help someone else, the Six Pack throws a tantrum.
- I'm getting real tired of this friends-over-race thing.

This Week on The Amazing Race:
(Apologies.. I've only seen the episode once, when it aired, on a non-rewindable TV. This is all from memory.)

Teams go from Mauritius to Madagascar.

A new twist, the Intersection, is introduced. Here's my shpiel. It's an interesting idea, but wouldn't it have been a better idea to introduce it earlier when there were more teams, thus more than three pairs of teams? I think the producers put it here in an episode after a NEL so there would be a possibility that the team marked for elimination could escape the penalty by teaming up with a possibly stronger team. I also think it's paired with a fast forward for this same reason.

I do not like that the Intersection punishes teams who arrive significantly before another team and have to wait there for the lagging team to arrive. This happened to the Barbies today. Also, the Intersection introduces the idea that teams should rely on one another. I don't like this either. Never has this show been pegged as a show where teams are encouraged to trust and befriend other teams. That's not the premise of the show. It made for good TV and the result was similar to what would have happened sans Intersection, so I guess I have no real complaints.

Interestingly, the Fast Forward was a dual-team challenge. The first pair of teams to finish the Fast Forward would earn the right to skip all remaining tasks and go directly to the pitstop. I was glad that this FF was one of the more complex FFs of the race's history. It stressed the idea that the FF is a risk and never a guaranteed win. Tonight's episode was maybe the fourth time only that a team did not finish first after taking a FF. Guidos, Dennis and Andrew, Monica and Sheree come to mind. I think it was the Supremes.. I'm not positive, but one team took a FF on the first leg when they were in the second bunch of teams, and were too far behind the first bunch that they only managed fourth place with the FF.

This week's Fast Forward had teams eat a plate of cow lips to earn the pass to the pitstop. According to my dad, Chinese people (and probably other Asians) eat this quite often and it's not at all disgusting. My dad is also known for eating "thousand year old eggs," which just look icky, but aren't that old.. and my mom is known for eating fish eyes. (She would have rocked at the first roadblock this season.) If they wanted to go on Fear Factor, they would own the eating tasks.

I really think the most disgusting part of this eating challenge was the cow mouths that were hanging all over the place and the smell of raw meat in the air from the shops around them. There isn't any disgusting puking scene a la Soupgate Season 6 when Victoria, Aaron, and Freddy all chucked all over the place. All we see is the males beefing themselves up as they're eating, high-fiving and commenting on how good they would place, and Kimberly looking miserable the entire time, gagging every once in awhile.

I know most people hate Rob and Kimberly. I mostly do, too, but they're such the token dating couple. They're a cumulation of nine previous seasons worth of arguing, Floing, and bitching. Somehow, this season, the fighting dating couple is hilarious to me. Maybe it's because all of the arguing has been done before, or maybe it's how they argue. Maybe it's because they're equally annoying. It's not one partner tearing apart the other like with Peter and Sarah or the infamous Jonathan and Victoria (who had a baby recently that they gave a horrible name). It's equal complaining, equal yelling. I think it would make a huge difference if Kimberly cried after they argued. Either she doesn't or they don't show it at all. So it's just funny how dysfunctional they are. That's how I view Rob and Kimberly.. they're hilarious.

Anyway, meanwhile, Barbies beg the Chos to work with them because they don't get along with Alabama or Kentucky. Chos whine about having to compete against their friends and alliancemates. Shut up, Chos.. this isn't summer camp.

These two pairs of teams arrive at the Detour. The choices are A.) put a fitted sheet on eight mattresses and carry them through crowded streets to make a delivery to locals, or B.) make a million handcrafted pieces of fancy paper. This episode, teams are not stupid like last episode, and choose to do the more physical task instead of the more tedious time-consuming ridiculous task.

Barbies and Chos are off before the Four Pack. Barbies are carrying four mattresses and Chos are carrying four. Chos mention one or both of them worked for a moving company. Why, then, didn't they pair one Cho brother with one Barbie? Wouldn't that be more efficient? Who knows. Either way, they do okay. They get a local to direct them, until they appear to lose the local at some point. At which time they stand around for way too long asking where their guide went. Then someone realizes they know where they're trying to deliver to and can just ask someone else which way to go. They get their clue that tells them they are no longer bound to the other team. Which means the Barbies can now fly ahead and the Cho brothers can once again be in the Back Pack.

Alabama and Kentucky are having a little more trouble. Their idea of efficient was carrying all of the mattresses at once. They manage to use two fanny packs as rope to tie the mattresses together. I don't think enough people appreciate the humor of this. Fanny Packs.. still useful, yet still unappealing. For some reason, while Barbies and Chos were able to travel along sidewalks of some sort, our unintentionally hilarious Four Pack decides to navigate through traffic, which yes, includes running cars. There are scenes where mattresses are on top of cars with people in them, or mattresses are wedged between two cars. It's great.

So Barbies are first to the Roadblock. They are really owning this leg. Dustin does the Roadblock, in which one team member must locate four vendors along the busy street who have a particular stamp that corresponds to four vehicles (plane, train, bus, car?) that are provided on a sheet of paper. Once they match the four stamps, they will have to get to the pitstop where their teammate is already waiting. I like this.

Chos get there after Dustin has already found one or two stamps. They ask if she's found the clue and she either says 'no' or ignore them. While it seems a little mean, the Barbies aren't here to play the friend game. Also, if Dustin is by herself, doesn't it seem reasonable to assume she's doing the roadblock? Just my opinion. Anyway, Godwin decides to do it.

So we see Kandice and Erwin waiting at the pitstop. We see clips of the Fast Forwarders making their way to the pitstop once they finish the cow lips. Dustin finishes getting her stamps and rushes to the pitstop as well. Then, editors actually do a good job in convincing us that the FFers make it to the pitstop before Dustin. But in actuality, Dustin runs toward the pitstop and Kandice gets excited. They go to Phil and he tells them that they're in 1st place. Yay! They proceed to get really excited and mention that a group went for the FF. Yes, Barbies, you beat the FFers.. you were that good. They win a trip for two to Hawaii.

Erwin is sitting there still and we think maybe Godwin will arrive next. Nope. It's the FFers. Tyler and James arrive in second and possibly think that Rob and Kimberly were in front of them, but either way, they're pretty happy. Then Rob and Kimberly arrive and look disappointed at having taken longer to complete one task than the Barbies were at completing two. Well, it happens.

Next, Godwin appears and the Chos are fourth.

David and Mary arrive at the roadblock first and Mary performs it. Alabama strolls in sometime later and Lyn does it. Why are Alabama strolling? Partially because this is how excited they are typically and partially because they know they can take their time and still beat David and Mary's thirty minute penalty time. So Mary finishes first and she and David step onto the mat in fifth, but have to wait out their penalty. Lyn arrives sometime after and they step onto the mat in fifth and David and Mary have to step on the mat in last place. This means goodbye David and Mary.

It was fun while it lasted, Kentucky. I will miss the Kentucky of two episodes ago, where they were genuinely excited to do everything and in less of a giving-up mood.

Next time on The Amazing Race: People jump into quicksand? People roll in barrels? (No, actually that may have been Survivor.)

Until next time..

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