Major props to Uchenna and Joyce, not only for bringing home the prize, but for staying around to make sure that their cab driver got his money. Maybe that was a little much, but it played pretty well on TV. And I think a lot of people are happy with this outcome--no matter which team you rooted for, you can't say that Joyce & Uchenna ever gave anything less than their all in every leg.
God, I hope freakgirl got a capture of Phil's "Yikes!" face when Kelly had her Oprah moment up there on the stage. Awkward!
I'd type more, but we're about to have a storm and lightning always knocks out my DSL; bring on the comments! What were the best moments? the most frustrating moments? What was the crucial moment for all the teams involved?
The Phinal Phil's Phashion Corner: Phil went with tried-and-true this go-round. Untucked shirts that are just festive enough, paired with slimming jeans for late-night walks on the beach. The all-black ensemble in Miami was fine, if a tad boring. All I could think was how hot (one t, not two) it looked.
Well, we knew it had to happen sooner or later, but kudos to Gretchen & Meredith for making it so much later than any of us would have guessed. And just when it looked like her face was healing, too!
"Hi, my name is Rob and I need to find a local to guide me through an ENGLISH-SPEAKING COUNTRY or else I might have to finish all of these tasks on my own while my fiancee frets over whether she should digest that bit of watercress she just nibbled or throw it back up so she can look good in her wedding dress." I'm sorry, I've reached my limit--I don't even like looking at them anymore. If they win next week (no no no no no please no), expect the shortest recap ever, along the lines of a Miss Manners-esque "How nice for them."
The team to watch tonight was Ron and Kelly--now this is a relationship in serious trouble, and boy is it fun to watch. I thought Ron had the upper hand with, "I think I've seen everything that I want to see out of her on this race." Let's see how many different ways we can read that one, okay? But then Kelly roars back with, "We can lose the race to let you go back and be...a man." SNIP SNIP--and Ron's testicles drop into the bucket.
So next week, let us lift our voices in prayer and song that Joyce and Uchenna bring it home for the nice people of the world, and that Romber and Ron/Kelly really do cancel each other out. Isn't that how the universe is supposed to work?
Phil's Phashion Corner: The blustery London weather didn't allow Phil to express himself at his sartorial peak this week (oh, for the long-ago days of the massive Nordic-mariner-inspired white rollnecks!), but the man sure knows how to layer, doesn't he? I could have done with fewer pockets on the coat, though...no one--not even Amberexia--needs that kind of unnecessary bulk.
Aren't you proud of me for resisting the temptation to title this entry "Even Old New York Was Once New Amsterdam" or something along those lines?
I actually thought this was a kind of boring week, challenge-wise, on the race. Of course, maybe that's because fun-depleting Ron & Kelly were featured so heavily. Even their bickering is boring! And who wants to go on a trip ("Thanks, Travelocity!") with those two after the race is over? Douchechill!
Of course, the thing to smile about for this leg is that Rob's "Be an ass" strategy came back and bit him on his ass. How nice that his weasel-esque, school-bully taunt about "the earlier flight" actually directly caused a couple of teams to work hard and jump in front of him. Where are your "angels" now, Romber?
Oh, and can someone explain this "common" deal with weighing strangers in the street in Istanbul? They don't make earplugs thick enough to mask the sound of the "OH HELL NO" I would release if someone asked me to step on a scale in public. In pounds-adding shoes and clothes, no less! I'll stick to my normal methods of weighing myelf, thanks (you know--in private, multiple times during the day, building up my supply of self-loathing and food issues with each weigh-in). That's how we get our weigh on in America!
Phil's Phashion Corner: Phil knocks another one out of the park this week. Lots of warm and earthy browns, a fantastic (and hip-hiding!) jacket, and the sweet PK trademark rollneck action that we've been praying for.
One day, you should ask me about the 24 consecutive hours I spent on a bus traveling from Tijuana to Cabo San Lucas. Believe me, I would have killed for the train ride they had to endure at the beginning of tonight's leg of the race...
So Team Snaps landed on their final mat tonight, all because of a makes-you-wanna-hit-something taxi mix-up. Yes, they were totally obnoxious, but I'm going to miss those two--I feel an odd kind of bond with any team that isn't afraid to admit to missing their skin care regime back home.
On the other hand, there is something beautiful about seeing Gretchen and Meredith make it this far. Sure, Gretchen looks like she's been worked over with a sporting goods store full of baseball bats (and gives new meaning to the word "braying" when she yells), but you absolutely must admire their tenacity. I'm glad Phil mentioned the new oldest-team record--I think it inspired them a little bit.
But talk about inspiration: JOYCE SHAVED HER HEAD. I thought there might be another head-shaving challenge coming up, but I figured that everyone would wuss out or just avoid it as usual. Major props to Joyce for having the courage to go through with the thing (and to Uchenna for being so supportive and genuinely moved by her sacrifice). I think it's probably easy for a guy to say "big deal" to head-shaving (especially us close-cropped types); I can't imagine having the guts to do it if I were a woman. If Joyce and Uchenna win this thing (and oh dear God, please let them win--a Ron/Kelly vs. Rob/Amber final will make me gouge my eyes out), they better splurge on some fierce wigs for that woman!
So goodbye Lynn and Alex--I hope they slathered themselves in Kiehl's as soon as they got home. And here's to next week's installment, where Kelly brilliantly accuses Ron of getting out of his commitment to the military by being a P.O.W. That's about as logical as accusing me of getting out of an English exam one time in college by getting that kidney stone.
Phil's Phashion Corner: Tonight was the definite high point for Phil Phashion this season! Good use of hair product, great jeans, and a kick-ass shirt (would you call that color "old ivory"?) that made me long for a tie-in fashion line for TAR. Plus, he's keeping the shirt untucked, cleverly camouflaging his junk-tastic trunk while still looking all casual chic.
We all were on the receiving end of a curve ball this week as this leg of the race turned out to be a two-parter. Of course, it is India, so it's important that we get lots of chances (yet again) to reaffirm our belief that we never want to travel there. Oh, wait--is that just me? Sorry.
Anyway, I had to chuckle when everyone was so excited to find out they were India-bound. Have these folks ever watched any of the past seasons? It looks to me like India is right up there with Senegal in terms of stress-free travel, y'all. Some beautiful places and friendly people, yes, but man--just that confusing taxi stand moment alone was enough to give me fits.
Why did Gretchen get so much adulation in India, when the other teams made it through the crowds with relatively little fanfare? It must have been the cameras following her and Meredith, right? Either that or they all thought that Dame Judi Dench was in the rizz-ickshaw. Heck, I'm just glad she got a little backpack to wear!
I really can't think of anything else to say about this round--no one acted weird or super-annoying. Please use the comments to mention other moments of interest that I may have missed.
Oh, and Phil's Phashion Corner is on hiatus until P-Kizzle busts out some truly grand ethnic wear. I kept waiting for "sponsored by Banana Republic" to scroll across the screen. I do have to say that India is doing great things for Phil's skin, though--he was positively smooth and glowing in the India shots.
Hey--Kelly just invented the coolest game to play when you need to pass time on a trip! You read stories from the Bible, but then you substitute your name for the Bible characters! "Hey y'all, remember that time I parted the Red Sea, and that time when I put all of those animals on a boat and it started raining and..." Ugh--she and Ron totally deserve each other, though it's obvious that they are going their separate ways as soon as the season ends.
Other than the delight from hearing the word "teats" get mentioned over and over again, there wasn't much to hold my attention on this leg of the race. Too much driving! Seriously, who cares? Maybe since I'm not a truck person or mud person or outside person, I just didn't see the entertainment value of that stuff. But while we're on the topic of automobiles, maybe Lynn should start thinking about the fact that Team Snaps' bad luck with vehicles might be karmically related to asinine statements like "Uchenna and Joyce are born to do this." Dude! That's just ignorant.
I hope I wasn't the only one weeping and gnashing teeth at the departure of Los Hermanos Fabulosos. I'm gonna miss those boys--they had spirit and enthusiasm and a sense of fun AND personality, and made for some great TV moments over the last few weeks. And seriously, how awesome would it have been to have a non-elimination round, with a "complete the race in your swimsuits" penalty?
Don't forget, there's a special episode Wednesday night, with recaps and new footage. Tune in!
Phil's Phashion Corner: Phil's outfit was about as exciting as the driving challenges tonight. Not too much to say, really, but speaking of teats...someone should step in and tell him that shirts with two breast pockets do nothing but draw attention to man-boobies.
Okay, so do we think that was the best leg of the race so far this season? I do, for lots of reasons:
1. We got to leave South America (no offense to anyone, but it was getting muy aburrido down there).
2. We got to see the racers interact with kids, which is always fun. (The South African kids were precious, but the Ethiopian boys and girls from last season still win the prize for awesomeness.)
3. We got to see Rob & Amber look like total self-absorbed jerkwads (I know--shocking) as they drove by the wrecked car.
4. We got a footrace�a freakin� AWESOME footrace, where you can see both teams in the same camera shot so you know it isn't editing trickery�to the finish.
5. For the second week in a row, the eliminated team totally deserved to get the boot�there will be no wailing across America tonight.
This double episode was so big that there�s no way to do the whole thing justice, so I�m going to take the easy way out and mention some highlights and lowlights�feel free to add your own in the comments.
*I would have freaked out if that clueless airport lady had asked me to check my bag. I thought the whole point of backpacks was that you never had to check your luggage and lose precious minutes! She must have been looking in a different security manual or something.
*Lynn needs to stop channeling Kendra right now. He�s dragging down Team Snaps� good name when he talks about �chickens and camels and whatever� and compares J-burg to Compton. (It might be an apt analogy, and he does live in L.A., but it just sounds sketchy.)
*How great was it to watch Gretchen�s injury kick Meredith (�Meredith is the guy�) into high gear in that cave? All they needed was a massive head wound to push them to their best finish yet!
*What is UP with that new non-elimination penalty? All the money, PLUS your packs and clothes? That is some serious harshness.
Now let�s talk about the end�how can you not love those brothers? Not only are they funny and goofy and obviously enjoying every minute of the race, but they managed to turn it up to 11 and pound out those last few feet, snatching the last winning slot away from nasty Ray and not-nasty-but-teamed-with-a-loser Deana. I think I�m rooting for Team Bro all the way now, and not just because Greg graduated from the high school where I teach.
Oh, about Ray and Deana: can we assume that they are now �off again�? I hope Deana hopped in her new SUV and got as far from Ray as she could as soon as the cameras were turned off. Did you hear Ray�s �touching� quote at the end? �We need to figure out what it is that is both holding us together and ripping us apart.� I�ll give you a hint, Ray�it rhymes with �You are a TOTAL ASS.�
Phil�s Phashion Corner (2-for-1 Edition!)
In hour one, Phil was sporting what looked to be a new haircut, a slightly dressier shirt, and was definitely �dressing right� in his jeans. Seriously, I totally think he was going commando in Soweto. (Hmmm...that sounds like a really intriguing travel guide...)
In hour two, we had our beloved Casual Phil, with the untucked shirt over the relaxed Dockers. And it�s official: Phil <3 epaulets!
Kind of a lackluster leg of the race this week�if you ask me, it�s time to get out of Latin America and move on. (Luckily, it looks like Africa is in the cards next week�but more about that later.) Team Snaps got off to a strong start with the horsey challenge, but I�d like to suggest that Lynn needed to tone his enthusiasm down a little around the horses. This is Argentina, not Camp Jim, for crying out loud. The gauchos really don�t want to see your perfect cheer. (Something else that Alex & Lynn could tone down is their hatred of Rob & Amber, which surpasses even my own. Take a deep breath and try to enjoy the game�follow Brian & Greg�s enthusiastic lead.)
I cringed when I saw that teams had to do a �search� challenge this week, no matter what. Talk about damned if you do, damned if you don�t. These kinds of challenges always seem to be the biggest headache-inducers for the racers, and it makes my temples throb just thinking about having to choose between the tasks. Luckily, both of them were pretty simple (crappy boat engines aside), and we got to move through the pain rather quickly.
But then we got to�the pit stop? With more than 20 minutes to go in the show? Not much excitement here, as it signals that we�re now watching to see who comes in last, not first. Of course, sometimes this can be very dramatic, but in this case, all of the teams bringing up the rear have less charisma than that shipwrecked boat, and so I admit that I sort of fast-forwarded through the rest. I just don�t have any emotional investment in those guys (yet), so when Patrick & Mom showed up and got eliminated, I was sort of, �Oh, well.� (I won�t miss them, though��Maybe I need to lighten up,� says Patrick. Word up, you mom-sassin' buttercup.)
Next week: Two hours! Plus, all of the drama we can stand! Bloodshed! Heights! Car wrecks! Orphans!
Phil�s Phashion Corner: Was it casual Friday in Buenos Aires? Phil�where is the pizzazz? I�m all for a nice dress shirt and khakis, but then again, I�m a public school teacher. That�s my freaking uniform. Break out, P�surely there are more stores in Argentina besides The Gap.
Just a quick review of last night's leg of the race, which started in the middle of everyone's R.E.M. sleep, judging by everyone's extra-sleepy expressions as they opened their first clue. Of course, the clue led them straight to...another bottleneck. Would it have killed the producers to find an outdoor car park? I don't see how the time difference between first and last was big enough to need this sort of level-playing-field tactic, but whatever. I have faith that there was a good reason for it.
Memo to Amber: You're thin. Shut up about the weight loss already.
Memo to Ron & Kelly: You're still the most boring couple out there--how can two folks with such interesting backstories be so bland?
Memo to Susan: Your advice to Patrick to "just vomit" is sure to win you some sort of Parent of the Year award.
The best part of the show for me was, of course, the eating challenge ("Go Deana, it's your vomit!"). First, because I love them as a rule. Second, because Rob had to admit a little bit of defeat in the middle of it. Naturally, he managed to shift into smug n' conniving mode and manipulate other teams to follow his lead--is now the time when we're all supposed to say "How clever! How charming! What a good racer!"? Just checking. (Yes, I know he has his fans, but I'm just not one of them.)
In the end, though, we must give snaps to Team Snaps, who not only got through the eating challenge without taking a penalty, but also swooped ahead to grab first place for this leg. When Alex & Lynn promised us "butch," who knew it would involve 4 pounds of meat? [Insert stupid dirty joke here.]
Phil's Phashion Corner: Ahhh...now we're talkin'--a classic Phil ensemble was on display last night: a cool button-down, snug and exquisitely-distressed jeans, and just enough world-traveler flava (the necklace and the faux-epaulets) to release his inner gaucho. No pear-ness in sight out on the Pampas. Well done, P!
Kind of an odd episode of the race tonight. On the one hand, it seemed like we were in for some major drama when teams started hitting the pit stop mat only 35 minutes into the show. The bus station drama was juicy but short-lived, and I enjoy seeing everyone catch on to Rob's pattern of deception and almost-cheating. On the other hand, I thought the action (most of it revolving around money woes) was really sort of lackluster for most of this leg. Even the kinda-close foot race at the end wasn't making my blood pump (though maybe that's because Team Blonde never really made a huge impression on me).
So I need somebody to give me a call when either of these two things happen:
1. Rob makes the transition from "smarmy and sneaky" to "charming and clever." I'm just not seeing it.
2. Alex & Lynn show us their promised "butch side." I almost did a full-on spit take when I heard that earnest pledge.
Not too much else to say, really--I just hope I'm not the only one who would like to see a little "first to worst" action next week.
Phil's Phashion Corner: It must be some sort of new austerity in Philville, because he's gone ultra-conservative on us yet again. I loved the color of his fetching v-neck top, and we all cheer when he wears the trademark scuffed-up jeans, but holy moly--is he a classic "pear" or what? Baby got back in that supermercado! Maybe it was just a lot (a whole lot) of audio equipment wrapped around his waist, but I don't think so. That sweater was cut completely wrong for him (too fitted on the chest & shoulders, too loose around the torso) and it stopped at the worst possible place on his hips--it made him look ten times more bottom-heavy than he probably is. Who do we call about the TAR/What Not to Wear crossover show? Phil is a very handsome man and usually a dapper dresser, but this week's sartorial choice is best left in a ravine somewhere in the Andes.
I have to admit it--with Survivor: Palau, Wickedly Perfect (God, I already miss crazy ol' Darlene), and the new season of The Amazing Race, CBS pretty much owns me, reality-show-wise.
Doing the first recap of a season is always difficult--one doesn't want to throw his support to one team or another too quickly, and one sure doesn't want to get too attached to a team this early, because they could be gone in a heartbeat (albeit one that is accelerated because of the high altitude). In all honesty, I haven't latched on to a team yet, which is odd for me, since I tend to grab some faves right at the beginning and start lighting candles for their eventual victory. It did seem like we were all in for the Attack of the 50-Foot Stereotypes for a while there (Gays! Beauty queens! Southerners! Blondes! Surfer mooks!), but I think we're going to be okay in the end. Heck--even the freaking rednecks (I'm from Alabama, so I'm allowed to use the term without repercussions) were speaking to the "furriners" in their own language! Way to turn over some generalizations, y'all. Sadly, the semi-fluency wasn't enough to keep them out of last place, which is too bad--I got the feeling that they could have been a fun team to watch as the race progressed. More fun than watching some Lori & Bolo clones or a**hole/paranoid reality TV veterans, that's for sure.
And holy moly--$10,000 each for the first place team?!?! Is this going to happen every time? It makes all of those "exotic" cruises to Mexico seem pretty pissant, doesn't it?
I'm also starting a new regular mini-feature this season: Phil's Phashion Corner. I was hoping Phil would at least bust out with a colorful Peruvian sash/belt thingy to start us off this time, but he stayed pretty safe with the brown suede jacket and khakis. But the season is still young, and I like to think that we have a whole rainbow of distressed jeans, unflattering trousers, and oddly-blousy shirts headed our way. Keep hope alive!