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Sunday, April 02, 2006

One Big Tease

... Spoiler Alert! ... Spoiler Alert! ...

If you haven't yet seen (and you intend to see) episode 4 of The Amazing Race Series 9 (TAR 9), do not read any further!


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Last week’s episode of TAR 9 that aired here in Australia ended with the Silly Sister Moms (SSM) being the second team to be eliminated. The pit stop was located in a coffee plantation somewhere in Brazil. Note: If you're already ahead of this point in the series, please refrain from giving any spoilers in your comments. Thank you.

It seems to me that this season of TAR has gotten off to a rocky start for Channel Seven. They claimed that they’d be airing each episode “hot off the satellite” and less than 30 hours after it had aired in America, preventing online spoilers before we had a chance to see the episodes here. However, they haven’t done themselves any favours by continually upsetting the apple cart for faithful fans of the show – and completely destroying any chance they had of capturing and holding onto any new viewers. First, the above claim proved to be false when it quickly became apparent that Americans were already over a week ahead of us when the first episode aired here. I’m assuming this was because the first episode for us was simply the first hour of what must have been a two-hour premiere in the States. Second, Channel Seven “took a week off” (with no logical reason, as discussed last week), and then instead of putting two episodes back-to-back so we can catch up to our US counterparts (although it turns out it’d take three episodes to catch up to them now), Seven continued to show just one episode per week these past two weeks, including the most recent one, which (it turned out) was a two-parter. This would have been a perfect opportunity to put two episodes back-to-back and enable us to catch up (somewhat), as well as giving new fans a better chance to entrench themselves into the show and become properly ‘hooked’ on it (which is definitely what Channel Seven wants if the show is to be a successful ratings winner for them).

I just wish we had seen two episodes this week so we could get closer to the promised 30-hour lag for the season. Maybe that’ll come in future weeks, if the show takes a break in the US while we continue to plod merrily along.

Normally, my plan is to provide my thoughts on each team in each episode by listing them in the order in which they arrived at the pit stop (hence the 'Spoiler Alert!'). However, on this occasion, as so many of the teams were indeterminable as far as their order at the end of the episode, I’ll stick with the numbering they finished in last week.

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1. Freaky Hippy Guys (FHG) - I can’t begin to tell you how much these guys amuse me. Their antics at the start, jumping out and scaring a few of the teams as they arrived at the gate for the Skyline thing, and then climbing on top of their cars as they parked along the side of the road? Simply hilarious. I love these guys. Also, this week saw the first time (that I can think of) where they haven’t been either in first or second place for any decent amount of time. Until they tried to go to the trolley-washing road block, they were always in the lead (or right behind). Even when all teams leveled out on their flight to Moscow, the FHG made fantastic ground breaking away first, again. I hope they regain the lead soon and keep going from strength to strength. I was also impressed with their willingness to stop and take a moment to admire and respect the beauty of the cathedral where they got that last clue. No one else did that. Kudos to them.

2. Buff Frat Guys (BFG) - it’s interesting to see that they can still make it back to the top of the pack from previously being somewhere towards the end, as well. I think leaving the BBS behind was a smart move, and although it shows that they’re smart/nice/hoping to get into their pants later by joining forces with them, I think they’d smarter still to join forces with a brighter team than the girls. I don’t think the BFG were thinking with their brains when they chose to team-up with the BBS, but good luck to them. They’ve obviously enjoyed themselves during the most recent pit stop, but hopefully they didn’t tire themselves out too much. Especially with this double-leg they now find themselves on. Last season (the last one I saw; TAR 7, featuring Survivor’s Rob & Amber), the double-leg had a twelve-hour train journey in the middle of it, where everyone was able to bunk-down and have a long rest. So the idea of it being a double-leg was really only in that their rest was ‘on the move’, and no one was yet safe or eliminated for that particular leg of the race. They all seemed extra tired and grumpy by the end of that leg, though … probably because they weren’t able to rest as well, knowing that they were still on the run. Anyway, these guys fell way behind when sharing a taxi with the BBS, but luckily for the guys, the girls stupidly left some luggage back at the pool and had to part company. Without the BBS to drag them down, the BFG managed to reach Phil first … only to be told they were still on road …

3. Dating WASP Couple (DWC) - once again, there’s not much to say on this couple. They fly relatively below the radar and haven’t made too many waves as yet. Hopefully if they remain in the game we’ll see more of them and get to know them a lot better than we currently do.

4. Nerdy Dork Couple (NDC) - same for these guys. I know some of you (my best friend included) like this couple the best, but I’m yet to see anything that grabs my attention about them. They have the potential to be the underdog favourites, but I expect we’ll see more of them as the game continues. I reckon they’re not doomed to be eliminated just yet because the show’s editors haven’t shown enough of them for us to care about them at this stage. That’s always a clue – once we know a couple well, they’re either destined for success in the weeks ahead, or doomed to drop out in the next episode.

5. Token Black Couple (TBC) - I sound like a broken record, don’t I. Does anyone disagree with me on this? We certainly got to know the guy in this couple a little more this week, but by-and-large, they’re still fairly ‘background’ at this point. The carryings-on in the Russian dolls detour with the band and the dancers was very amusing! Everyone followed each other and ended up where very few of them actually wanted to be (most had intended to go to the trolley-washing challenge), but when they started complaining and casting blame on each other, Yolanda’s reply “Next time, you can all choose your own damn detour!” was priceless. You go, girl! *

* Was that racist? My apologies.


6. International Mom & Daughter (IMD) - how frickin’ stupid do you have to be to volunteer to do a ‘take the plunge’ road block at a swimming pool if you can’t handle diving underwater? I realize the contestants don’t know the details of each road block until they open the second part of the envelope to see what actually has to be done (and they can’t do that until one of them has committed to doing the road block – which explains why they couldn’t swap to the daughter doing it once the mother had said she’d do it), but it doesn’t take a genius to work out that some kind of underwater ‘plunging’ is going to be involved! If she has such a phobia of diving underwater, the daughter should have done the road block. It served them right that they lost so much ground. They were just lucky that the BBS came back for some of their luggage and so many other teams got lost looking for the trolley-washing detour. I couldn’t fathom (pun intended) how the mother could get so hysterical about diving 3 feet underwater after she’d just completed a 10-metre dive without any fuss whatsoever.

7. Bigoted Southern Couple (BSC) - oh boy, what a loose canon. This guy (“Lake, as in ocean”) is just a brain aneurysm waiting to happen. How much does he carry on with his hooting and hollering when he’s happy, then growl and cast blame on his usually-blameless wife when things go wrong? Not to mention snapping at her if she even hints at doing the same thing to him! I’m glad I was watching this episode on tape, because I had to rewind and pause after he opened the second clue and said, “Fly to FREAKIN’ Russia! Dog gone, I was hoping we weren’t gonna have to go to Russia!” What kind of show do you think you’re on, moron? You travel the world. You don’t want to be outside your comfort zone? I’ve got news for you; that’s the whole point of the game. You can stay home and enter a pie-eating contest, or a pumpkin-growing contest, or a wife-beating contest if you want something more to your liking! This is a RACE AROUND THE WORLD! You won’t just be visiting mainland USA, Alaska, Hawaii, Canada and England (“Yee-haw! They drives on the opposite side of the road, here, darlin’!”). No matter how many series they produce of this show, there’s always at least one couple who have absolutely no idea how to integrate into a non-obnoxious tourist lifestyle and just live for the new experiences they’ll be encountering. News flash: It’s not always going to be just like it is at home. Get used to it. The world’s much bigger than Texas. His arguing with his wife was pointless and all about his macho ego being embarrassed by his decision to take the wrong turn as they set out. I hope he’s forced to eat a lot of humble pie before he’s eliminated – there’s no way on Earth I can see these guys winning.

8. Blonde Bimbo Sisters (BBS) - what can I say about these two that rolling my eyes and sighing won’t say for me? The whole “sluttin’ it up” thing was working for them until they left their passports’ “fanny pack” back at the swimming pool – then they had to part company with the boys (who were doing more for the girls than the other way around), and now they’re back to feeling like they’re battling for last place again. If other teams hadn’t finally turned up at the trolley-washing detour after giving up on the Russian dolls (which was stupid of them, but anyway), then they’d still be thinking last place was either them (the BBS) or the IMD. And maybe that fear would have done both teams some good. But now they think they’re doing well (when in fact, at that moment, they were simply doing less badly than a couple of other teams). Not getting their taxi to wait for them as they ran into the cathedral to get their clue was another stupid, time-wasting mistake. And too many of those costly errors is what keeps costing them a higher number at the pit stop. Personally, I feel they bring nothing to the show and I won’t be at all bothered when they inevitably get eliminated. I don’t even think the BFG will care.

9. Deceptively-Elderly Couple (DEC) - I’m certainly not seeing anything of their ‘amazing mental strength and abilities’ they spoke of in the opening episode of the series. How do they think they’re better than some of the older couples from series gone by? There were some great older couples in earlier series … but DEC ain’t one of them. I laughed out loud when they were at the swimming pool and the woman told the man to dive for the clue. “Do that dive that we learned,” she said, obviously referring to something they were taught in some swimming lesson or other. And then, after he attempts it (badly), she adds to herself, clearly unimpressed: “You didn’t learn it enough”. It was just very amusing for her to mutter that to herself (and the rest of the world, via the camera filming everything over her shoulder). But apart from that, and their continual approach of giving up (they’re one of the teams who left the Russian dolls detour to find the trolley-washing detour … which doesn’t look like a very speedy choice either!), there’s nothing much to say.

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Last week's tips:

First Team: BFG Correct!
Last Team: DEC (Uncertain – but quite possibly, yes)
Elimination Week? Yes (Wrong - it was the first of the two-parter leg)
Biggest Argument: BSC Correct!
Smartest Team: DWC (Uncertain – any ideas who showed the most clout? I think perhaps the FHG for breaking away from the equalised pack, or the DWC and the NDC for teaming up in a taxi to save money … the BFG and the BBS were ‘less effective’ at this same ploy)

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Next week's tips:

First Team: BFG (If they can steer clear of bad-luck-charms the BBS, I think the boys will stay in front; although the FHG may overtake them)
Last Team: DEC (I’m pretty sure they’re the next couple to go. Other possibilities at this point are the BBS and even the IMD)
Elimination Week? Yes (There’s no doubt after this week)
Biggest Argument: BSC (Let’s see how well he copes with two legs back-to-back and little-or-no rest!)
Smartest Team: NDC (I hope the nerds ‘step up’ and show us what their super-intelligent brains are capable of!)

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Comments welcome.



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6 Comments:

At Sunday, April 02, 2006 6:35:00 pm, Blogger thr said...

Umm Bevis mate,
I was at the F1s this weekend and I was covering the celeb race for a few mags... and Phil Keoghan from AR was there. He's off to NZ next, but.. umm like I asked him a favour.

See it HERE

You really, really need to email me asap mate!!
thomasr

 
At Sunday, April 02, 2006 11:32:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

MADNESS! I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS!

I'M WRITING IN ALL-CAPS TO EMPHASISE MY JOY AT THIS PHOTO.

THOMASR, THAT'S POSSIBLY THE KINDEST THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE FOR ME IN THE BLOGOSPHERE.

I DON'T KNOW HOW TO THANK YOU ENOUGH FOR THIS; BUT I WISH HE HADN'T SMUDGED THE MESSAGE WITH HIS SLEEVE AS HE WAS SIGNING THE PHOTO!

:)

THAT BEING SAID, YOU ROCK! I'M SO TOUCHED THAT YOU THOUGHT OF ME AND THOUGHT TO DO THIS FOR ME.

THOMASR IS DA MAN, EVERYBODY. LOVE HIM.

 
At Monday, April 03, 2006 4:05:00 am, Blogger Pomgirl said...

That is so cool. He looks a lot less scary when he's smiling...

 
At Monday, April 03, 2006 10:38:00 am, Anonymous John B. said...

I think the DEC should be known as the 'WTC' or 'Where's The Clue' team, as once again they had a bit of trouble seeing the clue in the pool.

You mention the IMD team being stupid for accepting the 'plunge' task when she was afraid of diving, but the TBC chose the woman who couldn't swim, to take that task, when they too might have suspected that water could be involved.

 
At Monday, April 03, 2006 2:47:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Pomgirl, you think Phil looks scary? I reckon he's a top bloke. I love it when we get glimpses of his humour and personality (which is all-too-rare, I grant you) such as the other week when he simply raised his eyebrow at the comment from the BFG: "I'm gonna slap you, woman!" It was massively understated and showed 'who was boss' in one highly amusing silent response. I heard him interviewed a few times last year when he was out here, and he sounded very intelligent and a huge adventurer himself. He was flogging his book, but I enjoyed the three or four interviews I caught. Hopefully he'll smile a little more in upcoming episodes so he doesn't come across as a scary man who delights in delivering bad news. (I assume you're talking about his stony-faced delivery when telling people what number team they are at each pit stop ... but then after he's told them the good news, he's usually smiling along with them as they squeal in delight - unless they're the eliminated team, of course.)

John B, yes, you're right about the TBC. I actually thought that at the time but forgot to make a note of it. I meant to add something in their paragraph about that. Although, that being said, they were still able to overcome any issues she had with jumping into the pool (it took her a few false starts, true), and swimming and diving for the clue. She managed it with a minimum of fuss, whereas the mother in the IMD was a total mess. If Yolanda (the woman in the TBC) had been as hysterical, I would have been as scathing of them for their stupid decision as well.

And what's up with the DEC??! They seem pretty useless at this point in the race.

 
At Monday, April 03, 2006 3:36:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Um, it occurred to me this morning that in my above claim: "THOMASR, THAT'S POSSIBLY THE KINDEST THING ANYONE HAS EVER DONE FOR ME IN THE BLOGOSPHERE.", I had overlooked two other very generous acts perpetrated by a pair of wonderful bloggers.

LittleFaerieGirl sent me a handful of Muppet-related books that her workplace (a library) was throwing out, and SBR kindly sent me a copy of the soundtrack to The Muppet Movie, which is impossible to find anywhere.

No disrespect to those two kindly souls was intended by my above comment.

So it's a three-way tie. :)

 

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