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Friday, April 28, 2006

Star Wars Episode 7: Revenge Of The Dorks

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

If you haven't yet seen (and you intend to see) episode 7 of The Amazing Race Series 9 (TAR 9), do not read any further!



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The last TAR 9 episode we saw here in Australia ended with the BBS, or Blonde Bimbo Sisters (AKA Danielle & Dani, who weren’t actually sisters but looked a little – and dressed a lot – like twins), being the fourth team to be eliminated. The pit stop was located inside the ruins of a temple on the island of Sicily.

Just an observation before we get underway: Until now, every team that’s been eliminated has been made up of two women. Does that mean that somehow the race has so far been advantageous towards the men? If so, that’s not very fair! Last week “The Pinks” went home, before that it was Wanda and Desiree, before that it was Joni and Lisa, and before that it was John and Scott. See? They were all chick teams. (Enough said.) Oh, and I’ve gone back and added a picture of the eliminated team in each episode, and will be including a picture of the eliminated team in each new post, starting today. My apologies to anyone with an RSS reader linked to my blog who’s been annoyed by all my re-posting in the last 24 hours! :)

For the record, this was the order in which the teams reached Phil on the mat, and the order in which they started this leg of the race:

1. BFG – Freaky Hippy Guys (BJ & Tyler)
2. FHG – Buff Frat Guys (Eric & Jeremy)
3. BSC – Dating WASP Couple [“Team MoJo”] (Joseph & Monica)
4. DEC – Deceptively-Elderly Couple (Fran & Barry)
5. NDC – Bigoted Southern Couple (Lake & Michelle)
6. DWC – Nerdy Dork Couple (Dave & Lori)
7. TBC – Token Black Couple (Ray & Yolanda)

Note: If you're already ahead of this point in the series, please refrain from giving any spoilers in your comments. Thank you.

As always, I’ll provide my thoughts on each team in this episode, listing them in the order in which they arrived at the pit stop (hence the 'Spoiler Alert!').


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1. Buff Frat Guys (BFG) - they played a pretty good leg this time, and weren’t far away from the lead at any point. In fact, once they overtook the FHG, they didn’t fall behind again. I love that they won a cruise for two (and I don’t think it’s the first cruise for two they’ve won for reaching the pit stop first, either), so I hope they enjoy taking a nice romantic trip together. Of course, I realise that they’ll be ‘chick hunting’ the whole time, because that’s all they ever do*, but it made me smile to myself anyway. Each week, although I don’t really like them as a team, one of these guys tends to come up with a comment that amused me despite myself. Last week it was the crack about finding one of Phil’s turtlenecks during the clothesline detour task. This week I thought I’d get through the week without having to acknowledge their wit, but right at the end Jeremy made a comment to Phil about the smell of fish they were both coated in after the swordfish-carrying detour task. He said it was a new cologne they were trying out, called ‘Sword’. The joke itself wasn’t what made me smile (let’s face it, it’s a pretty simple joke); it was the fact that the name he came up with for it actually sounded plausible. If you see a cologne on the market by the name of ‘Sword’, my advice to you is to avoid it.

* Although there was a distinct lack of it during this episode, I noticed. Maybe they’re mourning the loss of the BBS.**

**... Yeah, right!

2. Freaky Hippy Guys (FHG) - as much as I love them, I wish these guys tried just a little harder to get from place to place and complete certain tasks a bit faster. Their enjoyment is self-evident, and their relaxed attitude keeps them grounded and sincere and prevents them from making nasty comments about the other teams, but it also leaves them open to being left behind – and my worry is that in one episode, this is exactly what will happen, and they may not live to tell the tale. But anyway, there were a couple of Star Wars references in this episode (hence the title of this post), and strangely enough, the teams who made these references were the FHG and the NDC. The first such reference was right at the beginning, when the FHG were heading off from the starting mat to find the town of Catania, which BJ was having all sorts of trouble pronouncing. Ordinarily this would annoy me no end, but at least he was making a joke of it by getting it more and more ridiculously wrong, eventually ending with “the Star Wars cantina”. The fact that they grabbed a scrap of paper and created an “official list” for teams to use to sign in as they arrived at the ruins of the theatre which looked nothing at all like an official list from the game, was beaten only by the fact that it took the airhead BFG so long to suspect that perhaps – just perhaps – the list might not be genuinely official. Ya think?? No wonder the FHG said “the Frats” were dumb, when being interviewed to camera later. I’m glad they came second (as opposed to last), but I wish they’d pick up their heels a bit and be careful!

3. Dating WASP Couple (DWC) - wow, I think I spoke too soon when I graciously spoke well of Joseph’s temper in my last review. (Although, the stress level was high and Monica wasn’t being overly helpful … but she wasn’t being majorly painful, either.) Still, I learnt some valuable lessons from this team last night; never hug a man in the street who is competing against me in a race – he probably has fish blood and guts all over him; if you don’t have a map, take one from a local; and if carrying a swordfish for half an hour is “the worst thing I’ve ever done”, you’ve been living a very sheltered life. To be fair, once they were back in their car after the fish detour, everything was fine again, but the way he screamed at her as they walked around the market was pretty disgraceful.

4. Deceptively-Elderly Couple (DEC) - these guys did okay in managing to retain their position despite a traffic jam that initially had them frustrated. Choicest dialogue included Barry, fairly calmly saying: “We’re screwed,” and having Fran go a bit crazy in her response: “Okay, calm down ... calm ... down ... okay??” Over-reaction, much? He’d barely said anything (at that stage, anyway – he got a lot more heated and angry later, however). Hilarious! I also loved Barry’s innocent and unintentional joke: “There’s a beautiful statue ahead ... (and then as it came more clearly into view) ... without a head ...” Apart from those amusing bits, and the fact that they lost their heads and directions in the traffic a fair bit, there’s not much to say about them this time. I’m not sure if their getting lost was the result of poor navigation, bad planning, missed streets, or what, but they lost the one spot they’d moved up when the DWC overtook them at the fish challenge. I think they were wise to go with the small fish option rather than the big fish. I wonder if Joseph and Monica would have been happier had they gone with the small fish option as well? They might have come in fourth if they’d done that, though. Oh yeah, and Barry made another comment about not helping Lake, which was interesting to note. I still wonder if it's going to come back to bite him on the butt in a future episode ...

5. Bigoted Southern Couple (BSC) - jerky-jerk boy Lake-the-Jerk was back in da house this week, which was great for everyone (except possibly Michelle, but she’s clearly used to him by now, because her patented ego-fluffing came in handy yet again – and she can almost get away with being sarcastic to him without him flying into a rage or hitting her ... which, unfortunately, I always think is just one smarmy comment away). Right off the bat, Lake shows his intelligence by stating that he’s $2 short of the allotted cash for this leg of the race. Unless he was just choosing that moment to complain about what he lacks in his measurements: “I’m short! I’m short!” Perhaps he was describing his temper. Either way, it certainly pays to check the damn envelope, doesn’t it, boy?! The money was all there where it should be. Then, on the road, Lake explains that he thinks he’s doing well with the sleep deprivation despite it really beginning to get to him. This is where Michelle risks her life by being sarcastic about how well he’s coping with it ... and it seems to go right over his head (either that, or he’s just filing it away under “H” for “Have to hit her later for that one”). Anyway, why does he get to explain that he’s annoyed by the sleep deprivation but she’s not allowed to be frustrated beyond all belief by him?! And what’s with his ‘overruling’ her? As if he knows better! Ahem, anyway ... I loved how he didn’t offer to do the canoe volleyball roadblock challenge, but he knew all about how it should be done so he could yell instructions at his wife from the sidelines. Every heard of an armchair critic, dude? Everyone’s an expert, eh? (*BEVIS looks conspicuously at own reflection for a second, dismisses it and gets back to typing*) When Michelle was reading out the final clue, saying that they should now travel on foot to the pit stop, Lake was so over-excited (did he drink a whole thermos of coffee or something?) that he kept yelling out in his cowboy ‘yahoo!’ way at every second word Michelle read: “Yeah! Foot! Yes!” Okay, good one, Lake. You’re excited about the word ‘foot’? Good on you. One final thing about this team that amused me, despite me wishing they were the ones who were eliminated this time: A couple of pieces of dialogue from when they were in the car, trying to navigate their way through the peak hour traffic, looking for street signs. Lake: “What is that thing right there?” Michelle: “A school bus.” Lake: “Damn!” ... and ... Lake: “I can’t believe it’s frickin’ bumper to bumper!” Michelle: “Well, it’s a town of 400,000 people!” Lake: “And they’re all right here!” I don’t know what it is about his accent, but it seems to add to the ‘yokel’ image I have of him in my head. I know that’s a stereotype and unfair, but in his case, I’m willing to make an exception. I wish he’d been the one to go this week, but unfortunately he lives to race another day.

6. Token Black Couple (TBC) - for a while there I thought these guys were going to be last (but I thought they were safe because I figured we were due for a non-elimination round by now anyway). Turns out I was wrong on both counts. They were second last, for the second time in a row. I question whether there should have been a time penalty awarded to them for not following the rules properly, though. The first clue said to drive to the underground theatre thing, but they got out and walked the last part instead. (Actually, now that I think about it, the clue may have said to drive to the town of Catania and find the theatre, so maybe they’re alright ... just!) It would certainly be interesting, though, if it turned out that a time penalty (usually half an hour when a team breaks the rules, if you haven’t seen this happen in an earlier season) meant that the eliminated team should have been the TBC instead of the NDC! Looks like it’s not going to happen, however … as they would have re-filmed the ending if they discovered after the fact that that was the case. The TBC seemed to spend a lot of time in the car also, but this is in part due to them departing in last place and having the peak hour traffic to deal with as well. There wasn’t much to say about them; they both handled the fish task well, and didn’t take any wrong turns. Ray was the only one to fall out of his canoe, but this wasn’t as funny as it might have been if it’d been Lake or one of the BFG. I like the TBC, but just last week I’d started liking the Nerds more. So it was mixed emotions for me when I saw what happened next ...

7. Nerdy Dork Couple (NDC): ELIMINATED! - it’s a shame these guys had to go, especially after getting through the previous leg, which seemed to rattle them a bit. I’m not sure what Dave’s problem was with Lori insisting that he ask for directions. “I can’t believe you’re doing this to me,” he said, and I can only guess he means that she was saying this to him on camera, challenging his ‘manliness’ or something. Embarrassing him in front of the guys, sort of thing. Well, if that’s what it was, he’s more stupid than I thought. I don’t understand (and have never have understood) the supposedly 'guy pride' thing (not to be confused with that 'gay pride' thing) about not asking for directions. I’m a guy, and I’m happy to ask for directions if I’m lost (although I never am, so this doesn’t really apply to me anyway). Certainly, if I’m in a race for a million dollars and I know I’m one of the last teams and I could be eliminated and I’m trying to find my way through a foreign country, ... I’d be asking everyone I passed! Anyway, when they finally did ask someone, they got a good guide who lead them to the place on his motorbike. And later, when they stopped to buy a map, I think that was a good idea (why didn’t they do that during their pit stop? Maybe they thought they’d be flying out of the country the next day ... costly mistake!). Whatever the reason, it’s a shame they weren't able to reach the pit stop sooner. This brings us to the second Star Wars reference of the show: When Lori wished Dave well in his canoe volleyball task with the words: "May The Force be with you." Dave's final words spoke volumes: "Nerds rule!" My sincere commiserations to Spankk and the many others who listed the NDC as their favourite team early on. As you know, they (eventually) won me over, too - so how about we take a minute’s silence as we gaze into their happy faces?



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Last week's tips:

First Team: FHG (Wrong)
Last Team: BSC (Wrong)
Yield? No Correct!
Elimination Week? No (Wrong – next week for sure!)
Biggest Argument: BSC Correct!
Smartest Team: NDC (Wrong – I’m not even sure who it was, but it’s fair to say that it wasn’t the NDC … I guess it was probably the FHG)


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Next week's tips:

First Team: BFG (I don’t want them to come first again, but they seem to manage it fairly often, so it’s kind of a safe bet)
Last Team: DEC (I think their luck will run out)
Yield? No (As I said last week – the next one’ll be much later down the path)
Elimination Week? No (it’s gotta come this time, surely)
Biggest Argument: BSC (Either them or the DWC, but I’ll stick with my man Lake)
Smartest Team: FHG (This one’s often a hard one to judge, but I’ll give my favourite team the benefit of the doubt)


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It turns out that the ‘airport equaliser’ (see my review of episode 3 if you don’t know what I mean by that) for this episode wasn’t good enough to level the playing field very much. Teams pretty-much stayed in the same order from start to finish. The only changes were that the first two teams swapped around, and the last two teams swapped around. The theatre ruins opened after only two teams had arrived, instead of the usual full playing field of all teams waiting at once to stampede together. Traffic was the only other aspect to this episode to draw the teams out. No one miscounted the heads on the railing, no one took too long to complete the detour task (“Team MoJo” came closest to dropping the ball on this one, but even they didn’t seem to do too badly, and they overtook the DEC who had passed them on the road), and no one got lost on the road by taking a wrong turn. My tips certainly took a beating this week, so hopefully my tips for next week will prove to be more fortuitous.

Hey, I nearly forgot: what about the Dancing Phil, everybody?! I hope that helps to put Pomgirl’s mind to rest about him being scary-looking. He was happy, smiling, and doing a jig! Get down wid your funky self!

In other news, Adro was crowned Australia’s Biggest Loser last night, with Wal winning the $50,000 for losing the most body weight (based on his percentage) than any of the other eliminated contestants. Harry came a close second to Adro, with Kristie third and Fiona (surprise, surprise) bringing up the rear in fourth place. Harry got a ‘commiseration’ prize of $30,000, while Kristie got $20,000 and Fiona got $10,000. Meanwhile, Wal pledged $25,000 of his $50,000 to the Childrens’ Burns Unit where he's associated in his job as a fireman, which was a wonderful thing to do. But it was Adro’s night, as he won a complete home gym and $200,000 cash – plus the title of “Australia’s First Biggest Loser”, just as his daughter had predicted! He’s lucky he was accepted back into the top four, because if he hadn’t, he wouldn’t have won a cent. It was an interesting show, and I’m glad Jillian and Bob got to watch the whole thing via a live (and presumably very expensive) satellite link-up from LA. Everyone had lost so much weight, particularly the final four, Wal and Shane; so that was just fantastic for all of them. As far as weight loss went, I always felt that the contestants who deserved to win were (in this order), Wal, Harry, Shane, Kristie and Adro. I’m pleased they were all up there amongst the front-runners. Fiona didn’t deserve to be amongst the place-winners (I don’t care what Jillian says), so the only thing I feel is rotten was that Shane didn’t get Fiona’s part of the prize money. But hey – he got a proposal from Jillian, so good on him! (I wonder if they’ll get Adro’s daughter and Harry’s youngest son to be flower girl and alter boy at their wedding? I’m just suuuuuuure they’d behave! ...)

And in other other news, we watched the Mr Eko episode of Lost last night as well, and took special notice of the apparent clues hidden in the frame when we saw that (surprisingly significant, if a little strange) ‘glimpse’ of the Lost monster, which the show’s creator JJ Abrams told us last week that we should look out for. If you haven’t seen that episode yet and you intend to (or if you just don’t want to know extra clues about the show), read no further. We taped it and I watched it back in freeze-frame. There were single-frame flashes of other images superimposed throughout the black smoke as the camera panned through it (which may just have looked like lightning flashes at normal speed) ... and these images were for the most part hard to decipher from the surrounding whirls of smoke, but the majority of them appeared to be faces, and most of them in agony or anguish. What does this tell us? That the monster on the island is the collective spirits of those poor souls who’ve died, either worldwide or on the island? Bizarre and surreal, if it is. And not easily transferred into the Lost universe either, in my opinion. But I guess it leaves room for Shannon and Boone to re-appear at any time, eh! The other images in the black smoke that wasn’t faces seemed to be different man-made objects. I think I saw an ornamental Christ on a crucifix, and some kind of chest (as in a treasure chest?), but I can’t be sure. Did anyone else get a good look at any of these images? If you’re in America or something and you know more about what these images mean than we do, please don’t say anything. I’m only interested in hearing theories from people who are up to the same point in the storyline as I am; not ‘facts’ based on extra episodes viewed.




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7 Comments:

At Friday, April 28, 2006 10:20:00 am, Blogger Pomgirl said...

Bevis, you are a STAR. I couldn't find your review of last week's TAR and started to worry, thinking you might have stopped watching it. Hah! I know.. as if!

I wanted to share with you how much I love, love, love Barry and Fran. Apart from when they can't find things, which, yes I know, is pretty much all the time. But they are so cool to be doing what they are doing and they obviously still adore one another after all those years. They are my heroes :-)

Also, I think Lake may be winning me over with his complete and utter craziness. So funny when he informed a complete stranger that he'd counted 41 heads. My new favourite expression is 'Dang it'. I just can't get the accent right tho.

And I am no longer scared by Phil but have started to find him strangely attractive. Please give your signed photo a kiss from moi. (It doesn't have to be a big sloppy one, a chaste little peck will do).

I can't wait for next week's episode.

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 3:54:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Thanks, Pomgirl. I trust you've managed to find my (very late) TAR 9 episode 6 review by now. You know they're all listed down on the right, yes? Same as my TGYH reviews. I presume you're just talking about how it almost didn't appear for a whole week, as opposed to you missed it or something.

I understand what you're saying about the DEC. They're troopers, and certainly more effective than most couples would be at their age.

Have you seen earlier seasons of TAR? There's always an older couple, and sometimes they're good value; sometimes they're a bit useless. DEC are by no means the worst 'older generation' team the show's seen. Season 7's couple, the amusingly-named Meredith & Gretchen (Meredith was the man) got further than any other 'older generation' team ever had in the show until that point. I think they got to the final four or five teams. I wonder if Fran & Barry can set a new record?

And your comment about Lake reminded me that I'd left that bit out. I even had it written down in my notes! (It said: "'41, is that correct?' - high five some random guy who finds it all quite amusing ... but there's no clue for you, moron!") Presumably I would have made that make more sense in my actual post. :)

On the same line, I'd also written down this terribly hurtful and scathing insult of his, which he aimed at Michelle: "On foot, ding-dong!"

You're certainly allowed to be charged up by his craziness; I still laugh at him (note: AT him) for his cheering of random words like 'Foot' in the final clue, and his yahoo-style excitement at completely obscure points in the race.

Finally, I won't be kissing my picture of Phil for you, sorry, because I can't reach it up on the ceiling above the bed. :)

I can never wait for next week's episode.

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 4:48:00 pm, Blogger Pomgirl said...

I didn't know all your TAR 9 reviews were listed but I do now and will read your review of last week's next. If I haven't just confused myself too much.

This is the first series of TAR that I've watched, I don't think it's shown on British TV.

My boyfriend may be getting a bit fed oop of me shouting 'He's a DENTIST!!!' everytime Lake is shown. But I can't believe someone as unstable as him manages to hold down a 'proper job'. I can imagine him knocking a tooth out and shouting 'hot dang diddly doo' or whooping as you climb into the chair.

Hmm, I guess this means you can't even stroke the photo of Phil for me. Dang it...

 
At Friday, April 28, 2006 11:50:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Hehe, that 'Dentist' gear made me laugh. Good one!

You wouldn't want to get him angry when he had a needle aimed at your gums!

BTW, you can have a look at the TAR website for any of the previous seasons by clicking on the link I've listed under 'Other Stuff I Like' on my blog and changing the 8 in the URL to any other number. You'll want to change it quickly, though, because season 8 is the family-themed one that will apparently be airing here when the current season finishes, so you don't want that page to load or it'll show you who won. But if you change the 8 to any number between 1 and 7, you can have a look back through the previous seasons and see what went on and who the teams were.

That's only if you want to, of course!

 
At Saturday, April 29, 2006 8:11:00 am, Anonymous John B. said...

Bevis, although I don't want to stick up for Lake or anything, I think I can explain why he cheered the word 'foot' in the final clue. I don't think he was cheering a random word, but rather was happy that he didn't have to drive anywhere in that congested city. Earlier in the episode he was shown to be probably the most annoyed person about driving those beautiful streets, so was now cheering that he could walk rather than drive.

 
At Saturday, April 29, 2006 9:17:00 pm, Blogger Pomgirl said...

John and Lake, sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G...

 
At Wednesday, May 03, 2006 4:40:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

John B, I know what you mean. It just made me laugh so much because it sounded like he was cheering random words. You make an excellent point, though.

Pomgirl, I laughed so hard when I read your reply! That was very funny, and I've waited to see if John B would reply, but it looks like he hasn't been back since. Hopefully he'll see it in the next couple of days. I'm still smiling at this comment; it was the perfect response. Well done!

 

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