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Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Age Before Beauty

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

If you haven't yet seen (and you intend to see) episode 10 of The Amazing Race Series 9 (TAR 9), do not read any further!


The last TAR 9 episode we saw here in Australia ended with the FHG, or Freaky Hippy Guys (AKA BJ & Tyler), being the last team to reach the pit stop but the first team this series to be saved by a non-elimination round. The pit stop was located at Jabreen Castle in Oman.

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

1. DEC – Deceptively-Elderly Couple [“The Franberries”] (Fran & Barry)
2. DWC – Dating WASP Couple [“Team MoJo”] (Joseph & Monica)
3. TBC – Token Black Couple [“No Alternate Nickname”] (Ray & Yolanda)
4. BFG – Buff Frat Guys [“The Frats”] (Eric & Jeremy)
5. FHG – Freaky Hippy Guys [“The Hippies”] (BJ & Tyler)

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!').


1. Buff Frat Guys (BFG) - what a surprise; they regained their lead. There’s nothing much to say about them, really, except that it pains me to have to admit that (as they’ve done in most legs of this race) they played a good game. They may be obnoxious, arrogant and crude, but their charm (if you can call it that) stems from their good-natured (if a little offensive) humour as they enjoy themselves whipping butt. For the most part. True, sometimes they get miffed at coming second and so on, but generally they’re having a ball and don’t mind at all that they’re lording it over the other teams. Their one amusing comment this week was when Jeremy, frustrated with not being able to find the entrance to the tunnels at Fremantle Prison, finally reached them and asked, “Who put this tunnel here?” It was just an amusing question to mock-demand of someone. When they chose to leave no money for the FHG at the start of the leg, and explained it in these words: “It’s like trying to get into a girl’s pants – ya know; lie, cheat, steal … ya know, whatever it takes” they showed what motivated them and where their level of thinking lies. Good on them. I hope they get everything they want out of life. I sure hope they don’t find it extremely shallow and unfulfilling afterwards. (Oh, one more thing: When Jeremy tried to impersonate ‘Crocodile Hunter’ Steve Irwin by saying “Aw, Crikey!”, he highlighted his own ignorance of other accents by imitating Irwin in a pronounced Scottish drawl. Pfft. Idiot.)

2. Dating WASP Couple (DWC) - Joseph forgot to take his happy pills today … and Monica took too many bitchy pills. I don’t know what it is about these two. I seem to fluctuate on them from liking them to loathing them. Their attitude this time was certainly disgraceful (and I hope embarrassing to them when they saw the episode later). They left no money for the FHG (but that’s fair enough in a race like this, as I’ve explained before), and apparently they heard the that FHG were going to ‘Yield’ them, so they were understandably fearful of and bitter about that (although deciding to “act like we’re giving them a dollar” would hardly have helped relations between the two teams – perhaps generosity would have changed the boys’ minds?). It was all about Team MoJo’s own survival, but the claims they later made about the FHG seemed completely unfounded, such as Monica’s statement that The Hippies are sleazeballs. Excuse me? Surely you’re thinking of the BFG, one of whom (in the first episode) watched you running from your car in front of them and said you were a hottie, while the other one agreed by saying he’d “hit that”? I think Monica was talking out of anger and fear that The Hippies were going to get ahead of them and indeed Yield them, so I can partly excuse their behaviour and comments as the panicked overreactions of a pair of scaredy-cats. But they’d also need to admit that some of their reactions were too much and needed to be retracted, before I’d sit down with them for a meal. Anyway, the more enjoyable moments of the ever-disintegrating DWC included Joseph absolutely losing it when they got lost on the bikes (that’s why you should leave him, Monica – one day you may be fearful of your life), and Monica’s extremely unhelpful insistence to stop diving for the crayfish so she can Make Her Point ™ that she’s “allowed to be scared of him”, thankyouverymuch! It only angered him further (and it would me, too) that she was choosing that moment to argue with him on the semantics of whether or not he was satisfactorily acknowledging her ‘right’ to be scared of touching the crayfish. Not helpful, woman! I was actually surprised at how level-headed he remained throughout this exchange, particularly in light of his earlier explosion on the bike, but perhaps he realised that getting angrier would only prevent her from diving again to get the damn crayfish. Or maybe his earlier outburst was weighing on his mind by this stage. Whatever the reason, I’m sure he was glad when she finally decided to ‘table’ her debate and dove to fetch the stupid thing. Of course, she had to get in one more “I absolutely hate this” before doing so. If you haven’t noticed the trend, she “absolutely hates” everything. Except, strangely, the bungee-jump. That surprises me, but it’s almost the only task or challenge that I haven’t noticed her saying she “absolutely hates”. They weren’t Yielded (because there was no Yield on this leg), but I’d have liked them to come further down the pack than second. I guess it was good that they had to suffer the indignity of coming so close to first (and winning the holiday that The Frats won; even though The Frats have won more than their fair share of holidays so far on the race!).

3. Freaky Hippy Guys (FHG) - I was very relieved to see Tyler locate his clue in the tunnels beneath the prison before Yolanda and Fran overtook him. I was desperate for The Hippies not to come in last this week, but would have preferred either of the two teams ahead of them at this point to have come last, rather than either of the two teams behind them. For a team that started the leg with no money or possessions, these two guys managed to do better for themselves than any other team in the same position throughout the history of the race by earning in excess of $300 US, not counting the money some of the other teams donated to them, or the free petrol, food and supplies their generous hitchhiker friend bought for them! In fact, they had almost three times the amount of cash the other teams had been given at the start of the leg! There can be no doubt that they did very well for themselves in their potentially desperate situation. I was so proud! Although Tyler’s Australian accent was also a little off, it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as Jeremy’s, and instead of saying “Put another shrimp on the barbie” like most Americans do, I was suitably impressed to hear him say the correct “Put another prawn on the barbie”!* It was good to see BJ back to his usually ‘spirited’ self this week, after having a pretty rough trot in the last episode. I hope they continue to climb back up the ladder next week.

* If you’re unaware, we don’t have ‘shrimp’ in Australia – we call them prawns. The ‘shrimp’ slogan was created for an American audience, so they’d understand what was being said, but it kinda irritates Aussies because it in no way represents us, although the number of Americans who think it does is astounding. Well done to Tyler, then, for having enough world knowledge to know the distinction – and to ‘translate’ it into the correct terminology when he found out they were heading to Australia.

4. Token Black Couple (TBC) - at least I was wrong about them perhaps still being angry with each other in this leg (left over from the previous episode). It was good to see them being so much more civil with each other again. I’m sure a bit more sleep and a chance to talk away from the cameras was all they needed. I actually thought they were pretty invisible in this episode, and barely registered at all. They left some money for the FHG, which of course they didn’t have to do, and that’s the only thing I wrote about them in my notes while watching the episode! They truly flew under the radar this week. On another matter, these guys are now the only-remaining team without an alternate nickname in the list that appears each week right at the top of the post. ‘The Blacks’ just didn’t seem appropriate. Any suggestions you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

5. Deceptively-Elderly Couple (DEC): ELIMINATED! - oh well, it was bound to happen sometime. I think The Franberries (the correct pronunciation is ‘The Franbrees’) are now equal with the record-setting older team from series 7 (amusingly named Meredith and Gretchen) who, as I’ve mentioned previously, were the most successful ‘older couple’ the show has ever seen. Actually, they might have gone one leg further than The Franberries, now that I think about it. But my point is still valid: They raced an amazing race (pun intended). Considering their age, they managed to keep up with the other, younger and more physically fit teams on the race, even beating six of these teams to the pit stop on seven separate occasions, allowing them to remain well-and-truly in the race. They bungee-jumped, learnt to dance, dug for food, sold fish in a marketplace, ran around on foot, used a map when driving in a car, and generally picked each other up when they were weak. I think the epitomised the true nature of what marriage should be like – especially in the golden years. When the going gets tough, the tough complain a little (because it is their way), but then get going regardless. Because they’re not going to be told by these young whipper-snappers that they’re not up to it. Moments of excellence this week included when they were checking in to The Pleasure Dome (!), and Barry said, “This race has ruined our sex life, I’ll tell you that!”, and also when they generously left the FHG $20 of their own money (I hope BJ and Tyler paid them back!). Fran was the only one smart enough to ask a local about the traffic jam, and being told the King is coming is certainly something you’ve got to respect in a country like Oman. What an experience! I’m very glad that The Franberries managed to come first in the previous leg, thereby finally winning a holiday to Rome that they can enjoy after the race is finished. They did remarkably well, and although I wish they were still in it (at the expense of the BFG or the DWC, preferably), perhaps it’s better that they went out when they did. The ad for this week’s episode showed the teams skydiving from a plane, and I don’t know how they’d cope attempting that. Let’s have a moment’s silence for The Franberries (for Pomgirl’s benefit), if you don’t mind.


Last week's tips:

First Team: FHG (Wrong – when will I learn?)
Last Team: DEC Correct!
Yield? No Correct!
Fast Forward? No Correct!
Elimination Week? Yes Correct!
Biggest Argument: TBC (Wrong – where they even in this episode?)
Smartest Team: FHG Correct! (The $300, the hitchhiker, making up so much lost ground, etc.)


Next week's tips:

First Team: FHG (I ain’t learnin’ nothin’ yet!)
Last Team: DWC (I foresee a bad week for them ahead. Or it could be the TBC.)
Yield? Yes
Fast Forward? No
Elimination Week? No
Biggest Argument: DWC (I gotta say someone!)
Smartest Team: FHG (I think they’ll continue their rise and maybe put themselves into a great position for the remainder of the race)


By my calculations, there are either three or four episodes of this season left to be screened down here. This coming week, where the teams race through the Australian Outback (and possibly also spend some time on the east coast), which will undoubtedly end in the second-and-final non-elimination of the race. Then another leg, which will eliminate the fourth-last team, and then the finale (which may be split over two weeks for suspense-purposes) with the final three teams racing for the million-dollar prize money. I’m expecting the BFG will be in the finale, and I’m really hoping the FHG will be, too. It wouldn’t surprise me if the DWC were the third team of this trifector, although I’d much prefer it to be the TBC (which is why I tried to put a pox on Team Mojo’s chances above).

This means that while this coming week is basically guaranteed to be a non-elimination round (I’d be extremely surprised if it wasn’t), we still have one Yield and one Fast Forward to go as well. I took a stab (above) at the Yield being in this week and the Fast Forward in the next week, although I can see an argument on why that particular situation could be the other way around, as well. While it might be weird or ‘unfair’ for a Team to Fast Forward into a spot in the finale, it would be equally unfair for a team to be Yielded from making it to the final three. So either way, it might seem unfair. I don’t think they’d put both things in the one episode, though, so I’m simply taking a stab at it.

There were two ‘airport equalisers’ in this episode; the airport itself (I just knew the FHG were going to board the plane in time, by the way, because they hadn’t yet shown us the map graphic of the other teams flying over the world as they do whenever a flight has boarded everyone it’s going to) and the Fremantle ferry. The tunnels were almost an airport equaliser as well, but not quite.

Oh yes … and one other thing ... I WAS RIGHT!! (About predicting Perth as the Australian city they'd be visiting. I actually originally guessed it back here. I'm pretty clever.)

You didn’t think I’d let the opportunity to boast about my own brilliance pass me by, did you?




At Tuesday, May 23, 2006 11:11:00 pm, Blogger Magical_M said...

I'm really disappointed the Franberries lost. They were my favourites. I love how supportive and loving they were, even when they weren't doing so well. And their bike ride commentary was gorgeous.

Those frat guys really irritate me with their nasty, smug attitude and I want them to lose and lose badly.

I think MoJo are on the downward slide... they're not playing as a team. And they're irritating too.

I love the hippy guys. I really hope they win. Intelligent, nice and funny... its a winning combination.

Ray and Yolanda are boring. They'll probably come second or something.

At Wednesday, May 24, 2006 1:29:00 pm, Blogger Pomgirl said...

Oh Bevis. I was so sad. But I didn't cry, even though the person I was watching it with claimed I did, I was actually rubbing my eye.

They were just so lovely and Barry's little talk at the end about how well Fran did and what an amazing woman she is, was so gorgeous that I fell in love with them both all over again.


But my favourite moment was The FHG being helped by the bedouin guy and asking for "Some of that bedouin loving" when they parted. Hilarious.

They must win. I loathe the BFG and the DWC so much, that I fear for my sanity and faith in the world, if either of them were to win.

Oh and how much did I love them being on Rottnest Island? I am so used to feeling really ignorant about places in Australia that to have actually been there was so exciting and to be able to make comments such as "We went to that bicycle hire place" helped deal with my disapointment at the DEC being eliminated.

I have a dilemma over the next episode because I've said I will go to the pub and watch the Australia - Greece football match but really I want to stay in and watch TAR, otherwise I won't get to see it at all. Is it silly of me to ask what you would do in this situation?

At Friday, May 26, 2006 1:08:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

Magical_M, yes, The Frats are particularly distasteful, although Team MoJo isn't quite an attractive duo, either. It's tough for me to decide which team out of the two of them I want to do the worst.

Pomgirl, I'm surprised to see you out of mourning already! (Rubbing your eye - sure.) Things aren't looking too good for the FHG as I type this - twice now they've been last and by rights should have been eliminated for it ("except for that pesky non-elimination round thing", thinks Team MoJo), so hopefully they'll be able to pull themselves out of last place (again) and get to the front of the pack.

As for your question, I apologise for not having time to reply to it before now (ie. before the time came to pass that you were actually asking about - sorry!), but my answer would be to definitely stay home for TAR 9.

My reasons:

- I hate sport
- I especially hate soccer/football/whatever you want to call it
- I think it's a bit silly of us to get all excited that we're in the World Cup, because as much as I'd love Australia to do well at everything ever, I somehow doubt that we're going to get very far in Germany (I hope to be proven wrong on this, and let's face it - it's not like I've done my homework). Anyone who disagrees with me is welcome to their opinion; I admit to knowing nothing about it but I assume from the 'vibe' of the thing that we'll be the first team to be sent home
- Nothing comes between me and my TV shows
- I wouldn't go to a pub for any reason anyway
- My friends from the future tell me that Australia's going to win that 'friendly' against Greece anyway, so there's no point you going to watch it in the pub now (apparently we score the only goal of the game in the fifteenth minute ... I hope that doesn't spoil it for you)
- Do you have a VCR or know someone who does so the show can be taped for you to watch when you get home?
- Sorry, that last one wasn't a reason (and it's too late to suggest it now anyway)
- I wasn't invited

I hope that just about covers it. As you can see, for me it's a 'no brainer'. Because I have no brain. And because there's never a question over whether I'll go to a pub to watch sport or stay home to watch one of my most favouritist ever TV shows. If you knew me in real life, you'd be laughing right now at the thought of me even needing to weigh those two options up.

But I'm not you, so I hope that - whatever you did - you were happy with the decision.

After all, you can always read my review for all the pertinent points and/or watch the game highlights on Sports Tonight later!

So I'm sure there's no 'wrong' answer.

Unless you went to the pub. That would have been wrong.

PS - I think you'll agree that yes, it was silly of you to ask what I'd do in the same situation.


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