The Amazing Race 4
USA, ITALY, AUSTRIA, FRANCE, NETHERLANDS, INDIA, MALAYSIA, SOUTH KOREA, AUSTRALIA
Following an excellent third season of TAR, the series would be forced into its first hiatus. As opposed to airing its fourth season in February the execs delayed it until the start of the summer slot in June. Many people thought this was a sign of the beginning of the end for TAR (we certainly were proved wrong). So what’s different from season four compared to season three in terms of format changes? None.
Twelve teams, three non-elimination legs, weekly fast forwards, and open booking for flights. I find this to be unusual for a show that is put on hiatus and then brought back without any changes to its format. This will be the last season to feature a twelve-team format that doesn’t resort to a ludicrous ten-minute elimination.
However, there is one noticeable change — the route. In seasons past, legs in central Europe were served up as non-elimination legs during the midpoint of the race. This season we see production go a different direction. We don’t go to ‘exotic’ locations like Africa, South America, or Central America to start the journey. Instead production shoots us off to metro Central Europe for the first several legs. Is that much of a hook for viewers? I don’t know. But let’s get to episode one.
Phil is standing on a tall building in Los Angeles. Wearing a turtle neck. No more everglades and deserts for him anymore. We are in the era of spamming Los Angeles as the starting line. Let’s meet our teams.
– TIAN: Girls have it easier than men in a lot of situations.
JAREE: If you need to catch a ride, or get information, thank god we’re good looking.
OH HOH HOH. Did the editors insert this confessional as a joke? Wait until you get to India. That’s the most ironic opening confessional in TAR history.
– STEVE: We plan on doing the whole race without breaking a sweat.
– Who’s our next team?
Why it’s Reichen and Donkey Kong! TAR has to resort to stunt casting by season four? WTF?
– PHIL: Millie & Chuck. Dating for twelve years and virgins from Tennessee.
ME: Logan Saunders. A university student blogging about competitive reality TV. Not dating. AND a virgin. From BC.
I thought TAR was better than that. They’re going to be labeled as virgins, which means we assume they’re hardcore Christians from the South, which means they must be a fan favourite because they’re oh so pure? Okay, maybe I got carried away a little.
Virgins. With a farm in the background. Heh. Looks like I was right.
– Steve and Josh. A father and son who do not get along. This time however the son is not gay. Instead he gets the disability of looking like a mix of Rivers Cuomo and Squints from The Sandlot.
Hopefully they’re a step up from Dennis and Andrew’s confessional entertainment ability.
– Russell and Cindy get a messed up intro. Why? This is their opening confessional:
That’s right. It’s ten seconds where they each give a separate confessional. I believe this is the producers’ way of communicating that they are atrocious giving confessionals together, and that they’re boring when they combing for less than ten seconds in their intro.
– Phil get to use his Kiwi accent when the name of the first member starts with the letter ‘A’. It’s “Monica ARND Sheree”. Gotta love the accent.
Oh and get used to the fact they’re married to pro athletes. It comes up A LOT. At least Hogeboom hides it. Grant didn’t care to mention it. Taj held off for three episodes to talk about Eddie George. It won’t be until Jimmy Johnson, Amani & Marcus and Monica Culpepper that you hear so many NFL analogies and stories heard on TAR and Survivor. For now we get to experience the producer’s first attempt at balancing the ‘we know/are pro athletes’ edit.
– David & Jeff.
David. And Jeff.
The obligatory dating couple that has nothing particularly special about them. For some reason whenever I see a generic dating couple on TAR I always assume they were on Couples Fear Factor. I also always look them up if it’s true and find out I was delusional.
What you need to know about this couple: Other teams will think they’re hicks because they’re from South Dakota (despite it being in the top 10 most northern states in the continental U.S.)
JON: We both have type A personalities.
Pics or it doesn’t happen.
– STEVE: We’re fat, we’re forty–
DEBRA: And we’re fun!
I hate them already. This is from their audition tape. My guess is they rehearsed that line for six months. I’ll set the over/under at six months. Place your bets.
– The clowns. Prepare your fantard packs as you see Jon and Al in all of their greatness!
– They’re in Dodger Stadium. Overly dramatic music plays. They run awfully short distance to get to their bags. Did they want mayhem with 22 people running in a small line? Debra has zero cardio. Is it possible to fall that far behind in a 100 ft. sprint?
– I’ve never seen the streets of LA look so desolate. They must’ve blocked traffic.
– Tian & Jaree can’t close the trunk. Too bad there isn’t a man around to help them. They have to ask for a replacement car. Patriarchy: 1 Feminism: 0
– Russell and Cindy continue to give separate confessionals. Seriously, what up with that?
– JON: Oh no he di’int.
KELLY: He’s gonna be the serious macho man and I’m gonna be ‘woo hoo! Let’s have fun’.
– Amanda has managed to drop ten F bombs in less than a minute of airtime.
– A cop could’ve pulled the NFL wives over, but they ask for directions. Monica says they’re not just married to professional athletes and get all the luxuries. I’m sure asking a cop for directions must be proof to disprove our theories.
– JAREE: How do I get to the airport?
MAN in store: I just told you three times.
JAREE: I still don’t know.
Patriarchy: 2 Feminism: 0.
Everyone yells at the driver to not let Monica on. If only she could scream through the door that she’s married to a professional athlete.
And even Rosa Parks was able to get a seat on the bus.
– How do Jon & Al celebrate when they get tickets on the first flight?
Why, by a regular celebration of balancing a clue on your nose!
– Josh decides to buy tickets for Steve & Dave who are behind Monica & Sheree. Guess what? This conniving move forces Monica & Sheree off the flight. The other teams have conspired them to not get on a bus and to cut them out of the first flight. Los Angeles is a heartless city.
– David & Jeff and Reichen & DK team up to ensure they’re not last. Debra & Steve, Monica & Sheree, Tian & Jaree join them on the final flight.
– First flight is delayed. The first two flights arrive ten minutes apart. The seven teams are essentially clumped together. We’re in Milan.
– Kelly & Jon and Russell have been to Milan before. As per usual, this will prove to be irrelevant. Have you tried to search a Milan gallery for hidden charter bus tickets? Ooooo. The buses leave at 2:00am, 4:00am, and 6:00am. Once you take one you cannot exchange it. So basically it’s the exact same task we watched the teams do for the first twenty minutes of the episode.
– What happens with the two teams that have been to Milan? They pick the 4:00am bus. Milan experience has let them down.
– The virgins use their untainted mind to find the 2: 00am bus.
Is she doing push-ups? Nope, that’s Debra falling in an airport. All of her fat, fun, and fortiness sprawled on the canvas. This is going to be a long race for her.
– Steve & Josh, which consists of Steve who has never left the country ends up on 2:00am. So do the air traffic controllers who look like they haven’t left their town.
– Debra & Steve willingly take the 6:00am bus. You do know there was a 4:00am bus in existence, right? So much for beating the teams mentally.
– Josh takes Monica & Sheree to the 4: 00am bus to make up for their stunt earlier. Josh is employing some of the best social TAR strategy I’ve seen. He brings out-of-shape air traffic controllers to the front of the pack and gives the team he screwed over a minor victory knowing full well he wouldn’t have done anything if there wasn’t a semi-equalizer. His other reasoning for doing this?
JOSH: I felt like they needed the help and I don’t want tose two blonde chicks with the fake tits up in there so, yeah.
Patriarchy: 3 Feminism: 0.
– Debra & Steve didn’t want to spend money on a room. They go to a restaurant (where they spend money) to think about it. When they come back the rooms are all booked. DK lets them share the room with them. How is the plan of beating teams mentally?
– Russell and Cindy sleep on a bench. They have separate confessionals to slam each other. They’re a couple! Not a separated couple. Not recent divorcees. What the heck are the editors trying to shove down our throats?
– The bus takes them to Cortina D’ampezzo. We’re off toe Cinque Torri. It’s essentially a ski resort in the alps.
– Detour time. Search the alps for a beacon that has keys to a jet mobile. Or Rescue where you go on a fast zipline.
A picture is worth a thousand words. Or a thousand turtlenecks.
– Pit stop time with 24 minutes to go. The pit stop is a hotel not far from the ski resort. So all they get to do in a 90-minute premiere is to go across a zipline and find tickets.
– Monica & Sheree are two hours ahead of the trailing pack. Apparently going to Cinque Torri and doing a detour is too challenging and decide to go for a fast forward. Teams need to decide when it’s most advantageous to go for it; I can’t say Monica & Sheree listened to Phil’s advice.
– CHRIS (yelling at Amanda who came to a complete stop on the hill): C’mon Flo!
Hahahahahaha. I forgot about that quote. TAR doesn’t air too many quotes in reference to past seasons unless it’s an all-star. Chris may have become my favourite for saying this. She curses several times but is smiling. She may be a b— but she ain’t no Flo.
– Steve waits behind Dave as he stands still. Steve cuts in front. Dave takes a step and his knee blows out. I think he broke a sweat.
Sweating and breaking a knee. This wasn’t part of our game plan! What’s next? I lose my walrus mustache?!
– Here we go. Amanda & Chris, Millie & Chuck, and Steve & Josh all travel to the pit stop and arrive together at once. Phil frowns. So do the sponsours. Why? They’re all team number one and they ALL won a vacation for seven days to beautiful Hawaii courtesy of American Airlines. Prediction: American Airlines goes broke and does not return as a sponsour for TAR.
– We follow Steve & Dave for another two minutes as Dave struggles up and down the hills. They share a tender moment.
– Monica & Sheree are team number four. You say won’t second guess your decision to use it but I certainly would. You don’t get a trip, you’re in the middle of the pack as you were earlier, and you no longer have a fast forward.
– Jaree calls for a taxi, and in exchange she is offered to stay for coffee. Too bad the taxi comes before she can taste it. That’s one fast taxi.
– REICHEN: Chip and I are a force. We’re coming up slowly and quietly.
Why use that quote? Hmmmm.
– Russell & Cindy get about ten seconds for the detour and checking into the pit stop combined.
– This is Debra & Steve’s worst nightmare. They are forced to do a zipline and run around a 5, 000 foot mountain. At least they don’t have to resort to their mental abilities. I don’t know which is worse.
– It’s between Tian & Jaree and Debra & Steve. Tian and Jaree attach their fanny packs as Tian runs like a workhorse to drag Jaree a la jet ski. Oh, and there’s still David & Jeff.
– Tian and Jaree are stationary waiting for a taxi. I would personally run out or ask locals where to find one but Jaree’s shot cardio hinders them. That’s what smoking does to you.
– So this season takes longer to build suspense. It takes twenty seconds before we find out who is eleventh.
Patriarchy: 3 Feminism: .1
They’re barely in the race.
– Debra and Steve wind up in last place. They had fun and couldn’t care less they were eliminated. Neither can we.
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0
11th Matt & Ana 11.0
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0
10th Hope & Norm 7.0
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43
7th Paul & Amie 6.2
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8
9th Heather & Eve 5.75
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67
7th Silver & Gold 5.17
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF