TAR 7 season premiere ranking

THE AMAZING RACE 7

COUNTRIES VISITED

USA – PERU – CHILE – ARGENTINA – SOUTH AFRICA – BOTSWANA – INDIA – TURKEY – ENGLAND – JAMAICA – PUERTO RICO

Introduction

– This is becoming both my favourite and least favourite segment to do  in these blogs. On one hand I like to start watching the premiere and begin screen capping, but on the other hand it’s a great way to set up the overall atmosphere and point out the differences in formatting that I feel few places on the Internet can offer for TAR.

– So where to begin with TAR 7? As I said at the end of last season, there was a one minute preview for TAR 7’s season premiere during the TAR 6 finale. It marks the first and only time this would happen. A preview for a new season? Did they do it just because Romber are in it? That may have contributed partially to it to build hype but there is one other big factor.

IT WOULD AIR THREE WEEKS FOLLOWING THE TAR 6 FINALE!

If TAR kept up that pace, we would have four seasons per year and we would have more TAR seasons than Survivor seasons. The pace could not be maintained as TAR is now four seasons behind Survivor (TAR 7 aired in conjunction with Survivor 10 while TAR 20 aired in conjunction with Survivor 24. Do the math.).

It’s funny that TAR 6 is the most squished season of the whole franchise. Maybe the producers tried that hard to make the audience forget it ever existed. TAR 5 was done only six weeks before TAR 6’s start and TAR 7 started only three weeks after that. The traditional cycle is that one season airs September to December while the other airs February to May. TAR 6 hit the awkward time of November to January which pushed TAR 7 to March 1st. A network exec’s worst nightmare in terms of scheduling if you ask me.

So why am I making such a big deal out of this? Because another successful reality show was absolutely crippled by having two seasons air really closely back-to-back during 2004. It was none other than. . .

This was fresh in my mind so I recall thinking ‘this can’t be good, this can’t be good. It’s also a Romber season which will really hit or miss’. In addition, most viewers would have preferred a break from TAR following an abysmal TAR 6 that wore us out rather than forcing a new season upon us. I remember how close I was to giving up on TAR 6. I needed time to recover.

But TAR refused to let that happen and it seems to be the smart move as thirteen more seasons have been produced. Although in fairness to Last Comic Standing, it needed only about two years off the air before coming out with seasons four through eight. How well did the short hiatus really work out for TAR, though?

Now let’s go over the format changes for TAR 7.

1) Stunt casting. The most obvious change for the season. Sure, we had Alison Irwin and her “genius” boyfriend Donny for TAR 5 but the second biggest start to come out of Big Brother in its first five seasons pales in comparison to a Survivor contestant at his peak in popularity, hatred, and overall recognition by people across the world.

Rob Mariano. Oh, and his wife Ambuh.

While only a few teams recognized Alison Irwin on the race course, EVERYONE recognized Rob. And most of them Amber. Not even Jimmy Johnson, Survivor’s biggest stunt casting choice in history, had the universal recognition that Rob Mariano had in 2005. To put this in perspective, not only did this season have its filming schedule less than six months after All Stars aired but also when TAR 7 aired on TV it had been less than a year since All Stars finished. If Rob & Amber raced in a season like TAR 18 or TAR 19 there is no way they’d get huge recognition because Survivor has nowhere the audience as it did in 2000 to 2005.

TAR was criticized for incorporating “the flavour of the week” into the program. Would Rob’s over visibility backfire on the show’s ability to gain ratings? Would we get sick of seeing Rob on our TV? Many people were already tired of him. Surprisingly, TAR avoids doing stunt casting for several seasons after TAR 7. Another thing to consider is that Rob & Amber are so famous that they won’t be recognized by other racers alone but by civilians on the race course. This could get messy for production.

2) Harshest non-elimination penalty to date. In TAR 1 – 4 people like Flo had no problem coming in last on a non-elimination because there was nothing to worry about. In TAR 5 all of your money was taken from you but at least you could beg at a hotel during the pit stop and be fine. In TAR 6 it is the same thing except there may or may not have been a rule that forbid you from begging at the pit stop. TAR 7 takes it to the next level.

a) You cannot beg at the pit stop. Period. You must wait to check out of the pit stop. This is more dramatic television as well as not rendering the penalty moot.

b) Everything is taken away from you except your passport and the clothes on your back. The best part is that the racers are not informed of this change until it happens. This has always been my favourite format to non-eliminations because although they are necessary to fill out a season’s episode order it should not allow racers to get through scot free. The penalties should be severe. And this is as severe as TAR would get. No money and no bags provides for some great television with an enormous payoff towards the end of the season. This is as good as any twist has worked out in TAR.

3) Yields and Fast Forwards both remain in the same stupid random format. So does the unofficial mid-way pointless leg. Urgh.

4) Prizes are no longer offered every leg. Royal Caribbean, American Airlines, and Kodak quit hogging the end of leg advertisements. From this point forward we will see a variety of sponsours for each season that will come out with some of the biggest and flat out unusual prizes awarded in TAR.

5) They do not circumnavigate the globe.

BERTRAM: So for leg thirteen we’ll have them go through Hawaii or Alaska?
PRODUCER: I have a crazy idea.
BERTRAM: Uh, okay. Go ahead. Just let me pull out Bubble Bobble.
PRODUCER: Isn’t Alaska and Hawaii getting boring by now? We’ve gone through Hawaii four out of the past five seasons. Why not just avoid crossing the Pacific? We turn them around and we have them hang out in Latin America before going to the finish line?
BERTRAM: Bust that bobble! Oh. Hmmmm. You know what? Let’s do it! Screw the Pacific. We’ll turn them right around again. Just don’t say “it’s a race AROUND the world” whatever you do, Phil!
PHIL: I’m sorry I’ve been programmed to say those same words in the intro. It is beyond my control.

I do think this is about as outside-the-box as TAR can get, and for them it must have been a refreshing change to remain in the main three continents. However, the epicness of having a true race AROUND the world should be too good to give up. Why not go through a smaller Polynesian island nation before heading to the finish line? Or take a trip to Vancouver? Easter Island? There’s enough options. But if none of those areas would be exciting then I fully support giving up the fifth trip to Hawaii. You are not left with much choice.

That’s it for format changes. Anything else I need to say before we begin? Vague descriptions of what occurs this season and highlights, perhaps?

– A foot race for last place to the pit stop has never happened in the first six seasons. We’ve had foot races for a million bucks or editing manipulating a scramble that makes the finish closer than it really is. But this season production does not fool us as we see MULTIPLE foot races occur in real time.

– Teams catching on how to bend the roadblock rules so they can avoid being Hayden & Aaron’d or Lena & Kristy’d like in TAR 6. It is perhaps the most significant single season strategic evolution for the series.

– Rob’s fame affecting how things play out early on.

– Production crew gets seriously injured. The first time where camera personnel and audio personnel are ever acknowledged in TAR.

– A big showdown at the end of the season.

I hereby announce that screen capping, recapping, and rankings begin!

Episode one

– The sun is shining. The Pacific waters are vast and blue. Lighthouse. Palm trees. Rows upon rows of boats. Then a big a– boat.

The writing below indicates it is the Queen Mary. The boat that made headlines for about a week in 2004. Nobody has cared about boats unless you have Leonardo Dicaprio on it or James Cameron promoting it. Let’s be real.

But what has been making headlines since 2001 is Phil’s wide variety of turtlenecks. He doesn’t usually pick a black one to wear. Must be a cold day to trap all that sunlight.

PHIL: From this point eleven teams will embark on a race around the world for one million dollars.

ALL LIES! THEY DON’T CIRCUMNAVIGATE THE GLOBE THIS SEASON YOU LYING SONOFAB—!

Teams are being transported to the harbour by helicopter. This is a step up from the speedboats in Chicago, the ugly boats in the Everglades for TAR 3, the beach buggies from TAR 5, the cabs from TAR 4, and especially the ugly bus from TAR 1. I bet it had to make stops along the way to release passengers too.

– We are informed all of them have a pre-existing relationship. The first is Debbie & Bianca. Lifelong friends from Virginia.

DEBBIE: We make each other laugh. We love to have fun. We love to wear high heels. We’re not girly girls.

But they like to hold hands as they spin around in pink rollerblades screaming while wearing a tanktop with a short skirt. One of the skirts being pink. Maybe they are Catholic girly girls judging by the skirts?

Bianca says they are intelligent and strong.

– Next up are Lynn & Alex. Boyfriends from West Hollywood. In other words, they’re gay.

You f—ers! We’ve already had a male gay team incorporate their dog as an integral part to their team. If you guys name yourselves Team Fido I’ll instantly call bulls— on you.

That cannot be safe while driving. At least we know that if Alex cannot hold his head up high after running the race that Lynn will do it for him.

LYNN: I don’t want to be breaking any nails.

ALEX: All of the teams will love us but if they’re smart they would never get on our bad side because it’s all downhill after that.

LYNN: I’ll scratch their eyes out.

Warning: TAR is not liable for any nails that are broken while eyes are being scratched out.

– We now have Rob & Amber. Met on Survivor and are now engaged. Who are they? Beats me. They don’t even have a town or state reference. Beaver, Pennsylvania must have been blocked by the FCC.

Rob is carrying Amber. How symbolic.

More symbolism.

They talk about Survivor and how nothing can be a physical problem for them on the race thanks to Survivor.

– Ryan & Chuck. Best friends from Innman, South Carolina.

RYAN: We look like big titty bears walking around.

Titty bears? What?

Oh, TEDDY bears! Dang that South Carolina twang, naw what I mean?

I reckon they’re trying to re-enact that scene from Footloose for their audition tape, ya dig?

Woo-we! Ma! Pa! I found me the biggest goat since I sawed those Russell Hands on dem beaches in Samoa!

They proceed to go on about how they are plain old hillbillies on motorcycles that will show everyone what they are made of.

– We are then shown Megan & Heidi. Roommates from Oakpark, California. Well that’s a weak pre-existing relationship if I’ve ever heard one. May as well be ‘neighbours’ or the ‘shop owner who serves coffee to a loyal patron’ as the team connection.

MEGAN: Heidi and I are like two halves of one whole person. It’s kind of odd to understand or even that explain.

Fire us up your Heidi confessional, Rob.

ROB: Heidi. Two girls, one brain. Divide by two. Only one half wit left.

Odd how a half wit joke about the only Heidi ever in Survivor translates to a half wit joke about the only Heidi ever in The Amazing Race.

Both Heidis also share the same work ethic. How long before Heidi boasts about her athleticism and intelligence?

– We change gears to a mother-son team. Susan & Patrick from Hamilton, Ohio. The second mother-son team to run the race after Adam & Rebecca.

PATRICK: We have no problem letting the other teams assume that my mom is Little Susie Homemaker and that I’m Little Gay Guy.

I didn’t think you had to ‘let’ the other teams assume before they did it on their own, Patrick.

Patrick takes a cookie right when it comes out of the oven.

But Susie Homemaker ain’t having it. You can look but you can’t touch it. Cause you don’t want no drama. You don’t want no drama drama.

Although referencing song lyrics that references touching someone’s hump may be inappropriate for a mother-son team. But I digress.

Patrick hangs out with his mom while she exercises? He must be rather lonely.

Patrick says they’ll pick off one by one by one and let teams think they’re the Cleavers. Pick them off one by one? Wrong show, Patrick. I know you see Romber but you were really cast for TAR.

– Meredith & Gretchen. Married retirees and this season’s token obligatory and annoying but somehow a shoe-in for audience favourite from Maryland.

MEREDITH: Our motto is that old age and treachery can outperform youth and inexperience.

GRETCHEN: When push comes to shove Meredith says I become a Mother Tiger. When I’m being cornered the other teams are gonna know that they have to look out.

When push comes to shove, Meredith strokes Gretchen’s ego to keep her happy enough so she will satisfy him. Just sayin’.

This was the most interesting screen cap from their intro. Sorry.

– Brian & Greg. Brothers from Los Angeles. The first alpha male team to be cast since TAR 4. About time.

BRIAN: The biggest advantage for us is that we’re brothers. We’re not gonna waste time arguing,

Instead they’ll waste their time wrestling one another. They must not care about the dozens of cars that have front row seats to witness two people jerseying each other.

Or waste time pulling down each other’s pants. Nothing gets you cast on TAR like two alpha males tearing each other’s pants and shirts. No Pants, No Shirt, No Service unless you’re applying for TAR.

– Uchenna & Joyce. Married (for now). From Houston, Texas.

JOYCE: We’ve been trying to have a baby.

UCHENNA: We had two unsuccessful attempts at vitro. We’ve been laid off from several major corporations, and the financial burden has been enormous.

If Uchenna was Jonathan Baker, this would be known as The Spank. Is this how Uchenna releases his financial anger?

We go back into serious mode as they discuss that hopefully the race makes them a team again and gives them the baby they dream of having.

By the way I love Joyce’s hair here. It would be a shame if it was altered in some fashion.

– Next up are Ron & Kelly. Former P-O-W and pageant queen dating long distance.

In the third day of the ground war Ron was shot down and spent twenty-three days in the prison.

Every time I watch this season the unnecessary shifty eyes makes me laugh. It’s like he’s the dog from Mel Gibson’s version of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.

NOTE: If you can read Arabic please tell me what it says at the bottom of the screen cap. I am dying to know.

And here is Kelly as Ms. Carolina. These two never seem to have their own audition tape.

They met when Kelly needed an escort (no not that kind, Parvati) for when Kelly gave up her title as Ms. South Carolina.

KELLY: Who better to have than a former P-O-W?

You do know that to be a POW that you need to be shot down or captured right? Not exactly a sparkling record on your military resume.

RON: Good looking POW.

I don’t know. John McCain is really stiff competition as he is one sexy piece of red meat, Ron.

– Last but not least we have Ray & Deana. Dating on and off like any long-lasting trainwreck team of previous seasons from Youngstown, Ohio.

My sister who follows TAR casually had one lone observation of Ray & Deana–they are not attractive and are ugly people.

Personally I don’t see it.

RAY: I don’t understand what keeps Deana and I together, but it’s stronger than what’s tearing us apart.

– And that’s all eleven teams.

PHIL: Can these teams handle the stress of traveling forty thousand miles? Who will come up with the right combination of brains, brawn, and teamwork to win the million dollars? These are the questions waiting to be answered as we begin The Amazing Race.

I bet Phil doesn’t have to rehearse that line after the seventh time. He gives his usual starting line spiel. Money covers all expenses except airline tickets. Pit stops. Eight of them are elimination points. The first clue is on top of the luggage. Read the clue then jump into an unsponsoured car in the parking lot. What happens after that is completely up to you (not really. See Heather & Eve, Freddy & Kendra, Hayden & Aaron, Nancy & Emily, Reichen & DK, and mandatory rest periods at the pit stop). The team that crosses the finish line first wins a million bucks.

Who knew standing in the middle of a lineup of twenty-two people ready to sprint past me would be a bad idea? Makes me look like I’m in a completely different time in space though.

– Teams run over to the clue sitting on the luggage that they brought with them. Fly to Lima, Peru. Peru! Once there travel by bus to Plaza de Armas (sp?). Search for your next clue.

Teams must choose one of two flights to depart from LAX. United flight 840 or AA flight 252. $132. So they run to the cars all excitedly. Joyce makes a point to pick the black one. Ray & Deana lead the pack of cars. Mom drives while son directs. Everyone is in the car excited about Lima. The series of cars leave the parking lot.

– Intro time. Several new images in the intro. Lions, elephants, and towers. How scenic.

– Upbeat music plays. Deana reports to us the flight leaves at 143pm. Joyce brags about knowing where the airport is. Kelly is sure that the brothers from LA know where LAX is.

HEIDI: You’re not going the speed limit.
MEGAN: Yeah I am.
HEIDI: It’s 50. You’re going 70.
MEGAN: Oh I’m looking at the wrong one.

The wrong one?! Kilometres are higher than miles per hour. What could she have possibly been looking at? Avoid the mean streets of Oakwood, California when Heidi is driving about. My god.

– CHUCK: Drive it like you stole it baby.

So moon every cop that you pass by then?

RYAN: Motorcycles, cars, tractors, trucks, as long as it has a motor we can drive it. Our motto is do it well and beat everything.

I am sure you can drive anything that has a motor. Unfortunately you missed the Trivant task where it is perhaps the only relevant  skilled driving task of these few seasons. So you’ll have one this season. What  would really help is if you knew how to drive a slow taxi from the backseat. That would be useful.

– LYNN: Peru is like donkeys and blankets. . .
ALEX: I don’t think you should be making a sweeping generalization.

Donkeys, blankets. . .huh. It checks out. Lynn did his research by playing Super Street Fighter II.

– GRETCHEN: Why aren’t we in our E-Z Chairs in front of the fireplace watching this instead of sitting here actually being in it.

Because TAR loves a token old couple. Ohhhh, you represent all aging Americans and should therefore be casttttt.

– Romber struggle to figure out how to open the trunk. They are by far the last team to leave the parking lot. Rob insists they’ll leave in last but come in first.

– Susan passes by Ray on the road. Deana thinks she should have driven while Ray disagrees. Deana is pissed off how Ray always thinks he’s right. Greg passes the team in front of him (Uchenna) just for no reason at all and Uchenna commentates as if it does not bother him in the least.

UCHENNA: Watch those two. They’re definitely in it to win it. You know what I mean?

Do you mean like competitors who were cast to race for one million dollars? Eighteen others currently meet your criteria, Uchenna.

– Lynn & Alex pass Ryan & Chuck. Lynn cackles with each team he passes. Ryan calls them the Happy Boys. Heidi almost crashed into a car after driving on the wrong side of the road. She pulls over to let Megan drive. The other half wit takes over the wheel.

– DEBBIE: See ya Big Boobie Beauties.

I bet she took a ton of time to come up with that alliteration during Sequestersville prior to the race.

– ROB: How much are we given?
AMBUH: One hundred thirty-two dollars.
ROB: Let’s stop and get something to eat. This ain’t Survivor you know. You can actually eat.
AMBUH: But I’m looking forward to losing some weight.

Get it? They were on Survivor? So they are not used to eating during the filming of a TV show?

– Megan is in the driver’s seat.

– Patrick is excited. Brian & Greg missed their exit for the airport.

RON: You were out of breath, weren’t you?
KELLY: I was nervous.

Same description for Millie & Chuck’s first time, no doubt.

– Susan & Patrick are first. Several teams pile into the airport parking lot as well. Off to the shuttles we go. Debbie cannot get the key out of the trunk momentarily.

1st shuttle: Lynn & Alex, Susan & Patrick, Ryan & Chuck, Ron & Kelly

Susan & Patrick and Ryan & Chuck get off at AA. Lynn thinks it’s crazy to not go to United. He wonders why they hopped off.

– Rob says losing is not an option, and brags about the mil Amber won. In his mind they’ve already won a million and that they’ll have fun along the way.

– Brian & Greg let Megan & Heidi drive in front of them. Why did Greg not pass them and let them be the lone exception to his road aggression?

Somebody likes Big Boobie Beauties.

2nd shuttle: Uchenna & Joyce, Debbie & Bianca, Ray & Deana, Megan & Heidi, Brian & Greg. They have a team cheer and meet their hands in the middle. Just another trip to LAX for the shuttle driver, I’m sure.

RON: Can you tell us if the United one lands earlier?
KELLY: No, they won’t know.

Kelly clearly has not seen an episode of TAR then. You can check both flights regardless of it being the same airline.

Mind blown.

Kelly insists they purchase the tickets.

– Lynn & Alex go to United. They have the brilliant idea to check BOTH flights. United gets in at 625am. AA gets in at 459am. Lynn & Alex scramble as Kelly’s lack of research and knowledge of TAR is rewarded. Lucky.

– GRETCHEN: Dog gonnit we’re heading away from the airport. Dog garnit I know we are. God darnit we have to turn all the way around.

– Romber find the airport. The second shuttle arrives and they all go to AA because it leaves first but acknowledge that it does not necessarily mean it arrives first. Bianca, not knowing to ask the agent, borrows a cell phone to call the airline. They are lucky too and are at the right counter.

– Romber are tenth and on the third shuttle. They see Meredith & Gretchen approach the window but it passes them at Rob’s encouragement.

GRETCHEN: He’s not gonna let us on. Gosh donnit.

Or so we think. The shuttle stops to let Meredith & Gretchen on.

– MEREDITH: I heard you say ‘go, go, go’.
AMBUH: That’s not necessarily true.

It pays to race with a team who needs hearing aids to clarify your lies.

– Lynn & Alex get on their shuttle to say the AA flight is full. So to United they go.

– Brian & Greg introduce themselves to Megan & Heidi and Uchenna & Joyce. Ah the meet and greet. Uchenna is nervous about how many teams are in front of them.

BIANCA: You remind me of my first boyfriend.
PATRICK: Did he end up being gay?
BIANCA: Haha, no.

The reason why that’s funny? Because Bianca is gay. You see Patrick, the effects of relationships can go both ways.

Proof.

Normally I’d keep going with the recap but I’m forced to stop as Greg puts the pieces together.

It happens in real life too, Greg. Not just on your laptop.

He’s too busy with Megan & Heidi to deal with more pressing issues.

– Uchenna & Joyce and Brian & Greg are too far at the back of the line in the AA line so they head over to the United line.

– Brian & Greg introduce themselves to Lynn & Alex.

The United Airlines flight takes off first but arrives last. Romber, Brian & Greg, Uchenna & Joyce, Meredith & Gretchen, and Lynn & Alex are aboard.

– While he waits for the AA flight to leave, Ron has private information to divulge to Ray.

RON: I haven’t told a lot of people this, so I’m not sure if I want everyone to know, but I was in Operation Iraqi Freedom and was shot down and taken prisoner for a while.

RAY: No. . .kidding!

Then he broke out of the chains, got into his kayak, and completed the world record for longest kayak trek. You are only one of three people to know this. Besides the production crew and the millions of viewers watching from around the world. Maybe even from Iraq.

RON: So that’s why I came on the race to win so I can give the money to the guys disabled over there.

Why does he want to keep it a secret? Is this like Kim Spradlin’s secret of being a whitewater rafting expert?

AA flight: Ray & Deana, Ron & Kelly, Susan & Patrick, Debbie & Bianca, Megan & Heidi, Ryan & Chuck

– And we’re off. Phil recaps who is on which flight and that they need to get on a bus to Plaza De Armas.

PHIL: With only an hour and twenty five minutes separating the two teams. . .

Uh, that’s the longest gap between two flights in quite a while. Last season it was like a twenty minute gap for the three flights.

– Mexico TAR 3 music plays as we are introduced to Lima. Bianca speaks fluent Spanish because her mother is Hispanic and therefore speaks Spanish. Chuck meanwhile can speak fluent Portuguese which means he is better at screaming English than finding the few ethnic Brazilians within the Peruvian borders.

RON: Lima honestly reminds me of downtown Baghdad.

Honestly this reminds me of the shell shock that my great uncles suffered from. Everything is Baghdad, POW, or some form of capture to you, Ron.

– The five teams all race together down the plaza. Susan exclaims when she sees the clue box. They claw each other for the first clue. If Lynn were there he would be depressed after he broke a nail in the exchange.

– Teams must now travel to city of Ancon and make way by rickshaw to Playa Hermosa. Once there they will search the sand under three of the trees for a set of airline tickets to Cuzco, Peru. Departures are 600am, 700am, 740am. Two groups will be divided up into three. Same usual deal as TAR 4 – 6. Once a ticket is claimed they cannot search another pile. The one task TAR refuses to give up in its premiere. Hooray. The five teams search for buses. Debbie & Bianca break into an alliance with Susan & Patrick because five teams is too many to keep track of. Plus everyone wants to use Bianca for her Spanish.

– Bianca’s reasoning for the alliance is that Patrick looks like her first boyfriend (why hang out with someone who looks like an ex is beyond me) and Susan is another mom for her. Bianca hopes the alliance lasts all race. They receive directions from a photographer.

– Susan & Patrick and Debbie & Bianca get on the first bus. They’re in the lead.

– Second flight lands. A man named Craig approached Romber on the bus because he recognized them from Survivor and offered to be their guide and make a guest appearance on TV. And so the unfair advantage of being celebrities begins. Romber gets to the bus stop first. The other trailing teams are on a different bus.

– The disadvantage for Romber is that they know the teams will go out of their way to go against them. But does that really matter in TAR? Craig the Guide told the driver to not make any stops and to drive direct. It costs a little extra but Craig forked out the money. The $132 stays intact.

– Lynn & Alex wonder where Romber are as the four trailing teams pile onto the bus in a tie for last place.

– Rob remarks how nice Plaza De Armas looks. They read the clue to travel by bus to Ancon. Rob brags that all of Peru is working for him. Last time I counted it was just Craig the Guide and the guy who he asked for directions. Although I am sure the citizens of Peru are thrilled at hearing that they work for a TV star from New England.

– Patrick talks about Rob and how he is dumb as a rock and cannot put a sentence together.

Who Patrick really meant.

– Romber get on the second Ancon bus. Craig picked out the best bus for them. It was for a discount price. Meanwhile the second pack of teams do not speak Spanish with the exception of Chuck’s Portuguese. They all work together to ensure the trailing teams do not pass them and put them into last place. They are on the third bus. Romber are now in third place thanks to their fame.

– One kid on the streets randomly does a series of backflips and cartwheels.

Chun Li is mad jealous that someone can do a spinning bird kick better than her.

Joyce cheers him on as a soundtrack similar to ‘A Little More Conversation A Little More Action’ plays.

The dog contemplates to do a backflip off the roof but he’s waiting for the sound and camera crew to clear space for him.

– Alex does an imitation but all he does is spin and raise his bags in a circle.

– Rickshaw time in Ancon. Debbie & Bianca and Susan & Patrick get on the rickshaws. Romber don’t appear to be too far behind. Third bus to Ancon. Ray is bothered that people on the streets are just trying to live day to day while he is racing for a million dollars.

– Trailing teams get to the clue box. The four teams take separate paths to the bus station. It is five blocks away. Brian & Greg and Meredith & Gretchen take a taxi to the bus station. Wise move when you are in last. Brian & Greg get on the fourth bus. Lynn & Alex are on the fifth bus. Joyce is frustrated by her decision to not take a cab.

– Meredith & Gretchen board the sixth bus.

Watch yo step.

Even George of the Jungle is more aware of his surroundings than Meredith.

– Uchenna hopes they are not last. But being on the seventh and final bus says otherwise.

– Debbie & Bianca search all three times. Six o’ clock is the earliest so they dig in the huge mound of sand for the tickets. The old days of ripping it off a stub in the forest is done. You gotta dig, as Jeff Probst would say.

– Third bus arrives to the rickshaws. One of the rickshaws nearly ran over a kid. Ryan & Chuck scream BEEP BEEP BEEP down the streets. I don’t think a rickshaw has that type of technology. Ryan & Chuck get out of the rickshaw and start pulling it. They get exhausted and the second they get in they fall behind. Six hundred pounds of hillbilly fat is tough for a rickshaw driver to pedal around.

– Debbie & Bianca find the tickets. Go to Cusco, Peru where the altitude is eleven thousand feet. Upon arrival in the airport they’ll find their next clue. Susan & Patrick are next to find the six o’ clock clue. They will be spending the night on the beach. A night on the beach? Why did production force them to do this?

– Romber are next there. Patrick wonders how they got ahead. Ray & Deana see them too and wonder how in the world they are already there. Megan & Heidi join the fray. Romber get the final six o’ clock plane ticket. Ninety minute deficit has officially been made up as they now have an hour lead on the next closest group.

– Bianca says if they had a choice between Romber or anyone else to be on their flight, they would have chosen anyone but Romber. Because they don’t need to win again. Last time I checked only Amber had won (as of 2005).

– Heidi is kicking the sand. I think a fire pokemon against a water pokemon would be more effective. Ray & Deana are at the 700am pile. Megan & Heidi and Ryan & Chuck are at the 740am pile. Why Ryan & Chuck would follow Megan & Heidi instead of Ray & Deana is silly on their part. At least check both trees.

– Ron & Kelly are there next.

*We now present an edition of a pointless lie*

DEBBIE: Go to the middle one where the blondes are. Drop your bags.
KELLY: Okay!

– Deana finds the 700am flight. Chuck is excited to find out he’s on the last flight. Heidi is excited to find it too. Ron gets the final 740am flight.

Thanks to a combination of a failure to check all trees, Ryan & Chuck blindly following arguably the dumbest team this season, and Debbie going out of her way to deceive a team, for the first time in a TAR premiere the four teams at the back of the pack will be in the middle of the pack by default. Such an unusual situation. TAR 6’s crew had a better knowledge of checking all available times before claiming the ticket, and when TAR 6 is outsmarting you, you’ve hit a personal low.

– Ron and Ray powwow. They concur that Debbie intentionally told Ron incorrect information. Game on they both say.

– Fourth bus to Ancon arrives. Brian & Greg get to the beach.

BRIAN: None are here. That had to be the earliest. One 740am is left. That sounds like it leaves later. . .And 7? What?

GREG: What? Is 7 before 740?

BRIAN: Where I grew up, yeah.

I love how they are so blown away by the situation that they have to double check that they have to refresh what times are earlier.

So who are usually feared as the alpha male team end up receiving assistance indirectly thanks to Debbie deceiving a former POW.

– Lynn & Alex’s bus arrives. Rickshaw time. Then Meredith & Gretchen. Then Uchenna & Joyce. Lynn & Alex’s rickshaw went to the top of the hill as opposed to directly to the beach. So Meredith & Gretchen are now in a foot race on the beach with Lynn & Alex. Gretchen is so exhausted so they go with the 740 pile while Lynn & Alex check both and pick up one of the two remaining 700am departures. Holy crap. Uchenna & Joyce have lucked out. Their mistakes result in a big boost heading into Elimination Day.

– Campfire time. They all sit around the fire. Ryan & Chuck are in a boat alone together.

Staring contest! Eliza takes winner.

– ROB: I don’t know but the campfire made me feel like we’re back on Survivor. I was worried about everyone plotting to kick me out.

*Cut away with a one second delay*

EVERYONE ELSE: *Laugh*

My Editing Sense is tingling. The cut is so unnatural that they must have been laughing at something else. It doesn’t line up.

– Debbie & Bianca, Susan & Patrick, and Romber get into a cab heading for the airport. I don’t think they have to pay for this cab since it is a pre-arrangement. Amber has a gut feeling that despite teams being nice that they don’t want them there.

– Everyone else gets to the airport for their flights as well. 600am flight departs. The 700am flight is delayed by forty-five minutes due to technical difficulties. Stupid teams are rewarded while Debbie’s pointless deception is punished. Karma?

– It works out that the 700am team is pushed to the 740am flight. So we are once again two packs like on the flight from LAX to Lima. Three teams are on the 600am flight while the eight subsequent teams are on the 740am flight. Same time difference too as the initial two flights.

– First flight lands. Teams feel light-headed when they land at the airport. They are required to all grab a bottle of Mate de Cocoa at the marked stall which deals with altitude sickness. Debbie & Bianca are first to the box. Take a marked taxi to Huambutio and find a marked Coca-Cola kiosk where Felipe will give them their next clue.

– They comment on the beauty of the mountains. Debbie & Bianca find Felipe. Travel a couple miles by taxi across a bridge to the top of the nearby gorge. Once there teams will take multiple ziplines to the bottom where they will receive their next clue. Another TAR season premiere favourite. So original. Debbie makes a wind fan out of the clue because she is so excited. Susan & Patrick then Romber are next to the kiosk. Patrick obsesses over Romber.

– The three teams get strapped up together. Bianca is first to go. Then Debbie. Adventure soundtrack plays. Then Bianca goes again. Then Debbie is given the clue but cannot open it until she gets to the bottom. What’s at the bottom?

A traditional Inca band. That was your first guess, right? Does anyone know that the guy on the very right is playing?

– Detour time. Rope a Llama or Rope a Basket? In Rope a Llama teams must each rope two llamas and take them to a pen. When the delivery is complete the llama herder will give them their next clue. It is not strenuous but llamas are not cooperative. In Rope a Basket, teams will attach a basket to their back using a rope as the only source of holding it up. Then carry the basket holding thirty-five pounds of alfalfa across the bridge and overall two-thirds of a mile to a store then receive their next clue. Altitude mixed with technique mixed with the weight would deter me from carrying the basket. Bianca says they should do the llamas because of the aforementioned reasons. Debbie argues.

– Patrick & Susan complete it. They are at the bottom and choose to rope the llamas right away. Debbie & Bianca are STILL arguing over which task to choose. Patrick & Susan essentially choose for them as they follow to rope the llamas. Patrick is happy for the third time this episode that he is ahead of Romber. Romber proceed to do the ziplines. Rob quotes Chris Farley and says “HOLY CANOLI!”. They instantly decide to carry the baskets.

– Second plane arrives. Brian & Greg are first off the flight and even have enough time to get into the cab.

BRIAN: Vamados.

How impressed is Brian with himself over knowing a basic Spanish phrase?

He is smiling wide and pointing. He even goes so far as to translate those two words.

– LYNN: Go very very rapideaux.

Drivers will be confused with your Spanglish. They would much rather you stick with one language or another rather than to think in multiple languages.

– Ray & Deana and three other teams were stuck at the back of the plane. Megan & Heidi are in dead last. Ron & Kelly are tenth.

LYNN: We are racing in Peru! We are racing in Peru! We are racing in Peru!

Ryan speaks Spanish to the driver and gets ahead of the taxis. Meredith regurgitates a Spanish phrase and pulls ahead.

– Debbie is frustrated with the llama instantly and wants to switch. Bianca asks to do it quicker. Romber grab the baskets and are well on their way. The llama spits. Debbie gives up after five minutes. We are shown Bianca talking about Romber and how they are already up the hill.

DEBBIE: This is retarded! This is retarded! Bianca, I am seriously so furious at you! I am not doing this!

– The llama spits on Patrick a couple times. His only comment?

PATRICK: Rob and Amber are ahead of us.

How much of this is editing and how much of it is Patrick, I wonder.

– Brian & Greg are fourth to the clue. Meredith & Gretchen are fifth to the kiosk. Lynn & Alex sixth.

LYNN AND ALEX: ohmygodohmygodohmygod.
LYNN: Let’s not freak out.

Too late.

– Ray & Deana seventh. The teams head into their cabs to the gorge. Romber are first to complete the detour. They must go to the police station where they will find Damon & Andre detained. From there, they will board a marked truck with several locals for twenty miles to the Pisac Market. Trucks depart every twenty minutes. Once in Pisac they will search the marketplace for the next clue.

– The llama burps. Patrick comments that it was ripe. Romber cheers on Debbie & Bianca carrying the basket and claims it is their good deed for the next thirty days. At least they didn’t say thirty-nine days.

– The llama spits and burps on Patrick as much as possible as they enter the pen. It is a defensive mechanism for the llama. Patrick and Susan work together to shove the second and final llama into the pen. They receive their next clue. This detour does not seem too difficult given buses depart twenty minutes apart for a task that takes about fifteen minutes.

NOTE: I zoomed in on the clue and it says no more than three teams can be on a delivery truck at a time. I suppose this must not come into play then.

– Bianca reads the clue. Ah she reads the note about how there can only be three teams. Zooming in on the clue was a waste of my time.

– PATRICK: Somebody else is here. Damn. It’s Rob and Amber.

Your obsession would be toned down if you said “Damn. It’s another team” rather than specify who it is.

– The first truck carries Susan & Patrick and Romber. Debbie & Bianca barely missed the truck. They are stuck on the second one.

Meanwhile back in Huambitio. . .

Goats have launched a passive-aggressive protest by blockading the bridge. It is indigenous Goat land after all. You shall not pass, taxi!

– Brian & Greg comment on the beauty. So does Lynn. He compares the gorge to Splash Mountain. Brian & Greg launch down the zipline in fourth. They rope baskets. Lynn & Alex are next. They carry baskets.

Prior to 1998, yes.

GRETCHEN: Geronimo!!!!

MEREDITH: Geronimo!!!!

You know you are showing your age when you yell ‘Geronimo’ as opposed to the politically correct shout of ‘Woo!’

GRETCHEN: Oh. A band greeting us.

In this context it seems like she likes the band, yes?

But the face tells a different story.

– Uchenna comments on the beauty and is eighth to the kiosk. Meredith & Gretchen agree to rope llamas. Ryan & Chuck are next to kiosk. Ron & Kelly are tenth. We see Megan & Heidi go to the kiosk behind Ryan who is reading it.

BRIAN: Hey kids. Don’t do drugs.

Do you know what’s in your altitude cure, Brian? All the cool kids are doing it. Brian & Greg complete detour. Meredith ropes both llamas as Gretchen smacks both of them on the butt with her clue. Detour: Spray or Rinse?

– Ray & Deana do the ziplines and choose to rope the baskets.

DEANA: It’s choking me.
RAY: Suck it up.
DEANA: It’s strangling me now.
RAY: Suck it up. It’s our chance to make up ground.

Do you not understand the concept of ‘choking’? The problem is she can’t suck anything up in the first place.

– Brian & Greg return from the detour. They see Lynn & Alex. Brian messes with them and says they passed it. Alex asks if they are joking. Brian eventually admits he is kidding and directs them to where it is. An unofficial alliance is born.

– Brian & Greg board the truck. They introduce themselves to the kids. Greg gives himself a nickname to impress the kids.

Seeks validation from children.

– Lynn & Alex make the bus in time. Uchenna & Joyce go down the gorge. Joyce turns his head both ways for fun. Ryan is next to do it as he load tests it. Chuck tries to pressure it with as much weight as possible. Ryan nicknames Chuck ‘Fat Boy’ after what I assume to be the nuclear bomb. Slightly insensitive but I’ll let it slide.

– Ron & Kelly finish. Rope the baskets for them. Megan & Heidi are last. Meredith & Gretchen do the detour. Deana asks for Ray’s help to lift the basket up so she doesn’t choke but is unable to assist. Deana’s face is extremely red. Meredith & Gretchen get on the fourth bus. Ray & Deana see it but Deana is having troubles breathing. They miss it. By how much, you ask?

Take one step forward then two steps back.

– Ray is pissed at Deana who says she cannot breathe and run faster. Romber and Patrick brag to each other and how Patrick thought he would be cutthroat. They agree to look for the clue together.

PATRICK: We have every intention of aligning with Rob and Amber only to set the trap. I would love to be responsible for their disposal.

Sigh. Please focus, Patrick. Run your own race. This isn’t Survivor.

– Debbie & Bianca offer bracelets to the females on the truck. Including the goats. Susan & Patrick find the clue and call Romber over. Pit stop time. Travel twenty-two miles by taxi back to Cusco and find La Baset. A 325 year old church that has a garden is the pit stop this round. Last team to check in WILL be eliminated. ‘Tis a certainty. They get into taxis.

– Romber’s taxi turned around quicker and is ahead of Susan & Patrick. Debbie & Bianca get to the market twenty minutes later and find the clue before getting into the taxi. Lynn & Alex sing ‘Peru’ over and over again on the truck while the locals laugh. They imitate the sheep on the truck.

Unlike Mirna, Lynn likes to embrace the sheep he encounters on the race course.

– Meredith & Gretchen’s truck comes to a screeching halt as Gretchen crashes into the merchant’s eggs. She gives him a few dollars to cover the damage. Ray & Deana get on a truck and still argue. Uchenna & Joyce are beginning to rope llamas. So are Ryan & Chuck who surprisingly do not use their strength. Ryan looks underneath to check the gender of the llama. Uchenna & Joyce and Ryan & Chuck make a really stupid move. They each carry ONE llama at a time. That could prove to be costly.

– Ron & Kelly do the baskets. So are Megan & Heidi. Heidi cannot figure out why she is out of breath. Do you understand what the marked stall was all about? They both fail to balance the baskets.

– Brian & Greg and Lynn & Alex get to the market. They split up to cover more ground. Brian & Greg whistle to call them over. Off to the pit stop they go.

LYNN: Last team to check in will be eliminated. Ay ay ay I hate those words.

Ay ay ay? I haven’t heard that since I watched Rick Sanchez get tasered. They get into cabs.

– LYNN: Mori mori mori. Wait, what am I saying? Very very very?

I’ll order a taxi just to do that here and see how the driver responds.

– Uchenna & Joyce have a second llama and do it quickly. Ryan & Chuck lollygag as they move slowly. They are ninth. Ron helps Kelly by holding up her basket to alleviate the pain. Something Ray could not do. Ray did not expect Megan & Heidi to carry the baskets.

– Meredith & Gretchen find the clue in the market. Gretchen wants to do shopping and has an exaggerated reaction to the information about the pit stop. Ray & Deana are sitting in their truck (it hasn’t been twenty minutes yet? The show has been almost real time for the past twenty minutes?) when Uchenna & Joyce join them. Ryan & Chuck and Ron & Kelly both smack the back of the truck but the gates have closed. Dang.

– Patrick cannot believe it has come between him and Romber. Romber is still barely ahead. There is a traffic jam. Taxi driver is honking the horn. Susan & Patrick are stuck in the traffic too. Debbie & Bianca meanwhile meet less traffic.

SUSAN: Damn, damn, damn.
PATRICK: Mom, stop whining.
SUSAN: Don’t tell me what to do.
PATRICK: Why are you so upset?
SUSAN: Because after that it all came down to a taxi ride.

It’s much easier to watch the taxi issues on TV than it is in a million dollar race, eh? Now you know why about half of the teams ever eliminated in TAR lose sleep at night.

– Romber get out of the cab and push the van. They cleared the street.

– Debbie & Bianca exit the cab. So do Susan & Patrick and Romber. Who will be first?
.
.
.
.
.
.
Debbie & Bianca?! They made up a 20-minute truck ride. As winners of the first leg they have each won ten grand EACH. Phil informs them it is a total of twenty grand. No sponsours. Just straight up cash. Impressive. I think the cab driver would like fifty percent of the cut because he weaved in and out of traffic to get them there.

– Susan & Patrick are second. Romber step on the mat in third. Slight bummer given the traffic issues. Brian & Greg are fourth. Lynn & Alex are fifth. Uchenna & Joyce say they got through it even though there is still a clue and a pit stop remaining.

– Ryan & Chuck and Ron & Kelly are on the truck. Megan & Heidi are running. The ladder is taken away from the back of the truck which we assume means it is leaving very soon. But Megan & Heidi do indeed make it. Ninth, tenth, and eleventh are on the last truck. Ray & Deana offer to work with Uchenna & Joyce.

– JOYCE: A lot of colours in here.
UCHENNA: A lot of colours.

. . . .Racists.

– Ray finds the clue. He calls over ‘Uchemma’ and ‘Ukemma’. Uchenna does not respond right away so Ray assumes they must have already left and jump in a cab. Uchenna sees Ray leaving in a taxi. Teamwork! They eventually find the clue and leave.

– RYAN: She’ll be driving six white horses when she comes. . .

The longest bus ride of their lives.

– Final truck arrives. The three teams are so close together in the marketplace. Ryan & Chuck cut in front of Megan & Heidi to grab the clues. Ron & Kelly find it a minute later. Ryan & Chuck have a minute lead while Megan & Heidi and Ron & Kelly leave in cabs simultaneously. TAR production had the truck drive way too close to the pit stop for trailing teams to have a chance to separate based on ability.

– Meredith & Gretchen check into the pit stop in sixth place. Ray & Deana are seventh. Deana is happy enough with the performance while Ray insists they made too many mistakes. Uchenna & Joyce are eighth.

JOYCE: HELLO! SPEAK!
UCHENNA: The llamas, the llamas.
PHIL: Would you want a llama for a pet?
JOYCE: I prefer dogs.
UCHENNA: I’ll stick with things I can carry.

– Ron & Kelly pass Megan & Heidi in the cab. Megan & Heidi are screaming at their cab driver one decibel below Jonathan Baker. Ron & Kelly’s cab passes Ryan & Chuck. Ron promises that the driver will be rewarded financially. Megan & Heidi’s cab proceeds to pass Megan & Heidi. Ryan says it is looking like a foot race.

– Ron & Kelly’s cab goes down a road while Megan & Heidi’s goes down a different road. Megan’s driver says it is a shortcut. He’s right because Megan & Heidi hit the mat in ninth. Both of them cry and hug Phil. Ryan & Chuck and Ron & Kelly work together to find the pit stop for a few seconds before I am sure they realize how dumb of an idea that is. Ron & Kelly appear to enter the entranceway seconds before Ryan & Chuck. How close is it?

Only feet apart.

Neither team was running too hard so the pace was maintained. About ten seconds apart by the looks of it. Nobody even dropped their bags.

– Ron & Kelly are team number ten and waved off the mat. Ryan & Chuck step on the mat. Foregone conclusion unless they are deaf but yet Phil maintains the same pause before telling them they’re eleventh. Kelly cries. Ryan & Chuck hug Ron & Kelly. Chuck & Ryan both tear up saying they are best friends for life.

RYAN: If you ain’t first you ain’t nothin’.
CHUCK: If you ain’t the lead dog, the view never changes is what they say back home.

Back home? How about nowhere?

RYAN: Friendship between Chuck and I is a lot more important than being first or last.

I thought if you ain’t first you ain’t nothin? So is your guys’ friendship nothin’?

Then they vanish from TAR existence forever.

– Next time on TAR: Debbie & Bianca confront Romber. Lynn & Alex have a run in with the locals.

So that’s the premiere. Besides production having a semi-equalizer too close to the pit stop, I’d say this leg went much smoother than TAR 6’s opening. I wish we would stop being reminded that Romber are around and that Patrick wants to beat them. There are nine other teams who bring something to the table unlike TAR 6.

Confessionals

Susan & Patrick 2.6
Ray & Deana 3.2
Romber 9.10
Uchenna & Joyce 4.2
Debbie & Bianca 2.4
Brian & Greg 2.1
Lynn & Alex 1.1
Ryan & Chuck 7.4
Meredith & Gretchen 4.4
Ron & Kelly 5.2
Megan & Heidi 2.1

12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Ryan & Chuck 11.0
11th Team Seinfeld/Avi & Joe 11.0
11th Dennis & Erika 11.0
11th Deidre & Hilary 11.0
11th Matt & Ana 11.0
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33
8th Don & Mary Jean 8.2
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0
10th Hope & Norm 7.0
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43
7th Paul & Amie 6.2
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
5th Kami & Karli 5.8
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8

9th Heather & Eve 5.75
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67
10th Alison & Donny 5.5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33
7th Gus & Hera 5.29
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25
7th Silver & Gold 5.17
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF
5th Lori & Bolo 4.6 – FF
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
4th Linda & Karen 4.17
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85
4th Jon & Al 3.73
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56
1st Freddy & Kendra 3.46
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
1st Chip & Kim 3.38
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
4th Hayden & Aaron 2.92
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38

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