The Amazing Race 14 episode 11 ranking

Eleventh episode

“No More Mr. Nice Asian”

alice cooper

Who knew Alice Cooper would be referenced on The Amazing Race.

COUNTRIES VISITED

SWITZERLAND – GERMANY – AUSTRIA – ROMANIA – RUSSIA – INDIA – THAILAND – CHINA – USA

http://popwatch.ew.com/2009/04/27/phil-keoghan-1-2/

“Never knew the “virtual pit stops” stirred up so many emotions forpeople.  Last night, I was in Ft. Wayne, Ind. having dinner and thiswoman approached me and started berating me for not eliminating a teamduring last night’s episode.”

By that woman’s description, it sounds like she could be related to me. I bet she berated you because she assumes there will be an equalizer at the start of this round, thus making the previous round completely pointless.

Phil describes a near-death experience of being trapped underneath a ship wreck when he was nineteen years old, and uses this to relate to

“With two all female teams heading into the final two legs, do you think we could finally – after 14 seasons – have an all girl team win the Race?”

zabrina joe jer win

Sorry, but they never counted considering 95% of TAR viewers in America had never seen The Amazing Race Asia.

The Amazing Race Asia, eh? Hmmmmmmm. I wonder what season two was like. . .

COMMENT FROM IForOne: Hope that Jaime and Cara do indeed come in first on this extended leg. I’d like to see if winning placates Jaime enough to alter her poor attitude. I don’t want Team VicTam to win because they’re smug and self-righteous, and Margie and Baby Luke just S*U*C*K. I’m disappointed with the Sistas’ racism, so I guess I’ll have to pick the Sneerleaders.

Sneerleaders? lol.

COMMENT FROM David: Phil, congrats on getting picked up for the 15th season and a great 14th season.
There are two things thatare really anoying:
1) the preview of whats coming up in this episode at the start – why? I’d rather have 30 seconds of new footage – I don’t need to see this.
2) repeating what happens just before the commercial break after the commercial break. My attention span is not that short, I can remember what happened – please just continue on with the show, don’t repeat. Again, save the time and use it to show us something new, local scenery, anything but repeating.
Make those changes and the Amazing Race will be perfect

Thanks, David. I have been advocating this all throughout my blog, but after seeing the other comments on Phil Keoghan’s blog, I understand why production needs to remind us what happened just four minutes before the commercials ended.

COMMENT FROM CV: I dunno that I would compare a near-death diving incident to a life-vest-assisted float down a well-lit pool with possible rescue standing constantly at the ready. Why Phil would sympathise with those racist trolls is completely beyond me. So Luke is a whiny little momma’s boy, Jaime and Cara are shallow, ugly Americans (well, one of them is, anyhow), and Tammy and Victor are nauseatingly submissive and controllingly dweeby, respectively. Unless there’s a lot of misbehavior on the part of the other teams that we’re not seeing, I’m at a loss as to why Keisha and Jen are getting a pass on their disgusting comments about the Chinese people. I really don’t get it.

That pretty much sums it up.

***

Okay. So here we are. An episode that I have forgotten ninety-nine percent of what happened. That lone percent I recall happens to be a top ten moment in TAR history. It would be a solid number ten entry.

Some teams have been eliminated due to forfeiture.
Some teams have been eliminated  due to flight delays.
Some teams are eliminated due to taxis.
Some teams are eliminated due to penalties.
Some teams are eliminated due to losing their passport.

But one team makes such an unusual decision at the very end of this round that it is the difference between finishing third and last. Nothing like it has happened before or since then.

In fact if this incident did not happen, this would be considered a rather eyeroll-worthy episode due to who wins this round with ease.

This is probably the biggest thing that people remember from TAR 14. Even more so than the shoving incidents. The whole audience just finished picking up their jaw from the floor following Toni & Dallas making the first passport blunder, but the jaw shatters on the floor completely after this round’s finish.

It was one of those “did you just see what happened on The Amazing Race last night?” type of moments. This was the second-to-last episode that aired before I graduated from high school.

***

What was with penultimate episodes between TAR 12 and 15? Seriously. The penultimate episode was usually considered the best episode of the season, but the finale was usually deemed to be unmemorable.

TAR 12 – Season-long hated couple Nate & Jenn choose to not take a taxi to the mat and leads to Jenn being eliminated on her birthday. The finale is a relaxing hour as three likeable teams race it out until the most boring team is crowned the winner.

TAR 13 – Toni & Dallas, the only worthy competitors of Nick & Starr, lose Dallas’ passport and fanny pack in a cab because Dallas lost focus during a microphone change at the Roadblock. Nick & Starr win the finale by one of the widest margins ever.

TAR 14 – A one-of-a-kind decision is made that drops a team from third to last just a couple hundred metres from the mat. The finale goes on to have the most uneventful finish and produce a contender for the most boring episode in franchise history.

TAR 15 – Pretty much the same as 14.

For some reason, these four seasons would use the penultimate round as the pay-off while the finale would be the denouement. In fact, season finales have always been a problem for The Amazing Race. They seem to be hit-and-miss with less than stellar results on an annual basis.

In short, this episode will leave you annoyed and angry for the first forty minutes, but you will wet your pants when you see how the round ends.

***

This season is not a two-hour finale. That means this episode aired on its own one week before the season finale. Because Phil always gives his thoughts about each of the remaining teams at the start of the final episode, I will have the honour of discussing each team heading into the penultimate round.

Tammy & Victor: One of the weirdest and most oddball siblings ever cast in TAR history. However, their book smarts, and being able to stay on good terms with everyone despite a couple of devious acts keep them at the front of the pack. Out of the first ten rounds, they have finished in the top three eighty percent of the time.

Luck has been going their way for the past three rounds as a trip through familiar territory such as Phuket, Guilin, and Beijing. In fact, they have visited Beijing numerous times and will have the advantage of traveling through the city for the penultimate episode.

Oh, and they speak fluent Mandarin. Virtually every clue and every local they run into can understand what they are saying, and vice versa. They will need a ton of bad luck with geographically-challenged taxi drivers if other teams hope to see them eliminated.

Margie & Luke: These fan favourites have turned into one of the most polarizing teams ever. Is it a story of personal triumph or a story of an enabling mother partnered with her hearing-impaired son?

One thing you cannot deny is that these two are in exceptional physical shape, and both have done quite well when communicating with locals. Their alliance and friendship with Jaime & Cara and Tammy & Victor throughout the race has helped them.

But will their conflict with Kisha & Jen work them up too much and force their focus on the million dollars to drift? And can Luke keep his physical contact with them to a minimum?

Kisha & Jen: An athletic team where Jen seems to be the brains while Kisha is prone to bad decision making. This team has relied on their fast wheels and physical strength to stay ahead of weaker teams.

With weak teams gone, Kisha & Jen have been at the bottom of the pack sans a major foot race in Guilin. Their weaknesses of making assumptions, misreading directions, and not possessing critical skills such as swimming have backfired. They need to get it together or they will remain in fourth place for the entirety of this episode.

Jaime & Cara: A team that has gone through a similar up-and-down road like Kisha & Jen throughout the rounds. Jaime is unapologetic about not keeping her cool with locals.

This team, like the other three on this race, have benefited from being more physically fit than the other racers. Their working relationship with Tammy & Victor and Margie & Luke has been mutually beneficial all season long.

This includes a major break in round four when Margie & Luke Blind U-Turned Amanda & Kris to save Jaime & Cara from a certain defeat.

But now this team just finished first for the only time all season. Can they preserve their lead for the remaining two rounds, or will they go back to their old ways as they slip down the leaderboard?

None of these teams have proven to be particularly outstanding, but have relied a lot on their physical fitness. Will somebody be able to use a mental edge to finish out on top?

Previously on TAR: The Final Four teams raced from Guilin to Beijing, China. Margie & Luke continued to hold a grudge against Kisha & Jen but the sisters were not fazed. At the Detour Jen was challenged by her fear of water but Kisha showed her compassion allowing Jen to continue on. With Jaime & Cara thinking they had won their first leg, they were greeted with a surprise.

Coming Up Tonight: One team faces a U-Turn. And with a spot in the Final Three at stake, Jaime & Cara struggle with the language barrier.

– Intro time.

– We are re-shown the surprise clue for Jaime & Cara. Jaime reads they need to head to some place that the taxi driver understands. We have no idea where they are going. Jaime found the news of another clue to be disheartening, but do not care how they finish as long as they are in the Final Three.

– Margie wants to be in the Final Three with Jaime & Cara and Tammy & Victor because of their relationship with them. Her and Luke run into the mat. Phil does not bother signing so Luke is left confused. Margie is frustrated by Luke yelling ‘mom’ all season long.

– Jaime is annoyed by their wasted first place finish. Apparently she does not like the jet skis. Whoa. They have their next clue. Jaime reads that they must search the area for a Travelocity Roaming Gnome amongst the shops. Jaime & Cara run to grab their bags. Margie & Luke now have their clue too.

– Tammy & Victor hit the mat. They have a minimal reaction to the news. Both talk about how their focus will be on winning after this leg is over.

– Jen cries in the cab.

china kisha jen

Barely two-thirds of the way through.

– Kisha & Jen are surprised by the news. Jen seems like she would have preferred to be eliminated right now instead of continuing.

china kisha jen 2

The fun is just beginning, Jen. There is a swimming Roadblock, and you have to do it!

– Kisha tries pronouncing the name of the clue when she hands it over to the driver. Her and Kisha share a laugh over her failure to pronounce the place.

– The other three teams are al searching for gnomes. Victor walks right by a gnome.

china victor

All Chinese mannequins and Victor look alike.
china travelocity

Gnobody hides better than this guy.

– Margie & Luke are first to find a gnome.

china travelocity 2

And for some reason, this gnome decides to wear a paper turban. How progressive.

– Margie reads that they must take a taxi to Gu Gong Xi Bei Jiao and find the marked bicycles. Then they will ride these electric bikes past the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square and find Dongdan Station where they will find their next clue.

china bikes

Electric bicycles–for people who like to be outside without getting exercise.

china bikes 2

Nobody getting run over by tanks today.

– Jaime & Cara find a gnome next. Margie & Luke and Jaime & Cara both are unable to find taxis who know the destination.

JAIME: There is nothing I hate more in the world than taxis.

She really picked the wrong show to appear on.

cash cab

Imagine Jaime on Cash Cab. It would be her worst nightmare.

– Kisha & Jen keep up a creepy pose for several seconds.

china kisha jen 3

Who are they having staring contests with?

– Tammy & Victor have found a Travelocity gnome. So have Kisha & Jen. Tammy & Victor leapfrog into first place thanks to their communication advantage. Tammy can directly translate the clue.

– Margie & Luke have a cab in second place. Jaime & Cara follow up with their own. The driver admits seconds later that he does not know where he is going. Jaime decides to make him look at the clue.

One slight problem: The is printed on the bottom of the gnome. How can she show it to the driver?

china jaime

By stabbing the driver with the point of the gnome’s hat!

Actually, I bet a lot more drivers would do better at helping Jaime if they knew that one wrong turn or one wrong answer will trigger Jaime stabbing them in the bicep.

china clue
We see product placement and the clue co-existing. Looks like no symbols to reveal a prize this season.

– The driver does not respond. He frowns as he continues driving. Jaime attempts to get acknowledgement in the form of a nod or a headshake.

china jaime 4

Yes. . .

china jaime 2

or no. . .
china jaime 5

Or you can do it. . .
china jaime 3

Must go to Chinese Happy Place.

china driver

I think that’s a “you just stabbed me, b—-“.

– Kisha & Jen enter a taxi. Jen is stoked for a new day.

– We see some random guy meditating by the bicycles.

china karate

karate kid

Who knew he was a fan of The Karate Kid.

ron hsu

A casting agent happened to be at that tournament and were able to cast Ron Hsu for TAR 12.

– Tammy & Victor get into the bikes. Surprise surprise, they nearly get run over by a car in an Asian country. Or maybe Tammy & Victor were riding their electric bikes poorly. Either way it seems like a recipe for disaster. Tammy just notices the gears and tells Victor. Now they catch onto the idea of electric bikes.

– Jaime & Cara are dropped off at the wrong place and re-enter the cab. Margie & Luke get into bikes. They nearly run over Kisha & Jen.

china luke kisha

Three rounds in a row you try to collide with Kisha & Jen, Luke? Three rounds?

– Kisha does her weird laugh when Jen complains of her hands being cold. Jaime & Cara now have the bikes too. Tammy & Victor stop for a moment to see a morning military exercise.

china square

I doubt anyone will be attacking them anytime soon.

china mural

The mural is less powerful when there is a pillar blocking his face.

– Victor thought it was cool to see the guards walking and the flag raised. His fingers are frozen when he opens the clue.

– Detour. Beijing Opera or Chinese Waiter.

– In Beijing Opera, they go to some place where they must make themselves up as a Chinese princess and gentleman. Once their costumes are complete they must present themselves to the Chinese master.
china santa claus

Who also happens to be Chinese Santa Claus.

– In Chinese Waiter, teams make their way to a restaurant. They will be designated a table full of customers who will give their order in Mandarin. Teams must recite these orders back to the chef. Once they recite the orders correctly, and the customers receive the correct dishes, they will receive their next clue. If they are wrong, the dishes will be rejected and they must try again.

Gee, I wonder who will do this Detour in .2 seconds.
angry video game nerd 2

Even Angry Video Game Nerd took the time out of his Christmas holidays to express his shock that one team will have such a blatant advantage in one of the most important tasks of the season.

china waiter

Ah, The China Rig. Excellent choice, good sir.

– Victor instantly decides to do the Chinese Waiter task because apparently he can speak Mandarin.

– Kisha asks for directions to “Tanaman Square” on her bike. Margie asks for directions from a reluctant local on the street.

china margie

His reluctance is because Margie looks rather threatening right now as she brandishes that gnome.

– Kisha & Jen pass an annoyed Margie & Luke on the street.

china margie luke kisha
Luke avoids a collision with Kisha for once.

– Kisha & Jen  have the clue and choose Chinese Opera. Kisha wants to be the princess because it will be her first opportunity to be one. Jen rolls her eyes as she makes fun of Kisha’s desire to be the princess.

china kisha jen 4

Small talk may be viewed as fake by Jen, but muggin’ for the camera behind your sister’s back certainly is not!

– Margie & Luke have the clue. They choose to do Chinese Opera. Jaime & Cara show up last and choose the same. For some reason the blunder sound effect plays as Margie & Luke enter a cab. Jaime & Cara are still on the streets.

– Tammy & Victor enter the restaurant. They decide to start speaking Mandarin and talk about bringing shame to their parents once again.

china tammy victor

How does China have 1.5 billion people when they kill their kids left and right for failing a Detour task? Is that how they come up with the Zero Child Policy?

– Tammy & Victor begin taking orders.

china victor 2

If you go to the restaurant during the month of February and order a dinner that is more than fifty dollars, you receive a commemorative gnome thanks to Travelocity’s Gnome New Year promotion.

china restaurant

The sequel to Good Night Moon.
syeon uncomfortable

And where is Syeon for dinner?

china restaurant 2

She is only twenty years old.

china restaurant 3

That’s not your stereotype at all!

china restaurant 4

Yeah, I had to Google this one. Apparently there is a chain in China called “New Taste Beef Noodles”. I am guessing they wanted to avoid directly referencing a company chain.

– Victor tries to explain the difficulty of Mandarin and the slight nuances. They present the order to the chef. He shakes his head because they interpreted Good Luck Fish as Good Luck Squid.

– Kisha & Jen show up to the opera house. Jen tells Kisha to stop moving her lips as she applies the makeup to her.

KISHA: I look like a damn clown.

china kisha

Suck it up princess. This is what you signed up to do this season.

– Margie & Luke show up on the premises. Kisha’s face is done. Jen is now in the chair.

I should note that Jen says “Dammit” on the audio when Margie & Luke show up, but it does not even match her frozen lips.

KISHA: I don’t have any ill will towards Margie & Luke, but I think if we had an opportunity to do something to them that will put them behind in the game we will definitely utilize that.

china kisha jen 5

If only there was an event on the horizon in the game where such a twist could be utilized.
china margie luke 2

LUKE: We wanna beat Kisha & Jen. We hope Kisha & Jen are not in the Final Three.

Now that is ill will. I think there was a gangsta rap song about ill will.
akon ill will

Don’t even look at Luke wrong
When Margie come through Guilin
Ain’t nothing changed, still hollerin’ at Kisha and her homies
Oh, when you hit the mat, she still has ill will

She doesn’t want to, but she still
Has ill will
Cause Margie thinks Kisha’s nervous laughter means she’s f—in around
Cause Margie thinks Kisha’s nervous laughter means she’s f—in around

– Margie sits in the chair first as Luke paints her face. We know Luke is a homosexual, so obviously he must know how to do things in line with fashion and make-up, right?

china margie 2

Hey kids! Wanna know how to trigger your allergies?

– Margie starts coughing up a storm and insists there is too much paint/chalk on her face. He wants her to stop moving and refuses to listen to Margie. He is annoyed that she is looking in the mirror. Luke refuses to use a brush which also annoys Margie.

china margie 3

That look says it all.

alice cooper

I think even Alice Cooper is saying “dayum, even that is too much for me!”

– Luke tries to make the best of the situation.

china margie luke 3

But being gay should more than make up for it according to North American society! Right? . . . Right? . . .Right?

– Margie is pissed. Luke is annoyed that she is trying to correct him and says he has given up.

– Commercial break obviously.

– We return to rehash what we just saw.

china luke

Look at the woman in the background. That is what Margie is supposed to look like.

china margie 3

Yeah, not even close.

china kisha jen 6

That’s what it is supposed to look like. Kisha & Jen casually work away in the background as if their faces are nothing out of the ordinary.

– Luke yells at Margie to stop moving.

– Kisha & Jen are approved by the judges. Luke says he is done with Margie. Now it is time for Luke to have his face painted.

– Tammy & Victor’s order is approved by the chef.
china dinner

They work away in the kitchen. There is something familiar about this. . .

china dinner 2

Whoa, this is Kitchen Stadium!

– Jaime & Cara successfully flag down a taxi. They say ‘opera’ and try to mimic an opera singer. The driver laughs as he nods.

china jaime cara

For some reason putting your left hand a couple inches away from your mouth as if you are preparing to cough is the proper way to imitate an opera singer.
china jaime cara 2

Wow. Jaime & Cara successfully charmed a taxi driver. That is a first.

– Tammy & Victor hand out the dishes to each of the customers. They receive their clue from a random lady at the table. They read that the next clue is located at the U-Turn. Phil explains the concept of the U-Turn.

And I won’t bother explaining it because I have already done so four times in the past three seasons. All I will say is that this one is traditional. Not blind nor deaf nor a double.

I should note that this is the first and only time in TAR history where a twist occurs in the penultimate round. No other season has a U-Turn, Intersection, Fast Forward (yes even when they occurred every round), or Yield this late in the game.

For whatever reason, production decided to put it on this round. This is surprising because any idiot would know that Tammy & Victor would have a huge lead guaranteed and certainly have the biggest advantage when it comes to the U-Turn.

The question at home was “Will Tammy & Victor be even more annoying by using it, or will they let the other three teams fight it out?”

– TAMMY: Margie & Luke are the strongest, Jaime & Cara have the most competitive spirit, and Kisha & Jen are the most athletic.

In other words, Tammy gives us a rundown of the most generic compliments that she could possibly hand out at this point of the season.

– Victor asks for directions to Wang Chung. Seriously. That’s what it sounds like he is saying. Eventually everybody has to go to Wang Chung tonight.

wang chung

Everybody Wang Chung tonight.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first time I have seen a Wang Chung video. For all twenty-two years of my life I have expected to look at somebody who has much more of a Chinese appearance. I was not expecting a German fellow.

– Meanwhile, Kisha & Jen must bow for Chinese Santa Claus.

china kisha jen 7

Bow for sensei, dear Kisha. For only he can have the will of a warrior.

And can I take an aside to say how awesome their costumes look? They did a really good job of painting each other’s faces too.

– Kisha & Jen read the Wang Chung clue. Tammy & Victor arrive at the U-Turn and do not use a second of suspense to announce who will be their victims. This has been their plan for quite a while. So who did they decide?

china u turn
In a series first, somebody writes the explanation for the U-Turned team before they continue racing.

u turn weeds

But there is no explanation needed for me to put a cap in your ass for U-Turning me!

VICTOR: We expected that if Kisha & Jen got there first, they would have U-Turned us.

china tammy victor 2

You know, because we’re Chinese.

– Victor reads that they must head to Dong Hua Men Yi Shi Market to find their next clue.

china tammy victor 3
Seeing how Tammy & Victor just came from a restaurant, they will be annoyed that they will be further teased with food from a market.

– Remember that teams have yet to eat or drink anything since they landed in Beijing last episode. Kisha & Jen run on the streets and ask for directions. Nobody knows where it is or they do not respond to them. The peebrains keep running along the road.

– Margie & Luke are approved (how Margie is approved is beyond me). Margie criticizes Luke’s inability to tie the headgear on her properly.

– Jaime & Cara are dropped off at the National Opera as opposed to the Beijing Opera House. They get out and walk to find out this news. Jaime is immediately angry with their “stupid” taxi driver who dropped them off at an opera building when they asked to go to an opera building.

– Tammy & Victor show up at the market. It is a Roadblock. In this one teams must eat a series of common foods consumed in Beijing.

Grasshoppers. Larvae. Scorpions. Starfish.

Once the plate is finished, they will receive their next clue.

china food

As a vegetarian, there is no way I could consume five different types of meats that I have never eaten in my life.
fred durst

Fred Durst has only tried chocolate starfish, but never unflavoured starfish from a street vendor. Thankfully no hot dog flavoured water is involved in this task.

– ROADBLOCK HINT: Who has a taste for adventure?

– Victor is doing it. He finds it gross and is afraid. Victor is happy they are frying it. He wants to save the starfish for last. He gets through the beetle larvae. Victor finds it chewy and difficult to keep down. Kisha & Jen meanwhile are still walking the streets. They joke about walking around in drag and comment on how the other looks. Both are having a tough time finding someone who knows the location.

china kisha jen 8

In fact they are drawing some attention to their get-up. Black opera singers in traditional Chinese clothing is a Kodak moment.

china kisha jen 9

Kisha objects to photography by the papa-papa-paparazzi.

– Margie & Luke emerge from the opera house. Thanks to Luke being a TAR superfan, he knows that the U-Turn location has to be close to the opera house. Luke stops her from asking anyone on the streets for directions. Jaime & Cara are still on the street and hunting down a cab. Jaime says every cab is taking, but not without some ugly American comments.

JAIME: Every taxi is filled. China is so freakin populated. That’s why there are no empty taxis.

china jaime cara 3

Yes, I am sure those eight bicycles and that bus know the word “taxi”. They transform into cabs as soon as you say the magic word.

– They resort to the strategy of bombarding an empty cab. The driver just goes away from them.

china jaime 6

Well dangit Jaime, it looks like you are trying to rob that taxi. I would drive away in fear too.

– Commercial.

– We resume to them successfully flagging down a cab.

– Victor moves onto the grasshoppers. It is his ideal breakfast alternative. Kisha & Jen are frustrated on the streets. Jaime & Cara see Margie & Luke walking and ask them if the U-Turn has been used. Apparently it has not been used but coming up soon according to Margie.

– Margie & Luke find a local to lead them. The blunder ding-ding-ding sound effect plays as they are led away from the correct location.

– Jaime & Cara choose Chinese Opera because they are great at doing their own makeup.

– Victor is ready for the starfish finale. He said it tasted like innards. He is done. They must take a taxi to Niao Chao. That is the pit stop for this round. Don’t know what that is?
china niao chao

china niao chao 2

Yep. That’s the Bird’s Nest from the Beijing Olympic Games. The same Olympics that Tammy & Victor attended just months earlier.

– Tammy & Victor have no problem finding a driver and communicating with him where they want to go considering they have been there multiple times.

– Kisha & Jen have been walking for over an hour. Margie hopes that Tammy & Victor made it to the U-Turn first and U-Turned Kisha & Jen. Otherwise, she thinks she is screwed.

– Kisha & Jen try to see where Margie & Luke went on the street. Whoa, Jaime & Cara are done the Detour.

china jaime cara 4

Not only do they excel at dressing themselves and putting on each other’s makeup, but they also know how to dress up a gnome in good taste.

travis jasper

Just as long as this man’s wife does not pursue a career as a make-up artist, the world will be fine.

– Jaime & Cara run through the streets after receiving directions. She hopes that Kisha & Jen have been U-Turned. Kisha & Jen see Jaime & Cara after running up and down the same streets. Margie & Luke meet up with Jaime & Cara. They discuss all of the places where it could not be. Jaime & Cara ditch Margie & Luke.

– Margie & Luke’s friend called a friend of her own and thinks she has proper directions. It turns out to be right as they are now in second place. Margie is stunned that it is right in their faces. She is happy that the U-Turn could once again save Jaime & Cara.

– Tammy & Victor show up to the Bird’s Nest. Not a team is in sight.

china phil

“See those people over there? They are your biological brother and sister. Want to greet them now?

FIRST: TAMMY & VICTOR ^ 2 from last round.

china mat

For once, stepping onto a mat in China is a pit stop mat rather than a laundry mat.

– The greeter does her job as Phil tells them they won the round by a minimum of three hours. Tammy & Victor celebrate their victory and their locked Final Three position.

– Phil says they have won a trip for two to the Galapagos Islands. He rambles on and on about the snorkelling and tortoises.

china tammy victor 4

Tammy is shocked that TAR is paying them to go to a country that does not speak Mandarin.

– Phil’s tone when he talks about the trip makes it sound like the most unbelievable trip ever. Fairly cheesy, come to think of it.

– Kisha & Jen and Jaime & Cara stand together. Kisha & Jen head back to the opera house while Jaime & Cara decide to stay put. Cara wonders where Margie & Luke are currently wondering.

china jaime cara jen

I guess they could not keep standing together and be jointly eliminated at the mat.

– Kisha & Jen find the U-Turn and are amazed it was pretty much next to the opera house. Jen is annoyed about the “we can’t outrun you” note. Time to take some orders in Mandarin. If Tammy & Victor only needed two attempts, then it must be easy.

– Margie begins tackling the Roadblock and eating some food.

– We go back to the restaurant as Kisha & Jen must take the orders in their opera outfit. Margie continues consuming the various meats. Jaime & Cara are led back to a place they already checked. Luke laughs at Margie eating the foods.

– You know how Mandarin is a brutal language to learn because subtle nuances change the whole meaning? Well, editors decide to have fun with this at Kisha & Jen’s expense.

china restaurant 5

china restaurant 6

Hahahaha, it’s like they are unfamiliar with Mandarin!

china restaurant 7

china restaurant 8

You get the picture by now.
china kisha jen 10

Knowing they have the orders wrong, Kisha & Jen try to frighten the Iron Chef into handing them their next clue.

– Kisha & Jen go back and listen again.
china restaurant 9

Kisha & Jen translated this as “Tito Ortiz is a Copernican c–t” due to not catching onto the nuances of Mandarin, but for some reason that did not make it into the episode.

– Jen tries again at what the guy was saying.

china restaurant 10

“We black, not Chinese”? That’s not even close to “Golden Pork Spare Ribs”!

– Cara thinks they need to go all the way down to the other end of the street, but Jaime shoots the idea down. Luke teases Margie about the bad smelling starfish she must eat. Kisha & Jen try again with reciting orders.

china restaurant 11

Nothing turns them on like oil that comes into your mouth.

china restaurant 12

china restaurant 13

Normally they would laugh, but Taoism instructs them to save what breath they can.
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Eh, close enough.

– We go back to the mean streets of Beijing.
china dogfight

Foofie is making her rounds on the Beijing Dogfighting Circus. If you thought Phuket Zoo was abusive, wait until you see how this match turns out!

michael vick

Dogfighting just isn’t what it used to be.

– Jaime & Cara are stuck on the road as several locals discuss where this U-Turn location must be. Margie & Luke finish the Roadblock and head to the pit stop. Jaime & Cara complain about being stuck on the same road all day.

china jaime cara 5

Jaime hangs her head out of shame, frustration, and fatigue.

JAIME: This is one of the worst days of my life.

Stop being as overdramatic as Julia Roberts.

– Kisha & Jen finish the Chinese Waiter task. All they have to do is serve the dishes and then they will have their clue.

– Jaime & Cara get a response from a local that he knows where to go. Jaime & Cara beg him to lead because they have been searching for three hours.

Three hours for a place that is a one minute walk away?! I am surprised Jaime has not strangled several people on the streets or run them over like it’s 1989.

– Margie makes fun of the name “Niao Chao”. Clearly she does not know it is the Bird’s Nest. Kisha & Jen have the clue and are currently in third place. Jaime & Cara are rejected by two more locals. He tells them something in Mandarin and walks away.

– Much like me when I walk around my town of 60, 000 residents, Jaime & Cara lose all concept of where they are in Beijing.

JAIME: This is why I did not want to go to China: It sucks.

Valid point.

china cara

Between running around last night, swimming, and walking for three hours, I would imagine that Cara’s feet may be sore.

– Commercial break.

– We resume where Jaime decides that they need to head back to the opera and re-trace their steps.
china jaime cara 6

Jaime somehow still alive.

– Jen is doing the Roadblock. She makes the same ketchup joke as Victor did earlier. Neither of them are funny. Jaime’s decision pays off and they find the U-Turn board.

JAIME: They are probably already done the U-Turn.
CARA: First of all, if you’re gonna act defeatist, then why even bother continuing.
JAIME (snatches clue): As if you haven’t been acting that way the whole time, Cara.

Then Cara does an excellent pose for the camera.

china jaime cara 7

Seriously?

china jaime cara 8

You guys getting this?

– Jaime tells Cara that it was her idea all along as Cara says it is just her fault.

CARA: I think we’re both kinda pooped.

The question remains to be answered if everyone is peed though.

SECOND: MARGIE & LUKE – no change from last week

– Triumphant music plays when they are declared to be second place. Luke is excited. Margie says she is not doing this just for Luke anymore. It means so much to her.

– Jen drinks a lot of water as she keeps eating the food. Kisha sees Jaime & Cara on the scene. She tells her to move faster but Jen insists Cara will do it slow unless she has zero gag reflex.

china kisha jen water

Jen takes a drink. Kisha is concerned.

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Jen drinks a bit more.

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Kisha looks down at the plate praying to Black Jesus that it is gone soon.

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Jen spits out some water. Her body is too full of liquids considering how much water she swallowed at the pool.

– Jen tries to bite the scorpion but says it is way too hard. She struggles.
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It is tougher than old people candy.

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Cara begins doing the Roadblock. Jen celebrates Jaime & Cara’s presence by drinking more water.

JAIME: You just need to take that thing and shove it into the back of your throat.

Of course Jaime is the one giving advice about putting hard things into the back of your throat without thinking.

– Jaime expresses her amazement with how fast Cara is eating the food. She thinks eating it fast prevents you from tasting it. Jen proceeds to vomit into a bucket. Jaime tells Cara that Jen is sick.

The last thing I want to be told while I am eating food is that the person next to me is vomiting.

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Nothing is as fine as a nice clear puke bucket.
miss california vomits

Miss California, ladies and gentlemen!

– Jen feels dehydrated and not okay after vomiting. One is usually dehydrated after vomiting. So what does she do?

china kisha jen water 7

She drinks some more goddamn water!

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Kisha is thankful that there will be a pit stop right after this task.

– Okay. So Jen has established that she needs to use the bathroom. What she needs to do is avoid more liquids to ensure she reduces the pain on her bladder, right?
china kisha jen water 9

BUT SHE DRINKS SOME MORE F—ING WATER!

– Kisha comes up with a brilliant piece of advice.
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But obviously the advice is contradictory because Jen drinks even MORE f—ing water.

– Jen breaks up the starfish into tiny bites that she chugs with water. She insists she needs it because of how faint she feels while doing the task. Jaime & Cara are discouraged when they hear Kisha & Jen are already finished.

china kisha jen water 11

Congratulations, you are done! Now to celebrate your victory, please chug the remainder of this bottle!

– Jen has the clue and Kisha reads it. She bids Jaime & Cara good luck as they leave. Jaime giggles as Cara goes through the starfish “like it is a steak”.

– Jaime keeps reporting to Kisha & Jen twice more that they do not have a cab yet. They comment that taxis are tough to find at this location. Suddenly Kisha & Jen are in a taxi. Jen says she has to urinate after chugging four bottles of water. She also complains about picking critters from her teeth.

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Cab rides across Beijing seem like an eternity when you need a bathroom break.

– I just found a scene where Tom Hanks plays Jen Hoffman in a film.

forrest gump

JFK symbolizes one million dollars.

forrest gump 2

The sodas reference the water she drank during the Roadblock.

forrest gump 3

But Tom Hanks is able to hold it in and greet the president of the United States as he is declared to be an All-American.

– Cara is done the Roadblock without drinking any water until the end. They get into the cab but realize they left their gnome at the stall. Jaime runs back to re-claim the gnome.

china gnome

Sorry Travelocity, but you need to pay for your own sponsourship of a Beijing street vendor.

– CARA: I really champed out that Roadblock
JAIME: Champ is an understatement. That was actually frickin’ amazing.

Champed is that a word? Cara made up “aggressivity”. Let’s check. . .
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Survey says. . .
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china champed

It checks out! Good job, Cara. Good job.

– But Jaime is amazed with how much she ate.
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Just like the time Cara ate the wheel of cheese that was meant to be for all of the cheerleaders.

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Jaime is not even angry. Just impressed!

– We go back and forth in the taxi ride. How bad are Jen’s bladder issues?

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How bad, Jen?

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That would be first. Hold your bladder running onto the mat followed by immediately scurrying to the nearest rest room.

– Jaime & Cara are in a cab. The driver wishes them good luck as they continue driving. He seems to be knowledgeable and friendly. Jaime & Cara are stunned by how great this cab driver has been for them.
china cab

I think I know where he was. . .

gangnam style

Working hard at his music for several years before making it big. Who knew this guy had humble beginnings as a Beijing taxi driver.

JEN: Jen about to run a 100 in about nine seconds because she got to pee. It ain’t no joke.

usain bolt
The only person who can beat a pro like Usain Bolt is a pro runner who also has to pee.

– Editing makes it look like Jaime & Cara’s cab is going really fast.

– Kisha & Jen have exited the cab and are now running on the road to the Bird’s Nest.

china kisha jen 15

In Singapore, you get imprisoned for fifteen years if you pee on the streets. Thankfully Jen is in an Asian country that is further north.

And you think the last thing you want to think about when holding in your urine is to constantly remind yourself and talk about the fact that you need to urinate.

– Kisha points out a group of mobile toilets. Jen does not hesitate to run in. Apparently the pit stop is too far away.

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In she goes!
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Creepy Chinese dude waits outside.

– No way Jaime & Cara are as close as editing makes it appear. Otherwise there is -no way- that Jen would be willing to take a bathroom break only one minute from the pit stop.

china kisha hoffman

Kisha doesn’t mind that Jen is having a potty break because she is the one who has to race with her for one more round. Oh, and the fact that Jen goes commando so all of the urine will stick to her skin.

– Jaime & Cara instruct the cab to stop as they run outside. They have yet to see the pit stop as they run up a series of steps. Jaime starts barking at locals. Kisha & Jen are out running too after Jen gives a long exhale when she leaves the stall.
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Whether she took the time to sanitize her hands is unknown.

– Jaime & Cara are told to buy tickets if they want to go further. Jaime thinks this must be wrong and they turn around.

JEN: This is like Where’s Waldo. I hated that game!

Wow. Did Jen read my previous episode blog before the start of this leg?
beijing phil 2

where's waldo

It definitely is.

– The music picks up. Somebody is about to check in, and we assume it will be Kisha & Jen.

china phil

You see that? That’s another all-female team that will be eliminated and ruin the dreams of young girls every year who think it is possible for women to win The Amazing Race.

– THIRD: JAIME & CARA v 2 down from last week
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No way.

PHIL: Jaime & Cara. . .I am sorry to tell you. . .that you are going to have to keep racing, because you are team number three.

– Cara is stunned to the extent that she hugs Phil and the pit stop greeter. She turns to Jaime and tells her that there is always hope.

china cara rosenthal

Excellent technique to prevent Kisha & Jen from spotting Waldo–I mean Phil!

– LAST: KISHA & JEN – no change from last week

– Phil eliminates them.

PHIL: You had to stop for the bathroom?
JEN: . . .
PHIL: It came down to seconds.
JEN: I feel so guilty about having to use the bathroom.

This exchange is hilarious. Phil sounds like a parent on a road trip with a child that needed him to pull over. Deep down he is frustrated, but is patient to take care of his child and advance further.

– Jen says it is all on her. Phil realizes his comment may have pushed too much of a button and turns to Kisha.

PHIL: You don’t want her to live with that, do you?

If Kisha says yes, are we allowed to laugh at their misery?

– Kisha refuses to hold it (in) against her. She said that she does not look at Jen like her little sister anymore.

Yes. You lose the race because your younger sibling had to stop to pee.
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Yeah, definitely a younger sibling after an incident like that.

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The worst part is she did not even wash her hands yet!

– A cryfest ensues about how much more they support each other and did not want to race with anyone else.

Next Time on TAR: A Hawaiian luau has teams going hog wild. Jaime sings a familiar tune. And surfs up as old alliance members face off. It’s the season finale you may want to miss. Who will cross the finish line first and win the one million dollars?

***

And there you have it. The moment that everyone would talk about for the next six months, and probably is a safe bet at #10 or #11 for most memorable moments in TAR history.

Think about it. What fanfic version of TAR could get away with saying that a team loses because of a potty break due to a full bladder? Losing passports, missed directions, quitting, and penalties are all realistic.

But a potty break at the pit stop location as they are a one minute walk away from having a one-in-three shot at a million bucks?

I would say Flo, Lena’s hay bales, and Tara & Wil’s defeat at the finish line are the three topics that come up the most in TAR over the past twelve years.

Jen’s bathroom break would be in that next cluster of 5-10 moments that casual and hardcore viewers tend to bring up as one of their first points in a discussion.

Now we head into what is in my opinion one of the dullest season finales ever. Not as forgettable as Nick & Starr’s or Tyler & James’ victory, but this is fairly high up there. If I recall correctly, this has one of the largest margins of victory ever.

CONFESSIONAL COUNT

TAMMY.VICTOR 4.6
MARGIE.LUKE 5.5
KISHA.JEN 6.4
JAIME.CARA 5.1

RANK THE LEGS:

1) Guilin, China -> Beijing, China

I would put this round due to Tammy & Victor’s language advantage, but thankfully it did not impact this round whatsoever unlike the other two China rounds.

Jen flailing as she swims, Victor’s Charlie Horse, Luke’s Hit and Run, Tammy & Victor failing so hard at the synchronized diving, and Cara not knowing whether she was in pain or having an orgasm at the foot massage made it the funniest round of the season.

No other episode is even close. Victor needs a Charlie Horse every episode if he wants him and Tammy to be my favourite team of the season.

The masseuse of the foot massage place may be the most evil person I have met in my life.

Also, it is so much easier to laugh at everyone performing terribly when ninety percent of the audience hates all teams remaining.

It was also neat to see Beijing just a month or two after the Olympics.

Lastly, the entire round took place at night. A round that occurs at night is nearly as rare as a Survivor night challenge.

If Tammy & Victor had a clear advantage in the tasks because the language barrier is down just for them, this round would slide six slots. But because Tammy was afraid of swimming, and Victor does not recover well from exercise, they decided to bring their A-game of unintentional comedy.

2) Los Alamitos, California -> Stechelberg, Switzerland

I give kudos to production for allowing their thrill-seeking task to be out of the way early. Doing the second highest bungee jump in the world is certainly no small feat. Believe it or not this was the second bungee jump they have done in Switzerland.

This really needed to be a longer premiere. It truly is a shame that we could not see the first scramble to the airport nor seeing teams interact with each other before the lying and deceiving would begin. Seeing teams have fun before flying to the first route marker is one of my favourite parts to each season.

There was no Detour because production wanted teams to carry cheese down a steep hill instead. Production knew they had struck gold because this had one of the most screen cap intensive scenes in the history of my blog. There is something about people falling on their butt, scooting on their butt, and rogue wheels of cheese crashing through Swiss houses that led to lots of laughter.

Overall, this was a very solid leg, and will probably be my favourite by TAR 14 standards.

3) Bran, Romania -> Krasnoyarsk, Russia

A battle for flights at the beginning was great. Four flight paths for eight teams? You do not see that happen too often.

But that collapsed when all teams were connecting on the same Moscow flight. However, for a relatively unexplained reason, teams were split between two Moscow airports to head to Krasnoyarsk. I think half of the teams were dropped off at the domestic airport while the other half were at the international airport.

The time difference was roughly four hours between flights. The equalizer at the dam was reasonable because it opened at 8:30am and stayed open relatively late.

Anyways, I loved the wood stacking and window constructing Detour. It is a Detour that could be used in Siberia or northern Canada. Both tasks appeared rather difficult. The falling stacks of wood was rather amusing.

The group of people at the Detour camping out as they eat strange food and laughing at the falling stacks as well as the drunken lady who was dancing and singing the whole time. I have never seen people so energetic in the morning.

The Roadblock added an extra layer to what was becoming a tired task. They have used multiple bobsled runs in the past where all they had to do was complete it under a specific time limit. The addition of coming up with a Russian last name that does not require you to know his name, and instead use logical reasoning, was a refreshing change to the task.

The introduction of the Blind U-Turn is a change I do not particularly mind. Whether it is a Blind U-Turn or have its senses fully functional does not matter much to me. However I do not understand why its use had to be hyped up at the start of the episode.

The only con to the episode was how much airtime Margie & Luke received, but I guess that is expected from a team that production wanted to be the first three-timers in TAR history.

And the round in Siberia proved that it is drastically different from the previous four Russian rounds in TAR where they spent it in major cities west of the Urals.

4) Phuket, Thailand -> Bangkok, Thailand

I liked the old school aspect to the teams being lost and traveling to preserve their travel gear. Losing your stuff is apart of real life traveling and evaluating the time you spend retrieving certain stuff made this episode feel like season one over all again.

Mark & Michael are not only oblivious to the people around them (again) such as mistaking transvestites as women, but oblivious to the rules as they managed to rack up a total of four infractions in these two rounds. Seeing them get struck down after each moment of brilliance was hilarious.

Margie also was a one-woman wrecking crew this round. Seeing her just beast it through the propeller Roadblock, taking the bags, and slaughtering the dentures. Granted this round overall seemed to play out rather quickly. Who knows if Margie was just that good or if a knowledge of what you are doing made everybody take anywhere between a minute to ten minutes to complete those tasks at the most.

Kisha running barefoot through flooded streets all the way to the pit stop without her passport may be one of the dumbest moves ever made. If her and Jen took their bags in the first place, they would have finished second. But instead they had to waste time begging for free rides and constantly worry about their bags.

Seeing Jen’s reaction to being declared fourth as opposed to dead last by fifty minutes was a highlight for the season.

Jaime & Cara were pretty much invisible this round. The only times we saw them were the two times that Jaime freaked out at drivers or calling one “meek”. That was it. I think editing wanted us to hate Jaime & Cara because we have not been given anything else about their edit for the past few rounds.

The only reason why this is not at the top is because the day in Bangkok seemed too easy and too fast.

Also, what exactly is the bargaining rule? Can you not settle a cab bill with your personal possessions when you still have money? That makes sense. If you are not allowed to use personal possessions at all, then many teams in the past have tried breaking that rule because we have seen shoes and watches offered in the past.

5) Novosibirsk, Russia -> Jaipur, India

It is somehow in the top half out of the first six legs of the season. As much as I rag on production sending teams to India for the eleventh leg in TAR history, they were able to come up with some unique tasks. In fact it beat the India rounds from TAR 12 and 13.

The tasks were original except for the Speed Bump. Feeding camels was neat to see before they go on to be a bunch of divas in Abu Dhabi.

Jaime freaking out at taxi drivers for no good reason was great too.

The sweltering heat really took its toll on teams. I just wish the camel task and the Shakers tasks were a bit tougher.

But do you know how they have run out of ideas for India? Because they decided to plop a red phone next to a sacred tree. I never thought production would stoop so low as to make teams listen to a call centre.

Mark & Michael provided most of the entertainment this round as they were oblivious to their awful jokes and their offensive ululating like they were doing a bad Leo & Jamal impersonation.

The two huge negatives are the over-the-top Margie & Luke moments of emotion, and yet another freakin’ “there is poverty but they are all so harmonious” clips. There must be an hour of that footage total that has aired on TAR over the years.

But why this leg is up to number three for the time being is because of two things:

– Man spontaneously kicked by camel.
– Pit stop greeter playing a flute up his nose.

6) Salzburg, Austria -> Bran, Romania

Gymnastics. Loading up a gypsy cart. Minimal equalizers. A quote from Young Frankenstein. Running aimlessly through the woods. A new country. Scrambling for the best flights.

These are all makings of a great round of TAR. In fact I would have ranked this as the best round of the season by far because this is the only new country of the season and the tasks were great.

But then it had to be ruined by showing Tammy & Victor for the majority of the episode! Just look at the confessional counts of the episode. For once Margie & Luke were pushed to the side in favour of Tammy & Victor of all people. We saw a minimum of a five minute breakdown of each of their tasks.

Production is trying way too hard to make us like Tammy & Victor. It is not like they were hidden in the first two episodes either. Why keep showing us a team that mildly annoys us and has a personality that is impossible for the viewers to identify with as they watch?

To make things worse, the only team other than Brad & Victoria to be shown was. . .virtually no one. We had the first Jaime blow-up, a bit of Kris & Jon because of their blunder, and Mel & Mike’s victory.

But other than that it is impossible to think of a single thing that the other teams did. It was entirely from the perspective of Brad & Victoria and Tammy & Victor.

Ugh. They ruined the best round of the race by doing this. Now it is an episode that many TAR viewers have forgotten because Tammy & Victor are people you try your absolute best to forget!

7) Krasnoyarsk, Russia -> Novosibirsk, Russia

The underwear run should have been longer and more gruelling. No navigation to the pit stop was a bit annoying (unless you were Mark & Michael).

Too much focus on Luke and Victor yet freakin’ again.

Not seeing teams check out of the pit stop annoyed me.

The snowplows were far easier than the bride task. Like people who never drive cars were completing the snowplows on their first try.

The only thing that saves this round is that teams had to drive themselves to a couple of route markers using the Lada and struggling with a stick shift. It shocks me that there will always be players who do not learn how to drive a stick upon entering the race!

And another indoor pit stop at a theatre two rounds in a row was repetitive. These two rounds have been molded into one in my memory for the past five years. I thought the last round was going to be underwear running and the bobsled Chekhov puzzle, but realized that those were both Roadblocks.

Two rounds in a row in not only the same country, but also the same climate, and also using identical locations for the pit stop really drags down this episode.

Oh, and it was a non-elimination.

8) Stechelberg, Switzerland -> Salzburg, Austria

The round was constructed with zero equalizers. I do not understand why we needed a two minute dedication to Margie & Luke at the start of the episode, but for some reason it was there.

The Roadblock was your usual paragliding task, but seeing it reduced to a one hour jog down the mountain made for some boring television to the point that production did not include any of it except for Linda’s wrong turn on TV.

We saw the growing gap between Kisha & Jen. Seeing Jen’s increasing levels of frustration with Kisha’s older siblingitis was fun to watch.

Watching Mel narrate ten minutes of the episode was annoying because you knew that he is only narrating due to the minor celebrity status of himself and Mike. The part where Mike tries to scale the gate was definitely worthy of being on TV as Phil looks on trying not to laugh.

Pie throwing acting as a needle in the haystack task was boring. The Segway obstacle course was overly linear and straightforward to the point that barely any of the footage made it on TV.

Seeing the woodcutters was neat. The pit stop location was gorgeous.

Mark & Michael being idiots by not asking for a cell phone inside the cab was amusing.

Then watching Steve & Linda’s interactions for the whole round was definitely the meat and potatoes of the episode. Linda’s performance in these two rounds qualifies her as one of the worst racers in terms of ability to appear in the show’s history. Wonderful people, but Steve & Linda were not built for TAR.

The only person with worse abilities than Linda are the abilities of the casting director for TAR 18.

The trend of seasons that visit Europe are weak overall does not slow down thanks to the kajillionth trip to Germany and Austria.

P.S. When this episode aired on TV I was quite sleepy. Rewatching it today and that has not changed.

P.P.S. What was up with the one minute dedication to Margie & Luke between the ‘Previously On’ and Intro segments? Ridiculous.

9) Beijing, China -> Beijing, China

A Detour where you choose between painting yourselves as opera singers and wandering the streets for hours or take orders in a foreign language to repeat it back is fine.

A Roadblock where you eat an assortment of local delicacies is fine.

A round that has had zero equalizers or rest since the previous round is also fine.

Ending the round at the iconic Bird’s Nest from the Beijing Olympics is great.

An experiment with a U-Turn/Yield/Fast Forward type twist in the penultimate round? I love it.

A team being eliminated due to a pee break only a minute from the pit stop mat as they dropped from third to last as a direct result of that decision is awesome. It is a top ten series highlight.

But guess what drops this down to number nine?

Because Tammy & Victor are in this round where a task involved speaking and understanding a language that they speak fluently with only one round to go! Oh, and did I mention that there was a U-Turn immediately following the task? So Tammy & Victor simply U-Turned their biggest threat and made them do the Mandarin task knowing it could get them eliminated.

I know Jen’s million dollar bathroom break would not have an impact if Tammy & Victor did not have this advantage, but this production error angered ninety percent of the audience. In fact, many newspapers and online sites spoke up about Tammy & Victor’s obscene advantage and said it was one of production’s biggest errors since Family Edition.

I agree with that statement to the point that I must drop what otherwise was fantastic round, and drop it amongst the worst rounds of the whole season.

Just be thankful Tammy & Victor’s three round Mandarin advantage is over and we will have a level playing field in the next location. . .or will we?

10) Bangkok, Thailand -> Guilin, China

I remember virtually nothing about this round other than ‘Follow Victor to the Mat’ and some of the shoving. Jaime, Cara, Mark, and Michael are all invisible. Tammy & Victor say they are Chinese about a quadrillion times.

The birds are neat, and the Detour would have been fine if it felt like a real Detour, but it was all overshadowed by Tammy & Victor cruising to the mat along with two teams ready to choke each other out.

The mat meltdown was not even that good. Eighty percent of it was because of Margie & Luke overreacting and exploiting Luke’s hearing disability, and Kisha’s laughter takes the other twenty percent.

It is one of the few times where Phil looks completely annoyed.

I know nothing about where they went because the whole focus was on the shoving incidents and Tammy & Victor bragging about speaking Mandarin. There was zero adventure.

There was not a shred of suspense between Jaime & Cara and Mark & Michael. It is one of the few times where editing could not care less about manipulating how close the race for last was at the end of the episode.

I doubt anyone even remembers that this round was in a city called Guilin. I mean, where is it? What are the major landmarks? The people? The whole adventure aspect was ripped from this episode.

And somehow it is not the worst episode this season.

11) Jaipur, India -> Phuket Thailand

This was a lame design. A zoo where you just move between two stations is not challenging. Neat, but not challenging. That picture seemed easy to figure out if you spent at least one minute on the street.

The ‘Pick a Drawer’ task may be the lamest task I have ever seen on TAR that does not involve gas stations or climbing up onto a big chair.

Nobody bothered with the Fast Forward, thus making it the first season ever where a Fast Forward was offered but ignored for the whole season.

And there was no reason to not have a Roadblock. It just gives the weaker players a free pass.

Did we really need to see that many monkeys?

The only things that made up for it this round is that Tammy & Victor and Margie & Luke received far less attention this round. Jaime & Cara, Mark & Michael, and Kisha’s sneezes provided ninety-nine percent of the entertainment. I think Mark & Michael may be my favourite characters because of how odd and unique their personalities are.

Oh, and their penalties for doing things that are clearly stated in the race rules. Nobody has received two penalties for breaking race rules in the same round. A one hour penalty is unheard of in TAR.

Lastly, Margie passing out after being declared the Bionic Woman was a great example of dark comedic timing. Phil could not have said it at a better time.

RANK THE TEAMS:

1)

Brad & Victoria

The sequel to Fran & Barry, but with improvised vision.

They did quite well by finishing in the middle of the pack both rounds. However, come round three and they made a mistake that far too many racers make:

Intentionally getting yourself on an earlier flight alone but the arrival time is in the middle of the night when you are bound to run into an equalizer.

Even if the 730pm flight panned out for Brad & Victoria, they would have been on the exact same 630am train as the other eight teams. What else should they expect at two o’ clock in the morning?

This is famously known as the error that Uchenna & Joyce made in All Stars where they ended up about twelve hours behind.

The episode was equally boring as the Uchenna & Joyce boot thanks to Brad & Victoria’s flight delay putting them on the mat roughly eight to twelve hours later. I wish we would know how their face was cut up. Did they both face plant on a twig?

Brad’s drug addiction is something we did not learn about until their final appearance. I am not sure why production did not want to incorporate it into his edit beyond the ten second mention, but I must admit that not bashing us over the head with that fact made Brad & Victoria much more ‘real’ than the other teams.

It is too bad that they were gone early because they are one of the 50+ year old couples that have a legitimate chance to win The Amazing Race. Those teams appear rarely on the race.

2)

Mark & Michael

An all-male team cast as fodder? I never knew they made such an animal!

But this season we got Mark & Michael. I must admit that I really thought nothing of Mark & Michael for the past five years until this re-watch. I mean, what is there to talk about other than having penalties in back-to-back rounds?

They were not shown too much because their storyline was downplayed and they ultimately come up short in communicating with Margie & Luke compared to other teams, thus being deemed irrelevant to the season.

Seriously. Pay attention to that fact since I blogged the first episode. Anybody who had a positive relationship with Margie & Luke (Jaime & Cara, Mel & Mike) and those who had a negative relationship (Kisha & Jen and Amanda & Kris) were brought back for a future season.

And who are the only teams from this season that get excluded from the next all-stars? The teams that did not have a relationship or storyline involving Margie & Luke.

Do you see how irritating this season is now? It was really all about Tammy & Victor and Margie & Luke from day one.

But back to Mark & Michael. They were hilarious for reasons never seen before in the TAR franchise–they were oblivious to everything. To other teams, to their own actions, to the actions of others, and to the basic rules that have governed TAR for the past seven years before the season aired.

There might be one person in a duo that is oblivious but never before are both players sharing their own little world equally.

Can you think of any team cast in the first fourteen seasons that could not tell the difference between transvestites and women?

Or not realize that bartering your own items while still possessing cash is a big no-no? Or interrupting the layout of a Detour to sabotage the other teams? Or not knowing to call an airline ahead of time to book flights? Or not realize that you are talking with a fellow racer rather than a ticketing agent? Or not see Phil staring right at you when you enter a room even after he snaps his fingers and whistles?

Mark & Michael did all of those in just nine rounds.

The only bummer is that even though they survived seventy-five percent of the total route, their elimination round is uneventful. Heading into the episode the only thing I remembered is them dancing in slow motion at the Detour.

And the fact Mark & Michael are #2 out of eleven teams in this season’s team ranking shows you how terrible this season really was.

3)

Kisha & Jen

Let’s put all potty jokes to the side for now.

The reason why I rank Kisha & Jen this high is because of how freakin’ awkward of a racer Kisha is all season. From sneezing to laughing to her decision making process, she is one big ball of awkwardness. I think Kisha may be the most awkward person to appear on The Amazing Race.

Jen is not much better in the awkward department. We find out she runs the race commando and loses the race because she had to pee.

I mean, who is willing to put themselves in a position where a pee break is the difference between playing for a million dollars in Hawaii and losing the race for good?

Also, I love how they did not let Margie & Luke intimidate them by exploiting Luke’s disability. They held their own and were unapologetic. Furthermore, they were allowed to act like the victims, but refused to stoop down to Margie & Luke’s level.

Were they worthy of an all-star spot in the future? Given the way they were eliminated, Luke shoving them, and the fact they were one of the stronger all-female teams between TAR 12 and 17, I think it is tough to declare Kisha & Jen’s return as a bad decision.

If they did not shove Luke nor Jen deciding to take care of her unfinished business before checking into the Beijing pit stop, I doubt they return.

4)

Steve & Linda

I wish I could have done more to make the comparisons of Steve to Goofy. Sadly there is only so much you can do in two rounds.

The lesson here is that Linda is terrible at racing. I think her only skill was spotting the yellow sign. Otherwise she qualifies for the short list as one of the weakest racers in TAR history.

I should note that Steve & Linda DO NOT have an abusive relationship. The screen caps and the yelling and the crying just make it appear that way.

I found them to be more ‘real’ and entertaining than Preston & Jennifer. Other than that they had zero business being on a show as competitive as TAR. It is a miracle that they even made it to round two overall.

5)

Preston & Jennifer

Before I re-watched this season I remember them for nothing except the piggyback ride in the final seconds of the episode.

In fact, their inability to piggyback on the pack is what did them in. They couldn’t even find the first train station and were saved by the 745am departure time.

Preston & Jennifer may be one of the worst 20-something mactor couples in terms of being able to perform well at TAR.

a) They couldn’t find a train station that everyone else found.
b) They must have sucked at driving to end up on the last flight
c) They screwed up a physical challenge such as transporting cheese.
d) They were at the pit stop location before Christie & Jodi, but ran into the wrong direction.
e) A piggyback ride was believed to be necessary in the first round’s final seconds.

There really is nothing this team could do well and definitely deserve finishing in dead last for TAR 14.

Production really wanted to have their next Nathan & Jennifer judging by a couple of their ridiculous arguments, but it is tough to have another Nathan & Jennifer when you cast a team who struggles with every dimension to the race.

6)

Mel & Mike

Cast only because of Mike’s “fame”. In fact, those quotes are not enough. Mike is “”famous”” because of his appearance in School of Rock and Undeclared, and his writing credits for Dawson’s Creek, School of Rock, and some other shows in the decade leading up to TAR 14 that nobody really cares about.

Mel is a great speaker. Add in that he is the oldest racer to make it to the seventh round and you have a candidate for one of very few older racers who could do fine if he returned in an all-star format.

Although Fran & Barry would be ideal.

Some of their jokes were a bit forced and playing up for the camera, but hey, they need to advance their careers somehow.

I am sure production liked them because they were able to be entertaining characters without needing to argue with other teams.

We shall always wonder why they never took the unaired Fast Forward. Oh well.

And yes, they are dropped to fourth because their “”fame”” is the only reason why they were cast for this race.

7)

Christie & Jodi

They would be ranked higher, but it is for what Jodi does in the future that her and Christie are brought this low.

Christie’s bubbly moments were unlike what virtually anybody could bring to the TAR franchise. She was unintentionally funny.

Jodi was way too serious and just. . .ugh, no sense of humour at all. Then she manages to screw up a season down the road.

Plus Jodi was terribly skilled as a racer. The only time her and Christie had a decent finish is when they were lucky to be at the correct airport to head into Krasnoyarsk alone with two other teams.

And those two teams? Kisha & Jen and Mark & Michael.

Jodi could possibly be the worst racer we have encountered in the TAR franchise to make it as far as seventh.

8)

Amanda & Chris/Kris & Jon

I did not like how they were the only returning players in this cast. If you are going to bring people back, it should be in an all-star format. No different with Survivor and Big Brother.
.
.
.
I seriously have nothing to say about Amanda & Kris. Like. . .what the f— is there to say?

Team Averages

Bulls—
Bilal & Sa’eed N/A
— F minus–
12th Debra & Steve 12.0
12th Gina & Sylvia 12.0
11th Preston & Jennifer 11.0
11th Anita & Arthur 11.0
11th Ari & Staella 11.0
11th John Vito & Jill All Stars 11.0
11th Vipul & Arti 11.0
11th John & Scott 11.0
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
10th Lisa & Joni 10.0
10th Kevin & Drew All Stars 10.0
10th A Black Family 10.0
— F +–
10th Steve & Linda 9.5
10th Anthony & Stephanie 9.5 (Why them?????)
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.)
10th Kate & Pat 9.0
9th David & Mary All Stars 9.0
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF
9th Marianna & Julia 8.33
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33
8th Don & Mary Jean 8.2
10th Kellie & Jamie 8.0
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0
8th Danielle & Dani 7.8 – Yielded
8th Marisa & Brooke 7.75 – Sucked.
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33
8th Aiello Family 7.0
–D minus–
8th Tom & Terry 7.0
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0
10th Hope & Norm 7.0
9th Brad & Victoria 6.6666666666 – Fran & Barry 2.0
7th Christie & Jodi 6.6666666 – Mark of the Casting Director Devil
9th Rogers Family 6.5
8th Susan & Patrick 6.5
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43
9th Wanda & Desiree 6.25
7th Aja & Cabbie 6.2
7th Paul & Amie 6.2
8th Steve & Dave 6.2 FF
6th David &Mary 6.13 FF
–D+–
10th Ernie & Jeena 6.0
11th Amanda & Chris 6.0
6th Andre & Damon 5.86
7th Dave & Lori 5.83
5th Kami & Karli 5.8
8th Michael & Kathy 5.8
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8
7th Shana & Jennifer 5.8 Used U-Turn
9th Heather & Eve 5.75
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67
6th Gaghan Family 5.5
10th Alison & Donny 5.5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF
–C minus–
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33
7th Gus & Hera 5.29
6th Joe & Bill All Stars 5.25
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25
8th Lorena & Jason 5.25 U-Turned
5th Mark & Michael 5.22
3rd Andrew & Dan 5.18
7th Silver & Gold 5.17
6th Kelly & Christy 5.14
7th Ray & Deana – 5.0 FF
7th Melody & Sharon 5.0
9th Steve & Josh 5.0 – FF
9th Pat & Brenda 5.0 – FF
9th Mark & Bill 5.0 – Wah.
5th Fran & Barry 4.89
6th Howard & Sahran 4.88
–C + —
3rd Lyn & Karlyn 4.85 – Yielded
5th John Vito & Jill 4.8 – FF
7th Teri & Ian All Stars 4.83
7th Schroeder Family 4.75
6th Lake & Michelle 4.71 – Used Yield
6th Brian & Greg 4.71
5th Erwin & Godwin 4.70
3rd Adam & Rebecca 4.69 FF and Used Yield and Yielded
9th Duke & Lauren 4.67
5th Lori & Bolo 4.6 – FF
2nd Teri & Ian 4.53 – FF
8th Amanda & Kris – 4.5 Blind U-Turned
5th Uchenna & Joyce All Stars 4.33 – FF
4th Kisha & Jen 4.27
8th Shola & Doyin 4.25 – FF
–B minus–
3rd Ray & Yolanda 4.23
3rd Nicolas & Donald 4.18 FF and U-Turned
4th Linda & Karen 4.17
3rd Charla & Mirna All Stars 4.15
6th Mary & Peach 4.14 (Two failed FF attempts.)
5th Paolo Family 4.13 FF and Used Yield
5th Lynn & Alex 4.11
5th Andy & Laura 4.00 – Yielded
3rd David & Jeff 4.00 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny 4.00 – FF
5th Gary & Dave 3.89 – FF
2nd Kelly & Jon 3.85
1st Zabrina & Joe Jer 3.77
2nd Sandy & Francesca 3.77 – Used Yield
4th Jon & Al 3.73
6th Charla & Mirna 3.71
–B+–
3rd Blake & Paige 3.69 – FF
5th Millie & Chuck 3.67 FF
5th Kynt & Vyxsin 3.63 Used Yield
1st Eric & Danielle All Stars 3.62 – Yielded Twice
4th Mardy & Marsio 3.58 FF
6th Mel & Mike 3.57
6th Jonathan & Victoria 3.56
4th Joseph & Monica 3.50 – Yielded
3rd Andrew & Syeon 3.46
1st Freddy & Kendra 3.46 – Used Yield and Yielded
2nd Ronald & Christina 3.45
4th Nathan & Jennifer 3.40 – Never finished in 1st
1st Chris & Alex 3.38 – FF
1st Chip & Kim 3.38 – Used Yield
4th Kevin & Drew 3.36 – FF
3rd Brandon & Nicole 3.31
5th Terence & Sarah 3.25
1st TK & Rachel 3.18
4th Godlewski Family 3.18
4th Dustin & Kandice 3.17 – Used Yield
–A minus–
7th Peter & Sarah 3.17
9th Aubrey & Jacqueline 3.17
3rd Weaver Family 3.15 – Yielded Twice
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF
1st Uchenna & Joyce 3.15 FF
4thToni & Dallas 3.10 Still in Russia
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF
2nd Rob & Kim 3.08 – FF
3rd Ron & Kelly 3.00 – Yielded
6th Azaria & Hendekea 3.00
4th Hayden & Aaron 2.92
2nd Dustin & Kandice All Stars 2.92 – Used Yield
2nd Bransen Family 2.85
1st Linz Family 2.77 – Used Yield
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF
–BEST OF THE BEST–
8th Rob & Amber All Stars 2.75 – Used Yield
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF
4th Oswald & Danny All Stars 2.67 FF x2 and Used Yield
2nd Ken & Tina 2.64 FF
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF and Yielded
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF
1st BJ & Tyler – 2.46 FF and Used Yield
1st Nick & Starr 2.45 FF
1st Tyler & James – 2.38 FF
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31
2nd Eric & Jeremy 1.69 FF

Combined Team Averages (Repeats Only)

11 legs David & Mary 6.91 FF
11 legs John Vito & Jill 5.36 FF
18 legs Danielle 4.78
19 legs Teri & Ian 4.63 FF
13 legs Kevin & Drew 4.38 FF
20 legs Charla & Mirna 4.00 None
21 legs Joe & Bill 3.71 FF
22 legs Uchenna & Joyce 3.64 FF x2
*31 legs Eric & Danielle 3.48 FF
23 legs Oswald & Danny 3.30 FF x3!
25 legs Dustin & Kandice 3.04 None
26 legs Eric 2.65 FF
17 legs Rob & Amber 2.41 None

* I determined Eric & Danielle’s average in this last section by adding up all of their individual points from TAR 9, then adding up their total points in All Stars and dividing it by 31.

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