The Amazing Race 16 episode ten rankings

Tenth episode

“The Race Hits a New Low”

COUNTRIES VISITED

CHILE – ARGENTINA – GERMANY – FRANCE – SEYCHELLES – MALAYSIA – SINGAPORE – CHINA – UNITED STATES

EDITOR’S NOTE: Ah yes. The spring of 2010. We are reaching the conclusion of Heroes vs. Villains by this point in TAR 16. Samoa and Heroes vs. Villains proved two things:

1. Producers knew a biased edit could create their own mega star the audience would get behind even if they are not.

2. Heroes vs. Villains was widely considered the best season ever by the casual fanbase, and Survivor’s popularity was revived in the mainstream for the first time in several years.

Of course this would not last long as Redemption Island, South Pacific, and One World would air consecutively starting just one year later. And yeah, I acknowledge a lot of people disliked Nicaragua much to my chagrin.

So what is my point? Well, TAR was suffering and was struggling to be relevant again. You can tell they were following Heroes vs. Villains, and CBS ordered them to do a second season of returning players ASAP. I can guarantee you that TAR 18 was determined to be a second all-star season before TAR 16 finished airing on TV.

So what do you do when a returning player season is on the horizon? Well, do the same thing that CBS did with Russell Hantz–hype him up as much as you can for fourteen weeks to lead into your all-star season.

And guess who everyone is loving after nine episodes of TAR 16, and would rip their hair out if any of the other three remaining teams were to win this season?

malaysia jet cord mccoy 5

Yep. Jet & Cord would have won a fan favourite vote by about 95%. Michael & Louie would receive 2.5%, Dan & Jordan would receive 1.5%, and Brent & Caite 1.0%.

Either the fans will be very very happy with this season’s outcome or be extremely angry and outraged. Perhaps even go so far as to say that TAR is on its way to extinction in America.

Now, if you know any behind the scenes stuff, you will know that Jet & Cord are very similar to Russell Hantz not just in terms of bias by producers and fandom from the audience. Jet & Cord will go on to be one of the least liked teams amongst fellow racers, and for an understandable reason.

With Michael & Louie and Brent & Caite working together to eliminate Joe & Heidi, Steve & Allie, and Carol & Brandy in a row, everyone was preparing to laugh at them for wanting Jet & Cord with them in the Final 3.

I mean, Brent & Caite would not do well at any final task that we have seen since TAR 7. A team like Freddy & Kendra would fall in that same category. Could you imagine Freddy & Kendra doing a flag challenge, a maze, a jigsaw puzzle, or a complicated combination of memory with a brain teaser?

They would just give up. Instead they win without being sharp because producers thought the most challenging task was eating a deep dish pizza.

They could do well at round ten or eleven, but no one believed Brent & Caite could do anything in a final leg.

Dan & Jordan? Nobody thought about Dan & Jordan. Maybe a third or fourth place finish.

Louie & Michael?  Yeah, no equalizers in Europe helped them, but they have been close to elimination a few times. They make silly mistakes at times.

Then to Jet & Cord. Cord references the big moves they make in a Hantz fashion. Go from last to first in two legs. You cannot make a bigger move than that. They troll other teams. Shock others by winning the occasional leg. Play up the “we’re from a small town in Oklahoma and know nothing about the world”. But c’mon, these two are very camera savvy. I will get to it in years to come, but Jet & Cord are very good at making themselves popular at the expense of making viewers hate other racers.

Let me repeat this: Everybody thought a Jet & Cord victory was coming because Michael & Louie and Brent & Caite sabotaged teams who were remotely strong enough to beat out Jet & Cord.

They also thought that the final non-elimination leg would occur this leg by default since they never do a Final Three non-elimination anymore. So they prepared for two boring weeks. Non-elimination this round, and eliminate someone not named Jet & Cord in the following one.

So let’s knock out the first of two boring rounds before we reach our conclusion.

Previously on TAR: From the start teams took notice of Brent & Caite and when Carol & Brandy pushed things too far, Caite took notice.

From then on the dating couple put a target on their back. The two teams plotted waiting for another U-Turn. Finally Brent & Caite made it personal exacting their revenge. Carol & Brandy took it personal, and could not make up the time lost. Leaving Caite the last woman standing.

Four teams remain; who will be eliminated next?

– Oddest review ever by Phil. It reminded me like one of those Samoa recaps where Probst describes everything Hantz did while not acknowledging anybody else.

Number of Episodes Where a Team is Specifically Mentioned in the Previously On. . . Segment

JET & CORD: 4
BRENT & CAITE: 5
HEIDI & JOE: 3
JODY & SHANNON: 1
DAN & JORDAN: 4
JEFF & JORDAN: 4
DANA & ADRIAN: 1
CAROL & BRANDY: 4
MONIQUE & SHAWNE: 1
LOUIE & MICHAEL: 4
STEVE & ALLIE: 2

– Phil introduces us to Singapore. It used to be a rowdy fishing village until it became very clean and rich. Nothing says cleanliness like a shipping yard.

– Dan & Jordan, who arrived first at an unspecified time, will depart about twenty-four hours later at 4:47pm. They read that they must fly 2, 300 miles away to Shanghai, China. Once there, they must take a taxi to Zhujiajiao. It is a village known as the Venice of China.

You mean it is now uninhabitable, full of pigeon poop, and full of cosmopolitan culture?

– I should note TAR last visited Shanghai in TAR 6. Shanghai will appear again in just four seasons from now.

I would like to add that China is one of my least favourite TAR locations. India and China both get abused as TAR locations, but China usually annoys me more because producers make Chinese cities look duller and duller on screen over the years.

Or perhaps ever since Tammy & Victor’s huge advantage in China during TAR 14 has led me to permanently hating it whenever it appears in the TAR catalogue. I dunno.

TAR 1, 6, and 14 all include Chinese visits.*

* I exclude TAR Asia 3, TAR 2, and TAR 11 where the territories of Hong Kong and/or Macau are visited. They should both probably be counted as independent countries.

shanghai tower

I like how the stock image for Shanghai is to always have the one of that huge tower. It is like saying “teams must fly to Toronto where the CN Tower is the only thing in existence”.

– Jordan states they are getting along well despite their moments of saying they would never talk to each other again after the race is over.

JORDAN: I love him a little bit more because he is making my dream come true every single day.

shanghai dan jordan pious

Dan Pious IS the Make a Wish Foundation.

– Brent & Caite depart second at 6:18pm. Caite’s edit immediately launches into her successful U-Turn of Carol & Brandy. She laughs as she apologizes to Carol & Brandy on screen.

CAITE: I am flipping out that I am the last girl standing.  I am dishing all those haters out there what I am capable of.
BRENT: . . .Yeah, that’s awesome.

shanghai brent caite

Oh god. Brent’s sarcasm. He acts as if a woman making it far in TAR is some sort of little league accomplishment, or how Caite is speaking as if she is a role model for all women who think they can finally win the race.

flo car breaks down

Again, the first female winner ever.

– Dan & Jordan are at the airport. They see that Chinese Eastern has the first flight to Shanghai.

Chinese Eastern? That is really the name of an airline? It turns out that the flight heads out at 12:55am. The counter does not open until “20 to twenty-five”. Yeah, makes zero sense.

– Jet & Cord depart third at 7:04pm. 60s Western TV show intro plays when they open the clue. Uh oh, the fan favourite edit shall be thrust down our throats.

jenna lewis

I call it being Jenna Lewis’d.

– JET: I have a wife and a 17-month old girl at home. I’m so homesick I can hardly stand it.
CORD: I just got engaged right before the race started. It’s kinda funny to ask a girl to spend the rest of her life and you leave–
JET: Be right back.
CORD: Yeah.

shanghai jet cord mccoy

Jet was never one to let others finish telling their story.

– Michael & Louie are last at 7:35pm. Michael refers to himself as being the old team of the race. Wisdom and experience is theirs.

MICHAEL: We live the life of the underdogs. We’re the old guys. People should fear us.

You’re undercover police officers. That is the exact opposite of being the underdog in life. What makes you an underdog? The fact you are from Rhode Island?

And you guys are barely forty!

– Dan & Jordan are surprised to see Michael & Louie and Jet & Cord in the airport. Dan begs for all of the details once Louie reveals the U-Turn.

– We cut to McDonald’s.

God. We cut to McDonald’s.

shanghai brent caite 2

Remember how I repeatedly state that Brent & Caite are like eighth or ninth graders in a 20-something year old body? Or how Brent is pretty much freakin thirty now? Well, they’re at McDonald’s.

And Caite is getting a Happy Meal. I can’t even.

– All of the men are hanging out elsewhere. It looks like they are eating some Mickey D’s too (not a Mole 2 reference by the way).

shanghai jet mccoy

Jet calls over the children of the race to join them at the adults table. A rare privilege for them.

shanghai mcdonalds

Singapore is supposed to be the cleanest city in the world, but yet they have a McDonald’s. Too funny.

– Brent & Caite hear them after they stop playing with the ketchup tap. They walk over but not before Michael airs one of his repetitive lines.

shanghai wolf pack

Stop with the wolf cubs. You know who Michael is reminding me of?

the hangover alans wolfpack

Michael was a one person wolf pack. Then he met Louie. Then on this race he picked up two young kids and now they have a four person wolf pack.

– Caite tells the story of the U-Turn. Keep in mind she never saw Carol & Brandy so she can only talk about the U-Turn board.

CAITE: I saw the U-Turn board and I was like ‘Oh my god its blank’, and I like ran up to there really quick and I turned to the cam–, I turned and “I’m U-Turning Carol & Brandy”.  Like my eyes got huge. I ripped the picture and I put it up there, and I was like–only girl left!
LOUIE: You go girl!

shanghai caite upton

This is too much.
shanghai caite upton 2

jon jaclyn

I don’t get why she is miming how Jon looks when he is behind Jaclyn, though.

shanghai jordan pious

Cheque, please.

– Louie makes some sort of tiara joke. I don’t quite catch it.

– Jordan says that Caite’s U-Turn of Brent & Carrow was motivated by personal issues and was stupid to not U-Turn the Cowboys.

JORDAN: We’re all going to look back on that and question that decision.

This is definitely the mindset of the viewer. And they could not be happier about this misstep.

– Teams are now in Shanghai. We get absurd split screens.

The last time we were here was for TAR 6 so let me be the first to say. . .

shanghai welcome

shanghai welcome 2

shanghai welcome 3

Welcome back, Shanghai!

– 6:10am when the flight lands. Dan announces he is in first as all four teams run to get a taxi. Cowboys are first in. Pious Bros in second.

JORDAN: Good morning, Shanghai.

Wrong movie. Robbie is dead, anyway.

– Brent & Caite are third in. Michael & Louie have a cab driver who does not speak any English.

shanghai cab

Mandarin -> English. The tables have turned in terms of the most essential language that you need to speak.

– Cowboys love their taxi driver who is going fast and understands their Zhujijao gibberish. Dan & Jordan’s cab driver pulls over. So does Louie & Michael’s. They are working together as to where to go.

– Cowboys and Brent & Caite are tied heading to the first route marker. Both ask their driver to wait. It’s a maze. Both enter a marked boat. Brent & Caite are in the lead. I can see why this is called Chinese Venice. Brent has a quote that puts this scene together beautifully.

shanghai sicily

CAITE: I know. It is such as the Iraqi Venice.

shanghai zhujijiao

It really does look like a beautiful place. Too bad it has a childlike name of Zhujijiao.

Zhujijiao. Zhujijiao. Zhu. Ji. Jiao!

Sounds like I have a lisp.

– JET: It was a pretty place. Neat. Kinda tranquil.
CORD: Tranquil? What is that?
(Asian gong.)
JET: Yeah. Tranquil. Peaceful. Calm.
CORD: It was tranquil? Like tranquility.
JET: Yeah.
(CORD whistles.)
CORD: Wow. Write that down.

shanghai jet cord mccoy 2

dreamz soliloquy

Cord and Dreamz need to discuss Tranquilos and shakwilos.

– Dan & Jordan tell us that Michael & Louie’s cab decided to tail them. It is the blind leading the blind.

see no evil hear no evil

I would love to see Richard Pryor do this as a TAR sketch.

– Michael says that they were told on the plane that 33% of Shanghainese speak English. He insists they started out by meeting the other two-thirds.

– MICHAEL: It’s like communicating with Martians right now.

Martianese, Michael. Martianese.

– Brent & Caite are first to the Roadblock.

PHIL: Noodles have been a staple of the Chinese diet for at least two thousand years.

shanghai noodle house

Before that? McDonald’s.

I love that the first task involves eating Shanghai Noodles. There is a popular Chinese fast food chain in our malls here in Canada called Sizzling Wok. They serve chow mein and Shanghai noodles.

– PHIL: Even in the middle ages, noodle houses like this were open 24 hours a day.

shanghai noodle house

It was the original Denny’s. A noodle house must be perfect for Chinese stoners.

shanghai noodles

shanghai noodles 2

If you’re really bored, you can use the noodle as a jump rope.

– Much like TAR 11, they must make noodles by hand. Use the dough to make one kilo of noodles. No funny bamboo stick for them to ride to press it. It is already made and cut for them.

Just further proof that TAR was becoming easier.

– Once teams have finished putting together one kilo of noodles, He Pingping, the world’s shortest man, will give them their next clue.

This was filmed at the end of 2009.
He Pingping died on March 13th, 2010.
This episode aired April 25th, 2010.

For people who think all reality shows air live, they must be really confused by this.

– Caite’s reaction to He Pingping? She finds him adorable.

Let me repeat: Caite found a guy two years older than her to be adorable. Maybe that is how He Pingping got the ladies.

shanghai he pingping
He is even shorter than the guy in TAR 5 who worked at the chocolate factory.

– Brent thinks He Pingping is the length from his foot to his knee.

– Caite has already screwed up the task as she knocks something over. Jet & Cord are next to the Roadblock.

ROADBLOCK HINT: Who would like to get their hands on some extra dough?

Ha!

– You know how our culture generally frowns upon Little Person jokes?

charla bag

leif

matt roloff

Well, Littlest Person jokes are fair game as Jet & Cord go for the jugular.

shanghai jet cord mccoy 3

That’s right. Jet & Cord charm the audience to the point that they can get away with a Little Person joke. It is the funniest joke they will utter in their TAR career.

shanghai jet cord mccoy 4

And that is what it will be like for the rest of the task. This is like the first person playing a heart in the cardgame Hearts. He Pingping is now open season for these spoiled American reality TV stars who crave fifteen minutes of fame.

– You know what I just realized? He Pingping was from the Inner Mongolia region of China. The exact same region which had the world’s tallest living man. However he lost that award two months before TAR 16 started filming. Sultan Kosen from Turkey took it away from him.

Is there a toxic waste dump in Inner Mongolia that we do not know about? The tallest living man, Bao Xishun, was 7 feet and 9 inches. There are pictures on the Internet of Bao and He standing together.

I wonder why producers chose He Pingping over Bao. Maybe because Mr. Pingping was nearing his deathbed while Bao would have plenty of more opportunities to make a TAR appearance.

In short, this is a topic I never thought would be discussed in a TAR blog.

– Oh yes, we get another shot of Pingping.

CAITE: Can I take him home with me?
shanghai he pingping 2

Nailed it. Move over, Brent. She’s muh girl, and there will be nothing anonymous about what we will do. I am the Kingking.

shanghai caite upton 3

I told you that Caite would lack focus. Imagine if He Pingping was brought to the final task of the season? Caite would just stand there and laugh for thirty minutes as even the Gutsy Grannies would pass by her in the process.

– CORD: I don’t know where he does his shopping, but he wears a small.

shanghai cord mccoy

Cord tries to one-up Pingping in terms of the most ridiculous visual of this scene.

– Jet complains that it is not like roping.

– Dan & Jordan’s cab driver has received directions several times, but they continue to be lost. Jordan is upset that they are behind two teams automatically because they have a crappy cab. Dan has harsher words.

shanghai dan jordan pious 2

Yeah, some not-so-nice words.

– Michael comments that one bad taxi can cost you a million dollars.

MICHAEL: It’s tortuh.

– Dan & Jordan and Louie & Michael stop in another location. They are confused that the middle of nowhere is the right location.

shanghai dan jordan pious 3
I would be suspicious too. The only thing red and yellow around here would be the Chinese flag.

– The music is really slow and depressing until both teams hear a lady answer that she speaks English. Both praise the Heavens and ask her for directions immediately.

shanghai lady

That is about twenty kilometres closer than what they were expecting.

– Dan asks the lady to order the two cab drivers where it would be. The two teams are shown on-screen until it cuts to a motorcycle whizzing by.

shanghai motorcycl

Cool flying fish.

– Dan proceeds to make the most unexpected reference to come out of his mouth. He says it unusually eloquent too.

shanghai dan jordan pious 4

owen wilson behind enemy lines

Dan Pious: Owen Wilson fan.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Behind Enemy Lines is considered one of the worst war based movies of all time.

– The Pingping mockery is not over yet.
shanghai he pingping 3

He is smoking a cigarette in a kitchen? Remind me not to eat at that noodle house! This looks more like Hiphip or a Hophop album cover.

It would be funny if he gets a call on his cell phone. It would Ringring.

– BRENT: I can’t marry you if you can’t cook, babe.

And the women of America collectively slap Brent Horne in the face.

– Jet catches on that flour keeps the noodles from sticking together. Cord is still wearing both hats.

shanghai cord mccoy 2

He is preparing for a photo shoot.

– CORD: Whoop that pasta!

I wish this was their new catchphrase.

– The two trailing teams are now at Zhujijiao.

DAN (to driver): Stay! Stay! Stay!

santiago dog

Good cabbie!

– Brent says Caite is not paying attention nor being gentle with the noodles.

BRENT: I will never ask her to make homemade spaghetti.

jerry springer baggage

“Welcome to the Dealbreaker Round! Let’s open Caite’s bag.

baggage

shanghai brent horne

If you zoom in close enough, you can identify the exact moment when Brent decided he would break up with Caite. If your noodle cannot put together noodles, you ain’t no friend of mine.

shanghai he pingping 4
He looks so cool and laid back while this relationship is breaking down. I bet he would pull out his mobile phone and search something using MSN’s Bingbing.

– Dan & Jordan and Louie & Michael get into boats at nearly the same time. Into the tranquil gondolas they go. Caite’s noodles are rejected while Cord praises Jet for his efforts.

JET: I am so close I can taste it.
CORD: Don’t say that!

Hey, there is somebody smoking. It is the least of their health problems.

– Dan & Jordan’s boat goes by as Jordan tells Peach that she looks cute in her hat.

Yeah, Peach is Jordan’s nickname for Caite.

shanghai caite upton 3

princess peach

I don’t see it.

– MICHAEL: Jet, what are you doing? You don’t know how to cook!
LOUIE: Yeah, you’re not Italian.

statler and waldorf

Oh. Not them again.

– Jordan is doing the Roadblock as well as Louie. Louie cites that him and his grandma made pasta in his childhood.

– Jordan’s hands are frozen as he is jealous of the Cowboys because they can control things that no other teams are able to control.

black mage

Didn’t you know everybody in Oklahoma is a practicing mage?

– Jet is finished. He reads that they must head back to Shanghai. Once there they must go to the fashion district where they will find their next clue. Wow, that’s vague.

shanghai violin

A noodle violin? STOP WITH THE INSTRUMENTS ON THIS SEASON!

shanghai he pingping 4

Do you know Pingping’s vocal talent happens to be? He can Singsing!

– Louie is struggling and second-guessing himself with the noodles. Uh oh, a plot is brewing.

shanghai he pingping 5
Look out Pingping! Jordan is going to use the noodles like a garrote and sneak up behind to Luca Brasi you!

Pingping has to get cutthroat and quickly. He needs to be as troublesome as Lingling.

– Caite’s noodles are rejected once more. Dan’s hands are freezing as he blows into them even he is wearing gloves. We cut to a person who has zero lines. Spooky music even plays.

shanghai redead

legend of zelda redead

If only this were a night leg! I never knew a creature known as the Redead could exist on planet Earth.

– Jet & Cord are in a cab back to Shanghai and are STILL talking about Pingping.

JET: Did you see Pingping? He was -tiny-.
CORD: Then he had like a cigarette–
JET: A cigar.

Then utters yet another gem of a quote.

shanghai jet cord mccoy 5

Is this what they are going to do for the rest of the round? Try to see who can come up with the best Pingping joke?

My favourite part is that He Pingping DIED A MONTH BEFORE THIS EPISODE AIRED! YOU GUYS ARE MAKING JOKES ABOUT A GUY WHO DIED IN HIS EARLY 20s!

– Caite discusses her new strategy. Brent encourages her which is promptly shut down by a “shut up” request by Caite.

– Jordan whines about his hands being really cold. Louie is making progress. His hands are freezing too. Jet & Cord enter Shanghai.

CORD: The only thing I knew about Shanghai was the movie Shanghai Noon.

owen wilson

Another f—ing Owen Wilson reference in five minutes?

– You can guess what occurs next. Cord talks about being a country boy who could not navigate Shanghai on his own.

JET: They are not afraid to build tall buildings in the east.

shanghai scenery

To be fair this could be nearly any city on America’s eastern seaboard too.

– Michael asks Caite to make a pound for Louie too. Louie starts singing some Italian kitchen music that you hear in every Italian movie. The TAR soundtrack plays the music along with Louie’s singing.

– Jet & Cord are in the fashion district. A huge freakin’ lead. They must go inside and choose a model. The model will hold a sketch of a specific design. The team must go through the clothes rack to find the correct articles of clothing and bring it back to the model. They are doing this because Shanghai is the fashion capital of China.

shanghai phil keoghan

No Phil, you don’t get to pick the model to be your greeter.

shanghai model

Who would wear this? That’s what I don’t get about these fashion shows. You have these ridiculous outfits win contests that nobody in their right mind would wear in public.

– Once the clothes match the design of the model, they will receive their next clue.

shanghai model 2

A 2nd grader’s picture has come to life! She looks more like a Sim than a person. And did you notice how unhealthily skinny the drawn legs are? Scary.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Pingping should have been one of the models. Those clothes hidden in the rack would be tough to find.

shanghai lady 2

Rock on, racers!

– Cowboy music plays. I could make a bunch of Lucy/Stacey or Michelle Yi jokes, but I won’t. Jet & Cord examine the picture. They find one odd feature. Ultra modern music plays.

shanghai purple pants

Who wears purple pants on a reality show?

brice johnston

Ah. Right.

– Brent keeps encouraging Caite. She barely passes. The clue is hers. She kisses Pingping.

shanghai caite upton 4

This is getting ridiculous. We go from a super serious TAR episode to one that cannot be taken remotely serious.

I think Pingping just felt something go Dingding, and his face turned Pinkpink.

– Pingping starts inspecting Jordan’s work.

shanghai he pingping 6

Until He Pingping is nearly killed by a rogue noodle strand. Crisis averted, Jordan.

– Where is Pingping off to, anyway? To play table tennis with his sister She Pongpong?

shanghai he pingping 7

He is crossing his legs while smoking?

wilma cigarette

Was he Shanghai’s answer to America’s 50s pinup model?

– A bunch of Jordan’s noodles are rejected. He claims he cannot do it that way. Louie knows Jordan is getting frustrated and attempts to step up. Jordan is amazed that Louie has passed him. Louie is angry that Jordan would question his talent.

shanghai louie stravato

Italians in the kitchen -> Jews in the kitchen.

– Jordan loses it. He nearly has a tantrum.

shanghai jordan pious 2

Classic.

– Cord asks the model if he can “borrow” her shirt.

JET: We better hurry up. If Jordan gets here he’s gonna catch us.

Ohhhh. That’s major awks.

CORD (laughs): Oh my gravy.

OH MY GRAVY COUNT: 10

Jet’s homophobia led to the tenth ‘oh my gravy’. Not good.

– Jet & Cord have the clothes for the model. They think it will look good on her. Both believe they have a career in fashion design.

shanghai cord mccoy 3

shanghai cord mccoy 4

shanghai cord mccoy 5

Get out of Shanghai, Cord.

– Oh yeah, and they agree bull riding is easier than hunting down clothes for models.

kris jon intro

It is indeed a redux of the task from the TAR 6 finale.

– Louie feels like he is in a I Love Lucy cartoon. He starts doing a nose trumpet as the chef approves of his noodles. Michael has the loudest task celebration in TAR history. Jordan congratulates Louie on a good job. Louie & Michael wish Jordan the best of luck. Dan turns to the camera saying his hands are freezing and feels bad for Jordan.

– Jordan’s noodles are once again not good enough. Dan comes out to give his bro a hug.

shanghai dan jordan pious 5
This is such a Tyson consoling Coach moment.

tyson

Don’t pee yourself when doing a heights task. Stop doing your Caite Upton impressions. Stop telling your stories about being a TAR superfan. Stop saying you are one of the Rhode Island Rattlesnake. Nobody believes you.
shanghai dan jordan pious 6

#Superfanmeltdown

– My favourite part is that Jordan cannot clasp his hands or touch Dan’s back because he has flour hands.

shanghai jordan pious 3

The look of despair.

colton cumbie

Or maybe it is Jordan’s stunt double who may or may not have quit Survivor twice. Who knows.

– Commercial break. We return to Jordan squeezing the dough before Dan offers to hug him again and repeat everything he just said word for word. Jordan needed that pep talk and proclaim their brotherly love for one another like they are from Philadelphia. Dan has one more reward for him.

shanghai dan jordan pious 7

Here’s a hanky.

– Back in the fashion district, Jet & Cord whistle in regards to the woman’s looks. Cord does an anime-like “aye yeah yeah yeah”. Both nod and smile in approval.

shanghai jet cord mccoy 6

If the cameras were not around, they would ask her i she wanted to engage in an Oklahoman Threesome if she wished to do so.

shanghai woman

Women don’t dress up like that in Oklahoma.

– Rock Art female judge shakes her head in disapproval. Jet & Cord have to check her out some more to see which piece of clothing is wrong. They find a new piece.

CORD: Can you please try this on for us? It will look way better on you.

– She comes out as not only do they whistle but also. . .

shanghai jet cord mccoy 7

Clap. They clap for her. I swear these two think they are at a strip club. Weird Chinese fusion music plays. The outfit is approved and City Slickers music resumes. They read that they must head to Hongkou Football Stadium to find their next clue.

shanghai jet cord mccoy 8

“And ask your friend if she can come along too.”

– Sadly Cord does not get his wish, but him and Jet are excited as they exit the studio.

shanghai cord mccoy 6

Parkour!

– McCoys’ taxi driver knows where to go, and their lead is preserved.

– Brent & Caite are next to the studio. Brent thinks Caite should be good at this because she may or may not be the last woman standing. Michael & Louie appear to only be a couple minutes later to the studio. Sadly they walk right by the clue box.

– Caite says this task is a role reversal because neither of them are being put in the clothes. Brent has found both pieces thus far.

shanghai brent caite 3

Brent may be the first heterosexual male to be repulsed by the idea of helping women undress and change into outfits of his choosing. He is no Jet & Cord, that’s for sure.

– Jordan drops his noodles on the ground. Everyone is laughing.

shanghai he pingping 8

Even He Pingping finds it funny.

What would happen if He carried all four piles of noodles after they were put on a stove? Would it be a heaping pile of noodles for He Pingping to carry?

Heaping Noodles for He Pingping. That’s what this task shall be called.

Heaping Noodles for He Pingping.

JORDAN (to HE): Don’t you dare laugh at me.

shanghai jordan pious 4

Jordan’s noodle is focused on the noodles.

– Jordan passes the task.

shanghai jordan pious 5

FLOUR HUG!

– He Pingping hands him the next clue.

shanghai jordan pious 6

The last we see of Mr. Pingping. I am sad now.

I wish He Pingping would have made a joke so he could have a Zingzing of his own.

– Dan comments that Jordan smells like noodles. A most welcoming scent.

– Caite finds the shirt in the studio. Caite says it is hilarious once Michael & Louie show up.

CAITE (to model): Do you need my tiara to help you?
shanghai caite upton 5

Caite acts as if she is the biggest comedian in all of Shanghai.

– Louie & Michael are still lost in the streets.

shanghai michael naylor

Michael stated during their Europe Hat Trick that he always tells Louie to repeatedly read the clue. Sadly what do you do if the clue is in Mandarin? These guys have sucked at having a sense of direction once they are outside of Europe’s borders.

shanghai louie stravato 2

Joma Arts is a business that helps support the arts and other non-profit organizations. Fun fact.

– Jet & Cord are already at the football stadium. They have a clue. It’s time for a Detour–

JET: Roadblock.

PHIL: For the first time ever, teams are facing two Roadblocks in the same leg of the race. But what they could never have predicted is that the person who sat out the first Roadblock must perform this one. . .and it won’t be easy.

shanghai phil keoghan 2

Because according to Survivor, you cannot sit out the same person in back-to-back challenges.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Yes, the origin of the “two Roadblocks in one leg without a Detour” staple is here.

This twist has become one of my least favourite over the years. Why?

1. It is an excuse for budget cuts. Roadblocks are easier to do than Detours for producers in terms of logistics/fewer locations.

2. Two Roadblocks are usually two easier tasks.

3. Teams have no idea what the second Roadblock will be, and do not have sufficient information to allocate their team members accordingly.

4. The Roadblock tasks have become lazier and lazier over the years when there are two in one leg.

5. Why not have two Detours in one leg? That will be much more difficult for teams. It is much harder for them to decide what they should do rather than do two tasks that they are -forced- to do.

– So this Roadblock is supposed to be uber difficult. Will that really be the case?

shanghai picture

Using this picture for reference, teams must assemble a giant puzzle that has been cut into 96 separate cards. They will then hand them to the 96 spectators sitting in the stands. The spectators will then flip them over. If the puzzle has been assembled correctly, it will reveal a seat number where teams will find their next clue.

shanghai picture 2

A Chinese picture that contains a star and a dragon? How original!

shanghai picture 3

China: A place so overpopulated that you can easily find 96 people to sit in a chair and hold up a puzzle piece on a freezing cold day.

shanghai picture 4

White + White.

– CORD: Oh my gravy!

OH MY GRAVY COUNT: 11
shanghai crowd

These poor souls were hoping a soccer game would be played here. Instead they get to watch a cowboy put together a 96-piece puzzle.

The cheering and energy may die down soon. I hear puzzle making is not a spectator sport. Unless you’re in Shanghai.

– Jet says he is glad to have Cord as a teammate. Cord identifies a threat to the task.

shanghai wind

Whoa. Wind.

– Michael & Louie have now wandered around a few more blocks in Shanghai.

shanghai dog

But first, a shot of a dog.

– MICHAEL: Maybe there’s some upstairs places like a warehouse.

If you were playing a game of Hot and Cold, you’d be as cold as the day in Shanghai.

– Brent & Caite wait to see if their model is approved. She is. The clue is theirs.

shanghai model 3

Shanghai’s Yoko Ono.

shanghai man

Brent & Caite have a cool looking guy as their taxi driver.

– Michael & Louie approach the studio unknowingly.

shanghai louie michael

MICHAEL: Hey, Louie? What’s this?

shanghai louie michael 2

MICHAEL: Idiot.

– Louie & Michael go inside.

fran barry cape

A natural Fran & Barry.

LOUIE: When I walked into that fashion house, I was shaking my head in disgust. What kind of detectives are we? Walked right by the place.

shanghai louie michael 3

And because they do not have the clue, they think they have to choose into one of those outfits.
.
.
.
Just kidding. Louie & Michael know what the task is supposed to be. They just don’t have the clue.

– Louie drops off the clothes at the model’s feet. He giggles while uttering a statement that may lead to her punching him if she spoke English. I should note Louie refers to the model as ‘Mimi’.

shanghai louie stravato 3

Oh my.

– Dan & Jordan have the clue. They go inside. Louie tells his “sweetheart” to hurry up in the change room. Jordan is smiling while looking at the picture and figuring out the clothes.

MICHAEL: When Jordan comes walking in, you could tell that was his zone being the gay male that he was. He was in Heaven. He was right in there shopping.

shanghai louie michael 4

“Meanwhile my wife buys me one pair of underwear each Christmas, and I buy a new shirt once every five years.”

– Louie whistles. Michael praises the model too.

shanghai michael naylor 2

“Give it to me baby!”

– Nope. They failed. Michael looks at the sketch again.

shanghai sketch

They are detectives.

1. They have yet to find the clue box.
2. They missed the building the first time they walked by it.
3. They could not match the clothes that were drawn up by a sketch artist.

If Michael did not  possess an eagle eye, they would be out of a job.

– Louie & Michael change to black stockings. Dan & Jordan have the same outfit to match as the model. Jordan gives her grey stockings.

MICHAEL: This is not my forte! Can we have a shooting challenge please?

Thankfully Michael did not specify who the target would be.

will forte

I wonder if Wil Forte is Michael’s forte.

– Cord has about two-thirds of the puzzle put together. His enemy reduces it to 95 pieces.

shanghai wind 2

Finally. Something to excite the audience.

– Brent & Caite have the clue. Brent must do it.

CAITE: I wish I had done this one because I love puzzles!

Yes, Caite. I am sure you do.

– The crowd starts heckling Brent. I am curious if he is annoyed when he is called Brett.

– Jordan is excited to his model emerge.

shanghai jordan pious 7

“Look at how awesome I am!”

shanghai woman 2

Mmmmm, noooooo.

JORDAN: What?!

shanghai dan jordan pious 8

Jordan is confused. Dan pretends to help.

shanghai help

Louie needs help.

– Jordan catches on that Michael & Louie’s stockings needs to be swapped with Dan & Jordan’s model. As soon as that happens both teams will be approved.

– Michael & Louie have their clue. A minute later the Pious brothers are approved. The ol’ switcharoo works as both teams enter taxis.

MICHAEL: We had a rodeo in Argentina. Can we get some shooting? Kick a door in? Chase a crackhead? Something?

shanghai louie michael 5

Some people have a drug addiction. Michael has a chasing drug addict addiction. He’ll start sniffing the taxi driver’s butt for drugs if he cannot get his fix soon.

– Caite and Jet stand together as they watch the Roadblock unfold.

CAITE: He’s getting close to done.
JET: . . .Who? Cord.
CAITE: . . .Yeah.

shanghai jet caite

“. . .We don’t have much in common do we?”

– The audience is applauding Cord’s efforts.

shanghai crowd 2

“Yay, he’s getting closer. . .we think.”

– Michael & Louie and Dan & Jordan are both at the football stadium. Michael is there before them. Perhaps a two or three minute lead. Maybe more. Cord points out their presence. Dan is stuck with doing this task. Jordan is happy.

– Stereotypical dreamy Chinese music plays. Dan says that he is normally in the audience watching people perform. Brent thinks he can do it when he sees Cord is not far ahead. Brent and Cord both lose their pieces to the wind.

shanghai puzzle

It defects faster than Lebron James to Miami.

– This task is nearly broken as Brent’s pieces keep flying and flying.
shanghai brent horne 2

What would happen if pieces flew up and exited the stadium? There is no way producers thought wind would be strong enough to affect this task. I highly doubt they planned the task and said “teams will need to be ready for their pieces to fly over one hundred feet away”.
shanghai cord mccoy 7

Cord takes off his sweater to hold pieces in the corner. He places his hat in the middle. Keep in mind none of this is said aloud for us, but it is very clear what he is intending to do. He even takes off his sweater.

And knowing how cold it is for this round, this task has become that much more miserable.

– Cord blocks pieces with his face!

shanghai cord mccoy 8

Right in the face!

– Some pieces are still trying to fly away on Cord. He is forced to freeze in position.

shanghai cord mccoy 9

Welcome to Shanghai Twister.

– Brent is annoyed because he was groovin’ and catchin up but it all went downhill once his pieces flew one hundred feet. We can even hear the wind on the soundtrack.

shanghai cord mccoy 10

Minutes ago.

– Jordan yells for Dan to use possessions in their backpack to hold things down. Brent yells that he was halfway done but now it is completely gone. Caite instructs him to calm down as he grabs both bags.

shanghai caite upton 6

Nervous.
shanghai cord mccoy 11

Who knew chairs would become such a valued item in TAR.

stone cold steve austin

Unless you are a pro wrestler.

– The wind has stopped as many of the barriers are taken away. One more gust takes away one of Brent’s pieces. Cord has three barriers down as he is done putting it together. He gathers them up and hands it to the audience.

shanghai fan
Geez, episodes have not aired yet and Cord already has diehard fans of him.

shanghai fan 2

She would prefer to be warm.

– Cord has handed out all of his pieces. Suspense music plays.

shanghai cord mccoy 12

Cord needs to put his belt back on first.

– Cord starts running in the stands.

shanghai parkour

Parkour!

– Cord finds the clue. I guess the numbers were all in English. Section 20 Row 16 Seat 33. They read that they must take the metro to the next pit stop. It is the Shanghai Science & Technology Museum. This was built in 2001.

PHIL: It is the size of fifteen football fields!

It’d be funnier if the puzzle tiles flew around in there.

– Caite waits for Brent anxiously. Dan tells us that his dad told him to do the corners, the frames, and then the rest of the picture. Father Pious knows best.

– Jet & Cord search for the metro station. A lady points it out to them.

CORD: It’s like straight out of a book!

shanghai metro

What type of book? A travel book?

– They enter the metro station.

– Brent completes the puzzle and does this arrogant pose of having his arms in the air with his back to the audience.

shanghai brent horne 3

It would be perfect if the pieces flew up when his back was to the top of the puzzle. That would have been something to write about.

– Jet & Cord are at the metro station and having a tough time reading where to take the train to the pit stop.

shanghai metro 2

Although one big obstacle has been taken away.

– Jet & Cord are told to wait five stops once they get on. Meanwhile Brent is told to go to Section 3 Row 10 Seat 26.

shanghai puzzle 2

The task is a bit neat in execution, that’s for sure.

– Brent has the clue.

shanghai brent horne 4

You know who would love to find hidden clues on TAR?

russell hantz

Russell Hantz!!!! All he needs is the section number, the row number, the seat number, and cameras to point out to him where it could be.

– Brent blames the wind for him not beating the Cowboys at this task.

CAITE: I know, baby. I know.

Heh, now it’s Caite’s turn to utilize sarcasm.

– Louie and Jordan stand alone together as they wait to see who will get it done faster. Michael is struggling to find the corner of a star. The colours are not matching for him. Jordan gets super excited but all that happened is that Dan put down a piece.

Yeah, that was a botched editing job. Something does not line up there.

– Jet & Cord’s stop is here. They walk out and take a nice stroll to the museum.

shanghai sphere

A sphere full of triangles? Crazy! It is like a triforce-inspired sphere.

– The Cowboys are stoked to see Phil from across the entrance. He has four greeters.

shanghai phil keoghan 3

And debuts his escort service along with it.

FIRST PLACE: JET & CORD

Phil informs them that they have won a luxury trip for two to Alaska. Northern Lights, resort, wildlife cruise, the Alaskan railway, and a helicopter tour.

singapore dan jordan pious 4

And all we got were these lousy bikes.

– Jet says Cord had a great day. Cord refused to let Jet down. Now time for some major dramatic irony as they discuss three of their four prizes.

CORD: We’ve won three trips around the world, and me and him both say “we ain’t going with each other, we’re going with somebody else.

shanghai jet cord mccoy 9

“Imagine us having to travel the world together THREE times? That would be CRAZY!”

But seriously, they have won four out of the last eight legs.

– The crowd cheers for Michael. Mike joins in on the cheering for himself as he thrusts his hand into the air.

shanghai michael naylor 3

O’ Doyle Rules!

– MICHAEL: It’s not just a puzzle. It’s a puzzle for a million dollars.

Sounds like a final immunity challenge in Survivor. -_-

– Brent & Caite step onto the mat.

PHIL: You are team number two! Which is not bad.

SECOND PLACE: BRENT & CAITE
shanghai brent caite 4

It’s like they could have had a chance to win the leg if there would have been an opportunity to eliminate the Cowboys from the race!

singapore u turn

Oh right. D’oh.

– Suspense music keeps going and going. Dan has finished the puzzle.

shanghai dan pious

Dan just beat a detective at a task that required paying attention to details.

shanghai dan pious 2
Dan is still mugging.

shanghai michael naylor 4

Where’s your eagle eye now, bitch?

– LOUIE: It is what it is now, bro. It is what it is.

Yep. Foa Foa quoted once again.

– Dan must head to Section 8 Row 2 Seat 5.

rotu

Row 2.

– Dan & Jordan pat Michael on the shoulder as they run by him. Michael still has about twenty pieces to go. The brothers have already taken the metro and step onto the mat.

THIRD PLACE: DAN & JORDAN

Jordan says they are cute. They hug it out once more as opposed to Dan’s desire for a high five.

DAN: I had one goal–it was to give Jordan his dream. No matter what happens from now on this dream has been achieved.

Round eleven: Dan quits.

– LOUIE: We’ve been here for so long that the lights just came on. This could be it. I have no regret. I have met some amazing people. I am blessed to have made it here up to this point.

We know this is a non-elimination leg. Save it.

shanghai lights

Wow. Michael truly sucks at puzzles.

shanghai michael naylor 5

Michael does a New England war cry.

– It’s Michael & Louie’s turn to hug it out. Section 17- row 17- seat 27 is where Mike finds his clue. Pitch black now. They must have lost a couple hours.

LAST PLACE: LOUIE & MICHAEL

Yeah, it’s a non-elimination.

PHIL: I’m sorry to tell you that you are out.
.
.
.
They’re doing a Final Two?
.
.
PHIL: Out in the cold.

shanghai phil keoghan 4

Gotcha.

– Michael & Louie cheer.

PHIL: I got you two times in a row!
LOUIE: I love you, man!

Louie even high fives him.

– Yes, there’s a Speed Bump.

U-TURNS: 0-for-6 survival rate.
SPEED BUMPS: 7-for-11 survival rate.

Louie wants to be one, two, or three. Just to say he finished the race.

PHIL: Louie, don’t make me eliminate you.

shanghai phil keoghan 5

“Because then I have to deal with Brent & Caite as possible winners for this season, and I would probably shoot myself if that happened.

– Louie promises that will not happen.

– We cut to the credits, but first we have a dedication to resolve.

Yes, a dedication to He Pingping.

shanghai he pingping dedication

Our favourite shifty-eyed Little Person in TAR history.

Next Time on TAR: With a spot in the Final Three on the line, Caite gets crowded out. And Dan & Jordan crack under pressure.

Number of Episodes Where a Team is Specifically Mentioned in the Next Time On. . . Segment

CAROL & BRANDY: 3
JET & CORD: 3
DAN & JORDAN: 3
BRENT & CAITE: 4

CONFESSIONAL COUNT

BRENT.CAITE 4.5
JET.CORD 8.11
DAN.JORDAN 6.5
MICHAEL.LOUIE 7.6

Rank the Legs

1) Penang, Malaysia -> Singapore, Singapore

Bus, cab, train, and boat all used in the same round? I enjoyed that. Yeah, it was an equalizer, but you cannot really complain about that when there is no need for a plane and teams were all within an hour or two of each other.

The Roadblock appeared to be difficult but everyone breezed through it one try. Well, except for Michael & Louie who revived their South America racing skills by misreading a clue and lost time.

The Detour was fine, I guess. Kids teaching adults how to drum a simple beat was amusing to watch. Not even Michael & Louie could stick through it and opted to switch to selling ice cream. These local interactions are always fun to see.

Particularly when you see Singaporeans struggle with eating ice cream. There is something funny about watching people across all cultures having troubles with supposed local snacks.

The Mega Zip and Singapore Flyer were both truly thrilling tasks. Perhaps the two greatest height related tasks of the whole season. Screw descending into a wine cellar eighty feet.

Dan & Jordan winning their first leg while nobody else cares about them was hilarious.

I loved that we managed to get the best U-Turn of all time. Joe & Heidi being U-Turned out of the race? Not so fun.

Carol & Brandy being U-Turned and eliminated due to the person they ridiculed for nine episodes? Hilarious. What was even better is that Carol & Brandy would be extremely bitter about it for not only the rest of the leg, but also all the way through to the finale. No Louie & Michael, you had nothing to do with Carol & Brandy being gone. That was all Caite. And a little bit of Brent.

Take note, though. Carol & Brandy will not be the most bitter team when TAR 16 is over at the finish line. One team will topple them as they will resent what goes down for the next six years.

Lastly, there is one reason why this leg is the best one of the season: Allan Wu.

Wu -> TAR 16.

TRUTH!

2) San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina -> Hamburg, Germany

Although it was edited out, the eight remaining teams were split amongst three different flights to Hamburg. Once they landed, they were given further choice by choosing between taxis, metro trains, and walking on foot to each route marker.

Freedom of choice in transportation is what all viewers miss in the TAR universe. Nobody wants to see a linear leg.

The teams were evenly divided between doing the Soccer and Sauerkraut Detour options. It is refreshing to see after an era of everybody completing the same dang option.

I also liked that the pit stop was in the Red Light District. Not every monument in existence is on the perimeter of the city in some fairy tale like landscape. They can be bars or clubs in questionable areas.

However, this round has some faults. The one-time return of the Intersection in the US franchise appeared pointless at best. Watching only one team check out of the pit stop, who also happen to be the stars of the season, really keeps many of the other teams hidden from the viewer.

Watching teams physically drained such as Joe’s knee injury and Caite’s hamstrings prove that the TAR experience is legitimate.

Watching Das Boot from Beerfest directly inspire a task was hilarious. I also appreciated a team being at the bottom of the pack in Nowheresville climbing to a first place finish was a breath of fresh air. Regardless of it being Michael & Louie, seeing a change of pace of “One Team Dominates All” since TAR 13 was good to see.

Yes, there is controversy surrounding the round finishing in the first Round of 8 non-elimination since TAR 6, and the fact it happened to save one of three teams production favoured going into the season.

This is by far the best leg design after four rounds. That is rare for a non-elimination round to beat out the first three elimination rounds.

Lastly, Vomiting Brent and Alcoholic Steve.

3) Reims, France -> Praslin, The Seychelles

The best point in most TAR seasons is when they head to a new continent after spending half of the season in the previous continent.

Not only do we get that this round, but also a brand new country added to the TAR franchise catalogue!

The Seychelles had a really neat Detour as teams chose between playing with a 100 year old tortoise by leading it on with a banana, or relying on an ox cart to transport 299 or 300 coconuts.

Memorable moments such as Steve & Allie choosing to race without their backpacks to pick up TAR’s ridiculous 7, 000 dollars + 7Up 4 L7FE prize, the trailing three teams moving to the front because they chose seats closest to the front of the plane, and Brent’s anonymous mishap.

Oh, and the Cowboys finishing last because they failed to remember to do anything this round.

I was disappointed with how easy it was for teams to find the pit stop. Or how easy it was to retrieve the bottle during the Roadblock. Or how easy it was to assemble that map. They could have done so much more with The Seychelles, but turned it into an overall rather quick and lame leg. I swear it took no more than 4-7 hours to complete the leg once in the country.

4) Praslin, Seychelles -> Penang, Malaysia

Main story of the round: Cowboys comeback from being in dead last once the plane landed and needing to complete their Speed Bump, and do so by winning the leg in a dominant fashion. The first team ever to complete this feat.

Other developments included Michael & Louie and Brent & Caite agreeing to U-Turn Carol & Brandy at the next opportunity. Michael also loaned Steve some desperately needed underpants.

I always enjoy the first Asian leg of a season (if it is not in China or India) because I love to see teams try and handle a densely populated Asian city. It is far different from the resort legs or European legs. Some teams can absolutely crumble under the heat, pressure, language barrier, population density, and knowing the million dollars is only a week away.

Steve & Allie were that team. The lighter load by not having their backpacks meant nothing as each task and each form of transportation was a struggle. What was once the strongest team in the race turned into a Porky Pig-like disaster.

The tasks were fine. I particularly liked the one Detour option where teams had to balance those huge flags on their nose in a Jon & Al tribute. Jet & Cord smoked it, and all other teams were too afraid to attempt it. They chose a long and gruelling steep incense candle transport task. The heat was killing them.

The Roadblock was a neat cultural task. Not memorable nor particularly difficult, but one of these neat ritual tasks that need to be sprinkled throughout each season.

Making teams take off their shoes beside a phone booth was a bit amusing. Why a specific phone booth?

Carol & Brandy were not referred to as “mean” as frequently this round. They certainly were in a much better mood.

But OMGz, did you see Jet & Cord win the leg after still having to do that Speed Bump? OMG I ❤ MY COWBOYS <3333333333333333!!!!11111ONE.

5) Singapore, Singapore -> Shanghai, China

China was not as terrible as I was expecting. We knew this round had to be a non-elimination going into it, and since the biggest twist they could come up with was the first ever Double Roadblock/Screw Detours, leg design, this was better than expected.

Yes, the modeling task was taken straight from TAR 6’s finale and was as relevant then as it was this time. Well, I would say that if not for Michael & Louie refusing to use their eagle eyes. How did they not receive a penalty for missing a clue? Was it assessed at the start of the next round because they were last anyway? This was never answered.

The first Roadblock of making noodles was alright. It is better when Charla & Mirna are forced to bounce on a bamboo stick to produce the noodles.

The Owen Wilson film references made me question the taste of the teams that remained.

The second Roadblock was more difficult than producers planned. Seeing tiles fly everywhere for Brent and Cord was fun to watch. From there it was the usual Survivor-esque tile puzzle. What does that have to do with Shanghai? Finding 384 people to hold puzzle pieces was neat, though. That many cold people were willing to do that?

It was odd to see much of the first part of the leg spent on Caite bragging about eliminating Carol & Brandy, and thus becoming the last woman standing. Why not work on being the last racer standing?

And what is with this season having multiple greeters at some of the pit stops? It was like a Shanghai all-girl pop group hanging out with Phil.

What puts this round in the top half is because of He Pingping. You forgot teams were racing as everyone was paying attention to the 29 inch specimen before them.

Overall, this round exceeded expectations considering the nation is typically dull in later seasons. We enjoy the language barrier screwing over teams every now and then.

6) Les Monthairons, France -> Reims, France

What? No bus tickets? No being automatically sent to a route marker with other teams on a form of private transit arranged by production during the pit stop? This leg started from the pit stop and teams were completely on their own until the end of the leg.

Not a Non-Elimination. No equalizers. No taxis. It is all you from the time you check out to the time you check in.

What was great about this round is that we were finally introduced to Steve & Allie for the first time all season. Steve’s subtle alcoholism from round four was re-visited here in the champagne region. Seeing him fix a car with duct tape could not have been more Red Green.

Also, his uncorking skills are questionable.

I thoroughly enjoyed the comedy throughout the leg. The teams from the bible belt mixed up Noah with Joan of Arc. That was both hilarious and depressing. Is the American educational system really that bad?

The mime at the pit stop was creative. It seems pit stop greeters and judges have had wackier personalities of their own ever since TAR 12. Just a direction TAR has gone.

I liked Santa Claus helping teams enter the wine cellar at the Roadblock. Speaking of the Roadblock, that was the lamest part of the episode. It was the longest needle in a tiny haystack which made the task not only dumb like other needles in haystacks but pointless as well. The sabre wine uncorking did not have to be performed with any finesse which should have been made a TAR Canada-esque “you are not done until you do it in proper form”.

What if teams had to go into the hole, grab another bottle, and climb back up after each time they failed with sabreing the champagne cork? That would have been a much more compelling task.

The route markers mixing up their names with places in other cities helped make the day much tougher.

Producers finally tricked teams by having the needle-in-a-haystack task (searching for grapes) be much much tougher than the skill task. I personally wish the grape searching be replaced with brutal wine stomping or some exercise to match how awesome the wine tower pouring played out. I can watch a tower of 680 champagne glasses be on the brink of destruction all day.

Watching teams look for a vine of grapes? Not so much.

In short, the tasks were lame except for the champagne tower. The actual driving aspect and finding the route markers was much more intriguing.

Oh, and Jeff & Jordan were eliminated. Now we just need to eliminate Jet & Cord, Carol & Brandy, Michael & Louie, and Brent & Caite all before the Final Three.

7) Valparaiso, Chile -> Puerto Varas, Chile

The “most gruelling season ever” takes a huge step down in difficulty for this round.

Perhaps the biggest obstacle was for the racers to see Jeff & Jordan every twenty seconds. We did not see any of the other nine teams check out of the pit stop. The only drama with them was missing both buses in Temuco, but still being in the middle of the pack for the whole round.

The other obstacle was hearing the City Slickers theme repeatedly as Jet & Cord utter the phrase “oh my gravy” four times. Lone Rangers was uttered three times. References to their hat protectors was out of hand, too. Their sneaky little tactic to be the first bus into town  is when they were the most popular team in TAR at the time.

The initial route marker of making teams two or more buses along with taking a car and a boat was one of the best in TAR history.

However, the tasks and driving to subsequent route markers were very quick. Jump off a pier or put a blanket on a llama? Go around a barn collecting eggs, flour, and milk a cow? Then drive straight for twenty minutes to the pit stop? That is really easy stuff.

I could watch teams get kicked in the body by llamas and cows on repeat. That was the only upside to it.

In short, the five different options teams took to get to the first route markers was great. After that it was ultra easy and simplified. A bit of a letdown, really.

Screw you Jeff Schroeder for helping Michael & Louie to get out of last place to beat Jody & Shannon. If only Jody & Shannon knew to buy tickets for a connecting bus as well.

8) Puerto Varas, Chile -> San Carlos de Bariloche, Argentina

Teams are provided with bus tickets at the start of the leg? Wow. That takes a huge part of the adventure away from the show.

Once in Argentina, Jet & Cord were treated to an episode all to themselves because the entire round was a freakin’ cowboy theme. Not since Family Edition have we seen such an extreme cowboy theme at play.

The first task was one hundred percent luck as teams sat in a chair waiting for their clue. All we saw was the dealer giving cards to a team and cards to a GNOME in a poker game. If a team beat the gnome, they received their clue. Some teams were unaware when their hand was better.

Once they had the clue, teams walked one hundred feet to the Roadblock task. They appeared to take anywhere between one minute to twenty minutes at the task.

When that was done they drove a short distance to a set of cliffs where the Detour awaited. This was the only challenging task of the round (unless you were Shawne). They had to choose between counting out steps on a coordinate, dig up a bag, and bring it to the train station or taking swings at a ball and getting it past a certain distance within nine shots.

The number of teams switching from the bag bandit task to the polo task must have been a TAR record for a Detour. In fact, Monique & Shawne switched from the polo task to the bag bandit task. Only Jeff & Jordan and Steve & Allie did not switch out of all nine teams.

Steve rolling in mud, Big Joe Wang falling off a fake horse, Monique exhausted from doing nothing, and Michael & Louie completing the Detour for another team were all hilarious moments.

Also, Michael & Louie have an average of 8.67 after three rounds. Only 7.67 points off the pace for being the best of all time.

And did anyone think it was a bit unfair that Brent & Caite were treated and given care for over three hours as they had plenty of time to catch a bus? Sure, Brent was terrible at directions and only a lasso saved him as Caite demonstrated her stick shift skills, but you can’t help but wonder what Monique & Shawne could have done with a bit of treatment.

Do you remember where you were when Monique & Shawne were eliminated? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

9) Los Angeles, California, USA -> Valparaiso, Chile

Compared to TAR 15’s premiere, this one is ten times better.

But compared to virtually any other premiere, this one is probably sub-par. One hour premieres with eleven teams are truly rushed.

Phil starts out the season with the dreaded “toughest season ever” tagline that we know all too well from TAR Asia 3. However, TAR Asia 3 nearly lived up to that tagline. TAR 16’s premiere? Not so much.

First off, teams were brought in on the same bus. Next? They had to get to LAX using public transit. Therefore, this was the cheapest ride to the airport in TAR history, and obviously meant that several teams would get to the airport simultaneously.

Another pointless twist was that only three teams would be on the first flight, and eight teams on the second flight. That makes zero sense because you are at much more of a disadvantage if eight teams are on the first flight, and only three teams on the second flight. If the first flight suffers any sort of delay, they will be at the biggest disadvantage of all.

And guess what? The first flight was delayed, and all eleven teams were forced to be on the second flight! This is the first time in TAR history that all teams left the United States on the same flight. I can’t get over that.

Thankfully the rest of the stupidity lies with the contestants. Jet & Cord exchanging money for a currency that has nothing to do with Chile, Adrian doing the Roadblock instead of Dana, Brent & Caite refusing to read, Jordan Lloyd beating everyone, Steve & Allie painting the inside of a stranger’s house, and Michael & Louie humiliating themselves.

There was an unaired route marker prior to arriving in Valparaiso. I guess a neat castle was too much for 42 minutes. Instead we needed to listen to Jeff Schroeder’s commentary and laugh at Adrian in the process.

Dana & Adrian were heavy favourites entering the season because not only were they superfans, but viewers thought they would be like Chip & Kim or Uchenna & Joyce. I know. That’s a disturbing way of thinking.

They led most of the way until Adrian decided to do the Roadblock. The first hurdle of the season and they were nowhere close to achieving it. I personally think Dana & Adrian were doomed to go early despite this blunder. Adrian and Dana both sounded fatigued even before the Roadblock. I think him or Dana would have experienced a serious injury within the first couple of legs. They would not have held up physically for twelve legs.

So far “toughest race ever” is proving to be “least expensive race ever” after the premiere.

10) Hamburg, Germany -> Les Monthairons, France

What were producers trying to accomplish with this round? Every team stayed in the exact same position except for Joe & Heidi who suffered a Blind U-Turn.

Why did teams need to be driven to the pit start across two countries? Couldn’t they just have allowed teams to check out in Hamburg (even outside of the Red Light District for safety reasons), and make them drive across into France? The legs where teams have to self-drive for several hours show teams who have a good sense of direction versus those who do not.

This leg was perhaps the first post-premiere leg in any season to not have a Roadblock. They started out by driving about a half hour to the baguette shop. From there it was a WWI re-enactment in a spot with a Speed Bump, U-Turn, and a Detour combined. From there they walked for roughly ten to twenty minutes to a bicycle task which was a fifteen bike ride from the pit stop.

In other words, it was an extremely short leg. What was worse is that all teams chose a Detour option that was ten times easier than the other (trench crawl versus Morse code). The Morse code task was difficult enough that all teams in franchise history would have struggled for several hours except for Jim & Misti.

What was worse about this leg is that the previous round was a non-elimination but this round was not. In other words, a Speed Bump meant nothing unless you were the one U-Turned and forced to do the Morse code.

It is painful that Louie & Michael thought eliminating a team who was well on their way to a medical evacuation was a team needed for immediate ejection. Did you not see how much ice Joe needed? The guy was going to be stopped very soon. Gus McCleod from TAR 6 could have moved faster than him.

So pissed. This leg could have been so much more rather than an ultra linear 42 minute World War 1 re-enactment while teams do not know which war it is and having to sit through listening to Jeff & Jordan, Brent & Caite, and Brandy.

Although I did appreciate a break from Jet & Cord. Thank God.

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