THE AMAZING RACE ASIA 4
MALAYSIA – SRI LANKA – PHILIPPINES – NEW ZEALAND – AUSTRALIA – INDONESIA – SOUTH KOREA – SINGAPORE
Here we are. The Wurtain Call. This is the final season of The Amazing Race Asia season. After this season is done, producers will head to organize the TAR Australia franchise and Wu will scamper off to China Rush.
Truth be told I have not heard anybody discuss this season until February, or know any details about what goes on until I looked at the route a month ago. This stemmed from four rounds of TAR 24 ultimately overlapping with TAR Asia 4.
Half of this route is uninspired.
George Town, Penang, Malaysia – Sound familiar? Maybe because we VISITED THAT CITY AT THE END OF THE AMAZING RACE 16 JUST WEEKS EARLIER! And the producers do not even try to deny this fact.
Kota Kinabalu repeats from TAR 4 and later repeated in TAR 24. We see the Batu Caves at the starting line. I swear it is the most visited landmark in TAR history.
Sri Lanka makes its second appearance in the TAR franchise since TAR 6. However, both rounds and its tasks are duplicated in TAR 24. So if we hated these rounds in TAR 24, what is to stop me from hating this same crap in TAR Asia 4?
We explore a location in Philippines that I have never heard of before. That is neat. I am looking forward to that regardless of two legs spent in the country during TAR Asia 2.
Queenstown, New Zealand? Yeah, we were there in TAR Asia 1. I swear New Zealand would be avoided more if not for Phil Keoghan’s origins.
Australia’s Gold Coast receives its first visit since TAR 4. The nation hosted two legs for TAR Asia 1.
Now to Indonesia. Eighteen seasons of the American franchise avoided the nation until they began abusing it between TAR 19 and TAR 23. TAR Asia 1 hosted two legs there, and now for another pair here in TAR Asia 4.
By the way, I never would have expected TAR Asia to be the first to visit Czech Republic and Indonesia.
South Korea would be a better visit this time if not for two legs there in TAR Asia 2 and another leg just a week or two later when TAR 17 is filming. Only so many times I can reference Gangnam Style.
Then Singapore. TAR 16 was just there, we see the dang country in the first two seasons of TAR Asia, and it is only fitting that it features the conclusion of the series. And yes, the tragic Caltex tradition is kept alive.
I s’pose Singapore needed to be the end of TAR Asia since the company which airs the series is located there.
The series struggled with locations primarily due to passport restrictions for the varying countries that are competing. Sri Lanka is the only country not repeated in the TAR Asia franchise for this season, and I can assure you that is a big contributing factor as to why this series had to fold.
Now to casting. Remember how eighty percent of all teams in the first three seasons are models, actors, actresses, beauty pageant competitors, or members of the media? Well, that does not change. The most diverse occupation for this season is a guy named Hussein who is a diplomat and another who managed a strip club.
There is a father-daughter team for the first time in TAR Asia. All other team chemistries are what you expect of the past three seasons. There is an all-male version of A.D. & Fuzzie that stood out in the Racers Revealed segment (yes, I watched that special). Other than that I found myself comparing teams to others in the other Asian instalments.
Now to the most interesting part about TAR Asia. They incorporate every twist element seen in TAR 1-16, and TAR Asia 1-3.
Active route infos.
A virtual pit stop.
Marked for Elimination.
All are integrated into just eleven legs of play. A new twist is pioneered here where a team wins a special bonus prize for completing a sponsoured task the fastest. This would randomly appear next in the TAR Australia franchise (my Aus knowledge is limited, but I personally saw this twist in TAR Aus 3’s finale).
So what is this season’s legacy? Or the series for that matter?
That’s a tough one to answer. I would say this is the least discussed season out of all twenty that I have covered. I knew more about TAR Asia 1, 2, and 3 before diving into it. Here I have to go out of my way to ask around.
Perhaps everyone grew tired of TAR Asia. Same locations, same D- celebrities filling the cast, same formatting, and same disregard for the thousands of non-celebrities who were growing increasingly frustrated without being picked in models who wound up quitting.
Is it a disappointment that TAR Asia only lasts four seasons? Not really. It produced more episodes than The Mole in America ever did. Only successful TV shows are able to last four full seasons.
Heck, Jeff Probst’s reaction to seeing the concept of Survivor was “wow, this is a really cool show. It will go over big. It will probably last around four seasons.”
Of course TAR Asia looks like a failure because Survivor 29 and The Amazing Race 25 are currently airing, and both are already editing Survivor 30 and The Amazing Race 26. Any version of TAR that cannot get past season four looks like a failure.
But hey, remember when the American version was put on an eleven/thirteen month hiatus after season four? People forget that the series was going to end with Reichen & DK’s victory against Kelly & Jon in the summer of 2003. And you know what? Nobody would consider the show a failure. People like Tony Danza and Sarah Jessica Parker supported its revival, but nobody thought “wow, it was cancelled too early”.
Imagine if TAR or Survivor went on a seven or eight month hiatus today like TAR used to do all the time in the first thirteen seasons? Everyone would be screaming that an apocalypse was coming.
Now everybody is thinking “Survivor 30? TAR 25? Big Brother 17? Those shows are STILL on?! I moved on in my life since 2003.”
Just think I was still in elementary school at the time. Here in November of 2014 it is now eighteen months since I finished my final course in university.
I wonder what twelve year old me would be thinking if he was told that my 24, Survivor, and TAR would still be alive, and I would be blogging Asian seasons of the series.
I think the geographic restrictions tied down producers, and fans were over the minor celebrity format. That sounds like a couple of reasons why a series would be shutdown after four seasons, and the fact nobody has really acknowledged this foreign season since then. Solid effort by producers, but I am disappointed that they held prejudice against ‘normal’ people.
Let’s get to it. I know almost nothing except who wins and the route. My friend Eamon said this season is not that great while my other friend Ben raves about it almost as much as TAR 17 and the first two Australian seasons.
And because this is the series’ conclusion, they switched over to the formatting and graphics that TAR started using in TAR 14.
Our final season of 2014 will see us getting our Asian on for the fourth and final time. . .to the Wumobile!
Because TAR 16 is directly acknowledged, I thought we needed to carry over its season finale to the intro here of TAR Asia 4.
TAR WARS: Return of the Wudi!
“Everything Gone Batus–t Crazy”
MALAYSIA – SRI LANKA – PHILIPPINES – NEW ZEALAND – AUSTRALIA – INDONESIA – SOUTH KOREA – SINGAPORE
– Allan labels Malaysia as a land of contrasts between old traditions and its towering skyscrapers. The melting pot of diverse culture. Kuala Lumpur: A mining town turned into a modern day metropolis.
Our first good look at Wu. He hasn’t aged a bit!
– Allan introduces us to our first team:
SUNAINA & DIMPLE — GLAMOUR GIRLS from India
Not to be confused with Gilmore Girls.
Sunaina is taking a page out of the Cord McCoy book and doubling up on hats.
– They think they will be underestimated for being actresses (so the whole cast will be equally underestimated), and. . .
SUNAINA: Vyung girls are vweak.
Yes. Let the mild racism regarding Asian accents begin!
TAR Asia is never consistent with which racer is on the left and which one is on the right, or even the order of saying the team name.
It’s going to be a while before I can tell you which one is Dimple or Sunaina.
“So Many Boys, So Little Time”? Who gave her that shirt?
Or Michael Ja. . .nah, I won’t say it.
– Now to our second team.
RICHARD & RICHARD — SPORTS FANS & FRIENDS from Philippines. One is a model and the other a pro basketball player.
Yes, a pro Filipino basketball player. It’s like being a professional Canadian football player.
And they are both wearing those stupid toques.
Are they trying to look drugged up like Tyler & James from TAR 10 or be Filipino musclemen like Marc & Rovilson?
Are all Filipinos sports fanatics?
And have either of these two relapsed and turned Filipino?
– They really elaborate upon this by saying they like sports and like to stay fit. In other words, we learn nothing new about them.
NOTE: In the Racers Revealed prequel, the guy on the right wears weird toques and both have American citizenship. Yes, an alpha male team from the US. No wonder one of them is a pro b-baller.
The one on the right is Toquechard and the one on the left is Bballchard. Otherwise I have no idea who is who.
BBALLCHARD: We are trouble. Trouble tends to find us.
Anybody home, McFly?
Large bead necklaces around their neck? Is it the afternoon before Mardi Gras?
– Okay, those are terrible nicknames to distinguish between each of them. What are their last names?
Richard Hardin and Richard Herrera? Even their last names are similar.
At least it is not like the Richard and Richard Law Law Firms. They both have the same first and last name, and own a law firm together? That should be illegal. Especially in Southeast Asia where a lot of people have ‘Law’ as their last name.
– To the third team we go.
HUSSEIN & NATASHA — 1ST EVER ASIAN FATHER/DAUGHTER from Indonesia
The first ever Asian father/daughter?
– Also, am I the only one who finds it really funny that we have a racer named Hussein?
At least Barack Obama was able to avoid the stigma because his middle name was Hussein. But here we have a guy whose first name is Hussein. This season was filmed only a little over three years after Saddam Hussein’s execution, so it is not like he is falling into obscurity quite as much as he is now.
“Pssst, Dad. Don’t mention your opinion on the Kurds.”
I won’t, dear Natasha.
But seriously, these references to historical figures is one of the neat things about TAR. You don’t even have to go to a specific route marker. It could just be an unfortunate first name that triggers a quick reference and exploration into history.
– NATASHA: We’re here to represent the bond between father and daughter.
HUSSEIN: We want to enjoy this time together before she grows up and goes on with her career.
How depressing. It is like Natasha is the one dying rather than Hussein.
– By the way, did you know they are from Indonesia? Think they like living there?
Survey says yes.
– Ready for the fourth team?
– ALLAN: Yani is a TV host and Nadine is Miss Indonesia Earth, and an ambassador for going green. Best friends. Both from Indonesia.
What a weirdly phrased introduction for a team. Not since Geoff 26 and Tisha 31 or French-Born Aurelia and Singaporean Sophie have we heard a more randomized string of intro facts for a team.
NADINE: We’ve been best friends three years running.
“And will be up for re-election for a second four-year term in 2011.”
– Remember how Dimple and Sunaina are hanging out at the mall and trying on clothes in their intro?
Well now here are more young Asian women doing the same thing!
NADINE: The moment we stop supporting each other is the moment everything crumbles HEH HEH.
Nadine holds the record for the quickest laugh in TAR history. It is like an English dubbing of a Hong Kong martial arts film.
YANI: Well I’m a crybaby so you’ll see me CRYYYYY.
Oh no. Why does she make it sound like something we should all be excited about?
She also has a really annoying voice.
NADINE: We’ll be fine. . .I hope.
The classic Glebova disclaimer.
– Our fifth team?
SAHIL & MANAS — Cousins and aspiring actors from India.
– An all-male team from India who consist of at least one model and/or actor?
This will not go well.
– Manas was a bachelor on India’s version of The Bachelorette called Rakhi Ka Swayamwar.
The bachelorette picked a dude from Toronto to be her fiance rather than two dudes living in New Delhi. In fact every contestant was from a major city in India except for the Canuck.
“Originally, the winner of the show was going to marry in the final episode. But, when Rakhi did not feel ready to get married, she and Elesh got engaged during the final episode entitled “Faisle Ki Raat”. After the show, It was reported that the couple were happy and had agreed to do a show called Pati Patni Aur Woh. It was during this show, that their relationship went downhill. They split up after the show because Elesh wanted Rakhi to quit her job as a Bollywood dancer and settle in Canada with him. After the split, many news and magazines reported that this was predecided and that Rakhi had done the show for money and that Elesh did the show for publicity.”
— Source: Wikipedia.
Canadians can be so demanding.
– Sahil says this game is all about the mind. It is not about huge biceps or huge bodies. It’s all about the head.
And that is all Sahil is allowed to say. Manas only repeated a word that Sahil said.
Grrrr. A motorcycle. Such tough dudes.
Manas deep in thought grieving about his last girlfriend.
– Our sixth team?
JESS AND LANI — AUSSIE PARTY GIRLS from Australia.
– Allan describes them as Aussie party girls who love traveling around the world, but currently based in the Philippines.
Jess says they party all the freakin’ time.
This is the first time they have been awake before eleven o’ clock in the morning since they woke up to vomit during a hangover with Snoop Dogg and PSY.
Jess has a tattoo of a butterfly like eighty percent of the female population who has a tattoo. I bet it is more deadly than the butterfly on the fresco in Palermo during TAR 25.
LANI: To win this race we are going to great lengths. Bit of manipulation here, a bit of flirting there.
JESS: The question is “who aren’t we gonna flirt with?” is the question.
They are already drinking during the day? Geez, half of the work has already been done for me!
– Have you noticed how all teams have been sitting in a van? Well, Jess & Lani decide to make the van ride more interesting.
It’s time for TAR’s twerking contest!
Yeah, we know you want to participate Brooke.
The seat collapses. That is why nobody kneels during a twerk. Better luck next time, ladies.
– I found Lani’s favourite track that she requests at the clubs. Care to guess what it is? It is an Usher classic.
Yes. Usher’s Pop Ya Collar.
Personally I prefer MC Hammer and. . .yeah, I’m not acknowledging that rap name. I refuse to believe a grown man goes by that other name.
Needless to say both of their careers have popped.
– Tean number seven?
ETHAN AND KHAIRIE — SOCIAL MISFITS from Malaysia.
Doesn’t Ethan look familiar?
He is like Adrian but with a Don King hairdo.
– Khairie (left) says they are regular guys and not models.
ETHAN: We’re real people.
Yes. Two teams are real. The other eight are just illusions.
And a host who is a Wullsion.
– ETHAN: We’ll make fun of the others behind their back.
KHAIRIE: We’ve already started.
Real people make fun of people.
And Khairie looks like Curtis from Big Brother 2000.
I am the only person who remembers Curtis. Or Big Brother 2000 for that matter.
Yes, I did watch the entirety of Big Brother 2000 a couple of years ago. It was refreshing to see nearly everyone try to be real people rather than mactors. Funny thing is there is this one guy who absolutely hates Jordan to the point that every video online he will call Jordan a series of despicable names.
Yes Jordan, fifteen years later and there is some guy in the US who was lecturing me about how awful of a person you are. Meanwhile you get to live your life.
– Yeah, back to mactors.
ALAN & WENDY — ACTORS from Hong Kong
– They have been together for three years. Alan reminds me of somebody but I cannot quite figure it out yet.
For instance, Wendy was flirting with producer Michael MacKay.
Take him out, Alan!
– I love that Alan wears a shirt with a target on his chest. You know who should definitely not wear a target on their chest?
Yes, it is a joke about Julie McGee’s enhancements. I am just glad Probst did not yell “bring in the motorboat!” like he does when other players quit or get evacuated on the beach.
– You know who Alan reminds me of after Wendy says that Alan is jealous whenever he thinks she is checking out guys?
Frank Sahwit from the Phoenix Wright video game. He looks like Alan, and suffered from extreme levels of jealousy. Alan may be the first contestant not from India who struggles with English.
While he is free to check out any waitress that he wants.
WENDY: Hopefully we can survive this without killing each other.
And I think Alan will make sure it is you first.
How you doin’?
Super! Asian! Laughter!
– Team number nine?
MICHELLE & CLAIRE, REBEL PALS WHERE ONE IS A SINGER AND THE OTHER IS A MODEL from Singapore.
ALLAN: Michelle & Claire from Singapore who survived the rebellious teenage years.
But have a long ways to go.
A violin: The sound of Rebel Music.
– Michelle ran away from home earlier in her life. Both state that they have become street wise and street smart. They say they will work well together.
MICHELLE (in PIKACHU voice): Teamwork!
You know you are watching TAR Asia when racers casually change their tone of voice into a popular Pokemon.
Four out of ten teams are all women. There is a forty percent chance that TAR Asia will have two all-female winners before sixteen seasons of TAR US has a single one.
Remember the days of TAR 6 where we would have seven dating or married couples all cast? Well, Alan & Wendy are our only dating couple, and this next team will be our only married couple.
Come to think of it, the past three Asian seasons have very few romantically involved couples altogether, but I think a grand total of two this season may be a record low.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Michelle & Claire are 21 and 22, respectively. A team of young out-of-shape and small women? I will be amazed if they are not out first.
– Our final team?
IVAN & HILDA, PROFESSOR and RESEARCHER from Malaysia
– They have been married for fourteen years and have a ten year old daughter. Ivan is Hungarian and is a lecturer at a community college. Hilda is a researcher on dragon culture.
I repeat: Hilda professionally researches dragon culture for a living. Isn’t that the coolest occupation you have ever heard of?
“Hey honey, how was your day?”
“Oh, I taught a bunch of poor unenthusiastic twenty year olds up at the college. What did you do?”
“Wrote a preliminary report on dragons of the Horntail breed. Will probably expand upon it some more tomorrow.”
Ivan owns the smuggest expression known to man. Who wears a ‘community college’ shirt, anyway? Why not something more prestigious like Stanford or Harvard?
Hilda orders everyone to run as she accidentally unchained a dragon that is not so tame. Prepare for the worst, Malaysia.
– ALLAN: To get to the finish line, these teams must race against the clock; against Mother Nature herself; and ultimately, against their own fears. Who will have just the right measure of strategy, skill, strength, and teamwork to win US 100, 000 dollars.
– I love that Allan tries to do his own version of Phil’s traditional introductory words. What clock are they racing against? It has never been “do not get here in less than four hours and you are out” as the conditions.
– Intro time.
Leave it to a team of party girls to be holding super soakers. So suggestive.
Speaking of which, did you know that Jess used to manage a strip club? That’s pretty important because a lot of jokes will be made about that along the way. It was in the Racers Revealed special.
– Teams descend down the steps of some temple. Thean Hou Temple, according to Wu.
After he finally stops advertising Malaysia as “the country with nothing but the Petronas Towers”.
There were three other shots of the Petronas Towers before the ten teams were introduced. It would be like saying Canada is nothing more than the CN Tower.
Wait? Viewers need to be reminded that Allan Wu is the host? Imagine if in TAR 25 it said “Phil Keoghan–Host”. Phil would gladly punch you in the f–king face.
Allan gives his own lecture. For once Ivan is the student.
ALLAN: You will be eliminated!
Geez. Thought he forgot how to speak for a second.
– Their first clue is sitting on top of the bags they brought with them. I wish one time they would have the clue on the opposite side of their bags just to make them run more.
– ALLAN: The ride of a lifetime soon begins.
Ride of a Lifetime < Toughest. Race. Ever.
– Allan gives the signal for them to run. You know how teams always run past the host?
They run up the stairs and away from Allan like he is the plague. They exit through another side where they descend down some steps before seeing their bags.
It is like they are running backwards from the start line. It is very unorthodox. I was surprised how closely packed together the teams were and how narrow the steps were. It is -almost- as dangerous as the Batu Caves.
– They must drive themselves through the confusing streets of Kuala Lumpur to the Batu Caves. Yes, it is only the most used route marker in perhaps all of TAR’s history. I hope the monkeys still live there.
– Everyone gets into their mini vans, but Ethan & Khairie miss out on where twenty people plus an equal number of camera and sound operators went. They figure it out a few seconds later. Suddenly everyone is getting directions from various people.
Although it backfires on her because the cop recognizes her from an Amber Alert, and has instructions to take her back home to her parents.
– You know how I assumed Sahil & Manas would be first out because of what happens to all-male teams from India?
Guess who loses their route info two seconds into the race?
Manas & Sahil.
Guess who is first to pull over on the road trying to wave down any vehicle they can?
Manas & Sahil. They drove in the opposite direction.
– Natasha points out to her father that he is missing exit after exit. Yani & Nadine are lost too, but receive very bad news. Yani squeals.
Engine temperature too high? You just got John Vito & Jill’d.
– The Richards realize they are dumb for not following the Malaysians Ethan & Khairie. How they already know of their nationality is beyond me. For some reason they do not know Ivan & Hilda are Malaysian too.
– Ethan & Khairie are first to Batu Caves. Alan & Wendy are there second. Khairie opens the clue. It’s a Roadblock.
But first, some camera work from Charla.
– In this Roadblock, teams must collect an offering and count the steps on Batu Caves. If the number is correct, the priest will accept the offering. However, if they do not guess the magic number of 272, they must walk down to the bottom, and try again.
ALLAN: Throw in a bunch of frisky monkeys, and teams are bound to go bananas.
His first pun! Yes! Wu better believe it, Allan is back!
A frisky monkey.
A cheeky monkey.
Clever little monkeys. You know I can’t resist a good DKC reference.
– Between TAR Asia 1, TAR 3, Asia 1, and 24, I am surprised they did not have to count the steps on the caves yet.
He won’t notice if there are a few grains of rice missing from the offering, will he? Or one less banana from the bunch? The clue never said you could not eat the priest’s offering.
I should point out that climbing up 272 steps is much tougher when you have to hold a plate of food in front of you. It means your legs are doing a lot more of the work, and your arms cannot be dangling by your sides.
That is one red dot that Cao Boi is not responsible for.
– Ethan decides to do the Roadblock. Alan initially volunteers Wendy before she points to the steps, and Alan changes his mind. He carries the plate one-handed.
– Yani & Nadine’s car is dead. Commercial. Clip re-shown. They must pull over and wait for a replacement car. Hopefully it is not too far away.
Or should I say “luking” because Alan’s last name is Luk. I wonder if he was picked just for the obvious puns.
– The Richards may be the fastest runners I have seen. Ivan & Hilda’s pace is slower.
ROADBLOCK HINT: Who can you count on to deliver?
– Toquechard and Hilda are doing the Roadblock. Hussein & Natasha there next. Natasha is gonna do it.
– ETHAN: 272.
When the first person does it the task seems so easy, but when the second team shows up. . .not so much. How do you miss it by 91? What counting method did he use?
– Ethan & Khairie read their next clue. It says to go to the pit stop from episode eight of Amazing Race season sixteen.
This is the first crossover clue we see until TAR 25’s starting line route marker where they are told to go to the finish line of TAR 1.
– The pit stop, in case you have forgotten from a month ago, is the Penang Peranakan Mansion in George Town, Penang, Malaysia. It is a four hour drive away. Once there, they must figure out who/what Baldwin is then they must sing their next clue.
Wow, all of this for one route marker? This would constitute an entire round in TAR 24.
They must sing crappy American music. Hooray!
– Khairie suggests they go to an Internet cafe because nobody in Malaysia watches the American version of TAR. A mechanic shows up to repair Yani & Nadine’s car. No replacement needed.
This malfunction is NOT sponsoured by Caltex.
– Jess & Lani abduct a local into their van.
“Hey fella, wanna party?”
“You’re the first into the Party Van!”
I wonder what happened to him after he entered the van?
Best. Abduction. Ever.
– Sunaina is horrified by the idea of walking up the steps to the clue. Michelle is doing the Roadblock. Dimple and Manas are next. Manas forgot his count because he was frightened by the monkeys.
His fear of monkeys is as extreme as the bachelorette’s fear of commitment. Hey-oh!
– ALAN: 282.
Wow. The 21/22 year old is the one who beat all the rest. That shut me up pretty quick.
Meanwhile Cao Boi spent some time with Toquechard.
– Michelle & Claire read the clue. Toquechard is next to have it correct. Hilda is freaking out about being wrong. Natasha is correct as she comes down slowly. Toquechard and Natasha head out. Hilda complains about walking some more.
– Manas is fifth to be correct. Alan is sixth. Dimple is seventh.
HILDA: 378. 77. 376. 378.
That priest will require a lot of patience if Hilda covers every number multiple times.
– Ethan & Khairie enter an Internet cafe. How big are Internet cafes in 2010?
Very big, but empty. Except for the two nerds behind them playing PC games.
– Richards are on Google and get decent directions, but go the wrong way anyway according to Bballchard. Michelle & Claire are on the Internet. Party Girls bid farewell to their abductee.
– Manas is a couple steps from the bottom before showing off his shivering legs. He repeats it a few times before moving.
You know Asia has 20% longer running time than the US when they can include a scene of a guy bragging about his shivering legs. Thankfully nobody else does this. Manas & Sahil use a laptop on sight.
– Yani & Nadine move to the clue box knowing they are last place. Nadine will do it.
– Hilda starts crying when her count is confirmed, but there is a more terrifying development.
Look out behind you, Hilda!
Nevermind, he was not directly behind. Phew.
– Nadine tries counting the steps in two. Alan & Wendy are at Kedai Komputer Prozac Computer Solutions. Natasha looks up the “You’re Like Jason Bourne, Right?” episode on Wikipedia as Hussein insists that is too far away.
If only my blog existed back then.
– Hilda twisted her ankle on the way down. She is forced to booty scoot the last few steps.
– Hilda’s real first name is Tengku. I wonder why she went by her last name.
I think Jim in TAR 5 was in better shape than Hilda after the first route marker.
Heck, Edwin & Monica were only dead last by a little bit during their first route marker too.
– We have to hear Hilda cry some more while being carried as if she just made a mess in the living room or threw a temper tantrum at grandma and grandpa’s.
HILDA: I twisted my knee, and I didn’t eat breakfast. I didn’t eat this morninnnnnng.
I think food is the least of your problems, Hilda.
Ivan sets her down on the pavement, and drives away without her. He books the first flight to Hungary and we never see him again.
– HILDA: It is painful. Are you NUTS?!
– Jess guesses 272 correctly on the first try. Nadine has it too. Triumphant underdog music plays. They are currently the last two teams. Ivan & Hilda are using a computer. Nadine tried to use the Internet at business centre close to the temple, but Jess & Lani are there and must wait for the computer to open up.
Hussein may love Jakarta, but DAYUM, Yani & Nadine love the whole freakin’ country.
– Jess & Lani run into their local abductee. Things are not so jolly anymore. He needs a ride back to where they picked him up.
LANI: We can’t go back there. We’ll give you some money to take the bus.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This local looks a lot like my friend Derrick from high school.
Kuala Lumpur public transit must not be fun.
LANI: He was. . .I think he could have been swearing in Malay.
That’s not the face of somebody who thinks they ‘could’ have been sworn at.
– The guy waves them off in frustration and angrily walks off. You have to settle all bills with cab drivers before checking in, but you don’t have to do crap for a local you abducted.
A blurred finger.
– Richards are happy to see a team driving with them. They pass Manas & Sahil. Michelle & Claire are now in George Town. Ethan & Khairie see the route marker.
– Manas & Sahil do not see other teams anymore and are out seeking directions. Bumbling music plays as we enter commercial. We resume. Manas gets directions from a Polish guy.
Me trying to decipher thick accents.
– Ethan & Khairie continue searching the place. More time wasted. Ivan refuses to drive fast while Hilda commands him to move it. She even resorts to yelling ‘vite’.
– Ethan & Khairie must sing Amazing Grace now. Luckily it is not a camcorder challenge. My ears will die if we have to hear it nine more times. Their next clue is worked into the song.
And this is why Asians should stick to karaoke of popular American pop songs. They can do that s–t without breaking a sweat.
– Allan reveals they must play a form of indoor football called futsal. It is popular in Malaysia. They must head to the Gelugor Futsal Court.
Ah, there’s good ol Caltex. They even wear a Caltex jersey. Why do they call it the Supa Strikas? Did you know that was my nickname at the soccer academy?
Malaysia would be in the World Cup if its athletes stopped focusing on futsal.
– Once here, they must take turns being a goaltender. For each goal from a little kid they allow, they will incur a two minute time penalty.
It would be funny if there was fifty shots and they were from real pros. Everybody would be stuck there for almost two hours.
Or it’s the same kid over and over again. His legs are going to be really sore in the morning.
– Khairie’s voice squeaks when commenting how tough it was to find the mansion. Richards are second there. Sunaina & Dimple are there. Richards ask if anybody is a Baldwin. Toquechard realizes it is the name of the piano.
And are not the names of these two siblings fighting, as Dimple initially suspected.
Sunaina & Dimple are present when they hear them sing Amazing Grace. However, Dimple refuses to sing it.
She Shatners it, essentially.
– Manas has pinpointed the location of the route marker.
It’s like he knows exactly where it is.
– Alan & Wendy argue where to go until Wendy pulls a Rihanna and tells him to shut up and drive because she is not turning where she wants him to do so.
ALAN: You just shut up, and just shut up and. . .sit there.
– Michelle and Claire prance around asking who is Baldwin.
If it was this Baldwin, the series would be canceled immediately.
– Lots of people are at the futsal stadium as Ethan & Khairie put on their Caltex jerseys. I think I might even hear a vuvuzela.
Fans are allowed to occupy a route marker? What is this? TAR Canada?
I am amazed how adamant the people at Caltex are to sponsour every sports related task in TAR Asia history.
– A man with long hair points out to the Rebel Pals that Baldwin is the name of a piano. They begin singing Amazing Grace.
– How does Khairie do with the first shot?
The shot may be up close but the net is small. Imagine if Big Easy was a goaltender? There would be no empty spaces to get the ball in.
– Khairie blocks the first shot but is not so lucky with the next two. The kid is showing no mercy.
– Alan & Wendy are now at the mansion.
– Khairie allowed three out of five shots. I am guessing it is ten shots total.
– Alan & Wendy find the mansion, and bond over singing Amazing Grace despite both being awful singers.
– I guess it is more of a Roadblock because Ethan did not have to participate. They are relaxed knowing they are first and happy to sit for a few minutes.
I am surprised producers decided to do an Internet task and serve micro penalties in the season premiere. Watching people surf the Internet or sit for several minutes for a pre-determined amount of time is a major risk to take when you are trying to retain viewers for the season.
– Hussein & Natasha, Yani & Nadine, and Jess & Lani are all at the mansion. Quick four hour drive for everyone. Manas & Sahil are there in ninth. Jess looks at a piano and goes by it.
JESS: Amazing Grace?
Nah, can’t be important.
– Jes returns to it seconds later. Her and Lani have the ABSOLUTE WORST singing voices of all teams. Nadine happens to be a couple feet away and begin singing. Hussein & Natasha follow Yani & Nadine to keep up the chain and start singing. Then Manas & Sahil followed Hussein & Natasha to find the sheet music as well. The cousins argue over where they are supposed to go.
NOTE: The only team not there is Ivan & Hilda. She is not going to like the staircases in the mansion.
– Hilda is able to run again. How the heck is she able to recover from a twisted knee just like that?
– Ethan & Khairie receive their next clue. They must drive themselves to the Swettenham Pier to find their next clue. No other teams have shown up.
– Ivan has the clue. Nobody else is around. I feel like they lost more time than just Hilda screwing up the Roadblock or Ivan carrying Hilda to the car. There had to be some intervention by medical.
– Ivan & Hilda sing slightly better than Jess & Lani, but convinced they are the worst ever.
– Sunaina & Dimple are the first non-Malaysian team to the futsal field. Sunaina gets hit in the face. She just flinches after each kick without moving. Four goals get by her.
Her modeling and acting career will be over at this rate if she continues her path of being a futsal goalkeeper. It’s getting all Rihanna’d.
– Sunaina & Dimple wait out eight minutes before getting their clue. The Richards see them exit. Bballchard is confident they can catch up to them at a sports challenge.
– Bballchard blocks the first shot and begins high five’ing everyone.
Geez, already trying to get the crowd on his side.
– Next shot goes by him. So much for that. Claire is in the net on the other side of the field. Three get by her. Toquechard switches into the net for the last couple shots. He blocks both.
The Richards have a two minute penalty. Who knew athletes would have an advantage.
– Claire describes the kid as being a small feisty fireball. The Richards have their clue. Alan & Wendy are fifth to the futsal field. Michelle & Claire’s penalty is six minutes.
– Ethan & Khairie are at Sweetenham Pier. It is a Detour. That is not the season opener tradition!
– In this Detour, teams must choose between Flags or Rags. Both involve a cruise ship.
Thankfully not an Italian cruise ship.
In Flags, teams must collect five nautical flags scattered about using a clue given in ship lingo.
Ship lingo? What would that be?
“Grab those f–king flags you f–king idiots. Choose the f–king ugly yellow one and that blue one with those damn stripes. What’cha lookin’ at? GET LOOKIN YOU F–KING RUNTS!”
– In Rags, teams must head to deck ten of the Pisces cruise line. One will be lowered to deck five to clean a deck window, and the other teammate will go to that specific window, pick up a camera, and take a photo of their partner cleaning the window.
So this is how you pay for the TAR budget.
Sony does not have a fancy new product to advertise this season? That camera looks like crap.
– Ethan & Khairie choose Rags. Riddles must not be their thing.
– Wendy sucks in net. Alan switches in and does better.
– Khairie picks up the ‘1’ tag. I guess only one or two teams can do it at a time. Khairie suits up in the harness before being lowered.
– The crowd cheers as Michelle & Claire’s penalty expires. Alan & Wendy’s unspecified penalty is over too.
– The Richards see flags and keep driving. Michelle & Claire hopes they get lost.
– Ethan is searching for the window but is not having any success. Richards are second to the Detour.
Another toque change for Toquechard. I swear this is his third of the round.
– Ivan & Hilda are next to the futsa field. Hilda does the first couple of shots before they switch Ivan in. How in the world does Hilda have the mobility? She switches back in. Manas or Sahil is doing all of the goaltending. I cannot tell who it is. One of them finally blocks one. Both look the same when they are wearing the Caltex jerseys. The one who blocks the shot starts taunting the kid.
Shimmie shimmie shimmie.
The karate kid.
– They claim the block was a mistake because the guy was just trying to block his face. Their penalty is sixteen minutes. Ivan & Hilda’s penalty is twelve minutes.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Producers did a HORRIBLE explanation of the task. Evidently each racer has to be in for five shots. Otherwise the penalty does not make sense.
Unless somebody has a better explanation for how this task was structured.
– Manas & Sahil receive their penalty, and celebrate the end of the task.
So he picks up the kid who scored eight goals on him and kisses him on the cheek. I thought this was Asia rather than Europe, but okay.
– Ethan says the task was overwhelming because there were “lots of doors”.
Thank goodness he did not have to do the door Roadblock from TAR 11: All Stars in Hong Kong where the task was to exclusively kick down every door you saw.
– He discovers the camera in the very last door that he entered.
– Hussein & Natasha are at the futsal field. Natasha is doing awful at it. Yani & Nadine are doing the task as well. No counter of how many have been blocked or scored.
– Ethan & Khairie hand in their picture and exchange it for their next clue.
Correction: That is the WORST picture of somebody window washing I have seen. He perfectly blocked out Khairie’s eyes!
– They read that it is a pit stop. They must head to Star Pisces Deck 12.
ALLAN: Star Cruises is the leading cruise line in Asia Pacific. In a historic move, this is the first leg of the race to end on a cruise ship.
There’s always a catch in terms of sponsourship. All they have to do is enter an elevator and go up seven floors. Geez, shortest distance to the pit stop ever. I swear we see them go there in real time.
So tricky to find the elevator.
Ethan & Khairie start hopping in a rotation and yelling like monkeys.
If they yelled ‘base’ instead of yelling nonsensical monkey jibber jabber, Marc & Rovilson would sue them.
Allan and Colonel Sanders give Ethan & Khairie the good news.
FIRST PLACE: ETHAN & KHAIRIE
“Thank you for picking a bunch of mactors who only care about their careers rather than regular people who just want to win the race!”
Ah, it turns out they are tired of digital cameras. Now it is all about TV and video games.
– They have each won a Sony 46 inch TV and a PS3.
– Allan asks them the obvious question: Why didn’t the other teams follow the biggest Malaysian locals throughout the leg? They are as stumped as Wu is.
– Michelle & Claire choose Rags. What a surprise. There is no way they are going to do Flags.
FLAGS, Cord. Yes, fLags. How many times do we have to tell you? Your bitterness and prejudice is getting out of hand.
Everyone else will be pleased to note that we accepted their donation of the only nautical flag from their town–the yellow one.
– Dimple & Sunaina are fourth and choose Rags. Wendy & Alan are fifth and also pick Rags.
– Toquechard only needed two minutes to find the camera as he takes the pic, and runs out all excited.
Woops! Wrong way!
EDITOR’S NOTE: High definition? Yeah, right.
– Toquechard pivots and runs in the opposite direction. He nearly toppled over the camera operator.
– Michelle & Claire draw ‘3’, Sunaina & Dimple ‘4’, and Alan & Wendy ‘5’.
– Ivan & Hilda’s fans count down the last few seconds before they receive their clue. A horn goes off.
– Yani & Nadine’s penalty is sixteen minutes. Hussein & Natasha are out of there in seventh.
– Jess & Lani are now at the futsal field. Jess comments on the huge energy but the big embarrassment that they are last to show up. Manas & Sahil receive their clue in eighth.
That jersey probably holds the record for most amount of skin to conceal Jess’ body in the past five years.
Alright, Laci. You win.
Dammit, Bballchard. It is supposed to be an authentic window cleaning shot. You are not allowed to mug for the camera!
– They receive the clue for the pit stop.
Heather & Eve somehow hail a taxi to drive into the elevator, and onto the top deck.
– How well did the “Party Girls” do at the futsal task?
Only four minutes. Two balls got by them, but the rest were shotblocked.
– Yani & Nadine receive their clue in ninth at the futsal field, but Jess & Lani made up a ton of time.
SECOND PLACE: TOQUECHARD & BBALLCHARD
BBALLCHARD: We thought we were in last place.
I call bulls–t on that one, Bballchard.
– Ivan & Hilda are sixth to the Detour. They choose Rags. Or Drags if Hilda twists another knee.
Or if Te Jay is involved.
– Claire calls Michelle “re–rded” through the window before taking the picture. Wow, what a rebel.
– Jess reads that they must go to “Sweat n’ Ham Pier”. Yeah, not quite.
– Hussein & Natasha make one of the most presumptuous moves I have seen in TAR Asia history.
NATASHA: Once we were on the ferry we stayed in the car, we didn’t ask anybody. We saw a boat right there, and I said ‘I think that is it’ and just hope there is flags there.
Yeah, that is one objection I would definitely be making with my finger right now.
They are very lucky if that is indeed the right boat.
– Manas & Sahil are at the route marker in seventh. They choose Rags. Michelle & Claire hand in their picture. For some reason we have to hear a snapshot sound effect each time one is shown on screen.
Michelle is barely in the picture.
– Dimple & Sunaina trade in their photo.
Too much light.
– THIRD PLACE: MICHELLE & CLAIRE
How the. . . .
Are young American women really that much weaker than young Asian women?
FOURTH PLACE: DIMPLE & SUNAINA
ALLAN: Dimple & Sunaina, you are team number four.
JESUS! Four seasons into this and producers refuse to have any consistency.
Allan refers to them as ‘Dimple and Sunaina’ as if it is left to right, but their subtitle reverses the order.
I am assuming the one on the left is Dimple and the one on the right is Sunaina. I doubt Allan is going to mix it up by going right to left on us.
Long hair = Michelle; Dimple
Short hair = Claire; Sunaina
I have solved the riddle of young female Asian teams. Yani & Nadine and Manas & Sahil, I’ll figure you guys out soon enough.
– Alan and Hilda are searching for the cameras. Jess & Lani are eighth to the Detour. They choose Rags. Yani & Nadine also pick Rags.
– Nobody has been seen riding on the car ferry except Hussein & Natasha. They are still stuck in traffic.
You’re getting close to taking that boat with the guy reflected on the window, and taking it back to Jakarta if that’s what you’re asking, Natasha.
– Ivan coaches Hilda on how to operate the camera. Wendy has some of the worst window washing abilities I have ever seen.
Facial recognition software.
Wendy is not even touching the window with the brush there. She is too busy flirting with the cleaning guy! Hopefully Alan does not walk in on this!
– Lots of running around on the cruise ship. Reminds me of 9 Persons, 9 Hours, 9 Doors. Yani & Nadine, Sahil & Manas, and Jess & Lani are seventh, eighth, and ninth at Rags. They ask who has yet to show up. Manas (or Sahil) answer that the father and daughter have yet to be accounted for.
Traffic can let up anytime now while I snort cocaine off of my nose.
– Commercial. We know who is coming in last. Unless somebody exits the cruise ship out of sheer stupidity after the Detour.
– We resume. Ugh. More photo album time as we see pictures of Wendy and Ivan.
Phew, she stopped flirting with the cleaning guy just in time. Nothing to see here, Alan!
Nobody cares about your flexed muscles, Ivan. You’re trying too hard to look like Frank Mir.
FIFTH PLACE: ALAN & WENDY.
– Ivan & Hilda step onto the mat with a ferocious jump.
HILDA: YEE HAW!
IVAN: What’s up, brah?
HILDA: Woop woop wooooo.
For Hilda, there is no such thing as an indoor voice.
– She starts going on about some nonsense after her placement is revealed.
SIXTH PLACE: IVAN & HILDA
– The other three teams are shown completing the task.
“Asian women love a man who can clean, right?”
– Whoever takes the photo of Manas & Sahil tells the other to stop the photo shoot. Hussein & Natasha are last to the Detour. They choose Rags.
Hussein & Natasha may survive if Manas can stop staring at a picture of himself.
– Lani presents a picture of Jess washing the photo. You are not going to believe what happens here.
The window washer is totally checking out her butt!
– Nadine is having a tough time finding the correct window.
SEVENTH PLACE: SAHIL & MANAS
EIGHTH PLACE: JESS & LANI
Allan does indeed say the names from left to right because Lani is on the left. I now know which one is Sahil and who is Manas through this method. Manas is the better looking one.
– Yani is stumped. She has gone through every window as Natasha enters the ship as her dad cleans.
YANI: I’ve gone through every window. I thought she was on the side facing the pier but then again that was really stupid because I know all along she has been facing the sea.
She is overthinking it.
– Natasha is still searching. Could there really be suspense here?
Due to Yani’s migraine setting in, the answer is ‘yes’.
Wuh? I am still in this? That would be a real Disastra for Yani!
– Yani finds Nadine. She shrieks and runs away after the photo. How does Nadine react to the delay?
Supportive to her face.
But cruel behind her back.
– Natasha finds her father and takes the final photo for the album. Natasha thinks they are still in it because she does not see Yani anywhere.
Hussein is ready to take Yani & Nadine to the cleaners.
NADINE (in a confessional): I was like ‘what, where did they come from?’
If Yani gets bamboozled looking for directions on a cruise ship, imagine what will happen as the legs go on as they are in much more complex areas.
– Who shall be the first to present their photo and get the clue?
No freakin’ way.
Hussein in the membrane.
– Yani & Nadine are last to turn in their picture.
Nadine’s last smile.
Nadine thinks of all the people she could have picked who would be better with directions than Yani.
– The last two teams are both from Indonesia. Who does Indonesia love more? Hussein tries to lead them into the wrong direction, but Natasha corrects her and he blindly follows. Will the last second switch work?
NINTH PLACE: CRYING NATASHA & HUSSEIN
Natasha comments on their numerous stupid wrong turns throughout the day. Hussein comforts her. How could we make this a bit more awkward?
By making the last place team wait for Natasha to stop crying.
LAST PLACE: YANI & NADINE
ALLAN: Yani & Nadine. . .you are team number ten. I’m sorry to tell you that you are the last to arrive. What happened this leg?
CRYING NADINE: Oh god! I don’t think you want to know what happened!
CRYING YANI: It’s a string of bad luck. I don’t know what to call it.
Allan’s serious face when a team checks in last.
What happened: Yani screwed up.
ALLAN: I’m going to tell you two that this is a pre-determined non-elimination round so you two are still in this race. However, if you don’t come in first on the next leg you will incur a 30 minute penalty. Lick those wounds and get some air, and I’ll see you very soon.
Allan’s happy face when he reveals you are safe.
– Yani & Nadine’s strategy to survive next leg?
YANI: Praying to God.
Uh oh. And we go to credits. End of round one. Such an odd premiere.
Hopefully you get enough air by the time I see you for the next blog!
EDITOR’S NOTE: The good news is that we only have two more non-elimination legs for the rest of the season. I am glad a leg that essentially went nowhere did not eliminate anyone.
Rank the Legs
1) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia -> George Town, Penang, Malaysia
Running backwards up a narrow staircase at the starting line? Counting steps at Batu Caves? Driving yourself to a route marker that was aired just a few months ago in the US version, and directly acknowledging it?
Refusing to properly explain a soccer penalty shootout task?
Creating a Detour where ten teams all pick the same Detour where one member pretended to clean a window and the other took a picture?
All of the teams finishing within an hour of each other?
Sorry, that was Bethany Hamilton ranking this leg.
I am glad nobody was eliminated because nothing really happened this round. I applaud producers for trying two unique tasks and a unique visual for the starting line, but re-using Kuala Lumpur and Penang so soon again made it feel stale.
Not to mention my ears burn from hearing Amazing Grace. By the way, did teams ever start forming relationships with each other? I feel like we learned almost nothing about everyone other than a few occupations and country of origin.
Nothing very laugh out loud funny either other than Hilda becoming the new Terri and Jess picking up locals that do NOT like being used.
Losing in your home town is always fun to watch, but seeing you finish in first place for that round comes off as boring as Tammy & Victor. Sorry Ethan & Khairie.
Maybe I just have something against having any more rounds in that whole peninsula. Los Angeles, northeastern China, and the Malay peninsula will always be under fire in these blogs.
I will praise them for doing a Roadblock and a Detour in the season premiere. Lots of tasks squished into one episode, come to think of it.