EPISODE BLOG #296
“Our Taxi Drivers Are Greater Than Your God”
CHINESE TAIPEI – INDONESIA – NOT LAOS – THAILAND – MALAWI – DENMARK – GERMANY – BELGIUM – NETHERLANDS – PANAMA – UNITED STATES
Previously on TAR: In Belgium, teams got some shocking news. At the Roadblock, Marcus burned rubber. At the Detour, Jeremy & Sandy waffled while Andy & Tommy pedaled ahead. When Ernie & Cindy lost their lead once again, Andy & Tommy won their sixth leg of the race and Bill & Cathi’s journey came to an end.
Tonight these four teams race for a spot in the Final Three; who will be eliminated next?
NUMBER OF TIMES MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
ANDY & TOMMY 8
AMANI & MARCUS 7
BILL & CATHI 5
ERNIE & CINDY 4
JUSTIN & JENNIFER 3
LIZ & MARIE 3
JEREMY & SANDY 2
LAURENCE & ZAC 2
ETHAN & JENNA 1
RON & BILL 1
KAYLANI & LISA 1
Phil introduces us to Belgium as the country that has hosted the World Fair ten times and how the Atomium was the centrepiece of the 1958 Expo. It is the start of the eleventh leg.
Everyone looks like they are standing at an awkward angle when they are next to the Atomium.
Andy & Tommy won the last leg of the race at an unspecified time. At the pit stop while the other teams got the privilege of sleeping in the Atomium, Andy & Tommy, winners of Ford Mustangs on the last leg, got a chance to customize them online.
I would personally prefer to sleep with somebody in the Atomium rather than customize a car. Forget the Mile High Club—how about the UNESCO Belgian World Heritage Site Club.
Especially when half of the teams who win a car on Survivor or TAR have to sell it due to the luxury tax in American gameshow winnings.
TOMMY: Dude, that’s a good looking mustang!
ANDY: Dude, my mustang is gonna be dope.
“I’m gonna name my next kid Mustang!”
I love how they are trying to market mustangs towards the broke ass vagabond hippie market. Because if there’s any demographic that loves excess and luxury, it’s dudes in their mid-20s who appreciate what little they have!
PHIL: Now they’ll depart first at 3:46am.
Who is in that box?!
ANDY: Using the costumes in the package, dress up as two famous comic strip characters.
And yes, there’s only one classic Belgian comic strip.
And it ain’t Mafalda. She’s Spanish, y’all.
When I went to a Comic Con in Barcelona, I saw a huge world map and all of the locations Rin Tin Tin had visited in the comics.
PHIL: The Adventures of Rin Tin has sold over 350 million copies and has been published in more than eighty languages.
For the first time ever, TAR uses footage of Wikipedia to explain a task.
Teams must now dress up as two detectives from the comic.
“It’s a moustache kind of morning.”
The detectives go by one of three names.
The guy on the left looks like Bryan Cranston.
Dupont & Dupond.
A family company.
I personally prefer Brothers Johnson. Too bad they aren’t in the comics solving the mystery of Strawberry Letter 22.
“Can I tickle your moustache for the camera?”
Then they’ll have to locate the mural in this picture and tell Tintin what they have learned to receive their next clue.
He never runs out of blue sweaters.
You know what is Tintin’s biggest adventure comic competition?
The Adventures of Bopper Mintonton.
Tommy says they just have to make one more leg to be in the finals.
And their first task?
“I don’t know if we’re going to make finals, Andy.”
Yes, putting on a buttoned-up shirt is their biggest challenge to date.
I don’t mean to brag, but yes I have been familiar with Tintin since childhood.
ANDY: He has sweet hair.
They keep gazing at the picture.
If this were Grindr, Andy would definitely be swiping right on this photo.
ANDY: Three in the morning and we’ve got to solve a riddle. Comics are not my specialty.
And neither are moustaches.
Andy & Tommy are dropped off in mandatory taxis given that it has a red and yellow flag on it. I assumed Brussels would be a safe enough place to call for a cab in the middle of the night, but apparently not.
Or maybe regular cab companies may not want to carry Rin Tintin characters through town at four o’ clock in the morning without being hesitant.
Andy & Tommy ask a random local if he knows his comic books.
Somebody isn’t up for a late night trivia challenge.
Although parking outside of a Pizza Hut is probably the best spot to find people on the street at four in the morning.
Naturally the next step is to find a group of locals who are drinking booze and smoking weed downtown.
They are of no help. They find another local who decides to completely fuck with them.
MAN: Somehow related to Charlie Chaplin.
Ah yes. Charlie Chaplin. Belgium’s comic book character who definitely isn’t a real American man.
The Great Waffler.
Jeremy & Sandy are second to depart at 4:20am.
You would think Andy & Tommy would be more of the type to depart at 4:20am, but the couple from northern California would be another likely suspect.
JEREMY: Dress up as two famous comic strip characters. Wow.
SANDY: Wow. OK.
SANDY (confessional): We never thought we would make it this far. We had a couple of really bad legs, but after the last two we’re happy with what we did. So we’re gonna see if we can make it to the Final Three. That’s our goal.
I am also shocked that the young athletic level-headed and fit dating couple would make it this far either.
It’s. . .
Just. . .
Something. . .
That. . .
Rarely. . .
Happens at this point in the series as of late.
SANDY: Honey, you like me as a man?
JEREMY: Yeah, I like it.
They really are from San Francisco.
Sandy has an easier time putting on men’s clothing than Jeremy.
Just another day at the office.
JEREMY: You look like a doorhop man. . .and that sounded weird.
You can pinpoint the exact moment where Jeremy became confused about his own sexuality.
Andy & Tommy enter an Internet cafe.
I wonder how a local would react if this is what he saw at an Internet cafe at four in the morning.
TOMMY: Look up Charlie Chaplin.
Is this before or after they look up the latest X Games results?
BREAKING NEWS: Two Amish guys use Internet for first time.
They look him up. I am blown away they don’t know Charlie Chaplin. I exaggerated a bit with my shock that all five teams didn’t know the Atomium, but Charle Chaplin is an EXTREMELY recognizable figure in American history.
TOMMY: Charlie Chaplin. Comic actor and film director.
Well there is the word ‘comic’ in there.
“Now can we look up the new Burton snowboard?
Ernie & Cindy start in third at 4:35am.
The box is nearly as big as Cindy.
CINDY: We always come out of the gate really strong, but we always make some type of error and lose our first place right before the pit stop.
I don’t know why Ernie is making that face during the whole confessional, but whatever. His face doesn’t move a muscle.
And I don’t know why Ernie is running down the street like he’s Austin Powers. What a goofball.
They are in the taxi.
ERNIE: Nice moustache.
Oh. My. God. This is the best.
It’s like she is ready to start investigating into the crimes of Yagami Light!
Jeremy & Sandy ask a couple of locals.
JEREMY: Look look. Right here.
SANDY: Let’s ask people if they’ve seen him.
They ask people.
LOCALS: You don’t know who this is?
SANDY: No, we’re trying to find—
“Not Charlie Chaplin; we think it might be somebody Belgian for some reason.”
Andy & Tommy find Tintin on Wikipedia.
ANDY: We still don’t know who we are.
TOMMY: I think we’re still Charle Chaplin.
Remember that episode where Tintin goes to America and is subpoenad to appear before Senator McCarthy and is exiled with his buddy Charlie for being un-American and sympathizing with Soviet Russian ideals, and they have to go to Switzerland for several decades to avoid extradition? That episode is one of my favourites!
Jeremy & Sandy are with the same locals as before.
SANDY: Who are we? What comic book strip?
“Who am I?” Sandy is more like my uncle with dimentia at this moment.
“Who am I? What country is this? Where are my pants?” are amongst his most common questions.
I bet this local was not expecting TinTin Trivia from American tourists at four o’ clock in the morning.
JEREMY: And we’re detectives?
THE OTHER LOCAL: Yeah.
This guy has been talking to Jeremy & Sandy for only two minutes and he already looks bored.
Ernie & Cindy ask a teenager who is out and about if he knows who they are.
Is it just me or is that kid REALLY eager to score some weed?
The guy (who pronounces it as ‘TonTon’) writes down the name for Ernie & Cindy.
Maybe he thought it was JonTron.
CINDY: Do we have names?
WEED TEEN: Yes, but I am afraid I do not know them.
I love it when people speak English as a second language always speak in an extremely polite manner.
He should have said their names are “Miyagi and Meeyagi”.
Jeremy & Sandy are still hanging out with the two dudes.
SANDY: Where is he?
LOCAL: It’s to the left.
JEREMY: OK, thanks guys.
SANDY: Thank you so much.
That belt is not serving its purpose.
“Hey Sandy, who knew the Belgian kid dressed up as a ska-loving skateboarder from Long Beach in 2001 would be our greatest source of information for this task.”
Ernie & Cindy ask another local if they have names.
I like how instead of detectives asking “have you seen this man?” they are asking “have you seen us with this man?”
Andy & Tommy are in the car talking about how they are Charlie Chaplin.
TOMMY: I think we’re English comic actor and film director.
ANDY: And you think there’s a connection between the two?
But I think it’s Tommy’s best guess.
Amani & Marcus are last to depart at 4:40am. Let’s hear the first sentence from each of the two racers.
AMANI: Dress up as two famous comic strip characters.
MARCUS: This leg of the race will be a conference championship in football terms. I played in three conference championships. I didn’t get past that, but the plan is to beat one team and go to the Super Bowl. We’re going to the Super Bowl, right?
Marcus can’t even go one sentence without referencing the NFL. My god, editors love pushing his glory days.
Meanwhile with Jenna Lewis editors love pushing her glory holes.
MARCUS’ NFL REFERENCES COUNTER: 17
“Route Info! Before putting on these costumes, Marcus must go on a soliloquy about the NFL. He may choose any subject or analogy that he wishes.
They put on the costumes.
One of these two loves having a moustache.
Marcus teases Amani about her moustache before Amani teases her back. They are laughing so much I can’t even understand a word they’re saying.
Amani is self-conscious about her moustache.
Is Marcus about to sneeze or something?
MARCUS: Stop! I don’t want the moustache to come off!
I wonder if there is a thirty minute penalty at the pit stop if your moustache comes off at any point during the task.
Andy & Tommy confirm the location of the mural with their cab driver before getting out.
What kind of place is this busy at five o’ clock in the morning?
Ernie & Cindy are out walking.
Ernie is on his way to Illinois Avenue.
They find somebody who doesn’t want to sign a waiver.
Amani & Marcus find a pizza shop open at five o’ clock to get help from a couple of dudes who tell them they are Johnson and Jonson.
“Johnson and Jonson? They were two teammates of mine during my prime years! They rivaled the Sanders brothers!”
It’s like a showdown for the pit stop as everyone runs to Tintin.
All he has to do is raise his eyebrow and he would be great as Belgian Phil Keoghan.
Suck it, Gilles.
JEREMY: I see him!
JEREMY: Run! As fast as you can!
Ernie & Cindy are running. Andy & Tommy are too. Amani & Marcus get directions.
Andy & Tommy are a little discombobulated here.
Jeremy & Sandy are first to TinTin.
SANDY: How are you? We’re Johnson and Jonson and we are detectives.
“And you are. . .”
“. . .Neil Patrick Harris? That doesn’t sound right.”
“I’m so overrated I belong in an episode of FRIENDS.”
NOTE: I had no idea about this, but the live action version of TinTin was produced by Steven Spielberg and was released in theatres two weeks after this episode aired. Surprisingly, no footage or trailers from the movie was used during the episode. I guess it isn’t Big Brother.
Or Jack and Jill.
SANDY: And you are TinTin.
(TINTIN silently hands over the clue.)
JEREMY: Thank you so much.
JEREMY & SANDY: Fly to Panama City, Panama!
“That ain’t baaaad.”
Phil says teams must travel by train to Amsterdam then fly from Amsterdam to Panama City. The flight is over 4, 000 miles.
After taking a train, teams will find an unaired clue at the train station in Schipol Airport. I guess it was too boring for TV.
Once in Panama City, they must go to Chagres National Park to the Puerto El Corotu and ride in a boat up the Chagres river to the village of Parara Puru in the Chagres National Park.
Building a bridge across the ocean seems much easier than I thought.
So many towers. Their local Papers certainly helped with those investments.
“San Diego Chagres?”
Sounds more like a sound a cat makes.
Something tells me this family doesn’t live in the village.
Jeremy & Sandy exit.
Cindy introduces herself and Ernie to TinTin.
CINDY: We are detectives that are stupid and you are the smart detective that helps us solve all of our cases.
“We are Kaylani & Lisa and you are Ryan Storms!”
I have yet to see TinTin refer to Johnson & Jonson as morons.
Cindy jumps up and down and her arm twitches when they read Panama is their next destination. Ernie & Cindy overhear Andy & Tommy thinking they are Charlie Chaplin.
I don’t recall Charlie Chaplin ever having a Jesus beard.
What’s funny is that the fourth nickname for the detectives is “Chaplin and Chaplan” which TinTin would have also accepted.
Tommy submits two more guesses.
TOMMY: Buster Keaton? Harold Lloyd?
Ernie is finding this delicious.
I like Andy & Tommy’s next few guesses.
“Stockton & Hornacek?”
“Jackson & Jackson?”
“Osmond & Osmond?”
“If you come back and you still can’t figure out, Snowy is gonna gnaw your balls off.”
Cindy is puzzled as to how Andy & Tommy couldn’t figure out they were comic book characters.
CINDY: They thought we were Charlie Chaplin???????
“I’m surprised they didn’t submit Hitler & Hitler as their next guess.”
Amani & Marcus also know they are Johnson and Jonson to receive their next clue.
For the second round in three legs, Andy & Tommy are behind all three teams.
Andy & Tommy are back on Wikipedia looking up TinTin characters.
What suggestions do they see?
“I don’t know, Andy. We’re either Thomson and Thompson or “I don’t acknowledge your existence either, don’t worry about it” or “Anti-Anti Islam Counter-Manifestation in Brussels on 2007-09-11”.
Andy & Tommy figure they must be the Thompson twins.
Ernie & Cindy casually stroll into Amani & Marcus and report Andy & Tommy’s slip-up.
Johnson and Jonson and Dupont and Dupond unite!
MARCUS: We got them, and we need them to slip up! It just shows them they’re not invincible after all!
“We need them to slip up just like my moustache!”
“Amani disagrees with me, but doesn’t this leg feel just like a conference championship to you guys?”
Andy & Tommy have taken such a long time that now the sun has come up as they give the correct answer.
TinTin is proud.
“Now that all of the detectives are being sent to Panama, I can finally start my illegal gambling ring!”
“Feel free to drop by whenever you need a few ounces of the Snowy.”
Andy fist pumps that they’re heading towards the finish line.
Andy & Tommy arrive at the train station with the other teams.
“I believe there are imposters on this platform!”
They board the train.
“I hope they serve their finest breakfast cornmeal on this journey.”
“I’ve got some role-playing ideas in the future.”
SANDY: Since everybody is on the same train and same flight and arriving at the exact same time in Panama City just means we can’t make mistakes so we just have to be perfect from here on out or we’re going home.
They should wear these costumes all the way to Atlanta.
There is going to be a lot of confusion to sort out once they finish this race.
Teams are suddenly in Panama City.
Somewhere the Godlewskis are wearing twenty layers of clothing.
What the hell is that?
Things not the Panama Canal.
SANDY: Taxi, taxi!
Pay attention to the guy on the right.
“Dafuq are you?”
Even Panama has Subway.
Andy & Tommy are first into a cab. Their taxi driver very enthusiastically welcomes them to Panama.
He starts leading a chant.
SANDY: Rapido, rapido.
JEREMY: Porto Cortu.
SANDY: We need amigo.
JEREMY: Fast as possible. Andale Andale.
Andale Andale mami EI EI whoa oh, what’s happenin’ tonight. If the head right Jeremy there every night.
I was not expecting Jeremy to make a Nelly reference.
JEREMY: We’re gonna try and catch a boat.
Catch a boat? That’s a reference to—nah, just kidding. I’m just fuckin’ with ya. That’s not a reference to anything.
JEREMY It’s beautiful here.
When only four teams remain, my fingers are going to cramp bad with transcribing Jeremy & Sandy this week.
Ernie & Cindy hire a cab and shortly followed by Amani & Marcus.
Marcus tells Amani about a gift he received.
MARCUS: I saw this dude in the hall, gave me some mestizo rocks.
Amani is not thrilled by Marcus’ new hobby of collecting rocks.
MARCUS: He wanted me to give it to Andy & Tommy for bad luck, but I forgot to give it to them.
AMANI: Oh Lord.
“It’s what they give to the local donkeys to make them sterile.”
Competent at the race but impotent in life.
MARCUS: They get the bad luck, we’re going to throw them out the window.
After beating Andy & Tommy twice all season, Marcus has lost so much faith in his ability to beat them that he is relying on magical rocks to eliminate a team.
“I used to throw rocks back in my day.”
Oh shut up, Chris.
Marcus chucks the rocks out the window.
“My work here is done.”
That’s right. Marcus curses Andy & Tommy with rocks. That is what will get them knocked out of the race.
MARCUS: No bad luck here.
I wonder if it’s the same technique Marcus used to give himself an extra boost in each of the three conference championships.
We skip ahead to night time.
JEREMY: Andy & Tommy are right in front of us.
SANDY: Shocker. They’re always in first.
JEREMY: Give it all you got.
So Sandy & Jeremy jump into the first boat and Andy & Tommy are in the second boat.
JEREMY: We pick one. Let’s go. Let’s go, Sand.
SANDY: I am.
SANDY (confessional): We arrived here second behind Andy & Tommy. Kinda neck and neck. We did get into the boat before they did.
“I shall take your hand, my lady.”
JEREMY: This is awesome. Can’t see anything.
It’s true. You can’t see anything.
SANDY: It’s pitch black out. You can’t see a single thing.
Except for this half naked man standing right in front of Sandy’s face. This is her only view for the night should she choose to face forward.
Amani & Marcus and Ernie & Cindy arrive almost simultaneously. Marcus notes that they “must” be off the grid and in the woods.
What tipped you off, Marcus? Seeing people in traditional clothing from pre-colonial times?
Ernie notes there are big logs in the water and hopes they don’t get stuck. Guess who gets stuck?
JEREMY: We’re stuck. Are you frickin’ kidding me right now?
SANDY: We just crashed our boat onto a sandbar and we’re stuck. The boys just passed us.
JEREMY: This is not good.
I think they crashed into the magic rocks that Marcus threw out the window.
SANDY: We’re done.
Not if you get out and help push. . .
Commercial break. We resume.
SANDY: We just crashed our boat onto a sandbar, and Andy & Tommy passed us. I’m sure there’s another boat about to pass us.
(They push the boat.)
SANDY: OK, get back in the boat.
Andy & Tommy arrive at the village. Phil jumps in to tell us that teams will sign up for a departure time twenty minutes apart the next morning to get a tattoo.
I hope it’s a permanent one on the face.
Mike Tyson style.
NOTE #1: Andy & Tommy departed the pit stop in first place, and completed the TinTin task behind everybody else.
NOTE #2: An equalizer at the airport allowed them to be on the same flight as all other teams.
NOTE #3: Jeremy & Sandy got into the boat ahead of them but their driver crashed, allowing them to have a twenty to forty minute lead on every team going into the next day.
So for anyone who cries about Andy & Tommy having severe bad luck by the end of the episode needs to file this info away because it sure as hell becomes relevant later.
In the meantime, enjoy this traditional music.
Jeremy & Sandy say nothing as they sign up for the 7:20am appointment.
Amani & Marcus enter the village.
MARCUS: I think we’re about to get a crash course in head-shrinking.
I think that’s being saved for the Papua New Guinea leg, Marcus.
Amani & Marcus book the third appointment while Ernie & Cindy book the final one.
I don’t know why Ernie & Cindy get the reprieve of starting the same time as Amani & Marcus.
SANDY: Tommy and Andy do have luck on their side. I don’t know what it is about them, but they always seem to finish first.
Marcus believes he and Amani are the team that could topple Andy & Tommy.
You know who doesn’t have luck on his side?
Marcus and the tiny mosquito netting.
Cindy is stressed because she hates being in last place with a forty minute deficit.
I’m surprised Cindy isn’t more stressed out by the idea of having a tattoo on her body. Something tells me she isn’t the type to have them on her body.
What the hell is Ernie holding? It looks to be some sort of power orb.
The sun rises on Embera Village.
THEY’VE BEEN DRUMMING THE WHOLE NIGHT?! THEY’RE PRACTICALLY SLAVES!
May as well kill forty minutes with dancing.
Tommy is having a helluva time with his shoe today.
Andy & Tommy say their night in the mosquito net was a top three experience for them.
I don’t know why we are getting a flashback to something that happened thirty seconds earlier, but whatever.
Tommy didn’t know if the tattoos were going to be real or fake.
TOMMY: Ah! It burns!
Yeah, that looks a bit painful.
“This isn’t even the tattoo yet. I just wanted to scratch them with this random artifact for the hell of it.”
Tommy roots on the musician playing the flute who is likely running out of saliva at this point.
Ah. The tattoo contains their next clue. San Francisco, California! We haven’t gone back to the US on the penultimate leg since season eleven!
Oh. It’s in Panama City.
Wait a second, the San Francisco Bay Towers are the two towers relatively close together with a green top on them? Geez, I wonder what the Roadblock will be.
We get our second clue box of the season.
The locals proceed to charge at Sandy and abduct her.
Marcus dances during the abduction.
Andy & Tommy are back on the boat.
Now that it’s daylight, they can finally see their driver’s diamond-shaped boxers.
“That tattoo task was pure skill to preserve our lead, man.”
Jeremy & Sandy get their tattoos mostly in pure silence.
I wonder how many seconds it took Jeremy & Sandy to realize they weren’t receiving home field advantage for this leg.
Marcus gives himself, Amani, Ernie, and Cindy a pep talk.
MARCUS: Pressure is when you don’t know what you’re doing. . .That’s pressure. Think about it. We’ve been here before. We know what we’re doing. We’ve got this.
That’s right. They’ve been here before. Both teams have gone to Panama City, stayed in a village on the outskirts overnight, and rallied from a forty minute deficit. They do it every six months!
“And we didn’t even have magical rocks to curse our competition with. We’re professionals at this! We are. . .the Eli Manning of comebacks. I don’t know how that analogy applies, but it does.”
Jeremy’s tattoo is finished.
JEREMY: Thank you.
Amani & Marcus and Ernie & Cindy are abducted next for their tattoos. Marcus says the fake tattoo is a lot easier to get than his real one.
Ernie & Cindy leave the task in third place despite it being a fixed challenge. Both teams should have been released at the same time after getting their tattoos.
It makes it worse when Amani & Marcus were third to sign up for their appointment last night. Again, this is another luck component to the race that nobody will discuss online after the episode.
Tommy signals his approval for the diamond-shaped boxers.
Andy & Tommy tell their cab driver to go to San Francisco Bay. So do Jeremy & Sandy.
SANDY: You see taxis up here?
JEREMY: San Francisco Bay.
SANDY: Our goal today is to beat one team. That’s all we have to do. Don’t care if we don’t win, just don’t want to get fourth place.
Ernie & Cindy find a due in a Barcelona FC jersey. Man, that team has fans worldwide.
Ernie & Cindy are 60/40 confident in making the finals as they catch a cab. I don’t know how they came up with that percentage.
Amani & Marcus are last into a cab.
MARCUS: The Comeback Kids are battling back. . .we don’t stay in last. We don’t do that. We don’t know what staying in last means.
“We literally ask Liz & Marie what staying in last means.”
Andy & Tommy are first to San Francisco Bay Towers. It’s a Roadblock. No rock-paper-scissors game here.
The chances of it not involving heights is around zero percent.
PHIL: Panama has always been an international crossroads.
“See you at the crossroads,
Where international exports won’t be lone-lay!”
I was not expecting multiple Catalonia references in the span of thirty seconds of airtime.
Teams now have the chance to cross the Panama City skyline.
PHIL: One team member must get the nerve to walk a tightrope thirty-five storeys above this rapidly expanding city.
“What’s a tightrope?”
They must bravely make their way from one tower to another, pick up their clue, then make their way by facing the tightrope one more time.
This task is going to take some core strength.
Jeremy & Sandy’s cab pulls up.
JEREMY: Oh, oh, here we go.
SANDY: Is that the boys? We caught up to Andy and Tommy.
Jeremy & Sandy open the clue.
SANDY: Roadblock. I have to do it. Walk along a sixty foot cable strung between the rooftops.
JEREMY: Oh my god.
SANDY: I’m scared of heights. I’m scared to death. I am terrified of heights, but I have to do this Roadblock. Jeremy has done all of his Roadblocks. He’s done six, and I’ve only done five.
There isn’t much choice as to who can do this Roadblock. Luckily Andy will have no more jealousy in his heart.
SANDY: Oh god. Scared of heights, guys.
ANDY: Are you?
SANDY: Oh yeah.
You know who isn’t scared? The snowboarder and surfer.
JEREMY: Sandy! Don’t look down! Don’t worry.
“There’s a bunch of Adam Sandler DVDs at the bottom! Trust me, you don’t want to see ’em!”
Or just don’t look at anything at all.
Andy is nearly sprinting on the cable for the tightrope.
“Who’s got jealousy in his heart now, bitch?”
TOMMY: How was it?
ANDY: Ah, it’s mellow. We’ll be out of here before you know it. Hey, Low Five!
Smack that, Tommy.
JEREMY: You got this!
I don’t think she does, Jeremy.
Jeremy gives Borat thumbs to further boost Sandy’s inner strength.
TOMMY: Sandy is not looking happy.
“I don’t think she’ll be asking for a low five at the halfway point.”
Andy looks down.
ANDY: Check that out. That’s cool looking down there!
I really hope he’s referring to his ground and not, you know, his penis.
“I looked down when you’re not supposed to look down during a heights challenge! I’m so badass!!!!!”
Andy takes advantage of the echo-y nature of heights.
Andy completes the Roadblock.
JEREMY: Don’t look down.
SANDY: I’m scared to death, but I’ve got to do it.
JEREMY: There you go. Yep. Yep. You’re doing great.
SANDY: Oh my god.
JEREMY: Focus on the wire ahead. You’re okay. You can keep moving.
SANDY: Oh. Oh god.
JEREMY: Keep moving. Yes.
I love the special tunnel vision editing of this shot.
It’s like they used the magnifying glass from Sim City to show Sandy’s suggested field of vision.
As somebody who screams whenever I am doing anything heights related, I feel for Sandy here.
Andy? Not so much.
ANDY: I got to mess with her a little bit.
This is the moment which really pushes people over the edge who were already in the anti-Andy & Tommy camp while this season was airing.
ANDY: Check out the view, Sandy! It’s a little wobbly!
This is similar to Herb & Nate psyching out Mika a little bit to make her go from 95% certain to 100% certain that she wasn’t going to go down the waterslide.
Here Sandy is halfway through. She’s not gonna quit, obviously. I know people view this scene as nothing more than a “dick move” by Andy.
I understand that people don’t like it when you mess with people’s biggest fears, but I can see Andy & Tommy who don’t think there’s anything wrong with that because they won’t mind it when others mess with their fears.
On one hand, yeah, the audience views TAR as a way for people to challenge themselves in a way they never really get a chance to in their every day lives, and having contestants who try to stop people from doing so is viewed as a dick-ish move.
On the other hand, the contestants know each other well enough where everybody is in on the joke and knows no malicious intent is at play here.
The audience overreacted a little bit here.
JEREMY: You’ve got it. Nice. You’ve got it. Awesome. Good job! Good job!
(SANDY grabs the clue.)
JEREMY: That looked perfect. Excellent.
SANDY: Whooo. Oh my god.
Andy & Tommy read their clue back at the bottom.
ANDY: Success in Suez led him to Panama.
Phil says teams must figure out their clue is sending them to the Ferdinand De Lesseps Statue where they will find their next clue.
Sitting Bull is nowhere to be found.
I haven’t seen such a tall chicken statue since the time I hung out in Kakariko Village.
The clue box’s rare cameo is done.
There must have been more info in the clue because Andy & Tommy ask a driver to take them to The Rooster.
“You boys wanna convert to Scientology?”
Andy & Tommy start making chicken noises.
JEREMY: Keep going. Keep pushing. Almost there. Whooo! Yeah. Yeah.
SANDY: It went well. I did it. I’m so proud of myself.
“It’s a lot easier when snowboarders aren’t being dicks!”
Ernie & Cindy are third to the Roadblock; Amani & Marcus are last. Amani and Cindy are doing it.
Sandy senses the presence of the other teams.
Sandy reunites with Jeremy.
JEREMY: Good job.
We get to see the full clue.
JEREMY: Find him beneath a rooster to find their next clue.
Jeremy & Sandy ask their cab driver.
SANDY: You know a rooster? Cockadoodledoo!
I should note all three taxi drivers are talking to them.
Ernie sees the situation play out down below.
LOCAL: I know the rooster.
SANDY: Where? Can you tell him?
(LOCAL tells DRIVER.)
SANDY: Oh no. He’s gonna tell these guys. Marcus and Amani’s taxi driver was there as well as Cindy and Ernie’s. All of the taxi drivers worked together and discussed how to get to the next route marker where we’re going to.
JEREMY: These taxis know exactly where we’re going.
Jeremy knows they just saved a lot of time for the other two teams.
CINDY: Holy balls.
Cindy is trying really hard not to curse on TV right now.
Cindy is shaking all over the damn place. It’s hilarious.
If balls were involved, they’d be sweatin’ up a storm right now.
Speaking of balls, we see a couple of dudes beneath a giant cock.
Andy & Tommy make more chicken noises as they spot the statue.
You can judge the maturity of the individual by what they say when they have this view of the statues.
Andy & Tommy grab the clue.
TOMMY: I love shaved ice.
It’s the only shaved of anything that Andy happens to like.
It’s a Detour. This is their opportunity to work in two of Panama’s oldest trades.
Of course, Phil won’t participate in either of them.
In Filet, teams must travel to the largest fish market in Panama. They must deliver exact amounts of seafoods to different vendors scattered throughout the market. Once they have delivered all of the fish, the fishmonger will give them their next clue.
Followed by a pancake dance.
No need for deodorant here. Everyone would take your word for it if you said you put it on today.
I hope he uses those knives for good rather than evil.
He looks more like an Italian-American in NYC than he does a fishmonger in La Ciudad de Panama.
In Sole, teams are required to practice a skill that has been around for over four thousand years. Working with a single piece of leather for the sole and straps, they must make one pair of sandals. Once the cobbler thinks they have the perfect fit, he will hand them their next clue.
Why is only one letter lower case? People are going to think they sell tacos.
If it’s not being used for a sandal, it’s being used for a baseball glove.
Roadblock: Who wants to be a foot model?
“Finally, a Detour that comes with a cobbler.”
I know which task Dr. Zoidberg would choose.
That cobbler sure has back problems.
Andy & Tommy choose Sole.
Cindy completes the first half. Ernie praises her technique.
CINDY: Amani, walk like a duck. It’ll help.
Marcus says Amani is far more fearless than he is when it comes to heights.
“I just wouldn’t look down. Yep yep yep!”
Ernie & Cindy are at the bottom reading their clue.
Cindy is reading the clue when. . .
“Need a third teammate?”
Ernie & Cindy’s driver already knows where to go.
Amani completes the Roadblock. She said she visited her kids at each end. I don’t know how she would feel about her kids dangling precariously over thirty-five storeys high, but whatever.
Jeremy & Sandy are in their cab.
JEREMY: It’s right here. Straight ahead. I think we should do shoes.
SANDY: OK. Salsipuedes Market.
Andy & Tommy are at Salsipuedes Market. They start tracing the feet.
Ernie & Cindy are third to the cock statue. They decide to do Sole as well.
The sandals are meant for dancing?!
Ernie & Cindy go back to their Barcelona FC taxi driver Juan.
ERNIE: Juan is muy bien. Numero uno Juan!
Not numero freakin’ doce.
Ernie & Cindy see Jeremy & Sandy’s taxi.
JEREMY: Salsipuedes Market.
DRIVER: Pueden estar aqui?
(JEREMY & SANDY hop out.)
SANDY: This is it?
JEREMY: Tacho Cutarras. It’s not here.
It looks more like they went to the dress rehearsal for the final task of the episode.
Ernie notes Jeremy & Sandy look very lost.
Amani & Marcus are last to the rooster and decide to do Filet. A wise move when the three leading teams have chosen the same task. They are unintentionally making a smart move.
Ice Shaver approves.
Ernie & Cindy jump out. Jeremy & Sandy are there too.
JEREMY: Here we go. Here we go.
The three teams are working on the challenge.
SANDY: Here. You start cutting these out. I’ll do that.
Andy asks his newly sandaled friend if he ever “catches the waves”.
That man definitely has prototypical surfer’s body and has the perfect build for it. He definitely surfs.
Lapras ain’t got nothin’ on him.
JEREMY: This is hard. This is hard.
SANDY: Yeah, we’re having a really rough time.
Amani & Marcus get out and tell their driver to wait. They keep asking for King’s Seafood and figure they must be lost.
Very lost. Less starin’ and more cobblin’, Jeremy!
Amani & Marcus don’t want anything to do with this task. They exit right away and try to find Filet. That decision is surprising because they are losing very precious time here.
Amani & Marcus return to their driver.
Commercial break. We resume. They agree shoes will likely be too hard.
The other three teams continue making shoes.
SANDY: This lace is ready.
Ernie will not be making sandals in the future.
Andy isn’t enjoying this task as much as the Roadblock. Too bad he can’t mess with Sandy over her fear of sandals.
Speaking of Sandy, somebody online has a complaint about her in the episode.
Wow. Somebody spent a whole hour dedicated to observing Sandy’s breasts while the episode aired nearly seven years ago.
I thought only Frankie from TAR Canada 4 ever had to experience that. Those were REALLY fun times for the Funniest Complaints blog.
Let’s now see the offending attire in question.
That’s considered a low-cut top?!?! Do you know what a low-cut top is?! And this is the most ‘offensive’ screencap I have been able to pull so far.
SANDY: K. Start drilling holes. Hurry babe.
Ernie & Cindy mess up the loops on their laces. They have to make a new sandal.
Amani & Marcus talk to their driver again. He admits to having called the other taxi drivers and assumed everyone was going to the same spot.
Can’t blame a dude for wanting to chill with his homies while on the job.
Amani & Marcus are at the fish market and start delivering fish to the marked stalls.
Amani delivers her army of barracuda.
“When you grow up, you’re all gonna be Miami Dolphins!”
“Don’t touch my scale, bro.”
Amani explains each stand only wants a specific number of pounds of each species of fish.
Andy & Tommy keep checking in with their dude to make sure he is having a good time with the sandal making. The cobbler checks out their work.
Andy rips open his final clue of the episode. Let’s see if he has learned anything after his many many many clue opening fails.
Nope. Andy still fucking sucks at opening clues after eleven episodes of play. Blame the sweat and leathery hands.
There we go. Andy finally gets it open.
Phil says teams must now go to Cathedral Square and figure out that the name of the pit stop, Panama Viejo, is printed on one of the tamborito dancers in either word form or picture form.
A decisive lead means Andy & Tommy are well on their way to their seventh victory in just ten rounds of play.
Those letters blend in well with the decorations on the dress.
That picture is probably easier.
I swear these are the same dancers Jeremy & Sandy ran into just moments ago.
SANDY: This is going really difficultly and Tommy and Andy have already left. Shocker.
Sounds more like a word Liz & Marie would invent when frustrated.
While Sandy is merely fixing a sandal, the viewers at home are yelling at her to cover up. Show some modesty, woman!
Am I seriously reading an online argument from seven years ago about Sandy’s chest?
Meanwhile, Amani is not fond of squid.
Amani is running with her squid and–
Sheeeeit. There goes a fraction of a pound.
AMANI: It’s making me hungry. Please Lord don’t let me slip and fall.
That. . .that would be hilarious.
Squid—nature’s aquatic banana peel.
And is that guy in the corner wearing a Bananas in Pyjamas T-shirt?
Cindy critiques Ernie’s laces for “not being a grid” and makes him re-do it.
SANDY: Here. Pull that through.
JEREMY: Under the double? No no no no.
SANDY: Yes. I just looked.
We go back to the fish market. Amani & Marcus make significant progress. Marcus attributes it to not having any pressure because no other teams are around to distract them.
Ernie & Cindy ask for a cobbler to check ‘er out.
“Hold up girrrrrl. I ain’t done checking out the sandal yet.”
“It didn’t tickle right. You fail.”
Ernie fixes the sandal.
JEREMY: Just got to do it real–
SANDY: Just got to do yours and—are you good? Are you done?
JEREMY: I don’t know. I think I’m good.
SANDY: Me too.
The cobbler is less sassy with them, but the outcome remains the same. No bueno.
We cut to a woman who has crabs.
Amani & Marcus dump shrimp onto the scales.
Whether it’s metric or imperial units remains a mystery.
Amani & Marcus complete the Detour in second place. Their gamble paid off.
The fishmonger appears to be mesmerized by Amani’s, um, decision making.
They read the clue and head to Cathedral Square.
MARCUS: We just banged it out. We just banged that Detour.
If I was ever on The Amazing Race Canada and said the words ‘we banged it out; we banged that Detour,’ everyone would assume I was making some sort of sexual joke.
Who can say they banged on The Amazing Race with a straight face? That is truly impressive.
Andy & Tommy are at Cathedral Square.
The tourists gather to watch the most important task of the season play out.
ANDY: You’re gonna get smacked dude.
No, I think -you- are gonna get smacked, Andy.
TOMMY: Where are you looking?
ANDY: The medallions.
Surrrrre, Andy. The medallions. Right.
ANDY: All of the medallions said balboas. So Balboa.
“Can I touch your medallions?”
It’s a true puzzle stumper for Andy.
TOMMY: Balboa’s their money, right?
“It’s also the name of my snake!”
We’re not kidding. It actually was.
Andy gets one more look at her medallions before leaving.
TOMMY: Wanna look once more–
ANDY: No, that’s it, dude. That’s it.
TOMMY: You don’t want–
ANDY: No, that’s it.
Andy’s wife never thought she would say this, but I am sure she is yelling at Andy for him to check out more women.
But he is absolutely certain it’s Balboa.
TOMMY: Just wanna make finals.
ANDY: Just wanna make finals.
Final Three, baby.
JEREMY: Let’s go. Almost there. Starting on the outside. Coming around.
SANDY: Then do I—how many do I put through here?
You would think being in a relationship with somebody named Sandy on a sandal task would help, but no.
Ernie & Cindy complete the Detour in third place.
Cindy’s jumps are smaller than usual.
Jeremy & Sandy are shown getting their clue seconds later.
SANDY: Gracias. Find the name of your next pit stop.
Now Jeremy & Sandy hope their taxi driver has its debt paid and can get help from the other drivers.
JEREMY: Is that where we were?
SANDY: I think so.
Ah. So it is confirmed those dancers Jeremy & Sandy were with before are going to be at that challenge.
The standings are sure shuffling today.
Ernie & Cindy find Juan.
CINDY (to JUAN): Don’t tell him. Don’t tell him. Juan, no hablo. No hablo.
SANDY: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
JEREMY: Let’s go, let’s go.
SANDY: We have to beat them. Rapido, por favor. Vamanos vamanos vamanos.
It doesn’t matter as these both taxis are together on the road anyway. Seeing how Andy & Tommy ran to Cathedral Square, no significant lead will be gained here.
NOTE: I don’t think it’s vamanos. . .
Jeremy & Sandy’s cab nearly passes Ernie & Cindy. It’s a drag race on the streets of La Ciudad de Panama.
SANDY: We’re last, baby.
“So not cool.”
TOMMY: It seems like he knows where he’s going, right?
ANDY: Yeah. I think we’re good, dude.
TOMMY: He’s got a direction and we’re not messing with it.
Andy & Tommy are so used to having everything work out for them this season that they’re going to let fate guide them to another first place finish.
I know it is still three weeks until I go to Panama, but I have seen enough TAR to know Miraflores refers to the Panama Canal. Andy & Tommy are in HUGE trouble right now because Pnama Viejo and the Panama Canal are not close in distance.
As you can see, Miraflores is on the top left of your screen and is roughly a thirty minute drive away. Panama Viejo is thirty minutes in the opposite direction from the cathedral.
Therefore, Andy & Tommy are guaranteed to lose a minimum of one hour on this trip.
Amani & Marcus are second to Cathedral Square. Marcus thinks he has to dance with them.
Marcus joins in with the dancers.
What happens if the locals notice the dress says ‘Panama Viejo’ or the picture of it?
Amani thinks she sees Avenida Balboa on all of them.
Look a bit lower, guys.
I wish one of the dancers had a picture of Rocky next to the Balboa coins.
AMANI: But does any of that take us anywhere?
MARCUS: It has to do something with them. They’re just smiling. Looking pretty. You sweat like I sweat! Can I dab you?
“Can I dab you, ma’am?”
“No, but you can dab us.”
Oh, Marcus is actually dabbing her.
WOMAN: Thank you.
MARCUS: You’re welcome. Now tell me where the clue is cause you speak English.
I haven’t washed my hat in nearly twenty days.
Andy & Tommy are now at the sight of the TAR 8 Fast Forward.
“I jumped off this platform when I was twelve years old.”
So yes, this is indeed Balboa. Thinking you have to go to a previous TAR location isn’t too absurd of a thing to think for Andy & Tommy. I’ll give ’em points there.
Andy & Tommy confirm with their driver it is Balboa. They find a worker at the canal who helps them when in doubt.
Oh my word. At least it gets them within ten minutes of Panama Viejo.
And please please please let the statue of Balboa be of Sly Stallone.
Andy & Tommy realize they blew it on that one.
TOMMY: We trusted our taxi driver a little too much.
Tommy measures out the excessive trust in their cabbie.
JEREMY: It says find the name of your next pit stop.
Ernie & Cindy and Jeremy & Sandy sprint out of their cabs.
SANDY: Go go go.
VIEWERS AT HOME: Sandy is practically topless in this episode!
CINDY: Do you guys know?
This is not the type of task you can just power through. It’s all about observation.
Pressure is when you don’t know what you’re doing. Marcus hasn’t stared at Panamanian dancers in front of a cathedral in hopes of finding the next pit stop.
SANDY: Jeremy! Look!
JEREMY: I’m looking.
Everyone is helpless as they examine the dresses.
MARCUS: Why do y’all keep doing this to me?
“I refuse to dab any of you again until you tell me where to go!”
TOMMY: That’s our statue.
ANDY: It’s got to be this.
Andy & Tommy spot their Balboa statue.
No production crew in sight.
Now they’re really in trouble. It’ll be another ten minutes to backtrack to the cathedral from the Balboa statue.
Commercial break. We resume. Andy & Tommy decide to go back to Cathedral Square.
ANDY: All we can hope is someone missed it too.
We go back to the square where Ernie & Cindy conclude it must be Balboa.
“She has a tattoo on her neck that says ‘Balboa,’ the design on the back of the head is in the shape of the Balboa Statue. . .it’s all making sense!”
SANDY: Here you look at this. We’ve got to focus. We’ve got to look. I don’t care if I’m in the woman’s way.
JEREMY: This may be it.
Sandy is on the right track.
ERNIE: It’s all Balboa, though. Everything is Balboa.
Except for theose two things that are Panama Viejo.
Ernie & Cindy sprint away from the other two teams and summon Juan. This puts pressure on the other two teams to come up with something fast.
If no other teams leave soon, Ernie & Cindy are going to give an opening for Andy & Tommy to get back in. In fact, it’s very likely Andy & Tommy or Ernie & Cindy going home.
JEREMY: I sketched an image of one of the buildings we saw on one of the metal belts.
It’s either a penis with two balls or a middle finger saying ‘fuck you’. This is awesome on so many levels.
JEREMY: Let’s go.
SANDY: If that’s not it, we’re done.
Jeremy & Sandy run away before Ernie & Cindy have vamosed off the premises.
Marcus wonders if simply following Jeremy & Sandy is the best route to go at the moment. Now this is pressure.
JEREMY: Do you know this?
Jeremy & Sandy are now in the lead. My god the shuffling never ends.
SANDY: OK. Go go go.
JEREMY: We’re taking a shot in the dark here.
Ernie & Cindy are in the cab.
ERNIE: If it’s not it then I don’t know what it’s gonna be.
CINDY (to JUAN): Don’t tell him.
ERNIE: No no no no.
CINDY: We have to win. We have to win.
Ernie starts slapping Juan around with the map. Bad Juan!
Amani & Marcus now ask locals for help.
AMANI: Is there a statue of Dave Balboa?
I’m going to take my own shot in the dark and say there isn’t a statue from the 1800s in the middle of Panama of a guy named ‘Dave’.
THEIR DRIVER: There’s a statue on Balboa Avenue.
AMANI: That. . .STINKS!
AMANI: We’re not even sure if we’re going to the right place.
CINDY: We have no idea where our taxi driver is taking us.
SANDY: We don’t know if we’re going to the right place.
AMANI: Right now we have no idea where we’re going. It could be right. It could be wrong. It could be way off base.
This is why Marcus never goes to the Super Bowl. He can’t relax during the conference championships.
JEREMY: The only unfortunate thing is we figured it out in front of all of the other cab drivers and all of the other cab drivers know where this place is.
SANDY: There was a couple phone calls made and I think he may have called Ernie & Cindy’s taxi and he explained where to go.
AMANI: I think three of the cab drivers were probably communicating.
“It’s the Accidental Alliance!”
It really is, Caroline & Jennifer. The three teams don’t want to work together at all but the cab drivers are so adamant to communicate with one another that they make this a caravan in the penultimate leg.
It is unprecedented territory. Everyone thinks this 3-way tie means this foot race is going to be the most insane thing ever.
Because Andy & Tommy are clearly way ahead of them.
No matter how many times the three teams tell them not to say anything or how many times Ernie slaps you with a map, they can’t help but talk.
Jeremy & Sandy’s lead is no longer safe. This caravan is the same caravan that put Amani & Marcus last to the Detour because their driver assumed it had to be the same spot as everyone else.
NOTE: As somebody who has been learning A LOT of Spanish over the past year, I think shouting “Somos contra ellos” or “ellos con nosotros no” repeatedly may do the trick.
Amani instructs the driver to follow the other cabs.
ERNIE: You know?
CINDY: You know?
Ernie & Cindy got really really lucky here.
Ernie & Cindy are extremely uneasy.
CINDY: Someone called him and now he knows something and we’re going somewhere.
“You know what? Fuck it. It’s Juan.”
Ernie & Cindy say Juan has yet to let them down today.
Andy & Tommy are alone at the square. We hear a really weird chant in the background. It sounds like a drowning puppy.
Tommy notes the woman in the red dress is out of sync with the others.
They see the words Panama Viejo on her dress and get into a cab.
ANDY: We were leading the pack. I’m sure we’re not now.
They haven’t seen another team in several hours.
Ernie & Cindy and Jeremy & Sandy are in a road race.
SANDY: Bueno. Bueno. Bueno.
JEREMY: Muy bien. Muy bien.
SANDY: He’s following us now. Where? Donde? OK. Babe, it’s gonna be a foot race.
Ernie & Cindy are at Mystery Location and see Jeremy & Sandy running.
CINDY: I don’t see anything.
ERNIE: It’s worth a shot.
Wow. They are at the pit stop and have no idea what to look for. That’s how blind Ernie & Cindy and Amani & Marcus are with this task.
JEREMY: C’mon Sand.
SANDY: Look, keep your eyes peeled.
Hopefully the final destination city isn’t hidden on her dress or else the Final Three will really be in trouble.
The relief of seeing Phil must be impossible to describe on a leg like this.
JEREMY: Thank you so much.
SANDY: Thank you.
PHIL: Jeremy & Sandy. . .
JEREMY: Yes, Phil?
PHIL: You’re team number one!
“COME AT ME BRO!”
The mic pack is nearly broken in the process.
FIRST PLACE: JEREMY & SANDY
They have won a trip to Turks & Caicos.
FUN FACT: Canada has tried many times over the past century to adopt Turks & Caicos as our eleventh province. Turks & Caicos kinda want this too now, apparently.
Sandy is speechless.
And she will remain speechless because the mat chat is canceled due to Ernie & Cindy’s arrival.
“We mat chat blocked you! No one gets to learn anything specific about your journey! HOORAY! Thanks Juan!”
CINDY: I’m so happier for you guys.
“But even happier for me.”
SECOND PLACE: ERNIE & CINDY
JEREMY: You guys! Hurry!
SANDY: YES! HURRY!
It’s like a serial killer is chasing Amani & Marcus.
SANDY: We beat the boys! We beat the boys!
The absurd celebration commences.
Sandy charges Amani.
THIRD PLACE: AMANI & MARCUS
Marcus has his own little dance.
Which is essentially just Marcus spinning as he spanks himself.
Or as another website puts it:
a) This guy was very pro-Andy & Tommy
b) He does not like Cindy and is really scrutinizing everything she does. I think the bruises we saw from the bodybuilding task was more on her butt rather than her legs, but whatever.
c)Oh my cringeworthy at comparing Marcus to Stringer Bell.
We all know it’s a bit awkward when somebody from a minority gets compared to another celebrity from the same minority. Especially when the two don’t have the same personality.
Yes, I thought of the Stringer Bell comparison at the start of the season, but it just wasn’t quite similar enough for me to point it out. I’ll let y’all be the judge. How similar can a fictitious drug kingpin and a former professional football player be?
So I leave these two clips in for you to make the judgment. If the readers side with a random blogger rather than me, I shall sigh deeply.
Also, The Wire is the best drama series ever.
PHIL: Can you believe it? You beat out a team that won six legs of this race, and here you are standing as the Final Three teams that will be racing to the finish line for one million dollars.
“How does it feel to beat a team that was projected to kick everyone’s ass in the finale?”
MARCUS: I’ve been thinking about this, Phil.
PHIL: Tell me.
The former pro football player has the floor.
MARCUS: It’s like David and Goliath. They were like giants.
“Much like the same giants I used to face off against whenever I was in New York.”
MARCUS: We were The Davids. You had to face your giants. They were our giants. So we did enough today to make it to the finals.
“No football reference? Anywhere? You even talked about giants, Marcus.”
We cut to Andy & Tommy taking a lonely jog to the mat.
They know what is about to hit them.
Tommy plugs his ear to prevent hearing the inevitable.
PHIL: Andy and Tommy, you guys were unbelievable on this race. But unfortunately you are the last team to arrive. You guys raced hard. Thought you’d be in the Final Three for sure.
LAST PLACE: ANDY & TOMMY
“And I just lost fifty bucks in my office pool with the production crew. Thanks a lot, guys.”
Andy & Tommy say they wouldn’t change anything.
ANDY: Just raced around the world and experienced God’s awesome creation.
“Except for the Buddhist temples. Those are the Devil’s creations.”
Surprisingly, despite being perfect for TAR’s core elderly demographic and religious viewers who dominate the ratings, Andy & Tommy are never seen again.
It’s time for UFC promo time with the Final Three.
JEREMY: I think it’s pretty difficult to start a new relationship on the race, but we’ve learned to communicate with each other.
SANDY: Jeremy and I have come to our stride these last few legs and really come together.
ERNIE: Cindy is very concise and methodical, and that’s worked for us. I think we can do that again on the next leg.
AMANI: Winning the race is definitely a life lesson for our children. . .the word “I can’t” does not exist for us.
SANDY: Jeremy and I are going to win The Amazing Race.
ERNIE: I think we have more than what it takes to win. Just need to make sure we don’t give up.
MARCUS: Team Pollard -will- win The Amazing Race.
“I faked you out, didn’t I?”
RYAN STORMS 0
Next Time on TAR: Only three teams remain.
The dating couple with something to prove.
The overachievers who often stumble.
The comeback kids.
The pressure is on in Atlanta has teams fight to stay on course while the million dollars hangs in the balance. Which couple has what it takes to win The Amazing Race?
So we just finished one of the most controversial episodes in TAR history. Just look at some of the reactions from various websites when Andy & Tommy were eliminated.
As you can see, the casual audience really really really liked Andy & Tommy.
Much like Jet & Cord losing TAR 16 and TAR 18, the fans cried bullshit over their eliminations while not doing so when teams have been equally screwed over or moreso in TAR’s past.
I hate to break it to everyone: Luck has always been a major factor in TAR.
When equalizers are determined, what cab driver you get, what type of task is assigned to a leg, luck-based needle in a haystack tasks, final destination cities where a finalist currently resides, etc.
Yes, skilled teams will typically do better than teams who suck at everything to eradicate a chunk of the luck factor.
But teams who are well-rounded can and will continue to go home earlier than expected.
The scenario under which Andy & Tommy went home was unusual. Three taxi drivers repeatedly communicated throughout the course of the leg—especially when two of the tree teams would have made the same mistake that Andy & Tommy did.
But Andy & Tommy had as much luck go their way in this episode alone.
1: They were last to complete the TinTin task, but benefited from an equalizer with all other teams.
2: Their boat ride with Jeremy & Sandy resulted in Jeremy & Sandy’s driver crashing into a log, thus allowing Andy & Tommy to get the first tattoo appointment twenty to forty minutes ahead of everyone else.
3: Two teams left the village simultaneously. Instead of it being Jeremy & Sandy and Andy & Tommy, it was Amani & Marcus and Ernie & Cindy.
I would say that cancels out their bad luck in the leg.
And if you want to go further back, they had a major reprieve in Phuket when they picked the worst flight from Indonesia that was offered but had an overnight equalizer.
And I am sure if I spent another twenty minutes sitting here, I could break down every fragment of good luck and bad luck for all four of these teams.
This controversial episode overall soured the opinion of TAR 19 for viewers. The season started off mildly controversial with its twists, became bland but respectable over the next eight weeks, and then Andy & Tommy’s elimination proved to be the big highlight of the season.
In the sixty seasons or so that have aired worldwide, Andy & Tommy still hold the record for most legs won without making it to the finale.
There wasn’t much excitement for the final episode for the viewers.
Ernie & Cindy were hated. Well, Cindy specifically. I think she gets a bit of unfair treatment, but in a season where big personalities are absent, Cindy’s sticks out quite a bit.
Two people even tried to get a hashtag known as “#AnyonebutCindy” leading up to the finale.
I wasn’t kidding, and awkwardly tagged their friends in it.
Future seasons of TAR will become increasingly linear and these unexpected eliminations will occur with increasing rarity. You need an Andy & Tommy to go home to feel like TAR is up for grabs a bit more rather than the usual expected outcome.
Look at TAR Canada. They have had five seasons and their Final Threes are extremely easy to predict at the start of each season.
NUMBER OF TIMES MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
JEREMY & SANDY 4
ERNIE & CINDY 3
AMANI & MARCUS 3
JUSTIN & JENNIFER 1
BILL & CATHI 1
LIZ & MARIE 1
EVERYONE ELSE 0
RANK THE LEGS
1) Bangkok, Thailand -> Lilongwe, Malawi
Out of the first half of the season, this round definitely had the best overall design.
Obvious bonus points are awarded for going to a new country in Africa. If I recall correctly, the next new African country is not until Zimbabwe appears in TAR 27, and as of TAR 30 no other countries have been added to the catalogue. Where is the Rwanda visit, production!
We learned something interesting about Malawi other than the African stereotype of people carrying things on their heads. We learned that it is one of the biggest global producers of tobacco. This led to a very physical Roadblock which had comedic value due to how much the locals/workers were dancing and trolling around all of the contestants. We also had that awesome moment of everyone running with Marcus out of the stadium. Well, I know it was a factory, but it felt more like a stadium.
A Detour where teams picked between sewing clothes or building a carton truck seemed reasonable enough. The marketplace and the school were both neat locations. It is also funnier when Sandy gets attacked by a rogue soccer ball and Laurence being inaccurately portrayed as somebody wanting to reinforce gender stereotypes.
Teams shown trying to hire a truck (a private car allowed as a form of transportation on TAR!) or chasing one down is the neat chaos I like to see. Laurence opened the driver’s side door of a moving vehicle! Cindy was freaking out while hanging off the side of the truck, and Laurence & Zac tried to fit the beds into a small taxi.
Seeing teams try to be logical and pay their driver prior to going to the pit stop was interesting. Everyone knows the rules that you must pay your driver before you can check in, but yet two teams made that mistake. The physical labour involved with moving the beds made it Bill & Cathi’s time to shine as well as Cindy finding herself behind bars for the first time in her life.
Andy & Tommy picked up their third win because of another team’s error as well as their fourth win in five rounds making them one of the most dominant teams in the first half of a season ever. They should have been major U-Turn targets by this point.
Ernie & Cindy make small mistakes despite Cindy being a perfectionist. You can see the decline since the Taipei victory taking its toll on her.
It always amazes me how unmemorable all of Jeremy & Sandy’s footage is. They had quite a bit of content this episode, but if you look at other recaps of this episode online or what people say when this episode becomes part of a discussion, Jeremy & Sandy’s journey with the delayed truck, Sandy bleeding, or playing with the children never comes up.
Amani & Marcus suffered a lot of bad luck this leg. They and producers are happy it was a NEL. The top two from Bangkok went to the bottom two in Lilongwe (Bill & Cathi switched to sixth place this round).
I am curious what people thought of every single team choosing their male partner to do the Roadblock. There wasn’t a single woman to be found in one of the most physical Roadblocks that TAR has ever done. It would have been great to see Sandy or Cindy try to tackle it. Especially Cindy because her mixture of frustration and intensity would have been entertaining to watch.
Again, no major alliances or big rivalries are forming. Random teams comment on Bill & Cathi’s strengths or Andy & Tommy running into Laurence & Zac at a couple junctures are the only two points of interaction in this whole leg.
2) Lilongwe, Malawi -> Senga Bay, Malawi
We enter the second half of the season as the editors make it clear they want us to pay attention to one specific storyline: Either Ernie & Cindy or Andy & Tommy are going to win this season.
The episode was all about Ernie & Cindy attempting to strategize as to how they could overcome a team that just can’t stop winning nearly every leg of the race. Other than the Bangkok bus rides, Ernie & Cindy are the only team to definitively beat Andy & Tommy in the first seven rounds. As Andy & Tommy pass Ernie & Cindy in the round’s final steps, it was very much a mentality of “they won the battle but they haven’t won the war”.
I like that this leg took place in locations we will never see on TAR again. A bunch of random villages several hours away from Lilongwe? Production avoided going to one of the more typical destinations in Africa.
I enjoyed the tasks. A slide puzzle as a one-time Speed Bump isn’t the worst idea in the world. It beats the hell out of untying knots. The Detour was difficult as you were either drained physically or had to figure out how to paddle a boat. Every season of TAR should have a paddling challenge because of how much teamwork it always requires. The cycling Roadblock also proved to be difficult for some of the teams as they were getting lost amongst the many villages spread throughout Malawi.
We also get our first U-Turn of the season. Unlike other ineffective U-Turns which typically go unaired, production decided to show this one. Maybe because the idea of a Jamaica Shop in Malawi was too cool to keep on the cutting room floor or because editors wanted to embarrass Laurence & Zac wasting their U-Turn.
I am sure to this day Jennifer doesn’t know why she was dormant for an hour at the Roadblock rather than go back and meet her partner. According to interviews, that hour is what made the difference in this leg. Just think it would have been Jeremy & Sandy that likely would have been eliminated this round, but were spared with a second-to-last place finish for the second elimination round in a row.
I am going to miss those dancing locals.
3) Senga Bay, Malawi -> Copenhagen, Denmark
Churning butter? Unique but dull to watch.
The Renaissance Dance task? Dull to watch and only difficult for Zac.
The first ever round of consecutive Double U-Turns? I approve.
The bunny hopping task at the Detour? Amazing!
We had three very old school elements that are rapidly drying up as we head into contemporary TAR—scrambling for flights, self-driving, and a debuting country.
Six teams were spread between four flights and teams were forced to drive themselves through the Danish countryside as well as Copenhagen.
The storyline of Ernie & Cindy’s desire to win and be extremely competitive above everyone else was clearly established this round—even above Andy & Tommy’s competitiveness. They U-Turned a pair of sixty year olds just to win a leg. That is a team that wants to constantly be on top.
The unique nature of the U-Turns being used was also interesting to see play out as none of the bottom rung teams were hit by it. Laurence & Zac pulled the rare feat of heading to the pit stop ahead of last place and end up blowing the drive to the pit stop and get eliminated.
Did I mention Bill & Cathi have gone from the team that finished the first leg over four hours behind teams like Kaylani & Lisa and Liz & Marie to nearly being the first team to win a leg after completing a U-Turn.
Marcus not knowing his animals and the suggestiveness of everyone churning butter was hilarious to me.
And how creepy was that dancer in the final stage of the Roadblock? I’m gonna have nightmares about that guy.
In other news, Laurence & Zac probably felt really really dumb for wasting their U-Turn in the previous leg. I guarantee you they would have U-Turned Jeremy & Sandy this round and would have stayed in the race. Or maybe they just U-Turn Amani & Marcus again. That would have been funnier.
P.S. I want to be a pro at bunny hopping. Such an adorable task to watch!
4) Brussels, Belgium -> Panama City, Panama
Our first Central America leg since TAR 8: Family Edition? Well that’s unusual!
In fact, Central America legs won’t appear again until TAR 25.
Andy & Tommy were viewed as nearly unbeatable heading into the episode. They became vulnerable as they completely failed at the opening task. Later on they recover thanks to an equalizer and breeze through a Detour. Everything is set for Andy & Tommy to win their seventh leg of the season and tie Marc & Rovilson’s record with relative ease in the finale.
Then they jumped the gun. They had blinders on and traveled to the wrong location. Other teams were going to mess up the same way they did, but a huge turn of bad luck pushed the betting favourites out of this race. Three teams that had rarely won any legs will fight it out at the end.
That drama and suspense built over the course of the leg makes this a strong episode.
However, a repeat Central America country when many others have yet to be visited in the TAR franchise knocks it down a bit.
I really liked the puzzle at Cathedral Square for teams to figure out they need to go to Panama Viejo.
The Detour was uneventful with sandal making and fish deliveries. The type of stuff we’ve seen many times before.
The TinTin task at the start of the episode was a fun break without the costumes being too ridiculous.
The Roadblock was your usual terrifying heights related challenge of the season. I know people think Andy & Tommy were dicks for psyching out Sandy, but I didn’t think too much of it. There isn’t much to say about it.
The village was a good contrast to downtown Panama City. The diamond-shaped boxer shorts amuse me. I also liked the initial fear that the tattoos were going to be permanent and the band which never stopped.
It’s an episode that looks inoffensive and flat on paper in terms of design, but the drama and who gets eliminated boosts it a couple of spots.
5) Copenhagen, Denmark -> Brussels, Belgium
Denmark. Germany. Belgium. All in one episode. I am a bit annoyed that all of the self-driving was nullified by a very late equalizer this round, but it is all cancelled out thanks to a NEL that will not have a penalty.
We had a series of tasks that we normally don’t see on TAR. Cycling to a destination while memorizing a poem that required you to insert actions into it, assembling a Lego puzzle while spinning in a teacup, and bodybuilding.
I would penalize this leg some more for breaking the streak of no clue boxes being present on the race, but I’ll look the other way this time.
Ernie & Cindy received a ton of content because of the threat of them not being allowed to board the train. It turned out to be an empty threat as they rode the train to Brussels anyway. They continued to narrate the remainder of the leg. Even with a massive equalizer to erase their lead, they were right behind Amani & Marcus.
Their main rivals, Andy & Tommy, showed a lot of vulnerability for the first time in a while. Tommy was lost during the Roadblock, he failed his first attempt, they had Jeremy & Sandy catch up to them at the Lego task, and the cliffhanger had them in a fight for last place with Bill & Cathi at the bodybuilding task. They are no longer perceived as unbeatable. Perhaps it has something to do with not having aquatic tasks.
Amani & Marcus did very well with self-navigation in the first half of this leg, managed to not vomit during the Lego task, and managed to crush the bodybuilding task to pick up their second win of the season.
Bill & Cathi were really showing signs of race fatigue this round. They were the worst at every task this round and sucked at navigating. It’s not the same Bill & Cathi we have seen since the second round of the season.
And then there’s Jeremy & Sandy. They are a team on this season.
I am annoyed editors didn’t explain to us what the other half of the Detour was this round. I am very curious what would make five teams choose to do half-naked bodybuilding rather than whatever the other option was.
Lastly, Belgium makes its TAR debut. To slightly date the upload of this blog post, Belgium was not re-visited until three weeks ago during the Antwerp leg of TAR 30. I could see a possible Bruges visit down the road and have that be the end for Belgium on The Amazing Race.
6) Brussels, Belgium -> Brussels, Belgium
This was a tough leg to rank.
On one hand, we get a leg dedicated to self-driving, Belgian-y flavoured tasks, and none of the tasks are subjective.
However, this round lacked a lot of energy without many moments. Bill & Cathi never were close to catching up, and nothing dramatic nor hilarious happened for the duration of the episode. It’s a bit of a dry watch.
In fact, this leg summarizes TAR 19 in general: Great design with decent tasks that won’t stir any controversy, but nothing specific happens within it to make it stand out.
I like how they didn’t do a dreadful equalizer right after a Keep On Racing leg—the last leg and this one took place all in one day. Perhaps the lack of energy from the racers contributed to a mellow episode.
Making waffles was fine.
Paddling down a canal was cool.
The homing pigeon was brief but neat.
The forced sponsourship plug was mildly annoying, but whatever.
The storyline of Ernie & Cindy trying to not repeat mistakes is a consistent one for this season. They are identifying all of the reasons why they blow their lead and are vowing to be the perfect machine by the end of the game.
Amani & Marcus’ fluctuation from stars to the bench in terms of performance also continues.
Andy & Tommy continue to benefit from the mistakes of others as they climbed from fourth place to their sixth victory of the season. They seem unstoppable heading into the Final Four.
And Jeremy & Sandy are Jeremy & Sandy.
It was a sad day if you root for elderly teams on TAR. As of the end of TAR 30, you won’t see any older teams cast on the planet after Bill & Cathi. It is surprising producers for every franchise worldwide have gone down this path because Bill & Cathi were the most popular team in this whole cast. As they said at the end, they were definitely competitive as they were in the lead or in second place for significant chunks of this season.
I should point out Survivor: Ghost Island is currently airing and they have the youngest age of any season in Survivor history.
Considering Bill died a little over eighteen months ago, the episode is even sadder for some superfans to watch. People wanted Bill & Cathi back for TAR 24, and now we know why that never came to fruition. Sigh.
Overall, I don’t have too much to say about the leg. It represented Belgium well and nothing stupid happened.
The decks are cleared for an episode that will make the casual viewers go into a rage. I’m going to love it and so will you.
7) Taipei, Taiwan -> Joe Jer Carter, Indonesia
First off, thank god production chose to not do the Contradicting Sign Twist ever again.
Racers are instructed to follow what’s in their clue as the primary source of instruction. During the Detour, they were told to give up the Rupiah they earned to the orphanage. It said nothing about giving up your American Dollars. Teams said that even if they noticed the sign (primarily the words of Jenna Morasca) that they still would have followed what it said in their clue rather than some random sign. I believe that since Phil could have penalized them at the pit stop for not following their clue correctly or unintentionally trick teams into giving up precious money for the following round of play.
It is even worse that this twist occurs simultaneously with the Double Elimination. If the sign wasn’t there, Ethan & Jenna finish this leg in ninth and are saved over Kaylani & Lisa. That’s a potentially big change to have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the season.
This round also had what many consider to be the dumbest Speed Bump of all-time. Untying that rope took somewhere between 5-8 minutes based on the order of events on-screen. I am sure the audience was happy to see Bill & Cathi take the lead after doing the Speed Bump, but we all wished they did a bit more to earn it. Sadly nearly every Speed Bump in the future will go on to be a joke collection of tasks. I have been long advocating for a new type of NEL penalty because clearly the Speed Bump is not working.
The Roadblock was a cool location and was a decent task. A spelunking obstacle course was fun.
The Detour wasn’t particularly memorable. Because of the nineteen teams checking into the pit stop, it was one of the most condensed tasks in TAR history. I think we saw about twenty seconds of dancing and about thirty seconds of motorbikes being parked. It didn’t appear to be memorable or difficult.
The only reason this leg isn’t at the bottom is because Indonesia was a brand new location for TAR US. Other franchises beat them there but it was nice for TAR US to get it off of their check list.
Jeremy & Sandy’s only storyline of wanting the Survivor winners effectively comes to an end this round. Watch their airtime dwindle even more.
Justin & Jennifer was more annoying than it was fascinating to watch. I think the pettiness of the fighting outweighed the comedy of it which is a shame. I wish they recorded some of their physical altercations when they were younger, though. Did anyone get a broken nose?
Despite Bill & Cathi dropping to seventh because they had to run several kilometres, it was still a great comeback for a team that finished the first leg over six hours behind almost all other teams. Yes, two massive equalizers helped but at least they are no longer perceived as a team of fodder.
Kaylani & Lisa’s airtime essentially dropped down to nil this episode. For a team that made a huge blunder in the first leg and were extremely lucky to be saved this round, production didn’t want to focus on them when they aren’t doing anything jaw-dropping.
And I think Ron & Bill finished where most people expected them to this season. They were too mellow for the race.
8) Fuckit, Thailand -> Bangkok, Thailand
I think we were all fearing the same thing: When teams had to take the bus to Bangkok, the possibility of a mass equalizer would have really messed up this round.
Luckily that wasn’t the case, but the luck of what bus you chose shifted the standings more than they should. Thankfully it produced the same elimination outcome, and didn’t truly affect anything long term. However, it was still a silly design.
In contrast to the other Bangkok legs that I have seen, it isn’t the most draining one that I have seen. Nobody fainted or anything. The only exhausted team was Laurence & Zac for needlessly ditching a first class bus or Liz & Marie who had almost no Thai money for most of this leg.
Once again, this season struggles with interesting tasks.
Disassemble and re-assemble a spirit house at a temple.
Search a river for a couple of minutes to find a wrapped koi.
Wash an elephant as a Speed Bump.
By far the most interesting part of the episode and what makes it rank higher than most of the earlier legs is that the scramble from the bus station to Bangkok Noi to the pit stop caused a lot of trouble for teams. Liz & Marie were given bad directions, Andy & Tommy lost a ton of time by hanging around a school, Jeremy & Sandy didn’t know what the hell to do, and Ernie & Cindy’s bus station frustrations and traffic frustrations led to a big shuffle right before the pit stop.
I mean, the elephants were cool, but this was the fourth episode in a row where we have seen an elephant this season. It was like a stampede.
Producers trying to leave a hint for teams to take notes on the spirit house was also a slight boost for this episode. Seeing people like Andy & Tommy, Laurence, and Ernie shut down the notion of re-assembling the spirit house was funny to watch. It wasn’t a bad idea for a Double Roadblock implementation.
Once again, a significant amount of airtime is dedicated to Ernie & Cindy and demonstrating the contrast in their personalities, and how they handle a major confrontation with a local. Given the circumstances, they didn’t go over-the-top in the moment and handled themselves quite well in confessionals when talking about the incident. Producers really want to make it their season, and give them a relatively positive edit.
However, not everyone was able to get away with a positive edit this round. Andy & Tommy stirred up a huge controversy that is still talked about online to this day. Even months after the episode aired, Andy & Tommy couldn’t respond to it in a way that produced much forgiveness from the online community. I am interested where the conversation would have gone if one of the interviewers wanted a more extended dialogue about this topic and give themselves a chance for redemption or be clearer about what they exactly meant. Because as it stands, Andy & Tommy are stuck being ranked 702nd out of all TAR teams worldwide by another TAR expert.
Another team that didn’t get such a positive edit was Laurence & Zac. Even with Bill being significantly older, Laurence was the one who came off as the grouchy old man. He told Zac not to take notes and then complained that Zac couldn’t memorize a series of subtle details while claiming he himself could do it without a single hiccup. Fast forward to the end of the episode where Phil mocks Laurence more than I have seen him mock anyone for jumping off of the first class bus.
Amani & Marcus and Bill & Cathi managed to go from frequent cellar-dwellers to claiming the top two spots for this leg. Neither team got much airtime because bigger storylines were going on, but at least we got to see both teams thinking they were the bottom two simply because of what has transpired in the past four legs. I bet both teams were riding a huge high before heading to Malawi. They were the teams that broke Andy & Tommy’s attempt to grow a hat trick into a grand slam.
Lastly, let’s talk about Liz & Marie. They received a significant amount of content in their elimination because of the unusual circumstances. It was an increasingly rare scenario where a team had to fight through multiple episodes without any cash and seeing their position continue to decline into a state of hopelessness. However, they absolutely LOVED playing with elephants in their Speed Bump. They would have probably traded the million dollars for the chance to play with elephants. The brief storyline of playing this race in honour of their recently deceased father was an added touch. None of the scenes seemed unnecessary.
P.S. Jeremy & Sandy fought through their issues like normal people.
9) Los Angeles, California -> Taipei, Taiwan
I hate Starting Line tasks. I hate pointless Speed Bump-esque penalties that aren’t entertaining and/or serve no purpose to the race other than ‘look at this repackaged twist that we are pretending is brand new!’
I am becoming increasingly more open to NELs in the season premiere, and surprisingly I am okay with the setup for the Double Elimination twist. Eliminations in TAR have always been arbitrary, and choosing to eliminate the bottom two teams in exchange for saving a team this round is perfectly fine with me. . .even with who eventually goes home because of it. -_-
I like that producers didn’t use a single clue box this round. We had a tough billboard challenge that left old people scrambling for five hours.
The other tasks weren’t particularly interesting to watch.
The umbrella task came down to pure luck for most teams at the starting line and led to a pointless penalty that was even more pointless because of the NEL. It just cost us precious Taipei time.
The Hazard required only one person to participate while their partner did nothing.
The dragon boat task wasn’t really a task. It was all to be done in a fixed amount of time for the most part. They had twenty people helping them.
The Confucius Roadblock was alright. I wish the phrase was just a little bit longer, but was enough to stump Liz for a really long time.
I am seeing evidence of why this season doesn’t make a big impression on people. You either didn’t like the twists or were indifferent to it, and no major storylines really developed.
Cindy is controlling.
Marcus loves football.
Kaylani & Lisa had the worst start ever in TAR history, but somehow finished the leg in ninth. How far can they go? And that whole incident with Reality Fan Forum was a memorable moment.
Bill & Cathi are nice. Hopefully they don’t screw up this second chance.
Ethan & Jenna were on Survivor.
Premieres need to either grip you in with story or be hilarious to make people settle in for the ride–this was neither.
Overall, the good cancels out the bad and leaves us with a very mediocre season premiere for TAR.
10) Joe Jer Carter, Indonesia -> Magelang, Indonesia
This leg is definitely the worst out of the first three in terms of design.
Easy cycling task where the only way the order changed is if your bike had an unintentional malfunction.
Both sides of the Detour were quick and uneventful. Either plant rice in mud or fill up grass to an arbitrary line that was either accepted or rejected based upon questionable criteria, fill buckets, and herd goats. The bags of grass still mildly annoys me since some of the teams’ bags looked really full.
The Roadblock and the Pit Stop were in the exact same location. That means whether or not you happened to settle with your cab beforehand solely determined who went home because all of the teams were close together. In other words, it was a roll of the dice to figure out who was going home.
Andy & Tommy won another leg because of a team ahead of them being penalized at the pit stop. We don’t know why the penalty was determined to be fifteen minutes rather than the standard thirty. Perhaps because the leg was so short and linear that a fifteen minute penalty was the equivalent to a thirty minute penalty in other legs.
Ernie & Cindy received a huge amount of attention during this leg as a team being aggressive and skilled at the race, and Amani & Marcus rallying from certain doom were the two key storylines of this leg. Oh, and Bill & Cathi are old people who can’t stand in tall grass. Everyone applauding whenever they complete a task is kind of hilarious as if they aren’t capable of going far in the race.
Lastly, we hit upon Kaylani & Lisa’s only non-passport storyline. Kaylani has a young child at home that she misses. Phil, Lisa, and hopefully others successfully convince Kaylani that she isn’t disappointing her daughter. It was a roller coaster for a team that goes home in the second elimination leg of the season. Considering they originally checked into the second pit stop in tenth, and Phil was on his way to eliminating them in the first leg, they are probably grateful they got three rounds in The Amazing Race.
This leg would have been much stronger if they travelled to another part of Indonesia that was outside of Java.
11) Joe Jer Carter, Indonesia -> Phuket, Thailand
This leg was excruciatingly linear and took place in a shorter amount of time than the leg in Joe Jer Carter.
Other than Liz & Marie struggling at the Detour and Justin & Jennifer’s usual antics, the only source of conflict in the whole episode was Jeremy & Sandy. It was extremely uneventful and was a very ‘normal people’ type of fight. Seeing two level-headed people butt heads in a diplomatic way does not make for entertaining television. If it was hilariously calm or hilariously overboard, then yeah, we want to see it, but otherwise it doesn’t need to make it beyond the editing room suite.
After TAR 14’s teams refused to do a Fast Forward for charity, we had it as one of the two Detour options. While many teams switched tasks, it seems like the amount of time lost was very minimal for everyone except Liz & Marie.
In fact, all of the mistakes this leg other than Liz & Marie cost very little time. Ernie & Cindy’s compass clue was easily corrected, Laurence & Zac were able to follow another boat, Jeremy & Sandy had to shuffle a few chairs, and Amani & Marcus couldn’t find the pit stop for a few minutes in a very limited area to search.
Setting up umbrellas and chairs was lame as a Detour task until the gusts of wind happened. The coral cage was cool and fighting the current was a legitimate challenge.
The compass task of directing your boat thirteen minutes to an island using a medallion was neat on paper, but ended up being relatively easy for everyone.
The rock climbing Roadblock was perhaps the easiest version of it I had ever seen. Maybe the ladder from Family Edition is the only one that was easier. There was no way for Liz & Marie to make up time in this round. It all truly came down to the Detour.
The floating village was bland. I wish they had done something there or showed neat things about the village. It looked like a lifeless ghost town to me unlike the Cambodian floating village from TAR 13. Production could have done so much more with it.
I don’t know why there was such a big deal made about the arrival of the flights when there was a mass equalizer to make it all pointless. Those scenes could have been cut down so much more.
And Liz & Marie were really really really lucky that they didn’t need any Thai money beyond the initial taxi ride. This leg made it obvious that Liz & Marie aren’t destined for a deep run into this season in contrast to everyone else.
No major storylines were developed this episode. Laurence & Zac messed up sailing, Liz & Marie messed up at something similar to being lifeguards, and Marcus struggled with a sports stadium. All were amusing little moments.
And yeah, this was the perfect leg design for Andy & Tommy. I estimate their morning was done in less than two hours. After three consecutive leg wins, Andy & Tommy secured their spot as the biggest target of the season.
RANK THE TEAMS
1) Bill Alden & Cathi Alden
Bill & Cathi aren’t my favourite older team in TAR history. We all know that.
However, I feel compelled to mention they are my favourite team of this season and get a boost due to their significance as the last older team to ever compete on TAR (as of the end of TAR 30).
I am beating a dead horse with the age factor at this point, so I will skip ahead.
Bill & Cathi looked like they were going to be useless. They finished the first leg well over four hours behind the tenth place team. The opening round NEL miracle kept them alive. Initially you think it’s just going to delay the inevitable like with Don & Mary Jean’s early NEL in TAR 6, but that is not the case. Bill & Cathi were in first or second place for the majority of the following round even with their minor Speed Bump.
As the race progressed, you have teams like Ernie & Cindy feel compelled to U-Turn them because they are a threat. They didn’t U-Turn Andy & Tommy—they U-Turned Bill & Cathi who still finished in second anyway.
Their old people antics was funny to watch, and demonstrated they were in stronger physical shape than some of the other contestants who are a third of their age. They run freakin’ triathlons.
Whether it be the bodybuilding task, Cathi saying perverted things to Bill while in Thailand, Bill scowling and swearing over waffles, or amusing me with reciting Hans Christian Andersen, Bill & Cathi provided entertainment value that wasn’t delivered by a chunk of the teams this season.
Lastly, they were very likable.
It’s a shame they couldn’t make it to Final Three.
2) Laurence Sunderland & Zac Sunderland
Laurence gave me plenty of material for jokes. He is perhaps the most British racer ever to race in the American version of TAR. It’s like what would happen if a cousin of Andy & Laura’s decided to invade this season.
I have a feeling most of what Laurence said was taken out of context because editors clearly wanted to give him a hard time. It was frustrating for him but hilarious for me.
Laurence telling us he would be an expert on something he had never done while Zac messes up that task at the Roadblock, wanting everyone to go to bloody hell, viewing unusual things as being bloody ridiculous, not knowing the rules of the race when it comes to transportation or completing challenges, and accidentally phrasing a statement that made it look like he thought women should always be able to sew. He also managed to screw up navigating on the ocean when it’s something he should know inside and out. Oh, and he U-Turned a team that was ahead of him before being U-Turned himself on the very next leg.
Other than TAR 8, Zac was the youngest contestant TAR US had ever seen. He didn’t have much to say or anything. However, Zac’s presence was required for Laurence to play off of him and give us those hilarious soundbytes that made Laurence a good racer for me to work with in my blogs.
3) Ethan Zohn & Jenna Morasca
This is more of a ranking to reflect Ethan’s presence rather than Jenna’s. It is always how I have felt about this seven year dating couple on Survivor. Their Survivor personalities were repeated here in TAR 19. Jenna was always pissed off and making big mistakes like forgetting the Detour clue while Ethan was positive, interesting, and fun to watch.
Editors appeared to have very little interest in showing Jenna. They wanted Ethan to do all of the talking which was probably wise in their limited run.
Out of all of the teams to go home on the first elimination leg, Ethan & Jenna rank high up there in terms of attention attracted by the other teams. There was a surprising number of scenes where teams were talking about how much they wanted Ethan & Jenna eliminated from the race. Thankfully Ethan & Jenna weren’t completely segregated as they were shown having fun with teams like Laurence & Zac and Andy & Tommy.
It is a shame that the Contradictory Sign and the Double Elimination twist had to combine their bad taxi driver to put them in a guaranteed spot to be eliminated. I am sure Ethan was mildly embarrassed to be eliminated because of a task that required them to give money to charity.
This was supposed to be Ethan & Jenna’s epic return to competitive reality TV, and they are barely a footnote in this season. In fact, Ethan nor Jenna have not made another appearance on Survivor or TAR since then. They really should have taken that initial offer of competing against each other on Survivor: South Pacific.
I am sad. My ten year old self wanted to watch Ethan try and win again.
4) Kaylani Paliotta & Lisa Tilley
In the first episode, they lost a passport and were saved by social media moments before Phil was going to eliminate them at the airport, thereby cancelling the Double Elimination twist.
In the second episode, they were about to be eliminated but were one of only three teams to correctly read a sign at an orphanage.
In the third episode, Kaylani missed her daughter. Then was eliminated.
That is the three episode story arc of Kaylani & Lisa.
Their opening confessional was making a comment that viewers and their opponents would only see them from the breasts and upwards. They also wanted to break the stereotype that models and showgirls have on The Amazing Race. Did they break the stereotype? Overall, probably not, but is it really Kaylani & Lisa’s responsibility to break that and rocks should be thrown at them if they didn’t succeed at that objective? Of course not. They’re just people.
I am amazed how invisible they were in the second episode. We see Kaylani cry at the pit stop and that’s it.
I am glad they found a new friend in the form of Ryan Storms ™ because of their TAR experience. That’s not a story you read about too often.
5) Justin Young & Jennifer Young
It was tough ranking Justin & Jennifer in contrast to Liz & Marie.
Liz & Marie were one of those teams you knew were doomed to go early on TAR, but literally provided us with some running jokes on their way out.
Justin & Jennifer were a more capable team, but didn’t provide a huge amount of material.
I was surprised by how much editors pushed them onto us in the early episodes. I have spoken to other fans about this online, but they didn’t recall Justin & Jennifer fighting as much as they did until they read these blogs. That scene at the Jakarta train station ran for a while. The paddling Detour in Phuket was also another one of their more memorable fights too, and Jennifer having such a vivid sassy face that even Phil was trying to replicate it made you realize they were supposed to be one of the bigger characters of the season.
However, fast forward six years later and almost nobody remembers them. I mean, TAR 19 is generally agreed upon as the least memorable season of TAR ever, but even when TAR 19 is discussed Justin & Jennifer are never mentioned. Liz & Marie, Ethan & Jenna, and Kaylani & Lisa are all talked about more than Justin & Jennifer.
They have the best average (4.27) of any team to exit in seventh place up to this point in TAR’s history worldwide. It’s just that one mistake which put them out early.
Hopefully this blog gives them some sort of legacy.
P.S. As of TAR 30, they are the last brother/sister team to compete in TAR US.
6) Liz Canavan & Marie Canavan
Much like Kami & Karli in TAR 5, a pair of female twins were a complete disaster on The Amazing Race. They didn’t try to board a plane without a boarding pass, but still.
You knew the chances of an all-female team winning this season was not very high after the first episode. Kaylani lost her passport and Liz couldn’t memorize a couple sentences in English. Literally.
They frequently hovered around the bottom and finished in eighth or worse in four out of their five legs. Their race truly ended at the start of round four when they forgot to exchange their Indonesian money into Thai money. Round four didn’t require much money, but Liz & Marie dropped to dead last due to their inability to fight the elements at the Detour. They finished round four hours and hours behind the other teams, and needed to stop and beg for rides non-stop in round five. I don’t think producers ever expected them to do well at any point this season.
There is something about twins on TAR where both racers think too much alike and are more prone to blatant blunders. I doubt twins will ever win a season of TAR because you need two people who think and perform in a slightly different manner.
This was confirmed by the fact that they kept finishing eighth over and over until they were eliminated.
Prior to the start of this season, I had absolutely no memory of anything Liz & Marie did. Thankfully now we have the Indonesian currency error and the running joke of overusing the word literally.
So yes. Liz & Marie now have a legacy in TARstorian. They will never be forgotten. You’re welcome.
In short: Nice people; terrible racers.
And that’s okay.
7) Andy Finch & Tommy Czeschin
I didn’t find them as entertaining as a lot of the other teams. I thought I would laugh more or have more Andy & Tommy moments to pick out that were fun, but there really isn’t. I dunno if it’s because the whole cast was low key, but Andy & Tommy are kinda. . .flat to watch.
Then the whole “my religion is superior to your religion so suck it” mentality and sticking to it in post-race interviews puts them in second-to-last for this season.
I do like the role they served as “Bland religious all-male team benefits from a bunch of lucky breaks and is unstoppable then disaster occurs in the eleventh hour” did give TAR 19 at least -something- to try and definite it.
But when you compare to the material Liz & Marie, Kaylani & Lisa, Ernie & Cindy, Amani & Marcus, Bill & Cathi, Ethan & Jenna, Justin & Jennifer, Laurence & Zac, and yes, even Jeremy & Sandy offered during this season, Andy & Tommy don’t quite measure up.
8) Ron Zeitz & Will Smith
I don’t have much to say about Ron & Bill. They liked sweating through blue shirts, Bill didn’t know how to dance, and had fun with Phil when they were eliminated.
Ron received very little airtime in contrast to Bill. None of the other teams ever talked about them, and they were never shown interacting with the other teams.
They just wanted a fun adventure as a couple. Unfortunately, their lack of hustle kept them on the bottom after their initial arrival at LAX. In fact, LAX is a great way to describe how they ran the race.
They were somehow eliminated before other teams who almost always struggled this season.
1st TK & Rachel 3.18 Saved by NEL once TAR 12
4th Godlewski Family 3.18 Saved by NEL once TAR 8
3rd Jeff & Luke 3.17 TAR Australia 1
4th Dustin & Kandice 3.17 – Used Yield, saved by NEL once TAR 10
2nd Sam & Dan 3.17 U-Turned Pointlessly TAR 15
2nd Brook & Claire 3.17 U-Turned Once TAR 17
7th Peter & Sarah 3.17 TAR 10
3rd Weaver Family 3.15 – Yielded Twice, saved by NEL twice TAR 8
1st Reichen & DK 3.15 – FF TAR 4
1st Uchenna & Joyce 3.15 FF, saved by NEL once TAR 7
4th Toni & Dallas 3.10 Still in Russia TAR 13
4th Derek & Drew 3.10 – FF TAR 3
2nd Geoff 26 & Tisha 31 3.09 Used Yield and U-Turn TAR Asia 3
4th Herb & Nate a.k.a. Flight Time & Big Easy 3.09 TAR 15. Znarf!
1st Nat & Kat 3.08 – FF and Used U-Turn Once TAR 17
2nd Rob & Kim 3.08 – FF TAR 10
3rd Ron & Kelly 3.00 – Yielded, saved by NEL once TAR 7
3rd Jill & Thomas 3.00 – Used U-Turn once and Used Express Pass TAR 17
6th Azaria & Hendekea 3.00 – TAR 12
4th Hayden & Aaron 2.92 – Saved by NEL once TAR 6
2nd Dustin & Kandice All Stars 2.92 – Used Yield TAR 10
2nd Bransen Family 2.85 – Saved by NEL once TAR 8
1st Linz Family 2.77 – Used Yield TAR 8
3rd Joe & Bill 2.76 – FF, saved by NEL twice TAR 1
–BEST OF THE BEST–
3rd Margie & Luke 2.75 Used U-Turn once TAR 14
5th Henry & Bernie/Bunn-Eh 2.75 – Yielded TAR Asia 3
8th Rob & Amber All Stars 2.75 – Used Yield, Choked TAR 11
1st Flo & Zach 2.69 – FF, saved by NEL twice TAR 3
3rd Ken & Gerard 2.69 – FF TAR 3
4th Oswald & Danny All Stars 2.67 FF x2, Used Yield, saved by NEL once TAR 11
2nd Ken & Tina 2.64 – FF, saved by NEL once TAR 13
4th Andy & Tommy 2.64 TAR 19
2nd Jet & Cord 2.58 – Saved by NEL once TAR 16.
2nd Colin & Christie 2.54 – FF, Yielded, and saved by NEL once TAR 5
2nd Tara & Wil 2.53 – FF TAR 2
1st Rob & Brennan – 2.46 FF TAR 1
1st BJ & Tyler – 2.46 FF, Used Yield, and saved by NEL twice TAR 9
1st Vince & Sam 2.45 FF TAR Asia 3
1st Nick & Starr 2.45 FF TAR 13
1st Tyler & James – 2.38 FF TAR 10
2nd Frank & Margarita 2.38 – FF TAR 1
2nd Kris & Jon 2.38 TAR 6
1st Tammy & Victor 2.33 Used U-Turn Once TAR 14
2nd Rob & Amber 2.31 TAR 7
1st Richard & Richard 2.27 FF TAR Asia 4
1st Tyler & Nathan 2.25 Used U-Turn TAR Australia 1
1st Adrian & Collin 2.23 FF TAR Asia 2
1st Meghan & Cheyne 2.00 FF TAR 15
2nd Eric & Jeremy 1.69 FF TAR 9
lol 3rd Marc & Rovilson 1.46 Used Yield and Yielded TAR Asia 2