EPISODE BLOG #300
“I Can See Your Whole Entire Disheartening Express Pass!”
Wow. Blog #300. The message is still same as when we started: Life is too short to be miserable, and it’s all about taking that break to laugh and have fun. Just imagine you’re listening to Montell Jordan’s This is How We Do It on repeat. Let’s jump into this milestone episode.
Previously on TAR: Ten teams continued racing through Argentina. At the Detour, Mark & Bopper’s country know-how gave them an early lead. An 18 hour bus ride to Buenos Aires turned disaster for four teams. At the Roadblock, Rachel teamed up with JJ to help her and Dave win their second leg in a row. Meanwhile Dave the Clown couldn’t calculate and he and Cherie fell short.
Nine teams remain; who will be eliminated next?
ARGENTINA – PARAGUAY – ITALY – GERMANY – AZERBAIJAN – TANZANIA – INDIA – JAPAN – UNITED STATES
MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
DAVE & RACHEL 2
“JOEY” FITNESS & DANNY 1
MISA & MAIYA 1
MARK & BOPPER 1
DAVE & CHERIE 1
ART & JJ 1
After some stereotypical Gaucho music, Phil re-introduces us to the affluent neighbourhood of El Gomero in Buenos Aires—a capital city which dates back almost five hundred years.
Which is just a few years shy of how far Mel White dates back.
El Gomero also has this enormous 200 year old rubber tree which was the pit stop at the end of the last leg.
I love the architecture in Argentina.
Dave & Rachel, who won the last leg of the race at an unknown time, will depart first at 12:22am. They open their clue and read they must go to Corazon De America, Paraguay.
They’re not going to, you know, actually find a human heart in Paraguay, are they?
Asuncion is referred to as the heart of South America. They’re going to the capital of Paraguay.
Nothing makes me happier than TAR slowly checking off every single country in South America. Sadly another South American country won’t make its debut until TAR 28. And as for Venezuela? Well, you’ll have to watch TAR Latino America for that.
For some reason, no version of TAR wants to visit the Northeastern Trio of South America. They are always forgotten.
Once there, they must travel by taxi to an equipment supply store which Phil refuses to name.
It’s not that hard, Phil.
It looks more like a playground than an equipment store.
Minus the BBQ. Make sure an adult is present!
Another variant of the’Light My Fire’ task awaits for Art & JJ at a BBQ, apparently.
What variant of ‘Light My Fire’ are we going to get next week?
A karaoke of Busta Rhymes’ “Light Your Ass on Fire”?
“I want no part of that.”
Dave & Rachel read they have two hundred dollars for this leg of the race then take off.
How many teams have won the opening two legs of the race thus far out of the 25 seasons I have covered?
1) Rob & Amber. TAR 11.
And that is it.
“That’s nothing! Weaksauce!”
Dave & Rachel run.
DAVE: I love Paraguay.
How do you love Paraguay, Dave? I doubt you’ve ever been there or could name facts about the country. Is there an American military base stationed within the country that I don’t know about? I think you didn’t decide to love Paraguay until you read the clue that said “Make your way to Paraguay”.
Because I know nothing about Paraguay. Well, that’s not true. I know three things.
a) It is known as the country where one of its citizens lied about finding the last golden ticket in the 1970s Gene Wilder classic “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory”.
b) Iguazu Falls. Er, a tiny sliver of it. Pardon me for not having a keyboard to have the squiggly accent to ensure the word is spelled correctly.
c) It is the country where I have received the most intensive hatemail in the TAR community over the past decade.
Other than that, I know nothing about Paraguay. I have been to three countries that are very close to it, but never inside of Paraguay itself.
Dave & Rachel acknowledge the target on their backs.
“Maybe if we jump out in front of that taxi when it slows down, we can get just slightly hit so we’re on an even playing field with the other teams.”
Art & JJ depart second at 12:25am.
JJ: This is great cause we’re going to another Spanish speaking country where we can really dominate.
Actually, the main language is Guarani which is spoken by 95% of the people. Spanish is spoken by about 87% of the population. Guarani is a very musical language.
Primarily thanks to its first native speaker, Justin Guarani for whom the language is named after. If only he had beaten Kelly Clarkson.
“P.S. You’ve been summoned to the SS Aquarius where you will join a dozen Italians and Maltese locals to defend the ports. Man, we’re -really- going to dominate, JJ!”
Art & JJ talk about Dave & Rachel.
ART: We’re starting behind Major Dave & Rachel.
JJ: We both do the same thing. We both protect America. . .we’ll stay with Dave & Rachel and just dominate this whole season of Amazing Race.
“And fans will love all of us so much that whichever one of us loses will be brought back over six years later to dominate that season as well due to popular demand.”
Dave & Rachel are at the airport first. They find an 8:45am flight to Asuncion and point it out to Art & JJ who arrive shortly thereafter.
That’s a full catalogue of South American cities that have been visited on Amazing Race. Is Cordoba and Florianopolis the only two exceptions on that list? Because Bogota was used in TAR Latino America a couple of times.
What is Florianopolis anyway?
A Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu commune founded a few years ago by MMA legend Kenny Florian? ROADBLOCK: Who’s down with K-Flo?!
In other news, Rachel is hilariously short.
“Look what I can do Rachel.”
Dave & Rachel try to book the 8:45am flight. Everyone is going to be equalized. Who the hell are we kidding. This is TAR 20.
Whoa. Waiting lists still exist? I guess we did have some of it in TAR 19. We’re going to have the occasional flight scramble for a couple more seasons.
Our fearless leaders await on standby.
“My beard feels patchy.”
“I haven’t bit my nails like this since Desert Storm.”
Mark & Bopper depart third at–
AH! Not this shit again! What are Elliot & Andrew already doing here?
“You mean only one of the two of us can board this flight?”
And why is Brendon wearing the same shirt as me? And why are minors being subjected to Tug O’ War?
I WANT MY DEPARTURE TIMES YOU FUCKERS!!! This is my 300th episode blog and production is doing me dirty! They’re doing us all dirty!
I want to know how much time the second bus lost due to the window smash on the previous leg, but no, production decides to be a bunch of bastards and will keep us in the dark on one of TAR’s greatest mysteries. This pisses me off to no end.
I wish the mayor of Palermo would congratulate me on -my- 300th milestone!
Nary & Jamie are at the 8:45am stand-by counter and summon the other teams.
“Yoo-hoo children! Form a single file line to get tickets for this flight! Then we’ll have to be suuuuper patient.”
“Man, I hope I can sit at the back of the plane!”
“Shut up Andy! I want to!”
“Hey, don’t use that language, children!”
“What is this shit?”
JJ: They’ve got the teachers waving to the other teams to come here to get this. This should be a two-team race. It makes no sense.
“Hey Mark, there’s limited seating on this flight. No way their badankadonks can squeeze into the plane! Ha!”
JJ: Art! They’re waving to the other teams! Teachers are waving to the other teams to come down here!
“Wut up wit dat?”
NARY: People look at teachers as nice and people like teachers. Maybe they’ll like us.
Man, they haven’t been to my hometown cause that’s a different story.
Welcome to British Columbia. Where the next illegal teacher’s strike to infuriate parents can occur at the drop of a hat!
JJ doesn’t want to help anybody else.
JJ: If we’re gonna tell you where to go and basically run the race for you then we’re not gonna help you anymore.
You know JJ is upset when he can only open one eye for the whole duration of the confessional.
We see a montage of teams at the stand-by counters as they scheme their way on.
“Switch our names on priority and I’ll throw in a free workout.”
BOPPER: No way I can talk you into throwing somebody off that plane?
ANDREW: You don’t -have- to give them priority. You can pull a quick one without them even knowing.
Dave & Rachel are loving this chaos.
Art & JJ not so much.
Everyone is waiting to see who gets on.
It won’t be Jim & Marsha.
The woman in the red scarf has an “oh did I do that” look on her face. She’s clearly up to something.
“Four? Do you mean cuatro?”
“JJ, we’re the ones that speak English.”
“I hope their plane crashes just like our bus did.”
“’Preciate it, madam.”
JJ: The bullseye just got gigantic.
Calm down, JJ. It’s only round three. How in the world are you projecting the four of you will dominate the whole season? You haven’t even gone through that many mass equalizers yet!
DAVE: You know what? We are strong enough to deal with it. We’re strong enough to do it.
“Nothing can get in our way. There’s nothing we can’t do.”
***TWELVE HOURS LATER***
“Dave & Rachel, there’s nothing you -can- do.”
“We retract this morning’s confessional.”
“Why do they get to stay in and not us?! We could’ve won eight legs! Y’all just jumped to conclusions!”
Let’s cut back to the present.
ART: If you play the game and you stay in first place, I’ll put the target on my back all day long. You know, Michael Jordan wasn’t afraid to put a target on his back and he won six championships.
Jesus Christ these comparisons are getting out of hand. Art just compared himself to the GREATEST NBA PLAYER IN HISTORY. He is comparing his own life to the nine or ten-figure career of Michael Jordan.
“I really don’t want to make this free throw to score my 50th point of the game, but hey, Art was willing to book an early flight in the third episode of his debut on The Amazing Race. If he’s not afraid, then I’m not afraid.”
Yeah. You should’ve seen Reality Fan Forum and Survivor Sucks drawing all of the parallels between MJ and Art & JJ in February of 2012.
The only thing these guys have in common is that they’re great at shooting. MJ is great at shooting basketballs, and Art & JJ are great at shooting Mexicans trying to jump the border.
ART: OHHHHH YEAHHHHHH.
“Did my partner just turn into Macho Man Randy Savage?”
Mark & Bopper and Nary & Jamie are at the ticket counter together.
And two of production’s favourites during round three just happen to be the exact two teams to be picked from the waiting list. Let the conspiracy theories fly!
“We’re not production favourites amongst Bertram and Elise yet? CBS, where are you? 😥
It pays to be teachers! Well, not financially, but on The Amazing Race it does!
JAMIE: I just shit myself.
You’d fit in well with your kindergarten students, Jamie.
Bopper is surprisingly trendy with his sunglasses.
Sadly Elliot & Andrew are left behind.
Rachel tells Brendon the four teams are all on the flight.
BRENDON: How do you say that?
RACHEL: Well, where else are they?
Doing drugs in the bathroom.
The other five teams are on the 10:40am flight.
Brenchel narrate that five teams are battling to not be eliminated.
I wonder what Ralph’s religious beliefs are.
RACHEL: I’m not calm, Brendon and I’m not about to lose it to some doo-heads.
Man, that’s as cringeworthy as some of the insults Rachel hurled on BB12.
Elliot gives an unmemorable confessional about wanting to be at the front, but what is memorable is that his voice sounds A LOT like Ethan Zohn’s.
All American soccer players sound alike.
VANESSA: The rugs were pulled out from under us and our hearts dropped to the floor.
But yet her uterus remains lodged in her throat. Intact.
RALPH: I’ll tell you what. . .we’re still gonna play hard.
OK, Mr. Foreshadower.
DAVE & RACHEL
ART & JJ
MARK & BOPPER
NARY & JAMIE
ELLIOT & ANDREW
VANESSA & RALPH
BRENDON & RACHEL
JOEY FITNESS & “DANNY”
KERRI & STACY
And here is today’s flight path.
Although it didn’t make the episode, Kerri & Stacy decide to make friends en route.
But no, producers didn’t want to give airtime to Kerri & Stacy.
Ah, we get a brief flash of rural landscape before we fly into Asuncion.
Right between the poles!
The heart of Sudamerica!
Red, white, and blue in a flag. How original.
Is it just me or does it look like this guy is urinating into the bushes?
Well, one Reddit user is going to be happy.
It looks like a spaceship ready for takeoff.
Gotta show love for the conquistadors.
The first flight lands.
Dave & Rachel gain their smallest fan to date.
Mark & Bopper struggle to find a taxi.
“In Kentucky, we don’t have taxis. Just horse-drawn carriages.”
MARK: Make your way to. . .to. . .mata prita. . .bruh.
Just let him read it, Mark. That might be the better idea.
Art & JJ are first. Mark & Bopper are second. Nary & Jamie are third. Dave & Rachel are fourth.
BOPPER: Drive it like you stole it, baby.
“How do you think my parents got me my first car in Clay County?”
Art & JJ are at the route marker. Apparently it is a requirement to go down the slide.
Unfortunately, Debra & Steve had to take a four hour penalty on this task.
Art & JJ had way too much fun on the slide. They start opening up grills.
They start opening up grills. It is a bit more manly than riding down a rainbow slide at a children’s playground.
JJ has it. It’s a Detour.
Stacked Up or Strung Out?
Wasn’t that the title of Jeff & Jackie’s sex tape?
Teams must now make their way to Paraguay’s favourite fruit market or work with Paraguay’s favourite musical instrument.
In Stacked Up, teams must make their way to the largest fruit market in Paraguay and join the workforce in the busy watermelon season. After locating a marked truck, they must stack watermelons in a perfectly formed 10×10 pyramid just like the local vendors do. Once the vendor is satisfied with their “mountain of melons,” they will receive their next clue.
Adam from Survivor NZ would kill it at this task.
After working in the sun all day while shirtless, I wouldn’t be surprised if these guys are diagnosed with MELONOMA. Har har har.
Thanks to this transportation, teams can finally go to an unventured part of the world for The Amazing Race: Melonesia.
That’s just more for the aesthetic.
I like the guy raising his arms in triumph. “I AM THE WATERMELON PYRAMID MASTER!”
In Strung Out, teams make their way to an auditorium and choose a harp—the national instrument of Paraguay. Following an ongoing demonstration, they must attach 36 strings to their instrument. When their harp is ready for tuning, the harp conductor will hand them their next clue.
This is such bullshit. The harp is NOT Paraguay’s national instrument. In fact, you know what the instrument is for ALL of South America?
It’s the drum machine. Without a drum machine, I think half of the population in South America would jump off a cliff voluntarily.
The harp instructor has the same terrible mohawk as Danny. He could be an honourary ‘Guarido’.
Art & JJ choose Stacked Up because they are -real- men.
JJ nearly collides his head with Mark & Bopper’s taxi. For some reason, the driver wasn’t expecting two grown men to go up and down slides.
Mark is not a fan of slides.
Mark & Bopper choose Stacked Up too.
Ah, we get to see the whole Detour.
Dave & Rachel search through the grills with Nary & Jamie. Both teams also choose Stacked Up.
Everyone agrees the harp is lame.
We head to the market.
“I object to the driver’s moustache!”
A classic horse-drawn watermelon cart.
Art & JJ find it.
JJ: Shut the front door.
You lose five points for saying that alone.
Art & JJ decide to be methodical as JJ tosses melons to Art.
Dude on the right is sipping on some mate. Well done, mi amigo.
Good luck catching the watermelons with sweaty hands.
JJ: We catch the bad guys, we catch the dopers, and the alien smugglers. We know we can do the manual labour.
Dave & Rachel are second to the Detour. Top two already. Nary & Jamie are third. Mark & Bopper are fourth. Dave & Rachel say it will be tough because of the heat and sweat.
I really don’t want to picture Bopper being horny in a relationship. Please burn that image from my head. Now.
“I’m rounding second base, y’all! Yee-haw!”
Dave throws a hard one at Rachel.
RACHEL: Jesus. Pretty sure I won’t be able to have babies after this.
Join the club.
Bopper coaches Mark on the task.
BOPPER: We gotta stack ’em right here. Up on their butts.
“Just imagine you’re sitting Team Mississippi in a chair!”
Art says the watermelons have to be laid out flat.
BOPPER: We have to tighten these up!
MARK: No we don’t.
BOPPER: Yes, we do or else they’ll fall!
You mean Mark wants to be lazy and indifferent to a task he doesn’t want to do? I am sooooo surprised.
Art thinks he is Michael Jordan but yet JJ is shooting the watermelon like it’s a basketball.
Everyone keeps layering their watermelons. Mark throws one more.
Gringo’s Melonhead will go viral throughout Paraguay.
“Now where’d it go? And what’s my name?”
That looked painful.
Although Bopper being hit in the head with a watermelon is the clear silver medal winner. Claire will always take gold.
Bopper is surprisingly athletic.
We cut to the second flight landing.
Elliot & Andrew are doing an odd powerwalk out of the airport.
It’s all in the hips, boys!
It’s one way to sneak an ad on TV. I want some sugar!
Brendon & Rachel are fifth. Kerri & Stacy are sixth. Elliot & Andrew are seventh. Vanessa & Ralph are eighth. “Joey” Fitness & Danny are last.
KERRI: It’s hot like Mississippi Mud.
You’re going to have to explain how hot Mississippi Mud is.
We cut to the Detour.
What a waste of food.
And a waste of DK’s good health. Look at what you did to him!
Mark can’t help but stuff his face with those melons!
Rachel offers water to her husband.
“Fuck yo water, bitch.”
DAVE: I’m good.
Dave says deployment can be tough on a marriage. Considering they get divorced, yeah, I suppose it is.
DAVE: Help me. Don’t stand and supervise.
RACHEL: What do you want me to do?
DAVE: Rach, get over here!!!
RACHEL: You’re the least encouraging person I have ever met in my entire life.
DAVE: I’ve been encouraging you this whole race.
“Have you now?”
RACHEL: We haven’t spent this much time together in a really long time. When he comes down on me, it doesn’t make me want to do things.
DAVE: Just sit on the cart and relax. I got it. Sit on the cart.
RACHEL: No. You’re exhausting me, babe.
Dave wants his wife to just sit around while he completes a challenge, and his wife refuses to do so? I’m offended because only one team is allowed to have a scene like this.
That’s right. My favourite OGs Michael & Kathy.
Brendon & Rachel are at the playground.
They didn’t go down the slide! What chumps!
Kerri & Stacy sliding down on their badonkadonks makes for a smooth landing.
Rachel opts to go with Stacked Up—so do Kerri & Stacy.
Elliot & Andrew go down the slide. Vanessa & Ralph and Joey & Danny show up seconds later. All three teams are looking for clues.
A race across a local playground seems like a task more suited for TAR Canada’s low budget.
Vanessa is crawling underneath the grill.
A classic Shana & Jennifer technique.
Elliot & Andrew find it in a grill in seventh place. Joey has one in eighth. Vanessa & Ralph have fallen to last place after grabbing a clue.
Be funny if it was a cannon and it fires something into Ralph’s face Bugs Bunny style.
Vanessa panics at the bottom of the slide.
A children’s slide proves to be too much for Vanessa. You have to use your legs to stand up at the bottom, Nessa!
The watermelon pyramids are nearing completion.
Bopper flexes like he’s an 80s action star.
Can you spot the local who is overdue for a trip to the dentist?
All of the men can’t help but stare at Nary & Jamie’s stacked up melons.
Art & JJ put the finishing touch on their pyramid.
. . .Hold it. . .
The crowd cheers including a local who does a celebratory crotch grab. He’s more like a different MJ if you ask me.
This is as animated as the vendor gets.
Art & JJ open their clue. Make your way to Plaza de la Democracia.
Phil is too good to narrate this route info.
Art & JJ catch a cab.
JJ: We dominated. We got the right flight. We did the right challenge. We did it perfectly.
You’ve done one task. That’s it. That’s not dominating.
JJ: We’ve got to finish first today! There’s no excuse for it!
High expectations early.
The crowd starts filming the players. They know the disasters which are waiting to happen.
Well that pyramid had no chance.
“Savour it, Mark!”
They’re all gonna laugh at you.
Two watermelons away. This is brutal for them.
OK, if that pyramid topples while Rachel is sitting in that position then she definitely won’t be able to have babies after this.
JJ: I love being on the race. I love it I love it I love it.
“Good for you.”
Commercial break. We resume.
Nary & Jamie and Mark & Bopper have to start over. Dave & Rachel switch tasks. They argue over using their Express Pass. Dave wants to use it but Rachel refuses.
DAVE: I say we just use it.
RACHEL: No. No. No. No. No.
She makes her position clear.
DAVE: We have the Express Pass which is huge (it’s actually not and has made no difference except the slight argument being made for Sam & Renae in TAR Australia 1). You’re essentially guaranteed to finish first.
Are you essentially guaranteed first? You don’t understand this twist at all Dave, do you? Let’s do a quick poll of every team who has been in possession of an Express Pass up until TAR 20.
Jill & Thomas, did you finish in first place?
Gary & Mallory?
Sam & Renae?
“Blimey no. We were gutted!”
Ernie & Cindy?
“Those damn boys.”
There you have it.
VANESSA: I can see her ass. I can see Rachel’s whole entire ass!
She’s married, Vanessa. C’mon now.
Rachel refuses to use it because no other teams have shown up.
Nary & Jamie switch.
Mark wants to switch but Bopper doesn’t. Eventually Mark wins the argument after he squashes Bopper’s optimism with his constant complaining.
An ambulance pulls up to treat Mark’s emergency crybabyitis.
Mississippi are in a cab and holler at Kentucky. Why are teams from the Midwest always nicknamed after their state?
I should note Kerri lost her shit on Elliot & Andrew earlier today because they referred to her as “Mississippi” rather than by her real name. The irony is not lost upon me.
STACY: Is it hard?
MARK: Not real hard.
BOPPER: Just in time.
“Can’t you tell by how much fun we had?”
BOPPER: We’ll take y’alls taxi.
STACY: Did it take you a long time to do it?
MARK: Two hours.
“Gritting my teeth is NOT a tell!”
BOPPER: The Mississippi Girls get out and are like “how’s the watermelons been? Was it hard y’all?” and I said “no.”
“Us countryfolk gotta stick together!”
Oh, indeed they will.
You devious son of a guns.
Kerri & Stacy show up to the task.
STACY: Oh my god. Some people must not have finished it. I think we need to change.
KERRI: Damn. And Kentucky just took our cab.
Kerri is going to have a grudge against everyone in the race by the end of this episode.
MARK: We finally played the game like I told you to.
“Ride in it like you stole it!”
Kerri & Stacy grab another taxi knowing Mark & Bopper outwitted them.
Stacy writes down the word ‘BETS’ on a slip of paper.
STACY: You see what this is?
“All bets are. . .”
“. . .Off.”
“Fight the real enemy!”
Stacy just gave Mark & Bopper the full on Sinead O’ Connor treatment.
Art & JJ are at the Plaza de la Democracia. It’s a Roadblock.
ROADBLOCK HINT: Who’s ready to use their head?
The Pringles mascot?
No harp musicians in this band.
Teams must now take part in a Paraguayan tradition—The Bottle Dance.
Balancing a bottle on top of their heads, they must perform a choreographed routine without dropping their bottle. If all of the provided bottles are broken, they’ll receive a two hour penalty. If they can complete the routine, the lead dancer will hand them their next clue.
Normally I hate the idea of teams being forced to end a task after a finite number of attempts, but given that the bottles are destroyed after each attempt, I accept that production has to cap the number at some point. Fifty is enough.
Phil isn’t going to demonstrate the task?
That woman can even shake her head in dismay at someone for breaking all fifty bottles without breaking her own bottle. Impressive.
Two tasks in and I’ve learned Paraguyans sure love to stack things on top of other things.
JJ: Art is doing it because he has a big fat head.
And considering he compared himself to Michael Jordan, I’ll add he has a big fat ego too.
Art is stunned by the dance routine.
And you thought Uchenna was great at balancing things on his head in TAR 7.
Dave wishes he had done this Roadblock too.
Art breaks a few bottles.
Close, but you’re way off.
JJ: C’mon Art. Use your head.
“Look at my new earring!”
“You son of a bitch for making me do this, JJ.”
Joey asks Danny to lob the watermelons down from the truck.
“Toss ’em down you Melonhead.”
Too much time in the gym and not enough time playing sports in the field.
Some of Brendon & Rachel’s melons fall out of the truck.
RACHEL: They’re laughing at us.
“They are?! That’s just rude!”
Vanessa & Ralph try to figure out which melons they need to grab.
Sneaky sneaky on the part of Vanessa. I have a feeling it’s against the rules to take from another truck, though.
Apparently it’s not.
VANESSA: Block ’em in, block ’em in.
RALPH: No. No. C’mon.
Brendon & Rachel start talking like they are in the diary room rather than like normal people. They express their displeasure about Vanessa & Ralph.
“Hey Brendon, want to see my melons that are hanging off my chest? Rachel won’t know!”
Rachel jumps onto the truck and starts rolling out watermelons. This is where we get one of the more infamous scenes of the season.
I thought the playground slide was the first route marker.
I can’t believe ‘ass’ is being censored. Oh, American television.
VANESSA: Haha! Haha!
OK, Nelson Muntz.
RALPH: Hey! Mind what we’re doing!
“It’s as flat as a pancake, anyway. Who cares?”
Vanessa & Ralph are wheeling their melons and Vanessa is still hung up on Rachel’s ass.
You can’t see her entire ass. You want to see an entire ass?
Look up Jen Hudak’s Instagram. Vanessa’s mind will be blown.
Try to avoid Alex’s if you can, though.
RACHEL: Brendon, we’re gonna have to go. We’re gonna have to go. Cut our losses and go.
BRENDON: Get our bags and go.
VANESSA: They’re quitting. They’re quitting.
RALPH: Pay attention man!
“And stop staring at other racer’s asses! Who do you think you are?”
Connor & Jonathan just experiencing puberty?
Brendon has another diary room-esque confessional about not doing the task. Geez. Just talk normal, guys.
RACHEL: All of her mouthing off was one of the reasons we decided to leave the watermelon challenge. Let them bury themselves and Brendon and I will cut bait and move on.
In other words, Vanessa’s mindgames worked. Brendon & Rachel quit a task because of Vanessa’s taunting.
Now the camera operator is just having way too much fun with this scene.
I can’t believe Vanessa just outplayed Brendon & Rachel of all people.
RACHEL: Vanessa is such a biotch.
BRENDON: I can’t stand that girl. She is disgusting.
Brendon imitates Vanessa in a voice like Cartman from South Park.
BRENDON: “I CAN SEE RACHEL’S WHOLE ENTIRE ASS!” Are you kidding me?
Ass is once again censored.
“I am one-sixteenth Chinese and I hate her.”
BRENDON: Vanessa is one of those girls who tries to be all sweet and pretty and nice.
“Awwwww poor baby.”
RACHEL: Her disgusting smile is painted on just like her whole overdone makeup.
I like how editors threw in a sarcastic drumroll. Rachel was never good at dealing out burns on Big Brother or The Amazing Race. She was better off just saying “Nice hair!” and it would have had the same effect.
Art does the robot.
Time for some Girl Push-ups!
Time for a swim!
Does it count if it falls before he grabs the clue?
I guess it does. Art celebrates with the dancer.
Art & JJ open the clue. They must make their way on foot to the next pit stop—Escalinata de Antequera.
And we get to see the clue.
In other news, Art & JJ finished the Detour AND the Roadblock before anyone has finished the Detour.
“We don’t have to crawl on our knees, do we?”
Phil looks so tiny.
Art & JJ ask cops for directions.
I don’t think they need to be in much of a hurry.
Art & JJ spot the pit stop.
This is more dominant than Andy & Tommy’s performance in the Phuket leg of TAR 19.
They toy with each other.
Art faces his greatest task yet:
A couple flights of stairs.
PHIL: Let’s go, c’mon.
(ART & JJ climb to the top.)
PHIL: That’s better. That’s better.
Phil stares at the pit stop greeter.
PIT STOP GREETER: Welcome to Asuncion, Paraguay.
ART: Wow. You’re really pretty.
So pretty that Art may or may not loosen up his borders!
FIRST PLACE: ART & JJ
They have won a trip to the Bahamas. Surprisingly, TAR has never been to the Bahamas. They will swim with dolphins, massages, and golf on an 18-hole golf course.
Hopefully the golf cart is included for Art’s sake.
Art & JJ think they should win every single leg based on today’s performance.
Ask Colin & Christie after the Cairo leg. It just doesn’t work like that.
Elliot & Andrew are first to the harp theatre. Mark & Bopper and Nary & Jamie are there too.
A typical audience for a harp recital.
Maybe it’s the best thing to do if you’re anti-social. Play the harp and your social circle dwindles to those who also don’t want to be bothered!
Mark & Bopper examine the tangled strings.
Only slightly less tangled than my four N64 controllers.
Elliot reminds us he was in a band and has strung guitars.
Obviously he has never strung guitars correctly because his music always sounds terrible.
ELLIOT: If it’s anything like stringing a guitar then we should be alright.
Kerri & Stacy and Dave & Rachel enter the theatre.
That moment when they realize every team is currently underway at the Detour.
Yeah, that decision took 0.2 seconds to be made. I assume they switched Detours knowing they could use their Express Pass anyway if it looked difficult.
Dave & Rachel are in second place as they head to Plaza de la Democracia.
Brendon & Rachel are last to the harp Detour. They talk about how it wasn’t as stressful as throwing watermelons. It is a peaceful setting.
We switch to the watermelons. Vanessa & Ralph lose six watermelons in only their third tier. Joey Fitness & Danny are doing better than them.
Kerri & Stacy played the flute in middle school.
RACHEL: I’m really good at this kind of stuff.
BRENDON: I believe you! Rachel is really good. She is helping us tremendously.
She double majored in chemistry and harp stringing!
Kerri is tweaking that string as if she is wrining Elliot or Andrew’s, Vanessa or Ralph’s, or Mark & Bopper’s necks. SNAP!
BOPPER: It’s like hitting a gas throttle! You just gotta hit the right spot.
You mean that gigantic pedal right by your feet?
BOPPER: Once I got the string in the harp in the air conditioning room, I looked at Mark and thought “we should have done this a long time ago”.
Mark is contributing a lot to the challenge.
“Don’t mess with Texas. . .I mean Kentucky.”
Mark hovers around Bopper some more as Bopper does all of the work.
Nary & Jamie string the harp together.
NARY: I love music when I’m working. It’s wonderful.
At her real job or her fake job?
Because either that would mean she likes listening to ‘Four Hugs a Day’ or the sound of gunshots coming from an adjacent building.
Stacy starts twerking to the harp music.
STACY: This makes me want to shake my booty.
Yeah, forget the heavy beats from Nelly’s “Shake Ya Tailfeather”. . .classical harp music will get you shakin’ it!
Shake what’cha Yo Yo Ma gave ya!
Elliot & Andrew fight over a string.
ANDREW: Grab it.
ELLIOT: What do you want me—to—what–grab it with the freakin’ tweezers dude?
ELLIOT: It comes—understand it goes–
ANDREW: I see it!
ELLIOT: You’ve got to untangle it–
ANDREW: I got it!
ELLIOT: OH MY GOD!
ANDREW: Shut up, man. I got it. I got it. Let go. Just work on the other thing.
This is where Elliot should give Andrew the Kerri & Stacy treatment by sarcastically calling him a nickname rather than his real name.
We cut to the Roadblock where Dave & Rachel have arrived. Dave is ready to use his head.
If Dave’s head is as big physically as it is mentally, this Roadblock should be perfect for him.
Who the fuck is this woman? We go from Kerri twerking because of harp music to a woman doing a strip tease to a Paraguyan mariachi band.
Dave is looking a bit stiff.
It’s like a karate move! Hoo haa!
Dave is playing hackysack with the bottle! You’re supposed to balance it on your head, man!
DAVE: I have an odd-shaped head which is not condusive to this.
Your mom is not condusive. . .if I knew what the word ‘condusive’ meant!
Rachel projects a two hour penalty at this rate.
Dave Brown has decided to rinse and repeat more than a woman in a Herbal Essences shampoo commercial!
Is Dave trying to balance a bottle of wine on his head or trying to unleash a hadouken?
Or maybe a fireball?
Dave is down to two bottles.
She’ll be working full time today.
RACHEL: He has two bottles left.
RACHEL: One bottle left.
This could be the lucky one!
Fifty bottles of beer on the table
Fifty bottles of beer!
You take one down
Put it on Dave’s head
Toss it to the ground
Ten seconds later you have zero bottles of beer on the table!
That ass is gonna be so soaked!
And not in the Jackie type of way!
Man, Dave couldn’t even complete one move in the routine. Failure is not an option Mr. Military Guy!
I think Arnold could have done a better job with this Roadblock than Dave did.
RACHEL: Every minute counts.
DAVE: Today was not our day.
Luckily some of the teams are so weak that Dave & Rachel probably survive this leg even without their Express Pass.
We frequently cut back and forth between both Detour challenges. Nobody has completed the task in the time it took for Dave to break fifty bottles.
Dave & Rachel check into the pit stop.
PHIL: Dave & Rachel, you’re the second team to arrive.
The Express Pass guarantees first place though, right? Right?
“You have incurred a two hour penalty. . .because we had to pay the cleaning lady overtime at the Roadblock. It’s coming out of -your- pocket.”
“So. . .what about that World Cup, eh?”
The team that swept the first two legs of the race happens to be the first team to incur a penalty this season.
DAVE: This was complete failure on us as a team. We’re hopefully still in it.
A future divorced couple has to sit on a bench together for two hours. This isn’t going to be unbearable for them at all.
“How many minutes has it been so far?”
Nobody else has completed the Detour yet. Man, Art & JJ did indeed slaughter everyone. Brendon & Rachel finish stringing their harp.
That’s not an image I want in my head.
Brendon & Rachel have it checked by the harp expert.
It’s like Brendon saw a ghost but Rachel knows it is not real.
The thumb is up.
“I hate them.”
Brendon & Rachel leave the Detour in third. All three legs we have had Art & JJ, Dave & Rachel, and Brendon & Rachel consistently in the top three.
Mark & Bopper, er, just Bopper, finish stringint he harp.
BOPPER: I was just lacing that baby, son. Ol’ Magic Finger Bopper.
“It’s like magic in his fingers!”
Mark & Bopper are done in fourth. So much for Nary & Jamie being on that first flight.
Elliot & Andrew continue to struggle.
ANDREW: You are killing us right now. Absolutely killing us right now.
You’re a team, man.
“Joey” Fitness & Danny and Vanessa & Ralph are close to finishing the pyramid. Ralph places a watermelon and. . .
Ralph’s watermelons Dikembe MuTumble.
They watch Joey & Danny complete the task.
DANNY: It’s like the star on a Christmas tree.
Minus the part where they open up presents containing shots of HGH and a new pair of socks.
“Don’t pay attention to any other team, Nessa. . .unless it’s two muscle-bound dudes.”
Joey & Danny exit the Detour in fifth.
Ralph looks so discouraged right now.
RALPH: We tried, angel.
VANESSA: Baby, we can’t quit.
RALPH: Baby, let’s go do the harp.
VANESSA: We can’t quit. We’ve been doing this.
Vanessa will do push-ups until Ralph is encouraged to keep playing.
RALPH:Angel, I’m telling you. I take one out the whole thing is gonna come down.
Actually, you’re wrong.
You take -nothing- and the whole thing comes down anyway.
Ralph’s frustration has peaked.
We cut back to the auditorium. Kerri & Stacy complete the Detour in sixth. Nary & Jamie are finished in seventh.
The only guns a kindergarten teacher has!
The harp musicians are alone with Elliot & Andrew’s bickering.
“I have to listen to this rather than my own music?”
For me personally, listening to people fighting with harp music and/or Bryan Adams in the background would be my worst nightmare.
Elliot & Andrew note they have missed strings. They opt to switch tasks.
ANDREW: Should’ve done watermelons in the first place.
Yeah, watermelon task is soooo much easier.
Ralph lets go of the watermelon eventually.
To be fair, they only have themselves to blame for a really sloppy pyramid.
It’s bound to collapse like Brent & Caite’s wine glasses in France.
Too bad Elliot & Andrew don’t have access to a live feed of the other Detour task.
I wish one rogue watermelon would drop after a long pause like a fruity tumbleweed. That would cap this disaster for Vanessa & Ralph.
RALPH: That’s not repairable.
VANESSA: Tell them we’ve already lost.
RALPH: Listen to me.
VANESSA: Humour me and listen to me.
I like how watching couples fight is a spectator sport in South America.
Elliot & Andrew are outside.
ELLIOT: We’re gonna go.
ANDREW: With what cab?
Can two teams quit in one leg?
Andrew’s fit escalates to a Hayden & Aaron in Xi’an, China levels.
Goalkeeper tosses his bag across midfield!
Hayden & Aaron did it first and did it better.
Commercial break. We resume.
Elliot proposes a sensible solution.
ELLIOT: We may as well go back and try to finish the harp.
Andrew is pretending to be traumatized by the harp task like a true soccer player. “I’m gonna sit on this bench and do nothing!”
ANDREW: I’m going back and I’m gonna get it done even if it takes me all day. Let’s sprint at least!
How far did they walk to look for a taxi?
Ralph explains to Vanessa they have to start the pyramid from scratch.
I can see Vanessa’s whole entire frustration!
Vanessa’s feet are glued to the Paraguayan Earth.
Ralph asks Vanessa if she wants to quit. She silently shakes her head. She has a confessional about how Ralph has a 13 year old daughter and to not set an example of quitting a task.
Elliot decides to have his confessional while in a virtual tie for last place. Work on the damn harp and record your confessional later, dammit!
VANESSA: We’re gonna finish this thing. Hell or high water.
Yeah, I think you guys are safe from this penalty.
Brendon & Rachel are third to the Roadblock. Rachel, Joey, and a reluctant Mark opt to use their head.
Jesus Christ would have been perfect at this Roadblock.
Rachel makes it to the floor before the bottle tips.
Imagine if Dave had to sweep up after each of the fifty bottles he smashed. Maybe the Express Pass would have made the difference between surviving and being eliminated after all!
Joey gets close before it tips.
Keep your squats deep, Rachel!
Nary is sixth to volunteer for the Roadblock. Kerri is seventh.
I can’t tell if Rachel is happy, angry, stressed, or focused right now.
Mark has no protection on that sweaty bald head of his. This must make it tougher. At least Rachel has her 500 dollar extensions as a cushion!
Kerri would have been so screwed if she couldn’t tie her afro back. She should win a bonus 5k if she can balance it on her afro.
Kerri has decided to switch to a different Roadblock.
Whoa! It’s a 100 metre sprint!
Rachel does the final move.
Rachel is smiling as if she is trying to sell the move.
It’s approved. Rachel completes the Roadblock.
Time for an impromptu dance!
She’s trying to do some sort of MJ move on her tip-toes.
Rachel bows to the right then to the left. Joey is not distracted by this somehow.
It’s like a whole cheerleading routine!
Leeane and Mar would be proud.
BRENDON: You’re on fire today!
Moreso than the military couple.
Joey completes the Roadblock in fourth place.
Girl needs an umbrella!
Rachel is stressed as she sees Joey & Danny running too.
RACHEL: Brendon! They got the clue! C’mon!
(RACHEL starts crying.)
RACHEL: Oh no! Let’s go or else Jersey Shore is gonna beat us!!
It’s just a race for third place, but Rachel really wants to preserve a high race average.
Rachel is nearly run over by a breast cancer Jeep when she gives her bag to Brendon.
Rachel is like a smoker with asthma running up a hill. She can’t stop huffing and coughing.
Vomit! Vomit! Vomit! I haven’t seen anyone vomit on TAR in a while. We’re long overdue! Vomit! Vomit! The Vomit on TAR Club is occupied by only an elite few.
RACHEL: Sorry, I’m so embarrassed right now.
BRENDON: Baby you killed it at the Detour and the Roadblock.
She’s like a drunk chick at a party. She’s on her knees crying about being embarrassed and apologizing to her friends, constantly on the verge of retching and coughing. . .
And my personal favourite, “why won’t the room shaking, Brendon???? Ow my head won’t stop hurting.”
Rachel eventually rises to a standing position once more while borderline hyperventilating.
She takes some Gravol and is fine now.
“It’s OK, guys. We really needed third place. . .for some reason.”
PHIL: Brendon & Rachel, you’re the third team to arrive. However. . .
‘However’ makes them nervous.
Phil provides the full explanation.
“Another team incurred a penalty—it may or may not be the team sitting ten feet away from us on the bench.”
“Gee, thanks Phil.”
SECOND PLACE: BRENDON & RACHEL
Joey is trying to do the math in his head.
THIRD PLACE: JOEY & DANNY
Jersey and Cali gettin’ ‘er done!
Dave & Rachel think they could be eliminated. Sigh, way to create false suspense editors.
We cut back to the Roadblock once more.
Another task where Mark is having so much fun on the race.
“We don’t have too many swimming holes in Kentucky.”
Mark completes the task.
He can walk [with a bottle on his head] and chew gum at the same time!
“Last team to check in may be eliminated, and Mark ain’t got no clean clothes!”
Nary completes the Roadblock in sixth.
I love the graffiti tunnel.
Dave casually checks his watch. I am sure Phil will tell you when it’s time to hop onto the mat, Dave.
Nary & Jamie and Mark & Bopper decide to run together to the mat. It’s only six blocks from the Roadblock location.
Both teams aren’t going to run up the stairs within five seconds. That’s just ridiculous.
Well I’ll be damned.
PHIL: Alright, make way for -this- team to come over on this side.
They have names, Phil!
“Make way for these two whozits.”
FOURTH PLACE: MARK & BOPPER
Nary gives Mark a good jolt.
FIFTH PLACE: NARY & JAMIE
Bopper consoles Dave as Nary & Jamie celebrate.
PHIL: Rachel & Dave. . .this is the first time ever that a team has not completed a challenge on a leg and still stay in The Amazing Race.
“And this is a team we have to market as one of the dominant teams of all-time. Fantastic.”
“Honey, remember to smile–”
“Showing teeth is a primal form of submission. When a chimpanzee smiles all I see is a chimp begging for mercy.”
“Why the hell do they get to stay in?!”
SIXTH PLACE: DAVE & RACHEL
“My PTSD war flashbacks where I witnessed human rights violations are more pleasant than how we performed today.”
DAVE: The leg was a complete and utter failure and Rachel and I can only improve from this point foward.
Not a complete and utter failure. We’ll get to that soon.
Bopper goes into southern Baptist preacher mode.
BOPPER: We have been put to the test to stand in front of you today. . .but we’re still HERE BABY!
“THE GUNS ARE READY TO FIRE NEXT LEG BABY!!!
Why does Bopper flex multiple times this episode? Who is he trying to be?
Buff Bagwell from WCW?
I don’t know if it is a good thing or a bad thing that the pit stop greeter is laughing at Bopper’s biceps.
“Oh god. Can I go to the hotel now?”
We cut back to the two Detour tasks.
RALPH: We’ll be here until midnight.
VANESSA: You down?
***TWO HOURS LATER***
Huh. It’s midnight.
It’s bits of string versus a pyramid of watermelons. Who shall emerge victorious?
Oh, but first, Kerri completed the Roadblock at some point in unaired footage and has checked into the pit stop with Stacy.
SEVENTH PLACE: KERRI & STACY
Neither all-female team is allowed a mat chat. Sorry.
Watermelons are stacked and strings are well-strung.
Oh fuck off guys, I didn’t summon you.
Elliot is not impressed with how they have done at this Detour—Nothing says disdain like hands on hips!
Elliot & Andrew are approved.
Andrew is like a child—he sure loves throwing things to the ground today!
“Detour to the GROUND! ANDY IS AN ADULT!!!”
ANDREW: Why did we choose the hard one? That was disheartening.
“Don’t you mean disHARPening?”
Andrew really likes the word disheartening.
Ralph puts on the final watermelon.
The golf clap from what’s left of the crowd ensues. Some people even whistle.
Elliot & Andrew aren’t going to believe that the watermelon task was the most difficult of the two.
The church bells toll. Plaze de la Democracia is nearly empty.
Elliot, after messing up a musical challenge, decides to do the Roadblock.
Vanessa & Ralph assume everybody has checked into the pit stop.
Yes Vanessa, that is indeed sweat on your hand.
“No, it’s glisten!”
Glisten is not a substance, Misti.
NOTE: Racers were allowed to pour some of the water out from their bottles. Elliot has not done that yet. Take note of it as it will be important.
ANDREW: Hey! Get the balance first!
In other words, “you know what the challenge said to do? Do that!”
Vanessa & Ralph show up seven minutes later. Both teams are equally shocked to see each other.
RALPH: Hoooooolyyyyyyyy cow, we are really still in this.
It took every ounce of effort for Ralph to not drop a ‘holy shit’ bomb in this confessional.
Commercial break. We resume.
VANESSA: You do it. Your head is harder than mine.
Especially during the pit stop!
NOTE: Ralph is pouring some of the water from his bottle before Elliot does the same. It doesn’t make it into the official footage.
Elliot is two-thirds of a way to being an Egyptian.
Vanessa and Andrew can only watch. . .and scream advice.
It’s a showdown.
For some reason, this man squeaks 0.2 seconds after we see that shot of Elliot squatting low. That is definitely an editing joke.
Elliot is so close to securing eighth place.
But yet so far.
This is too much for Nessa!
Elliot is so damn close again!
Andrew knows it too.
Unless Ralph starts doing the worm, he should be awarded the clue.
Ralph picks her up and drags her away along with the clue. You’re on your own, angel!
Vanessa & Ralph run away.
***EIGHT MINUTES LATER***
You’re too late, man. The pit stop is only a few blocks and a couple of flights of stairs away. It’s. . .well, it’s. . .
“Warning: Last team to check in will be demoted to the drummer in their band.”
Elliot & Andrew are absolutely sprinting. Vanessa isn’t running as fast but we never see a shot of both teams running together.
VANESSA: I am going to throw up.
I want Vanessa to Philiminate her esophagus all over Keoghan’s shoes.
I see Phil is playing that game again.
The rule is you check in when both feet touch the mat. What is the ruling when you instead land on the mat with both hands?
Vanessa is finishing this leg Lanky Kong style!
Or Jill a.k.a. Rambette Style.
EIGHTH PLACE: VANESSA & RALPH
Ralph does hand exercises after handling watermelons all day.
Only four minutes later, Elliot & Andrew show up.
ANDREW: You killed that, bro.
Killed what? Any chance of staying in the race due to a shitty performance today?
They do a Reverse Brad & Victoria at the pit stop.
Elliot & Andrew know what’s coming.
LAST PLACE: ELLIOT & ANDREW
They are eliminated.
If high fiving was an active route info, they would have failed at that too.
Vanessa & Ralph stuck around to congratulate them on losing.
This kind gesture backfires as Ralph gets a fresh scent of Elliot’s sweaty and unwashed oily hair.
Elliot says he feels like he let his brother down. Andrew instantly disagrees and knows they’ll laugh about it after it’s over.
Just not quite yet.
Andrew is proud of themselves and says they both like to have their way. Blah blah blah.
Elliot & Andrew run off the pitch without exchanging shirts with Vanessa & Ralph or Phil and the pit stop greeter.
We are treated to terrible harp music in the credits as if to taunt Elliot & Andrew.
Next Time on TAR: Italy’s motor city drives teams over the edge.
And with that I have covered the 300th leg in the TARstorian timeline!!! Ho-Lee Crap! I threw in some callbacks, some new shit, and putting in a bit more care and attention to this episode than I would most episodes.
Thank you for your ongoing readership and engagement with this blog! The audience for TARstorian has really steamrolled over the past couple of years in our long timeline. Some of you have also been with me since the beginning. Every now and then someone messages me with a joke from a blog post I wrote several years ago—some jokes I forgot I had ever written because a lot of my observations come from left field. After I look up my own joke, I find myself laughing at it as if it wasn’t me that read it. It’s great to know jokes or little observations I write about TAR make its way into regular TAR discussions around the Internet.
Whether it be Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, Survivor Sucks, RFF, Disqus, other blogs and podcasts like RHAP, Wayne & Gord, Sue’s Reality Canada, After Buzz, knowing I have had a strong and positive influence in the TAR community continues to be a real treat for me.
Remember: Life is too short to be taken too seriously, and we can always find time to laugh at silly things in life—including an absurd TV show where people race around the world doing tasks like stacking watermelon pyramids or challenging a 70 year old man to grudge matches.
Let’s hit up TARstorian blog #301!
MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
ELLIOT & ANDREW 1
JOEY FITNESS/DANNY 1/0
1) Buenos Aires, Argentina -> Asuncion, Paraguy
We have only three tasks total this leg and there wasn’t much navigation within the city of Asuncion.
However, we had a little bit of a flight scramble. Yes, it was just over two flights, but that’s more than what we typically get in TAR during this era. The three tasks we had were all tough as balls. You know it’s tough as balls when Dave & Rachel, a team who people put in the conversation of the strongest team ever are unable to complete ANY of the three tasks.
I assume Dave & Rachel didn’t put in as much effort as they normally would due to the comfort of the Express Pass. It’s like a power player playing loosely when he has a big chip lead. I’ve seen myself do the same thing in Survivor ORGs when I have a hidden immunity idol or am in the majority. When you have an advantage and are damn good at what you do, you just don’t try as hard.
Therefore, I believe the Express Pass wasn’t really a factor in Dave & Rachel surviving this leg. They didn’t even bother attempting the harp challenge and switched the watermelon task early because they knew they could use their Express Pass if the harps presented any sort of difficulty or an abundance of teams. Combine that with Elliot & Andrew and Vanessa & Ralph being several hours behind Kerri & Stacy, and I am about 97% confident that Dave & Rachel make it through no matter what.
So yeah, the Express Pass twist was a waste once again. Luckily Dave & Rachel used it early to prevent it from hogging up airtime. I do think, however, that Dave & Rachel’s performance in this leg erases them from contention in the strongest team to ever run the race.
The storyline of Art & JJ and Dave & Rachel representing the top of the leaderboard continues. They aligned, got on the best flight, and Art & JJ were very strong where Dave & Rachel are very weak. JJ outright says that these two teams will dominate the whole season. We see layers of Brendon & Rachel and Mark & Bopper showing strength in this leg and being presented as the only two teams who could possibly catch the two dominant teams in an upset. The editors have an easy story to tell for this season.
For a team who doesn’t make it to the very end nor will be super popular with the audience, editors invested in Vanessa & Ralph barely surviving this leg. They had their own segment after a commercial break just to show the conclusion in their late night showdown with Elliot & Andrew. Hell, we even got a good chunk of content of their rivalry with Brendon & Rachel. We had the full spectrum of “I can see Rachel’s whole entire ass” to “we will not quit to set a good example for Ralph’s son”. The audience definitely has mixed opinions about this team.
Nary & Jamie being the friendly team with a goofy storyline that trolls Art & JJ’s and Dave & Rachel’s competitive spirit officially begins this round. Art & JJ don’t like goofy folks. Too bad we don’t see a helluva whole lot else from Nary & Jamie except being bumped to the early flight.
Both all-female teams were underedited this leg as Kerri & Stacy were barely shown. They were on the receiving end of being outwitted by freakin’ Mark & Bopper. Editors chose not to bury Kerri & Stacy by showing the online exclusive unaired scenes and rather buried them via lack of airtime. They were outwitted then Kerri twerked to the harp music. We didn’t even see the completion of the Roadblock or more than a second of being at the pit stop.
As for Elliot & Andrew, editors did a great job of capturing their relationship and story all within the span of one episode. There wasn’t much to tell and decided to wait until they were relevant for the round.
This leg also receives extra credit for being a debuting country for the TAR catalogue. Paraguay has never been visited before or since. If they do choose to return to Paraguay, hopefully we get a leg outside of the only major city that 99% of the population can point to on a map. Can you think of another city besides Asuncion? I doubt it.
Wow, I totally forgot about Joey Fitness & Danny until now. There wasn’t much time for their comedic relief. Too much story was going on, they finished in the middle, and Rachel and Bopper were trying too hard to entertain the audience. Sorry guys. Maybe crop your mohawk Danny and you’ll get more attention.
2) Santa Barbara, California -> Cafayate, Argentina
I am not a fan of Starting Line tasks, and here we get another clear example of how a Starting Line task makes a season premiere feel super rushed and condensed. The first time we see two teams interacting is when Art & JJ and Dave & Rachel team up during the Roadblock. A couple of other loose observations during the tasks, and that’s it. Thankfully future rounds will explore these social interactions more.
There is one good thing about the Starting Line task this year: It’s the first one without any sort of penalty for the team that finishes last. They just have to get to the airport like everybody else.
Making 120 empanadas prior to reaching the pit stop was more of a unique task in TAR, and I appreciated it. We saw quite a bit of position shuffling due to the difficulty of it.
We saw a classic Roadblock fakeout as the team that thought they were going to skydive never ends up skydiving. Producers wanted more terrified racers to do this task, but the best moment we got was from Stacy and even that was a very small and repetitive moment we have seen over the course of twenty seasons.
Part of me wishes the pit stop was at a separate location, but it is the only reason why we got our Misa & Maiya elimination moment. I saw this episode live when it originally aired over six years ago, and the idea of this ever happening on TAR was thought to be reserved more for fanfics.
“A team is within plain sight of the pit stop less than100 yards away and doesn’t see Phil, camera crew, the pit stop mat, and the pit stop greeter? There’s no way that could happen.”
But it did. And not only that, but it was in the final showdown to determine who would be eliminated from the premiere. Knowing what happens at the finish line of this season, it really sets the tone for how TAR 20 is going to go.
Speaking of setting the tone, the way many of the teams carried themselves indicated who would be dominating this entire season. Dave & Cherie, Kerri & Stacy, Joey Fitness & Danny, and Misa & Maiya presented very clear weaknesses in this first round as the audience could quickly narrow down our contenders at the top. And Mark & Bopper were going to be our wildcards.
It’s not an awful premiere like others we’ve seen during this era of TAR, but more work still needs to be done. This episode would have been very unmemorable if not for the Misa & Maiya elimination.
3) Cafayate, Argentina -> Buenos Aires, Argentina
This leg had too many equalizers for only having two tasks.
Want to do a Detour? Wait for everyone until sunrise.
Want to do a Roadblock? You have to board one of three buses and hope yours doesn’t have somebody come up and smash your bus window with a baseball bat. Oh, and there’ll be a pit stop immediately afterwards.
Because TAR gives a lot of airtime to a pair that are prominent on other reality shows whenever a crossover occurs, we had an overwhelming amount of Brenchel content. Seeing how they competed on consecutive seasons of BB, an episode where they have several scenes early on in the season triggered a lot of groans within the viewership.
And because Art & JJ represent that anti-Brenchel Brigade within the viewership, their excessive comments towards Brendon & Rachel were also constantly shown. It doesn’t help when you know these two teams will be sticking around for a very long time in this season. What’s the point of the other nine teams being there?
Art & JJ and Dave & Rachel’s alliance dominated the whole cast for the second round in a row. It must have been scary to be any other team as they know the top two duos have decided to become a Superpower. A counter-strike has to come soon.
The Detour was a bit unique in terms of using a solar panel with minimal instruction to be setup and heat a tea kettle to a boil. That was fun to watch as teams didn’t know whether that would be quicker than the donkey alternative. Art & JJ made the absolute right call in this situation.
We found out Kerri & Stacy are good at things you wouldn’t normally associate with their archetype in TAR. They are handy and are good at math? I wouldn’t have guessed.
Mark put aside his Eeyore tendencies and was very pleasant this episode. Same with Bopper. No mention of how much they need the money. They were just having a grand ol’ time out there. This is how Mark & Bopper should be edited. They didn’t complain once during the task in an eyeroll-y fashion.
Vanessa & Ralph were the narrators for this episode. Who expected that?
Danny making himself bleed by accident and Joey Fitness’ leap onto the platform for the Roadblock clue was mildly amusing to watch.
Elliot & Andrew are invisible.
And poor Clown Dave. Nobody wanted to save him at the Roadblock.
Lastly, Diego Maradona always laughing at other people’s tragedies is about as much as you need from a pit stop greeter.
This leg just wasn’t well-designed and two teams hogging too much of the airtime is what drops it down in my rankings.
P.S. Nary & Jamie’s lie that they are kindergarten teachers is very believable considering their reaction to everything so far. I totally think Nary called a buddy in Langley to smash the second bus, though. I am certain of that.
1) Dave Gregg & Cherie Gregg
Misa & Maiya weren’t capable at The Amazing Race. Dave & Cherie just seemed to really suck at math. Well, Dave anyway.
They were on the second bus and well on their way to the third round of the season, but a tragic bus accident where a window went smashy-smashy led to putting them at peril. Since the only task in Buenos Aires was for Dave to do math. Vanessa succeeded, Andrew and Joey aligned, and Dave was ultimately doomed.
Producers clearly loved Dave & Cherie. Constant positive content, exploring Dave’s history with a familiar cancer, and their own theme music. That fast motion exit with Cherie tripping and doing cartwheels was a unique piece of editing.
Dave & Cherie had terrible jokes, but at least they had a great PMA (Positive Mental Attitude!) from start to finish. No wonder Dave & Rachel were willing to give them a bit of help with the Detour. Too bad they couldn’t rescue them from the Roadblock.
During the first leg they seemed doomed to be that middle-aged couple who goes home instantly, but a combination of determination and Misa & Maiya and Joey & Danny being terrible drivers allowed them to leapfrog to a decent eighth place finish.
In a season that will be dominated by conflict between all of the teams, it’s nice that there was a sideshow of clowns who kept things relatively upbeat for the first couple of rounds.
And unlike Misa & Maiya who appeared to be recruited for the sole purpose for us to laugh at their blunders, we had a team who loved TAR and knew we were laughing with them.
Teams who go home on the second leg have a tendency to have the smallest edit of the season, but that isn’t the case here.
2) Elliot Weber & Andrew Weber
Much like Misa & Maiya, and to a lesser extent Dave & Cherie, Elliot & Andrew weren’t the strongest casting choices. They had as much charisma as fellow soccer enthusiasts Isaac & William on The Amazing Race.
They expressed frustration with each other in leg three (as well as sarcasm in unaired footage with Mississippi), and Andrew tossing a backpack and string was entertaining. However, they didn’t have any specific highlights beyond being a team who choked as badly as another team during a very long day.
Well, a very long day if you suck at both tasks.
Even if Dave & Rachel hadn’t used their Express Pass, Elliot & Andrew would have still been eliminated. During the first two legs Elliot & Andrew would either be at the back of the group they flew/rode into a city with or very close to last. They did only slightly better than Misa & Maiya at tasks and only beat Dave & Cherie at math or the occasional self-driving directions.
I can see during casting that Elliot & Andrew had some entertaining banter between them and having interesting backgrounds in the form of music and being professional soccer players, but we didn’t hear Andrew until leg three. That awkward confessional of Elliot joking about being incest-ish gay brothers set the tone right away.
The good news is they provided that “dangit, those nice guys were eliminated in that close race with the controversial couple” which was a bit of an early season highlight.
It’s not much, but hey, we needed at least one likable team in a sea of controversy. And I’d rather watch these guys for an approximate three episode run. They went home at the right time and served their role in the season.
3) Misa Tanaka & Maiya Tanaka
Poor Misa & Maiya. Their reputation on TAR is going to be known for that one very very infamous blunder (which lucky for them will be overshadowed just two seasons later). They run a terrible leg. They can’t drive. They spend two hours searching through the same baskets in the hot air balloons. They can’t run fast.
But right before the pit stop they get a task that falls under their vary narrow tree of personal strengths. They make up a ton of time and aren’t last and then. . .completely fuck it all up by not seeing Phil. Joey Fitness & Danny slip through, and they are the first team eliminated.
Misa & Maiya have to be in the conversation for some of the worst racers ever.
John & Scott weren’t competitive.
Dana & Adrian chose the wrong person to complete a Roadblock.
Ron & Tony get very lost while driving.
Mika refused to do anything involving heights or water.
Meredith & Maria can’t drive and have no sense of direction.
Misa & Maiya. . .were mediocre or atrocious at everything that didn’t involve gyoza-related challenges. I think if you ran this season ten times, Misa & Maiya are the first team to be eliminated on nearly every leg imaginable.
It’s too bad because they wanted to be presented as strong women to the audience, but boy oh boy did that not come through.
Below is a list of all teams from seasons I have blogged to date, ranked by racing average.
e.g. Don & Mary Jean finished 9th, 8th, 8th, 8th, and 8th. Add up the numbers and divide it by the number of legs they have played.
Therefore their average is 8.2.
Because of how long this list has become, I only show the relevant section where the eliminated team from this episode has fallen amongst the ranks of what TAR history has to offer.
10th Steve & Linda 9.5 TAR 14
10th Anthony & Stephanie 9.5 (Why them?????) TAR 13
10th Megan & Heidi 9.5 (Wow. They sucked.) TAR 7
11th Ron & Bill 9.5 TAR 19
11th Garrett & Jessica 9.5 TAR 15
10th Dave & Cherie 9.0 TAR 20
10th Kate & Pat 9.0 TAR 12
9th David & Mary TAR 11: All Stars 9.0 TAR 11
9th Peggy & Claire 9.0 May or may not be gutsy. TAR 2
10th Meredith & Maria 9.0 TAR 6
10th Dennis & Andrew 9.0 FF TAR 3
10th Anne-Marie & Tracy 8.67 TAR Australia 1
8th Mo & Mos 8.60 Saved by NEL once TAR Australia 1
10th Mel & Mike 8.33 Mel died. TAR 18
9th Marianna & Julia 8.33 TAR 12
10th Russell & Cindy 8.33 TAR 4
8th Don & Mary Jean 8.2 Saved by NEL once TAR 6
9th Elliot & Andrew 8.0 TAR 20
10th Kellie & Jamie 8.0 TAR 10
10th Kim & Leslie 8.0 TAR 1
8th Danielle & Dani 7.8 Yielded TAR 9
9th Jaime & Cara 7.8 U-Turned and Used U-Turn TAR 18
8th Liz & Marie 7.8 Saved by NEL once TAR 19
8th Marisa & Brooke 7.75 Sucked. TAR 13
7th Mika & Canaan 7.67 Why the heck did they sign up? TAR 15
9th Marcy & Ron 7.67 Bald. TAR 15
9th Isaac & William 7.5 TAR Asia 3
9th Jim & Marsha 7.33 TAR 5