EPISODE BLOG #302
“Starfish Beards and Sliding Gnomes”
ARGENTINA – PARAGUAY – ITALY – GERMANY – AZERBAIJAN – TANZANIA – INDIA – JAPAN – UNITED STATES
Previously on TAR: Eight teams raced from Paraguay to Turin, Italy as teams descended at the Roadblock. Border agents touched down at the Fast Forward to win their second leg in a row. Bickering took its toll on Rachel & Dave and Brendon & Rachel. Best friends Mark & Bopper fell short, but received a touching gift from new friends.
Eight teams remain; who will be eliminated next?
They don’t show a racer’s most shining moments in the intro shot anymore.
It would be like if Jonathan & Victoria’s intro shot became Jonathan shoving his wife.
MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
DAVE & RACHEL 4
ART & JJ 3
MARK & BOPPER 2
“JOEY” FITNESS & DANNY 1
MISA & MAIYA 1
DAVE & CHERIE 1
ELLIOT & ANDREW 1
VANESSA & RALPH 1
Phil introduces us to Torino. He finally tells us they hosted the 2006 Winter Olympics because TAR loves that Olympic shit.
I love how every Italian town has a romantic setting. A lovely date paddling across a pond.
Ah, I see the Godlewskis still have their own TV show as of TAR 20. I should note the series finale was May of 2012—in other words, the show ended when TAR 20 ended. Apparently now I am the DeHoStorian.
Phil reminds us that Turin is the Motor City of Italy too.
The way the car spins is like a car select screen from a N64 game.
OK, I’m not looking into the history of Castle either on Wikipedia. Let’s move on.
Art & JJ, who arrived first at an unspecified time, will depart at 8:57am.
If the clue were a Ford product, it would open on its own without any help from the competitors.
Art & JJ read they must go to the oldest province in Germany—Bavaria. Today Bavaria is known as barely being part of Germany.
First, teams must take a train to Ehrwald, Austria. Once there they will pick a car and drive across the border into Bavaria and find the Gasthof Zum Rassen restaurant and search for the Travelocity roaming gnome who has their next clue.
Austria is not being counted as a country this season because the train station is all they see. By that criteria, we should count any country which features an airport layover throughout the season.
Ten bucks we’ll see a shot of people drinking beer.
Er, I meant gnomes. Only in Bavaria where pitchers of beer and gnomes outnumber the people in town.
I would be careful about tilting the gnome—it looks like he has had a lot to drink today!
Art & JJ marvel over dominating their two leg victories in a row.
JJ: We’re friends. It’s a huge difference between two dudes running the race that work together than a husband and wife. That’s off the table. Art is an idiot most of the time and I’m gonna let him know.
JJ marvels in the victories more than Art.
Art & JJ’s goal is to win their third leg in a row because of their huge lead.
I feel bad for the camera operator and sound guy who is stuck alone on a train with Art & JJ for the next twelve hours.
Dave & Rachel depart in second place at 11:33am.
Dave has relieved Rachel of her clue reading duties during the intermission.
Joey Fitness & Danny commence at 12:11pm.
JOEY: We said if we were to go anywhere cold we wanted these hats we saw. They were funny. . .I like the panda’s little tongue sticking out. It’s kinda flirty.
Wow. Don’t take Joey to the zoo. A panda starts winking at him and he’ll immediately jump its bones.
DANNY: I don’t know who he’s trying to flirt with, but. . .
“It’s either flirting with me or the panda. . .and I don’t know which one would be better.”
Dave & Rachel arrive at Porta Nuova Station in Torino. Joey & Danny are on the same train as them.
Vanessa & Ralph talk about Bavarian cream as they read the clue. We get a marriage tally. Ralph has been married three times. Vanessa once.
Why is there a graveyard on the wall of the piazza?
Vanessa & Ralph continue their confessional about the marriages.
Much like Boston Rob, maybe the fourth marriage will be the time when he finally gets it right.
Vanessa says their divorces helps vocalize what they want and need from each other. It definitely helps and hurts them.
Nary & Jamie depart in fifth at 12:56pm. No confessional. 1.2 seconds on-screen. Editors say GTFO.
Brendon & Rachel depart in sixth at 1:18pm.
RACHEL: Where’s the Rome?
BRENDON: No, the gnome.
RACHEL: Where is he?
BRENDON: We got to find him.
RACHEL: Oh, he’s in Germany?
BRENDON: Yes, c’mon.
“Oh, but I want him now.”
“Rach, what are you doing? We got to go!”
Brendon & Rachel review the last leg and how horrible it was. Not to mention Brendon asking Rachel to quit.
Perhaps Brendon & Rachel’s greatest trait which makes them the only couple to stay together since this season ended—their sense of humour about the absurd conflict.
RACHEL: I have to remember Brendon is my little Bookie bear and not my enemy.
Have you seen what happens when Bookie Bears are angry? National Geographic had that whole special of when Bookie Bears Attack. It’s fucking vicious.
Never owe a Bookie Bear money. It doesn’t end well. Intensive Care Bears are to be feared.
Vanessa & Ralph, Brendon & Rachel, and Nary & Jamie are on the third train together.
Still waiting on a Nary & Jamie confessional for nearly two full episodes. Who is responsible for that?
Yeah. Brendon & Rachel may or may not be poaching Nary & Jamie’s airtime.
Kerri & Stacy depart in seventh place at 3:58pm.
Their bags look humongous. There is no way they’ll be running fast today.
KERRI: I am feeling re-energized. I am ready to jack up some other teams.
Wow. I am really glad she chose to say “up” to fill the blank in “I am ready to jack — some other teams.”
Jimmy Kimmel would’ve definitely used this clip in Unnecessary Censorship.
Kerri talks about both of them being away from their families and how it is getting her down.
KERRI: My husband is a professional basketball player.
Wait. Kerri’s last name is Paul. Does that mean. . .
Kerri’s husband is NBA superstar Chris Paul? C-P-3!
Nevermind. It’s Stacy saying this on the audio. Stacy Bowers.
Timothy Bowers. A random dude who plays for a team called Umana Venezia in Italy. Stacy has lived in Italy.
Wow. How was this not a storyline in the Turin leg that Stacy has LIVED in northern Italy? How the hell did she get the most invisible edit of all sixteen contestants in the previous episode? If this were TAR Canada, we would be shown photos on-screen and all of that shit.
TAR 20: A season where so many teams are underedited that I am forced to tell their stories for you.
I guess they didn’t want a bunch of callback jokes to Monica arnd Sheree’s “the luxuries of being married to a professional athlete” storyline. Yes, “arnd” spelling was intentional.
STACY: I am married to a professional basketball player.
KERRI: And I have two children.
Underlying sexism on TAR: Yet another all-female team defined by those they support and learn nothing about them as individuals in the process.
In fact, all three all-female African-American teams on TAR up to this point (other than Lyn & Karlyn who made it all the way to the freakin’ finish line) are defined by the following:
a) Love of Jesus/God
b) Being a spouse
c) Having kids
And all three teams were severely underedited during their run on the show.
STACY: When we have on our hot pink lips, we’re ready to go.
Actually, those hot pink lips are just kissing the race goodbye thanks to their random surge of family life being presented to us.
KERRI: Mama Mia! We made it to the train stasioneeh.
Well that’s the most stereotypical Italian impression I have ever seen. It’s a good thing Kerri is leaving the country.
We cut to night time. Mark & Bopper depart last at 5:54pm.
Despite being just an hour and fifteen minutes behind the other teams, they still finished two hours behind Kerri & Stacy. Mark & Bopper were going to be in last no matter what in Torino. They are eight hours and fifty-seven minutes behind Art & JJ.
MARK: Make your way to the oldest state in Germany—Baba Vair.
“BABA VAIR! BABA VAIR! BABA VAIR! HOWARD STERN’S GERMAN PENIS!”
Mark & Bopper have the minor inconvenience in the form of a Speed Bump.
SPEED BUMP STATS AS OF TAR 20:
Kent & Vyxsin eliminated.
TK & Rachel survived.
Ken & Tina survived.
Christie & Jodi eliminated.
Mark & Michael eliminated.
Maria & Tiffany survived.
Gary & Matt eliminated.
Brian & Ericka survived because Znarf.
Jordan & Jeff survived.
Jet & Cord survived.
Louie & Michael eliminated.
Kevin & Michael survived.
Nick & Vicki eliminated because a million hours behind.
Gary & Mallory survived.
Bill & Cathi survived.
Liz & Marie literally eliminated.
Amani & Marcus survived.
So we’re already at a 11/18 survival rating, and odds will only increase as we progress through the seasons. Especially in TAR Canada.
Remember how I said TAR can be tough psychologically if you cast people who desperately want to win for the wrong reasons? Here is another snippet of that:
MARK: We need to win the money more than any team out there.
If you’re not enjoying the experience, and the money is 90% of the reason why you’re on the show, that defeat is going to be crushing. Especially if you become fan favourites and you have thousands of people on the Internet screaming “YOU SHOULD HAVE WON!”
I’ll be diving more into this subject as we get to the end of the season.
Trenitalia was my favourite private transit company during all of my travels. Mainly because the pre-recorded voice on the intercom would speak in Italian then have the most stereotypical female Italian accent when speaking in English. I never not found it funny.
A mass equalizer is Kentucky’s only shot.
Phil chimes in saying teams will be riding for ten hours on a train to Ehrwald via Innsbruck.
Also via the town of bing. What an odd name for a town.
INNSBRUCK TRAIN STATION
Kerri & Stacy see a bunch of teams sleeping in the station. Mark & Bopper see them too. I guess there weren’t any more trains from Innsbruck to Ehrwald for several hours.
The party don’t stop ’til Mark comes in.
EHRWALD TRAIN STATION
While the other seven teams are in Innsbruck, Art & JJ spent a night alone in Ehrwald.
“We dominated this train station for ten hours. None of the teams came close to us.”
We don’t know why they were stuck in Ehrwald for ten hours when the cars were right there. Something wasn’t explained properly about the route marker.
The second train containing Joey “&” Danny and Dave & Rachel gets into Ehrwald. All three teams say the Gasthof doesn’t open until 8:30am.
Art & JJ find the Gasthof.
Zapdos makes his first cameo on The Amazing Race.
I’m surprised Border Patrol let it slide and didn’t deport Zapdos back to the Kanto region.
It’s strange to see Joey & Danny as consistent frontrunners since round three.
Rachel randomly emerges from a corner with open arms.
If I am on The Amazing Race and am alone at a route marker with Dave & Rachel and Art & JJ, my first thought would be “I’m doing pretty fucking good right now.”
Savour this moment, Joey & Danny. You’re in with elite performers. And for once, elite performers aren’t what you see at the top of your buddy’s penthouse on a Saturday night.
No other teams show up before 8:30am. The Gasthof opens.
No one yodels like Gasthof
No one plays like Gasthof
No one eats like Gasthof
No one drinks like Gasthof
Look at how rosy the gnome’s cheeks are. Who gets lit at 8:30am?!
That’s what happens with this party lifestyle of traveling around the world for free! It’s all inclusive, man! No wonder the Travelocity gnomes have been going to AA for years.
At this rate they’ll be giving Debra & Steve the same eyes as Megan & Heidi by nine o’ clock!
Art & JJ pick up the gnome and turn him face down ass up.
Paper clues are much easier to carry.
Phil says German writers played an instrumental role in the creation of fairy tales and Germany won gold at the World Beard Championships.
It’s the inevitable sequel to Beerfest—Beardfest!
Phil should’ve grown a beard for this season.
The best he has ever done is the homeless scraggle during the Zimbabwe safari leg in TAR 30.
“This took me six weeks to grow. I feel like a Caveman.”
In Fairy Tale, teams pick up pieces of gingerbread on a trail as they walk. They must find the fairy tale-inspired village of Oberammergau and find the witch’s cottage from Hantzel & Gretel. They must use those pieces to complete the roof of gingerbread house and decorate it properly. Once done, they will receive a clue from a WITCH.
If this were TAR 26, everyone would have to wear a red cape and dress up like a little girl.
C’mon in dearies! The best candies are inside!
Kids, don’t eat this gingerbread house. Most of the pieces came from a trail covered in snow and dog shit.
Just eat the stale skittles on the sides.
The witch holds out the clue and starts cackling.
Phil is not a fan of Brothers Grimm.
Champion Male requires teams to choose a champion beard enthusiast and style his beard to match a winning look.
Combine Phil’s eyebrows with that man’s beards and you have the champion of facial features.
Although the Facial Championships may be a bit different than what we expect it to be.
Honouring a Bavarian tradition of men sporting facial hair, they must use the provided hair care products to shape his beard until no hair is out of place. When a world champion feels they have a perfect match, they’ll receive their next clue.
It’s Karl Marx with a little twist.
Brandon & Adam are wet while watching this task.
Their wives need less space in the make-up drawers than they do.
“Do these curlers help bring out the glow in my cheeks?”
“I’m a starfish!”
Art & JJ choose to style the beards. Joey & Danny and Dave & Rachel agree to do it too. Particularly Rachel.
I see a Speed Bump in the background!
I wonder if they’re singing Afternoon Delight together?
We get shots of the landscape before the second train gets into Ehrwald.
That’s one way to escape the neighbours.
It looks like the perfect place for Gary Ervin.
The six teams all run into cars.
STACY: Our strategy today is to stay with the pack because we know we can compete when we’re with the pack.
KERRI (not driving): I can navigate myself to the mall and that’s about it.
It looks like Stacy will be doing all of the work today. Gooooooo team!
Dave & Rachel are first to the beardy salon. They are trying to figure out what beard would be easiest.
“Hi! Are you related to our gnome?”
Dave & Rachel say aloud they are picking the man with the “nicest beard.” Feelings are bound to be hurt. They pick their guy and examine the photo of his hair.
RACHEL: Fancy. Fancy.
“Wait, we have to shape the pubic hair too???”
Wow! He does look like the Travelocity gnome brought to life!
“Allow me to escort you to our Professional Beard Sculpting Station, sir.”
Dave says Rachel has experience with blowdryers, curling irons, and hairspray. Dave gives the man a mohawk.
It makes him look like Alfalfa’s grandpa in Little Rascals II: When Gnomes Attack
Joey & Danny show up there second. They pick the man with the longest beard.
JOEY: Danny picked the guy with the longest beard which had the hardest design.
And just think Joey & Danny would be this man’s entourage in Bavaria.
For some reason, women dig the look of a man who has Engarde stuck to the front of his face.
The Guido soundtrack plays as Joey & Danny say they are the only team that uses gel.
He must spend a fortune on Rogaine.
Men from Jersey have no neck. Joey does his best to find a Neck Extender.
Jesus. Is nine o’ clock in the morning happy hour?
“Let’s rinse out week old potato chip crumbs.”
Art & JJ are third to the Beardy Parlour. They pick a guy with a feather in his hair.
JJ: That’s weird, man. Curling another man’s beard.
I can’t wait for the unaired footage where they had to sculpt a man’s beard into a swastika.
STACY: I’m driving and you totally navigate. What’s the name of the street?
May as well throw the map out the window if you don’t even bother looking at it. If only Kerri was capable of driving a European stick shift (it’s why she isn’t driving).
KERRI: . . .I think it’s back that way.
STACY: You’re navigating! Good Lord! Kerri!
KERRI: I know. If we go straight to the place I would feel very empowered.
Good luck with that.
Dave explains they chose their beard because the man behind it is a jovial gentleman.
Joey borrows some facial hair.
Always picked last for dodgeball while the pretty boys get to play.
“I’ve never felt so pretty in my life.”
We find out JJ has a backpack full of hair products and knew what to do. Never would have guessed JJ was a metrosexual.
Joey & Danny keep working on the beard.
DANNY: We know about our hair so we definitely pick the right Detour.
Joey & Danny should be salon promoters rather than club promoters.
He’s like Dan Foley sleeping peacefully.
Mark & Bopper see the painted star on the street.
Mark & Bopper spot their Speed Bump.
A rare photo of Mark smiling.
They read they must yodel.
Or do the robot with Phil. The choice is theirs.
I guess if you can’t grow a beard, your only other option is to yodel.
They must yodel to a specific tune.
The trick is the gap in your lower front tooth.
Somebody is already punch drunk.
When the expert feels they have hit all the right notes, they’ll receive their next clue.
Are you sure he’s not having a seizure rather than being a yodeler, Phil?
Vanessa & Ralph are fourth to the Detour.
VANESSA: It smells like Heaven in here.
Vanessa starts doing a jig.
Vanessa wants to sculpt the beards.
VANESSA: I’m about to do that to you.
The smallest beard possible will be the easiest to sculpt. Vanessa is onto something.
And seriously I don’t think this guy is yodeling! Somebody give this man some medical attention right away!
Mark & Bopper commence yodeling.
“I’d prefer the Russian Trololo guy.”
It’s like he is on Don’t Forget the Lyrics.
The yodeler turns to Bopper.
I haven’t seen a NPC on TAR get so close to making out with another contestant.
YODELER (laughing): It’s the American way of yodeling.
“MARK & BOPPER ARE FAN FAVOURITES TRYING THEIR HARDEST AND THE DRUNK GERMAN GUY IS -LAUGHING- AT THEM! AND THAT’S RUDE!”
I never thought Niebaum from The Negotiator would be a yodeler, by the way.
We cut back to the beardy salon.
“I am royalty and you are all peasants.”
JJ is not ashamed of being able to craft a man’s facial hair.
“You’re in Bavaria. The highest-paid occupation is a doctor who specializes in liver transplants.”
Art & JJ say they are done Felix’s beard. That’s not a very German name.
JOEY: It’s not that good over there.
JJ: Hey, shut up!
Finally. A man who looks presentable in Bavaria.
The judge examines the beard and approves.
And he really would be an expert on beards.
Art & JJ read they must find the inspiration of Sleeping Beauty’s castle. They will find their next clue in the bedroom of Bavarian king Ludwig II.
It is best known for being the pit stop in leg 8 of TAR 3 where Flo & Zach claimed victory.
However, it is the first time they are allowed to go -inside- of the castle.
JJ: My hairspray kicked ass.
I never thought JJ of all people would be the one to channel his inner Tracy Turnblad. Him and Ricki Lake are so much alike!
It’s a good thing they busted out subtitles for the next village. Hohenschwangau sounds simultaneously German and Chinese.
It’s like the Cory Lee of village names.
I would love to see somebody swing on the vine and through the church window.
We cut back to Mark & Bopper yodeling Kentucky style.
Off-screen I think all three of them had to do about three or four shots before doing karaoke.
I love how yodeling in Germany is taken so seriously that it is accompanied by an accordion, saxophone, and a drum set.
Eric & Jeremy know the lederhosen outfits all too well.
If you have a foot fetish, this is the shot for you.
Mark & Bopper comment on how fun the Speed Bump was.
Yeah, you’re a real natural, Bopper.
Just move on guys. Jesus.
Nary & Jamie and Brendon & Rachel run into the Gashof Hall of Drunkenness. So do Kerri & Stacy.
For some reason, we get a shot of Mark & Bopper changing after a Speed Bump that likely took no more than ten minutes max. We barely saw any footage of it.
Nary & Jamie choose Champion Male.
BRENDON: Do you want to style a beard?
RACHEL: No. I don’t even know what a beard is.
Much like Phil Keoghan, I don’t think Brendon knows what a beard is. He certainly knows what “stubble” is, though!
BRENDON: Let’s do the gingerbread house.
RACHEL: Do you think that sounds hard?
BRENDON: I don’t care.
. . .If Rachel doesn’t know what a beard is, I’m guessing her confused question with the gingerbread house means she doesn’t know what that is either.
Maybe she was asking if the gingerbread house itself was soft or hard rather than the difficulty of the challenge. I couldn’t tell you which one she meant based on the fact she has no idea what a beard is.
Kerri & Stacy choose Fairy Tale. They love being the Detour outliers with Brendon & Rachel for the second round in a row.
The yodeler suddenly lets out a yelp like a shih tzu having its toe stepped on.
The band bows before its fleeting audience.
Then Squawks lets out ony more yelp that will forever be etched into my nightmares. It’s almost like Michael Jackson.
Mark & Bopper are currently in last place but only by a couple of minutes. They also choose to do the gingerbread house.
“They call this a gee-nom, Mark? Isn’t that right? We don’t have geenoms in Kentucky!”
Bopper is determined to yodel for the rest of the leg.
Dave & Rachel summon the judge. They complete the task in second place.
RACHEL: Damn. You look sexy.
Rachel is ready for a TAR 30 Partner Swap right now!
It’s very subtle and I missed it the first couple times, but the man does a screech right into Rachel’s ear when she is all over him. You think it’s a random animal in the bushes but it’s actually the beard in the chair.
“Ooooo! I like it when you compliment Santa! Tug my beard!”
Art & JJ are in first place, Dave & Rachel are in second place. How predictable.
Joey & Danny summon the judge but get rejected with a “no, no, no.”
He’s a bit uneven.
Vanessa & Ralph show up at the beardy salon.
VANESSA: I’ve never seen this much snow in my life.
It’s more snow than Texas gets all year, I presume.
Actually, more than Vanessa has seen combined in the past twenty years of her life.
I wonder if this design is secretly a Bavarian gang sign?
Ralph sighs and scoffs as Vanessa tells him what they need to do. He is helpless.
“Please only let Vanessa do this.”
RACHEL: What happened to going to Bolivia?
RACHEL: Isn’t that what the German city–
BRENDON: It’s in Germany.
Ah, yes. The classic South America-Europe-South America route we see on TAR.
“Trust us, you don’t want to go to Bolivia.”
Where did Rachel get that toque?
“Bitch took my toque.”
Brendon & Rachel and Kerri & Stacy walk together on what Brendon & Rachel assume is the trail.
KERRI: I don’t see any trail.
RACHEL: There’s a trunk!
If you’re the camera operator, you must be hating yourself right now when you know you’re on the wrong path and are forced to run in the snow.
Sponsoured by the House of Gryffindor.
Mark & Bopper pull up and see the Gryffindor Trunk.
BOPPER: Oooooo baby!
Bopper goes into full on Dhalsim Celebration mode.
Mark & Bopper collect several pieces of gingerbread.
Mark & Bopper just doing a classic case of strolling to a picnic in the middle of December with a toy gnome.
We cut back to the beardy salon.
Why does every route marker need music this round?
Joey & Danny’s artistry is not the greatest as they can’t keep their beard up.
Vanessa & Ralph keep making progress.
Brendon & Rachel and Kerri & Stacy find the real trunk.
RACHEL: IT’S GINGERBREAD! IT’S GINGERBREAD!
BRENDON: Shhh, babe.
You’re in the bottom two for the Fairy Tale task. It don’t matter much anymore, Brendon.
It’s great to see an alliance which fully develops before our eyes and has a long term impact on the season.
Nary & Jamie are actually the last place team as they find the beardy salon.
Or is that Dustin? I really can’t tell.
Nary & Jamie pick a beard.
Yeah, they definitely picked a longer one.
Joey & Danny complete the Detour in third place.
ELAPSED BEERS: 20
Nary & Jamie are excited by the task.
Ralph keeps asking Vanessa to stop working on his beard and ask for the judge.
I like how his hands plead so gracefully.
“You’re my shiny starfish.”
Vanessa & Ralph have a winner and receive their clue.
Vanessa & Ralph are in fourth place.
VANESSA: Taking forever on my hair finally paid off.
Mark & Bopper find the witch as a bizarre themse song plays.
I forgot Hanzel & Gretel put a witch into a burning oven. What a great children’s story.
It’s like she went into a plastic surgeon asking for the Janet Jackson nose but instead got Jimmy Durante.
The witch laughs at Bopper and he laughs back.
Gruntilda has nothing on their cackling.
“In Kentucky, we couldn’t afford no gingerbread.”
Bopper explains the task Big Brother style.
Rachel sees the witch.
RACHEL: Hot damn. That witch sounds scary.
She knows what a witch is.
RACHEL: How do I always pick the hardest ones?
BRENDON: You just need to keep a positive attitude.
RACHEL: I am, sweetie. I am not trying to be negative.
“It’s all about PMA, Brenchel!”
Oh yeah, and Brendon has one of those toques too.
Rachel says you have to cut pieces to fit on the house like it’s a puzzle. Kerri & Stacy repeat the same thing.
“This piece is Elliot and the other is Andrew.”
The witch and Bopper keep chirping at each other.
I can’t tell if they are both in on the joke or if they are on the verge of beating each other up.
Art & JJ are at Neuschwanstein Castle. They take a horse carriage up because it’ll be safer and they have the lead.
You can see why producers wanted to go back to the same route marker 17 seasons later. It is like a freakin’ fairy tale setting.
“We decided to take a horse carriage up because it’s wet, slippery, and we want to give teams a chance to catch up.”
Dave & Rachel are driving. Rachel thinks they have found it.
RACHEL: It’s a castle looking thing.
. . .That’s a house and a shed, Rachel.
Dave doesn’t think this is it and Rachel agrees.
DAVE: Now what?
RACHEL: You heard the same directions I did, Dave. Please don’t get mad at me.
DAVE: I wasn’t paying attention, sweetie.
RACHEL: You should’ve been paying attention then.
DAVE: This is ridiculous. Friggin killing ourselves.
If this were a military aircraft, this is when Dave would be pressing the ‘Eject’ button right about now.
Vanessa & Ralph spot two castles. The first they see is Neuschwanstein Castle.
RALPH: Or it could be that one too.
The camera pans from right to left. Hohenschwangau is on the right on flat ground, and Neuschwanstein is up in the hills on the left.
VANESSA (looking left): It looks more Fairy Tale-ish.
Yes, a castle in the hills without anything around it is definitely the greater fairy tale.
Joey & Danny see Neuschwanstein Castle and arrive the same time as Vanessa & Ralph. Somehow both teams are ahead of Dave & Rachel.
VANESSA: We’re not hiking that. Are you guys high?
No, but the gnome definitely is. If not high, he’s cruuuuuunk.
Joey & Danny decide to run immediately.
Vanessa notes the horse and carriage going up to the castle.
I should note the horses turn into pumpkins at noon.
RALPH: They’re getting ahead of us.
VANESSA: . . .You want to hoof it? If we’re going the wrong way I am going to kick your ass.
RALPH: Just walk a little faster please. Just make an effort.
VANESSA: I am making an effort not killing you right now.
RALPH: Why are you getting mad at me? Just because you’re being in the cold you’re pissed off?
VANESSA: Just shut up. Five seconds. Shut up.
If Vanessa was already looking like this when you suggested to hoof it, I would’ve just waited for the next horse and carriage too.
RALPH: Don’t tell me to shut up.
If the horse and carriage pass them, Ralph is definitely getting his ass kicked.
We cut back to the beardy salon.
Nary & Jamie are having fun. They receive their clue.
Why do they suddenly sneak up on them? Maybe these are German secret spies and are ready to put bags over Nary & Jamie’s heads and hold them for ransom?
MARK: I told her how pretty she was and she was uglier than a mud rail fence.
Whatever you do, don’t drink her witch’s brew, Mark.
Stacy’s hands are numb. I assume the Mississippi climate did not prepare her for this.
Art & JJ enter the castle.
We don’t have these in Canada.
What is he doing to the king?!
JJ: Look at that view, Art. . .he’s gonna have his own bedroom, Art. . .he’s gonna be at the top, Art. . .here is his room right here, Art. . .clue box is right here, Art.
Art. Art. Art. Art. Art.
It’s the new Hol Hol Hol.
“Not even my wife says my name this much.”
Art & JJ read the clue. We’re going to the town of Fussen (even though that’s the town they said Neuschwanstein Castle was in TAR 3 but whatever) and search for the. . .for the. . .
BUNDESLEISTUNGSZENTRUM! Which sounds like an element on the periodic table or a vitamin.
Phil says teams must drive themselves to this dual ice hockey and curling rink where they will find their next clue.
Ice hockey is eishockey in German? What a difference.
Mark & Bopper keep patching up the gingerbread, but Kerri & Stacy summon the witch.
KERRI: We’re gonna attract some children with that for you tonight for dinner.
To be fair, eating real people sounds more appetizing than a stale gingerbread house mixed with snow and dirt.
Also, let it be known Kerri & Stacy just advocated for human trafficking on The Amazing Race.
During the celebration Kerri headbutts Stacy as her head comes down.
Brendon & Rachel and Mark & Bopper lament over Kerri & Stacy overtaking both of them during the Detour.
But at what cost?
Art & JJ pass by an incoming Joey & Danny and Vanessa & Ralph.
RALPH: Baby, we’re three.
VANESSA: I’m getting there.
RALPH: We’re three.
RALPH: C’mon have some fun. Here. Carry your jacket.
(RALPH throws her jacket back at her.)
VANESSA: Are you fucking serious?Take it!
The camera operator barely gets a shot of the jacket throwing. It’s really blurry.
RALPH: You’re being stupid.
VANESSA: I’m being stupid?! This is your JACKASS idea!
RALPH: Walk faster.
RALPH: I’ve been asking you the whole way up.
NESSA: Carry this, please.
I suggest taking the jacket this time, Ralph.
RALPH: Anything else you need me to carry, princess?
You are not helping, Ralph.
VANESSA: Maybe a little bit of class and dignity. You’re more like a juiced up hothead. Congratulations, you made YouTube.
Why isn’t Ralph yelling at the camera operator to keep up?
Ralph should carry that jacket for the rest of the season.
Commercial break. We resume.
RALPH: I’m sick and tired of you telling me to shut up.
VANESSA: Then just stop talking. I won’t tell you to shut up.
RALPH (confessional): The best part of my day was watching her run up the hill all pissed off. The little devil inside of me was laughing because I knew her legs were on fire.
VANESSA: I’m going to murder him.
. . .If the best part of your day is watching your girlfriend run up the hill, wouldn’t it be more fun to let her be ahead of you rather than behind you???
Danny shares he has never been inside of a castle that old before.
“Before this, the oldest castle we’ve been inside of was just 25 years old. I didn’t learn until today that older castles may not be young but have all of the wisdom you need to make up for it.”
DANNY: Sleeping Beauty. . .didn’t she hang her hair down?
Swing and a miss.
Joey & Danny collect the clue and are currently in second place.
Random tourist is freaked out by the gnome.
RALPH: You’re impossible. Go ahead. Say something else.
VANESSA: Just want you to shut up. That’s it.
Vanessa spots the clue and grabs it for him.
RALPH: Can I talk to you now?
VANESSA: I don’t know. Depends what you’re going to say.
RALPH: Whatever. I’m done. I could care less.
VANESSA: You -couldn’t- care less.
And Vanessa said one of my favourite things ever. I say that to people -all- of the time.
“You couldn’t care less about Logan’s blog about us.”
The witch examines Mark & Bopper’s gingerbread.
“I need a room just for my nose.”
Mark & Bopper’s house is approved.
“Roadblock: Who wants to do it Kentucky style?!”
Bopper starts nibbling on her ear. Why are we watching this?
Mark & Bopper are currently in seventh place.
BOPPER: My hands are numb.
MARK: My whole body is numb.
My eyes are numb.
Brendon & Rachel are not happy. Well, Rachel is not happy.
RACHEL: I’m freezing. My hands are sticking.
BRENDON: Rachel, you need to keep it together.
RACHEL (crying): I am. I’m trying.
BRENDON: There’s no crying.
Isn’t there, Brendon?
RACHEL: Oh, I’m sorry I’m crying.
“I wanted to make gingerbread houses for a witch that has a bad nose job with my best friend.”
RACHEL: Witch can we please get judged.
“On our gingerbread. . .not our looks.”
Dave & Rachel drive to the wrong castle despite Rachel saying the one on the hill was more “mystical.”
Or Mystikal because that spindle on the wheel is DANGER!
Dave asks for Sleeping Beauty’s castle. No one corrects him. Rachel calls the castle by its name when asking for directions rather than “the Sleeping Beauty castle.” They run up to it.
I wonder how pissed whichever king lived in this castle didn’t inspire any Disney shit or fairy tales.
Dave & Rachel wait for the next English tour like a freakin’ tourist.
I can’t think of a time in TAR history where contestants were forced to wait for the same guided tours as the locals. This should be a massive red flag for a team that dominated the first two legs of the race.
“Do military personnel get preferential treatment and go to the front of the line?”
Nary & Jamie are also at Hohenschwangau and catch up with Dave & Rachel.
JAMIE: Hopefully this is the right one.
“This is the right one. . .right?”
NARY: Good to know we caught up with Rachel & Dave.
That’s how any doubt gets erased—you catch up with a team that has beaten you almost every leg.
“Ew. Teachers. Why don’t they serve their country?”
The tour starts at 12:50pm. It is very guided and linear. They can’t stray from the tour.
“To begin our tour, we will examine every single artifact in this room and I shall provide you an in-depth history of its craft and design.”
“So this is what you call a confessional?”
“Or rather, you know, this is, like, what, like, a confessional is like, right? That’s what they are like.”
JUST BE THANKFUL YOU HAVE THE FUCKING TOUR, NARY!!!!
Meanwhile, Art & JJ are first to the Roadblock.
Well that’s not much of a hint when you’re already at the eishockey rink.
JJ volunteers himself as tribute.
This Roadblock requires teams to use their Travelocity Roaming Gnome in a 16th century winter sport known as eisstock-schiessen. Sliding their gnome across the ice, teams must land it on a bullseye. If they can reach their target, they will receive their clue from a PROFESSIONAL eisstock player. Like, somebody makes a living off of this game.
That gnome has gone on some crazy adventures over the years.
TAR 7: Hang out on the shores of Turkish waters.
TAR 9: Hide in a hole in Germany.
TAR 12: Hang out in a Lithuanian museum.
TAR 13: Sit atop the Sky Tower in Auckland.
TAR 14: Hang out in a Chinese market.
TAR 15: Played in a Swedish carnival game of ring toss.
TAR 16: Win a game of 5-card stud in Patagonia.
TAR 18: Morph himself into Swiss chocolate.
TAR 20: Playing a classic German game on ice.
TAR 21: Hang out on a cliff face in the Swiss alps.
TAR 24: Rappel down Malaysian waterfalls.
TAR 26: Skydiving over Namibia.
TAR 28: The prize of a nose greeting in Dubai.
TAR 29: Did nothing as it watched Floyd nearly die in Vietnam.
TAR 30: Ziplining over Morocco.
“Ah! I pulled a muscle! This is why I don’t demonstrate tasks!”
“Weeeeeee! Thanks Dad!”
Look at those special effects in post-production.
“I make one million Euros per year playing for the Fussen Neuschwansteiners.
In Canada, this is when we would break out the brooms!
JJ: That’s it, Art! That’s it!
ART: It’s gotta be in the inner white circle.
If this were TAR Canada, the outer white circle would be enough to get them their clue.
“Dammit! Our lead is going to be two hours rather than six hours by the end of this leg! We’re practically being eaten alive, Art!”
Nary & Jamie and Dave & Rachel walk up to the second floor on the tour and peer into Ludwig’s bedroom for the clue. Nobody sees anything.
Man, Dave & Rachel just got duped big time!
“Abort mission. Currently updating parameters. New objectives assigned.”
And how is that not a -real- bedroom?
Is it a decoy? Is it a mirage? Looks pretty fucking real to me.
“Sorry Nary & Jamie and Dave & Rachel, but the bedroom is in another castle.”
Their tour guide. It’s the most Toad-like moment I have seen on The Amazing Race.
Dave & Rachel and Nary & Jamie exit Hohenschwangau.
Guess who shows up at Hohenschwangau?
Kerri & Stacy ask if this is Hohenschwangau. Indeed it is.
STACY: Where’s the one where Sleeping Beauty at?
Dunno why he had to do the “Hi Hitler” sign, but whatever.
This shot looks so staged. Why did they have to look DIRECTLY INTO THE CAMERA like that? I feel like this is a cartoon or something after Daffy Duck accidentally holds a bomb that explodes.
Guess who else gets duped?
Oh yeah, and Mark & Bopper get duped too because it’s Mark & Bopper. Golly!
JJ misses another throw.
JJ also had the same expression on his face when he watched TAR 24 like the rest of us.
Art starts crawling around like a toddler.
I really wish we had seen the episode in the 20 year reunion special where Art deports Boris & Minka back to Israel, and Didi doesn’t have anyone to look after Tommy when she wants to go out for a movie night with her friends.
“I am half-toddler and I hate him!”
JJ’s gnome lands in the inner circle.
“I’M THE FUCKING MAN, ART! HOW MANY GNOMES DID YOU TOSS, ART?! ZERO, MOTHERFUCKER ZERO! I’M THE FUCKING MAN, ART!”
PHIL: Teams must take their Travelocity Roaming Gnome to Landhannes Farm. A two hundred year old working dairy farm.
They’ll all be slaughtered before the end of this season’s filming.
It is the pit stop for this leg of the race. Last team to check in here will be eliminated.
I wish the cows were replaced by piranhas so teams would have to dodge being bitten on the way to the mat.
Joey & Danny are second to the Roadblock. They don’t see Art & JJ at all. Danny is doing the Roadblock. He prematurely celebrates when the gnome lands on the inner blue circle.
I don’t get what Joey is doing.
He is like a baseball catcher and the lady is the umpire.
We cut back to Neuschwanstein Castle. Everyone is running up the hill but in a less eventful way than Vanessa & Ralph.
Dave & Rachel are fourth to the clue. Nary & Jamie are fifth.
Brendon & Rachel went to the correct castle from the beginning.
This allows them to leap ahead of Kerri & Stacy and Mark & Bopper. Clearly the witch did not cast a curse.
We cut back to Danny tossing gnomes.
And for the tenth time in this blog, we get a Zangief “Nailed It!” pose upon victory.
“I’m sliding right in there like it’s a Guidette’s booty in Jersey, Joey!”
We also call it the Luigi Ice slide.
Vanessa & Ralph are third to the Roadblock. They see Joey & Danny coming out. Ralph is gonna do it.
VANESSA: I’m mad at you but I love you.
RALPH: . . .
VANESSA: How’s that?
RALPH: . . .
Sheeeeeit. He don’t give a fuuuuuuuck.
He’s in full on Big Sean mode.
RALPH (deep voice): I’ve got a challenge to do.
Who the hell does Ralph think he is? He’s acting like he’s fucking Vin Diesel!
“I’ve got a challenge to do.”
This is The Amazing Race, not a 9-figure action movie where the fate of the universe is in the hands of Vin Diesel for some reason.
FOR THE RECORD: Vanessa wishes she was fucking Vin Diesel.
VANESSA: Shut up. Give me a kiss.
RALPH: Hmmmm. . ..
RALPH: Whatever, bitch.
Ralph starts tossing gnomes.
This is what happens when you ask Ralph to hold your jacket—Ralph threw the jacket back at the gnome too.
I’m surprised Vanessa isn’t falling on the ice. She doesn’t strike me as the type to go to a hockey rink too often.
We cut to Phil Keoghan.
Phil and his new buddy. I wonder if Phil has ever kept in contact with any of the pit stop greeters over the years?
Well, other than this guy.
I really hope those bars were put in BEFORE the cow put its head there.
The gate opens.
Guess who’s back. . .back again.
PHIL: Art & JJ, once again, you are team number one.
Note the emphasis on “once again” in Phil’s statement.
FIRST PLACE: ART & JJ
Winning three rounds in a row early on in the race by two middle-aged guys who work in some form of law enforcement? Haven’t seen that before.
I say it’s unwise to KO your partner when you still have seven rounds to go, but it should even up the playing field.
Phil says they have won a trip for two to Thailand. There is snorkelling, spa, and climbing expedition.
PHIL: Third first place finish in a row. I would like to ask you both to withdraw from the race to give other teams a chance.
If Phil knew how six of the next seven legs of the race would go, he really should’ve just told everyone to withdraw here because it will all soon be a foregone conclusion.
ART & JJ: You give us that million dollars, WE’RE OUT!
Dunno why, but JJ does the “Richard Hatch on a balance beam with Sue Hawk” pose.
JJ remarks on dominating their third leg in a row.
JJ: It’s ours. We just have to go get it.
As long as it’s not at the bottom of a hill.
We cut back to Ralph tossing gnomes. It is -ridiculously- close to the white inner circle.
VANESSA: It’s a hair away. A hair away.
It should be noted Vanessa is referring to one of Ralph’s hairs rather than her own.
Ralph gets it on the next slide.
It’s like a child wearing slippery socks on a clean linoleum floor.
Vanessa & Ralph exit the Roadblock in third place.
We cut back to the pit stop.
SECOND PLACE: J”OEY” FITNESS & DANNY
Joey & Danny have already finished the leg in second place. This is their third podium finish in a row. They have defeated Dave & Rachel two out of the last three rounds, and weren’t far behind Art & JJ. They are legitimate contenders in this race.
Joey & Danny.
Kerri & Stacy sound very winded walking up Neuschwanstein Castle.
KERRI: We can jog this.
STACY: YOU could!
KERRI: Just shut up
Shut up sounds like the phrase of the day.
Kerri & Stacy collect the clue in seventh place.
They are still staying afloat in the race.
Mark & Bopper are walking up the hill. Bopper is sucking wind like crazy. He is not much of a cardio man.
I think Tara has an easier time running than Bopper without heaving.
BOPPER: When we got to the top of the castle, I literally thought I was gonna have a heart attack.
The kid watches Bopper nearly passing out without expressing any emotion.
Bopper regroups and makes it inside of the castle.
Bopper kneels at a bench and we hear him breathing very heavily.
Can’t tell if he’s praying or dead.
I guess he is fine until he soils himself.
Bopper somehow sprints ahead of Mark on the stairs. Holy hell Bopper wants to survive this round.
MARK: Don’t try to be the superhero. Take your time.
If Bopper raced at Mark Speed, I think they would have gone home before Misa & Maiya.
They have the clue.
Bopper can’t even stand up straight to read the clue.
Mark & Bopper are convinced they are in dead last. It’s a good assumption.
We cut back to the rink. Nary is doing the Roadblock because they assume it’ll be curling and Nary is good at targets. Brendon is doing the Roadblock. Dave volunteers Rachel.
Nary, Brendon, and Rachel are all on the rink simultaneously.
JAMIE: You’re good at targets, Nary. C’mon. You can do this.
I don’t think Nary’s special ops training in Langley, Virginia involved being on all fours on ice chucking toy gnomes into white circles.
If I am wrong, then that would be the BEST special ops training task force ever!
“Come to papa, gnomey! You’re my new recruit!”
Vanessa & Ralph hop onto the pit stop mat.
They’re really digging that sideways slide onto the mat.
THIRD PLACE: VANESSA & RALPH
Vanessa & Ralph talk about how they are awesome at letting things go.
VANESSA: I can be mad at him and still love him.
And just like that, Vanessa realizes she has created lyrics for female vocals in a Drake song.
VANESSA: We are really good at letting things go. . .and if this starts again, I’ll just kill him.
Her happy place. You can see her picturing the chainsaws, the blood, the plastic clothing, the knives, everything.
She can borrow Dexter’s table.
Uh oh. I think an even better idea jumped into Angel’s head. This will not bode well for Ralph.
Everyone is prancing around like dogs hovering over their food bowl.
Rachel is the first of this trio to land it in the white circle.
Dave guided the gnome to bump into the intended target like it was a missile.
Is he also a pro? Are there scholarships for this in high school?
Brendon & Rachel complete the task thus leaving Nary & Jamie behind.
Dave & Rachel and Brendon & Rachel exit the Roadblock one after the other.
Jamie is getting nervous.
Kerri & Stacy show up. Kerri reluctantly agrees to do it.
Very reluctantly. That’s what happens when you complain about your partner’s running inabilities!
JAMIE: Nair, the girls are here. God. . .Mother of Pearls.
Mark & Bopper are at eishockey too. Mark has to do it because Bopper is on the verge of collapsing.
JAMIE: I’m gonna throw up.
Kerri holds onto the gnome like it is one of her kids at a group daycare activity.
It’s all about the wrist snap.
We have Kentucky, Mississippi, and federal agents battling it out on ice. You couldn’t find three duos more ill-equipped for this climate.
Nary has one shot that’s really close.
JAMIE: No. . .You ssssss. . .nnnnn
Don’t you mean “gnome”?
Dave & Rachel jump onto the pit stop mat.
FOURTH PLACE: DAVE & RACHEL
Their first kiss all season.
Mark chucks a gnome. . .and it’s good.
Wow. Unless there are two different dairy farms on a hill, they’ll survive the round.
MARK: We give it all we got and we got to give it more!
It’s like hoisting the Stanley Cup.
Brendon & Rachel open the stable and run to the mat.
He gets a little bit of air.
He can’t handle practising his vertical. At all.
“I cracked my tailbone and he didn’t?”
The cow on the right is in shock.
I feel like this cow needs more recognition.
I did my best.
RACHEL: Holy cow, are you okay? Holy manure!
“That was my plan all along, babe?”
Brendon gets back up on his feet.
FIFTH PLACE: BRENDON & RACHEL
You guys don’t get as much airtime without meltdowns.
We cut back to the eishockey rink.
Jamie tilts her head to see if the gnome touched the white circle, but to no avail.
Stacy is frustrated with Kerri’s recklessness with her sliding gnomes.
Stacy throws up her arms in despair as if to say “what the hell.”
Oh, back off Alex. You haven’t trademarked it yet.
Back in the 17th century, these gnomes used to guard the gates to Neuschwanstein Castle.
I know you are frustrated Nary but you have NO RIGHT to strangle a gnome!
“Our girls can’t strangle us bro cause we don’t have necks. You ain’t popping our collars, bro!”
Despite our running time is nearly forty minutes, CBS decides now to have a commercial break. This is going to be an awfully short scene.
We resume back at the eishockey rink because there is only Mark & Bopper to still check in at the pit stop.
I would not suggest Googling “Kerri 69 slides” on your browser.
And definitely not Jeff & Jackie’s 69 slides either.
“My favourite movie!”
Nary must have had a time advantage over Kerri by at least an hour. It seems like each slide of the gnome takes about 30 seconds each if you include the time it takes for their partner to slide back the gnomes. Hell, it could be closer to 45 seconds on average.
Kerri gets it 120 slides faster than Nary. Holy hell.
“It’s not good.”
Kerri & Stacy root on Nary as they exit.
Jamie keeps rooting on her partner.
JAMIE: We’ve been good with our directions all day. We can beat them there!
Ummmmmm, about that. . .
Nary’s gnome barely touches the white circle and I mean BARELY.
And I do mean barely.
“ALAS! WE MADE THE TEAM! When do we sign our contract?”
JAMIE: I know you’re ready to freaking blow up the world right now.
Or at least an enchanted forest. I smell a genocide!
JAMIE: By the hair on your chinny-chin sister!
They’ve really embraced the fairy tale theme of this leg.
Ally & Ashley are disappointed by the performance of the other all-female teams on ice.
NARY: What an idiot. Everyone else did it so fast.
Indeed they did.
Kerri & Stacy pull over to ask for directions.
VILLAGER: It’s the next village. Take zee road zhere. Then you go on the right zide.
A written clue and a verbal clue from a local. Kerri & Stacy should be safe.
Nary & Jamie have a good sense of direction. Oh, don’t fool us with this BS, editors. Nary & Jamie are doomed.
Kerri & Stacy keep driving. Remember, Kerri is the navigator.
And that is not the question you want to hear from your navigator.
STACY: Kerri, when somebody is giving us fucking directions could you actually LISTEN TO HIM?!
Road rage cometh.
KERRI: I mean I’m giving you as much as I can give you. You gotta give too.
KERRI gives 70+ slides before completing the Roadblock and falling down to second-to-last.
STACY gives driving, navigating, and doing several Roadblocks successfully.
I think Stacy is already giving back aplenty.
STACY: Oh my god.
Stacy starts punching her steering wheel. At least she didn’t take it out on the gnome.
Mark & Bopper await the news.
SIXTH PLACE: MARK & BOPPER
And that is the most excited I have seen Mark all season.
This is the twelfth time out of twenty Speed Bumps that a team has survived.
Mark even high fives the pit stop greeter.
We cut back and forth between the two all-female teams on the road who have had barely any airtime. Of course this means we don’t have much suspense until we hit the pit stop mat. Kerri & Stacy say a prayer.
Meanwhile, Nary spots a German spy.
Who makes it to the mat next? It has to be Kerri & Stacy, right?
Wow. Kerri needed to give a little more as navigator.
SEVENTH PLACE: NARY & JAMIE
No mat chat for them lol.
Kerri stabs her chin with the gnome in defeat.
LAST PLACE: KERRI & STACY
The cows moo upon hearing their elimination.
Kerri wishes the cows gave a little more.
Kerri & Stacy say there was poor navigation (and behind the scenes claimed they got bad directions from locals too).
Stacy starts crying about missing her family and wanting to make them proud.
For the second season in a row, one of the eighth/ninth place all-female team randomly holds up photos of their kids.
The more tears the better or Phil is going to ask you guys to drag your asses off the mat.
And this will become a trend for the rest of TAR 20. . .
STACY: Who KNEW that two southern pink lipstick wearing girls like us would make it this far.
KERRI: This far. We’re awesome.
Yeah, who knew two pink lipstick wearing girls would make it this far.
Who KNEW they could beat a team that was legally blind.
Who KNEW they could beat two clowns where one clown had dyslexia and couldn’t do a written numbers task.
Who KNEW they could beat two guys who never did well at a single task on the race.
WHAT. AN. UPSET.
Next Time on TAR: In Azerbaijan teams go through fire, water, and a day at the spa.
MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
ELLIOT & ANDREW 1
MARK & BOPPER 1
JOEY FITNESS/DANNY 3/5
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) Torino, Italy -> Bavaria, Germany
This round wasn’t terribly electrifying with entertainment value compared to the past two rounds. However, I love the design of the round.
They went all in with a fairy tale theme within Bavaria. Other than the minor equalizer at Gasthof, which only let two teams catch up to Art & JJ, teams had to completely self-navigate from start to finish. A ten hour train ride followed by about six or seven hours of driving yourself around Bavaria? That’s true TAR.
Art & JJ won their third leg in a row. When only two teams win the first five legs of the race, it really cues us up that we are in for a Titan season. No one could touch Dave & Rachel in the first two legs. Nobody has been able to come remotely close to Art & JJ in the next three legs. Right now the only team who has demonstrated to be competitive has been Joey & Danny.
The Roadblock was lame but surprisingly difficult for a couple of teams. Slide a pawn across the ice into a circle. That’s it. Not the most physically draining of tasks, but pretty much dictated who went home this round (if they hadn’t got lost).
The Detour was very offbeat. Collect gingerbread pieces on a snowy trail as a ridiculous witch taunts you. The other option was shaping a man’s beard.
It is also one of those rare episodes of TAR where it takes place while it is snowing. You can thank filming in the middle of December for that.
Seeing Kerri & Stacy blow it on the self-drive over Nary & Jamie on a short drive to the pit stop is something we don’t see often—however, it would have been more memorable if Nary & Jamie and Kerri & Stacy weren’t borderline invisible up until this point.
Seriously. How many of you remember Kerri & Stacy and the way they went out? Because it wasn’t an entirely straight-forward elimination.
Lastly, I love how the producers tricked teams with going to one of the two castles. How did nobody make this mistake in TAR 3? Was the clue in TAR 3 just “Go to Neuschwanstein Castle” rather than “Go to the castle that inspired Sleeping Beauty” like they did this season?
P.S. Brendon falling on his ass at the pit stop was hilarious.
3) Asuncion, Paraguay -> Torino, Italy
If you are not a fan of Brendon & Rachel’s bickering, you probably hate this episode as it occupies about ten minutes or more of the airtime.
If you can look past it and/or embrace it, it’s another leg with a decent design.
No equalizers and it’s all self-drive. As an old school fan, you can’t ask for much more.
The Roadblock of scaling down the Lingotto building did its job by messing up a couple of teams and triggering what I presume to be a twenty to thirty minute delay for them, but not the most interesting to watch unless you love to laugh at Vanessa flailing in midair.
The Detour was more comedic rather than it being particularly difficult. You either went to the easy-to-find salami shop but more time-consuming to complete or go to the hard-to-find junkyard but with a straightforward head-lofting cleaning process. They are a couple of more unique albeit not the most interesting tasks to watch. It’s a good thing the teams were able to entertain what could otherwise be mundane tasks to see play out.
Oh, and it is the first of THREE Fast Forwards! Not zero, one, or two. Three! Landing a remote control helicopter on somebody’s head seemed difficult. We wouldn’t see this task again until TAR Asia 5 where teams also sucked at it. It provided some amusing scenes where Dave was willing to risk his life in the race just to prove how much of a pilot he could be.
In terms of storyline, Art & JJ evened up the score with Dave & Rachel as the two teams have won two legs apiece. Thanks to the Fast Forward, they won by several hours for the second leg in a row.
Furthermore, the dominance of these two teams is solidified by the fact that Dave & Rachel kicked a lot of ass despite being at each other’s throats the whole leg and describing their performance as a failure. That should terrify all of the other teams.
Mark & Bopper’s travel inexperience was highlighted as they couldn’t figure out how to book flights to Italy until it was too late. Thanks to a pre-determined NEL (or CBS production interference if you’re a conspiracy theorist), their underdog storyline grows as Art & JJ’s act of charity combined with Bopper talking about his daughter made it memorable for the casual audience. Mark & Bopper became the official fan favourites thanks to this episode.
Vanessa & Ralph and Joey & Danny both tried to one-up each other in terms of sexualized and crass humour. I think Vanessa is still the queen but it could tip in Joey & Danny’s favour soon.
And lol @ Nary & Jamie and Kerri & Stacy combining for 45 seconds of airtime this episode. If you have seen all of the secret scenes, Kerri & Stacy were not well-liked by production as any interesting scenes with them were edited out.
Lastly, I know people think Art & JJ donated money to Bopper because they just wanted to look like good guys on TV and use Mark & Bopper in the race—but I do think it’s a bit extreme to assume ulterior motives were involved. Maybe Art & JJ -can- be good guys under certain circumstances. Or at least have a mixture of ulterior motives and generosity on The Amazing Race.
P.S. Yet another visit to Italy for TAR but luckily it is a brand new city.
4) 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.
5) 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.
4) Kerri Paul & Stacy Bowers
Unaired: They were angry over how they were treated by Elliot & Andrew and Vanessa & Ralph. This would have made for great TV, but I guess when one of those teams goes home early and they go home early themselves, and we have Brendon & Rachel coming off of two stints on Big Brother where any interesting footage was automatically going to be aired, Kerri & Stacy’s storylines got erased.
How erased were their storylines? It got reduced down to “Kerri is out of her element and hasn’t traveled enough to navigate or drive a standard!” for Kerri and “I miss my babies!” for Stacy.
They messed up the drive. Mark & Bopper duped them with giving up their taxi in Paraguay. Stacy was afraid of heights.
I think I just highlighted every single scene from the first five episodes. It’s a shame because they could have been a three-dimensional social trainwreck but instead fit into a mold we have seen several times. Hell, their storyline was almost replayed verbatim like Kaylani & Lisa—I don’t know what it is about all-female teams that go home early but it’s the truth. If they have a kid, cue up tears and a photo upon elimination. If they don’t have kids, they’ll talk about being the next all-female team to win. If not, they’ll be shown a bunch of brief highlights of them being really far out of their element.
Kerri & Stacy’s edit didn’t bring anything unique to the table. A fun team to watch in a couple of scenes, but that was it. Editors didn’t do them enough justice.
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.
8th Singaporean Sophie & French Born Aurelia 7.0 (French Born Aurelia sadly does not know the English words for ‘team averages’. :/) TAR Asia 2
8th Aiello Family 7.0 TAR 8
— D- —
8th Tom & Terry 7.0 TAR 10
8th Dave & Margaretta 7.0 R.I.P. Margaretta TAR 1
9th Lena & Kristy 7.0 Producers refused to hay bail them. TAR 6
9th Kaylani & Lisa 7.0 Hazarded. Saved by Ryan Storms ™. TAR 19
10th Hope & Norm 7.0 TAR 2
10th Ethan & Jenna 7.0 TAR 19. Double Eliminated.
11th Ryot & Liberty 7.0 TAR Australia 1
8th Kerri & Stacy 6.8 TAR 20
7th Niroo & Kapil 6.75 TAR Asia 3
7th Christie & Jodi 6.67 Saved by NEL TAR 14
9th Brad & Victoria 6.67 TAR 14
7th Alana & Mel 6.67 TAR Australia 1
6th Maria & Tiffany 6.57 Saved by NEL once and Justin’s blunder again TAR 15
9th Rogers Family 6.5 R.I.P. Renee. TAR 8
8th Susan & Patrick 6.5 TAR 7
11th Amanda & Kris 6.5 TAR 18 Automatic U-Turned.
6th Henry & Terri 6.44 Used Their Yield; Saved by a non-elimination round THREE times. R.I.P. Henry. TAR Asia 2
6th Lenny & Karyn 6.43 Saved by NEL once TAR 1
8th Margie & Luke 6.4 TAR 18
9th Brett & Kinar 6.33 Rocky finish. TAR Asia 2
9th Aubrey & Jacqueline 6.33 TAR Asia 1
8th Pailin & Natalie 6.33 TAR Asia 3
9th Wanda & Desiree 6.25 TAR 9