EPISODE BLOG #303
“Say Hi to Your Fuckin’ Mother For Me”
ARGENTINA – PARAGUAY – ITALY – GERMANY – AZERBAIJAN – TANZANIA – INDIA – JAPAN – UNITED STATES
Previously on TAR: Eight teams raced from Italy to Bavaria. Best friends Mark & Bopper yodeled while dating divorcees Vanessa & Ralph sang a different tune. A hair-raising Detour and a Roadblock on ice gave border patrol agents Art & JJ their third win in a row.
Meanwhile, cousins Kerri & Stacy lost their way to the pit stop and came in last.
Seven teams remain; who will be eliminated next?
MENTIONED IN THE ‘PREVIOUSLY ON’ SEGMENT
DAVE & RACHEL 4
ART & JJ 4
MARK & BOPPER 3
VANESSA & RALPH 2
“JOEY” FITNESS & DANNY 1
MISA & MAIYA 1
DAVE & CHERIE 1
ELLIOT & ANDREW 1
KERRI & STACY 1
PHIL: This is Bavaria—ranking as one of the most scenic places in all of Central Europe.
That sounds like a very specific distinction. Very specific.
If you go to Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Western Europe, or Southern Europe, their scenery will make Bavaria look like a piece of shit.
When the snow melts, it becomes nasty slush that nobody wants to walk in.
In the last leg, Art & JJ came in first and won a trip from Travelocity.
Art & JJ start picking things out for their trip to Thailand.
JJ: You have your own pool. That would be cool to have dinner there.
ART: Me and the gnome will be kicking it right there.
It’s a trip for two but yet there’s three people. Somehow I think the gnome is the one that is guaranteed a spot.
JJ: Just stay on your side of the dock.
Art starts to rub his precious.
Art & JJ, who arrived first at an unspecified time, will depart at 8:48am.
I have a question: What happens if a team says “fuck it” and opens up the clue before producers give them the green light? What’s the penalty for that?
Art reads the clue.
ART: Fly to the Land of Fire–Azerbaijan.
Art successfully pronounces it after sounding it out.
A NEW COUNTRY! HOORAY! IT IS OUR FIRST VISIT TO THE CAUCASUS!
Armenia must have been hella pissed Azerbaijan was recognized eight seasons before them.
Seething from home.
Phil informs us Azerbaijan is a country on the Caspian Sea and is a former Soviet republic rich in oil and natural gas. This is why it has the nickname of Land of Fire. When they land, they must head to Temple Ateshgah a.k.a. “Temple of Fire” where they will find their next clue.
Why are they going to Baku?
I wish they were going to the exclave of Nakhchivan. There is some rich history in Nakhchivan and would be one of the more unique locations to ever be featured on TAR.
But hey, oil is fun too.
And how can you say no to going to a place called a Fire Temple? It’s straight out of a JRPG!
I can’t say the Fire Temple is as rich as I thought it would be.
Art & JJ get into their Ford vehicle.
You want to drive like a winner? Then buy yourself a Ford Fiesta!
NOTE: I know almost nothing about Baku/Azerbaijan. These are the only substantial things I know about Azerbaijan other than being a former Soviet republic and now being rich in oil:
Wie is de Mol had 1/6th of its first mission in Baku.
Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell had a mission there.
Seriously. Those are the only two things I could tell you about Azerbaijan rather than a couple random facts or its national flag design.
I mean. . .what’s a stereotypical Azerbaijani? I have no fucking idea. I should have asked around in Little Armenia during my last two trips to Hollywood. Oh well.
JJ: When you start winning all of the time, you just feel like “Hey, you know what we’re gonna win. But we both know we’re one Roadblock or Detour away from being humbled. The way we’re gonna stay in the race is we’re not gonna take those gigantic gambles. We’re gonna keep going at it. Hard.
Ride this race. Ride her. Hard.
“We’re not gonna take those gigantic gambles. . .hey, remember when we used those remote control helicopters and tried it for about an hour on our own to complete the Fast Forward?”
Art & JJ talk about how threatening the “Guids” are in the race.
Where the hell did he get those glasses?
From The Big Comfy Couch?
JJ: They’re wearing really retro 80s winter gear. It looks like they’re from a bad 80s movie with some WHAM! Playing in the background.
Club music begins to play.
I just can’t see the similarities between George Michael and Joey & Danny. I mean. . .Joey & Danny are only in clubs with women where you have to be at least 21 to enter.
Joey & Danny depart second at 9:17am.
Ah, the country of Azerbichon. Woof woof! Throw that dog an oil-filled bone! Come here, Diesel! Here Diesel!
Oh right. Must. Drive. Afford.
Pop quiz, hot shots. What place did Joey & Danny get last leg?
“Fuckin’ rights, bro.”
Joey Fitness now becomes Joey “I Can Count to Two.”
“Fuckin’ deuces, bro.”
JOEY: We started out in tenth. Had an eighth place. Two third places after that. Second place. Now we have to get first.
Well, you don’t HAVE to get first, Joey.
You only HAVE to get sixth and you’d still survive, man.
Dafuq is wrong with Danny now? Sunglasses and traded his hand in for a claw or really advanced sock puppets?
JOEY: We’re definitely the strongest if not one of the strongest teams left. So now is gonna be the time.
DANNY: These are first place glasses by the way.
“Add this smile to it and it’ll make your girl’s fuckin’ panties drop.”
I love how Danny’s sunglasses match the same colour as his buddy’s tan lines back home.
Vanessa & Ralph depart in third at 9:19am. Vanessa pronounces it correctly. You get a cookie, Angel.
RALPH: The last leg we obviously weren’t very nice to each other.
Cue black and white flashback to Nessa flinging the jacket and saying this unnecessary flashback of what happened just a week ago is an editor’s jackass idea.
Vanessa & Ralph get into their car.
Oh, fuck off. Sorry. Their FORD car.
VANESSA: If we just stop screwing up, we’ll win something.
“Like maybe butt implants for Rachel so we don’t have to see her whole entire–”
OK, that’s enough Angel!
NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that Vanessa has been dating San Antonio Spurs player Tim Duncan, and they just had a child together.
Oddly enough, twelve years ago I played in an online version of Survivor when I was in the ninth grade where I pretended to be a huge fan of Tim Duncan.
See. I’m not making this shit up. I myself am amazed by this ridiculous coincidence. Twelve years later and I can make a connection of a random ORG I played to an event that happens several years after TAR 20.
Sorry Vin Diesel, but this “spur of the moment” relationship is far greater than anything you could have ever anticipated. Maybe you and Ralph can go out for a drink sometime.
Lastly, can you picture what happens while they are taking care of a newborn?
DUNCAN: Nessa, that baby is crying again. We’re never gonna get any sleep.
VANESSA: You’re blaming ME for YOU not getting any sleep? Having this baby was YOUR jackass idea!
For those of you who don’t know who Tim Duncan is, he would be the equivalent of Shana dating Ryan Seacrest.
And twice as famous as Cedric and Shawn combined. The guy is a basketball legend. How the hell you go from Ralph to freakin’ Tim Duncan is beyond me.
Anyways, Ralph says neither of them have been to Azerbaijan. Do you guys even leave Texas?
VANESSA: But I know it’s warmer because it’s the LAND OF FIRE! Fire’s gotta be warmer than freakin’ Bavaria.
Am I the only one a little bit worried by how excited Vanessa is to go to The Land of Fire?
Dave & Rachel depart in fourth at 10:57am. Dave feels they are still the team to beat.
I thought the team to beat was the maker of Columbia jackets. Everyone appears to be contracted to wear them.
DAVE (confessional): Rachel and I are the team to beat at this point. As long as we can reduce the mistakes and remain supportive and rely upon one another throughout the leg, then Rachel and I will run a good race.
DAVE: We’re going in the exact opposite direction of where we need to go.
RACHEL: Should we have taken a left?
DAVE: Just drive and let me navigate.
Dave wants to limit mistakes, but they made one within the first ten minutes. Within the next 24 hours, they are currently on a pace to make 144 mistakes. Well to limit them, Dave!
Brendon & Rachel start at 11:17am and read they have 167 dollars for this leg of the race. They opt to go to a travel agency.
Mark & Bopper are nowhere to be found inside.
Brendon & Rachel book a flight that leaves Munich at 6:20pm.
If Joey & Danny are Wham!, then Rachel is Madonna.
She just needs to drink some Pepsi and burn a cross.
Mark & Bopper start in sixth at 11:41am.
BOPPER: You think we’re going to Africa?
MARK: I think it is. Land of Fire.
MARK: It sounds like Africa to me, baby.
“So sick of this tropical weather!”
Nary & Jamie are last to depart at 11:36am. That puts them just under three hours behind Art & JJ.
Nary & Jamie aren’t feeling as blue as their clothes would indicate.
We are treated to a flashback to the first leg where Nary & Jamie are asked what they do for a living.
“We are teachers. We teach how to avoid captur—er, we teach the ABC’s and talk about cake.”
“You’re teachers! That’s so cool! Producers wanted us to ask you what your jobs were and didn’t know what answer to expect! Don’t tell anyone but we’re professional Reality TV Stars!”
Nary assumes they are non-threatening due to frequently finishing near the bottom. Amen, sister. Jamie said being non-threatening has been their strategy since day one and is why they didn’t share their true occupation.
Art & JJ are at the airport. They get the same 6:20pm Munich flight that gets in at 4:10am. It’s the only one.
I wonder if the computer screen is all in German? Guys look puzzled.
“It’s the only one.”
“The only one?”
“Listen here lady, you’re gonna get us on an earlier flight whether you like it or not. The United States Border Patrol doesn’t take too kindly to being treated as regular US citizens! We want to win four consecutive episodes of a reality TV show. Don’t make me call in favours.”
Joey & Danny and Vanessa & Ralph park simultaneously. Ralph honks at them. Joey & Danny grab their bags.
DANNY: Let’s go, let’s go. C’mon Joe.
JOEY: What’s going on, y’all?
DANNY: Joey, Joey, c’mon. C’mon.
All while this is happening Vanessa is dropping shit in the parking garage.
“Danny don’t help no fuckin’ body. Every fuckin’ man and woman for himself. We don’t greet shit. We don’t help you pick up shit. You’re on your own in this cutthroat world.”
(JOEY & DANNY wait for the elevator.)
JOEY: You’re too serious. I can’t say hello.
DANNY: I don’t want to stay with them. I don’t want to say hello.
JOEY: Can I say hello?
“Or give a goddamn wave to a broad, huh? You sayin’ I can’t take a second to wave to a broad on The Amazing Race?”
DANNY: I don’t want to–
JOEY: You take it too seriously, bro. I’m gonna say hello to people.
“My mom taught me fuckin’ manners, bro. Dafuq did your mom teach you, uh?”
Vanessa & Ralph are standing directly behind them and hear the whole exchange. The camera pans right.
Vanessa even takes time to say hello to the camera operator. I guess that’s why she finishes sixth while Joey & Danny finish second.
We get some creative editing as both teams search for flights.
To be fair, I don’t think the ticketing agents say hello to each other neither.
Joey notices the ticketing agent is a woman.
“We can’t say hello to her.”
DANNY: Wanna come with us?
DANNY: I’m just teasing. I’m just teasing. It was worth a try. She said no.
You can’t say hello to anyone that is a dude or a woman who isn’t single. Those are the Danny Rules.
Both teams book the same 6:20pm Munich flight.
I wonder how few people book tickets at the airport anymore. We all have smartphones equipped to find the best deals and filter all of the nonsense for us. Amazing Race contestants must be 90% of on-site sales by 2018.
Dave & Rachel show up and catch up with Art & JJ. Art & JJ give them the correct information. The other teams aren’t even bothered showing their bookings.
I never thought we would see an airplane fly along an obtuse angle.
Welcome to the Caucasus. Are they European? Asian? Russian? Arabian? Eurasian? Nobody knows!
The flight lands. Nobody is sprinting to the taxis. It must be an hours of operation they have been notified of in advance.
QUESTION: Which one of these two guys banged a woman in the bathroom of the Turkish Airlines flight? Who broke the rule and had somebody say “hello” to their little friend?
Everyone is in a taxi heading to the temple of Carlos Tosca.
The teams are excited to see the temple. Mark & Bopper’s driver is going insanely fast.
“I’m loving it, Mark! Haul ass, driver!”
“I can’t stop shaking.”
It sucks for the locals who have to be up at four o’ clock in the morning to entertain a bunch of Americans.
No child labour laws in Azerbaijan, evidently.
Hang on a second.
This looks a lot more like Amazing Race Canada.
Unleash your inner Leonardo! Twin Katana task, please!
Dave & Rachel are first there and search amongst the band.
“Don’t come any closer! You’ll throw off my beat!”
Rachel spots a closed door.
DAVE: Let’s look around. See what else is here.
Wait, Dave thinks there is like hidden information or clues on the premises? I’m pretty sure the door makes it clear that the clue is not available until the door opens at sunrise.
DAVE: Do you have our next clue?
Why tell you when they can instead communicate the clue to you. . .
. . .through interpretative dance!
I never thought Dave would be the type to join a kick line.
I think Dave has a new career once he is done with the military.
“Is that Ranger Dave getting jiggy with it?”
It’s rude to point, man.
Ten bucks says Joey tries to get her number by the end of the night.
DAVE: It’s like an ancient grave.
Yeah, remember all of the zombies who always gather to dance on top of graves?
Nary & Jamie are third to the temple. Art & JJ are fourth. Brendon & Rachel are fifth. Mark & Bopper sixth. Vanessa & Ralph last.
It’s like a Mad Max settlement.
“I can see Rachel’s whole entire headband!”
This guy is completely given’r at the drum solo.
Fuck off. I wasn’t summoning you guys.
Joey talks to Bopper.
I am surprised Joey’s concept of a hoedown isn’t what happens on his bed at his studio apartment when he strikes out at the club for the night, but needs to fork over a hundred bucks to ensure he doesn’t end the night empty-handed.
Kentucky Hoedowns: The only place in the US where points REALLY don’t matter.
Whatever happened to Laura Hall? I swear she is going to be buried inside of a piano rather than an actual coffin.
Knowing what happens the rest of this season, it is hilarious that this is the last time I can think of where we are shown footage of the whole remaining cast voluntarily doing a group dance together. You would think the TAR 20 folks are all BFFs.
We cut to sunrise.
Dave may find more success finding the clue now.
If it warms up today in Baku, are they still contractually obligated to wear their Columbia jackets for the whole day?
Everyone has to duck into the doorway to enter the room. It is a narrow and short passage.
Jamie has the clue.
But Art is eager to protect the border to the outside world. We need proper documentation, Jamie!
Did Art give her a sports tap on the way in?
The doorman keeps a watch on all of the action.
Dave & Rachel open the clue.
Holy moly. It’s our second Fast Forward in just three episodes. I am digging these old school vibes!
Granted with a new design.
Phil has to explain a Fast Forward is a task that lets you go straight to the pit stop upon completion. I guess this is more for the newer fans who didn’t see any during TAR 18 or TAR 19.
A Fast Forward is the only thing that breaks up conversations between Phil and the pit stop greeter as they wait for all of the slow mofos to show up to the mat.
I prefer the ivy backdrop.
Teams must make their way to the roadside hay market where local growers sell hay to farmers in the area. Once there they must unload 150 bales of hay. Stack them ten across, three wide, and five high. First team to correctly stack their hay wins the Fast Forward.
Lena & Kristy probably collapsed at home while watching this task.
I never thought Azerbaijan has overlap with Swedish culture.
Thanks for the visual dimensions, editors.
Why does this man have false teeth?
Is it because he was the victim of too many HAYmakers?
Dave & Rachel and Joey & Danny both decide to go for the Fast Forward. No one else does.
NARY: No. No way. Route marker.
And just like that, your favourite kindergarten cops along with four other teams are guaranteed to survive into the next leg. That is why you never go for the Fast Forward in the current TAR format when two teams are already going for it—sticking to the course practically guarantees your survival heading into the next leg.
Especially when newer Fast Forwards are significantly more time-consuming compared to earlier seasons.
Teams must now take a taxi to Occupational Training International and search the ground to find their next clue.
Apparently Azerbaijan uses Film Noir taxis.
Here the teachers can train how to be federal agents.
The inside of the crate looks older than Mel White.
Mark & Bopper briefly examined the Fast Forward clue.
BOPPER: What do you think?
Mark being Poopy Pants per usual is actually an advantage today.
Dave & Rachel and Joey & Danny admit it’s a huge risk chasing down the Fast Forward. Art & JJ confirm a team cannot claim more than one Fast Forward this season.
Danny and his hat are smiling during this adrenaline rush of putting their shrunken necks on the line—Joey not so much.
DANNY: First place today, man. If we’re doing it, we’re doing it today.
Dude. The whole goal of TAR until the final leg is to just not be last. Nothing else matters.
Nary didn’t want to take an unnecessary risk.
Cool Greek helmet on top of the hill.
ART: A ton of people on the streets wearing black.
JJ: Everybody wears black. It’s the national colour.
Gay marriage is legal in Azerbaijan, but gay pride parades can’t function because the flag just isn’t comprehended by the masses.
“Your grey toque really stands out, Art.”
Dave & Rachel and Joey & Danny get to the Fast Forward almost simultaneously. They don’t know exactly what the task will be yet.
I am curious what they thought the task would be prior to showing up.
Danny should start shaking the ladder like hell right now.
Dave drops down the first hay bale.
Dave tosses another hay bale down.
Dave barely missed Rachel. I wonder if that is his intended target for this mission?
“Om nom nom—hey, that’s our dinner guys! Treat it like eggs! Don’t toss them down without mercy!”
Here is the stacking chart for reference.
Joey asks to reference the example, but Danny says he can’t see it from where he is standing, but insists he has the numbers memorized.
I love how casual Joey is with tossing the hay bales over the edge. Dave & Rachel started with a two hay bale lead, Joey. I don’t think Ranger Dave will be as relaxed as you are about tossing the hay bales over the edge!
DANNY: We’ve done everything without a strategy so far. When I like to put things together I never look at the instructions manual.
It’s like Danny is Tim the Tool Man Taylor.
Rachel yells at Dave for throwing hay bales onto the exact same spot repeatedly.
A hay bale bounces and slightly collides with Rachel. She’s fine, though.
JOEY: We can’t let a girl beat us.
What if Mark & Bopper competed for this Fast Forward? Would you let them beat you since neither of them are female? And I have a feeling the only way Joey would let a girl beat him is if it was off.
The other teams are in taxis and blown away by the unexpected chaos of the road. Mark & Bopper’s cab is easily passing everyone.
BOPPER: This guy is driving like an absolute maniac. I just hope you’re not getting too loose with me cause we’re gonna have some spewin’.
“You’re not gonna spew, right Mark?”
ART: It’s better than NASCAR, man. These guys are insane.
JJ prefers a slower sport like baseball or golf.
Mark composes himself and–
BOPPER: Anytime my partner is in the backseat, there better be a barf bag around.
“And some prozac.”
Mark’s vomity music is like a symphony for the viewers at home.
Anybody want some KFC? Some Kentucky Fried Chunks?
ART: That’s funny. That poor dude.
One of them likes gross out humour; the other does not.
A car rolls up to the hay bale task.
Just in case you forgot this was a former Soviet republic—we see an aging car pull up as it barely avoids getting stuck in the mud. I am half expecting a man with a megaphone to start shouting THE HAY BALES NOW MUST BE 20X10X6!
When I was younger, we would jump off the roof and onto a trampoline. I wonder how soft the landing is when you jump off a truck onto a pile of hay bales.
These dudes have been watching the task the whole time. It’s either that or their extended lunch break is over.
Joey & Danny appear to have a lead over Dave & Rachel. Both teams acknowledge this lead.
JOEY: We’re killin’ them, bro.
It’s a Hay Shower rather than a hay bale.
It’s like Vanessa & Ralph stacking watermelons right now.
Rachel has hay in her eyes. Dave comes up with an idea to catch up. Rachel keeps asking for him to come down and help her but Dave ignores her.
Dave kicks down three hay bales. That’s the solution.
No wait. He’s The Solution.
Rachel still wants help.
“I’ll help you by burying you alive in hay bales!”
Make it rain!
RACHEL: I can’t do this anymore.
Obviously, this leads to a commercial break.
DAVE: Don’t give up. Work smarter not harder.
Ah. So that’s where Brendon & Rachel got their TAR 24 team motto from.
Rachel’s stack isn’t as bad as we thought.
Danny notes neither team is giving up.
DAVE: Midwestern work ethic definitely kicked in.
If those kids behave like scoundrels, Dave can blindside them by pelting hay bales. Stay in order, son!
Is Dave holding a knife in his mouth?!
We cut to the Occupational Training International route marker. Art & JJ jump out. Bopper starts cackling like a maniac. I don’t know why.
I thought the cackling ended with the witch from a fairy tale, but nope.
Vanessa & Ralph are searching the grounds too.
Ranger Dave is so jealous right now. He could fly that thing.
“Hello? Is anybody home?”
Nary & Jamie are there too. They find another abandoned plane.
It’s like Azerbaijan Force One had to do a crash landing in a field. Where is President John Keeler?
Who is the first team to find a clue in the crate?
Puke stains drip onto the crate. Mark will leave his mark until TAR returns to Baku.
Mark reads the Roadblock. Guess what the guy who just vomited has to read? It couldn’t be more fitting. Seriously. I am not making up what the Roadblock hint is for Mark.
The guy who just finished vomiting has to read WHAT GOES DOWN MUST COME UP! Mark should instantly volunteer for this task! He is the expert at this!
This is just insulting.
Phil explains oil is the number one industry in Azerbaijan. To get to the offshore oil rigs, oil workers fly via helicopter. They must undergo mandatory rescue training.
Most people sleep through their work’s safety training. Not here.
In this Roadblock, teams must take on their primal fears by taking on a terrifying helicopter ditch rescue training exercise.
Is Phil seriously not going to demonstrate this Roadblock?
Teams will be strapped into a helicopter mock-up. After being submerged underwater and capsized, they must escape from the frightening crash simulator.
JJ’s cousin demonstrates this for us.
Once they surface, they’ll swim to their next clue.
Hopefully they make the raft slippery for the lolz.
Mark volunteers Bopper.
Nary & Jamie and Art & JJ find it together. Jamie and JJ are doing it (JJ because he thinks it is a running challenge). Vanessa & Ralph can’t find the crate.
It’s like they are trying to find another gnome.
Brendon & Rachel sneak into fourth place. Rachel tells Brendon to do the Roadblock. Vanessa & Ralph find it in fifth place as Ralph asks Nessa to do the Roadblock.
We cut back to do the Fast Forward. Joey throws it away from the stack.
JOEY: Watch your head.
DANNY: Hit me in the head, I don’t care.
Like there’s anything in there to protect.
Dave throws the hay bales directly onto the stack. This makes it VERY easy for Rachel to place it properly. Sometimes Rachel doesn’t even have to touch the hay bale.
Like this one. Dave just brushes it off the truck and it only has to fall a couple feet where Rachel is already standing.
While Joey is throwing it AWAY from the stack and is moving all the way to the back of the truck to find more hay bales.
Joey does have a reasonable fear. Not only would he end up in a wheelchair, but he wouldn’t be allowed in any of the hottest clubs.
I’m not kidding. I have gone on pub crawls in Europe a couple of times, and have seen people in wheelchairs denied entry. It is one of the most awkward things you will see in your life and question if you should give that club your patronage at all.
Rachel gets clobbered by the final hay bale of the task.
JOEY: Good job bro, you got this. We’re gonna beat them bro.
Dave hops off of the truck.
There is a pause.
JOEY: Bro, are they done?
“But we’re two strong boys. . .have you seen my biceps, bro?”
DANNY: Bro, worry about us. C’mon.
But the Fast Forward is claimed, bro. Why does Danny want to complete the task now? For pride?
DANNY: They’re not done. No way.
They both hug him separately.
“He is mine, Rach.”
Dave nearly lost what they stacked hundreds of hay bales for.
Joey sees they have the clue.
JOEY: Bro, they got it. We gotta leave. We gotta leave.
Danny is pissed.
When you take a huge risk and it doesn’t work out.
Considering every single team is already at the Roadblock, and the Occupational Training International building is at least thirty minutes or more away from the Fast Forward location. . .
Dave compliments Rachel as he still has the knife in his mouth.
I don’t know why he still needs it in his mouth.
The pit stop is Esplanada Estakada.
Rachel reminds Dave that when they use teamwork they are awesome.
And when you don’t, you’re not awesome.
JOEY: . . .Got beat by a freakin’ girl.
Don’t miss Joey Fitness and Danny The Solution! Being castrated at a club near you!
We cut to the Roadblock. Rock music and spy movie typewriter text appears on-screen.
It’s better than the last spy task in DC where they had to ask if the sea was green.
Bopper, JJ, and Jamie enter the helicopter together.
Mark and Nary talk. Jamie will do fine in water, apparently.
“Need any help with your helmet, Jamie?”
Man, Bopper rebounded fast after the elimination of the Badonky Donk Girls.
“And when we was holding hands at the temple, Bopper popped a boner the size of Tennessee.”
NARY: So funny. Heh heh heh.
Note: Nary didn’t find it that funny.
Everyone prepares to go under.
They have to tuck in then put their hand on the window.
Bopper is petrified.
You spin me right round baby, right round. . .
The alarm sounds. JJ starts to panic because he can’t open the window. He swallows some water.
Mika would hate that challenge.
Extra personnel are on hand.
This challenge is actually really easy. You only have to hold your breath for ten seconds and escape upside-down through a window. The swim to the surface is 1.2 seconds. Maybe not even that.
They all help each other onto the raft. JJ is first. Bopper boosts Jamie onto it second with JJ’s help.
Bopper is jealous.
Bopper gets freakin’ dragged onto the raft.
Art watches helplessly as everyone celebrates doing an easy but cool task.
And somehow Nary & Jamie are leading the group. So much for being misunderestimated!
Nary & Jamie read they must go to Old Town Baku and find Toghrul Karabakh Carpet Shop where they will receive their next clue.
So the old town is definitely a Turkish theme.
JAMIE: Look. They grew.
Wow. Jamie just made a breast joke on The Amazing Race. The immaturity runs rampant in this group.
We see the full clue on-screen.
JJ didn’t find the Roadblock fun.
Jamie would probably like that train.
DAVE: I can smell Phil’s cologne.
“And also Mark’s vomit.”
Dave & Rachel run onto the mat.
Dave & Rachel skip along to the mat.
“Thank you for coming when you did. Phil won’t shut up.”
Phil doesn’t even pause. He just outright awards first place to Rachel & Dave.
FIRST PLACE: RACHEL & DAVE
PHIL: Since you started this leg with a long drive. . .
“And for me a free limo ride. . .”
PHIL: . .Ford thought you would want an innovative ride to call your own. . .Ford is giving each of you a new 2013 Ford Taurus S-H-O which has been totally redesigned to look as good as it performs.
Rachel couldn’t be happier.
RACHEL: Now that we’re back on top we’re going to stay on top. We have strategies based on the things that did go so well in the last few legs and we think we’re going to continue to come in in the top.
And by god is Rachel going to live up to her word.
Rachel is happy Brendon is doing it because he is the better swimmer. Vanessa was too slow and has to wait outside with Rachel as Brendon does it alone.
“So this is what it is like to do something on a reality show without Rachel.”
RACHEL: So what do you do? You go in there and you capsize you have to. . .?
VANESSA: And save your damn self. Don’t die.
Making no contact and talking about drowning is the LEAST awkward interaction Rachel and Vanessa will have this entire season. I am not making this up.
Also: Xususi is Italian for “excuse me.”
I don’t know why but triumphant music plays as Brendon escapes underwater after three teams just did it easily.
RACHEL: Little Brendon just did an obstacle course underwater.
He swam out of a window then flopped onto a raft.
I wish him and JJ did the Roadblock together. There is something poetic about border patrol pulling a half-Mexican ONTO a raft. What a reversal!
Dude is hyped.
Brendon & Rachel exit the facility in fifth place.
Joey & Danny won’t count themselves out.
DANNY: We’ve comeback twice.
Yeah, when you have Misa & Maiya and Dave & Cherie around.
For now they’re just in Lorena & Jason’s “we’re in this taxi and we’re totally gonna catch up to the other teams because we’re the underdogs and we’re definitely not going to be eliminated.”
“JOEY”: A team could be weak and having a problem.
Unless Osten Taylor was doing this Roadblock, you shouldn’t get your hopes up, Joey.
Vanessa tells us she has a fear of enclosed spaces and being underwater., but she isn’t even crying or any shit like that. She just isn’t fond of it.
RALPH: She hates enclosed spaces and being underwater. She gets both of them here.
“THE WINDOW WON’T OPEN!!! AAAAAHHHHHH!”
The machine rotates. Vanessa can’t escape right away. Ralph doesn’t know what’s wrong.
We go to commercial break.
Instead of an Angel on the ground with us, Angel will be watching over you, Ralph. You’ll be aight.
We resume. We watch the past twenty seconds all over again. She couldn’t get the window open. Oh, then she opens it.
VANESSA: My happy ass got out.
Happy ass is out and didn’t drown.
Happy ass is on the raft.
RALPH: She’s going to be pretty pissed her hair is wet.
“I use the same squirt gun on her as I do on the cat.”
They kiss with their eyes closed.
“Don’t tell him but I picture Tim Duncan.”
“Don’t tell her but I picture Tim Duncan.”
This is the closest we get to seeing the full clue.
Joey & “Danny” show up to the training facility and grab the clue.
“Fucking girl beat me at a man’s job, bro.”
Wow. He is still upset about losing the Fast Forward to Rachel.
Joey is going to do the Roadblock. Danny sits down alone and is forced to give a confessional about how they’ll catch up.
DANNY: Hopefully can do this Roadblock real quick then do a Detour and knows what will happen over there.
Good news: Joey will do the Roadblock real quick.
Bad news: So will everyone else since this Roadblock takes a fixed amount of time.
We cut to Old Town Baku.
Old Town Baku.
I don’t think that big electronic sign was there back in the 13th century.
Jamie says her and Nary, Mark & Bopper, and Art & JJ are in a caravan to the route marker.
“I’m scared, Mark.”
“Cause we got to find Old Baku!”
Brendon & Rachel catch up with the three cabs. Everyone hops out to grab the clue.
BOPPER (to BRENDON & RACHEL): Where did you two come from?
A team from Big Brother suddenly appearing and surpassing all other teams? That doesn’t sound like The Amazing Race!
Can Art & JJ still get second place amidst this cluster?
It’s a Detour. Phil says teams have to choose between two things that Azerbaijanis use to stay healthy: Apples or Oil.
In Apples, teams must search an old Soviet car that local vendors use to transport produce into the city from the countryside hundreds of miles away. Rummaging through one ton of apples, they must find an apple with a race flag to exchange for their next clue.
In a country with so much oil, locals literally soak it in for its healing profits. Teams must head to a Naftalan health centre. Once there, they must clean up a client after he has soaked in this therapeutic treatment. Using a metal shoehorn, they’ll have to scrape black crude oil from the client’s body and wiping down any excess using sponges and water. Once their bather is oil-free, the spaaaa attendant will hand them their next clue.
I would love to see the car collapse on one of its tires because of the weight of the apples.
Well that makes it easier to spot.
I should note it is a Gutsy Granny Smith apple.
I dare you to take a bite, Phil. You haven’t lived until you eat Trunk Apple.
It’s like the reverse Exxon Valdez.
All he needs is some rose petals.
“Oh. I see you are at half mast.”
I hear Naftalan is a free trade agreement for folks in Catalonia.
“This shall one day be my coffin. I will be well-preserved.”
It’s like being searched with the wand by TSA at an airport.
Just use it like a windshield wiper.
In British Columbia, we would pay about ten bucks for the oil we scraped into the bucket for our cars. I am not kidding. Prices are horrendous here.
The oil clinging to the hairs underneath the left breast is always the toughest to get out.
Phil examines his purified Azerbaijani buddy.
Simmer down, Phil. Simmer down.
So fresh and so clean clean!
Brendon & Rachel choose to do Oil.
Ah, we get a clear view of the clue. Too bad the Additional Info sheets never make it onto TV.
Mark & Bopper and Art & JJ choose Oil. Nary & Jamie go with Apple. Their reaction to re-reading the Oil task?
They could be dropped off into the middle of Syrian compounds doing Special Ops missions, but a man bathing in oil is just too much!
Mark is sick in the cab again.
So much sympathy from Bopper as his partner hurls. It’s a real knee-slapper.
We cut back to Joey at the Roadblock.
JOEY: Back in the day I used to do lifeguarding and swim and surf lots. I am pretty good underwater.
Well, other players suck underwater and they performed the exact same way. No advantage here, Mr. Fitness.
I wish the text was upside-down too.
“There was this one time I was lifeguarding bro and these two hot chicks with double Ds man were floating out into the ocean man, and I had one hanging onto each arm, got to shore, and they were so thankful we went back to my pad bro and they like fuckin’ blew me, man. . .”
Joey & Danny have the clue and exit the facility.
Vanessa & Ralph are sixth to the carpet shop. They are searching for the clue.
VANESSA: They’re buried, I think.
If they had to do the Morocco Fast Forward task against Teri & Ian, they would be so screwed right now.
RALPH: We need to be. . .
This is painful to watch.
Art & JJ are ready to scrub down an oil baron.
JJ: Time to scrub a homie down!
TLC definitely would have chosen Apple this round.
If you told me two middle-aged dudes in a testosterone-filled profession were going to enter a private room where another human being was going to be lathered up with a substance in a bathtub, this is NOT what I would have pictured.
“Is HE going into the tub?”
“Or YOU? Please let it be you. Please?”
ART: There was this tall hairy Azerbinijan with gold teeth.
Is it a guy who looks a lot like Ahmadinejad in Azerbaijan?
I know what JJ is about to say:
Smile for me babe
I wanna see your grillz
Top row’s gold
And the bottom row’s cavities!
We see oil come out of the spicket.
JJ: Oh no! No! What the heck is going on, Art?
“We have a buddy who is a plumber. You want his number?”
Dove is really expanding its body wash line.
I love how disturbed JJ is by the man getting into the tub. Where’s the rubber ducky, Art?
JJ: You know how they do in Rome? Do it like you’re in Azurburjistan.
You missed a spot under your arm! Therapy ruined!
It’s like the Braveheart face but with oil.
ART: It looked like a Nutella covered man.
I have never seen somebody so happy to be scanned by the US Border Patrol.
“God I hope it’s oil dripping from the back of his pants.”
Nary & Jamie are second to the Detour. They have the empty boxes to fill it up with apples. Nary is afraid to open up the windows.
Where’s a crowbar when you need one?
Well, that side is much easier.
JAMIE: Teachers love apples.
NARY: That’s right. One apple a day keeps the doctor away. . .or several thousand.
Nary examines the trunk apples she has picked thus far.
I am amazed apple picking is that interesting of a challenge for locals to watch.
“Where’s the loving touch?”
“She disgraces our apples.”
“The apples spoil once removed from the car!”
Yes, quick quick quick.
Or the dudes on the right are saying sloooooow dooooown.
Mark & Bopper are next to Natfalan.
JJ: This guy is as hairy as a St. Bernard. . .He has hair like I have never seen!
I hope the guy getting scrubbed does not speak English.
Bopper has a peek into Art & JJ’s tub.
BOPPER: It’d be hard to get me in that tub and hold me down.
“If we could fill our tubs with oil, we could send our kids through college!”
I feel like this should be part of a Photo Caption contest.
This guy does not like being in oil.
MARK: They got too much daggone hair on ’em! Shave!
Keep in mind that Mark is bald.
“You really need to shave.”
Art is repulsed as they have to scrub down his feet.
I am sure it’ll get weirder.
We learn Art & JJ’s model is ticklish.
Brendon & Rachel walk in on a guy sitting in a bath of hot oil.
Only Brendon is amused.
Vanessa & Ralph keep searching for the clue.
RALPH: There’s nothing colour wise. . .that matches up?
Scanning. . .scanning. . .
. . .Scanning. . .
VANESSA: Oh my god. We’re buffoons.
Vanessa angrily snatches the clue.
They decide to do Apple because it takes a lot of time to scrape oil off of someone’s body, and Vanessa is a fan of Gwyneth Paltrow.
Yeah, a Detour option was named after her daughter.
We’re a few minutes until the leg is over. Can we get to the pit stop already?
MARK: Sounds like y’all are having too much fun over there!
WHOA! THAT’S ONE WAY TO GET THE OIL OFF OF HIM! MARK IS HAVING THE MOST FUN!
I really hope that’s soap.
Bopper is worried about burning the oil master with the shower head.
Something tells me Mark doesn’t spray people with water too often.
BRENDON: It’s like a horror movie.
Who does this Azerbaij. . .Azerbinji. . .who does this guy from Azerbaijan think he is?
Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon?
JJ: Get in his junk, Art! Get in his junk!
ART: C’mon, will you focus on what we got to do and not try to be funny. We’re trying to get out of here.
JJ: I’m in his vibe, Art. What do you want from me?
I haven’t seen anybody stare like this since Sir Mix-A-Lot.
We cut back to Apple.
Hopefully he is not eating Nary & Jamie’s clue by accident.
Vanessa & Ralph see Nary & Jamie.
VANESSA: Holy Cannoliiii!
Yep. They got the lecture from production to stop cussing.
VANESSA: I hope this is the first and last time I am in a trunkm.
Hey, how do you think Ralph has been divorced multiple times? And Nessa is embracing her inner Oscar the Grouch.
While Vanessa never wants to be inside of a trunk, I can assure you most men would say being inside of a trunk is their favourite place to be.
JJ asks his model to turn around.
It’s time for some toe action!
Bopper starts flicking the ol’ armpit hair.
RACHEL: I don’t think he minds me rubbing him all over.
He’s giving her the ol’ Popeye look.
Art & JJ think they are done. The judge is summoned.
Why isn’t he smiling? Where’s his grillz at? Is he nothing without his oil-lathered body?
Once again, Art & JJ are first to complete a Detour for the third time in a row.
JJ: It was strange but it was good.
ART: That was wrong.
The pit stop clue is visible for us.
Phil reminds us of the pit stop location once more.
What’s an Esplanade?
Art & JJ get into a cab. They feel violated.
ART: You just gotta bite the bullet.
JJ: And scrub a man’s junk! If you want a million dollars, scrub a man’s junk!
Or $25, 000. That’ll work too.
Mark & Bopper complete the task.
MARK: He’s clean. You’re starting to squeak, ain’t ya?
I don’t know why, but that cracks me up.
Brendon & Rachel freeze their model with extremely cold water.
The Rafting, South Korea Roadblock from TAR 4 would be warmer than this.
Mark & Bopper approved.
Bopper chants when the clue is theirs. Brendon & Rachel finish scrubbing “his little piggies.”
Both teams are in cabs too.
Art & JJ hop out.
They know it’ll be good news.
SECOND PLACE: ART & JJ
ART: We’ll take a second place with a Fast Forward. It’s actually a win.
I would say any leg where you beat everyone except Dave & Rachel is “actually a win.”
Joey & Danny are last to the Detour. They decide to do Apple unfortunately. However, they just want to gamble and get lucky.
Jamie has emptied the trunk. No apples.
You know you can go inside where it’s much warmer, right buddy?
Vanessa empties the trunk too. No manzanas.
Vanessa hits her trunk on the trunk.
Locals scream at them to go faster.
Ralph doesn’t get to see the subtitles.
RALPH: Either he’s saying to go faster or something about Vanessa’s melons.
VANESSA: I don’t think he can even see my melons. Although I am going commando.
You’re going Steve?
Jamie has the magical apple. Ralph tries to see what it looks like.
RALPH: It’s just a big apple.
Considering their skills with finding the clue in the carpet shop, I am not surprised this is the best description Ralph could come up with.
Jamie knows she got this.
VANESSA: C’mon apple. Frick frack are you.
Jamie really could be a kindergarten teacher.
If I had three words to describe this apple. . .
Frick. . .Frack. . .Fruck!
VANESSA: Cheese and crackers!
Nessa is trying so hard not to cuss right now.
RALPH: It seems like the further down you get the more they multiply.
This is the Muggle World, guys. You’re not breaking into Gringotts where the apples are going to suffocate you.
Commercial break. We resume.
VANESSA: I’m getting apple avalanches. It’s way too reminiscent of the watermelon.
Vanessa says she has flashbacks of the watermelon avalanche.
And if you thought Vanessa & Ralph would keep racking up black and white flashbacks. . .
You’d be right.
Ralph accidentally throws apples at Vanessa’s head in the car.
RALPH: They’re just apples.
VANESSA: They hurt, babe.
Just imagine what it’d be like with tomatoes.
We cut to the pit stop.
Dafuq does it mean to be toe-tied?
Phil doesn’t know either.
Brendon & Rachel join them seconds later.
THIRD PLACE: MARK & BOPPER
They’re still here. They’ll repeat they’re still here five more times.
Brendon & Rachel have to pretend hearing their placement is a surprise.
“Woo for Mark & Bopper spoiling the surprise for us!”
FOURTH PLACE: BRENDON & RACHEL
BRENDON: We’re going from sixth to fifth to fourth. We’re just gonna keep moving our way up to the million dollars. How about that?
BOPPER: You’re gonna have to go through us!
“Kentucky gon’ break your wrist, son!”
Joey & Danny comment they are from The Big Apple which is why they are doing the Apple Detour option. The two ideas have nothing in common with each other except for the word ‘apple,’ but hey, ridiculous logic is fine by me at this point.
By the way, they are still in ‘Lorena & Jason We Are Going To Catch Up in Our Taxi’ mode.
We cut to the pit stop.
Jamie wants good news.
FIFTH PLACE: NARY & JAMIE
They are mildly disappointed.
And Phil couldn’t care less. Yes, couldn’t.
We cut back to the Detour.
VANESSA: Cheese and crackers.
Ralph has the clue. He bites the apple.
“They got eaten.”
I would personally wash a Backseat Apple before eating it, but that’s just me.
They read the clue and disappear before Joey & Danny even show up. This isn’t even close.
Joey & Danny are next to the Detour. They assume the apple will be in the middle.
Ralph’s taxi driver is asking for directions. Ugh. No need for suspense.
We learn Danny’s grandfather used to grow apples just like the ones in the trunk which I am sure will be perfectly relevant and helpful here.
Aren’t Joey & Danny always in the middle back home in NYC?
“I lost my virginity in the back of my grandfather’s apple truck.”
Vanessa & Ralph’s taxi driver has gone missing while he went to ask for directions.
All they can do is wait.
Joey & Danny have the lucky apple. They claim they completed the task quickly. Danny juggles with ONE apple.
“I’m da fuckin’ bomb, bro.”
Joey & Danny say the race is crazy and how they went from tenth place to second place.
Oh, please. No one is falling for this shit.
Ralph’s driver returns to the vehicle.
RALPH: There he is. Cheese and crackers.
It’s tough to capture it, but the driver does the weirdest run I have ever seen.
Joey & Danny think they will win TAR 20 if they survive this round. That’s a jump. We cut back and forth between the cabs.
Vanessa & Ralph step onto the mat. Angel is blinking A LOT for some reason. Is there an eyelash caught in her eye?
SIXTH PLACE: VANESSA & RALPH
VANESSA: Holy cheese and crackers.
“Can the cheese and crackers. Ritz isn’t a sponsour until TAR 32.”
Yet another bad decision in picking tasks by an all-male team helps them survive another elimination.
Vanessa wants to improve.
Joey & Danny run it to the mat, but they actually walk in the last few seconds.
The pit stop greeter welcomes them.
“Can I have your phone number?”
LAST PLACE: “JOEY” FITNESS & “DANNY”
And they are eliminated. Danny thinks they could have won the race.
JOEY: We made it six legs. For a couple of kids from Long Island, that’s not bad at all.
Ugh. The trend continues. You finished below the bottom half.
For a couple of kids from Long Island, this is all you could beat?!?! Are you kidding me??????? Shoot higher, son!
We are treated to a highlight reel of everything they have done in the race. The culture shock of seeing castles and cows!
Danny thinks his friends would never think he would make it six legs into the race. His friends really don’t expect much from him. Harsh.
Club music plays as they exit.
DANNY: I can’t wait to go home cause we about to tear it up.
JOEY: Joey Fitness and Danny H at a club near you!
Shameless promotional plug.
Next Time on TAR: Surrounded by Africa’s wildlife, teams mark their territory.
MENTIONED IN THE ‘NEXT TIME ON’ SEGMENT
ELLIOT & ANDREW 1
MARK & BOPPER 1
JOEY FITNESS/DANNY 9/10
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) Fussen, Germany -> Baku, Azerbaijan
Good news: We have a new country added to the TAR catalogue.
Bad news: We won’t see another new country until the endgame of TAR 22, and it is a very Anglophone country. The next non-English speaking country added to the TAR catalogue won’t be added until TAR 25. Yep. Five seasons.
In terms of suspense as to who will be eliminated, it is telegraphed less than halfway into the episode. Joey & Danny and Dave & Rachel both chasing down the Fast Forward led to a guaranteed elimination for whoever lost the battle. Obviously, Joey & Danny tanked this battle.
The oil bath task provided a lot of interesting visuals and is one of the more unique tasks. Nobody has ever had to clean oil off of a living human being as if they were a duck in an offshore oil spill.
Dave & Rachel win the leg and Art & JJ attain second place to continue their dominance. Three wins apiece. The Titan Season is in full effect.
Vanessa & Ralph barely escape elimination again thanks to Joey & Danny taking an unnecessary risk. They don’t do well with tasks involving fruit or things “hidden” in plain sight.
Mark & Bopper received the Jet & Cord theme music when checking into the pit stop and a lot more scenes this week really played up the “good ol’ country boys” narrative. From this point forward, it is really going to build.
We also see Nary & Jamie not quite match up to the other teams as they never excel at any of the tasks or pull off any brilliant decisions.
The Roadblock to do underwater training is neat in concept but lame to watch on TV. The task takes about ten seconds. All they do is swim out of a window and go up to the surface. I get that the risk is somebody panicking underwater, but nobody did and therefore the task had no real payoff. After the first couple of demonstrations, we could’ve just moved on.
The Fire Temple group dancing at the start of the leg is the last time the group will get along. Starting next round. . .things change.
4) 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.
5) 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.
6) 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) Joey Fitness “Lasalla” & Danny “Horal”
I had so much fun making fun of these guys. They maximized the Jersey Shore stereotype like no other team I have seen on the race. That’s probably a good thing as we really didn’t need to see this more than once. A six episode streak of Jersey Shore was the perfect amount.
It’s painful to see Joey & Danny being convinced that they would’ve won the race if not for the Fast Forward attempt. Every team always has the ‘what if’ moment where if they dodged the bullet then they would have won the race—the funny thing for Joey & Danny is they think a mistake on leg six would have produced a victory on leg twelve.
I do agree to a certain extent, though—they were being competitive with both Art & JJ and Dave& Rachel after the third round. Just don’t go into a direct Head-to-Head showdown with Dave & Rachel earlier than you have to on the race.
And I guarantee you they went back home immediately to have a threesome with Gina Marie followed by using their short-lived TV fame to get a whole bunch o’ numbers. That’s just a given.
Danny’s grandfather may want to hose down the apple truck.
2) 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.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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 Michael & Kathy 5.8 TAR 3
7th Cyndi & Russell 5.8 TAR 2
7th Shana & Jennifer 5.8 Used U-Turn TAR 12
9th Heather & Eve 5.75 Legal team beaten by rule book. TAR 3
5th Nancy & Emily 5.67 R.I.P. Nancy. Saved by NEL once. TAR 1
7th Jeff & Jordan 5.67. Saved by a stupid Blind U-Turn once but dead next day. TAR 16
7th “Joey” Fitness & “Danny” 5.5 TAR 20
5th Bill & Cathi 5.5 Saved by NEL twice, U-Turned once and Used U-Turn once TAR 19
6th Gaghan Family 5.5 TAR 8
10th Alison & Donny 5.5 TAR 5
6th Tian & Jaree 5.43 FF TAR 4
8th Sahil & Prashant 5.4 FF. Beaten by a bunch of rules. TAR Asia 1
8th Katie & Rachel 5.4 Had all of the tools to finish with a 5.4 ratio TAR 17
— C- —
4th Meredith & Gretchen 5.36 Saved by NEL twice TAR 7
7th Monica & Sheree 5.33 FF TAR 4
7th Marshall & Lance 5.33 TAR 5
9th Monique & Shawne 5.33 TAR 16. Praise Jesus.
9th Debbie & Bianca 5.33 TAR 7
7th KevJumba & Michael 5.29 TAR 17. NEL once + Heather & Eve Syndrome.
7th Gus & Hera 5.29 TAR 6
4th Nick & Vicki 5.27 TAR 17 Saved by NEL twice
6th Joe & Bill All Stars 5.25 Saved by NEL once TAR 11
8th Bob & Joyce 5.25 TAR 5
8th Lorena & Jason 5.25 U-Turned TAR 12