Monday, March 16, 2009

Amazing Race, "She's a little scared of stick, but I think she'll be okay!": The naked mile

Quick spoilers for last night's "The Amazing Race" coming up just as soon as I find a bride...

As Adam at Throwing Things points out, the design of this leg -- with the massive bunch at the start and three relatively simple and straightforward tasks -- meant there wasn't a lot of drama last night. Really, the only thing separating the three groups was who got lost and who didn't when leaving the train station, and then who chose the snowplow Detour (which seemed to have much less travel time) versus who chose the bride Detour. And with the season's first Non-Elimination Leg(*), even the ones who got lost at the train station didn't suffer too much from it. Perhaps the producers were hoping one player would balk at doing the run in their underwear to spice things up -- or simply thought that the spectacle of players running in their underwear would be enough to make us overlook a relatively pedestrian leg.

(*) Since I skipped the last few seasons, when the Speed Bump was introduced -- and it seems like a vast improvement on previous NEL penalties -- can anyone tell me how often teams who had to do it were able to survive that leg?

As the Race heads into India, where we're almost certainly going to see some meltdowns and at least one or two teams getting terribly lost, I'm trying to pick an obvious frontrunner, and I'm not sure I see one. Luke/Margie are the only team to win more than one leg, but everybody but the two sibling teams have won at least one. Nobody seems really superior physically to anyone else, except maybe the stuntmen, and they're so easily confused -- I loved Phil waving to them in frustration when they couldn't find the check-in mat -- that it doesn't matter. So we have a bunch of relatively equal teams that are mostly likable (other than Victor, who's a tool). No obvious heroes, and no obvious villains. My loyalty is still with Team Schneebly, but I could see this season going a lot of different ways and would be satisfied with almost any outcome. (One exception -- see previous, re: Victor and toolishness.)

What did everybody else think?


Anonymous said...

So far, the Speed Bump's been used four times, 2X each on TAR 12 and TAR 13. And only one team has had to do it and gotten eliminated on that same leg--Kynt & Vyxsin in India. Plus, K&V's elimination had much less to do with the SB than with their decision to U-Turn a team that was AHEAD of them (Nicholas & Donald) instead of Nate & Jen. The other three SB teams who lasted more than one leg afterwards were TK & Rachel on TAR12, Ken & Tina on TAR 13, and Andrew & Dan on TAR 13. In fact, it kind of looks like surviving the SB is the sign of a good or at least resilient team, since those three won, placed, and showed on their seasons, respectively.
I kind of liked the 30-minute penalty for not finishing first, but hated the loss of money and subsequent begging. So this seems like a good middle punishment for teams that luck out and lose a non-elimination leg.

Joe J. said...

So far, only one team out of four that's been marked for elimination via Speed Bump has been eliminated in the next leg. That would have been the Goths from the 12th season.

I'm liking the FAs more and more with each leg, particularly Jodi (the one who injured her finger and said "just wrap it up" or something). I just dig how they seem to knuckle down and don't freak out or get nasty with each other when things go bad for them. Glad they weren't eliminated, although on the flip side I'm liking the cheerleaders and Luke less and less with each leg. Teams that don't grasp the idea of alliances being temporary at best on the race annoy me. I also don't like how the cheerleaders seem to get a little nasty with locals when things don't go right for them.

Andrew said...

Of the four legs where the Speed Bump has appeared, only one has resulted in the team that was saved by the non-elimination and had to do the Speed Bump.

On TAR 12, Kynt & Vyxsin had to complete a Speed Bump after being non-eliminated and went on the come in last and get eliminated. TK & Rachel faced a Speed Bump and went on to place second in that leg.

On TAR 13, both Ken & Tina and Andrew & Dan had to face Speed Bump tasks and managed to avoid elimination.

BF said...

Am I the only one who would like to see an Outdoor pitstop once in a while? I get it that Russia's cold, but they've done outside pitstops there before (I remember one right outside the Kremlin that was pretty gorgeous.)

And if you're wondering, the look in Phil's eyes as the camera zoomed out to show him in his skivvies was "Top that, Probst. Next year's Emmy is MINE!"

PS: (I realize talking about the previews is verboten but hey, Alan started it!) That bit of physical comedy in the preview for next week just may be the funniest thing I've seen on TV in 2009. Way to go, Amazing Camera Operators!

belinda said...

I was a bit surprised that Phil in his skivvies wasn't the picture in this post. WOO! :D

But other than that, it was a pretty uneventful episode, though seeing the short men team run past Phil in the theatre/library? was pretty funny.

Oh, and that poor bride! When she finally got to the groom, she looked like she was about to pass out from the cold. They couldn't offer her a jacket or something?

Nicole said...

The only memorable part of this episode was Phil in his skivvies :-)

While I don't hate any of the teams that are left, I am not excessively rooting for any of them either. Hopefully that changes in the India leg, which always brings out the best or worst of the teams.

As for the indoor pitstops, I suspect it's because they have been in Siberia for the last two legs and staying outside in the cold for potentially long periods of time could be dangerous. Moscow is not nearly as cold as Siberia.
Based on the times the teams left at the beginning of the episode, they seemed to arrive at last week's pitstop starting at midnight, where I am sure the temperatures would be frigid overnight.

michael said...

I gotta disagree with you a bit, Joe. While I know alliances can be fleeting, what Victor did was on the borderline of pure dickishness. To say you'll work together with a group and then bail on them not once, but twice is pretty messed up. Although, as Victor pointed out, it really didn't help them as they made it to the Roadblock behind the two teams they ditched. But if I'm Margie and Luke or the Cheerleaders I think I'd be miffed at how Victor acted as well.

Anonymous said...

C'mon - no one is mentioning the brilliant editing that showed one of the stunt brothers getting "warmed up" for the run, followed by s split screen cut of a mother carting her child around. I couldn't stop laughing!

dez said...

Is that "Coming up on 'The Amazing Race'" thing at the beginning of each ep here to stay? Because I really, REALLY hate it.

I still like Melon Mike and the sisters, and am liking Margie & Luke and Jamie & Cara less and less each week (sure, Victor's a tool, but it is a race, after all). The FAs and the mini-men can go anytime.

The thing that had me laughing hard was either Jamie or Cara getting upset because their driver had time to smoke while they "were in a race." Yeah, J&C, *you're* in a race, but the driver is not. He doesn't care if you win. The drunk Russians had me rolling, too, mostly because I did see a lot of that when I was there many, many moons ago.

Hyde said...

Teams that don't grasp the idea of alliances being temporary at best on the race annoy me.

This seems to be a vestige of the experience of the Kentuckians from several seasons ago, who had the impression that an "alliance" obligated everyone in it to run at the pace of the slowest team. The pair that was eliminated had bad luck last week with the u-turn, but had they broken free on their own a little sooner instead of choosing to work with their rivals, they may have had more of a chance.

I agree that outside of the silliness factor of getting to see people in their underwear, there wasn't much to this leg.

Heather said...

It was a kinda simple leg. That bride looks scared to death when she finally reunited with her 12 year old husband. That guy looked SO YOUNG.

Victor is a huge tool, no doubt abou it. He's also kinda weirdly enthusiastic about running in his skivvies.

I have a feeling Margie and Luke will help Jamie and Cara for a little while then backstab them.

Bobman said...

With things like driving challenges, where obviously inept contestants are driving around an unfamiliar city in a car they can barely handle, I seriously wonder how the ancillary characters (in particular the camera crew, but in this case also the brides) keep it together and don't freak out. This episode with Kisha and Jen ("I had to put on underwear cuz I don't usually wear any"?!) stalling their car in the middle of a busy intersection / rotary / roundabout, all I could think of was the poor cameraguy at the mercy of this girl who's about to get him killed.

Bobman said...

Also, on a funny / surprising note, if you go on the Amazing Race cast page, of the remaining teams, Tammy and Victor have the second-most number of "fans" (well behind first-place Margie and Luke). I can't imagine anyone being a fan of those two, or at least Victor (Tammy seems nice enough).

Joe J. said...

It also gives Jennifer and Preston the 2nd-highest number of fans behind only Marge and Luke, so whatever the fan count means, I'm taking it with a boulder of salt.

Nicole said...

It surprises me to learn that Victor and Tammy have the highest amount of fans. I think they are getting friends and relatives to spike the vote. Although Victor is not a douche to the level of a Jonathan, I have to seriously wonder about his social skills. While not slavishly relying on an alliance is a good thing, revealing this early on that you will burn other teams whenever you get the chance is just dumb. I think Tammy's presence is the only reason there is even a little goodwill from the other teams.

Bobman said...

It also gives Jennifer and Preston the 2nd-highest number of fans behind only Marge and Luke, so whatever the fan count means, I'm taking it with a boulder of salt.

Yeah, the numbers are small enough compared to the number of people that watch the show that they're basically meaningless. You could easily get a small group to fudge them.

ebeth said...

I really thought the last groom was a woman. I'm not kidding.

I didn't know whether to laugh or roll my eyes when Tammy made the comments about Asian stereotypes (re: driving).

I was just glad Luke didn't burst into tears about running in his underwear. No more crying.

JP said...

I think Jennider and Preston's high ranking is helped by Jennifer's Playmate tryout pics being posted just before the race began. Um, or so I've heard.

Mr. Kevin said...

I have a feeling Margie and Luke will help Jamie and Cara for a little while then backstab them.

I think it will be the opposite. Luke is so taken with the girls that I think at a crucial time, they will use that against him. He won't know what hit him.

Anonymous said...

I wonder which airlines Jodi and Christie have worked for. Jodi looked very familiar to me and now that I think of it, maybe she was a flight attendant on a flight I took.

BF said...

Anonymous, they claim to work for Southwest.

Melanie said...

Anon. 9:46, Jodi DOES look familiar, doesn't she? I've been thinking the same thing. And I never fly anywhere.

Mr. Kevin, do you think Luke is "taken" with the redheads in terms of crushing on them? The writer who recaps AR (and nicely) seems to think Luke is gay, I think.

Can anyone tell the redheads apart? They are truly striking, but damn, they are like twins.

Mr. Kevin said...

Yeah I thought he's been crushing on them for a while and am just waiting for them to leave him in the dust when they get a chance. They have stayed pretty loyal thusfar but there's a whole lotta racin' left.

And no I can't tell them apart.

Hey Alan, thanks for blogging this show!