The Amazing Race 11.08.09 ***Delayed by Football***

adjust DVRs accordingly, looks like it should start about 15-20 minutes late.

My DVR said one team encounters a “speed bump.” I thought that was only for the leg after a non-elimination leg. The “Poker Broads” were eliminated on the makeshift golf course last week.

And the infamous hay-bale challenge returns. I am not sure who I am rooting for or against. I like the rest of the teams. Pinky and the Brain might be my favorite team and probably the Zebra team is my least favorite.

I think zut is back for the Taxi Assessment this week, but I’ll take notes just in case.

I like Pinky and the Brain and the Globetrotters the best.

Team Miss America grates on my nerves. She’s a harpy bitch, and he’s a saint for putting up with her.

He’s not a saint, he’s a f’ing doormat. She’ll kick him to the curb eventually, and he’ll be all “what’d I do?” Nothing, dude, you did nothing. Relationships aren’t 95%/5%.

Man, if I were her, I would not kick him to the curb. Hopefully she has even the remotest idea of how good she has it. Now, he, on the other hand, may snap and kill her someday…

I’m still a Globetrotters fan, but Pinky and the Brain are steadily catching up. Megan and Cheyne are competent but boring as hell, and both the Brothers Gay and Team Miss Americka have fatal flaws. I’d imagine neither of those teams make the F3 in a perfect world. That having been said, if I could I’d get rid of Megan and Cheyne and replace them with one of those two teams just for amusement’s sake.

Cheyne was a total wimp not doing that roadblock. The HG’s and Pinky and the Brain are officially my favorites now.

Good episode. It was been cruel to eliminate a team after that nasty roadblock. I guess since the teams don’t check bags, they cannot bring a swiss army knife. That would have come in handy today.

I loved the look on Flight Time’s face when he went on the park ride.

I am, and thanks for heroically stepping into the breach and filling in while I was out of the country. Your regularly-scheduled Taxi Assessment will return tomorrow morning, after I get over the lingering effects of taking the red-eye.

I missed the last seven minutes due to the football delay. Saw the Globetrotters check in first; saw the last teams arrive at the roadblock. What happened next?

The father and son team arrived last, but thankfully it was a non-elimination leg…

They are the only team left that I am really pulling for, so I was quite happy to see them get the chance to keep racing.

Brain kept digging through the hay bales until he found a flag. They went to The Amazing Mat and Phil altered the spiel slightly:

Gary and Matt, you are the last team to arrive. I’m sorry to tell you…

…that the next leg will be very difficult."

Or something like that. It was a non-elimination. They’re behind (don’t know how far) and will have to do the Speed Bump in the next leg.

From the preview of next week:[spoiler]They’ll be in Tallinn, Estonia. Depending on airport bunching, they may catch up to some teams and just have the Speed Bump to deal with.

Come to think of it, I don’t remember any long non-flying travel segments in some time. Stockholm to Tallinn by ship might be in the cards.[/spoiler]

Ok–I give every player on TAR one “meltdown” from killer fatigue. There’ve been very few teams that didn’t have at least one meltdown.

Miss America’s was last ep. This time was the gay brother’s. And …shrug… it happens.

A buddy of mine calculated the odds of finding a flag at 4%, so one flag per 25 bales roughly, and the teams had a clue that Lena and Kristi (sniffle) didn’t: that it’s not necessarily sandwiched inbetween the layers, it could be mixed in.

I also noticed that since last season they’ve gotten softer on the teams in one big aspect: used to be you had to buy your own water, leading to a mom fainting from dehydration. If you look (esp. when they have SUVs) you can see coolers, presumably filled with water. I dunno–they did 12 seasons without it, but I’m not all that outraged.

The Globetrotters are kinda pissing me off just a tiny bit–I’m getting a dash of “smug” from them this ep (and maybe the last two). That said, damn they’re a solid team. They’re working together very, VERY well. They’re my odds-on favorite to win (although I’m still rooting for Dad/son)

The casting department did wonderfully this season–they final-fucking-ly learned the lesson of TAR 11 (All-Stars): NEVER cast a team who, if they win, will ruin your entire season. Even if the bulky lawyer* had won, it wouldn’t have ruined the season the way that Eric and Pink did on Tar 11 or the Faux-Hippies did on TAR 9(?). While I’m certainly rooting for some teams over others, all have done solid jobs and not been rampaging assholes. And this is the best “final five” I can remember in a long time.

I was reading an old recap of an earlier season and the recapper made the comment that it’s kinda patronizing for Phil to ask if the guy is “proud” of the girl. Watching Team Barbie and Ken, I kinda get what she was saying—there’s a sort of condescention in the way he kept talking about how proud of her he was. I can’t put my finger on why, but it seemed patronizing.

Still, solid ep and good season.

*Who’s actually self-deprecating and funny if you watch his “elimination station” stuff on CBS–I’m starting to believe the “bad edit” theory.

I don’t remember who Eric & Pink were, but what was wrong with the Hippies? I don’t remember them having any asshole-like behavior, they pretty much just had fun the whole race.

It’s just as well that the poker players quit in the last leg. There’s no way in hell that they’d have been able to unroll that hay.

I was half-expecting that they’d bring back Lena to greet the racers at the mat. She could have said, “Welcome to Sweden! How do you like your Amazing Race now, bitches?”

I thought the same thing about Cheyne, but then I realized he wasn’t falling yet. His hair just always looks like that.

It was a non-elimination. Given enough time, I think they’d be able to do it, it’s just a question of how far behind they’d be.

I’d have looked around for a good, stout stick; something about the size of a walking stick. Brace it against the ground and use it like a pry bar to get a bale turned or rolling; swish it through the loose hay like a scythe to look for a flag.

Remembering the grit and tenacity that Lena demonstrated made Megan’s whining even harder to listen to, especially since it appeared she was at the task for less than 2 hours…

Didn’t anyone love when the blonde chick hid the find and started whining and crying that she’s done only to have the flag in her pocket? I thought that was cute and funny. Then she got a smack in the ass from her boyfriend, lol.

I’m glad son and dad team get to play next week. I was VERY disappointed team zebra got to third. I cannot stand the girl. I’m cheering for globetrotters and son and dad team. Globetrotters are having tons of fun, pretty amazing that teammates are so understanding and easygoing with each other, they love to joke around which makes it fun. Naming the gnome was funny. The remark about going to the “red light district” and saying they were going there to use the internet, lol. I got a lot of respect for the bigger (in size) gay brother. He realized that he was being an ass and apologized to his brother, kinda sweet.

That roadblock was a killer. They shoulda made the detour a roadblock and the hay thing a detour (or 2 person roadblock). I don’t know how people can go through the hay bales for 2+ hours. That’s a lot of physical exertion, and seeing other people pass you must’ve been even more frustrating because it was all based on luck. Luck challenges are immensely retarded.

And he’s doing the Race to prove to her family that he’s good enough for her. Wow.

They’ll be out soon enough. He’s only got one Roadblock left.

They weren’t hippies: they were spoiled rich kids who acted like hippies (we’re all filled with peace and love) until they got crossed and turned into bitter yuppies (“We’ll yield you if you won’t give us money. TTOW!”). They were also the worst racers to cross the finishline…pretty much ever. Hell, they lost two non-elims (one of which was suspiciously timed–so much so that to prove how “wacky” they were about being eliminated, one of 'em stripped down to his underpants for the elim.)

If one of the other teams hadn’t been fucking stupid enough to give him flipflops and clothing (so he could get into the airport) they would have been out again.

Add that to the fact that the whole hippie thing was an affectation AND that the producers were cheating on their behalf (the oddly timed non-elim, the way all their belongings, except what they were wearing, were confiscated on their first non-elim but somehow, their wacky hats kept showing up in later eps. ), the constant, non-stop attention whoring (no-one says “We’re filled with wonder at the beauty of the universe.” If you ARE, you don’t say it, because…you’re filled with wonder.), their constant self narration, the fact that they didn’t win a single (?) leg, the constant repetition of TTOW! Their unbelievable sexist douchery (where they tried to get the bickering couple to break up by (ineffecitvely) telling the guy that his wife was flirting with one of the surfer dudes. Phooey. :wink:

I have no problems with the real hippies (TK and Rachel) who were on two seasons later–but these “hippies” were a couple of ivy league poser attention whores who were playing (ineffectively) the role of hippie.

I don’t want Amazing Race to become performance art.

Hey, I’m back!

First of all, props to Robot Arm for stepping in whilst I was out of the country on my own Amazing Circuit. He did a bang-up job, and though I’m sure my authorship adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the Taxi Assessment, the addition is more in the literal sense of the phrase rather than the idiomatic.

Second, a pertinent personal anecdote to demonstrate the occasional difficulties of foreign traveling: My wife and I know just a little Spanish; more than “rapido,” “por favor,” and “uno dos tres,” but not by much. It turns out that thinking on the fly in a foreign language con be tricky. It also turns out that pronunciation is important. It also turns out that asking a taxi driver, in Spanish, how much cheese there is from Ollantaytambo to Urubamba is apt to confuse him. Following it up by refusing to pay any more than twice the quoted price will result in a look on the driver’s face worthy of a TAR highlight reel. On the upside of the experience, if I whisper “how much cheese” in my wife’s ear at an unexpected time, she’s sure to start giggling. So…there’s that. However, I vow that my newfound understanding of the nuances and pressures of foreign travel will not distract me from pointing out equally egregiour errors on the part of the Racers.

Self-deprecation aside, let’s get on to this week’s episode.

I’m not really a big fan of the (in this case nearly literal) needle-in-a-haystack tasks, save for Detours, because the tasks minimize the skill required to complete them in favor of pure luck. However, since this task was really an homage to the infamous Lena-and-Kristi original, and the non-elimination was pretty clearly telegraphed, I guess I’m OK with it.

Also, I’d like to pointedly call everyone’s attention to my TAR preseason rankings, which, as of this moment, have proven to be uncannily accurate. Check out my top five preseason spots, which were, in order: Herbert & Nathaniel, Meghan & Cheyne, Brian & Ericka, Sam & Dan, and Gary & Matt. Sound like a familiar ordering? It turns out that ranking teams based on nothing more than a bio can be pretty accurate. Who’d a thunk?

Taxi Assessment:

Stuck in the Desert and Officially Detained - or, Philiminated with extreme prejudice.
Eric and Lisa and Garrett and Jessica and Marcy and Ron and Zev and Justin and Lance and Keri and Mika and Canaan and Maria and Tiffany - Gone until season’s end.

Flat Tire - or, not likely to get anywhere soon.
No one this week.

Stopping for Gas - or, not broken-down, exactly, but not a good sign.
Gary and Matt (down from “Rapido!”) - Their final placement on this leg was due in large part to a string of bad luck, but also to a back-of-the-pack showing in the previous leg that forced them to take a later flight. Gary & Matt have finished fourth or fifth for five episodes running, which doesn’t bode well if they’re to make the final three. They’re clearly the weakest team still in the race… but, to be fair, not really by much. I should point out that, despite their showing of late, Gary & Matt have a better intra-team dynamic than any other team save the Globetrotters. That might also become important as fatigue sets in here at the end of the Race. However, next week they have an additional task to perform; these Speed Bumps typically aren’t that onerous, but in a tight race with no bunching point and few other teams competing, it could be the difference between elimination and staying on for another episode. On the strength of that task, I’m dropping their ranking this week.

"Rapido! Por Favor?" - or, making meaningless ineffectual comments from the back seat, but in no immediate danger.
Brian and Ericka (holding steady) - This team showed a good recovery from last week’s nearly disastrous leg, and with a little luck even passed up Sam & Dan, who had a 2+ hour lead due to the airline flight. I don’t think that warrants moving the team up in the rankings, particularly since Ericka still seems like the Racer most likely to completely lose it (Dan’s blubbering notwithstanding).

In the Passing Lane - or, ahead of the pack, but not quite comfortably.
Sam and Dan (holding steady) - Fatigue seems to be really affecting this team now. I rather respect Dan for being self-aware enough to be ashamed of yelling at his brother–self-awareness is a precious commodity among reality show contestants. But good Lord, it’s not that big a deal. Apologize humbly and let it go. Kudos, however, for the alliance-of-convenience with Meghan & Cheyne. That’s what TAR alliances should be: ephemeral, friendly, and mutually advantageous.

Cruisin’ with Earl - or, drivin’ on the shoulder, takin’ shortcuts, and generally kickin’ butt.
Herbert and Nathaniel (up from “Passing”) - A first place finish, although one that’s heavily influenced by luck. I’m moving this team up not because of their first, per se, but because they showed they can rebound (ha! get it? jokes like that never get old.) from a poor showing a couple episodes ago, and their first this ep gives them a little cushion. The Globetrotters still have the best intra-team dynamic: they have the ability to shake off bad luck and poor decisions, when they make them, and concentrate on the next task at hand.
Meghan and Cheyne (holding steady) - Meghan is awfully lucky she found the clue as quickly as she did; she really looked like she might up and quit at any time. I still like this team’s chances, but Meghan in particular seems to have a puzzling freak-out reflex that’s not good for long-term survival. Still, they’ve been first or second on the last four legs, which gives them a comfortable pad over the other teams. I’m leaving them ranked here for the moment because they have been performing so well, but I’m worried about Meghan cracking.

[sub]Props to Mullinator and his Raj Ratings.[/sub]