Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Amazing Race - Episodes 1-4

Okay, I had inteded to do write ups for both Survivor and Amazing Race, my two favortie reality shows. But with March Madness and other things, I just haven't gotten to it, so I'll just put all 4 recaps in one mega post, mkay?

Amazing Race is a highly regarded reality show, due in part to the fact that we as viewers get a glimspe at the world from the comfort of our favorite easy chair, and because unlike other reality shows, teams are eliminated from Amazing Race objectively. It's quite simple, come into an elimination point in last place, and you get eliminated. There is no voting, no unilateral decisions by the shows host, no viewer polls, no quizes, just race standings at predetermined points along the race course.

Yes, race course, the Amazing Race is a race around the world, and despite the premise that teams are free to do whatever they want, be assured there is a defined race course, known only to the shows production staff. Teams are on a need-to-know basis and are informed in scavenger hunt style by way of clues in sealed envelopes at points known as 'route markers'.

To help the teams there are some speical route markers that allow teams to exhibit strategical thinking. Detours allow the teams a choice between two tasks, allowing tems to hopefully have one option that they feel they are better suited for. Roadblocks are tasks that only one member of a team may peform, and no team member may do more than 6 of them. Based only on vague clues, teams can use these to their advantage by trying to choose the team member best suited for the tasks. There are also a couple single use items, a Fast Forward pass when offered allows a team to bypass all other clues in that leg of the race and proceed directly to the pitstop. Only one team can use the fast forward pass, and each team can only use fast forward once the entire race. Yields allow a team to force another team to stop racing for a pre determined amount of time, like the fast forward you can only use the Power of Yield once per race, although you may be the vistim of the yield numerous times.

Additionly, not all Pit Stops are elimination points. When a team arrives at a Pit Stop they must take a mandatory 12 hour rest break, where they are allowed to eat, sleep and mingle with the other teams. If you come in to an elimination pit stop in last place you are out of the game, if you come into a non elimination pit stop in last place, you are still allive, but just barely, and you forfeir all cash you have accumulated, as well as all posessions except the clothes you are wearing and your passport. The kick you while your down, is the fact you don't get the stipend at the start of the next leg.


The race starts as usual,with Phil giing his opening speech from the top of a building, in this case the building is in Denver, Colorado. The last season of the Amazing Race as generally panned for having the unwieldy 4 person teams, and the fact the last season spent the vast majoirty of time in the United States of America. Well, in the previews, including the promo at the end of the last season, as well as in the introduction, Phil all but apologizes for last season and promises teams of TWO, and visits to more exotic places than ever before. We'll see, but next up on the agenda is the montage where we get introduced to this season's 11 two person teams.

Let's meet the teams:

1) Lake and Michelle - Married parents
2) Danielle and Dani - Team Double D, or Team Pink - friends.
3) BJ & Tyler - Best Friends - The "Hippies", well they act like hippies, but they are several years younger than me so they aren't authentic hippies.
4) Ray & Yolanda - this seasons Dating Couple - I wonder why couples think putting their relationship in a high stress situation is the best way to test compatibility.
5) John & Scott - Lifelong Friends - this seasons openly gay team
6) David & Lori - Another dating couple
7) Eic and Jeremy - more friends - Team Playboys
8) Fran and Barry - this seasons's senior couple - Married 40 years!
9) Lisa and Joni - Sisters - Team Glamazons
10) Joseph and Monica - yet another dating couple
11) Wanda and Desiree - this years parent/child team.

After team introductions we head to the race starting line, in this case Red Rock ampitheatre. Phil explains the rules, limited amounts of money that must cover everything except airline tickets. "The World is waiting for you! Race Hard, Travel safe! GO!"

As usual the first clue is placed on top of the teams luggage which is placed a short distance away, in this case they have to race up the ampitheatre stairs to the top to get their luggage. In the race, the teams seem to be allowed to bring whatever they can carry, so long as its not a travel aid on the forbidden list. Of course, the challenge is to broing enough to be prepared for any situation, but still light enough to be a quick agile team. After all the more you bring, the more weight you have to lug, It should be noted that if the team is headed for a particularly brutal environment, such as subzero artic like areas, the show will issue them cold weather gear for that leg, or if they go somewhere where local culture or laws require special items, they will be provided. For example the teams have been provided with the proper head coverings when visiting Islamic nations.

The first epsiode used to be the standard hour, but that was admittedly too short, then they bumped it up to 90 minutes which seemed just right, but I gess since primte time shows come in hour blocks these days, they felt the need to bump it up to a full 2 hour double episode, which just seems too long.

Anyway, the teams race to their bags and get Clue #1.

Clue #1 - Route Info
- Take a marked car located in the nearby parking lot
- Drive to the Denver airport and park in Pike's Peak remote parking
- Fly to San Paolo, Brazil using your choice of any of the three specified flights. Limited seats on each flight, first come first serve, no phone reservations.
- Once in San Paolo, make your way to the Hotel Unique.

Sometimes I wonder if there are clue boxes they don't show in between major points or if they really do issue such multi-faceted cluses. We do know that there is usually a detailed handout "Additional Info" that is inclosed with the brief clue. They usually only make mention of the "Additional Info" if it becomes an issue,

Notes from this task: The great editors show one team filling us in on the prohibition on making advance reservations for the flight, You must check in at the designated counter at the airport, which is only fair given the first come first serve nature of the tickets. Anyway no sooner do they read about not calling the airline for tickets, then we cut to Lake and Michelle who are parked at a gas station doing just that. Then, get this, a bit later they show Michelle reading the clue and reading about the prohibition on phone calls. Apparently we are to believe this is the first time she got to read the clue, as Alpha male Lake must have been in charge of the clue and unilaterally made the decision to call the airline. When Michelle challenged Lake on it,Lake sheeishly admitted he didn't read the entire clue, but channeling Jonathan, he declared "I suppose its PARTIALLY my fault" Partially? He read the clue,he pulled the car off the road, he made the phone call. I see bad news ahead. They make no further mention of it, so I can we just have to assume they called the airline back and cancelled out the illegal reservations.

Teams also try to get the Pike's Peak shuttle driver to pass by and not pick up other teams, but the drivers cared more about customer service and keeping their jobs then serving self-centered reality show contestants.

One by one teams arrived at the arlport, but as it would happen there were some flight delays so the flights did not arrive in the order the producers intended. They then make their way to the Hotel Unique. Its a hotel that is built to look like a boat. Let me be clear its an abstrat moden art interpretation of a boat, using sleek modern glass and steel construction. The clue, is waiting on the hotel roof. We also get out first glance at teams dealing with taxi drivers, and more importantly, the teams that thought they had a leg up because they learned Spanish, were dismayed to learn the nation speaks Portugese.

Clue #2: Route Info
- Make your way to the Viaduto Santa Efigenia - which is a major viaduct, or a bridge over a major roadway.

Notes: Not to much to report, other than teams are already starting to have the traffic meltdowns usually reserved for later in the race, oh and Fran and Barry make their presence known by being able to walk right past the clue box four times before they finally realize its the clue box. "They must have moved it here!" Yeah, sure, ya betcha.

Clue #3: DETOUR
Rotor Head or Motor Head

In Rotor Head - teams make their way to a small airpot where using just photos of local buildings, they must arrange a charter helicopter to that building. To arrange the charter flight, they must match the photo of the building they have with its mate in a thick confusing "flight catalog". There are three buildings to choose from, but the charter company can only take a limited number of teams to each buidling, and of course some are closer than others. Once at the building they must search a designated area of the buidling for their next clue, at which time they will be flown back to the airport and can continue on their way.

In Motor Head - teams go to what is presumably a garage, and must make a motorcycle out of an assortment of motorcycle parts. Teams will be able to see a finshed motorcycle as an exemplar. Once the teams cycle is able to be started, the mechanic will give them the next clue.

Notes: Okay this one award those that happen to posess the talent of being mechanically inclined. If you ae good around a workbench, and specifically putting engines together, you may excel at the bike task, if not there is the fallback task involving the helicopters. The main challenge of the copter task is finding the matching photo in the flight catalog, the rest is a cleverly inserted time penalty consisting of the round trip flight to the remote building, as it appeared that the clues were not well hidden in the building.

As I mentioned before, some teams were having major fits in their cabs dealing with the traffic, and John and Scott bailed their taxi without having a backup ride arranged. Will this cost them? Most teams thatstarted the motorcycle challenge quicking bailed that detour option and headed for the heliport. Lake and Michelle, okay mostly Lake was well adept and posessed the skills needed to make quick work of the motorcycle challenge. He is also to be commended for the good sportsmanship of letting Fran and Berry not only watch them build their bike, but Lake also offered to help Fran and Barry. Lake was thinking about building good karma, but he soon realized that Fran and arry would require more help then Lake could possibly be expected to give. "What's a spark plug?" "I don't know what a carbuerator is?" So I don't think Lake broke his promise to the old couple as much as he did what was reasonably expected before decideing its a lost cause. Fran and Barry wound up at the heliport. Some teams had more luck than others finding the buildings in the flight directory. This is the challenge they really, almost painfully stretched out to fill the 2 hour time slot.

After finishing either task, they received:
Clue #4 - Route Info
- Teams are to make their way to a storefront (warehouse) at a given address where they will participate in a local religious ceremony to recieve a good luck blessing.

Notes: Not much of said ceremony is shown, except for the shot that indicated live snakes were involved. This step is pretty much a non event, as there are no set hours, teams merely have to arrive at the facility, go inside, recieve their blessing, and their next clue.

Clue #5 - Route Info
- Teams are to head to a local World Cup class soccer stadium. Warning: This is a pit stop, and the last team may be eliminated.

Notes: Props to the greeter who was sure able to use his head as he juggled the soccer ball on his head most of the time.

Well, Eric and Jeremy came in first and won the leg prize of $10,000 each. John and Scott came in last and were eliminated. The rest of the race order isn't too important since you just know there is a bunch right around the corner, but here it is:

1. Eric and Jeremy
2. BJ andTyler
3. Wanda and Desiree
4. David and Lori (actually arrived third, but entered stadium through wrong gate, costing them time)
5. Lake and Michelle
6. Joseph and Monica
7. Ray and Yolando
8. Fran and Barry
9. Diane and Dianna
10. Lisa and Jonie
11. John and Scott


Starts off where Episode 1 ended, oddly enough.

Clue #6 - Route Info
- Teams make their way to an office building "Edificio Copan", once there hey will get their next clue on the roof of a shorter section of the building, in Section F if I remember correctly.
Not much to be saidhere, except the building does not open till 8AM,which gives all teams a chance to catch up and continue the race in one big happy dysfunctional family. Admit it, you know it would happen.

Clue #7 - ROAD BLOCK - "Whose ready for a fire drill"
In this road Block the selected team member must climb to the top of the Edificio Copan using the fire escape, one to the top they must rapell back down. They will then get the next clue.

Notes: The fire esacpes are spiral stairways, and there are three fire escapes. Teams are free to select any of the three fire escapes, and there is a rapelling station at the top of each one. Lines to rapel form at the top of the stairs and are first come first serve. Oh and Fran elects to take this roadblock, and we get a moment of her giving motherly encouragement to another team. This may be Fran's natural behavior, or it may be self motivated as Fran was behind her in line. The stairs up must have been grueling as even the maco men were slowly walking by the time they got to the top.

Clue #8 - Route Info
- Teams are to head tothe Tourist Terminal a the local bus station, there they will take a timed ticket for one of three charter busses to Brotas, of course there was a limit on the number of the teams allowed on each bus. One in Brotas teams will claim a car in the Brotas bus stations parking lot and the next clue will be on the car. Busses leave 1 hour apart.

Notes: One of the rules of the Amazing Race: If you can afford a taxi, use it. Lake and Michelle opted to use a city bus to get to the bus station instead of a taxi, then got off the city bus at the wrong terminal, causing them to waste major time, and wind up on the last bus to Brotas despite doing well at the Road Block,

One in Brotas, the cars turn out to be Volkswagen Bugs, the old kind, with stick shifts.

Clue #9 - DETOUR
Press it or Climb It

In Press It - teams head to a campsite where they will get a hands on lesson in manufacturing ethanol, an alternative fuel source used in a lot of cars in Brazil. Teams will be required to run 15 sticks of sugar cane through s hand crank sugar press to collect the liquid juice it produces, then they will take their sugar juice to a makeshift lab, pour their juice into a flask, then light a bunsen burner under it to ferment the sugar sap to produce ethanol, then get this, they will be required to pour the results into their cars gas tank. If you were hoping this would lead to a payoff down the road, let me dash those dreams right now.

After pproducing the ethanol and putting it in teir gas tank, they will recieve their next clue,

In Climb it, teams have to climb up a waterfall using mechanical ascenders andropes.

Notes: As you can see, Climb It is the physically demanding activity that a strong physical team can perform quickly, and Press It is the more methodical, less strenuous activity that takes a lot more time.

The Glamazon Women violated a big rule of the Amazing Race: Not being able to drive a manual transmission. Every seaosn racers are presented witha manual shift car at some point along the race, having at least one team mate be competent at driving stick is a must. I thnk this is what cost the Glamazons, as even after the one realized she could not drive stick, she did not get out of the driver seat, and wanted the other person to manipulate the gearshift FROM THE BACK SEAT! Smart, those two.

The previews showed Fran and Barry running into trouble on the mountain climb, but after one false start they didn't seem to have any trouble. Why they picked the purely physical option is beyond me, excpet they got frightened off the other detour because "We know nothing about making ethanol" Usually I would laugh that excuse off, but this is the team that got burned on having to build a motorcyle from parts.

Clue #10 - Route Info
- Head to Primavera De Serra (a coffee plantation) - Warning: This is a pit stop!

Notes: More inept driving by the Glamazons, and the misfortune of a dead battery by Fran and Barry. Fran and Barry were issued a replacement car, but as we learned last season, they get no time credit for their bad luck, Fran and Barry would have probably finished a lot better if it weren't for the car trouble. Oh, and all episode I was waiting for a team to open the back of the car to deposit their luggage and stare confusingly at the cars rear-mounted engine,

Fran and Barry and the Glamzons arrived well after the other teams, as nigt had fallen.

Bj and Tyler came in first this leg and won a Travelocity vacation to Tahiti as the leg price, and The Glamazon women were eliminated.

Your race standings:
1. BJ and Tyler
2. Eric and Jeremy
3. Joseph and Monica
4. Dave and Lori
5. Ray and Yolanda
6. Wanda and Desiree
7. Lake and Michelle
8. Deana and Diane
9. Fran and Barry
10. Lois and Jonie

Next week: Russia, Moscow, swimsuits!


Oddly enough it starts right where the last show ended.

Pit stop Note: It was strongly hinted at that Eric and Jeremy and Team DD participated in some extra curricular activites at pit stop, if you know what I mean,

Clue #11 - Route Info
- Teams head to a zipline in a non descript location, it was one of those "Exit the pitstop, head to this road, turn right, and pull off at a designated marker" Teams must traverse a zipline to recieve their next clue,

Okay, its time to start the episode off with bunching, the zipline task doesn't open till 8am, which allows most of the teams to bunch up, so there is a big main pack, who then depart the zip line one by one followed by the last few straggler teams.

Lake turns left when the clue said to turn right. They got lost, and you can safely bet he did not see this as his fault, even though he was driving. The zipline was a nice polite one at a time, wait your turn affair. Not really all that.

Clue #12 - Route Info
- Teeams must make their way back to the Brotas bus station where they will return their cars, and the charter buses will return them to the San Paolo airport to cath a flight to Moscow, once at Moscow they need to head to the Chaika Bassen, an outdoor swimming facility, and olympic training facility.

Notes: Only Fran and Barry were on the third bus, making me wonder if a special third bus had to be added after Fran and Barry had a poor finish in Leg 2 (due at least in part to their car breaking down) All in all the zipline, and charter busses were pointless, as all 9 teams were able to secure the exact same bookings to Moscow. It should also be noted that the bus dropped the teams off right in front of the Lufthansa ticket counter, and at least according to their agent they had the best flight available. Really, would he lie? That and the Amazing Race is not the game where you want to be the Lone Ranger, remember due to repeated bunching its not who comes in first, its not coming in last that is key. That is why they have had to up the stakes on the leg prizes. The crew had to know the flight schedules offered good odds all teams would fly together, so maybe the seperate charter busses were to create artificial anxiety amongst the teams.

Once in Moscow the teams head to Chaika Bassen which is indentitied as a former olympic swim training facility. It is not good when they introduce an event at an outdoor pool, and the host is seiously bundled up in his wnter finest.

Teams enter the Chaika Bassen and recieve their next clue.

Clue #13 - Road Block
"Who's ready to take a plunge"
In this roadblock, the slected team mate must have a HIGH dive off the higest diving board they have, in frigid weather into an nice cold pool, then they have to swin across the pool, then dive down and grab the next clue which is teathered to the bottom of the pool.

Notes: Amazing Race Rule: If you can't swim, and you are at a swim facility, and the hint mentions taking a plunge, don't volunteer for it. In more generic terms, if there are good odds that a roadblock is task that you have a serious phobia about or lack of skill in, don't volunteer for itif at all possible.

Add to the frigid cold temperatures, rather skimpy swimsuits, especially for the men. Most teams have no trouble with this one, excpet for Ray and Yolanda and Wanda and Desiree, both due to Yolanda and Wanda bengself professed non swimmers. Yolando pulls it off better than Wanda, who has an all out panic attack in the pool when she has trouble getting the clue off the bottom of the pool. At least the locals were supportive of both teams as they overcame their challenge. Oh, and Team Pink gets several demerits for leaving their race kit in the swim club locker room, forcing them to return and get it. So much for the benfit they were reciveing from being teamed up and sharing costs with Eric and Jeremy, then again we dont know what all else the may be sharing. Earlier this epsiode a couple teams had talked about the importance of always knowing wherre the race kit was, so you knew it would become an issue.

All in all, overcoming your fears and accomplishing new things are goals anybody can aspire to, but I would not make it a part of your race strategy. What with all teams on the same flight, and all team order really got shuffled around.

Clue #14 - Route Info
- Make your way to Novadevichey Monastery Cathedral (teams are reminded to not yell or run inside the monastery)

Notes: Bj and Tyler arrive first and take a rare quick time out to take in the beauty of the cathedral. At least one team gets confused when the exteiror of the cathedral doesn't fit their personal views on what a cathedral should look like, and coming off the great airplane bunch, several teams arrive at the cathedral within moments of each other.

Clue #15 - Detour
Scrub It or Scour It

In Scrub It teams take on the decidedly non-glamurous job of going to a trolly park and washing a Moscow trolley, inside and outside using purely manual means, I mean not even a hose, Once the trolley is clean to the inspectors satisfcation, they get their next clue.

In Scour it teams go to a theater where they have to search through 1,500 nesting dolls in serch on one that has a clue hidden inside of it. (I think 10 clues total). The clues are miniature clues, and will allow them to continue,

Notes: Okay this is the pure lucky draw detour. I am just glad it isn't a forced road block (Red coffee bean, clue in a haystack, the white cream filled chocolates, the locks, etc) used in earlier seasons,. In this season, teams can either accept the gamble at hand of trying to get lucky finding the right doll, or they can take the less glamurous task of washing a trolley. The brght side to the trolly task is it has a defined ending and you can control and see your progress. The scrub task is clearly intended as a way to bypass the pure luck task, but they have it setup to be a bad deal, you'd be better of trying your luck.

However,even though more than a few teams fully intended to wash trolleys, most of them wound up at the theater purely due to the fact that they just could not find the trolly park. Cab drivers proved to be useless at finding it, Another team used the time tested tactic of following the other teams cab, then has the gall to tell them they did not lead them to the detour they wanted. "Choose your own @#$%ing Detour next time then!"

The doll challenge is made wose both by the fact that teams are apprently required to put the nesting doll back togetheronce they search it, and the fact the theater haa arranged for a lively orchestra and dancers that are surely placed there just to grate on the teams nerves the longer they are stuck their searching,

We get some bad sportsmanship as one team does not want onther team to even see wihat the special miniature clue looks like, and Fran and Barry are quick to sing Woe is Me in despair as they are sure that they won't ever find the right doll. Well at least not as long as only Fran appears to be actively searching,and then not doing that thorough a job at it, Someone tell Barry he is alloud to participate here.

Teams who chose the dolls generally found their clue rather fast and were back out on the cource, teams that finally fond the trolleys appeared to arrive later at night, and had a long manual task ahead of them..

Clue #16 - Make you way to Red Square (St. Basil's Cathedral) to meet Phil at the mat.

The words "Meet Phil at the Mat" should raise a red flag that with only 5 minutes left, this is not going to bethe end of the leg. Sure enough we see what looks like a pit stop mat, but no official check in sign, no local greeter, nothing like that, Eric and Jeremy arrive first, and then not only do they find out they aren't getting rewarded with a prize for their efforts, they learn, yes the leg is not over, here is your next clue. Episode 3 then abruptly ends. "TO BE CONTINUED"


Episode 4 ends with reliving the Eric and Jeremy pit stop fake out a few times, then we see the other teams finish their detours. The previews had ominous things to say about Fran and Barry,so of course that meant they found their doll clue early on in this episode. The bus washing teams washed their buses, thinking they got a bit more work than they bargained for, then one by one we see each team head to the mat for thier very own personal fake out by Phil. The fake pit stop and double length leg usually appear much later in the series, but the effecct is still the same to enduce an extreme case of sleepiness and fatigue into the teams.

Of special not is seeing Phil's name in neon lights.

Clue #17 - Route Marker (handed to them by Phil at the fake pit stop)

- Head to the Mercedes Benz Test Track in Stuttgart, Germany. Teams must take a ride on the test track to receive their next clue.

Notes: Funny line "How do we get THERE? "Airport"

Eric and Jeremy parlay their good luck at the Doll Theatre and fake pit stop into getting on a Luftsahnsa flight mere seconds before it closes.

Two other teams were able to get on an Aeroloft flight: Lakeand Michelle headed there right after getting closed out of the first flight be seconds and were able to book. Then technical difficulties struck Aeroloft and their ticketing system went down. When their ticket office reopened only BJ and Tyler were able to get tickets before the flight closed.

Now, I would think that since the problem was caused directly by the airlines ticketing computers malfunctioning, and the other teams were at the airport in time, that Aeroloft would have a bit more compassion for the other teams, or just provide good customer service in trying to make right by everybody. On the other hand I realize airlines are systems, and that delay in Moscow may set up numours delays on other flights the next day. Also I am not familiar with airline regulations in Russia. They were trying to book an international flight, after all, and their may be some hard and fast rules about ticket sales must end a certain time before the scheduled departure time. It didn't seem fair, but then life and the Amazing Race are not known to be fair.

All other teams left on a flight early the next morning.

The three lead tems faced a bunch becuase the test track did not open till 8:30.

The test track task involved teams riding with a paid driver around the test track, so it was another time eater, and passive nn-event for the teams, although I am sure they had fun. At the end of their test drive, they are handed the next clue, and the keys to the car they just rode in. The Mercedes is with them or the duration of the leg.

Clue #18 - Route Info
Head to Ellbach Field

Ah, find an obscure field in the middle of nowhere. Even though most teams arrived at the test track together due to the airport bunch, the drive to Ellbach Field sorted out the map readers from the nonmap readers, and effectively reranked the teams based on road navigational ability.

Clue #19 - ROADBLOCK
Okay, in this roadblock the team member, (please don't laugh), has the arduous task of finding a Travelocity Gnome hidden in the field. The various potential hiding holes have gnomes hats or feet sticking out to cover them over, and team apparently have to replace the marker so the next team does not know what has already been searched. Wait, its another Lucky Draw roadblock, though by luck based detours, this one was rather easy, collect the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, and take him with you for the rest of the leg. Your next clue is taped to the gnome. Ain't product placement grand.

Teams generally had no problems with this simple roadblock once they found it, this was clearly the throw away roadblock to use on your weaker partner, which stuns me that many of the stronger players took it, Barry worried us with his "I'm only checking under feet" strategy, but lo and behold he found it right off. Desiree proved she too can have spells of defeatism, as she let the task intimidate her right into taking way to long to find a gnome. As Wanda pointed out Desireee did not appear to put much effort into the task, though tobe fair they arrived at the roadblock last, and thus only one gnome was left in the entire field. Again, she let the tak defeat her mentally.

Clue #20 - Take your gnome with you to the end of the leg, andhead to the Bavaria Film Studio.

Notes:Okay there are those that claim that these reality shows are really filmed 100% on soundstages here in the United States, andare fullyscripted and what not. Well the only soundstage reality show is Big Brother, and it makes no qualms about trying to hide the fact its in a house on a stage. Amazing Race snubs its nose at these people by arranging, a detour on a sound stage. There did not seem to beany interesting moments in transit between Roadblock Field and the film studio. Fran was able to shine on their map reading skills.

Clue #21 - Detour
Break it or Slap It

In Break It - teams have to break stunt wine bottles over each others head in hopes of finding one that has Prost! (Cheers!) written on the back of the label. Teams can't just go wild smashing bottles, they can only smash one bottle each time the Cuckoo pops out of a specially designed nearby cuckoo clock.

In slap It - teams have to learn and perform a cultually signifigant, and highly detailed dance, which involves a lot of slapping in just the right order. They must perform the dance to the satisfcation of the judges to receive their next clue.

Notes: Okay, Break It is yet another LUCKY CHANCE task, the third Lucky Chance task in a ROW. This one has the added pain of getting fake bottles smashed over your head, as well as the artificial slow pace of having to waitfor the cuckoo between bottles This time the alternative to the random chance is truly a viable option, ifyou are a quick learner anda good dnacer you may have the skills to take the faster dance option. Adding additional pain to the lucky chance task is when no teams are trying the dance task, the band and dancers march and dance around the tables of wine bottles. All in all the dance judges appeared to be lenient, and no team really had any difficulty at either detour, and maybe the funniest part of the task was they had to change into local costume.

Clue #22- Head to Siegestor- a peace momument in Munich Germany. ("InMunich there is a Hofbrauhaus!") Warning this is a pit stop,

Well, not much news for the drive between the film studio and the pit stop. Eric and Jereemy were able to retain the lead they had ever since the fake pit stop, and won the leg prize, a trip to Africa from Travelocity upon turning in their gnome. Unlike the last time when the gnomes were used to award a random bonus prize, this time the gnomes served no purpose other than product placement and to give the teams some unweildy object to lug around. Is their a gas station restroom key attached to it?

Eric and Jeremy got the ladies at the film studio to kiss them leavng large lipstick marks. Phil makes an innocent comment about their flirtatious behavior, to which they basically say "Yeah, we can't wait for this pit stop to start so we can _____ Team Pink. To which Phil gives a clear look that he is appalled and nauseated. Of Course E and J use the proper 'polite way' of stating their intentions.

BJ and Tyler mug for the camera by running to pit stop backwards (Phil will stop us, right?), and then calling the friendly local greeter "SANTA!!"

Wanda and Desiee were neck in neck with Team Pink in getting totally lost (as in driving in cirlces) on the way to Roadblock field, but Team Pink just nosed out Wanda And Desireee (much to Eric and jeremy's delight) to send Wanda and Desiree packing. The poor roadblock performance by Desiree could not have helped either. So yet, another parent/child team is doomed to failure.

Race standings:
1. Eric and Jeremy
2. BJ and Tyler
3. Lake and Michelle
4. Fran and Barry
5. Dave and Lori
6. Joseph and Monica
7. Ray and Yolana
8. Team Pink
9. Wanda and Desiree

Oh, and let me get it out of my system now - it looks like another LUCKY CHANCE task next leg, with teams serching though lines of clothing for their next clue. I liked when there was one lucky chance task per RACE just for variety, and to spice things up by providing a task no amount of skill can prepare you for, but 4 instances of lucky chance tasks in 3 episodes is a bit much,.

Till next time!


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