It’s back!! The Amazing Race is back! The Road Blocks, the Pit Stops, the never-ending bickering between teams and PHIL! Oh, how I love Phil Koeghan. I believe everyone needs more Phil Koeghan in their lives.
We begin, of course, In California where we meet the 11 teams who we’ll get to see do amazingly embarrassing challenges all for $1,000,000 (before taxes). They are:
Andy & Tommy. Olympic snowboarders whom no one has ever heard of before now. I guess they’re supposed to be the “cute” guys this season. I’ve seen better.
Amani & Marcus. He’s a former NFL player who spent his days protecting Peyton Manning. Neat. She owns a boutique called Maize ‘n Grace. Hey look, everybody! Word play! Well done.
Bill & Cathi. The token “old” couple who work on a farm in Oregon or something.
Ernie (!) & Cindy. The newly engaged couple who seem to insist on wearing matching colors. I bet that was her idea. You know she wears the pants.
Ethan & Jenna. They think no one knows they’ve both won Survivor. That’s cute. Also, Jenna has a really bad dye job going on so she’ll now be called Jenna two-tone.
Jeremy & Sandy. I’ve already forgotten everything about them.
Justin & Jennifer. Siblings from Stone Mountain, Georgia. I wonder if they know Kenneth the page!
Kaylani & Lisa. Former Vegas showgirls. Next!
Laurence & Zac. A father and son team of “adventurers”. They’re my early favorites.
Liz & Marie. Twins! One of these gals dropped the word “literally” twice in their opening get-to-know-us segment. This should be fun.
Ron & Bill. Domestic partners who are also flight attendants. If that’s not a CBS sitcom in the making, I don’t know what is.
Now that we’re all acquainted, let’s move on. For the first challenge the teams are given six letters (WANPEI) and they must find a paper umbrella out of hundreds with the correct three letters (TAI) painted on top that will spell out where their first destination is (Taipei, Taiwan). Clearly, no team has any clue as to what the city could be because they’re picking umbrellas willy nilly and just hoping they’re right. The snowboards are the first team to guess correctly and they are STOKED to a gnarly degree. Get ready to hear a lot of this lingo for as long as they’re in the race. RAD.
Everyone else finally catches on and learns what to look for and the last two teams left scrambling are the twins and the showgirls. Are we surprised? No. The showgirls are last and because they’re last they have to complete a Hazard challenge at some point during this leg, because you know, already being last isn’t bad enough.
I already dislike the showgirls and the new season has only been on all of maybe 20 minutes. Geesh. I thought I was going to get lucky and get an early elimination from them, but they’re the ones with the luck. Stopping at a gas station to get directions to LAX, Kaylani drops her passport and doesn’t realize it until they’re well on their way to LAX. They head back to the gas station to get it, but it’s not there. Yayyyy! They decide to go ahead to the airport just to see what happens. Guess what, you guys. Through the miracle of Twitter (and maybe the producers?) some random dudes found the passport, figured out they were on the Race and they headed to LAX to save the day and get some face time on TV. Boy howdy. That’s serious luck and I hate it. But seeing as how they’ve already made a crucial mistake BEFORE THEY’VE EVEN GOTTEN ON THE FIRST FLIGHT, I’m thinking they may not last long.
The showgirls make it on the second of two flights to downtown Taipei and as instructed by their clue they have to “look up” to get the next instructions on where to go. how vague. The majority of teams are smart and know to look for Race colors on the clue – the snowboarders go so far as to ask a dude wearing red and yellow boxers if he had anything for them – but the clue isn’t displayed in typical fashion so it confuses the mess out of them. Rather than the traditional red and yellow stripes, they were red and yellow balloons all jumbled up on a big screen that slowly revealed 4 Chinese characters that they then had to translate. It told them to go to the Confucius Temple where they receive the first Road Block. I love Road Blocks. Having one teammate rely solely on the performance of the other can make for some really tense moments and I’m just glad I get to sit back and watch the magic happen. Join me!
For the Road Block, one team member has to use a pay phone and dial 1-800-CONFUCIUS (seriously!) and listen to a Confucius saying. Without writing it down, they have to recite it verbatim to a poor sap who got roped into this boring challenge.
The saying “In all things success depends on proper preparation, and without such proper preparation there is sure to be failure” has probably never been butchered as badly as it was here. Some of the teams should have really paid attention to this saying because they did not prepare properly. I really worried about some of their listening skills as this was unfolding. It was pretty awful. Team matchy-matchy Ernie and Cindy were first to get it right and they received the next clue telling them they get to participate in a Dragon Boat Race. Lucky!
Meanwhile, team Token Old Folks are having some issues finding the clue. Not to say that no one else did, but theses guys are taking foooorrreeeeevveerrrrr. It’s embarrassing and sad and frustrating all at once! They even go inside a random building and hop on an elevator. The clue says look up, not go up, Cathi. Get your head in the game!
Back at the Confucius hotline headquarters and Team Sweet Valley High (Get it? Because they’re blonde and twins?) are having about as much luck with this challenge as Token Old Folks are having. I just don’t get why one person would think that yelling at their teammate about what all they’re doing wrong would help them do better. Honestly. But we see this a lot on The Amazing Race and it’s AWESOME.
So either Liz or Marie (I’m not too invested in them yet to bother telling them apart) is having a super tough time at this. It’s bad. So so bad. I think maybe more than once she began the phrase with the wrong word. How do you do that? How do you forget the word “In”? But after listening to the saying for maybe the 500th time (maybe more) she finally gets it and we can all move on with our lives.
On to the Dragon Boats! One team member has to beat the drum at the bow of the boat to help keep a good tempo while the other member gets to row along with the team. Most people just went through the motions on this one but Laurence used to be a coxswain in England so he was yelling out some good motivational instructions for his crew. I like this guy.
Hey, let’s see what the Showgirls are doing, shall we? Oh, they have to complete their Hazard challenge now! What’s that? One of them just has to bungee jump in the middle of a crowded mall? Lame. I would do that not for a million dollars.
Back at the Dragon Boat drop-off station and Ernie & Cindy were first to finish and get to the pit stop with, I think, Jeremy & Sandy being second and the Stone Mountain Siblings being third. That’s all we really need to know. It all comes down to the doublemint twins and the old farmhands. Cathi showed Liz the proper way to complete the challenge (listen then speak) and appeared to recite the phrase correctly the first time. However, it didn’t make up enough of the time they lost gallivanting around Taipei looking for their first clue. The twins beat them to the Pit Stop so the Token Old Couple is sent home. BUT WAIT! Phil is a sly dog, you guys. This is a non-elimination leg. Already? Has there ever been a non-elimination on the first leg of the Race? Please tell me if there has been. But wait! The trickery isn’t over yet. Phil informs Bill & Cathi that the next leg is a double elimination leg. Oh, that Phil. You just never know what he’s going to do to us.
Bill & Cathi are cute, but they’ll have to be luckier than the Showgirls to make it past a double elimination next week. Can they do it? Or are they dead farmhands walking? Which team do you love to hate already? And how glad are you that The Amazing Race is back?!