Wednesday, March 22, 2006

'The Amazing Race 9' - Ep. 4 -or- Lederhosen Me to the Gnomes!

Hmmm... I don't know. Perhaps it's only episode 3B, but we'll call it 4. I certainly hope this is it for the "to be continued" legs of the show. I'm easily confused!

Nine teams remain. Who will be eliminated next?

We last left the teams in Moscow, Russia, where they were all starting to meet up with Phil Keoghan on the Red Square. Last week we saw Jeremy and Eric arrive first thinking they won the leg only to be handed a clue envelope from Phil and be told the leg wasn't over. They looked exhausted. It's still not over! Will Jericmy retain their lead? Will BJ and Tyler take over the race once again? (I hate calling them the Hippies. Long hair doesn't a hippie make, but I guess I'm just a 60s purist, eh?) It's kind of interesting to compare the teams' arrival order at this time to the actual end of the leg. Well, at least interesting to me! So, here's the placing at the Red Square: Jeremy/Eric, Lake/Michelle, Ray/Yolanda, BJ/Tyler, Fran/Barry, Dani/Danielle, Desiree/Wanda, Monica/Joe and placing last was Dave/Lori.

The clue received in Moscow directed teams to fly to Frankfurt, Germany. Once there, they had to take a train to Stuttgart to the flagship Mercedes-Benz factory. Jeremy and Eric really lucked out -- they were the only team on an early flight, thus increasing their lead. Once in Germany, they managed to catch a train just before it left. How lucky can these guys get? The second flight leaving Moscow only took two teams -- Lake/Michelle and BJ/Tyler narrowly squeaking in. The rest of the teams all made the last flight, leaving in the morning. Once again, in typical TAR fashion, the time difference didn't mean a heck of a lot as the Mercedes-Benz place didn't open until the moming. So, instead of a 12 hour or more difference between teams, it was pared down to just a couple of hours.

Now, I would have found the challenge at the Mercedes-Benz factory a bit more um ... challenging if they had to drive it themselves, but the teams each had a driver racing them through the oldest test track in the world affectionately called "The Wall of Death." Oh, this one looked cool as the cars went horizontal on the curve! I want to try it! Oh, Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz, my friends all have Porsches, I must make amends! While it indeed looked cool, all the teams did was go along for the ride. Sigh. Nothing more to see here; let's move along.

Teams then had to drive 200 miles on the Autobahn to a field where they'd face a Roadblock. Here's where Wanda/Desiree screwed up royally by going in the wrong direction for over twenty miles ... twice! So did Dani/Danielle as they were fool enough to be following W/D! Sheesh. First Dani and Danielle clung to Jeremy/Eric until they loused that up by forgetting their bag. Now they're clinging to Wanda and Desiree? Don't these girls think for themselves? The Roadblock (a task which can only be completed by one member of the team) wasn't anything scary, but it was the epitome of product placement. The team member had to find the Travelocity Roaming Gnome hidden in a large field. There were ten gnomes hidden under cones, gnome half sculptures, etc. Of course, this task got tougher with each one found and later teams really depended as much on luck as strategic methodical searching tactics.

Oh, no ... it's onto a Roadblock! Teams finding the gnomes had to bring their gnome along to the Bavarian Film where they had a choice of Break It or Slap It. This is the kind of event that makes me smile at the show. In Break It, teams were faced with a table that held hundreds of prop bottles and had to smash a bottle over their teamate's head hoping to find one with a label which had PROST (German for Cheers!) inside. Oh. They also had to wear lederhosen and only break a bottle each time the cuckoo came out from its cuckoo clock roost. All depended on luck and eventually the maddening native musicians and dancers made for a rather surreal bad comedy act task. In Slap It, teams had to learn the dance steps to a native German dance and perform to the approval of the dancers while also wearing lederhosen. Nothing was funnier than Fran/Barry and Ray/Yolanda in lederhosen! (Well, I'd be funnier, but thankfully I'm not on the show.)

From there, the teams headed to the Pit Stop with Jeremy/Eric retaining their lead. They came in first winning a trip for two to Africa which includes whitewater rafting, a safari and a trip to Victoria Falls. The arrival order of the other teams was: BJ/Tyler (running backwards for their own odd reasons), Lake/Michelle (boo), Fran/Barry, Dave/Lori, MoJo, Ray/Yolanda, Dani/Danielle and ... last and Philiminated -- Wanda and Desiree.

So, that's what happened on the show. Now it's time for me to go into a bit of what I think of the season. It's so much better than the family-safe family edition last season! I'm really liking the teams and their interaction with each other this season. I don't think we've ever had a TAR season where the teams got on so well together. Even the Evil Lake will work with other teams. Teams are sharing taxis, following each other (sometimes almost to ruin) and honestly seem to like one another. I love how BJ and Tyler are rooting for Fran and Barry! Call me a dork, but I still like Dave and Lori -- I'm thrilled they're making a comeback and getting a bit strategic. I want to be offended at Jeremy and Eric's shallow sexist ways, but I have to laugh at the Horndogs. Will all this togetherness between the teams end as the race goes on? I mean, they can't be so congenial forever, can they?

My personal favorites for the win are BJ and Tyler. No, I won't call them hippies. But, these guys have a great sense of adventure, are funny and smart. I couldn't help but notice they knew enough German to get by. They seem to have a high frustration level and I think they're perhaps one of the strongest teams ever on the show. They may overdo their schtick a bit, but they're the team to watch.

I would love to see a Final Four team list like this -- BJ/Tyler, Fran/Barry, Ray/Yolanda and Dave/Lori. Will it happen? Who are your favorites?

Oh ... and I'm not all that sad to see Wanda and Desiree go. While I think Desiree was a good race candidate, Wanda was really getting on my nerves. If you go on a show like The Amazing Race, whining at every task isn't the way to win. You defeat yourself and you tick off the viewers. Next, Lake can go. He's on my nerves, too. After that, Dani and Danielle can go bye-bye. They're followers, not leaders. Get 'em gone. Then I predict that Jeremy and Eric will have a secret rendezvous with two Swedish milkmaids and miss a plane. After that, out with MoJo! I still don't know these two much at all so they'd be no great loss. I know. I'm horrible, aren't I?

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Again,pretty much in your corner on this one too,Jackie. I was glad MOM/DAUGHTER got Philiminated. Now it was Desiree's turn to whine,in the field looking for the gnome(shameless,those people are shameless). They were getting on my nerves,big time.I love the (FUNGI)(Fun Guys)BJ/Tyler! They are so kind and funny. I hope they win. And I so agree that the trip around the car track was a bummer,a driver!!And how dumb are those "DD",to follow the other team,not once,but twice!! I am pretty much in agreement with your order of elimination.And yes,Fran and Barry were funny,trying to get the dance down pat!! Good roadblocks here lately,not the "kiddie" ones of last season.