Sunday, September 17, 2006
'The Amazing Race 10' Season Premiere
It's back! The Emmy-winning Amazing Race had its 90 minute premiere and I wish it had been two hours.
They seem to have taken a line from Big Brother with an "expect the unexpected" sort of surprise this season. Unlike Survivor or Big Brother, they're calling it a surprise rather than a twist. Same thing, though, it's just semantics.
The teams were introduced and, honestly, I don't really think it was needed to show us Duke crying over his relationship (or lack thereof) with his daughter, Lauren. As I mentioned when I introduced the teams in a previous article, I think this looks like an interesting lot. Stop crying, Duke!
They started out in Seattle, in the rain... of course. This season, they hit the high gear right away with the destination being Beijing, China. No dilly-dallying about this season, no way, no how. Right off the bat, Duke/Lauren and Mary/David had trouble driving their vehicles. Note: If you apply to be on the show, test drive all kinds of cars so you don't look silly.
Teams vied for the first of two planes headed to Beijing. The first flight would arrive nearly an hour earlier and ended up containing Peter/Sarah, David/Mary, Dustin/Kandice, Tyler/James, Lauren/Duke, and Lyn/Karlyn.
By this point, Rob and Kimberly were already bickering while Mary pointed out that where she's from, it's customary for the man to be in charge. She wants David to listen to her. Okay, so... at this point I decided that these two teams are the teams I most want to hit the mat last early in the season.
At the airport, I believe it was the Cho brothers who started playing with squirt guns and all the teams were just fooling around when they got busted. Their weapons were confiscated as the Pretty (But Rough) Boys looked smug about it all. Hey, the Pretty Model Boys have been through rehab, so they're edgy. Or something.
Sarah and Peter plan to play the "disability card" as much as they can. Sarah pre-boarded much to the disgust of the other teams, Lyn/Karlyn, in particular. It turns out that the first flight was delayed a bit, but they still hit Beijing before the other six teams.
The teams had to take a taxi to the Gold House where they'd face the first Roadblock of the season. A Roadblock is a task only one team member must complete. This one was a traditional native food kind of challenge - a plate of fish heads and the challenge was to remove and eat all the fish eyes. While I'd never be good at most of the food challenges, this one really looked like they could swallow them whole. Maybe they couldn't have water? Hmm.
Most odd quote on the streets of Beijing: One of the Cho's said, "China is a lot like Korea, just more Chinese characters." I believe he was referring to the lettering on signs.
Once the fish eyes were successfully downed, the next clue led the racers to the Forbidden City where they had to find the Meridian Gate. I'm including informative links to those places as one of the things I love about this show is learning about the history of places I may never get the chance to visit. Amazing stuff, really.
There was a three-sided structure with lighted times - 7:00 AM, 7:15 AM, 7:30 AM and the last one, at the bottom, read "Last Team." Uh-oh! Phil had warned the teams that there would be some new surprises this season and even though they might think they know the game, they don't.
Sure enough! When Bilal and Sa'eed arrived to take the Last Team, they were instructed to see Phil on the mat. It was a surprise Philimination! They were shocked and didn't react overly well, but didn't do anything horrible. The other teams were both shocked and saddened at their departure. Me? I personally don't think they would have made it much further as they were quite out of shape.
In the morning, the teams headed out to their first Detour. A Detour is a choice between two tasks related to the country or area. This Detour was a choice between Labor or Leisure. In Labor, teams had to construct a section of sidewalk in a particular brick pattern. In Leisure, teams had to learn a native routine which was a graceful, balancing a ball on a paddle with choreography sort of thing. Ony Terry/Tom and Kellie/Jamie went for the latter.
Yikes! Things are not going well for my early favorites -- the Cho Brothers and Vipul/Arti! "Get it together!," I said to my television as they both fell behind. The darn television never listens to me. I should trade it in on a better model. Maybe then my early favorites would do better on reality shows. Yeah, that's it!
Oh, no... the Pretty Boys (not Terry/Tom) finished the Detour first! Trip 'em!
From the Detour, teams had to take a taxi to the Great Wall of China, then scale the wall on ropes with loops for hand and footholds. It looked a bit impossible and a few teams who are in decent shape even had trouble with it. Sarah almost crumbled, but made it. Lyn and Karlyn got their determination going and made it. Poor Vipul and Arti would have done fine - they both scaled the wall without serious issues - but they were so far behind after the Detour that it was a lost cause.
The order of arrival at the Pit Stop on the Great Wall of China was as follows:
1. Tyler/James - also won $20,000 for 1st place
11. Vipul/Arti - Philiminated. (Sigh)
So far, I think my favorite team is indeed the Brothers Cho. I liked how they helped people and mentioned that helping is good karma. They didn't place well, but hopefully will get their act together next week. I really liked Arti and Vipul as they were so pleasant to each other and others, but they're gone.
I admire Sarah. She's now running the race on a prosthetic leg which is leaking hydraulic fluid. Peter can't fix that. I'm not overly thrilled that they're racing a race yet using the "disabled card." Lyn and Karlyn are right -- one or the other. I have knee woes myself. I can't run a race. I also am not considered "disabled enough" to be pre-boarded on an airplane. Yes, she has a serious difference, but if she's running marathons, she should board planes with everyone else, don't you think?
Speaking of Lyn and Karlyn, they crack me up. They surely say what they're thinking! I love it! I also get a kick out of Tom and Terry. Their happy dance at the Pit Stop was a hoot!
Over the next few weeks, I'll sort out my favorites and least favorites more. Right now, I could do without Rob and Kimberly, and David and Mary may push me to sneering.
Xie xie for reading through to the end folks. Yes, that's "thank you" in Mandarin.