Greetings! Kim and David are stepping in for Daron this week as he spends some family time at Disney. Have fun, Daron!
The Amazing Race Recap
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
November 15, 2011
As far as power rankings go, we've got some opinions, though they may be somewhat less informed than Daron's. Even so, we feel like we have a pretty good handle on where this season's teams shake out.
Team Dude, snowboarders Andy & Tommy – So far, they have absolutely dominated the race, coming in first place in five out of seven legs. We’ve seen other teams rule Amazing Race before, but this particular run seems more impressive somehow. Perhaps it’s because the other competitors are so far off their level it resembles Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers versus all the other quarterbacks in the NFL right now, but we’re having a tough time envisioning a way where they’re not in the final three. Of course, what that means is that Amazing Race producers are going to step in and try to use the U-turn to screw them over though we sure can’t blame any of the other teams for using that little element of strategy to their advantage when it comes to these guys.
Engaged couple Ernie & Cindy - Honestly, we really hate putting them in this spot, but they’re pretty much only here by default. They behaved very poorly on the last leg, from denigrating the good people of Malawi and their way of life to begging Team Dude to let them win. Seriously, people? On the plus side, they did use their Express Pass and still came in second. That gives us a little joy in our hearts.
Grandparents Bill & Cathi - We’re as surprised to be ranking them here as you are to be seeing them. Yes, the older couple has been in danger of being eliminated a couple of times throughout the race. However, they’ve shown remarkable resiliency as the legs have moved forward, communicating with each other and playing to their specific strengths. We’re not sure they can hold on here, but for now, at least, they’ve earned their position in the top three.
Team NFL Amani & Marcus - We know they’re not necessarily the fourth best team left, but we like them the best by far. Marcus Pollard is an athlete that has been around for awhile, including on the Bradley University basketball team, which Kim watched some due to the fact that they were the arch rival of her alma mater Illinois State University Redbirds (and just 35 minutes down the road from her hometown). Marcus would become an NFL pro, playing alongside the marvelous Peyton Manning, who Kim ran into a couple of years ago, possibly injuring his neck for all eternity. Let’s just say that we’ve liked Marcus for a long time and we’ve been rooting for him since day one. His behavior last week was exemplary – we wish all contestants were so upbeat.
Jeremy & Sandy, test-driving their relationship on the race - They haven’t been particularly special at any point during the race, and we always wonder about people who come on the show to decide if they should be together on a more permanent basis. These teams are always fraught with volatility, and these two have certainly been touch and go. Unless something happens to change our mind, we see no reason other than luck to get these two to the final.
Father/son duo Laurence & Zac - We put them here mostly because Laurence rubs us the wrong way. Sorry, Zac. The sins of the father reflect upon the son, apparently. Laurence has been misogynistic, stubborn and generally unpleasant to watch. He also tends to make some bad mistakes, and that sort of thing can’t last once you get down to the final few teams.
Previously on The Amazing Race, a participant begged another team not to pass them in order that she could finish in first place. This really happened. Imagine if it were adopted into other sports. The Amazing Race Recapper Daron Aldridge, on vacation at the happiest place on Earth this week (and next), should have asked Kim, “Hey, could your Cardinals go ahead and take this last strike in the ninth inning? You guys have won the World Series like 10 times before; this would be the first one for my Texas Rangers.” Seriously, we wanted to slap a bitch. That’s one of the most egomaniacal actions in the history of reality television. Some other stuff happened and the angry brother/sister team lost, but we don’t care about that. As long as Marcus Pollard and Mrs. Marcus Pollard are still in the race, we’re happy. Everyone else but the Dynamic Dudes sucks, though.
The white sand beaches of Malawi are where we begin this leg of The Amazing Race. As is their wont throughout the competition, the Dynamic Dudes (this reference only makes sense to late 1980s wrestling fans) finished in first place last round, thereby crushing the hopes and dreams of one prima donna named Cindy. That alone is enough to make us like these kids. Then again, if they want to win our eternal devotion, all they have to do is tweet pictures of themselves enjoying all the prizes they won last week to Cindy. We want to drink her tears.
Andy & Tommy open their first clue at 3:12 p.m. They discover they will be journeying to Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark. The destination is a belltower named Vor Frelsers Kirke, which we will call the belltower from this point forward so as to avoid further spelling of Vor Frelsers Kirke. The boys celebrate the fact that they are getting fewer smiles after their fifth win in seven legs; they also demonstrate why they are winning. They note that they have opportunities to find an earlier flight than the 8:20 a.m. that is the intended bunching travel option.
A minute later, Ernie & Cindy begin the episode exactly the way the previous one ended: incessantly bitching. Ernie refers to their loss as “basically first place stolen from us”. If the better competitor winning is an act of thieving, Michael Phelps needs to return a lot of gold medals and head to jail…and not for the marijuana abuse.
Bill & Cathi depart 13 minutes later. Let’s all take this moment to reflect on how much has gone wrong with the race for Bill & Cathi not only to remain in the competition but also to be the middle team out of the remaining five contenders. Hooray for lowered expectations! Seven minutes later, Mr. and Mrs. Marcus Pollard, the only team that matters, head for the airport. Two minutes after them, that jackass Laurence and his unfortunate son Zac are ready to depart. We resent the fact that Laurence is allowed to breathe the same air as Marcus Pollard. Forget stealing first place; this is the real felony in tonight’s episode.
Jeremy & Sandy, the new couple who finished in last place, are the final team to open a clue. At 3:42 PM, they are only a half hour out of first place, meaning that even if there were not intentional bunching at the airport, this would be a hotly contested start to the leg.
At the airport, Laurence makes an executive decision (in his mind) to connect through London to Copenhagen. Cindy the self-absorbed notices this conversation and inquires about the details. Laurence, who will never be nominated for Mr. Congeniality, condescendingly states, “Yeah, she is” in the most acerbic manner possible. This is what it sounds like when stupid people think they are being clever.
The other five teams all take the same flight, but when they reach a connecting destination, all of the duos save for Team Pollard scramble for a better arrival time. All four other teams discover a way to make it to Copenhagen that evening. Team DoucheDaddy does make it to the capital city before anyone else, though. They arrive at 8:30 p.m. Eight minutes later, an unnamed former Indianapolis Colts Tight End 40 career receiving touchdowns is shown watching the airplanes land. He and his wife are having a relaxing, romantic evening of plane-spotting.
A few minutes later, Angry Dad and the seed of his loin (Ewww! *I* know!) are shown rushing through Copenhagen to the belltower. If Laurence & Zac are eliminated while the Pollards survive, this is an absolutely brutal edit. We would hope for this even if we hadn’t drafted Marcus Pollard for our fantasy football team for six years running.
Sure enough, the belltower is closed for the evening and will not open until 7:30 the following morning. Cut to the wonderful Pollard family (let’s exchange Christmas cards!) comfortably napping at an airport. Ain’t karma grand?
The news is not all grand for the Pollards. First of all, Marcus left in free agency the year before the Colts finally won a Super Bowl. Second, they are still at the airport at 7:18 a.m., waiting for their flight. Meanwhile, the other five teams are all standing outside the door at the belltower, waiting for it to open. Don’t panic, though. The Pollards are well rested and that will make them a powerhouse for the rest of the leg. Do not doubt this.
At the belltower, teams are intended to stand at the highest points and look down to see a pair of banners. The first one says Frederiks and the other says Borgslot, the latter of which once destroyed an entire Starfleet. After the players lament the turn of Locutus of Borg and Riker’s conflicted decision to fire on his ship, they will race to this impressive castle to find their next clue (and a gorgeous handmaiden we believe is the Borgslut of Borgslot). Most of the teams quickly interpret the clue, but Team TestingOutOurRelationship head to a restaurant that doesn’t open until 10 p.m. We also love the juxtaposition that this antiquated eatery has a QR code outside their door. We wonder if the players could scan it in and see that they are at the wrong place.
Angry Dad and his son arrive moments prior to Team Sore Loser. They are informed that this road block is an extended sequence from Eyes Wide Shut, only with more clothing and less orgy. Teams must perform an ancient three part dance that will test their memory and coordination. Zac and Ernie choose to do this challenge with Zac’s good-for-nothing father telling him, “May the Force be with you.” We suspect this is an ominous threat from Laurence that if Zac performs poorly, he will light saber-chop young Skywalker’s hand off.
Back at the belltower, the Pollards arrive and are surprised to discover that Jeremy & Sandy are still there. Just like that, an 80 minute lead has vanished. This signifies the first good thing that has happened to an Indianapolis Colt in 2011.
Back at the dance, Bill and Cathi arrive and the woman chooses to dance while Bill makes small talk about his relationship. He acknowledges that they started dating when he was 13 and she was 12. They married eight years later on the day of their college graduation and have been together ever since. That’s romantic. Cindy says that she met Ernie in a bar. That’s…less romantic. On the plus side, Ernie is quite the dancer. He quickly earns the next clue by completing all three phases of the dance. You’re going to miss that hand, Zac.
Team DrunkenBarHookup learns that they must proceed to Frilandmuseet and search the ground for their next clue. As they drive away, Cindy is classy as ever, deriding Zac for his dancing skills. Cathi, on the other hand, is quite the dancer. She earns a clue within moments of taking the floor. This irritates Laurence even more. The odds of him committing child abuse during this episode have just elevated from Probably to Definitely.
We cut away from Dance Central Denmark to reveal the two phases of the next challenge. One is called All Churned Out and requires teams to churn six sticks of high quality butter. As Phil performs this task, it plays out like an in-show endorsement for the Shake Weight, filthiest of all the designer workout dumbbells. The other task is quite possibly the cutest one in the history of the show. All Hopped Up requires both team members to take a rabbit through a steeplechase obstacle course. As long as the furry lil' dude doesn’t knock anything over, they complete the assignment. Frankly, anyone who picks All Churned Out is an idiot.
Ernie & Cindy pick All Churned Out.
Andy becomes the third dancer to complete the three phases of this heat. This causes us to fondly reminisce about the halcyon days of yore when Laurence & Zac were in first place. Doesn’t it seem like just yesterday? Or maybe even earlier today?
The Pollards continue to take the scenic route on this leg. We applaud them for their patience in this regard. Who knows when they will be back in Denmark again? Jeremy & Sandy, on the other hand, just don’t get it. They’re all obsessed with not finishing last in the race and whatnot. They rush over to the dance competition. One step ahead of them, Bill and Cathi arrive at the next destination and choose All Churned Out. What in the Blue Hell is wrong with people?
The Mercy Rule may be in effect as Zac is finally ceded his clue. If this were Dance Dance Revolution, we’re pretty sure that all of his steps would have made for one of those YouTube videos entitled “Wurst Playr Evah!!!” Then again, at least Zac isn’t a jackass. Ernie and Cindy finish churning butter (no euphemism here) and are likely to finish in first place on this leg. Not content to make their way to the pit stop and prove their competence, they arbitrarily decide to U-Turn Bill & Cathi, presumably because they have the audacity to make for a better love story. We hope they get so lost on the way that they wind up in Belgium.
A few minutes later when Bill & Cathi complete their heat, they recognize that they have been U-Turned. They choose to do the same in order to assure themselves of finishing the leg outside of last place. This is overkill for a team currently in second or at least that was our opinion right up until they stated that Laurence & Zac are the ones being U-Turned. May the Force be with you, Bill & Cathi.
While Bill & Cathi lament this turn of events, we see it as a huge positive, because they are now allowed to correct their earlier mistake. They get to perform the All Hopped Up leg, which we expect to be the highlight of The Amazing Race for them as well as the viewer. The bad news is that Hopper doesn’t finish his gauntlet cleanly and then the poor lil dude gets winded afterward. Bill switches off to Speckles and while we hate to cast aspersions on Hopper, Speckles is clearly the class of this steeplechase. Speckles has the type of vertical leap that must make him the Michael Jordan of rabbits.
The last two teams are both at the dance. Sandy and Amani face off with both ladies acquitting themselves very well. Each of them quickly completes the challenge and should immediately offer to provide Zac dancing lessons for a small fee. At this point, these two teams are the least likely to survive this leg of the competition, but the U-Turn hanging over Laurence & Zac’s heads may yet prove decisive.
Remember how we said that anyone who chooses All Churned Out is an idiot? Guess what Laurence & Zac select? Okay, the Dynamic Dudes do as well, but they have an excuse. We like them more. Also, they are better at churning butter as they smoke Angry Dad and son.
Jeremy & Sandy continue to make crucial mistakes in the game. They get lost on the road to the next heat, which drops them to last place in the competition. The Pollards beat them to the next destination and, proving how great they are relative to the others, they choose All Hopped Up. Way to not be idiots! Marcus takes all of the rabbits through his own combine and the results speak to latent scouting eye. As the editing cuts between Jeremy’s passive aggressive swipes at Sandy and the Pollards’ ringer rabbit clearing the steeplechase, it’s clear that the Pollards will be safe this week. Tonight’s elimination will come down to the U-Turned Laurence & Zac versus the hopelessly lost Jeremy & Sandy.
Bill & Cathi reach the finish line in second place despite Ernie & Cindy’s dick move. Andy & Tommy are right on their heels in third place and a bit after that, the Pollards complete the leg in fourth place, well rested and having seen all the sights. Meanwhile, Laurence & Zac catch a break for the first time in this leg when they choose Speckles who, as we know, owns this course.
Jeremy & Sandy continue a leg rife with mistakes by choosing All Churned Out. Why do these people hate cute bunny rabbits? Anyway, the fledgling couple’s fortune is overdue for reversal and they catch just this break as Team AngryDad gets lost on the way to the pit stop for this leg. While we initially believe this is run of the mill editing to make the situation appear closer than it is, the surprise is on us when Jeremy & Sandy reach Phil first. When Laurence and Zac reach the pit stop, they are informed that they have been eliminated from the race, which sucks for Zac and is long overdue for Laurence.
Our wish for next week is that Cindy and her dupe of a boyfriend go from first to worst in the upcoming episode.