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Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'There's No Crying in Baseball'
Pedicabs and trains cause more trouble than challenges
I want to get into this week's recap, but first I have a proposal for the producers of "The Amazing Race": From here on out, whether in this season or in any subsequent season, any contestant who yells at a service employee in a Third World country and tells them either that they just lost them the Race or that they just lost them a million dollars, should be automatically eliminated on the spot.
If you are yelling at a pedicab driver in Indonesia, where the median income is $3800 a year, and verbally abusing him for costing you a million dollars, you're pretty much a horrible person and you pretty much represent the worst America has to offer in the global community.
This rule needn't only apply in Third World countries. Anywhere you yell at a service employee for costing you a million dollars, unless you're in a cab driven by Donald Trump or you were denied a plane ticket by Mark Cuban, it's best to save your whining for somebody else.
Who's with me on this one?
And now, on to the recap, after the break...
Before Sunday's (October 14) Leg of "The Amazing Race" began, I tweeted "Will tonight be the night Caitlin and Brittany prove they're different people on 'The Amazing Race'?"
It was meant as a rhetorical question, but guess what? After Sunday's episode, I can absolutely tell the difference between Caitlin and Brittany.
Brittany is the cuter of the two and she's also a kinda awful person.
Brittany could be the sweetest gal in the world when the pressure's off and you're just chillin' at the crib watching TV and eating ice cream sandwiches, but in the heat of a Race for a million dollars? Brittany's an awful person.
Yes, Brittany was this week's person to blame an underpaid worker for costing her the Race. [Next week, it looks like Rob is going to do it to some guy who I'm already guessing isn't the Rockefeller of his respective nation.]
The degree to which Brittany wasn't incorrect is this: For the second consecutive Leg, elimination was determined completely and totally by a team getting a cab driver who couldn't successfully deliver a team to the required destinations.
The degree to which Brittany was incorrect is this: Brittany & Caitlin had finished third and then seventh and then this week they were either going to finish last or next-to-last. If the Indonesian pedicab driver cost them anything, it was an early Leg of "The Amazing Race." I can say with some confidence that we'd had absolutely no indication that Brittany & Caitlin had a chance to win the Race.
I'd already be down on Brittany for the loud blaming of the pedicab driver. It's not like he wanted to take a million dollars out of their pockets. He made a mistake. It was a bad mistake. But in the grand scheme of things, his life wasn't going to be impacted by that afternoon anyway.
And I'd already be down on Brittany for yelling at their first cab of the day, shouting at him angrily for asking for proper payment for a trip.
But Brittany also had the ignominious line-of-the-episode when, pissed off at possibly a third different pedicab driver, she ranted, "It's so frustrating when a guy from this country can't speak any English."
So yeah. I can tell Brittany and Caitlin apart. And now they're gone.
It's actually good that Brittany & Caitlin turned out to be unlikable.
If they had had winning personalities, I'd be irked that Gary & Will keep cheating death. They're underdogs who are so inept that I can't bring myself to root for them. There but for the grace of hired drivers on two consecutive episodes, they'd be double-done.
Of course, that's as much the fault of "The Amazing Race" as it's the fault of the rogue drivers or of Gary & Will. The show just can't seem to structure challenges anymore so that teams are rewarded for good performance and penalized for bad performance.
This week's episode was yet another showcase for a selection of challenges that took nearly everybody identical amounts of time.
The episode began with a Roadblock asking one player on each team to serve a 20-dish Padang dinner in a single trip. That's a lot of dishes at once and one or two people dropped their dishes, spilling food and shattering platers. But no precision was required. Players were spilling sauces all over the floor of the restaurant and basically squishing food and dishes together with no respect for either the grub or the people being served. If nobody gets frustrated in a challenge like that, the challenges are not rigorous enough.
The Roadblock was theoretically supposed to be a great way of setting up the episode's drama, because teams were supposed to then catch a train to their next destination, unaware that the gap between the first train and second train was over three hours. Instead, the people who started first stayed in the first group, with the exception of Twins Natalie and Nadiya, who had cab troubles of their own, but didn't blame anybody for costing them a million dollars, even when they missed that first train by a matter of seconds.
Anyway, after the train ride, teams faced one of those Detours in which nearly everybody chose the same task and nearly everybody chose the fastest task, so the producers did something wrong in Detour design.
The choice: Egg-Head or Lion's Head. In Egg-Head, teams collected four eggs, put a lit coconut on their heads, had the eggs cooked and then ate the egg. In Lion's Head, teams had to put on a 40-pound lion's head mask, learn a couple moves and do a parade.
Under the "choose the most photogenic task" rule of Detours, Lion's Head was a no-brainer and of the nine teams, only one team, The Beekman Boys, did the egg task. The egg task couldn't have been easier, but it took time to find the market to acquire the eggs. In contrast, although the mask was heavy, nobody actually cared about what the teams did once they were parading, so they were just walking in costume for a couple minutes. Despite the weight of the mask, even the smallest of players did that Detour without complaint.
Because neither Detour was hard, this was a dumb Leg to have a Double U-Turn and the U-Turn only yielded nuisance value. The group on the first train agreed not to use it. Rob & Kelley U-Turned Will & Gary just to do it. I always complain that if you've already been U-Turned, you shouldn't be able to U-Turn another team until you've completed the second Detour, but "Amazing Race" doesn't care about any of my complaints, so Will & Gary had the opportunity to U-Turn another team. However, they made the point moot by U-Turning Rob & Kelley, who were already done, rather than Brittany & Caitlin, who were still in the process of having the clueless cabbie steal their million dollars.
Brittany & Caitlin got the karmically well-earned indignity of falling behind Will & Gary (even after the Super-Fans did the second Detour), having their cabbie PASS Will & Gary (becoming The Most Awesome Cabbie In The World for fleeting seconds) and then seeing their driver go the wrong way at a fork in the road.
As Yogi Berra said: When you come to a fork in the road, take it.
Other thoughts on this week's episode...
*** After Brittany & Caitlin were eliminated and blamed their cabbie, Phil Keoghan said, "We're going to miss having you guys on the Race." We assume that was Phil being sarcastic, right?
*** Abbie & Ryan finished first for the second time in three Legs. At the beginning of the episode, they were talking about how they worried about their communication skills, which felt like it was going to be foreshadowing for a big fight. Instead, they just won, which was a relief. I like Abbie & Ryan well enough and think they're heading toward the finale and I'd hate to have to start hating them.
*** Speaking of potential foreshadowing, Lexi of Team Longhorn called Abbie & Ryan their top competition and speculated that next time a U-Turn comes up, she might need to use it on them. Keep an eye on that.
*** Jaymes of Team Chippendales continues to amuse me, but both male-strippers had funny lines about the Lion's Head mask, which had to be "Sitting on your face, in your mouth," as James say. Or as Jaymes put it, "I'm tasting years of culture in my mouth." Why were neither of those the episode title as opposed to either Brittany or Caitlin pointlessly quoting "League of Their Own"?
*** Why was it necessary for *magicians* to light those coconuts on fire? It wasn't particularly magical.
*** Five teams have leads of three-ish hours, which Gary & Will way further behind even than that. Does that mean next week starts with a huge equalizer or just that next week is a Non-Elimination Leg? Or both?
What'd you think of this week's episode? Are you glad Brittany & Caitlin are gone?