I’m so happy to see The Amazing Race back at its roots – foreign countries, challenges that are … well, actually challenging.
The second leg of this season’s race started in Brazil and ended in Brazil, too. Even with the lack of travel miles, it was jam-packed with action. After all, where else could you see a senior citizen couple rappel down a 33-story building or ascend a 90-foot waterfall? Only on The Amazing Race!
The teams started out from the Pit Stop, departing in the order in which they had arrived only to face one of the infamous “bunching points” the Race tends to have. Now, I know why they do this, but it can get a bit annoying. I realize they can’t have a team or two so far ahead that the competition just isn’t there. So, the teams all caught up to each other when the building where they would receive the next clue wasn’t to open until 8 AM.
I feel compelled to mention one interesting sidenote to the teams leaving the Pit Stop – Jeremy and Eric actually waited for BJ and Tyler before going on. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that happen before. Perhaps by the end of the show, they’ll decide hippies over cute girls? It could happen! After all, they saw prostitutes on the streets from their taxi windows and only realized said prostitutes were men in drag after shouting excited compliments.
After the building finally opened, the next clue was a Roadblock. As Phil himself would say: “A Roadblock is a task that one member of the team must perform to receive the next clue.” This Roadblock was called “Fire Drill.” One member of each team had to climb up one of three fire escapes on a 33-story building, then descend by rappelling down the side. Cool! It’s not quite like racing up the stairs of the Empire State Building, but it certainly took its toll on the teams, or at least the one half who chose to do it. Even those in the best shape slowed down by about the 8th floor. Danielle made it all the way to the top, then realized she’s terrified of heights and was scared to rappel down. If not for Fran’s encouragement, she’d still be up there ordering pizzas or something.
The clue they received directed them to the bus station. Lake impetuously charged ahead and found out that there are at least two bus stations. (Duh!) Once again, teams faced the infamous Gathering of Three Departure Times with buses, similar to the Bunching Point, but dividing teams into a few time slots not all into one free for all. The lead bus, as I predict we’ll see for a lot of the season, contained BJ/Tyler and Jeremy/Eric. Teams who were all ready behind ended up more behind. Ah, well, it will make ‘em race that much harder, right?
The teams each got a rather stripped down Volkswagen Beetle – newer models, but definitely not a fancy-schmancy model as we see here on the streets! And, no … they didn’t get to keep them. I don’t think they wanted them after driving them, anyway! They used the VWs to drive to their choice on the Detour. In the Detour, they had a choice between Press It ot Climb It. In Press It, teams had to run sugar cane through a hand press and eventually make a certain amount of ethanol following a specific process and recipe. In Climb It, teams had to hike to a 90-foot waterfall and then rope-climb up it using automatic ascenders. Oh, they’re not so automatic, by the way. The task still involves strength and the ability to catch on to how to use the ascender properly. Oh, great — we get to see teams shout encouragement at each other! Lake was so encouraging, to whit: “Get your ass up there!”
BJ and Tyler, not surprisingly, chose Climb It and were the first to finish the task. Huh? The next clue led to the Pit Stop? It was only halfway through the show; there must be drama ahead to fill that last half hour. Sure enough, there are lost Screaming Glamazons, who can’t cope with their car. Then there was Fran and Barry who struggled through Climb It only to have their car battery die. The New Version Frat Boys decided the Hippies were steering them wrong and stopped for directions thus ensuring the Hippies would arrive first. Drama, drama, thrill, frustration…
The arrival order to the Pit Stop was:
1. BJ and Tyler (Hippies)
2. Jeremy and Eric (Frat Boys 2.0, not as fun as the first)
3. Monica and Joe (self-proclaimed Team Mojo)
4. Lori and Dave (The Nerds and Darned Proud Of It)
5. Ray and Yolanda (Angry Young Man and His Cool Woman)
6. Wanda and Desiree (Antsy Mom and her Cool Daughter)
7. Lake and Michelle (Jonathan and Victoria Take Two)
8. Danielle and Dani (Gonna have to work more than femininity)
9. Fran and Barry (Older and If Not For Bad Luck Team)
10. Philiminated: Screaming Joni and Lori (Glamazons, Frosties, Whatever…)
Okay, now to the nitty gritty…
I’m liking BJ and Tyler more and more. Perhaps the hippie bit is a bit of a gimmick. Obviously, they’re too young to really know a hippie is more than long hair and a bit “out there.” But I love their excitement and they’re proving themselves strong in every area in the race so far.
I still like Dave and Lori. I had to smile when Dave praised the spirit of Mr. Wizard after completing the ethanol process. I like Nerds, what can I say?
Ray looked very frustrated at their arrival placement. I think that if not for Yolanda, I wouldn’t be liking these two much at all. If he’s so disgusted at being mid-pack, what’s going to happen if they’re eliminated? Will he just go pout or what?
Fran and Barry need to go into a Way Back Machine and become youthful again or rub a leprechaun for good luck or something…! It’s like this team has a double whammy against them between age and bad luck. Alas, she reminds me a bit of Gretchen with the whining. I have to give them credit for making it through the physical tasks, though.
I sort of kind of like Jeremy and Eric. I’m enjoying their flirting with Dani and Danielle, but thought they were so inappropriate to Phil as they arrived at the Pit Stop. “Smack me, woman!” What the hell is up with that? Phil’s eyebrow arched more than usual. I wonder how their smarts would have gotten through this leg if not for BJ and Tyler following. Physically, they are probably the best team. Mentally? Heh.
I’m still a bit ambivalent about Mojo even though they did better this leg. Dani and Danielle are starting to realize the race is more than looking pretty and having men gather to help them. Lake seems to have stopped a bit of his nastiness, but I still don’t like him much.
And, finally … I’m glad the “Glams” are gone. I couldn’t have taken the screaming an entire season. They were no more better prepared for being in the race than I am. Mind you, I’m still having problems from knee surgery and will be facing more surgery before long. At least I don’t scream about everything and I know how to drive a VW with a standard transmission.
What do you think of this season’s race and its teams? Do you miss the Family Edition? (Heehee!)