LAST EDITED ON 10-08-09 AT 01:10 AM (EST)
***TAR 15.2 Official Summary: This Means War!***
Standard Warning: Not all aspects of the episode are reported accurately. Artistic license is a terrible thing to waste.
Additional Warning: It is not my intention to offend anyone who may have served or lost loved ones in the Vietnam War. However, I am a sarcastic girl, this is an all-in-good-fun Basher forum and, given the themes of this episode, certain sensibilities/persons may be slightly abused. Some others may be slightly more abused (*cough*Lance*cough*). I honor all men and women who are brave enough to wear the uniform and defend the freedoms of people here at home and around the world (and, when circumstances put us in the same line at a fast food restaurant, I even buy them lunch).
Attempted diplomacy: The Mekong River valley, such a scenic delight, was once an area to be feared. Now, its splendor unscarred by the burning hulks of military watercraft, the river is a place of beauty and simple living. The beauty is provided by nature and the simple living (diplomatic term for poverty) comes courtesy of the communist government (diplomatic term for tyrannical bureaucracy).
The Bassac III, significant only because it is one of the few passenger ferries in Asia that hasn’t capsized in recent years, has pulled up anchor and become the first ever moving Pit Stop. Teams are unaware of its final destination, but Maria and Tiffany are hoping for Monte Carlo. Gary, who thought the boat was just a prop, can’t believe that the Pit Stop is actually moving. A height-challenged man in conical headgear (diplomatic term for dwarf in a dunce cap) is roaming from team to team in order to remind them that this river cruise is provided by Travelocity.
The first four teams to leave the Pit Stop, which is starting to take on water, are:
5:45 a.m. - Gary and Matt. Their clue directs them to take a cab ride to Ho Chi Minh City (2 hrs. away) and find the water puppet theatre. There they will grab a clue out of a dragon’s mouth. Gary whispers that he hopes the dragons breathe fire and relieve Matt of his uniquely colored coiffure (diplomatic term for godawful pink mop).
5:55 a.m. - Sam and Dan. They’re cute. They’re gay. One is laid back and easy going. One is impatient and easily frustrated. They’re kind of like the Odd Couple, only they’re both cute and gay.
5:56 a.m. - Harlem Globetrotters. Big Easy, one guess as to his hometown, tells the sad tale of losing his dad just days before the race. This really is too terrible and I cannot mock it. At least I don’t think I can. No, I really shouldn’t.
5:57 a.m. - Lance and Keri. Lance thinks of himself as a mighty lion participating in a competition that is survival of the fittest. Unfortunately, Lance doesn’t realize that lions are only successful in 7% of attempted kills (That’s true - I looked it up on-lion! Pathetic, I know. Don’t feel compelled to laugh.). Poor Lance. He may be an attorney, but he’s a friggin’ idiot (diplomatic term for friggin’ idiot).
Breakdown in communications: Lance and Keri, like so many endearing TAR couples before them, start this leg with a rousing argument.
Keri says, “I want to lead the team!”
Lance hears, “I want to waste about 20 minutes of your oh-so-precious time!”
Dajaki hears, “Whi-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-i-ne!!!”
Lance agrees that Keri can take the lead and waste time (and people think he’s not a good partner). You know, this team taught me that reading the clue can be a time bandit. It takes about a minute, a minute that can be better spent losing oneself in the streets of an unknown city that you think is a known city which is actually 2 hours away.
While Lance and Keri run around like circus clowns, the floating Pit Stop Balzac III, now with a serious list to port, disgorges several more teams. They are:
6:04 a.m. - Zev and Justin. Zev, now known as the Duck Whisperer, is hoping for several more challenges involving water fowl. Justin just wants Maria and Tiffany to notice what a sensitive soul he is.
6:10 a.m. - Megan and Cheyne. Is it possible that we have the second coming of Kris (and Jon)? I can’t believe that there’s another attractive, young, blonde couple about whom I have nothing negative to say. Gimme time. I’ll think of something.
6:11 a.m. - Maria and Tiffany. Maria, remembering the horrors of lost people in Japan, sticks like glue to the other teams. Tiffany organizes transportation.
Tiffany says, “Let’s get enough cabs for all of us!”
Maria hears, “We’re going to stay on the good side of these clearly superior teams.”
Dajaki hears, “I’m desperately trying to hang onto the false image of being a humanitarian here!”
6:14 a.m. - Mika and Canaan. They’re not interesting . . . Moving along . . .
6:15 a.m. - Marcy and Ron. The standard issue old folks team leaves the Bathmat III with the assistance of their walkers. Marcy is complaining that the sinking ferry reminds her of the night she escaped the Titanic while Ron is hoping that his hearing aide battery dies soon.
Big Easy has a touching story about his dad and now it’s Marcy’s turn (boy, is she competitive!). In 1968, while I was just a wee babe and Marcy was turning 40, her father, Gen. Robert Malloy, got shot down over Vietnam. Through sheer adrenaline, will and determination, he was rescued. Where have I heard that story before? Hmmm. Oh, I remember. For one week in the mid-90s, my sister was a nanny for the children of a man who got shot down over Vietnam. He was also rescued after serving in a POW camp. Then he married a rich girl. Then they fired my sister, understandably so, for letting their kids eat sweets at breakfast (my sister claims that the kids conned her). Then his wife got over a prescription drug addiction. Then he ran for president. Then he lost. But, like Marcy, he’s still milking that Vietnam story!
Meanwhile, Sam and Dan finally land a cab. Lance and Keri, who have become hopelessly lost and confused, are approached by a kind pedestrian. She lets them know that they must catch a cab to Ho Chi Minh City or get ready for a very long walk. Lance, disgusted at the time that was lost while being lost, shoves Keri into the first taxi that comes along.
Lance says, “It’s like being dropped on Planet Mars! We don’t know where we were dropped off at!”
Keri hears, “It’s all Keri’s fault! I can’t believe she’s so dumb!”
Dajaki hears, “I can’t take time to read the stupid clue! I can’t tell the difference between the planets of the solar system!”
Marcy and Ron, aided by Marcy’s piercing whistle, land a cab, as do Mika and Canaan. Canaan is pondering the meaning of the task, charming a dragon puppet, when Mika pipes up, “I’ll just kiss it! . . . (pregnant pause) . . . But I won’t French kiss it. No tongue. And the dragon has to keep his paws to himself.”
As the Batman III rolls belly up and slips beneath the muddy waters of the Mekong, the last team left on the dock is Brian and Ericka. They quickly catch a taxi and race off to Ho Chi Minh City. Mercifully, we the viewers are spared from too much face time with this couple other than their complaining that Vietnamese gridlock puts NY and LA to shame. I laugh because I’ve been in a traffic jam in LA at 2:30 in the morning. Nothing’s worse than LA.
Acts of aggression: The Harlem Globetrotters are the first team to find the Vietnamese Water Puppet Theatre. The stage is a large pool with remote controlled dragons zipping through it. Each dragon has a flag with a clue in it which a team member will steal (Act I: Theft). Greedy Americans.
Over the cacophony of drummers, singers and splashing water, Flight Time reaches for a clue while Big Easy cheers him on. Perfect timing is the key to Flight Time’s success in grabbing the flag from a dragon’s mouth. Inside is a bullet (Act II: Stockpiling Weapons) which, when opened, reveals a stamp of Ho Chi Minh City’s main post office. The teams are to figure out what the building is and go there for their next clue.
Gary and Matt, along with Zev and Justin, also arrive at the theatre and capture (Act III: Wrongful imprisonment) their clues pretty quickly. The Montanans don’t think that there has been enough actual racing in The Amazing Race and decide to run to the post office. They have been erroneously informed that the building is only 1 km away. Yeah, it’s not. Fortunately, their taxi driver is stalking them and is there when Gary and Matt decide that blindly stampeding through an unfamiliar city in southeast Asia is unwise.
Other highlights of this segment of the episode include Cheyne sneaking up on the dragons to nab a clue (Act IV: Subterfuge), Tiffany flirting with the puppet and Mika and Canaan dancing for clues (Act V: Torture). Only Cheyne’s strategy works.
And then there’s Lance, who is an act of aggression in himself, a veritable uncontrollable ball of catastrophically rebounding rage (thanks Estee!). Lance leaves his lion metaphor behind to become a shark when he nearly falls into the pool. He grabs a flag, retrieves the bullet, then, with a screeching Keri in tow, spends the next half hour trying to find the clue. Did I already use the phrase “friggin’ idiot” to describe this guy? Can I again? After handing the bullet off to a desperate-looking door attendant, one of the drummers and the Vietnamese version of Bob’s Big Boy, Keri finally whacks Lance upside the head (Act VI: Assault) and orders him to unscrew the bottom of the bullet. They find the stamp and a message scrawled on its back. The note reads: Help - seek political asylum - am door attendant. Without even a backwards glance at the now weeping doorman, Lance and Keri rush off to the post office.
First battle: Once at the post office, the teams are met with a Detour: Child’s Play or Word Play. In Child’s Play, the teams must go to a kiosk at a local park, choose a cement animal and cart it to a children’s playground while collecting balloons along the way. In Word Play, the teams must go to the roof of a local hotel, find 6 letters that are circling the intersection below, and get help from locals to unscramble the letters into a common Vietnamese word. The following teams choose Child’s Play: everyone except Marcy and Ron. The following teams choose Word Play: Marcy and Ron, because Marcy is good with words - she’s just not good with letters.
The first team to the detour, Flight Time and Big Easy, choose to move a ram. It’s low to the ground and not likely to fall off the cart. Smart move. They progress quickly through the park with their tank-o-mutton, past a woman who’s all hula and no hoop and straight to the playground.
Megan and Cheyne are the next team to the park and they too choose a sheep based on its height, or lack thereof. While Megan is praising Cheyne’s prowess with the livestock, we cut to Marcy and Ron at the hotel. Marcy smacks Ron around a little bit. He’s surprised, but doesn’t seem to mind. Once on the roof, they quickly find the letters c, a, p, o, l and o. They play with various combinations (polaco, copola, cupola, Acapulco) before deciding that the last o is in fact a d. They bolt down to street level and look for words that have the same letters. If they had read their clue, they would have seen that the directions state to ask locals for help in the anagram. They didn’t read their clue. Back to them later.
Maria and Tiffany have chosen to push a statue of a huge, wild dog, Sam and Dan choose a deer which they lay on its side, Gary and Matt pick a zebra and Zev and Justin get a giraffe. This isn’t a good decision for three reasons: (1) giraffes are tall, (2) giraffes, even those made of concrete, have spindly legs, (3) Zev and Justin can’t drive worth crap. The boys manage to dump the thing on its side before they even leave the kiosk. After picking up the pieces of broken giraffe ear . . . (sorry, checking notes) . . . Okay, I wrote down nothing more about them until the Roadblock. Moving on . . .
Brian and Ericka have arrived and quickly choose a zebra. In confessional, they lace their fingers together, showing stripes to indicate why they are Team Zebra. First of all, they said it - I didn’t. Secondly, she’s brown, he’s cream. That’s not zebra (black/white), that’s chocolate and vanilla swirl frozen yogurt. Yummy!
As Megan and Cheyne finish the task, Cheyne gives his love a big kiss then states that Megan tastes deliciously of sweat. I think I have something negative to say about them now and that thing is Ewwww! Gary and Matt, who still has pink hair, finish close behind the blonde bombshells.
Lance and Keri finally arrive at the park. Lance is searching frantically for a lion to push. When he can’t find one, he considers asking the kiosk vendor to quickly have one cast. Keri, looking furious, shouts, “What, you can waste time and I can’t?” She badgers him into finding another animal, and with no zebras or gazelles in sight (or badgers, for that matter), they settle on a deer (related to a gazelle . . . maybe). After collecting their first red balloon, this dream team pushes their deer into traffic where Lance promptly manages to lose the balloon. After blaming Keri for forcing his hand to slacken its grip on the string, he leaves the deer in the middle of the road (it was daytime, thus not in anyone’s headlights, but in everyone’s way), and charges back to the balloon vendor.
Meanwhile, Maria and Tiffany, who are huffing and puffing and complaining about not having a man to lean on, finish. They are quickly followed by Team Zebra. Lance and Keri, who have a habit of looking everywhere for direction without actually seeing where they should go, arrive at the children’s playground. Keri, thinking she should go to the balloon lady, actually manages to find a lady made of balloons. She then climbs into a gazebo and scares the bejeezus out of a bunch of Vietnamese musicians. Lance, in a steroid induced rage, lifts and throws the deer into its appointed stall while yelling at Keri to hurry up. Back at the kiosk, Mika and Canaan select an elephant to drag across the park. Elephants have long memories, but I don’t, and for the life of me, I can’t remember anything else this couple did during the detour.
Back to Marcy and Ron - after struggling with their letters and deciding the best anagram was “Old Cap”, they finally ask some locals for help. The word is “doclap” which means “independence”. Apparently, the idea of independence is near and dear to the hearts of all Vietnamese. I wonder if freedom is too.
Second battle: Once teams finish the detour, their next clue directs them to the intersection of Dien Co 008. The first team to arrive are Flight Time and Big Easy. There is a Roadblock that asks, “Who’s ready for a complete breakdown?” My hand creeps into the air. The Roadblock is to perform in the anchor industry of all free-market economies - break down VCRs by hand. Each person is given a set of tools and the directions to rip ‘em down and sort out the pieces.
I guess it’s Flight Time’s turn for a Roadblock (I’m sure Seana’s keeping score), and he is quickly joined by Cheyne and Matt. Matt and I have something in common (not pink hair) - we’ve both taken VCRs apart before, but for very different reasons. His was curiosity, and mine was because my dear daughter shoved a few toys into it. I’ve since learned that VCRs are disposable.
Flight Time has definitely been in a chop shop before and he quickly finishes the Roadblock for his next clue. The Globetrotters now have to go to Reunification Palace, the Pit Stop for this leg of the race. Reunification Palace is where the Viet Cong crashed through the gates and ended the Vietnam War. Everyone I know has seen footage of this event at some point in their lives. For such a significant site, you expect that everyone in Ho Chi Minh City knows where it is. Flight Time and Big Easy find that this isn’t so, in fact almost no one seems to know.
Cheyne, who’s bringing sexy back to Beta, is also finished and he and Megan manage to catch a cab before the b-ballers. Flight Time and Big Easy now know that they’re in a foot race to the mat.
And speaking of Matt, his VCR efforts have resulted in several cuts on his hands. While he plays the nancy boy and whimpers, Gary grabs their stuff and hustles his son into a cab. Sam and Brian are Roadblocking for their respective teams while the women in their families shout encouragement. Maria and Tiffany are next at the Roadblock where Tiffany, who is still having to repay Maria for eating those wasabi bombs, gets excited about using a power tool.
Zev and Justin show up just in time for Justin to do the Roadblock (can you find 3 “Justin”s in the preceding sentence?). Mika assigns Canaan the Roadblock because she’s afraid to break a nail. As these team members are furiously ripping the innards out of electronics, Lance and Keri find themselves in a familiar place - Lost. No, not the best fantasy drama on television, but lost, as in “I don’t know where the heck I am.” Maybe Lance and Keri should spend less money on grooming products and more on maps. Lance blames Keri for getting the team lost, Keri blames Lance, I blame the producers for putting this team on the race. Finally their fight ends when Keri forces Lance to apologize for thinking that she’s the Direction Queen. Oh, and CBS, I’d like my apology now.
Marcy and Ron are finally on their way to the Roadblock after spending some time getting to know the people and culture of Vietnam. Ron, who is, I think, resigned to coming in dead last says, “If you don’t have patience in traffic, you should not live in Ho Chi Minh City.” To which Marcy, thinking someone has asked her to talk, responds, “If you don’t have patience with the opposite sex, you should not live on Planet Earth.” Does that mean Lance is going to get dropped off on planet Mars?
Lance and Keri get to the Roadblock and Lance doesn’t even give Keri the opportunity to volunteer. He just dives into the Roadblock with both feet (and hands). Using his super-human strength (built up from weekend exhibitions where he tears apart phone books), Lance rips into the VCRs. I doubt he does a painstaking job of sorting the parts, but he’s earning the admiration of the locals so they don’t care. Canaan finishes, as do Lance and Justin. While they’re searching for cabs, Ron and Marcy get to the Roadblock. Ron starts in on the VCRs as Marcy tells us, “When I first met Ron, he told me he was really handy.” In the background Ron mutters, “And she told me she was good with words.” Oh, the things we say when we’re trying to impress someone.
Terms of surrender: By now, teams are starting to charge onto the grounds of Reunification Palace like they are tanks or something. We do indeed have a footrace to the finish line between Flight Time and Big Easy and Megan and Cheyne. Cheyne manages to hold his own, but no one really thinks that Megan can beat out two professional athletes.
As Flight Time and Big Easy step onto the mat, Phil congratulates them and says, “You’re team #1. You’ve won a trip to Aruba and a date with my native greeter and her twin sister. But before you can rest easy, you must finish this phrase: Make love, not _____.” Flight Time and Big Easy confer and answer, “Make love, not technical fouls.” Phil, who’s been instructed to accept any answer as correct, sends them to the Vietnamese catering van for refreshments.
Megan and Cheyne are next to step onto the mat where Phil congratulates them and says, “You’re team #2. You’ve won nothing but the opportunity to say ‘I’m #2.’ But before you can take a break, you must answer this question: War, what is it good for?” Cheyne, who has a super-funky vintage record collection, answers “Absolutely nothin’! Huh!” Phil is surprised that anyone under the age of 40 knows the answer and gleefully sends them to the Vietnamese catering van for refreshments.
Gary and Matt, the latter fretting over the possibility of gangrene infecting his VCR damage, are the next team to the mat. Phil congratulates them and says, “You’re team #3. You’ve won some Neosporin and Band-aids. But before you can take a load off, you must tell me who said, ‘All’s fair in love and war.’” Gary, who has read more classics than the average tractor-drivin’, Big Sky lovin’ man, says, “This phrase traces its origin back to John Lyly’s ‘Euphues’ (1578). The quote was ‘The rules of fair play do not apply in love and war.’ John Lyly was a Renaissance English poet and playwright.”* Phil, who just would have been happy if someone said “Shakespeare?”, is very impressed and sends the father and son to the Vietnamese catering van for refreshments.
Brian and Ericka, the team who compares themselves to equines of Africa, trot onto the mat. Phil congratulates them and says, “You’re team #4. You’ve won an appearance on Oprah to discuss interracial relationships. But before you can snuggle in the palace, you must finish this quote from rock goddess Pat Benatar: Love is a _______.” Ericka, who comes from the “World Peace” school of beauty pageants, pretends to hold a microphone, gets starry eyes, softens her voice and says, “Love is a beautiful thing.” Phil rips open his Oxford shirt to reveal an aged concert tee from the Best Shots tour and yells, “You’re wrong! How can you not know Benatar? Love is a battlefield! A battlefield!” A clearly distraught Ericka is led away by her husband to the Vietnamese catering van for refreshments.
Sam and Dan, who didn’t get enough face time in this episode (they are just so cute - so what if they’re gay), are next to face the Philiminator. Phil congratulates them on a race well run and says, “You’re team #5. You’ve each won a gift certificate to The Acme Surrogacy Agency, because God knows, when my brother came out, our mom said, ‘That doesn’t get you out of having to give me grandchildren!’ But before you can rest your weary dogs, you must tell me who said ‘Draft beer, not people.’?” Sam and Dan look puzzled until Sam answers, “What do we know about draft beer? We only drink it from the bottle.” Phil, who feels brotherly affection for the brothers, says, “It’s okay. The answer is Bob Dylan, one of the greatest poets but suckiest singers of the pot-smoking, pill-popping hippie generation.” Sam and Dan, still confused, shuffle off to the Vietnamese catering van for refreshments.
Maria and Tiffany are the next to arrive. As they spring onto the mat, Phil congratulates them and says, “You’re team #6. You’ve won this deck of cards with little Vietnamese nature scenes on the back. But before you can slurp down a Diet Coke, you must join me in a little game of War.” Phil sits down, cracks open the pack and they play until cued that the next team is arriving. He sends the girls off to the Vietnamese catering van for refreshments.
Mika and Canaan, who are wilting under the Vietnam sun, jump onto the Pit Stop mat. Phil congratulates them and says, “You’re team #7. You’ve won . . . Um . . .” Phil searches his pockets. “Uh . . . This mat that you’re standing on! But before I can send you to collapse in an exhausted heap, you must tell me in which book of the Bible you can find the following words: A time to love, and a time to hate, a time for war, and a time for peace.” Canaan, who has never actually been to Canaan but is hoping that the race takes him there, answers, “What is Ecclesiastes?”. Phil smirks, “Right answer, but this isn’t Jeopardy and I’m not Alex Trebek.” Then he sends them off to the Vietnamese catering van for refreshments.
Zev and Justin, who have raced against the ever-lost Lance and Keri, sneak onto the mat. Phil congratulates them and says, “You’re team #8! You’ve won the best-selling Vietnamese cookbook ‘101 Ways to Cook a Duck’!” Zev, who is horrified at the thought, explodes in anger and has to be carted off by Justin and two production assistants.
Lance and Keri, alerted to the Pit Stop location by Zev’s outburst, run over to check in. Phil, who hasn’t the stomach to congratulate a team he was hoping would still be in LA, says, “You’re team #9. You’ve won a personal GPS system which you can have, but only if you drop out of the race now.” Lance rudely declines and tries to wrestle Phil to the ground. He has to be carted off by Keri and two production assistants.
End of hostilities: It’s the end for one team, and if you’ve been paying any sort of attention, you know it’s Marcy and Ron. They hobble to the mat where Phil says, “Marcy and Ron, you’re the last team to arrive. I’m sorry, but not surprised, to tell you that you have been eliminated from the race.” Marcy smacks Ron upside the head once more then gives another shout out to her dad. Ron gets the native greeter’s e-mail address, the other teams crowd around the oldsters to say goodbye, and I’m left to wonder when The Amazing Race will get a retired team that is serious competition. Honestly, if Ian and Terri are the pinnacle of over-50 success, this show will have been an utter failure no matter how many Emmys it has.
Next time: Zev wears a monkey suit, which makes him feel sexy! And one team loses their passports (for 20 minutes).
*I copied this verbatim from wiki.answers.com. I thought the answer was Shakespeare.