Previously, on The Amazing Race -- But that was Season 15
Phil introduces us to the ever efficient Los Angeles Freeway System. Somehow we miss the usual three Sig Alerts during rush
hour all-day on the I-5. We follow some buses to the starting point -- (known locally as “The Cornfield”) -- just outside of downtown Los Angeles.
The teams de-bus:
•Brent and Caite, dating models from South Carolina. She’s already earned some infamy as the mega-dumb blonde Miss Teen South Carolina winner -- but more on that later.
•Jet and Cord, brothers and cowboys from Oklahoma. One wears a white hat (Cord), the other wears a black hat. After that, there’s not much difference.
•Steve and Allie, father and daughter from California. He’s a coach with the Cleveland Indians.
•Dan and Jordan, brothers from Rhode Island. Jordan immediately tells us he’s gay. Dan tells us he isn’t. They’re going to be fun.
•Dana and Adrian, high school sweethearts from Texas. Obviously so much in love, the audience will undoubtedly cheer them on for a long time in the race.
•Jordan and Jeff, Big Brother DAWs now dating long distance. She won the big bucks once from See-B-S and has come back for more.
•Jody and Shannon, grandmother and granddaughter from Texas. Granny Jody takes feisty to an all new level.
•Louie and Michael, undercover cops from Rhode Island. They like to shoot guns.
•Monique and Shawne, Moms, Attorneys, and best friends from New Jersey. Honestly, what’s with this “Momtrepreneurs” bit?
•Joe and Heidi, married couple from California. Another young couple looking to benefit from being able to speak Mandarin.
•Carol and Brandy, dating couple from California. Are there really 40+ year-old party girls?
Phil welcomes the racers and gives his traditional Start of the Race Speech. This season’s twist -- using Public Transportation to get to LAX!
A side note -- as a native of Los Angeles, I know for certain that getting anyplace by public transportation is a daunting task in the least. And that’s for places that are actually served by public transportation. Getting to LAX by anything other than your own car is a three-step process at best. EPBvM’s evil side has emerged early this season.
Teams also learn that there are only two flights available -- and the earlier flight has room for only three teams. The rest will be on a flight leaving an hour later. First destination -- Santiago, Chile!
Phil dismisses the teams and the Race is on. Confused by the lack of rental cars, teams stagger out into the wilds of downtown LA sidewalks. Carol and Brandy admit that they’re more used to using valet parking than the MTA.
Locals help the befuddled racers, telling them to go Union Station, our pathetic excuse for a central subway ‘hub’ (two of the five train lines meet here). There they can take the ‘FlyAway” bus to LAX. Some teams find the Red Line station - one of the two that goes to Union Station.
Another side note -- I used the FlyAway last year, on a Friday at around 6pm, and we had to wait for additional passengers before the bus could leave. Ridership is moderate, to say the least.
Dan and Jordan (banana) recognize Caite and instantly out her to Carol and Brandy. Laughter follows. Jordan (banana) admits that he “almost pooped myself” when he realized the talent he was up against.
Meanwhile, back on the trail, teams have boarded the FlyAway. Caite talks about going to Guatemala, or China. Jordan (peach) admits that she’s never heard of Santiago. The moms and Carol/Brandy chant “Chile!” Several other teams have opted to take the Metro Green Line (the only one that rides down the middle of a freeway).
Side Note III - Interesting that they would take this option (lead by LA resident Joe) because the only way to get to the Green Line is to take the Red Line (short hop from Union Station) to the Blue Line (long ride) to the Green Line to … well, not the airport. The Green Line stops about a mile short of LAX, so the racers had to catch the shuttle bus from there.
And we get to the Opening Credits!
Zoom in on NYC • Taj Mahal • Christ the Redeemer • • Eiffel Tower • Jet/Cody on horseback • Venice • Statue of Liberty • Mt. Fuji • Steve/Allie tee off • White Cliffs of Dover • Jody/Shannon rowing • long highway • the Ginza • Brent/Caite at the beach • a bayou • Monique/Shawne in lawyer garb • pyramids • Louie/Michael shooting • Sydney Opera House • the Coliseum • Dana/Adrian making out in a park • a green valley • Jordan/Dan tossing a football • the Great Wall • Jordan/Jeff champagne kiss • Joe/Heidi on the beach • Istanbul • junk • mountains • Carol/Brandy in the kitchen • another highway • Big Ben’s clock • the Great Pyramid • a waterfall • cars on the Golden Gate • the Rhine • Tokyo pedestrian crossing • Niagara Falls • more mountains and lakes • Pisa • the Golden Gate again • rice field • Russian Onion domes • Mt. Rushmore • Easter Island heads • Peace Boy • zoom out from NYC
After the commercial break, we’re with the Green Line teams, assuring themselves that they’re sure to be on the first flight (a little math, though, there are four teams together and room for three teams on that first flight). Jordan (peach) and Jeff get outed by Brent as the Big Brother couple. More name calling (dropping the ‘b' word) ensues.
Final side note -- TAR16 has been promoted as taking “11 teams of ordinary people” -- but we’ve got a globally (thank you YouTube) known dolt beauty queen, and a pair of RTV DAWs with us. Just how are they “ordinary people”?
Teams finally arrive at LAX and dash into the unsuspecting gate agent. Jordan (peach) asks for the flight to China, but is saved by Jeff. Carol/Brandy are too late and have to take the second flight. Not to worry, though, she has a plan. Jet and Cord hit the money exchange, getting a stack of Brazilian Reales for their trip to Chile.
At the Dallas-bound flight gate (early flight), teams are relaxing when an ominous announcement comes on -- there’s a mechanical problem (just as Brandy wanted!) and the flight will be delayed. Teams rush to the gate agent and quickly (TSA regulations be damned!) switch to the later, Miami bound, flight. Jordan (banana) gives us a “Sn-ap!”
Map time -- Phil tells us that all teams are together, flying first to Miami, then on to Santiago. Once in Santiago, they have to take a bus to Valpariaso. Phil, fulfilling his Public Service obligation, informs us that Valpariso is known as the “San Francisco of South America”, and that the citizenry make frequent use of funiculars.
Monique/Shawne, Jordan (peach)/Jeff, Brent/Caite and Dana/Adrian board the 12:15 bus. The 12:20 bus gets Carol/Brandy, Joe/Heidi, Dan/Jordan (banana), and Steve/Allie. For some reason, the bus driver refused to take the 50 Reales offered by Jet, so they back up to change back to an acceptable currency (didja notice Jeff paying with a good-old US $5 bill? and getting a buck change in the bargin?). Finally, Louie/Michael, Jody/Shannon and the befuddled Jet/Cord board the 12:30 bus. Jet discovers that greenbacks are welcome in Chile.
Once in Valpariso, teams have to take taxis to the top of Ascensor Villaseca. Much taxi-driver merriment follows (amazing that they can understand the mangled Spanish-like phrases uttered by the racers).
Brent/Caite are the first to the Clue Box as Phil explains the phenomenon of “Cable Walking”.
“Who has the balance of a cat and the courage of a lion?” All you need to do is traverse pencil-thin wires strung 120’ over a chasm. Caite, admitting to being a Tomboy, takes the first challenge. She flits across having a grand time, cheering on herself and the others as they joined her. Jordan (peach) is second on the wire, because Jeff is scared of heights. Joe/Heidi, Dan/Jordan (banana), Steve/Allie curse the traffic but get to the clue box. Joe, Dan and Allie hit the wire. Steve expresses his daddy-worries but doesn’t explain why he let his little girl take the risk. On the ground, Jeff regales us with his own play-by-play of the events high overhead.
Carol/Brandy reach the box (under the gaze of a couple of local ‘ladies’), and Brandy says “I can do this…” Just then, Caite finishes the task. Brent reads the next clue - they have to take a funicular down the hill and proceed to the next task. The trailing teams finally get to their taxis.
Shawne and Adrian arrive at the cables and are kitted out. Meanwhile, on the line, Dan is having problems with the wind and takes a startling tumble (thank you safety equipment!) Jordan (banana) cheers him on, (“I love you bro!”)
Back to the high-wire acts. Brandy is shaky, Dan is pulling himself along, Shawne prays for success, and Adrian stuggles. Jordan (banana) reaches the edge. Back at the clue box, Jeff reads “what’s a vunicula?” as they head down the hill, ominous music is heard in the background…
Dan gets back on terrafirma, Jordan (banana) and Dan head for the funicular (after dodging some boisterous Chilean canines). Brent and Caite reach the next clue box, “Paint the Town”. Seems as if the local government helps homeowners with their brightly painted homes as part of a civic beatification program. The task - take four paint cans, two brushes and a ladder to a house-in-need and finish the job. Oh boy, more house hunting!
Jordan (banana) repeats his “SN-AP!” tag line when reading the paint clue (who said we wouldn’t see any stereotypical behaviors?) Allie, Joe, and Brandy complete the wire walking as Steve tells us that his baseball experience has made him a real “team player”.
Painters are having no luck finding their houses. Louie hits the wire, Shawne finishes. Jody/Shannon and Jet/Cord finally get to their taxis. Steve/Allie grab their paint as Jeff/Jordan (peach) and Brent/Caite find their houses. Little four-by-four square right at elbow level (so much for the ladder). Carol/Brandy head for a house, comparing their selected paint color to something Martha Stewart would have used (pre-jail). Jeff/Jordan (peach) make quick work of their painting and head for the first Pit Stop, Palacio Baburizza.
Brent/Caite finish their monumental painting task and, channeling some of the German immigrants that fled to South America, tell their host pintor “danke”. With Louie and Adrian still on the wire, Shannon finishes and staggers to the clue box. Jet/Cord arrive at the Roadblock, and Cord gets taxi-trunk head-knocked.
Commercials -- more commercials.
Out over the chasm, Adrian struggles but finally falls, and is reeled in by a safety specialist. Louie finds dry land, Cord takes to the wire and Adrian tries to regroup. At the Pit Stop, a lively Chilean trio is entertaining Phil as Jeff/Jordan (peach) arrive and are proclaimed the first Team Number ONE! They earn themselves a nifty Travelocity sponsored trip to Vancouver (hey, maybe they’ll meet Starshine!). Thus motivated, they engage in a little victory dance.
Brent and Caite arrive, grinning at being proclaimed “the second team to arrive” -- yep, they’ve got a 30 minute wait in the Pit Stop Sin Bin for failing to use the funicular. Drat. Monique and Shawne get some local help and find their house. Jordan (banana) discovered that he’s lost a brush, brother Dan is miffed.
Steve and Allie, always mindful of the exact wording in their clue, barge in on some renovators and immediately start to paint the wall. The real workers step in, confused about a couple of gringos jumping their action (accompanied by a camera crew -- silly Americanos!). Monique/Shawne make short work of their wall and head for the clue box. Cord works his way along the wire while Adrian continues to futz about getting back over the chasm.
Things start moving fast - Monique/Shawne earn 2nd place; Louie/Michael find their paint; Dan/Jordan (banana) launch a brush hunt; Dana pleads with Adrian; Steve/Allie finish their interior decorating and Suduku guy has no clue (and no Clue!). The Cops decided to paint out some graffiti; more teams finish their painting and Adrian heads out to the wire once again.
Jet and Cord reach the mat for #3; Adrian’s struggles continue; Dan/Jordan (banana) find out their “you’re the fourth team to arrive” but have to sit out 15 minutes for the lost brush. Wow, two teams mulling their ineptitude together, a TAR first! Steve, Allie, Joe and Heidi hit the mat together; Louie and Michael finally get the right house; Carol/Brandy settle in for #6; Phil releases Brent and Caite from prison to claim team #7, followed quickly by Dan and Jordan (banana) for #8. Louie and Michael arrive as team #9; Adrian falls and is again reeled to safety; Jody and Shannon (remember them?) get to the mat and Phil uses his evil voice -- “you have to continue with the race, you’re team number 10”.
Adrian and Dana are hoping for a non-elimination round when Phil arrives for another off-mat elimination. They take the news like champs.
Last set of commercials and previews for next week -- ALLIANCES and FREEZEOUTS!
Why is Machu Picchu blinking? Go here to find out
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