Is it time for another season of The Amazing Race already? It seems like the last one just ended. Maybe it’s just the incredibly dull ending from the previous season that’s stuck in my head. No matter, though. This is a new season, with new teams...oh, wait. These aren’t new teams - this is the first ever TAR All-Stars season! Now, stop that grumbling. Maybe, just maybe, this will be the first All-Stars reality show that won’t suck eggs. Hey, it could happen! They’ve brought back some favorites (and maybe some not-so-favorites) for another chance at a million bucks. So, without further ado, let’s get this thing started and see who’s back for more punishment....
The World Is Waiting For You!
We’re greeted by the always-dapper Phil in Miami, who tell us that “the best of the best” were chosen for this round of TAR. I don’t know about all of that, but who am I to argue with Phil. The eleven All-Star teams zoom about the harbor in speedboats, and they are as follows:
Kevin and Drew, lifelong friends from New York. They were originally in season one, and each have since gotten married. And gained a few pounds, it sounds like.
Rob and Amber, newlyweds from season seven. If I need to go into more detail about these two, you haven’t had your tv on much in the last few years. Romber is everywhere.
Uchenna and Joyce, married couple (and winners) from season seven. From their comments, it sounds like they’ve had some stress in the relationship, in part due to trying to conceive.
Dustin and Kandice, beauty queens from season ten. Still blonde, tanned, and using the Crest Whitestrips, they plan on using the same cutthroat strategy that they used before.
Joe and Bill, life partners from season one. AKA Team Guido, after their dog. They say they’re not alpha males, they’re two gay grandpas in the race.
Charla and Mirna, cousins from season five. I didn’t watch their season, but I’ve heard a lot about these two, both good and bad. I’m already not liking Mirna’s voice.
David and Mary, married couple from season ten. The coal miner and his nagging wife are back, and hopefully they’ve learned to run their own race and not depend on others. We’ll see.
Teri and Ian, married couple from season three. Token older pair, and it sounds like they enjoy arguing from their comments. They came in second in their season.
Oswald and Danny, best friends from season two. They had a tiff for over a year and didn’t speak, but now they’re best buds again.
John Vito and Jill, formerly dating couple from season three. Circumstances broke them up, but they both sound like they want to get back together. Just do it, then.
Eric and Danielle, a blended team from race nine. They each raced previously with their respective best friends, but they fell in love during the race. Aww. Who knew they had time for that?
Phil gives his usual speech, and sends the racers on their way with a wave of his arm. They run to grab their first clue, hopping in their cars and racing off. I have to add that little Charla beat Drew to the cars. Hee. This dude’s way, way out of shape. Everyone seems to follow Oswald and Danny to the airport, since they are familiar with the Miami area. Nicknames come out already and snarky comments fly as the teams drive along the expressway, passing each other and checking out the competition.
Arriving at the airport, John Vito and Jill are the first to hop on a shuttle, telling the driver to not pick anyone else up. Rob and Amber are a close second, as Oswald and Danny run up to the departing shuttle. Rob thinks about leaving them, but tells the driver to stop and pick up the pair, saying it’s the least he could do since they showed the way to the airport. Make a note of this good deed, Rob says - it killed him to do it. Damn, what’s he trying to do, make me like him?
Liar, Liar, Pants On Fire
Once at the airport, the teams have a choice: take American airlines to Quito, Ecuador, which leaves later but arrives two hours earlier than Copa airline. Most teams figure out that American is the way to go, booking tickets on that flight. Except David and Mary, who figure this out right after their tickets on Copa are printed. David tries to get on American, but it’s too late. Whoops. Mary tries to lie to Dustin and Kandice, telling them to get on Copa, but the blondes don’t fall for it. Mary needs to work on her fibbing skills.
David and Mary head to the bookstore to buy an atlas, running into Rob and Amber. Or, Rob and Kim, as David says before he realizes his mistake. Back at the ticket counter, the American flight has run out of seats, so half of the teams are stuck on the Copa flight: David and Mary, Uchenna and Joyce, Joe and Bill, Dustin and Kandice, Eric and Danielle, and Kevin and Drew. If you’ve ever watched this show, however, you know those two hours won’t mean squat. Their next task will have them all bunched up again in no time.
Shut Up, Rapido
Planes land, Mirna annoyingly squeals at the cab driver “mas rapido, rapido!” over and over, and the teams all make their way to the Plaza del San Francisco for their next clue. To be fair, she wasn’t the only one yelling “rapido,” but she was certainly the most annoying. Rob and Amber (Ambuh, in Rob-speak) get a cabbie who knows a shortcut, enabling them to take first place. The next clue directs them to travel three miles to Pim’s restaurant, where they will take a number and get a starting time of 7, 7:15, or 7:30. There’s that bunching I was talking about.
Still back at the Plaza, somehow Drew trips and falls as he gets out of the cab, squirming on the ground in what looks to be great pain. Or, he’s just a big wuss. He loudly complains that his shoulder is dislocated, but Kevin tells him that he wouldn’t be moving it if it were. Was this guy such a whiner back in his original season? Everyone finally arrives at the restaurant, gets their number, and settles in for the night after a good meal.
Maps. They’re Not Just For Decoration, People.
7 am, and the first teams tear open their clues and head out to Hacienda Yanahurco, 65 miles away. The teams are provided with a map of the huge park, and are advised to use the North entrance. You just know someone won’t listen, and they’ll use the wrong entrance. It never fails. Mirna gets in her car and promptly complains about not being able to drive a stick shift well. They have done this before, right? Driving a stick is like, mandatory on this show.
The teams scramble to find the park, and like I thought, Charla and Mirna end up at the South entrance after enlisting the help of a local. They must have used that map for toilet paper, because they sure didn’t pay attention to it. Rob and Amber arrive at the park first, and open their clue to find:
- Detour: Wrangle It or Recover It. In Wrangle It, teams must help local cowboys capture, tie down, and groom a wild horse, cutting its hooves, mane, and tail. In Recover It, one member of the team must wear an historical military uniform as they both search a field for three missing items from that uniform: an epaulette, a button and a sword.
Rob and Amber choose to Recover It, but have to give up on the task after wandering the field for three hours, unable to find anything but the sword. Well, Rob said it was three hours, but I think he exaggerated a wee bit. All other teams decide to wrangle the horses, which is hard to believe after seeing how much trouble animals have caused before. Amazingly, the little shaggy horses don’t seem to be too much trouble and the teams complete the horse-makeovers with little fuss. John Vito and Jill are straggling way behind after getting bad directions, Charla and Mirna are still trying to make it to the right side of the park, and David and Mary are running in the back, much like they did last season. They didn’t call them ‘backpackers’ for nothing. Drew and Kevin blow a tire, but Drew refuses to take the time to change it, running on the rim all the way through the park. “I can get there just as fast on a flat tire!” he yells.
The teams make their way up the hill to greet Phil at the Pit Stop, and end up finishing as follows:
1st – Rob and Amber, winning a trip to Canada
2nd – Danny and Oswald
3rd – Teri and Ian
4th – Eric and Danielle
5th – Joe and Bill
6th – Dustin and Kandice
7th – Uchenna and Joyce
8th – Charla and Mirna
9th – David and Mary
10th – Kevin and Drew
Philiminated: John Vito and Jill
Somehow, John Vito and Jill got even further behind than Kevin and Drew, and end up eliminated. They’re understandably disappointed, but are glad that they had the chance. “Maybe this is going to put us, John Vito and Jill, on a new path that’s more than just friends,” says Jill. Aww. I hope they get back together. Just please, stop referring to yourselves in the first person. It’s creepy.
Well that was one quick premiere, wasn’t it? Ninety minutes would have been nice, but I guess that would have cut into Andy Rooney’s blathering. Join us next time as the Amazing Race turns into the Rob and Amber show, and Charla chews out the beauty queens on the side of the road. The fabulous suncat will be recapping the craziness next week - see you then!
I vote that we ban all racers from ever saying “rapido!” again....firstname.lastname@example.org