Welcome, Amazing Race fans! Looks like CBS gave us an early present this year - after unceremoniously dumping one of their sorrier shows, they decided to bump up the premiere of TAR12 to take its place. Yay! Some of us will have to deal with football interruptus this time of year, but it’ll be worth it to spend the holidays with Phil. Now, if Santa would just be so kind as to deposit Phil on my doorstep with a big ol’ bow around his neck, I’d....what? Get on with the recap already? Alright, alright.
The World is Waiting For You
We greet our eleven brand spanking new teams in style as they cruise up to the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles, riding in a parade of gorgeous antique autos. No sign of Hef and the girls, however. Sorry, guys. Here’s a quick rundown of who’s who this season before we get this thing started:
- Kynt and Vyxsin: Neon pink and black-wearing goths from Kentucky, both with an aversion to vowels and to being seen without lots o’ makeup. Supposedly dating, but yeah...I ain’t buying that.
- Jennifer and Nathan: Bickering couple number one. Jen claims that they’ve had “trust issues” (read: Nate couldn’t keep it in his pants) but they’ve gotten past that. You’d never know from all the screeching going on.
- Ronald and Christina: Father and daughter team. Ronald wasn’t around much when Christina was growing up, and hopes to make up for lost time now. She doesn’t seem bitter, quite the opposite.
- Shana and Jennifer: Blondies from L.A. who aren’t against using their looks to get their paws on a “million dollar shopping spree.” Oh goody, another one of those teams. One of them supposedly dated Ryan Seacrest, which causes her to immediately lose about 100 cool points.
- Azaria and Hendekea: Brother/sister engineers, aka Team Overachievers. These two are smart, slightly spazzy, and very touchy-feely.
- Lorena and Jason: Bickering couple number two. She wants to get married, he’d rather keep his options open. ‘Nuff said.
- Nicolas and Donald: Grandson and grandfather team. Nick is a freakishly tall pilot, while gramps leans toward the dirty old man stereotype.
- Ari and Staella: Bitchy bestest friends, one of those teams you love to hate. They ooze nastiness, and are proud of it. And it’s pronounced “Stay-la.”
- Marianna and Julia: A couple of very full-of-themselves sisters from Miami, they claim to have the competitiveness of men paired with cute women’s bodies. Whatever. And this one is pronounced “Hoo-lee-ah.”
- Rachel and TK: Cutesy, newly dating couple. Immediately dubbed the Hippies by the others for his scruffy look and her bohemian cuteness. At least they get along, which is refreshing.
- Kate and Pat: Married lesbian ministers. Don’t let the minister part fool you, they say - they won’t be afraid to trample a few feelings to win this thing. “We’re not wimps for Jesus.”
And there you go. Phil gives his usual speech, wishes them safe travel, and sends them scrambling for their first clues, placed on top of their bags. The teams rip them open to find that they must travel to Shannon, Ireland, and they all race to hop in one of the waiting vehicles. Squeals of excitement abound, adrenaline is pumping as they rush to leave the Mansion, but....what’s the holdup? Grampa Donald and Nicolas nabbed the first car, but Donald has decided to take his sweet time and count his cash before heading off, blocking the other vehicles. And let me tell you, they’re not pleased. The other teams honk their horns and holler, and grandpa finally gets it rolling. Phil looks at the scene with amusement.
Map Reading: A Lost Art
It doesn’t take long for people to get lost - five teams take a right at the first intersection, which was wrong. Smarties Azaria and Hendekea took a left at first, but turned around, second-guessing themselves and joining the “we can’t read a map” group. This lets left-turners Jason and Lorena take the lead on the way to the airport. Right behind them is Jennifer and Nathan, and Jen calls the ministers “bitches” as they tail the snotty dating couple. Lovely. Earning the coveted tickets on the earlier British Airways flight are Jason and Lorena, Shana and Jennifer, Nate and Jennifer (who bitches about the blondes “swooping their asses”), Kate and Pat, and Marianna and Julia. Everyone else gets stuck on the later Aer Lingus flight, which leaves 45 minutes after British Airways.
Azaria and Hendekea decide to use their waiting time wisely, and pair up with Ron and Christina to get info on their destination. They borrow someone’s laptop to do research, and even borrow someone’s cell phone on the plane to call ahead to Ireland and order two taxis for when they land. I hope that person had worldwide coverage. Yikes.
Unfortunately for the British Airways people, their connecting flight gets held up, letting the Aer Lingus flight get ahead of them. Azaria and Hendekea hop in their taxi, and Ron and Christina go to do the same, but....it’s gone. Ari and Staella stole it right from under their noses, and they knew damn well that taxi was holding for another team. They laugh. I laugh, too, knowing that it’s way too early to be pissing people off like that and taxi karma will come back to bite them. The British Airways people finally land, with sisters Marianna and Julia spazzing as they try to get a taxi. The ministers laugh at their screeching.
Fairies on a Ferry
Off they go to find the town of Rossaveal, where they must hop a ferry to the island of Inis Mor and locate Teampall Bheanain, considered to be the world’s smallest church. When they find the church ruins, the teams have to sign up for one of three ferries that depart in the morning at various times. As teams arrive and sign up for the first ferry, Ron and Christina confront Ari and Staella about stealing their taxi. They play dumb, but nobody’s buying it. All teams somehow end up on the first ferry, and dash off in search of the church on a rainy, dreary day.
The pairs are all jogging their way up the wet road, but Jennifer is falling behind. Nathan tells her to get it moving, and she throws a hissy fit. “You are the worst person at this I’ve ever met,” he says. He then starts to compare her to the other girls, and she screams at him, then runs ahead. Yeah, these two are going to be a blast to watch. Not. Landing the 8am ferry are Lorena and Jason, TK and Rachel, and Kynt and Vyxsin. Whiners Jen and Nathan, Ari and Staella, Azaria and Hendekea got the 8:30 ferry, while the rest get stuck with the 9:30am ferry, some because of bad directions they got earlier. “We need to do something better,” says Ron. The teams get some rest at a local inn, and ponder their mistakes of the day.
The first ferry riders get their clue the next morning: drive 42 miles to Cleggan Farm and ride a tandem bike to find the next clue. Lorena and Jason take off, but the other two teams are nowhere in sight. Lorena begins bitching at Jason that they’re going the wrong way, but he won’t listen. She continues whining, he ignores her. They stop for directions, and it turns out they were going in a loop. Oops. TK and Rachel take the lead, riding the tandem bike through the muddy trail to the next clue. The chain on Kynt and Vyxsin’s bike immediately breaks, but they don’t get flustered - they push the bike down the path, losing precious time in the process. The next stop is a Roadblock called High-Wire Bike: one team member must ride a high-wire bike over a 200 foot ravine, while their partner holds on for dear life on an 8 foot pole seat below. This kind of thing is why I don’t apply to these shows.
Freaks and Geeks
TK and Rachel perform the high-flying stunt first, and not without a little nervousness on TK’s part as the bike starts swaying wildly on the wire. The goths go second, with Vyxsin losing steam about halfway through (or it may have been nerves) while Nathan and Jennifer get there in third place, right behind the goths that they call “freaks.” Nice. As if I needed another reason to hate these two. They overtake Kynt and Vyxsin in a foot race to the next clue as the other teams straggle in.
Teams must then choose a donkey, fill each of its baskets with fifteen pieces of peat, and lead it to a hitching post. If you’ve watched this show at all, you know how much fun the animal tasks are. And by fun I mean watching silly humans try and force the critters to do their bidding, usually with less than stellar results. The teams run to pick a donkey and begin loading the peat bricks into the baskets. Jennifer asks if donkeys kick (I sure hope theirs does) and immediately begins hollering at Nathan about counting the peat. TK and Rachel are already on their way, having nicely prodded the donkey into walking with them. Nate and Jen’s donkey is plodding along in second place as Azaria and Hendekea’s animal is into sprinting, apparently - Azaria is running just to keep up with the critter, and they pass the nastiness that is Nate and Jen. Jen starts whining, and the donkey stops completely, just standing in the path. They pull and yell, to no avail. He’s not budging.
Meanwhile, Ari and Staella can’t get their donkey to go anywhere. They screech at the poor animal, and Ari even threatens to cut him up and eat him if they lose the race because of his stubborness. Down the trail, the goths pass up Nate and Jen, causing Nate to lose his temper and yell. Jen yells back that he “can’t be like that!” and the poor donkey has had enough - he starts braying long and loud. I think it was donkey-speak for “get these morons away from me!” Jen and Nate just stare helplessly, tears flowing. Lorena and Jason pass them, giving advice: “Talk to her, man, give her some love.” We did, exclaims Jen. They’re clueless. Ari and Staella are still throwing fits back at the beginning as TK and Rachel open the last clue of the leg: Drive 13 miles to the Pit Stop at Connemara Heritage Center.
The back-of-the-pack teams all catch up and pass the two pairs still having donkey trouble: Jen and Nate and Ari and Staella. Christina couldn’t believe how Ari and Staella were treating their donkey, saying that “Donkeys have souls too.” After the dust settles and the whining and cussing is over, the teams hit the mat in this order:
1st – Azaria and Hendekea, winning a trip to the Fairmont Resort in Alberta, Canada. Yay them.
2nd – Kynt and Vyxsin, without even smudging their makeup.
3rd – TK and Rachel, who made a wrong turn near the end and lost first place.
4th – Jason and Lorena
5th – Nicolas and Donald
6th – Shana and Jennifer
7th – Ron and Christina
8th – Kate and Pat
9th – Marianna and Julia
10th – Jennifer and Nathan
They’re out of here: Ari and Staella
So the donkey abusing team of Ari and Staella get the bad news from Phil that they arrived in last place. Too bad, not so sad. Their nastiness toward their donkey didn’t endear them to many viewers, and Ari ponders if his taxi thievery the previous day might have brought some bad luck: “Karma came back and bit us in the ass.” Indeed.
How would you get your ass moving? PM me at waywyrd@fansofrealitytv