Amazing Race, Nov. 1 – Teams on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Welcome back, race fans. After spending the entire last leg in Dubai, it’s time for the teams to hop on a plane and head to another continent. Meghan and Cheyne are the first to depart, leaving from Dubai, destined for Amsterdam. Once they arrive, they need to look for a monument on a causeway. But first, they need to fly 3,000 miles. I wonder if they get to keep their frequent flier miles, as that could add up. Let’s just hope that their pilots are so busy surfing the internet that they forget to land in The Netherlands.

Let’s All Gather at the Airport

They are leaving at 1:30 in the afternoon, and the earliest flight they can find right away doesn’t leave until midnight. Can you say “equalizer”? Edward Woodward would be proud. This is good news for the Globetrotters, who have been bringing up the rear for the past couple of episodes.

The last team to depart is less than 4 hours behind, so it sounds like they’ll all make the same flight as long as there are enough tickets. Ericka worries that she is becoming a “nagging wife.” Brian doesn’t interrupt to correct her.

The teams all gather at the food court at the airport while waiting for their flight. The Globetrotters tell the teams about Mika’s meltdown at the top of the waterslide, and how Big Easy discouraged her from going by saying “it’s not worth it, baby.”

Everyone is laughing and smiling, so Dan and Sam decide it is time to come out the all of the other teams. They tell everyone “we’re the token gay team” and Brian says “that explains the matching red swimsuits.” I was thinking the same thing when I saw those suits, but the brothers explain that the swimsuits were their mother’s idea. Since when are moms better judges of fashion than gay men anyway?

Tiffany and Maria try not to act shocked to find out they’ve been flirting with gay men this whole time, but say it is no big deal to them. While everyone is sharing information, Gary asks the group: “Should I tell Matt he’s adopted now?”

Bats In Your Belfry

As if a perfect premonition for their leg, immediately after arriving in Amersterdam, Brian and Ericka can’t figure out how to get their luxury car into gear. Maria and Tiffany snicker that Brian and Ericka must have never seen a luxury car before. Brian is freaking out, but ends up asking a stranger, who helps.

Meghan and Cheyne jump out to a quick lead, finding the monument, which leads to a clue that leads them to the tallest tower in a nearby city. The Roadblock involves climbing the stairs up the tower to the bell tower of a town’s carillon. All the teams arrive and are climbing up the tower. The bells start ringing (which is actually from some guy playing an organ-like contraption, wow, this carillon is cool). The teams are trying to count the number of bells while they are ringing and presumably quite loud where they are standing.

Matt got the correct number of bells first (62), and they leave, on their way to find a windmill. I’m wondering if it wouldn’t be easier to count the number of keys on the bell-masters’ keyboard, as it would make sense that each key would have a corresponding bell, and it’s not hard to count keys in a row.

Meghan and Cheyne overhear Dan and Sam telling Tiffany and Maria the number of bells and give the boys a hard time. Dan and Sam think it is a shrewd move because they think they can beat the poker chicks in a foot race. If it’s them or the Globetrotters, yup.

I wonder how Brian and Ericka feel about Sam and Dan giving the answer, as Ericka is still working on it, and about 20 bells short in her count. Brian has his arms inside the body of his shirt, so his short sleeves are flapping empty. It’s probably cold there. Either that, or he’s just a dork.

And Now is the Time On Sprockets Where We Dance (Or Golf) – In Weird Clothes

Most of the teams are now on their way towards the Detours. Both detours involve dressing in traditional Dutch clothes and riding bikes. Farmers’ Game involves stripping down to traditional farmer’s underwear, swimming across a lake, and then playing a version of golf that they need to complete with a limited number of strokes.

In Farmers’ Dance the teams need to find a country festival where they need to ring a bell by swinging a sledge hammer, and then learn a traditional folk dance. After learning the dance, they need to eat some disgusting looking herring. I’d opt for the swimming and golf just to avoid eating that herring, but others in my family (especially my dad) would go out of his way to get that delicious treat. My family actually fights about whether to get the herring in the “cream” sauce or the oil. Blurrrgh.

The teams look adorable in their traditional Dutch outfits. For some reason, all of the teams have one male and one female outfit, regardless of the actual genders of the teammates. Riding a bike in wooden shoes does not sound fun. The brother pick the Farmer’s Game, and need to strip down to the farmer’s granny panties for their swim. I thought that one of the brothers was showing us that the “ladies” farmer’s wear involves a bra, but it wasn’t. It was actually some type of strap-on wallet. How odd. Meghan and Cheyne picked the golf challenge, but were having a tough time getting the hole down in less than 8 shots.

Maria and Tiffany head towards the bike part of the challenge, and Maria wears the pants in that partnership. Brian is trying to calm down Ericka, who still hasn’t figured out how many bells are in the belltower. They are trying to stay calm, but realize that their chances in the race are slipping away.

Dan and Sam are the first team to finish the Detour and head towards the Pit Stop. Meghan and Cheyne finally figured out the unusual golf game and are on their way. Will they be able to edge out Dan and Sam and win a third (or would it be fourth) consecutive leg?

Do You Think You Can Dance – And Eat Herring?

Matt and Gary went to the dance challenge, but realized it involved eating herring, so they left to do the golf challenge to avoid having to eating that nasty fish. Maria and Tiffany are at the dance challenge, but are having trouble with the “high striker” which is a carnival strong man test of hitting a platform and causing a disc to shoot up a tower. They aren’t having an easy time

At the Pit Strop, Dan and Sam are the first team to arrive, and win a sandbuggy. Phil asks if they enjoy dressing like this, and they reply “we aren’t that kind of gay, Phil.” The local guy standing with Phil at the mat gives them an odd look. Is that really a type of gay, the Dutchies?

The Globetrotters are the only team that has stuck with the dance challenge so far. Flight Time explains that for their basketball team, they learn routines that are not unlike dance routines. They look hilarious in those outfits.

Matt and Gary and Maria and Tiffany are all golfing (all after leaving the dancing challenge). The wind has picked up, making it even harder. Brian and Ericka have finally left the bell tower and are in the goofy clothes, walking in the uncomfortable wooden shoes. They seem to have missed the part of the clue that tells them to ride bikes to the Detours.

The Globetrotters get the dance routine down, and proclaim it to be “Soul Train.” They get the crowd cheering for them. And now they need to eat the herring. Flight Time looks pretty disgusted, but they are eating it. Flight Time “does not want to talk about” the herring, but changes the topic to their dancing, saying “didja see me get down, didja?”

You Can’t Bluff Your Way to Golf Success, Or the High Ringer, Apparently

Tiffany and Maria are unable to get the golf balls into the holes in the allotted 8 shots. They are hard pressed to keep going with this, but also know that they didn’t have an easy time with the dance challenge the first time. The poker chicks are now on their 50th attempt at the high striker challenge. They’re crying and hugging each other, realizing they may not be able to complete either Detour this week. Tiffany seems to be close to hitting the target, but Maria isn’t anywhere close.

Brian and Ericka forgot to ride bikes and had walked for part of the challenge in uncomfortable wood shoes. They walk on (without getting the bikes they were supposed to ride to the Detour) as Ericka chews out Brian.

Tiffany and Maria bail on the dance challenge (again) after what looked liked a hundred unsuccessful attempts at the high ringer. Brian and Ericka ring the bell on the first time, do the dance with no problems. Ericka even says the dance brought them back together. Ericka is eating the herring with a smile on her face. Oh yuck.

Would Pretending to Riding An Imaginary Bike While Wearing Wooden Shoes Avoid a Time Penalty?

Brian and Ericka realize they are supposed to ride bikes to the Pit Stop, so they borrow bikes from some locals, promising to bring them back. Tiffany and Maria are golfing in the wind, with no more luck than the last time. Brian and Ericka arrive at the Pit Stop, but are told they are assessed a 30 minute penalty for not following the instructions to take a bike to the detour. They sit and wait for the half an hour, and Ericka is crying. Brian tells her to keep calm.

They wouldn’t be freaking out if they were watching Maria and Tiffany unsuccessfully golfing and crying, as they are not having any success. Eventually Phil comes out to the golf area. The poker chicks have decided to quit because they are freezing cold and don’t think there is any way they can complete either of the challenges. Phil doesn’t tell them, but they had already lost because all of the other teams have checked in, including Brian and Ericka who were able to check in after waiting their penalty 30 minutes. Let’s hope they also returned the borrowed bikes.

It was a tough break for Tiffany and Maria. They were a strong all female team, but they were not strong enough to ring the bell. Reminds me of when the bowling moms were eliminated because they had a tough time doing a rope climbing challenge that involved lots of upper body strength. If the show wants an all female team to win, they need to find alternatives to these challenges requiring above average upper body strength. Granted, this requirement was only for one of the two possible Detours, but the other challenge was also physically demanding (at least they made it look that way), and did in the last all female team of the season. I still think lying about their jobs at the beginning was stupid, but I liked them better as the season went on.