The Amazing Race Review: "We Are No Longer In The Bible Belt"
Last week I asked that the race leave South America and I got my wish…sort of. I added the caveat that I prefer Leg 4 not bring us back to Europe where it seems recent editions of the Race have spent plenty of time. Certainly Europe is gorgeous (as Jeff said about Hamburg at the Pit Stop “you have a wonderful city, it is beautiful.”) and there are plenty of interesting places to go, but it just doesn’t have the exotic allure of less traveled places such as Africa, Asia and South America.
Nevertheless, fun to see the teams head somewhere different. I always love when plane flights are in an episode because they’re dynamic situations that allow for the racers to make up or lose ground on their competition. Although Jet and Cord’s advantage for finishing first last leg is wiped out by the twelve hour delay before any flight to Germany departs because of flight scarcity, the teams get rearranged.
Louie and Michael, who had the great line about South America, “this continent has not been good to us,” answer the bell on last week’s question (Can Louie and Michael get out of their own way to move up?) and rocket to the head of the race with Jet and Cord. Much like the last leg was tailor made for Jet and Cord, this one was tailor made for Louie and Michael and they took advantage. How awesome was it to watch Michael inhale the sauerkraut and then have Louie down the huge boot of beer? One of my pre-race favorites, it was good to see them work well together and get ahead.
With Jet and Cord, I’ve repeatedly asked if anyone can stop them and the answer still is no. Yes, I realize they slipped to fourth place this week, but that was because of some wrong decisions they made, not anyone else’s doing. Going from the intersection to the statue, they left even with Louie and Michael, but took the metro instead of a cab and teams caught up to them. For travel to the soccer portion of the detour, they chose a cab when the metro was faster. If Jet and Cord switch their decisions, they’re still easily into second place.
My man crush on Jet and Cord continues to grow every week. Michael and the bungee jump staff try to warn Jet that his hat is going to fall off on the bungee jump, but he calmly replies “no it won’t. “ While bouncing around after their jump, Michael exclaims “your hat didn’t fall off!” and Jet coolly answers “a cowboy’s hat never comes off!” At the bar later in the episode, Jet and Cord are able to laugh with the locals who get a kick out of how much they don’t like beer. It’s not often that you see people who are very comfortable about their identity, but not pretentious about it. These guys are a lot of fun to root for.
Speaking of beer, you have to love CBS's promotion of binge drinking by having contestants consume the enormous boot of beer right before the Pit Stop. You also have to love 57-year old Steve swilling the beer like he's back in college. Has any team been as dominant while being more under the radar? If this were Survivor, Steve and Allie would be the Sandra Diaz-Twine from Survivor: Pearl Islands who won while seemingly playing from behind every episode. Steve and Allie have yet to get any attention from winning a leg, but finished second three times now. Great effort by Steve this week, carrying the team. It was impressive to watch a guy his age drill the soccer targets and put away the boot of beer like he was playing flip cup.
I’m convinced that Jordan and Jeff are the luckiest Amazing Race participants ever. Last week I asked when their mistakes would catch up with them and the answer should have been this week. But, of course, the luckiest team ever finished last in a non-elimination leg and will live to race another day. I suppose, however, that luck is relative. They’ve had their fair share of bad luck too. There’s really not much you can do when you’re in a foreign country, don’t speak the language, but you know your taxi driver is taking you the completely wrong way. Tough break for them there, but the race gave it back to them with the non-elimination.
Initially, I was surprised to see Dan and Jordan and Carol and Brandy so excited to work together. Carol and Brandy kind of seemed like the loner team for this season. Dan and Jordan are polar opposites from Carol and Brandy in terms of their approach to the race. Carol and Brandy are a cut throat, win at all costs type of team. As Jet and Cord said, they didn’t really get a warm feeling from talking to Carol and Brandy last week. Meanwhile, Dan hates to travel and is only going on the race to help his brother fulfill a lifelong dream. Talk about happy to be there.
But, while doing the bungee jump with Brandy, Dan reminded me why they work – Brandy is the lesbian aunt Dan and Jordan never had! Ok, not really, but that’s the analogy Dan made about why he works so well with Carol and Brandy. When I heard that – duh! – of course this team will work well together.
Here’s hoping the race bucks its recent trend and doesn’t spend the next four legs bouncing around the mountains of Europe. With that in mind, here are a few questions to ponder going forward.
- Can Steve and Allie get over the hump and win a leg?
- How will Joe's knee impact his ability to finish the race?
- Will Dan’s admitted lack of enthusiasm impact his and Jordan’s chances of moving up?
- Can Louie and Michael continue to capitalize on the change of scenery?
- Will Jordan and Jeff be able to overcome next weeks’ speed bump?