The Amazing Race 4: Episode 2
Before we go on, I don't know if it's only in Singapore, but we get this "Due to the graphic nature of this programme, viewer discretion is adviced" warning before the show starts. It always amuse me how Singaporeans are okay with people killing each other on TV but scream that a married gay couple is something "graphic" that we should all get squeamish about. Human nature - what a hoot, eh? You can insert all sorts of knives through one's tummy but try to insert anything up where one's mouth or any fun places and the Moral Police will read you the riot act. Singapore, oh Singapore. We've all come a long way since those fishermen colony days, but we still have quite the distance to go.
Oh yes, where were we? Talking about the best reality show on TV, that's where. Last week, Sookie and Jackson bring on the funny and the cutesy moments, but gravity and lard finally get the better of them and they're out of the Race. This week, we have eleven Teams left, and they are all ready to go after a complete twelve hour's rest at last leg's Pit Stop, the Hotel Lajadira, in the town of Cortina at the foot of the Italian Alps. Philo Koughie sounds wooden in his introductory recap. Dear worry, Philo, nothing a little honey on the throat can't cure! He is looking good in brown jacket and smart black sweater underneath.
Three teams that came in first at the last leg get to leave first at 11:52 pm - the MillieChuck - still virgins, thanks for advice - ChrisAmanda - probably shagging like horny bunnies - and Father and Freak. They rip open their yellow Clue envelopes and read aloud the instructions there. Incidentally, why are they called "clues" when they are actually instructions? The Clue tells them to find their way to the foot of the Trampolino Olympico, an Olympic ski jump site, and then do some snow rafting fun to find the next Clue. The Trampolino Olympico is about a mile and a half from the town of Cortina. Father and Freak talk about how they intend to overcome the animosity in their relationship by getting everybody united in animosity against them instead. Or something. I hate Father and Freak.
ChrisAmanda asks for directions from sleepy people. Chris is pushing Amanda along, telling the camera that he is by nature aggressive and pushy. Amanda looks pinch-faced. Maybe she's still sleepy.
MillieChuck talks about their virginity, in case we forget for a minute that they dated for twelve years and still fail to close the deal. Apparently this virgin thing proves that they have great willpower to go far in the race. They confirm that they are in an alliance with ChrisAmanda and Father and Freak.
At the foot of the Trampolino Olympico, the three teams all look up the hill. Chris points out helpfully that it's "steep". the Virgin Millie declares that it's going to be fun. I really like this lady and her spirit - you go, Millificent Millievolent Virgin Millie! Father and Freak stay at the foot while ChrisAmanda and MillieChuck go first. As Freak tells the Father, he is sure that the other two Teams will wait for them.
"This is so fun!" Virgin Millie screams, waving her hands wildly as she wheeees down the hill. Hmm. The MillieChuck quickly run to the Clue stand and grab their next Clue. They must now travel to Venice by train from two possible stations, the Calalzo station or the Alpi station. The Alpi station is father away, but the train that departs for Venice at the Alpi leaves earlier than the one at the Calalzo.
"Holy sheet! Holy crap!" Chris howls as he and Amanda go down.
Freak tells Father that he is so scared when they stand at the top, about to sled down. Next thing I know, he's screaming "Wooo!" like the best of them. Freak. Heh heh.
All three team stay together and ask around for the fastest way to get to Venice. The people they meet suggest the Calalzo station, so that's where they all head. To Calalzo, the first equalizer of the game. In other words, forget breakfast, have an early bunch instead, Teams. Good morning Italy.
At 12:49 am, the Hot Mommas depart from the Pit Stop. They talk about how they want to prove what strong women they really are, blah blah blah.
At 1:05 am, the Incontinent Air are in hot pursuit. They decide to get a cab instead of hiking to the Trampolino Olympico on foot, because remember, one of them hurt his ankle at the last leg of the Race. Of course, judging from their usual pace, I really suspect that a cab for them, broken ankle or not, will always be a good idea. They talk about refilling their gas tanks. I hope they bring enough adult diapers with them. Oh, you mean they're not talking about that?
Hot Mommas scream as they go down the hill.
Team Incontinent Air looks at the ramp and the slope. "This is too cool!" they say when they see the Hot Mommas sliding down. Then they go down too. "Gravity! Gravity!" they holler.
The Barrs finally leave the Pit Stop. She says that she wants to show Dan that married life with her is as exciting as his bachelor life. She's doing a miserable job at it, and I suggest she start by smiling a little more and stop nagging like an annoying shrew. For some reason, they make their way to the top of the Trampolino instead of the foot as the Clue instructed. It's a slow walk back down. Dan Barr decides to just slide his butt down the slope. Who needs sissy things like sleds - watch Dan go, wheeee! Roseanne watches askance. Team Incontinent Air, who are making their way out of the place, see Dan sliding down and wonder who these "idiots" are. My eardrums take a beating when Roseanne screams as she follows Dan down. Upon realizing who are sliding down the slope sans sled, Team Incontinent Air sums it up nicely: "I did not think they'd be that stupid." To celebrate, they take the cab that brought the Barrs (wrongly) here to the Calalzo Station. I think these guys aren't that annoying after all.
The Sideshow Bobs leave at 1:22 am. They finish their task, leave the place, no problemo.
Cyrus departs at 1:44 am. Russell says that there's no romantic stuff going on in this Race because he does not travel all the way here to have sex. With this guy and the MillieChuck, maybe we should rename this show TMI instead of TAR.
The Sideshow Bobs and the Hot Mommas meet at the Calalzo station and the Mommas warn the Bobs that some teams will be very aggressive today so watch out.
To make a case for the Mommas, Team DADT chomps furiously out of their stalls and Top Gun DADT announces that last time around, Father and Freak and Incontinent Air jumped queue and stole their tickets so this time Team DADT is not going to play nice. Actually, even if Father and Freak didn't buy tickets for Incontinent Air, DADT will still not get the tickets because the tickets will go to the Hot Mommas. Top Gun better recheck his righteous anger because his logic is a little cracked.
Cyrus are lost. They wander around until they finally decide to make their way back to the Pit Stop and get a cab to take them to the Trampolino. While they waste time, DADT slides down the hill while Incontinent Air reaches the Calalzo Station to join the Teams already there. The Oily Bohunks leave at 3:08 am. By dawn, all the teams are already there at the Calalzo. except for the Barrs (who took a bus instead of a cab - "to save money" - and the Cordelias who are so far behind). Team DADT reveals that the Hot Mommas are going around the Pit Stop last night telling DADT and the Oily Bohunks that the Father And Freak are targetting to eliminate the Holy Pecs Alliance first. You'd expect these Teams to learn by now that you cannot eliminate other Teams from this Race unless you deliberately sabotage them, and sabotage can get you disqualified. The best way to Race is to be nice, race well, and hope for luck. Don't these twits learn anything from the futile Twin Hunt nonsense last season, when the Zoolander Twins end up defeating every Team in the useless alliance except for Flodungka and the Mumbler, an aberration of justice I'd sooner prefer to forget?
Anyway, so DADT is mad. "It doesn't say first come, first served," Top Gun says. So Top Gun DADT cuts the queue, kicks away Father's bags that are left there to mark his position in the queue, and holds the door handle, blocking the way so that nobody else can pass DADT. Top Gun admits that it's childish, what he is doing, but damn Wheezer and Geezer (heh, I like this one). Father has the temerity to accuse Team DADT of cutting the line, upon which Top Gun delivers a well-deserved put-down, reminding Father of his Team's cutting the line for Incontinent Air at LAX. But the last laugh's on DADT when the Sideshow Bobs happen to talk to a bus driver and learns that the train at the Alpi station leaves earlier. The other Teams dash to board the bus, leaving DADT to hesitate before letting go of the door handle and catching up with the rest not too graciously.
Poor Barrs and Cordelias walk up to a deserted Calalzo station. "Where's everybody?" one of the Cordelias wonders aloud. Gee, I don't know, dear.
The train departs at 5:40 am from the Alpi station to Venice. Team DADT read maps. Russell is conferring with them, leaving Cyndi to complain that the man never talks to him, instead talking to other Team members when it comes to discussing strategy. She wonders whether Russell is the right partner for her. Obviously, no.
At 6:15 am, the train for Colalzo finally departs. Cordelias still seem surprised that they and the Barrs are the only Teams on the train. Roseanne tells the Cordelias that the other teams are long gone. Sigh. It's tough to be last. While the Cordelias whinge and whine, the Barrs try to formulate a plan of some sorts.
At the other train, Cyndi is complaining loudly to Russell about how she needs to know of his plans if they are to work as a Team. She says that it is amazing how she gets through the world without him. Yeah, he agrees, it's amazing. She snaps that he's talking back to the wrong woman. Oh, just dump that sorry insensitive has-been no-longer-pretty ex-model, girl, you can do better! Where's your sense of pride? As those two go back and forth in their arguing, the Hot Mommas yawn, DADT look dazed, and everybody else looks stoned.
8:18 am. Choo-choo! The Alpi train has arrived in Venice. The nine Teams race to the Clue Stand at the Ponte della Guglia and learn that they have to do a Detour. Philo appears in a flaming brown jacket and a sweater with ultra thick and chunky neckwrap to explain that a Detour means the Teams can choose to perform one of the two suggested tasks before they can proceed further. In this instance, Teams can choose between "Waterways" and "Pathways". In "Waterways", a Team will have to navigate a gondola (driven by a local) through the canals of Venice with only a map at hand to look for the next Clue Stand. In "Pathways", the Team must travel on foot through the maze-like streets of Venice to look for the next Clue Stand. Teams doing the "Pathways" can ask for directions to their hearts' content.
Seeing how all the other teams jump onto gondolas, MillieChucks, still virgins, always afraid to take the plunge, flee the deep unknown waters for the more familiar "Pathways". Virgin Millie rationalizes their decision by saying that while the others are hampered by the traffic in the canals, they can run. But as she calls out for anybody who can speak English to help them, the Pathways are more confusing than expected.
Meanwhile, there's a gondola line formed, with the Incontinent Air and ChrisAmanda at the end as the geezers and Amanda enjoy the scenery. The Oily Bohunks are on the lead, until somehow they end up in a narrow canal blocked by a power boat. A bottle neck is formed since the other Teams are blindly following the Oily Bohunks. ChrisAmanda, at the back of the line, seizes the opportunity to back up and become the leading team.
A friendly tomato seller refuses to leave his stall and show MillieChuck the way. Thankfully, a kinder woman decides to lead them all the way to the Clue Stand - yes! Until they realize that they can only proceed with the next stage of the Race when the Palazzo da Mosto, one of the oldest houses in Venice and their next stop, opens only at 5.00 pm. Bonghammer, come here and let me smack you in the head for putting two stupid bunching nonsense in one episode. Too many bunching ruins the Race and introduces too much element of chance, the very elements that made Flodungka and her Mumbler win last season, so Bonghammer, Cut It Out NOW. One bunching per episode, I'm okay with it. One bunching every few episodes? Even better. Two per episode? Eat my shoe, Bonghammer.
Anyway, back to the gondolas. They are slowly making their way out of the canal. After muddling their way around, they all find the Clue Stand and climb up the stairs onto the streets to grab a clue.
Meanwhile, on the Calalzo train, the Barrs are watching and smirking as the Cordelias begin bickering. But the Cordelias make up and begin smooching on the gondola, how romantic. Meanwhile, the Barrs walk, with Roseanne as usual heaping verbal abuse on Dan and complaining about everything as Dan tries to orient himself with the compass in his hand. The compass points to Flee That Woman wherever he turns. He says they are going west. She says they should be going east. Then they somehow finds the marker, and they are happy again. What a bunch of twits.
Incontinent Air complain that they can't keep up with the rest - gee, how did we forget? - so they decide to take the Fast Forward. No! I want to see this Team eliminated. The Fast Forward is pretty lame - they have to go to the Rialto Bridge and take part in what seems like a bad Dr Frankenstein's Monster Autopsy performed by a street comedy troupe called the Comedia dell'Arte. They get the Fast Forward to go straight to the Pit Stop at this leg of the race, a boat called the Citta di Padova that is right now anchored in Venice's main lagoon near Padua. Last team to get here will be eliminated.
For the other Teams, they have time to kill waiting for the Palazzo to open at 5:00 pm. Some smart ones like DADT camp outside the door. Others, morons like the MillieChuck, Sideshow Bobs, and Father and Freak, go sightseeing and come back close to 5:00 pm to see a queue ahead of them. They will really kick themselves when they learn that the Palazzo will only admit four person at one time. The Sideshow Bobs in fact pretends to cry, because in this case, those at the back of the queue will really bite the big one hard. At 4:59 pm, a masked doorman brings out a box containing the Clues. Teams learn that they must now perform a Roadblock. A Roadblock is a task where only one member of the Team can perform. In this Roadblock, there is a masked party going on inside the Palazzo. A Team is given up to four photos, and it is the Team member's task to find the masked reveller wearing the same mask as the one in the photo, hands the photo to the reveller, and collects the next Clue from the reveller. If the Team member gets it wrong, the masked reveller will take the photo and quietly walk away, forcing this member to take his place at the back of the line to wait for his turn to enter the Palazzo again.
Team Incontinent Air reaches the Pit Stop even as the other Teams prepare to enter the Palazzo. Whatever. They've only prolonged the inevitable by one more week.
The first four to enter the Palazzo are Russell, Monica Hot Momma, Chippo DADT, and Freak. Freak complains that this Roadblock is crap and he should've let his father do it instead. He should have - he identifies the wrong reveller and he has to go back to the end of the queue, grumbling all the way out. Jeff Oily Bohunk takes his place in the Palazzo.
Chip DADT is the first to identify the correct reveller and immediately dashes out of the house, calling for Top Gun to follow him. It's just a fifteen minute walk to the Citta di Padova. Chippo's place is taken by one of the Cordelias.
Russell gets his clue next, and he is quickly followed by Cordelia. Freak curses as he sees the Team members dashing out of the Palazzo towards the next stop. Dan Barr and Chris take the place of Russell and Cordelia.
Jeff Oily Bohunk gets his. Sheree Hot Momma is really fretting now, because Monica Hot Momma, the second one to enter the Palazzo, has yet to show her face. Dan Barr gets his. The Virgin Millie takes his place. "Excuse me? Can I take a look at you?" she asks, grabbing the snout of a masked reveller. "No, you're not the one," she says dismissively and moves on to the next reveller. I think this lady will be really fun to have at birthday party games.
Chris is rejected. Ouch. One of the Sideshow Bobs as well as Freak move in next.
We see Roseanne begging Dan to use his compass to show them the way to the Citta di Padova. He tells her to trust him. Breathlessly, she can only say that she believes him.
Freak gets his. The Virgin Millie is still grabbing masks and staring closely at each one.
DADT has reached the Pit Stop - second. They are very excited this time. They should - they've been boosted way high up in the hierarchy today. Play this right, and they can maintain the lead.
Cyrus and the Oily Bohunks are frantically asking for directions as the Barrs step on the Finishing Mat in third place. Roseanne says that the Race helps them communicate. Well, it helps her to vocalize loudly and painfully, that I can say.
Monica Hot Momma, the Virgin Millie, Al Sideshow Bob, and Chris are now the last ones in the Palazzo, still roaming around staring at the revelers of TAR4's own Eyes Wide Shut party. Chris is rejected the second time. He says he sucks at this Roadblock. Tell us something we don't know.
The Cordelias are fourth to finish this leg of the Race. The Oily Bohunks are fifth.
Finally Al Sideshow Bob gets his. Shortly after the Virgin Millie runs out of the Palazzo, Clue in hand.
The Sideshow Bobs finish sixth, while Cyrus, who knows what they are doing all this while, finishes seventh. Father is having problem running, and he and Freak can only gasp and wheeze as the Milliechuck finishes eighth. Chuck says that there are three things that help them on the Race - trust God, do their best, hustle everybody they meet for directions, and for a while there I almost thought he has a sense of humor. His missus is amazingly plucky but this guy is still a bit on the nonentity side. We'll see how he behaves later on, maybe he'll surprise me by losing his virginity to Top Gun on prime TV or something. Father and Freak are in ninth place.
I should point out that for the last ten or fifteen minutes, the editing and the camerawork have been almost epileptic in their shaky and rapid frenzy. Also, this Masquerade Ball Roadblock is one of the best ever of its kind. We should do more of this type of Roadblocks in the future, as long as we can get rid of the other bunching elements per leg of the race.
Finally, Monica Hot Momma identifies the correct reveller. Mind you, I saw her mask and seriously, is it that hard to identify a mask with four different-colored quadrants? Chris also finds his, and now it's a mad dash to the Pit Stop. Sheree Hot Momma says that everyone has left except for one team. And this one team is right now also making their move. Chris tells Amanda that the Roadblock was very hard. She points out the direction where she saw the other teams leave and they dash in that direction. Hot Mommas are desperately asking for directions. We see feet running, we hear people panting, and the camera jumps all over the place, giving me a headache. We see people approaching Philo and the Local VIP Greeting Dude on the Finishing Mat. We hear Philo congratulating the Team. Well, who is it? It's... the Hot Mommas! Philo scares them by pausing a little too long deliberately before saying that the Hot Mommas are in the tenth place. The Mommas cheer and hug and do whatever it is that people always do when they're at the Finishing Mat. I wonder what tales they will spread this time around at the Pit Stop.
Aw, ChrisAmanda are crying. They really want to move on. Still, he says that he looks forward to spending the rest of his life with her and she says, well, he's a little jerk but she loves him all the same and they'll be okay. Well, good luck guys, but in the meantime, the Race goes on.
Next week: kitty bitchfight as Millie the Asthmatic Millievolent Wonder Woman bloodies Chippo DADT's nose! You go, Millie!
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