I Think This Monkey Likes Me!
The Amazing Race 9 : Episode 11

It's a plane! Previously, Teams hurried from Perth to Darwin where along the way Teams waded through a muddy riverside growth that Philo lied about having poisonous spiders and plants, learned to play the didgeridoo from the aborigines, and did the obligatory skydiving thing. Along the way the BoHo Boys tried ineptly to cause a rift between the MoJos and the Freaky Fratboys and in the process becoming even more annoying, the Freaky Fratboys seemed to become more tolerable in comparion, and Joseph tried a little too hard to be the new Alpha Sneaky/Competitive Guy although he's in need of more lessons from the Robfather and Colin to make the cut. Monica started crying every other minute and the Telcoms are in there, being relatively sane compared to the more dramatic Teams. This week, four Teams are still left, but only three would move on after this leg. Da-da-dum!

Ooh, this show opens with scenes of crocodiles, angry spiders, and bad-tempered critters in the wild, as if I'm now watching Survivor. Then out steps Philo Koughie to explain that he's at the "Australian Outback", a place that he claims is so remote that they used the place for the second season of Survivor, uh, I mean, he says that the natives call this place "the Back of Beyond". The "freshwater oasis" Lake Bennett was the Pit Stop of the previous leg so it will be the starting point for this leg of the Race. Philo wonders whether the Telcoms, who came in first in the previous leg, will be able to keep their lead (with all the bunchings in this show, I really don't think so) and whether the MoJo/BoHo feud will ever become even a little interesting despite the Teams involved talking (or in the BoHo Boys' case, showboating) about it every other ten minutes or so. Philo really should start asking questions in his introductory babble that I can't simply answer no to and then lose all enthusiasm for the rest of the show. Tantalize me, Philo! Ask me whether I want to see BJ and Tyler drowning in a lava pit!

1:13 am. The Telcoms are ready to leave in first place. They learn that they must now fly to Bangkok, Thailand. Philo explains that this will be some 7,000-mile trip. In Bangkok, Teams will take a cab to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal, where they will then board a bus to Lopburi which is about 79 miles from Bangkok. Don't worry, the clue tells the Teams when and where to take what to where, so it's not like we'll see any Team accidentally ending up in some tranny bar in Bangkok or something. "Be kind to tourists" is the catchphrase of the Race since... the sixth season. At Lopburi, Teams will find their next clue in the monkey paradise of a temple called the Three Spire Pagoda (or Phra Prang Sam Yod if you want to sound more like some globe-trotting traveler). If you think the place is cute, wait until the last Sunday of the month of November when the people of the city throw a big feast for the monkeys in the vincinity - the monkeys actually sit on the tables and feast like they are greedy kiddies in a candy free-for-all buffet. The monkeys, you see, are considered bringers of good fortune in that region.

Yolanda and Ray find the fact that there are monkeys in the Pagoda most hilarious indeed. I know. I laughed too when I visited that place for the first time and then I had to be dragged away before I did something crazy like trying to smuggle a monkey under my shirt so that I could take it home with me. Hey, don't look at me like that - I once babysat a homeless orangutan in my backyard for two weeks before the wildlife people managed to find a home for it in some zoo so it's not as if I'm not a monkey person or anything. Yes, enough about me, back to the show. The Telcoms leave a pair of shorts on the BoHo Boys' windshield - remember, the BoHo Boys came in last so BJ would start the Race wearing nothing but the dirty shorts that they stepped onto the finish mat in.

Why they have to do that, I don't know. I suppose they mistakenly assumes that it is some "altruistic" thing to do, just like how the Robcouple were supposed to stop to check whether Dumb and Dumber died when their vehicle overturned back in season seven, because people aren't supposed to Race here as much as they demonstrate to the audience what fine and fabulous people they are. Many fans of this show like that kind of thing, you know. Back when the Teams had to find their own cabs around places outside the USA, these fans complained that the show is promoting some Ugly American values to people around the world. Then when the show obliges by making sure that the Teams get spoonfed with transportation details so that nobody will ever miss a bus or get angry with a cab driver, these same people complain that the show is becoming too boring. Well, there you go, people.

Anyway, the Telcoms tell the camera how everything is a game now and how they will use their physical as well as mental abilities to win. If that's the case, they won't help the BoHo Boys by giving them free stuff, really, because it doesn't make sense to help make a competitor's life easier when the game is on. Oh, please spare me the "humanity and integrity" nonsense, people - this is a freaking game show. The BoHo Boys - and Dumb and Dumber and Gretchen - won't even come close to sustaining life-threatening injuries on the show. The show isn't so stupid as to allow a lawsuit to happen to them.

1:20 am. The Freaky Fratboys crack up at the part of the clue that supposedly mentions a Team starting the Race with no pants - I think they are making that part up just to tease BJ - and as they leave, they leave a pair of slippers on the BoHo Boys' vehicle. How nice of them, I suppose. At least it's not used underpants. Jeremy says that it's nice to help BJ because BJ is human. As long as helping BJ doesn't cost more than $100, obviously. Eric now talks about how they intend to do things as they have done in the past: don't think, don't overanalyze, and don't worry. It's a pity that "don't talk" isn't part of the masterplan.

1:21 am. Joseph makes a crack about BJ having no pants too as he is reading the clue. As the MoJo leaves, Joseph does his best Charlie Chan impersonation by going, "You go to Thailand! Oi!" I suppose one could get offended by that if one is sensitive about that kind of thing, but I'm more dismayed by the fact that Joseph seems to have lumped Bangkok together with Shanghai. Dude, that accent is not typical of the people in Thailand, how embarrassing. They leave nothing for the BoHo Boys and talk about how they intend to pay back the BoHo Boys for Yielding them. Their vehicle overtakes the MoJos', and the Freaky Fratboys find this funny as since they tell the MoJos that they'll see the MoJos at the airport. The Freaky Fratboys know that at the airport every Team will be bunched up together again.

1:22 am. The BoHo Boys make a show about starting the Race with no pants in BJ's case and no shoes in case of the both of them, and then as they leave, they discuss what the other Teams left them and say that the MoJos are "not giving people" because they didn't leave anything for the BoHo Boys. I'm amazed at the way these two can be so self-righteous about not getting any donation from someone that have treated like crap in the last two legs. Do the BoHo Boys think they're such fabulous people that everyone else is expected to help them out, regardless of how they treat those people? As they tend to be, they then say that they will exact retribution on the MoJos. "I think MoJo has a date with not being in the Race anymore," says BJ. He can't even be menacing without coming off like a total idiot in the process. "Has a date with not being in the Race anymore" - what on earth is that all about? Trust these two twits to say something to the camera without actually pausing to think out their "jokes" first. Tyler contributes to the BJ and Tyler Braindead Joke Show by adding, "We've had that date before but it stood us up!" It may be even a little amusing if he's making some self-effacing poke at how lucky the BoHo Boys were to come in last in two non-elimination legs, but I don't think this idiot even knows how to spell "self awareness". "The MoJos are not giving people. They are getting too cocky for their own good!" - yup, they certainly don't have "self awareness" in their personal dictionary (which isn't even a dictionary, just a book with only one page with their photo and the caption "WE R THE GREATEST!!!!!!" underneath the photo).

At Darwin Airport, the Telcoms can't get anything on the spot so they instead call up a travel agent where they end up reserving seats on a flight that will take them to Bangkok in 11:00 pm. The MoJos show up next and they ask a helpful person to help locate possible good flights to Bangkok. Then the remaining two Teams show up and Ray tells them that there is no flight leaving for Bangkok until 6:00 am. The BoHo Boys at this point decide to head outside the airport to beg for money. Tyler goes "T-tow!" as his way of say goodbye to the others. Honestly, that word is not going to catch on and the BoHo Boys aren't going to be some national institution - nobody cares about the winners anymore to make them famous because this is the ninth season already - so he really should stop trying so hard. The Freaky Fratboys approach the MoJos and ask whether the fellow searching at the PC right now is helping the MoJos book a flight. Monica tells them that the fellow is merely looking at pornography. She makes a very good point to the Freaky Fratboys - if those two hadn't given the BoHo Boys shoes, the BoHo Boys wouldn't be allowed into the airport and therefore those two might end up missing a crucial flight. The Freaky Fratboys have an "Oh, shucks!" expression on their face as Eric weakly tells Monica that the flip-flops they gave the BoHo Boys aren't really from them. Monica manages to stop herself from rolling up her eyes like I know she wants to do and tells them to just go somewhere else. The Freaky Fratboys end up making reservations over the phone. All three Teams end up on the same flight.

The BoHo Boys hadn't even made ticket reservations when they decided to go out and beg for money. They make a spectacle of themselves in the most predictable way - have to love that woman who stupidly asks BJ to take off his shirt only to ask him to put it back on when he starts to oblige - but they think they are so funny so I suppose it's okay with them. They learn from the Freaky Fratboys of the flight the three Teams are taking, and the Freaky Fratboys take pleasure in telling the BoHo Boys that the particular flight is full. That means the BoHo Boys are left behind in the airport while the three Teams take off when the time comes. BJ says that they wasted too much time playing to the cameras when they could be making flight arrangements. He's the one with some self-awareness. Tyler goes to the camera and moans that the good guys are coming in last. Tyler is the deludedly stupid one - at least, more so than BJ, that is. Those two freaks however luck out by getting on a previously-full flight that will take them to Bangkok some fifteen minutes earlier than the other plane and Tyler brags about how good fortune happens to them because they have plenty of heart and soul and other nonsense.

Hey, it works for that stupid idiot Rupert "Hagrid" Boneham on Survivor, this constant self-proclamation of superiority over other people and passing off of their mediocrity and limited brainpower as some anti-elitism virtue, and their fans, tired of feeling lacking and wanting to blame beautiful, intelligent, and rich people of the world for all their problems, lap out the unthinking BS these poseurs serve up and ask for more. The BoHo Boys' fans go on and on about how those two are respectful of other cultures ("PIZZA PIE! HOT DOG! SEE ME-AH TALK-AH IN REALLY RUDE-AH ITALIAN ACCENT-EH!") and they really enjoy the Race as if no other Teams on this show have ever done the same. Sheesh.

Fortunately, there is some good in the world when the first plane actually arrives in Bangkok some 45 minutes earlier than scheduled and after a brief moment of wondering where the BoHo Boys are, they get into cabs. Joseph thinks that the MoJos' cab driver looks "shady". He has a point there, as I shall soon see. The Freaky Fratboys and the Telcoms reach the Mo Chit Bus Terminal where they board a bus leaving for Lopburi in midnight. The MoJos' cab driver, on the hand, tells them that the ticket counter won't be opened until 5:00 am. I don't know whether the driver genuinely has his facts wrong or he is somehow hoping that the MoJos will ask him to take them to Lopburi and therefore get the fare to go higher in the process. Anyway, the MoJos foolishly take his word and head for a hotel. The BoHo Boys arrive in Bangkok later that day and they manage to catch the 5:00 am bus just in time. The MoJos finally show up just as the 5:00 am bus pulls away with the BoHo Boys on board. They get tickets for the 5:20 am bus and the ticket counter lady assures Joseph that the 5:20 am bus is indeed the first bus leaving. I think she misunderstands Joseph and agrees that this bus is the first one leaving just like how one would say that the earliest bus for the day is 6:00 am while the previous bus that leaves at 5:30 am would be considered the last bus for the day before, if I am making any sense here. Anyway, Joseph is feeling cool and confident even when Monica is worried about not seeing the other Teams on the bus.

At about 5:45 am, the first bus arrives at Lopburi and the Teams then take cabs as indicated on the clue (which no doubt also reminds them to pay their cab drivers and always smile and say thank you afterwards) to the Three Spire Pagoda. As expected, it's closed until 8:00 am. The two Teams expect everyone to catch up with them and resign themselves to playing with and getting to know the monkeys until 8:00 am comes. The monkeys are used to being around people, but they seem to gravitate more towards the Freaky Fratboys, probably because those two aren't so far apart from those monkeys in the evolutionary tree. The two idiots think that monkeys have the best life ever and compare themselves to being monkeys should they ever win the monkey. Does this mean that those two will swing naked from tree to tree in some jungle in Thailand? That's fine with me, especially when this means that they won't end up on TV anytime after the Race, heh. Jeremy thinks that the monkeys like him. I bet they do. He probably doesn't smell any better than those adorable creatures. Yolanda on the other hand thinks those monkeys have germs and Ray compares them to five-foot rats on steroids. Hey, don't be mean about those monkeys! They're cuter than the Freaky Fratboys. The BoHo Boys eventually catch up with those two Teams, which means at 8:00 am, the MoJos are still missing in action.

Teams learn that it's time for a Roadblock. Also present in the clue envelope is a sealed envelope marked with a Travelocity gnome that will be opened only once the Team arrive at the Pit Stop as well as the Fast Forward. Philo explains that in this Fast Forward, a Team must eat a bowl of stir-fried crickets and grasshoppers. Philo says that it's a popular snack enjoyed especially by schoolkids after a day at school. Of course, the Teams are only told that they would be eating some "after-school favorite", so they don't know what they will be getting into. Really, these Teams should be happy that they don't end up in Cambodia and have to eat barbecued bats instead. The Telcoms and the BoHo Boys decide to try getting the Fast Forward. For the Roadblock, someone in a Team must set up a "monkey feast" like how one would do in the monkey buffet I mentioned previously. Eric takes this one because, as Jeremy puts it, "I've seen him prepare meals for monkeys very often, and he really knows what he's doing." It's in the delivery, folks: Jeremy says that in a most effective dry manner, something that the two Yell-At-The-Top-Of-My-Voice nimrods that are you-know-who will never understand.

As the BoHo Boys' cab pulls up at the restaurant where the Fast Forward challenge will take place, the Telcoms are still on the road. Yolanda nearly has me believing that she must be psychic of some sort when she wonders aloud, "An after-school favorite... a game of football? Cricket?" Yes, crickets are what the BoHo Boys realize they will be eating and while they aren't too happy with what they have to eat, they start eating nonetheless. The Telcoms show up and Yolanda quickly realizes that she isn't going to be able to eat a whole bowl of fried crickets and grasshoppers even if they actually taste very nice, ahem. Because the MoJos are still nowhere in sight, the Telcoms think that they can bail on this Fast Forward without getting into too much trouble so this is exactly what they do.

The MoJos finally show up at the Pagoda where they learn that they are the last Team to arrive. Monica immediately stops moaning about how the MoJos are done for and she doesn't let up on this until Jeremy informs them that two Teams went for the Fast Forward so the MoJos could still beat one Team if they hurry. Joseph takes this Roadblock - maybe because Monica is scared of the monkeys, I guess - and as he and Eric work on cutting and arranging fruits, flowers, and assorted plant parts and nuts, the Telcoms show up and Yolanda joins them. Even if she doesn't want to, Ray has used up his allocated six Roadblocks already in the previous leg. Their efforts are hampered by naughty monkeys that keep stealing things from their table, how cute. Meanwhile, the BoHo Boys eat and eat, with some obligatory clowning around thrown in.

Eric then finishes his display. The Freaky Fratboys learn that they must travel to Koh Kret Island to locate the Buddha Garden for their next clue. Philo calls the Buddha Garden a "local meditation center". Koh Kret Island is more famous for its desserts, handicraft industry, and flowers rather than "meditation center" though. Joseph and Yolanda finish their Roadblocks in that order and they all leave. The BoHo Boys are having a hard time with BJ throwing up and all, but if BJ's the one that's suffering, Tyler's the one who suggests that they quit this task.

Wow, the Freaky Fratboys are already on a ferry to the Koh Kret Island and then they are at the Buddha Garden. This show is determined to end quickly, I see, and I appreciate that. They find the whole flowers-and-zen thing unique and beautiful. Would they be the latest degenerate pagans to discover religion and all in a field of flowers (or something equally Richard-Gereish)? Anyway, they will have plenty of time to contemplate a life of celibacy and eternal zen after the Detour. Yes, it's time for the Detour. Philo explains that in "Move It", Teams must move 72 clay pots from a pottery factory called Jom Jom (no kidding) through the crowded Pakred marketplace to a boat docked by the river (the Menam Chao Phraya if you want to show off your geography knowledge to your friends). Teams do this by balancing as many pots as they can on a plank that will be carried by each Team member. In "Altar It", Teams will walk to the Buddhist temple of Wat Chimplee and assemble a shrine and gold-pleat a statuette of Buddha.

The Freaky Fratboys think that their last attempt to tackle a physical Detour bombed big time so now they will take the "Altar It" Detour. The MoJos show up next and promptly get lost while trying to locate the Buddha Garden. The Telcoms, when they arrive at Koh Kret Island, happen to stumble upon the Freaky Fratboys leaving the Buddha Garden so they get to avoid another navigational mishap that they always get into. They too opt to build a shrine to Buddha. And as they leave, they bump into the MoJos and Yolanda is nice enough to send them to the right direction despite her sentiments towards the MoJos. Nice, of course, but probably not smart, given that this is a Race and all. The MoJos too choose to decorate an altar.

Finally, the BoHo Boys gobble up the last of their lunch and are told to head straight for the Pit Stop: the Marble Temple in Bangkok. Or the Wat Benchamabopit Dusitwanaram if you want to show off to party guests. Currently a component of the National Museum, this temple is famous for its collection of images of Buddha from all over the world from past to present and it is also a memorial to the reign of His Majesty the King Rama V, a center for the study of the Dharma (the key teachings of Buddhism), and an example of great Thai architecture. Visitors will be granted access to some but not all areas of the Marble Temple. Back to the BoHo Boys, they T-tow and hoo-hoo ha-ha hee-hee their way into a cab before hitting the road.

At the Wat Chimplee, the Freaky Fratboys take some time to observe some the locals pleat the statuette of Buddha with gold leaf before getting down to the task themselves. The Telcoms also show up and get down to business. When the MoJos show up, they decide that they have to take the other Detour since there is a good chance that they will finish this particular Detour behind the other two Teams and come in last. But... I don't think the MoJos, or rather, Monica can handle the other Detour, oh dear. It doesn't take long for her to point out that she finds her board heavy once they've reached the pottery factory. Pots start to fall and smash to pieces as those two attempt to ask for directions and balance the pots at the same time. Oh dear.

The BoHo Boys show up at the Marble Temple and they of course congratulate themselves on being how awesome, never mind that everything that happened to them in this leg is due to good luck (or bad luck in the case of the MoJos) and bunching, with them having to eat a bowl of stir-fried grasshoppers and crickets as the only thing they have to do in this leg. They don't even have to find clothes since two other Teams stupidly donate some clothes to them even before they began their Race. Anyway, they are team number one. Philo asks them to check the Travelocity envelope. The Team with the envelope containing an image of a golden gnome inside will win some goodies but alas, the BoHo Boys doesn't have this particular envelope.

The MoJos manage to get 46 pots to the boat in their first trip, although who knows how many pots they have shattered in the process. Now all they need is to go back and carry another 26 pots. Back at the Wat Chimplee, idle chit-chat happens while the two Teams there work on their statuettes and shrine. Yolanda asks the Freaky Fratboys why they chose this particular task and they gave her an awesomely and deliberately stupid answer to her stupid question, where they apparently threw a lot of gold-leafing parties to score with all the ladies out there, heh. The show then cuts to a crowing cock and the supervisor nodding knowingly. This show kills me sometimes, I tell you. Ray tells Yolanda that he's an engineer that loves structures so, hey, call him the hustler. "Whatever," says Yolanda. At any rate, it seems like it is the law of the world that the Freaky Fratboys complete this rather dull Detour first and they take off to the Marble Palace. The clue spoonfeeds them by telling them to take a ferry back to the mainland and then a cab to the Marble Palace. What, is the show afraid that those two will end up boarding a plane to Ulan Bator by mistake? The Telcoms think they're done but the supervisor is not satisfied with the gold-leafing work and wants them to flatten the gold leaves a little more on the statuette.

The MoJos are still carrying pots. They could have finished this Detour when Monica drops some pots. Joseph tells her that he has four extra pots on his board so they can still make it, but she ends up crashing all the pots she has on her board shortly after. Joseph tells Monica not to give up as she predictably starts to cry, and as if to make a mockery of Joseph's urgings, she keeps breaking more and more pots as she loses control over her emotions. She ends up carrying only two pots while crying again and again about how she has let the Team down. She also starts saying that they are done for. Watching her, I am really impressed with what a patient man Joseph is to actually deal with her because it's not like he's not stressed himself. Monica is someone who has to be coddled and pampered when she's high-strung because she not just loses it completely when she's stressed, she also starts crying and wails about how everything is done for. Can you imagine a Team of Monica and Wanda? They will probably get eliminated by the third leg or so when the two of them give up and sob non-stop in the ladies' room for hours until Philo has to show up and mercy eliminate them. They reach the boat and learn that they only need seven more pots.

As they walk - yes, walk, not run, although this is most likely because Monica is in no mental condition to run - back to the Jom Jom Pottery Factory, Monica keeps talking about how she's let them down and he insists that she hasn't let anyone down. He's much kinder in this moment that he was with her in her scenes in the past. Joseph ends up carrying the last six pots while Monica ends up becoming a total victim of her overemotional blubbering as she follows him uselessly. As she always does, she asks him whether he wants to let her carry some of those pots. Joseph is no doubt thinking, "Hell, no!" but really, he's very sweet and kind to her. Meanwhile, over in the mainland the Freaky Fratboys can't seem to get a cab while back in the temple the Telcoms finally manage to flatten the gold leaves to the satisfaction of the Detour Supervisor. Maybe there is some truth about the usefulness of gold-leaf parties after all. After running for some distance, the Freaky Fratboys manage to get a cab while the Telcoms are also on their way to the Pit Stop. Close behind (or so the editing suggests) are the MoJos in the ferry to the mainland, with him conforting her by telling her that they are still in the Race. They too get a cab where she says that she is embarrassed by her crying back there and he wipes at her eye with his sleeve as he tells her that they did the best they could in a "very tough" situation.

There is not much suspense for the rest of this episode. The Freaky Fratboys check in second. Despite having to find a shirt to cover Yolanda's bare arms before she is allowed into the temple, the Telcoms come in third. They also have the envelope with the golden gnome so they're going on a yacht trip to Sydney and a stay at some luxury hotel. And finally, awww, the MoJos come in last and they are eliminated. She cries, he assures her that he's proud of her, and he says that they will be married one day and all. I hope she's stronger in real life compared to the hopeless lachrymosal mess she is on this show. I hate to think of her as the person that blubbers like a hysterical drama queen into her credit bills at the end of every month. I'm quite sorry to see the MoJos leave - okay, I'm sorry to see Joseph leave since I'm sure he would be a pretty good Racer with the brain and ability to go with his athleticism if he's paired with someone other than his useless girlfriend that breaks apart in every crucial moment of the Race. He can always marry her whenever he wants, but dang, why does he have to bring her onto the Race? Doesn't he have any friend or relative that can handle stress on this Race better?

The final three Teams all talk about how they will win, the usual, with the only thing worth noting is how Jeremy calls the BoHo Boys mere followers. It's a sentiment that has been brought up more than once, but the editing hides that aspect of the BoHo Boys, instead presenting them as worldly people with simple bohemian attitudes and all when those two idiots have proven themselves to be viciously petty and cocky assholes with a bloated sense of superiority and self-entitlement despite the heavily pro-BoHo slant of the editing. That's very telling, really, and I don't think I need to see the finale to figure out which Team wins this particularly tedious season of the Race.

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