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U-Turns, Chickens, and First-Place Envy on "The Amazing Race"

I'm never typically a fan of so-called "twists" in reality series, though they can shake things up from time to time. After all, The Amazing Race is a great example of a reality competition in which the rules of the game normally stay the same from season to season (except the dreaded Family Edition) and that's absolutely A-OK with me.

That said, I absolutely loved the inclusion of the U-Turn in last night's episode of Amazing Race ("Let's Name Our Chicken Phil"), a new game-defining strategy that not only lands one team in serious jeopardy but will reveal which teams need to resort to trickery in order to get ahead. In this case, when thrown into play, the U-Turn forces a chosen team to go back and complete the other half of a Detour. In the game's series of Detours, Road Blocks, and Fast Forwards (and, yes, even Intersections), it's an interesting twist that doesn't detract from the rest of the game.

I had no doubt that if any team was going to utilize the U-Turn (one of only two on the Race) this early on, it was going to be the irritating blondes. Personally, I am surprised that the producers cast another pair of blonde best friends so quickly on the heels of Dustin and Kandice, but maybe that's just me. Perhaps you're not as irked by their insensitivity, stupidity, and egotism as I am. I thought it was only fitting then that the gruesome twosome (looking all the more worse for the wear sans facials and manicures as we get on) used the U-Turn thinking that Jason and Lorena were right on their tails, instead of checking to see just who was actually right behind them. While, yes, the U-Turn is a legitimate article of play, I don't think there was any reason to use it so early in the game, much less, against the wrong team.

While the producers tried their hardest to make us think that Jason and Lorena would catch up after last week's camel-milking meltdown that took them from the lead to dead last, there was no way that they were going to do be able to complete the two Detours, the Roadblock, and make it to the Mat before Shana and Jennifer. Still, I was impressed with how cool and collected Jason was, even in the face of certain elimination, preferring to tell his partner that they'd find another way to make a million dollars, even while spewing some nonsense about how marriage would only cage their free spirits. Something to that effect, anyway.

Same too with the spiky-haired Phil's constant questioning of the contestants' chicken-carrying skills. I had hoped with the way that the editing had played up the fact that in order to check in, every team had to have their chicken with them that one team would have left it in the goat market or somewhere. Alas, no such luck. Instead, it just seemed like another attempt to add drama to an episode that was more or less a foregone conclusion.

I am surprised how well Ronald and Christina are doing, especially given his inability to shut up for any duration, his penchant for insensitive remarks about his daughter, and his hernia. Still, they've managed to surprise me by how well they've been doing thus far and might point to some hope for a meaningful relationship for these two down the road.

I'm happy that Hendekea and Azaria are still in the lead, especially after Hendekea stopped for a bathroom break while the other teams caught up. Still, they managed to quickly gain back their lead and finished in first place, just ahead of Jennifer and Nathan. Speaking of which, what the hell was up with Jennifer being angry that Azaria and Hendekea finished first again and didn't give them a chance to win this leg? Jen said something to the effect that Azaria and Hendekea had already come in first twice before and that they should really give someone else a chance. Um, honey, it's a RACE; there's so jumping ahead of the queue here. If you want to come in first place, just come in first place. Sheesh.

My faves have got to be the Goths, who once again proved that the only thing dark about them is their omnipresent eyeliner. Instead, Kynt and Vyxsin--who toned down the face paint this week a little--rocked the Shake Your Booty Detour, in which Kynt performed a whirling dervish of a sword dance, and Vyxsin appeared to be the only Racer who was really emotionally affected by their experiences in Africa, as she broke down in the cab after feeling the generosity of a people who have very little. Oh, Vyx, it's only made me root for you all the more.

Next week on The Amazing Race ("We've Really Burned Bridges, for Sure"), Shana and Jennifer discover that they have a target on their backs after using the U-Turn against now-eliminated Jason and Lorena, bicker amongst themselves, and reverse their car into the path of a speeding bus. Meanwhile, Ronald takes a fall during a challenge.


Anonymous said…
The Goths are definitely my favorite team. I loved how Kynt rocked that dance! Especially after the embarrassing display of Ronald and Christina's "dance." How are they doing so well with all of Ronald's nonsense?

Speaking of nonsense, I also think it's strange that the producers cast another set of blondes so soon after Dustin and Kandice. I really liked Dustin and Kandice but, next to them, the new blondes are nothing but designer impostors.
Oskar said…
I couldn't agree more about the goths, they are by far my favourites too. They just seem like such nice people! Like, people you'd genuinely want to be friends with. They're also not terrible at racing, which is also a plus (it's become a weekly pleasure to see TK & Rachel get lost doing something, just wandering off :) They seem to do that every episode).

Anyway, go Kynt and Vyxsin, we love you guys!
Anonymous said…
I have to disagree about the U-Turn. I think the blondes (as much as I dislike them) made the right decision by using it on Jason and Lorena. The girls knew that they were at the back of the pack and knew that Jason and Lorena were behind them. It was a strategical move and it worked for them by keeping them in the race. I have never seen the Yields, U-Turns, etc. as "trickery". As much as I don't like them, they are part of the race. They are perfectly legal and when used in the right situation, can help the team that decides to use them. It always irritates me when teams complain about other teams not playing fair or playing dirty by using a Yield. IT'S A RACE. Stealing someone's cab on purpose is playing dirty. Giving someone false information is dirty. Yielding a team is not dirty. Deciding to use a yield for a personal vendetta is stupid but if you are close to last place and yield someone behind you, it's strictly about survival.
greebs said…
What Whitney said...

Your comment, While, yes, the U-Turn is a legitimate article of play, I don't think there was any reason to use it so early in the game, much less, against the wrong team. is just a bit wrong.

Using a U-Turn or the Yields from prior seasons are smart if you need them, and the only real use is to use it against someone you KNOW is behind you and best yet, you HOPE is in last place. Jason and Lorena were so far behind that they were the only real targets. In fact, had they used it on TK and Rachel, it would have been dumb. The idea is simply not to finish last, so putting the last place team farther in last is smart game play. Why the editors chose to make it look like they screwed up and U-Turned the wrong team (when if you listened to what they were saying, they definitely knew what was up) is beynod me.

I don't much like the blondes, but it was good game play.
Anonymous said…
I am with Whitney. It's part of the game, and there are only two of them, so it's not like there are a bunch of opportunities to use it and they used it too early. It's the game. I did, however, want to see the moment when the blondes realized they'd mistaken TK & Rachel for Lorena & Jason and uturned the wrong team. That would have cracked me up. Idiots.

I have never been a yield fan, but I do like the uturn - it's clever and interesting.

I love the goths. Definitely my faves, along w/TK & Rachel. Definitely not as enamored w/bro-sis as you. I find their closeness a little creepy and I find his super-intense drive unsettling. It's a game and a race, but he is so uber competitive, he can't understand that sometimes you need to use the bathroom? He irks me.

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