Dani and Danielle, Eric and Jeremy hook up before reaching a fake pit stop

From teams hooking up to a a team member using a racist euphemism for “motherfucker” to a fake-out pit stop, this episode of The Amazing Race 9 may not have been as funny as the others, but it had plenty of drama:

  • Phil informed us that Team Nipple Ring hooked up at the pit stop with Danielle and Dani. “Those girls are really cute,” Jeremy said, in the least heterosexual way possible.
  • “We are very determined to finish the race first,” Tyler said, and so far, their strategy of acting like asses has worked. Maybe later they’ll fall back on BJ’s illegally hiding in airplane bathrooms strategy.
  • “Come on tiger, come on!” Eric said as he slapped Jeremy on the ass repeatedly. The producers must have had to hire an additional logger to record only the homoerotic moments and double entendre from Team Nipple Ring, thereby making my job impossibly easy.
  • BJ and Tyler leapt out of the bushes at Eric and Jeremy’s car, making both of them jump. That was the first time I laughed at BJ and Tyler, because it was damn funny. Not content to do it just once, they jumped out at Dave and Lori’s car and rode along on the outside of the car, and I immediately started hating them again. That was fast.
  • “If you don’t shut up…,” Lake threatened, as he whipped around a corner on a dirt rode. His wife Michelle simply replied, “We’re gettin’ killed.” Delivered in southern accents, however, all of this seemed a lot less threatening.
  • “Fly to Moscow Russia!” basically every team said, reading the clue. Do we really need to see every team say this? Are our attention spans really that short?
  • Every team read the clue out loud: “Fly to Moscow Russia!” Must we hear every team say the same thing? Are we really that prone to forgetting what happened just a few seconds ago?
  • “I’m going to punch you in the mouth,” Michelle told Lake; later, he said to her, “Michelle, don’t be a bitch.” They’d be our new Jonathan and Victoria, except while they don’t appear to be joking, they don’t seem to really be affected by each other’s barbs. The joys of loveless marriage.
  • Eric flirted with one of the girls on the plane by messing up her hair, and it was like watching a bear try to gently pick up a lizard with its paw but maul it instead.
  • In Russia, Monica said, “All I know is Russian people drink and smoke a whole lot.” And all Russian people know about Americans is that we’re simplistic, bigoted dumbheads, so thanks for reaffirming that, Monica.
  • “I might have to do it naked!” Michelle shrieked about the roadblock, which involved jumping off a high-dive. Why she thought she’d be naked is something only she can explain.
  • “The pretty girls? With the big boobies? They’re coming with you,” Eric told a cab driver. Would someone who knows a wizard please have them cast a spell to make Eric’s penis shrivel up and fall off?
  • “I can’t make myself go down,” Wanda said, but she ruined the joke because, when she said it, she was crying hysterically, scared to dive down into deep pool water.
  • Phil explained the Detour, one half of which involved searching through 1,500 Russian dolls, only 10 of which had “microscopic” clues inside the tiniest nested doll. I’m pretty sure this is the definition of “sadism.”
  • “We’re professional car washers,” Jeremy said. Who knew they even had jobs?
  • Wanda’s knowledge of other languages failed her in Moscow, as her daughter pointed out: “El trunk, Mom? He’s Russian, not Spanish.”
  • “Look at this rotten mammy jammer,” Lake said. I assumed this was some sort of epithet, and a quick Google search confirmed that: It’s a racist euphemism for “motherfucker.” Nice, Lake, you bastard.
  • “That music is, like, playing’ with my head,” Ray said, referring to the annoying band playing while they searched through dolls. The whole scene was reminiscent of that maddening “Tiny Bubbles” challenge during The Mole.
  • Eric and Jeremy landed on the mat first, and Phil said “However…” I thought he was going to say, “However, you morons were so busy pretending to flirt that you forgot to complete a task, so now you lose, and I must ceremoniously rip out your nipple rings.” But instead he said they were still racing and handed them their next clue. To be continued!

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.