The Fast Forward appears and two teams receive time penalties on another dreary Amazing Race episode

I’m confused: I actually find myself missing The Amazing Race 8. Actually, I just miss the cast, not the impossibly lame challenges and route. That’s because The Amazing Race 9 hasn’t won me over; I’m worried that the show has lost its magic. Perhaps I’m just in a bad mood, but I’m bored.

I started looking back at the show’s funniest lines last season because the cast was so ridiculous, but after another episode like last night’s, this exercise of recapping the best lines will conclude. Nothing’s really surprising or really that funny any more, and last week’s episode was just as boring. I’m tired of Lake and Michelle’s dysfunctional relationship, of BJ and Tyler’s pretend wackiness, and Eric and Jeremy’s insufferable attitudes and unrelenting success. With the hopes that the show rebounds next week, here’s one more go at it:

  • “It’s more fun if we just tease ourselves all day and make each other laugh,” Eric said. I have a better idea: How about we make fun of you instead? Oh, I forgot, that bothers you.
  • Finally, an equalizer: Everyone’s on the same 8 a.m. train to Rome. But what do you want to bet the frat boys and dumbass clowns still end up ahead?
  • Lake and Michelle started fighting yet again, but Lake got even meaner this time. “You didn’t hand the damn piece of paper or the sumbitch would be on me. You never hand it to me, bitch, now shut up,” he said. “I’m going to take the blame because I usually do,” Michelle replied. I hope they take a tape of this episode with them to a therapist.
  • “In the spirit of the upcoming movie the Da Vinci Code, teams have been given a parchment…” Phil said. What he actually meant was, “in the spirit of promoting a film and pretending it’s a challenge, we’re going to bore you with the most moronic puzzle ever devised.” The teams had to find two pieces of paper and then overlap them to “solve” the “puzzle.” Coma.
  • “We’re excited to be here,” Monica said upon arriving in Athens. “This is where thinking began and the great philosophers are all from here.” For Monica, visiting Athens must be a bit like Shamu visiting the desert.
  • “Taxi-doodle-doo,” BJ or Tyler said, and then BJ said “Agora-schmagora.” If you laughed after either one of those lines, you need to check yourself back into kindergarten. I wouldn’t hate them so much if they just stopped trying so hard to be funny, which makes them the opposite of funny.
  • The first of two fast-forwards appeared; as Phil explained, to win it, they simply had to smash plates. On Eric and Jeremy’s heads, hopefully.
  • Okay, Eric and Jeremy won the Fast Forward, and celebrated by throwing themselves into the rest of the plates and smashing them all. I officially loathe this season. Yes, I am bitter.
  • “Lift up your spirit before I get pissed,” Joseph said. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is another great example of relationship-strengthening communication skills from The Amazing Race 9.
  • Explaining the Roadblock, a “potentially frightening task” known as bungee jumping, Phil may have actually demonstrated it himself. He was harnessed as he explained the task, but all we saw was the back of a male person dropping and screaming, so the world may never know.
  • Fran was frightened to bungee jump, but when she finally did, she “jumped” by squatting and then sort of tipping over the edge in slow motion, which delayed her misery by about 20 seconds.
  • “Don’t curse at me,” Michelle said, crying. “I just got through doing something that was very hard. Take the map,” she said, throwing onto the camera lens, where Lake grabbed it and then slammed it into the back seat next to Michelle. “Dammit, don’t be a idiot right now, don’t be crazy now. You’ll (?) fall apart right when the pressure gets tough,” he said. A few minutes later he was hugging Michelle and saying how much he loved her. Someone has a problem.
  • When Eric and Jeremy checked in first, they won their reward: They are going to the premiere of the Da Vinci Code. “So we’re feelin’ like celebs now,” Jeremy said. Celebs and fuckwits.
  • Speaking of E&J, I’ll bet once they watched the episode and realized that utilizing the Fast Forward meant missing a task that involved wrestling a Greek guy in tighty whities, they regretted their decision.
  • Fighting again, Michelle said, “Why can’t you get the god dang directions,” and hysterically, the “god” was bleeped out.
  • My favorite words spoken this episode: “This is it. We’re done,” BJ said, after they drove an hour out of their way in the wrong direction. Alas, even though they arrived at the pit stop and received a 15 minute penalty for disobeying a route marker, Lake and Michelle were still eliminated at the pit stop, which Michelle referred to as “a fortress, it’s an antique place.”
  • Barry backed into a tree and smashed the back window of their SUV, and just kept driving, staying true to his old-guy persona.
  • BJ kissed Phil when Phil finally checked them in, and Phil made a face and said, “that’s just one of you, I hope.” Then the Tyler kissed him, and Phil clawed at his face and tore it off.
  • In his exit interview, Lake said their conflict was because of “those times when there’s just high pressure so you just want to blame your partner.” Michelle told us, “I’m sure that some people see our relationship and think it’s just completely whacked. You know, what are they doing together. But, uh, it works for us, we have a great family, beautiful children, and we’re gettin’ by the best we can, and I think that’s pretty good.” No, it’s really not. Get some help.

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    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.