BJ and Tyler win The Amazing Race 9

After last season’s lame race, which might as well have just taken place at Epcot’s World Showcase, The Amazing Race 9 rebounded, allowing its teams to completely circumnavigate the earth.

The three remaining teams–Eric and Jeremy, BJ and Tyler, and Ray and Yolanda–ended up at the Red Rocks Amphitheater, exactly where they’d started. There, BJ and Tyler crossed the finish line first, after they came from behind to beat Eric and Jeremy at the final Roadblock.

When it was down to just Eric and Jeremy and BJ and Tyler, I was rooting for the Frat Boys, who placed first or second every single leg except one. The Hippies, on the other hand, were almost eliminated twice, and saved by the damn nonelimination round. Alas, fairness has never been a part of the race, starting with the frequent equalizers.

Earlier, all three teams ended up on the same flight to Denver, making it a particularly thrilling and tense final 20 minutes. Overall, the last episode didn’t offer quite as much fun as earlier legs, but there was plenty to laugh at:

  • Explaining their first clue, Phil told us that “one of the elephants in ceremonial dress will give the teams a T-Mobile Sidekick, which contains their next clue” — and the producers’ integrity.
  • “We gotta catch the Hippies and the Frat Girls,” Ray said, apparently having noticed exactly what the editors and the rest of the world has noticed about our friends.
  • The teams found a clue on one of the giant electronic billboards in Shibuya Crossing which read “Find Hachiko.” Of course, Eric and Jeremy translated that as “hot chico,” and translating their bastardized Spanish version of Japanese into English gives us “hot boy.” Even pretending to speak other languages, they can’t help themselves.
  • Transporting a woman inside a palanquin, either Eric or Jeremy said, “Hope we got a hot one.” When she came out from inside, Eric said, “This is like a naughty fantasy come true right here.” I’d try to understand exactly what was the fantasy and what was naughty about it, but that’d involve getting inside Eric’s head and sexual fantasies, and I haven’t yet had breakfast.
  • When the woman climbed out from inside Ray and Yolanda’s palanquin, Ray told her, “You’re much heavier than you look.” These poor women; did they have any idea what they were signing up for?
  • “Crazy foreigners coming through. Excuse us,” Tyler said in Japanese, which he knew because, as he said, “I’ve got a Japanese girlfriend who’s taught me Japanese.” It was quite impressive for a jackass.
  • Rarely does the show’s composer deserve a mention, but here s/he does; as the teams were completing tasks in Japan, the music would sometimes shift to include a riff on/homage to The Vapors’ “Turning Japanese.” Clever and/or cliche.
  • What does it say about me that the most jealous I’ve been of the teams this entire season is when they were required to ride crazy roller coasters at Fujikyu Highlands? All of the incredible cultural experiences they’ve experienced and amazing locations they’ve visited, and I envy their trip to an amusement park.
  • Upset by their ability to navigate Japan, Eric said, “Those hippies and their damn language-knowing.” And you frat boys and your damn grammar-knowing.
  • “Regurgitated some crickets,” Tyler said on a roller coaster.
  • “Hey man! Oh Lord, let me get out of here. … He patted me on my damn… We don’t do that where I’m from,” Ray said after a man helped him with directions and then slapped him on the ass. Oh, how jealous Jeremy must be.
  • “I like your beard,” a woman told Tyler. “My beard? Touch it,” he said. Jeremy, standing nearby, said, “You’re an idiot.” Because he knows something about beards.
  • Perhaps the most hysterical race to the mat ever occurred when the teams had to pedal swan boats to a giant swan-shaped cruise ship; it’s not easy to look graceful pedaling madly.
  • “Don’t tell anybody, but I was on the swan boat club in high school. I was actually the captain,” Jeremy said. Don’t worry; no one would have ever guessed, dude.
  • “Shaking some vital organs today, baby!” Yolanda screamed on a coaster.
  • BJ and Tyler left money for the penniless Ray and Yolanda, and wrote on the note, “P.S. If you win the million dollars, you owe us 20 bucks.”
  • “If anyone asks, you’re going to pretend you don’t understand English,” BJ or Tyler told a hotel clerk, playing dirty once again. And it worked: “Well, we don’t have Internet service,” the hotel desk clerk lied to Eric and Jeremy. The Hippie’s dickish behavior would have been worse had Eric and Jeremy not found a better flight via the telephone.
  • “You look like Janet Jackson,” a drunk businessman told Yolanda when they begged for money. “If it’s so funny, y’all give us money, then,” she said. After they did, she said, “I’ll tell Michael you said hey.”
  • Okay, I’m kind of tired of the commercial break fake-outs; the editors are getting a little lazy. “Sorry, we cannot do it,” a ticket agent told Ray and Yolanda. But after the break, she suddenly was able to book them on a flight. Moral of the story: If something bad happens before a break, it’ll always be resolved after the break.
  • In Alaska, Tyler said, “We made it to the North Pole.” Hopefully he’ll take some geography lessons with his prize money.
  • BJ and Tyler pulled a Fran and Barry when, looking for snowshoes, they ran right by them more than once.
  • “I’m gonna catch these suckers at the airport. It ain’t over yet,” Ray said. At the airport, when they caught up with the other three teams, he said, “I bet on black.”
  • At the airport, Tyler was upset about the state of his team’s relationship with the Frat Boys. “Alright, boys. Is it the million dollars that’s tearing us apart?” he asked. Eric said, “Yep.” At least we know they’ve reconciled now.
  • “Start thinking in your head,” Jeremy said, apparently aware that Eric usually thinks with another part of his body.
  • After winning, BJ and Tyler hugged for a long time, and Phil stood awkwardly by. Later BJ said the race is “good couple’s therapy.”
  • Eric and Jeremy were totally depressed at the finish line, and Phil decided to rub it in, telling them, “you guys consistently finished at the front.” But you lost! Ha! “We didn’t know the last one would be brains, dammit,” Jeremy said of the final challenge.
  • On the final mat, Phil referred to Jeremy as Eric’s “partner,” and when he said that, BJ and Tyler faked an embrace. Heh.
  • “We’ve traveled the world and now we can decide where do we want to go next. And we’ll probably go together,” Jeremy said. And that, friends, is the perfect end to this season.
BJ & Tyler Lead the Final Three [CBS]

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.