Last-place team member walks away from Phil on the mat

With the second half of The Amazing Race 11 facing off against the first half-hour of the Oscars, viewership was probably down, which is too bad because this was the most exciting episode so far this season. It was just the second episode, but last week’s was really boring. And despite the fact that the teams are familiar and, in some cases, becoming increasingly annoying, this was one of the better episodes in a year. It was consistent drama, with some nice back and forth action, including both a car race and foot race at the end. And, of course, a bunch of ridiculous behavior:

  • It’s good to know that the editors have retained their contempt for Eric. He tried to make a joke about Danielle tripping and falling, because as we all know girls are incompetent, and said, “We’ll call you Humpty Dumbass.” The editors followed that with a few seconds of crickets chirping.
  • Bill or Joe said, “Who says gay men can’t drive?” Um, no one? No need to invent a new stereotype, guys, especially when you’re dressed in identical lime-green outfits, and later place cucumbers on your eyelids while wearing identical orange jackets embroidered with the name of your tiny dog.
  • “Drew, stop! You’re pulling me with it!” Kevin said, ending a shocking few moments. With their car stuck in mud, Kevin attached the tow rope to his own body (!), and pulled the car out of the mud (as it accelerated, of course). But Drew kept accelerating, and pulled Kevin alongside the car, almost running him over.
  • “Please don’t tell anybody else about this,” Rob asked a ticket agent. Moments later, he proved he was a hypocrite, saying “The race is about us and the course; it’s not about the other teams.” Pick one, ass.
  • “With a period of 10 minutes, you can go from being in first place to last place,” Rob said, when their flight was delayed. “A miserable game, this race.” Not for us!
  • During the dramatic Roadblock, during which Mary outwitted basically every other team, Amber actually shared information with Danny and Eric. Expect Rob to file for divorce this morning.
  • Standing in line for tickets at the airport, a new line opened, and Eric, standing at the back of the line, ran over to it, bypassing those waiting in other lines. I loathe when people do that at the grocery store or elsewhere, as if the other people standing in line are invisible. So I can understand why Rob would get upset, although of course he only gets upset when it’s not him who benefits from the unethical behavior. He tried to pretend he wasn’t really bothered, telling us that he was “just trying to stir the pot up.” But that led to conflict between Rob and Amber; as she said, “It was so wrong, it made him look silly.” Rob, of course, disagreed. “There’s a method to the madness; there always is, babe.” Excuse me while I go wipe up this fresh puddle of puke.
  • “I have a lot of experience driving back hos,” Rob admitted at the Detour. Oh, wait, he meant backhoes.
  • Dustin and Kandice were freaked out when Charla yelled at them, but they missed Charla and Mirna freaking out at a cab driver. Mirna, crying, screamed at the cab driver, “What do you want from me? $20 to eat food, I give you; I don’t eat tomorrow. Muchas gracias, amigo! God help you!”
  • “It’s easy to make yourself beautiful with plastic surgery. But to have a pure heart and to have morals is not easy to make up,” Charla said, shortly after her cousin verbally assaulted a cab driver, throwing her purse at him and cursing him for asking for money to help them out.
  • Rob and Amber came in first again. I hate life.
  • Deciding whether to go left or right, Mary looked at a sign and said, “I would think right, because it has the most words.” And just when the Roadblock had convinced us that she was smarter than she let on.
  • When Phil told Kevin and Drew that they were the last team, Drew walked away and said, “Let’s go, man.” Phil, annoyed, had to ask him to return: “Can you just stay right here, please?” Then he eliminated them, and Drew walked away again. “Oh yeah, that’s fine,” he said. This is one of the bad things about an all-star race: It affects our attitude toward our favorite (or least-favorite) teams. Drew, half of one of the most fun-loving teams in the race’s 10-year history, a sore loser? Amber, helping others and challenging Rob? The world is spinning.

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.