All-stars limp out of the gate with an equalizer, a rest area, and Romber’s arrogance

On The Amazing Race, the stunning vistas, demanding challenges, and twists power the drama and adrenaline rush; the humor and amusement, however, tends to come from the things the teams say. Tight editing makes almost every word entertaining, but some lines still stand out. Here, then, is the first of 13 looks back at The Amazing Race 11‘s episodes, highlighting the best and worst of what they said.

Well, all except six minutes: This wouldn’t be a season of The Amazing Race without CBS’ prime-time schedule being screwed up by afternoon sporting events, as the all-star race began 27 minutes late. Here’s an idea: Save that time next week by just canceling the evening news. Or the half-hour of alleged local news. In any case, I missed a few minutes at the top of the hour, and the description of the Detour, the bastards.

  • Phil Keoghan introduced “11 of our most memorable teams,” which is a good way of saying that the teams are both loved and loathed. He also said “they will do just about anything in their second chance to win $1 million,” which I think means some team is going to prostitute themselves. Oh wait, that’s what Rob and Amber are already doing with their lives.
  • “This time, whole new bag of tricks,” Rob promised us, with that punchable smirk on his face. He’s on screen for 30 seconds and already I want to get in my car, set the cruise control to 70 mph, open the door, and dangle my face out so it can drag along the pavement and distract me from the pain I feel when I have to watch him.
  • Talking about his new teammate, Eric said of Danielle, “I like that she has a lot of attitude.” But no penis! Oh, I kid Eric and his ringed nipples.
  • As Charla ran past Drew–yes, Charla ran past Drew!–he said to Kevin, “I’m doing the best I could. You’re killing me here!” Even Charla was in shock, saying, “I can’t believe I outran Drew.”
  • Eric non-ironically said, “As long as [Danielle] realizes that I’m in charge, then we should be fine.” Oh, Eric, we already knew that you’re a top.
  • “Amber and I did not drag our asses back for the Amazing Race all-stars to finish in second place,” Rob said. Hopefully, you dragged your overexposed asses back to come in 11th place.
  • Rob committed an act of kindness by telling a shuttle bus driver to stop for another team–but then he killed the moment by demanding viewers and the editors notice that he’s not always a prick. “It was the first kind gesture I have made, so I want it noted. It kills me to do it, too,” he said.
  • At the Miami airport, the teams ran down their own roped-off aisle to an unoccupied American Airlines ticket agent, as dozens of other people stood in the real line and gave them looks of death.
  • In the airport, David and Mary bumped into two people that, “for us, just to meet them,” David said, means “we’ve already won,” Mary finished. The objects of their awe were, tragically and sadly, just Rob and Amber.
  • Oswald said, “Right now, my hands are clammy, and my face is going through menopause.”
  • I recognize that not everyone shares my contempt for Rob and Amber, but it festers and gets inflamed nearly every time they talk, such as when Amber–proving she and Rob are a match made in asshole heaven–said, “If you ask us who we would love to race against, there’s really nobody. But I think everybody else would answer that question and say, ‘Rob and Amber. Oh, I would love to race against and Amber.'” Only if it’s a race to obscurity.
  • Some all-star race: For their first night, the teams received a place to sleep, cots, and departure times that equalized the pack, erasing the few hours of time difference in the two flights. Why don’t we just put them on a cruise ship and let them race around its deck?
  • “Everybody always underestimates them because he’s crotchety and old-looking,” Joe said of Ian, a phrase Ian should have printed on the back of that flappy hat of his.
  • “Peru is nice. It’s beautiful out,” Drew said. Kevin gently replied, “I’m sure it’s nice in Peru. We’re in Ecuador.” I love them.
  • Mirna read from the Detour task instructions, “wrangle it is going to require holding down a wild horse,” she said. “That’s fine; I’ll hold it,” Charla said, as a gong crash expressed the skepticism of the show’s composer. And that was one of the episode’s more subtle audio cues; perhaps I tuned it out as last season progressed, but the orchestra seems to be very heavy-handed now, with cymbals crashing and drums pounding every other second, suggesting eminent disaster and dire consequences to nearly every other word that someone says.
  • Rob and Amber came in first. Back in a moment after some additional pavement face-dragging.
  • John Vito and Jill were eliminated, but that was far less interesting than what David and Mary said on the mat. “We’ve always been fans of theirs [the other teams]; we are their biggest fans. And now we get to meet ‘em, and some of them even like us,” David told Phil, creeping the fuck out of every other team. Tune in next week when the other teams use that line when they file for restraining orders.

The Quest ends its journey stronger than it began

Verlox from The Quest

A review of the finale of summer's best reality series, which wasn't always perfect but was thoroughly entertaining right down to the finish, which included phenomenal challenges and special effects. Will ABC give it a second season?

Plus: an interview with the actor who played Verlox and the ogre.


Shark Tank is getting a spin-off

Shark Tank

Companies that get deals on the show will be followed for this new spin-off.

Also: Before the show began, Shark Barbara Corcoran was cast and then replaced--but then she sent this amazing e-mail and won the job.

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.