Teams channel A Christmas Story, Benny Hill, and Hitler on The Amazing Race All-Stars

Few episodes of The Amazing Race have provided such accidental amusement and pop culture references as last night’s episode did. From sound effects at the pit stop that turned the race into a Benny Hill episode momentarily to a team member looking like a character from A Christmas Story, it was non-stop slapstick action.

  • Joyce memorialized fallen team Rob and Amber by telling us, “They’re great to beat because they’re such amazing competitors.” Translation: Nanny nanny boo boo! We beat you, you bastards!
  • Mirna said, “We’re going to be an icicle before this is day is over.” But her cousin had a better, PG-13 idea: “We’ll just be a popsicle; somebody can just suck us.”
  • Teri and Ian had a conversation with Joe and Bill, and Ian jokingly asked, “Is your underwear tagged ‘Team Guido’?” Joe said, “You don’t want to see our underwear … We have thongs.” But that was not the disturbing part of the conversation; instead, it was when Ian said, “We have paper.” If he wasn’t referring to disposable underwear, it seems like he admitted wearing Oops I Crapped My Pants on national television.
  • “They’re really not that smart,” Charla said of the blondes, but like everything else she said, her voice was muffled and her words subtitled because she was zipped up in her jacket as tight as Randy in A Christmas Story. She ran like him, too, although to be fair, she kind of runs like that even when she isn’t in a parka.
  • Phil introduced the Roadblock, which involved using rats trained to find land mines. Phil was holding and petting one of the rats, which I swear was as big as my cat. “That’s just not normal,” Danny said.
  • Ian overcame his fear of rats while working with a giant mine-sniffing rat named Tupac. Things just don’t get weirder than that.
  • “I’m glad they have metrosexuals everywhere in the world,” Mirna said, having convinced a number of men in Mozambique to let Charla and her paint their nails.
  • Charla and Mirna fell behind and were in last place at one point, but they pulled ahead and checked in first and screamed with excitement. Mirna explained what this meant: “Just because someone’s a little shorter or a little skinnier doesn’t really matter. We work hard and we’re a damn good team. And if coming in first lets people have a little more respect for us, than that’s a wonderful thing to accomplish.” Yes, she did just equate her skinniness with the fact that Charla is a little person.
  • JoeThis probably says more about my sick sense of humor than anything else, but I have never laughed more at The Amazing Race as I did when I saw Joe and Bill at the coal-bagging Detour. All the teams had coal dust on their skin, but for some reason, Joe’s was concentrated directly beneath his nose (right). I looked up at the TV and thought, holy crap, Hitler’s in the race.
  • Oswald, covered in coal dust, ran to the mat yelling, “I’m hugging you!” Phil shouted, “No way,” and then started running around in circles with Oswald chasing him. The editors even included some Benny Hill-esque music.
  • The Guidos beat Eric and Danielle to the mat, which did not make Eric happy. “The Guidos remind me of old women who are past their prime. She got beat by a bunch of queens.” Indeed she did: Joe, Bill, and Eric all arrived at the mat before she did.
  • Uchenna and Joyce were saved by the first non-elimination leg, and became marked for elimination. Somewhere, Rob and Amber are forming a conspiracy theory.

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.