A donkey results in the elimination of two asses from The Amazing Race 12

The start of The Amazing Race 12 was the highest-rated debut episode ever for the series, even though it was delayed by a half-hour. That delay meant I missed the second half and started my two minutes hate for CBS. But thanks to the always-fantastic Internet, I’ve been able to watch the conclusion of the first episode–which you too (ahem) can do if you missed it.

After 11 seasons, cast members blend together (more blondes! more bickering couples!), and so do the standard scenes: waiting to get tickets at the airport, yelling at cab drivers. But this season’s group managed to deliver yet again by being alternately entertaining, obnoxious, delusional, inspiring, and annoying–and by saying ridiculously funny things:

  • “First of all, we’re a lesbian couple, and second of all we’re ordained clergy, and this definitely causes people’s eyebrows to raise,” Kate said. That wasn’t shocking at all, but I was shocked when her partner Pat said, “Kate and I are not whipped for Jesus.”
  • “Karma’s a bitch, but I’m a bigger bitch,” Ari said. Perhaps, but karma also knows that we like our cocky bitches to cry on the mat after Phil tells them they have to go home.
  • Shana and Jennifer, this season’s blondes, announced that they are also going to be this season’s sluts: “Jen and I fully plan to flirt our way through this competition,” Shana said. “We’re going to use our body however we need to,” Jen said.
  • “Oh my Goth, where are we going?” Kynt, the male goth guy, said. Apparently they’re going straight for the nonstop goth references, not even sparing us from goth puns.
  • “Once there, they’ll sign up for one of three ferries departing the next morning,” Phil said, and for some reason, I flashed on the teams climbing onto the backs of little winged creatures. Ferry boats, Phil.
  • Kate said, “The Amazing Race is a love letter to the planet,” and that was touching and rather accurate. Then she continued: “This beauty of this earth comes from God, and we get a chance to sort of hopscotch around it and love it.” So, they’re old married lesbian ministers–and hippies? Is there any group they don’t have covered?
  • “We’re kind of like little Gothic Energizer bunnies,” Vyxsin (pronounced “vixen”) said. That’s a good metaphor, because just like them, that annoying rabbit wore out its welcome after just a few minutes on my TV screen.
  • “You are the worst person at this I’ve ever met,” Nathan said, telling his girlfriend Jennifer that the other women were doing better. “I don’t care! Don’t get married to other girls!” she said, making no sense. (Several people think she said “Don’t compare me to other girls,” but I like the irrational version better.) Then she decided to leave him, and it’s only the first challenge of the first episode! “Do I want to spend the rest of my life with someone who’s going to treat me like that?” she asked us. A couple meltdown in episode one, prior to challenge one, might be some kind of record.
  • Nicholas’ grandfather, Donald, fell into a bush. It wasn’t quite as funny as Michelle falling on Survivor Fiji, but old people falling are always good for a laugh.
  • “Two fairies on a fairy,” Vyxsin said. Someone get a fly swatter.
  • “The freaks just go there!” Nathan screamed when he realized the Goths had arrived before them, failing to realize that his constant fighting with his girlfriend made him far more freakish than the couple wearing makeup.
  • You can be assured that any challenge that begins with Phil saying “teams must now choose a donkey” is going to be awesome.
  • “How many DO WE HAVE!” Jennifer yelled at Nathan, demonstrating her fascinating way of starting a sentence in a normal tone of voice and concluding with an extended scream, kind of like the way Oprah says things like, “Everyone is going to get a FREE CAAAAAAAAAAAAR!”
  • “You listen right here. You make me lose this, I’m gonna cut you up and eat you,” Ari told hi donkey. Later, Staella told the donkey, “I’m going to squeeze the shit out of it right now.” As team after team passed them and their immobile donkey, they grew more desperate. But as Christina said, “Donkeys have souls, too.”
  • Jennifer and Nathan were having the same problem, but instead of just standing there and taking her abuse, their donkey awesomely started hyperventilating when she yelled at it. Poor donkey.
  • When Phil told Nicholas and Donald, the grandson and grandfather, that they were team number five, they both stood there and looked at Phil blankly like he’d just said, “I like spaghetti, and Play Doh is my friend.” Then Donald said, “finally,” as if they’d been waiting all their lives to check in fifth at the first pit stop.
  • Ari and Staella finally just dragged their donkey along the road, but it was too late; they checked in last, and with no non-elimination legs this season, were the first team eliminated. “Karma came back and bit us in the ass,” Ari said. Who knew karma could take the form of an actual ass to help get rid of an ass?

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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.