Amazing Race team can’t overcome boring airport troubles

I have a proposal: If football continues to push The Amazing Race‘s debut later, and CBS insists upon airing all of 60 Minutes and screwing up its entire prime-time schedule, and that night’s episode of The Amazing Race starts with 20 minutes of teams trying to get airline tickets, cut that segment out and just replace it with a voiceover from Phil.

Perhaps it’s just fatigue after 12 seasons, but starting episodes this way is just boring. Every team reads the damn route marker, takes a cab to the airport, researches flights, lines up at a not-yet-open ticket window or travel agency, and then obnoxiously begs the ticket agent to hurry up because they’re late for their flight, which they eventually get on. Five minutes, okay. A third of the episode? Too much, even when, as last night, something that happens during that segment leads to a team’s elimination.

  • Because last week’s egregious product placement wasn’t enough, Phil started his recap of last week’s episode by saying, TK and Rachel arrived first, and were awarded a vacation of a lifetime from Travelocity.” Then TK became the producers’ whore, saying in an oddly stilted (hmm) way, “Thank you Travelocity.”
  • Upon learning that they were traveling to Croatia, Hendekea said she knew a bit of the language, a word “which means, ‘there’s a party in my pants.'” Azaria said, “Hopefully we can get a few dollars with that,”
  • Ronald looks like all cuddly with those “Who’s your daddy?” t-shirts, but sometimes he can be a real bastard.” He interrupted a ticket agent serving another team, and when they objected, Ronald got angry. “Just a simple question, man. What’s the big deal?’ he said. “It ain’t [censored]in’ any of your reservations.” Vyxsin told Christina, “It’s okay; I have a dad, too.”
  • While most of the world would be thrilled to learn they’d been accidentally upgraded to business class, that’s a huge no-no on the race, as teams must purchase coach tickets (although they can sit in business or first if they paid coach prices). “Business class?” Hendekea said, horrified. There were no more coach seats on the flight, but the agent assured them that the original flight was “not going to make it on time” anyway. What a helpful agent: books the wrong tickets on a flight that’s delayed.
  • For some reason, after arriving in Croatia and running out of the airport to catch taxis, none of the teams had backpacks. Apparently the production collected them for some reason,
  • “You’re the meanest person I’ve ever met sometimes,” Jennifer told Nate during one of their many fights, not elaborating on what he is other times. They had a meltdown while paddling a boat, and she said, “I’m never going be with you ever again.” It was unclear if she meant “be with you” in the Biblical sense.
  • Jen’s meltdown’s, while so familiar it seems like we’ve seen them all before, was still somewhat fun. She went from being upset about not being able to catch a cab to excoriating their relatonship. “This is pathetic. Oh my god, Nate! This is so unfair! No, it’s not okay. Our relationship sucks,” she said, crying.
  • When Ronald and Christina checked in, Phil Keoghan said, “Who’s your daddy now?” and instantly gave fans a sound clip to use as their ringtone.
  • Phil didn’t have anything witty to say to Jennifer and Nate; instead, he had to yell at them. “You’re the second team to arrive. However, you did not take a legal form of transportation from the Detour finish point to get here to the mat. So, you need to go back to that spot, get some legal transportation, and make your way back here before I can check you in,” he said, and finished it off with “make haste.” They still checked in third, and Phil noticed that things were a bit icy: “not a lot of affection there with the handshake.”
  • Nicolas and his grandfather Donald also had a bit of a meltdown, with Nicolas becoming increasingly surprised that his grandfather is slow. Paddling a boat, he said, “Worry about yourself,” and his grandfather said, “I’m helping here, whether you know it or not.”
  • Hendekea and Azaria checked in last, and were eliminated thanks to their initial flight problems. Hendekea said, “The thing that really sucks here is, it wasn’t like somebody beat us. We beat ourselves.”

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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.