TAR teams find Phil Keoghan’s dad, product placement in New Zealand

It’s so weird that 60 Minutes ends every broadcast by the credibility-sucking vacuum known as Andy Rooney. Last week, he delayed The Amazing Race 13‘s start by complaining about how prices increase over time, and last night, the crazy, crusty old bastard outed himself as an undecided voter, as if there aren’t enough issues or reasons in this election to support either candidate. If you haven’t made up your mind by now, you aren’t paying attention, or are just desperate for CNN to thrust a little dial in your hand and ask you questions.

“I don’t think we can go wrong,” Rooney said, shortly after admitting admitting, while talking about something else, “I am sexist, of course; I just don’t want to be accused of it.” Well, at least he’s an honest ass.

While Rooney is an old man I see way too frequently, the episode of The Amazing Race that followed (45 minutes after it was scheduled to start) ended with an appearance by an older man who should be on TV every Sunday night: Phil Keoghan’s father. Here’s a look at that and other highlights:

  • Phil told us that at the pit stop, “Kelly and Christa confronted Nick and Starr.” The result, Starr said, is that “now, things are even worse.” They are, because we just had to listen to 30 seconds worth of conflict we care nothing about.
  • Dallas said something about making “smart, good decisions.”
  • Upon learning they were going to New Zealand, frat boy Dan said, “I know Phil’s from there. I know they’re into kiwis.” Shortly before that, the other frat boy, Andrew, said, “This isn’t the Dan Show,” which if it got produced, would apparently be full of unfunny, cheesy lines–so basically like most other sit-coms.
  • While teams were checking flight information at the airport, the insert shot showing someone browsing an airline web site’s destination cities, and the URL was http://plane. That’s it. In other words, it was probably B-roll shot later by the camera operator, and someone replaced the site’s URL–because they weren’t using show sponsor Travelocity?
  • Shortly after Ty called Aja “Fidel Castro” because “you get into your moods too quickly,” Aja made up with him by proving that she was a relatively low-key dictator, ordering him to “give me a hug now” and then playfully pushing and punching him.
  • “Can I have a little love? Can you just touch me for a little? Maybe play with my hair?” Terence asked Sarah, and she giggled, as if to say, “Not in front of the cameras.” But hell, the least we deserve for suffering through Andy Rooney is a little porn, even if it involves, well, Terence and Sarah.
  • “You’re doing a good job driving,” Aja told Ty, and right then there was a pop–from a flat tire, not the head of something that had wandered into the road. Once they pulled over, Aja assisted by running into traffic and screaming “Help!” as if getting herself run over would fix the flat tire.
  • When Phil explained the Fast Forward, he said teams would have to climb up the ladder inside the Auckland Sky Tower and “pick up a friend” at the top. My guess right then was that the “friend” would be the fucking Travelocity gnome, although since Tina and Ken were going for it, I kind of hoped it’d be crabs.
  • “I have a massive fear of heights,” Tina said. She’d only just voluntarily decided to climb to the very top of the tallest structure in the southern hemisphere.
  • There was a Travelocity gnome at the top of the tower, but the damn things were also part of a clue, as teams had to search with binoculars around Auckland to find hidden gnomes. I’m pretty sure this locate-the-gnome challenge is the most pathetic challenge The Amazing Race has ever done. The gnome has shown up before, of course, but having them search for it, and showing us a gnome every time a team member said “Travelocity roaming gnome,” just really made me just want to continue to use Kayak.
  • “We decided to walk,” Kelly or Christy said when the frat boys asked them why they were ignoring the instruction to drive to the top of the highest point in Auckland. Genius.
  • I don’t yet think we’ve seen Sarah squeal while in the presence of a glassware or a bird, because if she does–and she squeals a lot for some reason–I’m positive either would explode.
  • The representative of New Zealand who was on the mat to welcome teams was host Phil Keoghan’s dad, which was totally awesome, especially because Phil’s dad appeared to get emotional at one point, and also offered hugs to the eliminated team. However, the first time he introduced himself, I actually thought he said, “I’m Phil today.” I guess I don’t speak kiwish.
  • Frustrated with the assembly of a vehicle with a sail, Dan said, “Give me sports trivia, and I’ll be able to beat everybody.” Trivia? Never watched The Amazing Race before, have you, Dan?
  • Thrilled to have placed sixth, Dan screamed, “Thank you Phil’s Dad!” and then proceeded to hug and hump him while saying “you’re my dad, too!” Dan’s family must have interesting Thanksgiving dinners.
  • One of the eliminated blonde girls said, “I think the Amazing Race is about taking chances and finding out who are you as individuals and finding out more about your teammate, and we definitely did that.” Glad you did, because we sure as hell didn’t. Who are you again?

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.