Stupidity plagues Amazing Race 13 teams

Thanks to a long weekend of gorging on good food and the company of great friends, not even that old bastard Andy Rooney complaining about prices and delaying The Amazing Race 13 could affect my mood Sunday night, although he was preceded on 60 Minutes by Anderson Cooper interviewing Michael Phelps, a segment that was vaguely reminiscent of Anderson’s time on The Mole, particularly when he joked that Phelps had let himself go by gaining weight, or when Coop actually got into the pool and raced Phelps (really).

As to the actual episode, there’s just one left after last night’s, and it should be interesting considering how most of the teams seem worn out. I assume that fatigue has just set in, or else they’ve all been really great at concealing their stupidity so far.

  • Andrew said making the final three “a miracle,” but at first the universe seemed to communicate that they were screwed. The best sign came when Andrew and Dan were trying to hail a cab and got soaked when a truck drove through a puddle. “It was just a matter of when and how much water was going to be doused on us,” Dan said, ever the crankypants optimist.
  • Tina instructed Ken to “ask [the cab driver] if he could smoke later.” Ken said, “Just let the man smoke.” Translation: “Leave me alone, woman, or I’m going to open the cab door and drag my ear along the ground until it grinds away my flesh and destroys my ear drum so I can no longer hear your attempts to control me.”
  • “I paid a lot of money for his education, but I’m not sure he’ll know how to tell the difference” between Stalin and Lenin, Dallas’ mom Toni said while he completed a task. I’m not sure where he went to school, but I’d hope that they had a lesson on Comparing Words to See if They Match, since both the clues and the statue had the men’s names in Cyrillic.
  • The first sign that Nick was a little tired–besides the fact that he was wearing his own shirt this week, unlike last week, a detail I missed because I often look away when they’re on screen–came when he ran up to his clapping sister (who was saying, “Good job, good job”) and asked, “This is it?” Other context clues he missed: the other waiting team members, and, oh, the clue box.
  • Stupidity is apparently contagious, as in the car, Starr asked Nick about the clue, which said to find someone with a Shetland pony. “Like a horse pony? Or do they mean a ponytail?” she asked.
  • “She probably doesn’t want me to be her son anymore,” Dallas said while he failed miserably at the statue-counting Roadblock. Um, what would she want you to be instead? (And that’s the last incest joke of the season!)
  • Dallas screwed up beyond taking forever on the Roadblock, however. He told us, “As I was getting out, I realized that my bag with my passport and all the money was in the taxi that I had taken. That’s when I started getting extremely nervous and realize I had no money and was in big trouble.” Hmm, “extremely nervous” and “in big trouble” seem to undersell the fact that you totally fucked your team. Forget the money: no passports? Waiting in line at the embassy for an emergency passport wouldn’t exactly propel you to first place.
  • Although the race has completely eliminated the need for non-eliminated teams to shamefully beg for money from people in other countries while in a $1 million contest, Dallas and Toni’s lack of cash meant that they were left to beg strangers for cash.
  • Andrew and Dan had to perform a dance for their Speedbump task, which I refuse to believe wasn’t created just for them because Dan, of course, can’t move his body in any rhythmic way. Alas, it wasn’t anywhere near as comical as his attempt at walking last week.
  • Nick and Starr placed first for the sixth time (out of 10 legs) and won yet another Travelocity vacation. They’re going to be seeing a lot of that damn gnome.
  • Dan had to hold up his shorts while running to the mat. Maybe he left his belt behind with his shoes? Still, he and Andrew made it to the final three, checking in second. Miracles do happen, apparently, or God just hates all of us.
  • “You need to go get the clue that tells you to come to the mat,” Phil and his eyebrow told Ken and Tina, who suddenly, conveniently forgot that they were looking for a clue when they spotted Andrew and Dan running to the mat. Tina gave Phil a confused, hurt look, which did not work on our host.
  • Phil did an off-mat Philimination for Dallas and Toni, who were still begging their way around Moscow, so he popped out of a door and surprised them with the news that the race was over for them–and almost over for us.

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.