Amazing Race 15 teams melt down, give up in Amsterdam

Welcome to the part of every Amazing Race season where not much happens except teams break down because they’ve had enough.

  • Learning that they were on their way to Amsterdam from Dubai, Matt and Gary pounded fists and said, “another continent!” This moment of positivity was not foreshadowing for the rest of the episode.
  • Waiting for yet another equalizer flight, Sam said, “Dan and I decided to come out to the rest of the teams.” They either forgot about or decided to abandon their smart strategy of flirting with the ladies, which makes sense considering the only team left to flirt as pretend straight men didn’t quite seem like the best targets (more on that later). Anyway, Sam and Dan approached it with subtlety: “We have an announcement to make! We are the token gay team.” It took Ericka by surprise the most, as she ran over and started hitting Dan and saying, playfully, “no, no, no.”
  • The poker players were the team the gay brothers were hitting on, sort of, earlier in the race, and Tiffany said, “Gay or straight, it doesn’t matter … who they choose to date, we could really care less,” although she admitted there’s a “little teardrop that it’s not us.” Mmm hmm.
  • Gary totally had the best line after Sam and Dan came out. He said, “Should I tell Matt he’s adopted now?”
  • Flight Time pointed out that if he knows anyone’s name, it’s Brian, because he keeps hearing Ericka yell it: “Brian!” Early on, she told Brian, “Stop tripping out. You dictate my mood.” Blaming others for one’s mood: the first sign of an impending race meltdown.
  • Tiffany and Maria frequently use, shall we say, relationship terms to refer to one another, but not words I’ve typically heard best friends use with great regularity. For example, Tiffany said, “That’s it right there, baby,” and later called Maria “honey.”
  • Meghan and Sam decided to help each other count bells by confusing the shit out of each other, calling out numbers instead of, you know, counting independently and then comparing. That explains why Matt bypassed both of them, although he and his dad lost their lead because it took them forever to get directions.
  • Sam told his poker player ally the number as she was going up the stairs into the tower, which he said in an interview “was a smart move in my opinion, because they’re a team we can beat,” Sam said. But coming out of the tower, when his brother learned what he’d done, he admitted, “I got nervous.”
  • I like to pause when clues are shown up close, and at the Detour, there was a curious line in the supplemental instructions (a folded, typed piece of paper with detailed directions and rules, which they get in addition to the short instructions on the card that teams have to read out loud). Anyway, it said: “You will need to wear these costumes until you check in at the Pit Stop. It is in your best interest not to lose any part of the costume.” Later, we saw Matt and Gary leave behind a shoe, but there was no talk of a penalty or anything. Odd.
  • The costumes were an excuse for some comedy, and gratuitous T&A, not that I’m complaining, but it did seem like the way MTV’s Challenges always make everyone get into too-small Speedos before wrestling each other in baby oil. Here, they had to strip down to long, white underwear before swimming across a river, which meant they were wearing clingy, see-through underwear while playing with their putters, balls, and holes.
  • All teams received male and female costumes, and Gary wore the dress, telling us he’s cross-dressed before, but it was “nothing kinky.”
  • Tiffany said, “Maria, for once, was the man in the relationship, and wore the male costume, which was quite hilarious.” Case closed?
  • “I can’t figure it out … it’s the hardest thing,” Ericka cried — about her inability to count, which didn’t do much for the reputation of stereotype of beauty pageant winners’ intelligence. Once she finally did it, Brian said, “I am so proud of you, babe.” That was very nice, although really, she only managed to count to 62 without having a meltdown.
  • “You guys like dressing up like this?” Phil asked Sam and Dan, and Sam said, “We’re not that kind of gay guys.”
  • Maria and Tiffany couldn’t handle either Roadblock, switching tasks three times. Back for their second attempt at a high striker, one of those carnival games that requires you to hit a spot with a hammer to ring a bell, Maria said, “I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.” I’d say that it has something to do with you lifting the hammer three inches and then letting gravity pull it to the ground instead of, say, trying.
  • Maria and Tiffany tried a novel approach to hitting the bell: “Let’s just hug it out for a minute.” They did, and cried, too.
  • Brian and Ericka checked in fifth, but had a 30-minute penalty for walking–in wooden shoes!–instead of riding bikes as the instructions stated. Ericka cried, again, but they were safe.
  • Maria and Tiffany quit on their second attempt of the second Detour task, prompting an on-location visit from Phil. We’ve all been expecting a non-elimination for weeks now, but they didn’t get one. “I think I’m done,” Maria said. But weren’t you really done even before you crossed the start line?

Review: Married at First Sight

Marriage At First Sight

In an era of Tinder and Grindr, instant acceptance or dismissal of a potential partner, or instant sex with another body, Married at First Sight offers the thrill of watching strangers deal with the very basics of relationships.

Beyond the headline-grabbing premise, the series has turned out to be a stripped-down, authentic exploration of something very interesting. Read the full review.

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.