Prague brings bickering, conflict, and the last of the Globetrotter music to Amazing Race 15

After two episodes of The Amazing Race 15 set in Prague brought us a lot of the same from our final four, which after the appearance last non-elimination leg last week, has finally become a final three: Meghan and Shyane, who are dohminating the rayce yet aren’t that interesting; Sam and Dan, whose bickering and stupidity has actually worked for them; and Brian and Ericka, who get more annoying each week.

“I am so done with all of these people,” Ericka said at the end of last night’s episode, and I’m kind of in agreement. Both episodes, but especially the pre-Thanksgiving’s episode, did little except highlight every remaining team’s less-than-endearing qualities; there’s really no team I’m rooting for. It was Ericka and Brian, but they’ve started to bicker and whine just as much as the brothers; Meghan and Cheyne are competent but annoying, and I just don’t feel the Flight Time and Big Easy love, especially because of the editors’ heavy-handed attempts to get me to like them.

Before we get to the combined recap, thanks to everyone who e.mailed me about the lack of a recap last Monday, but I am going to have to ask you to step aside and take a 30-minute penalty for not reading your clues–one, two, three–carefully.

  • The pre-Thanksgiving episode started with an illustration of Sam and Dan’s incredible idiocy. After they learned they were going to Prague, Czech Republic, one of them–probably Dan–said, “Do they speak Spanish there?” At least the other said, “Prague? It’s a country.”
  • At the airport, Sam and Dan were totally using Orbitz to research flights. The logo wasn’t quite visible, which is probably why CBS didn’t blur it out so as to not piss off that vindictive, ubiquitous, evil little gnome.
  • Sam and Dan followed Meghan and Cheyne to the clue–a Praga, a vintage car–and Sam declared, “There it is–it’s a car.” Gee, how did you figure that out? Even though Meghan and Cheyne did research to find out what they were looking for, Meghan wanted credit: “I called that,” she said, proud of herself for realizing a Praga was a car. So impressive: You can use Wikipedia!
  • Sam and Dan decided on the kayak Detour, and we knew that’d be a disaster when they started and the editors wrote “1st attempt” on the screen. Of course, they started fighting again. Sam said, “I can control us, I promise.” If only.
  • Flight Time finished the rope course Detour before Meghan and Cheyne, who finished before his partner, Big Easy. The employees asked Flight Time to start down the tower, and Cheyne flipped out. “He’s going slow on purpose,” he cried, and kept whining the whole time. “I’m goin’ slow ’cause I’m tired,” Flight Time said, though he later admitted to both us and Meghan, “Once I realized I could slow them up, I definitely took my time.” Bravo.
  • Meghan finally had enough of her boyfriend’s behavior, and said, “You’re being rude to everyone around you.” Cheyne told her, “I’m trying to win this race, baby.” I think he meant, “I’m trying to win this race by acting like a baby.”
  • At the Roadblock, one team member had to search a theater for a tiny mandolin, and present it to a singing actor portraying Don Giovanni. He laughed/cackled before telling contestants “no,” and that totally cracked me up. If Phil ever needs the day off, that guy should stand on the mat and just laugh and say “yes” or “no.”
  • Dan told Brian and Ericka’s cab driver, “We’ll pay you extra if you take us,” and the driver took them up on their offer, despite the other team shouting at them. Ericka said the brothers “just proved that they’re jerks,” but it’s probably the least jerky thing the brothers have done all race. It was smart, period, which is the biggest surprise.
  • The editors and Phil worked overtime again to create fake drama at the mat when the brothers checked in just before the Globetrotters, cutting to Sam making a possibly out-of-context face while Phil asked about conflict and Big Easy described the cab-stealing.
  • Brian and Ericka checked in last but were spared elimination, which was predictable with just four teams yet two episodes to go, never mind Phil’s not-so-coy “enjoy the race?” question.
  • Sunday night’s episode started with Dan saying, “We’re looked at as the villains.” By who? I mean, except the producers and editors who are desperate to create something out of nothing. Because really, while they are absolutely obnoxious with their bickering, they are the furthest thing this race has ever had from villains, though the editing works overtime trying to make us dislike them.
  • Introducing the awesome phone-ringing Kafka-Esque Roadblock, Phil gave us a great Cliff Notes version of Kafka’s philosophy: he “rejected technology and questioned the meaning of life.” Sort of like what I do after watching people bicker for two hours.
  • Though Meghan may be boring, she is smart, quickly figuring out that the five scrambled letters spelled “Franz.” When Cheyne and Meghan left the Roadblock, they wanted to take Sam and Dan’s cab, but the brothers had instructed their cab driver to stay. Cheyne cried out, “tell him it’s okay!” Seriously, what is with this guy and his bizarre sense of entitlement? Get out of my way! Give me your cab! Or I will stomp my feet and cry until my hair stands straight up!
  • Is The Amazing Race trying to draw Challenge viewers from MTV? Phil introduced a task at the Kryocentrum, where the teams had to spend two minutes at -180 degrees Celsius, but first he said, “teams must now strip down to little more than their skivvies.” It wasn’t too risque, however, and between the combination of fog and extreme cold, the CBS censors did not have anything to blur.
  • There was a hint of a skipped task: After being frozen, Cheyne and Meghan got their clue while on exercise bikes, looking sweaty, and it was clear that something got cut out. What was edited out was visible on Sam and Dan’s clue: “…head to the workout room where you MUST warm up…”
  • Brian and Ericka’s Speedbump task was extremely challenging: They had to make and drink a shot of absinthe. Really? Dear producers: Time to give the Speedbump up.
  • “The supervisors were like the biggest douches ever,” Dan said, upset that the men in charge of judging his unscrambled word weren’t accepting his random combination of letters instead of the name “Franz.” But Dan eventually got it, and despite working with Big Easy, didn’t give him the answer, just the first letter. Again, this isn’t villainous; particularly on the way to the final elimination, it’s just smart, and for Dan, that’s saying something.
  • The Detour involved building a mud-covered golem and delivering it to a rabbi, or delivering beer to “a group of rowdy soccer hooligans.” Awesomeness. Of course, all the teams made sure to turn them into excuses to bicker.
  • Brian and Ericka bypassed the Globetrotters: Brian unscrambled “Franz” quickly despite having started long after Big Easy did, and he declared, “and I did it drunk, too!” Maybe next season the racers should be drunk for an entire leg. Or maybe we should be.
  • Flight Time and Big Easy took the four-hour penalty for quitting the Roadblock, because as Big Easy said, it “benefited us to quit.” And by that, he means it was easier.
  • In the best encounter with a local/tourist, Brian asked a man for directions, and the man said, “I’m lost also.” Ericka added: “and drunk.”
  • Dan tried to explain his rationale for exploring the route before walking it with their heavy mud-covered golem, but he got confused. “If we would have gone like a mile out of the way [and a mile back], that would have taken twice–three times as long.” Close enough.
  • “I’m not willing to make it work,” Ericka told Brian after she dropped all the beers she was carrying from one pub to another while being harassed by drunks. “Damn, that’s some American attitude there,” one random man said to her. Ericka replied, “Yeah, I do have some American attitude: touch me and you get punched.” I think that was our foreign policy for a few years.
  • After they delivered their golem, Dan admitted, “I was a complete baby during that.” Yes, the brothers are not even good at being villains.
  • Meghan and Cheyne checked in first, again, and I slipped into a mild coma.
  • Brian and Ericka killed Phil’s attempt to screw with them by celebrating after he said only “you are the third team to arrive,” which is what he sometimes says on non-elimination legs or if there’s a penalty. But they made the final three.
  • Any possibility that there might be four teams in the finale ended with the retrospective of the Globetrotters’ time on the race, complete with that damn music. If only because it stops the music, I am glad the Globetrotters were eliminated. Actually, they were a good, but not great, team. “Sometimes this race can tear up relationships; I think it built ours,” Big Easy said.

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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.