Dan and Jordan, Brent and Caite freak out, but still make final three with the cowboys

After 11 The Amazing Race 16 episodes, I’m really sick of the cowboys pointing out how everything in the freakin’ world is so new to them because they’re cowboys from a town so small there’s absolutely nothing there except oxygen and water. However, I realize that’s the editors treating us like infants, and as a team, Jet and Cord are pretty great, and thus I’ll be okay when they win next week, which I’m hoping they will. They make smart decisions and more importantly, never freak out.

In contrast, the other two teams in the final three, Caite and Brent, and Dan and Jordan, let the pressure and/or their own shortcomings get to them far more often. And considering the structure of this year’s race, it’s not much of an accomplishment to have made the final three; with so many equalizers and simple tasks, their mistakes never cost them, including last night.

  • The teams’ first clue told them to find the “Garden Bridge.” Jet said, “That was easy,” and Brent said, “Wow, that was a simple clue.” But it wasn’t, because the bridge isn’t known by that name, and is actually steel, not a garden. It was an old-school clue, requiring some actual work to find it.
  • Caite informed us, “I still get people every single day, pretty much, saying negative comments, and um, I feel like making the final three is what’s gonna to show the world I can accomplish everything I put my mind to.” Don’t worry: Your mind has already shown the world plenty.
  • This theme continued, as the editors gave us more and more footage of Caite trying to overcome her world-famous stupidity by referencing it while sounding as stupid as always: “Obviously, I know how to read maps, because I’m pretty damn good at figuring out where we are and where we’re going–in China. So people, you can go screw yourselves.” Brent added, “Ha ha ha, yeah,” making himself seem as stupid as people who think my making fun of Brent and Caite is anything more than what I’ve been doing for years: making fun of the stupid things people say as they race.
  • Dan and Jordan had trouble finding the Garden Bridge, and when they found a man stretching his leg on a railing, they asked him for help. He spoke English, but not enough to understand their request, so after reading the clue, he hysterically asked them, “Where the Garden Bridge?” Despite the humor, that prompted Dan to tell us, “I hate China, I will never be back.” After last night’s episode aired, I’m sure the feeling is mutual.
  • As Caite counted gold statues during the Roadblock, Brent told us, “This is a good task for her to show she’s got it upstairs and she’s not as dumb everyone thinks.” He also said, “People have this opinion of her as not being the brightest person in the world.” In all fairness, we hadn’t yet met you, Brent.
  • After deciding to wait around for Mike and Louie and thus tie their fates to the detectives, the bros told their cab driver to follow the detectives’ cab. Alas, the driver didn’t seem to understand, which caused Dan to lose his mind. The stress at this point in the race is understandable; turning into a baby by doing everything except shitting yourself is not. Dan screamed, “It’s the simplest thing. Follow! Follow!” And because communication was failing him, Dan threatened their driver: “I’m going to hit him; I’m going to get violent.” How great would it have been to see their time on the race end in a jail cell? Meanwhile, in their cab, Louie explained to the camera that the brothers were behind them, and Mike looked back and said, “Well, they’re not with us any more.”
  • Of course, the bros were saved by the miracle that is the commercial break. If you’re ever on The Amazing Race and are having trouble, just wait until it’s time for a commercial, and everything will be fine.
  • Trying to find the clue box, Brent flipped out on Caite, yelling, “I know, I’m just trying to get a barrier.” And we’re just trying to get an idea of what the hell you’re saying.
  • Caite, having previously demonstrated her dislike for “the lesbians,” now started mocking Chinese people, and she did this after the leg was over in her post-leg interview: “Ooh, you want to buy this, you want to buy that,” she said in a stereotypical Asian accent, and then replied in a stereotypical stupid American monotone mashed potato mouth accent, “Go away! No. No.” Alas, Brent sat in dumb silent agreement, which is too bad since while she was doing the Roadblock, he actually took the time to appreciate the culture around him, and tell us, “It’s really neat to see how other people do things.”
  • At the Detour task, Brent told Caite he had to pee, but because of the rule that says teams have to stay together, couldn’t go because his girlfriend refused. “Just hold it,” she said. “I’m not going anywhere.” Brent started pleading, “This is literally probably the worst I’ve ever had to go to the bathroom,” and Caite said, “You’re so annoying … just shut up.”
  • Mike and Louie learned that their Speedbump punishment had them “perform a local good luck ritual,” and their good luck was that all they had to do was throw a coin into a large incense burner’s smallest opening. It probably took them less than a minute from arrival to departure, and it was right next to the Detour. In other words, it didn’t matter at all.
  • Teams had to ride in a motorcycle with a sidecar to a location, and in their post-leg interview, Dan explained, “I took the side car and Jordan rode bitch, ha!” At least he wasn’t the one crying in the back of the cab.
  • When Brent found a stamp with his name on it at the Detour, Caite asked him, “How bit is it?” He said, “It’s huge. Just like everything else.” That was witty, except the stamp looked like it was about two or three inches tall.
  • “The last team to check in here will be eliminated,” Phil said. No ambiguity, but no surprise at the pit stop, where one of the world’s tallest men, Zhang Juncai, was there to greet them.
  • Struggling to find the pit stop, Brent complained, “They don’t even understand their own language.” To be fair, I don’t even understand English half the time when you speak it. Despite the language barrier, the halfwits checked in first, meaning there will be villains in the final three along with the cowboys and the bros. Time to end this season, thankfully.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.