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Teams go on an ‘Amazing Race roller-coaster’ of spelling and souvlaki in Greece

Teams go on an ‘Amazing Race roller-coaster’ of spelling and souvlaki in Greece
Kim is happy during The Amazing Race 33's episode 8, probably because she and Penn placed first again, for the third time in a row (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

Cayla described the eighth leg of The Amazing Race 33 as an “Amazing Race roller-coaster,” because compared to last week, there was a lot of movement.

Yet the end result was incredibly similar! The last three legs have now had the exact same placement, with one change, and it was the the one that mattered: Arun and Natalia placed fourth, ahead of Lulu and Lala, who’d started 15 minutes ahead of Arun and Natalia but arrived last.

Lulu and Lala screwed up multiple times, and despite the editing’s attempt to make us think that Arun and Natalia were lost again so there was a chance for Lulu and Lala to catch up, they were so far behind the other teams weren’t in sight.

Ironically, Lulu and Lala were the first team to arrive at the pit stop—but they’d missed two tasks. “You know where the pit stop is now,” host Phil Keoghan told them helpfully.

While I still can’t tell them apart, I appreciated the good cheer with which they ran and exited the race, which was a dramatic jump into the Aegean Sea:

Lulu and Lala, or Lala and Lulu, exit The Amazing Race 33 in a dramatic fashion
Lulu and Lala, or Lala and Lulu, exit The Amazing Race 33 in a dramatic fashion. (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

Kim and Penn placed first for the third time in a row, and Raquel and Cayla came in second—despite dropping into last place during the leg, and also passing Penn and Kim at one point.

So there was real movement among the teams, but the end results were the same.

Raquel said that to “just end up where we started is a testament to how strong we are,” which is true, but it is also testament to how the combination of staggered starts and these particular tasks has led to a kind of stasis.

This leg was curious: its design was different, but this easily could have been a half-hour episode, because it did not provide an hour of content.

There were two Roadblocks, meaning each team member had to do one challenge solo, and then two mini-Detours, although they were not labeled as official Detour tasks:

First the teams had to find and retrieve a clue from an olive tree, which led to some physical comedy, particularly Raquel trying to lift Cayla on her shoulders but collapsing in laughter.

The absolute best challenge, however, was at a beachside food truck, where the teams had to spell a Greek word correctly (souvlaki) and then eat one (it’s basically meat in a pita, so a really terrific mid-leg lunch).

Most teams then threw their clue in the trash, because it was printed on the wrapper. Many teams missed this; most figured it out quickly, though it was amazing to see them puzzling over the lack of a clue with the crumpled-up clue in their hands, or while throwing the clue in the trash.

Poor Lulu and Lala were so confused they redid the entire task! The very helpful proprietor of Mamo’s pulled out the wrapper slowly, basically displaying the clue to them, but they missed it and then suffered through eating again—suffered because it had onions, and one of them had never ever eaten an onion?!

Phil Keoghan in Greece on The Amazing Race 33, episode 8
Phil Keoghan in Greece on The Amazing Race 33, episode 8 (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

There may have also been a third mini-challenge, besides self-driving a stick shift: their cars’ steering wheels and shifters had plastic debris on them, as if they’d been wrapped in plastic.

While the episode began in Corsica, it didn’t begin until after they’d touched down in Greece, and left starting at 9 a.m.

The first Roadblock required a team member to make 60 stuffed grape leaves, another attention-to-detail task that tripped several teams up—and tripped Raquel up so much they fell into last place, though obviously recovered.

The second was a 15-minute lecture from a sassy priest, followed by a quiz in which they had to correctly identify five saints.

I think the problem with these kinds of episodes is that, after a half-hour, we’ve seen everything. I mean, I guess it makes the rest of the episode a race.

But the lecture and quiz were just not interesting enough to keep watching, though it was funny watching Ryan squirm about having to listen. And by the third time the editors showed us the same sequence of the same saint images again, it just felt like time-wasting filler.

Fun things the teams said or did:

  • “Look at me—I’m driving stick!” Raquel declared, as her car made grinding noises and lurched forward.
  • “I think that grease is going to provide an opportunity for us to move and shake,” Dusty said, and I agree: lubrication is always a good idea. Oh, wait, he said Greece.
  • “We’re going to have fun: F-U-N,” Lulu or Lala declared at the start of the leg, and they did, despite a few moments of tension and their last-place finish.
  • “The closest thing I’ve done to this is swaddling a baby,” Kim said as she wrapped grape leaves. The closest thing I’ve done to that is wrapping a burrito, so I guess that means I know how to diaper?
  • Dusty told us, “I’m a big proponent of you eat with your eyes first.” So a proponent of clichés, then?
  • He did do a good job with the leaf-wrapping details, and started screaming so loudly that he admitted, “Half of Greece knew that I was excited when I finished this roadblock.” It was a little much for me—there’s a fine line between excited and obnoxious.
  • “I’m going to let Jesus take the wheel,” Penn said, which is certainly one way to handle having to drive a stick-shift.
  • My favorite line from the episode came when Penn tried to ask a question, and the sassy priest said: “Don’t talk to me, please.”
  • My favorite nonverbal reaction from this episode came from the sassy proprietor of Mamo’s, who gave a look to camera worthy of The Office as Lulu and Lala finally figured out the clue and ran off.
  • “Well, that’s the most dramatic exit we’ve had in a while,” Phil said as Lulu and Lala disappeared off the pier into the ocean. I’m hoping the next—and last—two episodes will bring more of that drama.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.


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Friday 18th of February 2022

I appreciated the show keeping in Dusty's comment about how his "Colorado extracurricular activities" would help him in the grape leaf wrapping task