“Boxing, Claire! It’s Boxing! Claire! Boxing! Claaaire!” So began last night’s episode of The Amazing Race, an hour of general tomfoolery (never have so many teams so completely missed such an obvious clue) presided over by a contestant I am legally authorized to nickname Babbling Brook. The fair-haired co-captain of Team QVC is thrilled by the universe, viewers, and she wants to make sure everyone knows about it. Working with her must be a lot of fun: “Claire, this coffee! It’s good! It has sugar in it! Sugar! Coffee! Good! Claaaire!”
You can’t deny her enthusiasm. Brook and her silent partner were the first to set off for the Akotoku Boxing Academy on the far side of Accra. In Ghana, boxing is the most popular sport besides soccer, which is reason #4,817 why Ghana is awesome. Unfortunately, the boxing setting was a little bit of a tease: the challenge didn’t involve fighting, just hand-wrapping, a minute of bag-hitting, and a minute of jump-roping. Brook reacted ecstatically to this contest: “Aw, Claire, I’ve got this one, Claire!” (She uses “Claire” as a punctuation mark.) She squared up in a boxing stance like an adorable cartoon mouse who thinks it can box a ferocious cartoon cat. She kissed her trainer on the cheek. She raced through the challenge in no time. As they ran off, Claire said, “We just knocked that one out, no pun intended.” Don’t front, Claire. You intended that pun. Admit it, Claire! Pun! Claire!
Further back in the pack, Team Princeton continued their charm offensive. They actually asked what their cabbie’s name was (Samson) and serenaded him. Being nice will get you everywhere: Samson zip-zipped them past the other teams. “We love you Samson!” they sang. “I love you, too!” he exclaimed. Nobody really had any major issues with the boxing contest. Chad tried to show off how good he was at jump-roping, and in the process just showed how bad he was at jump-roping. (Chad and Stephanie seem like a married-couple on a CBS sitcom: He’s a lovable lunkhead who seems to think he’s a criminal mastermind and an NFL-level athlete, and she’s an ex-beauty queen with infinite patience.)
Great Dismissive-Valkyrie Moment #1: Team Princeton arrived at the Boxing Academy just as the Valkyries were racing onto the next competition. Jonathan, rather sweetly: “Katie, Rachel, what’s going on?” The Valkyries: “Nothing!”
Great Dismissive-Valkyrie Moment #2: Nat and Kat continued their run of bad luck in Africa: Their cabbie got terrifically lost. At one point, they turned around and noticed two of the other teams – Katie/Rachel and Chad/Stephanie – in taxis behind them. Nat/Kat told their cabbie to stop in the middle of the road, blocking the other team’s advance. The Valkyries: “You dumb doctor!”
While the stragglers finished up the boxing-without-boxing tournament, Samson the Taxi-Man took advantage of a passing herd of yaks and raced Team A Cappella into the lead. That meant Connor and Jonathan were the first to arrive at the supply depot. Teams had to load up a pair of wheelbarrows with various supplies (concrete, bricks, shovels, brooms) and carry the supplies to the primary school.
NEXT: It’s time for some low-level inter-team espionage!