The Amazing Race recap: Vintage Fun
Every so often there is a moment so shocking on Amazing Race that it causes me to rewind and re-evaluate everything I’ve thought to be true. That miraculous occurrence happened this week when Meghan decided she was going to become a sneaky, tricky player. ”Do you want to just tell everyone we found a Praga and it’s a black hat…?” she asked Cheyne after finding out on the computer that the Praga mentioned in their clue is a vintage car. What? Does Malibu Skipper (sorry, Barbie would never wear those boyish shorts) have the soul of the devil? Or perhaps Boston Rob? I got excited. This could get good, with teams left searching for a black hat while Meghan and Cheyne twirled their evil mustaches all the way to Phil and the finish mat. Well, the shocking moment turned out to be nothing at all, with the front-running but dreadfully dull team abandoning the sinister plot and going back to their nice ‘n bland ways. ”We’re so funny!” Meghan exclaimed. (Key: Funny = boring? Funny = blond? Funny = laughing our way to the bank when we win this race in 3 weeks?)
But maybe the memo went out that there was a moratorium on dirty tricks. Both the brothers and the Globetrotters seemed to have been given a talking-to by the producers. After last week’s not-so-veiled threats of playing dirty, this week these two teams steered clear of each other. ”Everything’s cool.…It’s all good!” said Big Easy. Damn. Sometimes a good elbow jab can make an episode — or at least a flight across Europe — more interesting.
Indeed, no limbs went violent as all of the teams managed to make it to Prague in the Czech Republic without a hitch. Sam seemed to prove he’d gotten all the brains in the family when Dan asked, ”Do they speak Spanish there?” That is, until Sam proved stupidity runs in DNA by later commenting, ”Prague? It’s a country.” Just a question: When you apply for the Amazing Race, don’t you have to have the most basic grasp of map skills? Because I don’t think Prague is exactly a random, small town in the middle of a remote island in the Indian Ocean. Doesn’t anyone who knows anything about traveling to Europe know that Prague is one of the world’s great cities?
Of course, getting to the center of Prague to find the Praga vintage car proved to be another story entirely. The brothers, Globetrotters, and our non-deceptive Meghan and Cheyne found it without a hitch. (The brothers, incidentally, insisted on following Meghan and Cheyne to the clue box, the very thing they criticized the Globetrotters for doing to them. ”Thank God we saw Cheyne and Meghan…we would’ve been there forever trying to find it,” a completely non-self-aware Sam said). Brian and Ericka, on the other hand, decided that they would take travel tips from some shlub they met on the airplane. So while the rest of the teams took taxis, Miss America and her goateed husband decided to take what seemed like every mode of transportation ever invented to get to the subway. Now, I’m all for subways, but not when you have to take a bus to get to them. Kind of defeats the purpose of traveling without traffic if you have to sit in traffic to get to the place where you don’t have to sit in traffic, no?
In the end, everyone made it to the roadblock, Kayaky Troja, where teams had to choose between an aerial ropes course or a human-made white water kayaking course. Malibu Ken and Barbie made it through in impressive time, along with Flight Time. Big Easy, on the other hand, proved to be more Big than Easy, with his 260 lbs. dragging the rope down so low it was practically submerged. While Big was struggling, Flight Time was getting on Cheyne’s last spikey-haired nerve by climbing down from the ropes course tower too slowly. I love how calm Flight Time remains as everyone around him melts down. The redder Cheyne’s face got, the more relaxed Flight Time seemed to get. But both teams decided to work together to find a cab until Cheyne grabbed one going by without even a nod of acknowledgment that he was blowing them off. ”You’re being rude! You’re being rude!” Meghan chided him. (Key: Rude = good game playing? Rude = almost as obnoxious as I was at the airport this morning? Rude = blond?)
NEXT: The Bickertons are back
Meanwhile, back at the detour, Sam and Dan capsized three glorious times before changing to the ropes course — all the while yelling ”Bitch!” And ”Shut up dude!” at each other. Clearly, somebody and his brother didn’t learn too much from last week’s teary realization that it wasn’t worth yelling at each other. And their short-term memory didn’t stop there. The team obsessed with pointing out other teams’ ethical shortcomings decided they would steal Brian and Ericka’s taxi. Classy, boys, classy.
I usually laugh when bad things happen to Ericka because she’s such an easy target — miscounting bells, etc. — but tonight I felt bad for her. ”Use two hands!” Brian was gently encouraging her. ”I am!” she screamed back. She’s one the last women left in the race and that ropes course looked like it was a brutal upper body workout for professional athletes, so it couldn’t have been easy for a former Miss America.
All the teams eventually ended up at the Estates Theater, where Mozart premiered Don Giovanni. Everyone had to find a teeny little mandolin among the 600 seats. Cheyne and Big Easy put on their head-flashlights and threw open doors, lifted up seats, and did their best to abuse this beautiful building to find their clue. Flight Time was nothing short of hilarious when he got annoyed at Malibu Skipper’s constant screeching ”Cheyne! Cheyne!” I even loved when Flight Time worked his totally unimpressive yet totally awesome ballet moves on the stage. That guy should win the race for having the best personality.
When the brothers arrived they were all joyous at the Don Giovanni challenge reference. Sam even started belting out a few lines. (Wait. Let me get this straight…you know opera but you don’t know that Prague is not a country? Someone’s college education was seriously lopsided!) No doubt Big Easy was annoyed that Dan found the mandolin first. But not half as annoyed as Brian and Ericka were when they saw the brothers leaving just as they were arriving. ”I definitely avoided eye contact,” Sam said. Probably a smart move. Ericka’s got quite the death stare. Just ask Brian. Self-awareness hit an all-time low when the brothers couldn’t find a taxi outside the Theatre. ”How hard is it to find a taxi?” Um, it’s called karma. And no, they don’t speak Spanish there.
In the end, Meghan and Cheyne came in first (with a trip to Hawaii!), Sam and Dan second, Flight Time and Big Easy third, and Brian and Ericka last. Much as the brothers would have loved for Brian and Ericka to get kicked off the race in the country of Prague, they were out of luck. Phil, who always painfully telegraphs when it’s a non-elimination leg, painfully telegraphed that it was a non-elimination leg. I don’t think Brian and Ericka have run the best race so I’m not entirely happy that they will now compete to run among the top three. But boy am I looking forward to next week when Ericka takes out her wrath on those brothers. Hell hath no fury like a Miss America scorned. ”I’m going for the jugular,” she said when that taxi drove away with the brothers. The jugular? Could last week’s elbow jab been a mere appetizer? Will blood be spilled next week? Did you think the brothers played too dirty? Should taxi stealing get you punished at the finish mat?
Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.