Two Guys, a Girl and a TV Set

Three college friends out in the world, filling the void with television…and loving it.

Amazing Race – Tokyo (S15:E1)

Posted by Mr. Feeny on September 27, 2009

There’s a reason The Amazing Race has won all 7 Emmys for Best Reality Show. Emmy voters don’t watch reality TV and figure it’s worth repeating.

OK, that’s the cynical answer. And probably partly true. But it’s still very deserving. No other reality show has non-stop action and excitement like The Amazing Race. Teams of two are constantly competing, moving at a lightening fast pace. The only time for relaxation is on the plane…which we don’t really see. Our only breaks, besides commercials, are when the teams are talking to the camera, narrating their previous challenges. But since it complements the excitement, it never lets up.

Which makes today’s Japanese game show challenge perfect. Talk about your ADD  challenge. Flashing lights, loud music, cheesy graphics, confetti all over the place. It was a rocking start to the show’s 15th season, as they had to eat blazing hot wasabi bombs. I actually got dizzy during it, like that episode of The Simpsons where they go to Japan.

BEWARE — SPOILERS AHEAD

Like CJ’s Top Chef review, I’ll be letting you know wins each challenge during the episode. It’s a good way to determine who’s the best throughout, not just the first place team. So, this is your warning. Results are coming up………

Host Phil Keoghan threw the contestants for a mean loop right out of the gate. The first challenge is before the race even begins…and the loser is eliminated. The challenge is basically “Where’s Waldo?” with license plates. It was a close finish, with the most annoying team (see my predictions below) barely winning. So we never get to know the yoga couple. Not heartbroken. Maria and Tiffany, the poker players, found the right license plate first to take the early lead (which rarely matters).

In Japan, all the teams are even again on the game show. They have to eat the spicy wasabi bomb before advancing.  The two first finishers were Meghan and Cheyne (dating) and Marcy and Ron (also dating). Though, that was just luck, as they got the first chance to eat the wasabi.

My favorite part of The Amazing Race is the way the producers choose uniquely native challenges. Fun twists to show the viewers at home what it’s like to be in this part of the world. With only 12 legs to the race, they can’t visit everywhere, which makes each season unique as well. The first challenge like that is leading a group of 20 Japanese tourists through the crowded streets of Tokyo. The final destination is the pit stop, meaning the first finisher wins this leg of the race. The last finisher could be eliminated.One of the teams (the poker players) lost two of their tourists, so they had to double back. That cost them a 2 hour penalty and a detour in the next leg. Meghan and Cheyne won the first leg. They seem like a likeable couple.

But that wasn’t it. This was a two-hour premiere. So, although Tammy and Maria got another life, we got to see them use it right away. The next destination was Vietnam. After some typical plane ticket wheeling and dealing, they traveled through some incredibly flooded streets and headed to their challenge via buses. Four teams were on the later bus, but cleverly pooled their money to buy up all the other tickets so they could leave early. Not that it mattered. As is often the case, their destination closed at 5, meaning they all had to wait until the morning.

The challenge involved planting at a fruit farm. Very muddy and labor intensive. And teamwork was key. Once again, Meghan and Cheyne won this challenge. Tiffany and Maria actually did a nice job catching up after their detour, but still lagged. They’re next step road block was duck herding. Yeah. You heard right. It’s a very…interesting show. This one was timed, which helped other teams catch up since there were a limited number of courses. So they had to wait around. The brothers, Sam and Dan, were able to rally from sixth to win this challenge. But Gary and Matt, the father-son combo, were able to push ahead to first place on that leg. The poker players, thanks to one of them having ducks as a child, were able to get back in the upper half. The last team to arrive was Garrett and Jessica, the couple dating on and off. They were eliminated. They seemed to use this race to show they could be a good married couple…they used it as a test. That right there tells you about their future…

So, here are a few of my team impressions:

My Favorite Couple: Mika and Canaan. They’re musicians from Nashville. One’s a country songwriter with something currently on the charts. And they’re both devout Christians. This was a no-brainer pick for me. Unfortunately, they finished 10th in the first leg. But, the bible does say the last shall be…nevermind.

Final 3 Prediction: So many factors can affect who wins (though I did pick right last season…between that and Survivor, I’m on a roll). So my picks to make the Final 3 are Meghan and Cheyne, the Globetrotters, and Sam and Dan. They’re the ones in the pictures.

Most Fun Couple: The Harlem Globetrotters. They’re funny, friendly, competitive…and we constantly hear their theme music. That’s fun.

Most Annoying Couple: Easily Lance and Kira, the engaged gym rats. The guy’s a lawyer who thinks he’s the greatest specimen ever to grace this earth. Just a jerk. The woman seems callous and angry. I hope they’re gone soon. Unfortunately, the finished third tonight.

Next to Go: Also a crap shoot, since things can be out of your control. Sadly, I’ll say Mika and Canaan. I wasn’t impressed with the way they played the game, despite their likability.

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