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Amazing Race 11: All-Stars

Episode 1
As promised, I will be covering the 11th edition of The Amazing Race. Due to time constraints however I will be limiting it to a few comments each week. For simplicity's sake I'll be putting them all on this same page. You may say it's no-star coverage of the All-Star season.

As Phil introduced the 11 teams he called them "the best of the best" but I didn't notice too many winners. Sure enough, only one team (Uchenna & Joyce) took home the million bucks. There are more fourth-place teams (3) than anything else. Heck, there are more sixth-place teams (2) than winners.

One of the "All-Star" teams isn't even a real team. You have "Frat Boy" Eric from Season 9 with a member of a different team who just happens to be his girlfriend. But hey, at least they had an excuse to show footage of one of the "Double D" girls running in a pink bikini.

But even though our "best of the best" is more like the "best of the rest of the not-bad" I'm still fired up to be back running with The Race.

-Scott Vito

Episode 2
It sure didn’t take Rob and Ambuh long to dominate. Two legs, two first place finishes. Not even a plane delay could hold them back this time.

It also didn’t take long for the first team to go crazy. They may want to keep sharp objects away from Mirna for a while.

And it didn’t take long for the Kentuckians to go back on their “We’re not forming any more alliances” vow. Maybe now they’ll realize that doesn’t work in a game where you don’t vote people out.

That boardroom Roadblock looked like something out of last summer’s reality show “Treasure Hunters.” I don’t think the Wild Hanlons would’ve done too well at this one either.

Episode 3
This leg was a parade of blunders. Not reading entire clues, missing clue boxes, driving for miles the wrong way. You could argue that 5 of the 9 teams deserved to go home, but they kept out-stinking each other. Now Mary Kentucky can go hang out with the Chos again.

It looks like there are only 3 and a half legit teams at this point. Rob and Ambuh are 3 for 3 and it hasn’t even been close. Uchenna and Joyce are solid, and Eric is good (if he can take a break from talking about Danielle’s boobs long enough to read a map). Oswald and Danny slipped this week but they were second the first 2 legs so I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. Everyone else just seems to be waiting to go home. I suppose that’s what happens you stock your “All-Star” Race with 4th, 5th, and 6th place finishers.

Quote of the week: One of the “Cha-cha-chas” seeing the little person at the Pit Stop and saying, “Charla’s going to be in love.” Tee-hee.

Episode 4
Wow. Didn’t see that one coming.

Boston Rob must have been wearing magnetic underwear because his internal compass was way off the entire leg. It also didn’t help that his ego got in the way on the sign Detour and in volunteering to do a non-physical Roadblock.

With their first place finish Oswald and Danny definitely move onto the contenders list along with Uchenna and Joyce. I’m still not sold on Eric and Danielle. The good news is this week he was able to go two minutes before making a comment about her boobs.

I’m done with Mirna and her condescending anger. This week she had to remind us that she’s an attorney as if we’d be impressed. I hope she goes home next and then she can go sue herself.

Episode 5
I forgot to write about the Race yesterday. I must have still been in shock that the two best teams finished last in consecutive weeks.

What is going on with these “All-Stars”? You would hope the strongest teams would force the others to rise up to the level of the competition, but apparently the crummy pairs are dragging everyone down.

This was also the second straight week where your finish depended entirely on the Detour you chose. They should have made the compass challenge far more difficult last week, and this week you should have had to earn oh, I don’t know, maybe two bucks painting nails.

I’ve never been a fan of the “non-elimination leg”. It’d be like having a full Tribal Council on Survivor, counting the votes, and then having Jeff say, “I’m………………………………………………………happy to tell you this is a non-elimination vote.” And then Dreamz could chase him around with coal on his hands.

So Charla and Mirna shock the world by finishing first and Phil reminds them this is the first time they’ve ever won a leg. And yet they’re All-Stars. Now that’s Amazing.

Episode 6
This week’s leg seemed to take the entire week. Good grief, the producers must have found the one inhabited spot on the globe that is impossible to get to. Remind me not to plan my next convention in Tanzania.

OK, it wasn’t an entire week, but it was close. The leg started at 9 p.m. of Day 1. Everybody sat around in the airport until the morning of Day 2 when “Mira and Schmirna” snuck away to “Jo’burg”. Three teams were still stranded in South Africa until the middle of Day 3. Most of the actual racing took place in the middle of the night with the last two teams jumping on the mat after dawn on Day 4. Craziness.

The angry attorney and her diminutive cousin would’ve had about a day and a half lead on the final team if they didn’t have to wait out a “storm” until the morning on the third day. They should be thankful for the bogus delay however because we all know everyone will be allowed to catch up as soon as the next leg starts. Now instead of sitting around for two days they’ll only be penalized about twelve hours of boredom.

That should give Charla and Mirna plenty of time to work on the fake accents they constantly use to try and communicate with people who don’t speak English. No wonder they’re winning.

Episode 7
They should start calling this The Amazingly Lopsided Race.

Surprise! The city that is impossible to get to is impossible to leave! You know you’re in bad shape when you’re so far behind they have to start the next leg without you. That should be an automatic elimination penalty. Call it the mercy-on-the-audience rule.

The producers did a good job of rigging things to try and make the Race interesting again, first with the chartered bus (lumping the last three teams together) and then with the Intersection (adding a fourth team to the back of the pack). But why would you spread things out again by giving the first two teams a Fast Forward?

And an easy Fast Forward at that. Counting? Really? No jumping off a bridge, no facing a wall of fire, just climbing a couple sets of stairs and counting (and they let them do it as a group of four so even though half of them were wrong they still got it right).

So we have five more teams and two of them are absolutely worthless. Hopefully we can eliminate Sexist & Boobs and the Angry Armenian quickly without any of the other three teams accidentally going home early.

Have mercy-on-the-audience.

Episode 8
What’s the Amazing Race version of committing Survivicide? eRacing yourself? The Amazingly Stupid Move? Whatever it is, Uchenna and Joyce did it big time.

That had to have been the craziest gamble I’ve ever seen. 1) They weren’t Marked For Elimination. They weren’t even at the back of the back. They started the leg tied for first for crying out loud! 2) They weren’t gambling for a big lead. Even if they nailed their connection they still would’ve been two hours behind Charla and Mirna. 3) The risky flight was only 45 minutes ahead of the safer flight that the other non-internet-users got! When you have a full day of navigating and both challenges ahead of you, a lead of less than an hour doesn’t do you much good. 4) And the worst part, they had no backup plan. Did they check and see what other flights were available from Frankfurt to Malaysia? Why on earth would you take an all-or-nothing risk so you can have a slim lead for second place??

Basically I’m upset because the pool of likeable teams keeps getting smaller. But at least they used my mercy-on-the-audience rule and gave U&J the auto-boot when they were a day behind everyone.

No pity on the dimwitty.

Episode 9
Well that was painfully dull. The team on the early flight won the leg, the two teams on the middle flight finished second and third, and the team on the last flight came in last. Nobody passed anybody, there was no suspense, and to top it all off, it was a non-elimination leg.

We should have known we were in trouble when they spent the first third of the episode watching the teams fight in line at the airport. The Amazing Race shouldn’t come down to who can best harass international airport personnel.

Can we just call it a four-way tie for fourth place and donate the prize money to charity?

Episode 10
Another non-elimination leg?? They really need to trim off a couple episodes or add more teams. Having a reality TV competition without somebody going home is like working for two weeks and not getting paid.

I know it sounds like I hate the show but that’s not the case. I love the Amazing Race and I look forward to each new episode Sunday night. But time and time again this season I’ve been disappointed by bad teams, boring legs and dull finishes.

I will say that selling a Yield was brilliant, and the Marked For Elimination deal paid off well this week as we had some legit suspense for a change. Eric and Danielle really had to sweat it out before staying alive (unfortunately).

Speaking of E & Double-D, why couldn’t they have made a mix-and-match team for Charla? Give her a partner with even an ounce of positivity and everyone in the world is cheering her success. But now we’re stuck rooting for Mirna’s go-cart to get run over by a bus.

Episode 11
I’ll admit, that was a good episode. It helps when you know somebody’s actually home, doesn’t it? The drama with the final drive to the Pit Stop was transparently fake, but there was legit suspense in the “Teletubbies At War” challenge.

The Blonde Ambition Team is clearly the pair to beat as they’ve won the last two legs and three of the last four. Considering no all-female team has ever won the Race it’s pretty cool there are two girls-only teams among the finalists, with only one boy out of six contestants.

Who do I want to win? The problem is if I were to rank them as individuals it would look like this:

1. Charla
2. Danielle (mainly because I feel sorry for her for the way she lets her shallow boyfriend treat her)
3. Dustin/Kandice (because, to this day, I still don’t know which is which)
5. Eric
6. Mirna

So if two of the teams win I’m happy for one person and resentful of the other, and if the beauty queens win I’m downright indifferent. Oh well, at least you only have to put up with my complaining one more week.


Episode 12 Finale
I suppose it's fitting that the winner of the Non-Star Race was a team that had won ZERO legs the entire time. Considering they weren't even a real team to start with, the million-dollar finale was the first time Eric and Danielle had won anything together. Now that's Amazing.

The bank vault lock-box thing was fun. I didn't like the 10-minute time limit but Danielle's small lead was good enough to bring it home. Any happiness I felt for her was completely shot when we saw Eric call Other Frat Boy on the phone and they instantly started talking about spanking each other.

And that is that. I'm not opposed to the concept of an All-Star Race, I just think they chose terrible teams and got bad competition because of it. If they want a real dogfight they should bring back the winners from each season, double the prize money so there's a million bucks waiting for each person, and watch the magic happen.

Thanks for following my pseudo-coverage of the Amazing Race. It may not have been great, but I hope it was dang fun.

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