Amazing Race: and They’re Off …

What the country needs is more AMAZING RACE!

Yesterday the new season kicked off in Los Angeles and the first stop was Salvador, Brasil. Upon arrival they were instructed to go to O Rei Do Pernil, where they had a “Barista Challenge” waiting for them. The challenge had the couples wheeling an unwieldy local vending cart overflowing with boxes of candy and such through the narrow streets of Brasil and up a funicular.

After the challenge, they had to stay overnight in a tent under some mosquito netting.

The next morning they had to go to Pelourinho.

There they had the detour: Hard Way Up or Soft Way Down. Hard Way Up involved climbing up the steps to church (Escadaria do Passo) on hands and knees and then answering a mystery question. If the question is answered incorrectly, they have to repeat the climb. Soft Way Down had the contestants take an outdoor elevator (Elevador Lacerda) and then climb down a cargo net suspended from it to street level – 240 feet below.

The final pit stop was Forte Sao Marcelo.

So now I get to judge the contestants. (Bear in mind that this is only week one and my prediction record have been sliding.)

Here are the couples in the final order of arrival at the Pit Spot:

  1. Nick and Starr – Brother and Sister. She is a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader; he is in the New York Off-Broadway show, The Fantastics. They are not as well traveled and want to be “adopted by Mom and Dad” (READ Ken and Tina). They suggest a two-leg alliance but spend the rest of the episode running in front of them. “I hate to say it, but at least we’re in front of Ken and Tina,” Nick says. Tsk tsk.
  2. Ken and Tina – Married, yet separated Couple. He is an ex-NFL player and he cheated on her. Their Christian values are mandating they try to work on their marriage. (I’m not sure where his Christian values where when he was cheating.) Ken walks around with a tail between his legs allowing Tina to abuse him ad nauseum. Incidentally, the entire botoxed face is not distracting me from those awful eyebrows. In Brasil, she yells at Tim for not speaking Spanish, which he was supposed to learn. They speak Portugese in Brasil, Tina. Thanks for playing. Oh yeah, and Ken uses the whistle.
  3. Terence and Sarah – Newly Dating in NYC. She’s an MBA Wall Street gal; he’s a runner. He’s vastly insecure, though. He’s the runner yet he yells for her to slow down. He doesn’t like it that she talks to the other contestants rather than chatting with him. Loser. Terence has declared that he doesn’t need friends. He also told Sarah that she was not allowed to climb and talk when they were going down the cargo net.
  4. Mark and Bill – Best Friends and Self-proclaimed geeks. Their sweatshirt over the vending cart was pure genius; it must be the comic books. I like ‘em.
  5. Kelly and Christy – Best Friends and Divorcees. Not much of a personality yet. Not a good sign that they got lost already in the first episode.
  6. Toni and Dallas – Single Mom and Hot Son. She wants to pimp him out as much as possible. Good idea.
  7. Andrew and Dan – Dorky Wannabe Superbad Frat Brothers. Dan majored in tourism but that didn’t help them in the airport when they were too dumb to look for the marked Amazing Race flag. They were also deficient in their Hard Way Up challenge. Who doesn’t count steps as you’re climbing – especially if you know you’re going to be asked a “mysterious question” at the top? Now if they were as funny as the Superbad dudes I’d be more forgiving.
  8. Aja and Ty – Long distance dating for nine months. Here claim to fame this episode is that she suggested the carpool lane in Los Angeles. Brilliant. Lands them in 8th place.
  9. Anthony and StephanieDating couple back together after a year separation. Anthony says he’ll propose if they win the race. If not? Seems like the reasoning is a bit off kilter if they were just broken up for a year. Not good Amazing Race karma.
  10. Melissa and Brooke – Pearl Wearing Best Friends. This season’s southern belles; not much showcased yet besides the bodies.
  11. Anita and Arthur – Married Hippie Beekeepers. They should have hussled a little more. “Bees are much calmer than all this,” Anita says.

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