Sunday, November 04, 2007

Amazing Race 12 - The Race Begins

I have decided to resurrect my ongoing musings and running commentary related to the new season of The Amazing Race [Sundays, 8pm, CBS]. Longtime, avid readers will recall back to 2005 (yes, that long ago) when the first of my series, the Amazing Race 7 Travelblog, was produced, followed later that year by the Amazing Race 8 Travelblog. After being seriously turned off by the Family Edition that was AR8, I have taken a break from watching several of the latest seasons (AR9, AR10, and AR11's All-Stars Edition). But I'm back, partially because there is little else to watch on Sunday night, and I have little else to do on Sunday night, as well as the fact that my blog is desperately in need of some new material.

This time, though, instead of sticking everything in its own separate blog thread, you'll find it right here along with the rest of the random postings you've become accustomed to. Plus, it's easier for me that way. For those of you new to the format, a brief introduction: I sit here and type-type-type in real-time what I think as I'm watching the show. There isn't much editing, you get whatever comes out of my head, and fortunately, I fast-forward through the commercials for you. :)

Well, the DVR is cued up and my typing fingers are ready, so without further ado, let's kick off the Amazing Race 12 Travelblog.

Here's Phil on top of some skyscraper in Los Angeles, looking much the same as he always does, even after 12 seasons, does this man not age?! Seriously? Anyway, let's meet the teams... as past experience has indicated, some of these aren't worth caring about, especially at this early in the race, but we'll try to give each of them their 10-seconds of fame, which is about as much as the producers gave them.

Marianna and Julia - The sisters from Miami. Will "use their looks to win challenges". Touching.
Ronald and Christina - The obligatory father and daughter, but from Tacoma. Nice local connection there.
Kynt and Vyxsin- Goth couple. "Everyday is Halloween!"
Nicholas and Donald - Airline Pilot and his grandfather. First impression, these look like they'll be a fun team to follow.
Nathan and Jennifer - Dating couple #1, gotta have a few of those because it's free drama.
Azaria and Hendekea - The obligatory brother and sister team, but both engineers.
Lorena and Jason - Dating couple #2. These look less drama, but looks can be deceiving.
Kate and Pat - Married lesbian ministers. I'm pretty sure that's a first for AR.
Ari and Staela - Best friends and coworkers. This is going to be one of the fun teams.
Shana and Jennifer - Friends from LA - but shall be known forever more as "The Blondes"
TK and Rachel - Newly dating, also from SoCal. Newly dating in Episode 1, sure to be newly broken up by the Finale.

Welcome to the Playboy Mansion, which was obviously chosen for the scenic and discrete locale, as it is barely mentioned that that's where they are. This is a family show, afterall. Phil gives the quick rules... "Good Luck, Travel Safe, and GO!" STAMPEDE!!!

Waste no time in LA, they're off the Shannon, Ireland. Let's see who knows how to drive their minivans through LA and find the airport. As usual in the first leg of the race, there's plenty of enthusiasm to go around, reality hasn't quite set in yet.

AND the opening credits. Dramatic poses, wait for it, and turn to face the camera. Typical. I guess the formula is so good they don't bother changing it.

First to the airport, who really cares. I mean, everyone's gonna make it to Ireland within about an hour of each other, that's the way the show works. Both the dating couples were in the first group to arrive. The siblings hit the cutoff point, "Sorry, the flight is full." 7 teams miss out on the first flight. Tragic. But the first alliance has formed, Siblings and Tacoma join forces to use the power of the internet to do some pre-search on the destination. Smart cookies.

Ah, Irish accents, at least I can understand what they are saying. Find the smallest church in the world, a rock thing on a hill, of course, they'll be stranded there until morning waiting for a ferry. Oh, it was so worth it pushing and shoving your way to the airport, wasn't it?

I wonder if you can tell where you are in the world solely by the taxi drivers. In New York, you'd find middle-eastern guys with turbans, but in Ireland, old guys wearing sweaters. We'll have to revisit this in a later episode.

It's obviously rainy season in Ireland. OOohhh, wait for it... Nathan and Jennifer (Dating Couple #1) are already yelling at each other! Did I predict that just 10 minutes ago, I think I did. DC1, you have a phone call... Dr. Phil wants to book you for his show after you get eliminated.

OK, I already like Team Tacoma, these folks are just nice people, definitely from the Northwest. Unfrotunately, I don't think that bodes particularly well for surviving the race. We'll soon find out.

Next stop, Cleggan Farm, ride a bicycle-built-for-two through the mud to find your next clue. Oh this should be tons of fun. Who will fall off first? Well first we have to get there. Wow, DC2 (Lorena and Jason) is just about as much drama as DC1. "We're not going the right way, I know it, just listen to me." "I feel like we're not communicating well, which is our problem in real life." Hilarious. This is one who's watched TOO MUCH Dr. Phil.

And the goths' bicycle chain broke, that sucks. But doesn't seem to change much. The bicycles seem to be a non-event.

Road Block: high wire bicycles. Probably a bit scary, but not too difficult. Also a non-eventful event.

Fun with donkeys. Getting any animal to go where you want it to is a challenge, let alone a donkey. Oh, now starts the mayhem. Some donkeys go fast, some go slow, and others don't go at all. One thing's for sure, yelling at the donkey "if you don't go I'm going to cut you up and eat you"... probably not the best method of motivation. Wow, stubborn as a mule... wait a second...

And it's off to the pit stop. Who's team will reign supreme? Who will be the first team to be eliminated, and fall into the ranks of "who were they?"

And the siblings arrive... and there's Phil on the magic carpet. "You're Team Number One!" Nice people. I approve. Followed shortly behind are the goths. Newlydaters are #3.

Ronald of Team Tacoma sings a lovely rendition of Danny Boy while pedaling along the high wire. That's awesome.

DC2 arrive #4 on the mat. DC1 have the stubborn mule and keep watching as half the other teams have already passed them. Pilot Nick and Grandpa Don come in #5. The blondes make it #6. Tacoma is #7, followed by the Kate and Pat #8. Both teams are just glad to have survived the first leg. Sisters come in 9th, followed by DC1 as 10th after finally pushing their stubborn mule all the way there. And finally we have the best friends, Ari and Staela, who just couldn't make it fast enough, and are the first team to be eliminated from AR12. Probably a good thing, because I didn't have a good nickname for them, and was having a heck of a time spelling Staela.

Well, as is customary with the first episode of the season, it was a bit frantic. I'm glad that they resisted the urge to turn a frantic 1-hour episode into a painfully long and boring 2-hour episode as they have in the past. Once again we seem to be heading east around the world... but that can always change. They usually like to mix things up a bit.

Interestingly enough, no detour on this leg of the race. And the roadblock wasn't hard enough to cause any real separation. As a result, it stayed pretty much a follow-the-leader the entire way through. Not very exciting, but the teams should be interesting. So far though, none of the teams really stand out to me as front-runners. Maybe it will be a close race each week.

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