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The Amazing Race: Season 27, Premiere, 9/25/15

September 28th, 2015 · No Comments

by Lyn Jensen

Consider this:  The Amazing Race is now in its twenty-seventh season, and we could easily watch another ten, don’t you think? Even considering the format counts two seasons per year, each season is like a whole new show.

This season begins with eleven teams gathering on Venice Beach, California, in the presence of many fans and former players (including season one winners Rob and Brennan). CBS must’ve sent the word out–by Twitter, maybe–for fans to show up at the race starting line.

Teams are still being introduced as they receive the first route info, including this race’s initial task. All teams take waiting taxis to a nearby marina, and bike-race.  The winners of the bike race will be rewarded with plane tickets to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, on a flight that leaves thirty minutes ahead of the flight that everybody else is booked on.

Here’s our first chance to get to know the teams beyond their pictures and profiles:

  • TMZ girls Kelly Berning and Shevonne Sullivan, who were probably cast with the premise they’d bring some of the edgy TMZ ‘tude along. (They’d see TAR from a TMZ perspective.)
  • Another TV team, Kelsey Gerckens and Joey Buttitta, a dating couple who report the news for KEYT in Santa Barbara. Will they “report” their way through the race?
  • A third team that’s “with the press,” this time photographers (aka Papparazzi) Chris Gordon and his girlfriend, Logan Fazzio. They aren’t celebrities themselves, they just camera-hunt celebrities.
  • Cousins Alex/Adam, who turn out to be very short guys. The PC term is “little people,” not the old-time term, “midgets.”
  • Mother/son team Denise and James Earl. (He has two first names, common in the South, where this team is from.) He’s gay and she’s having a hard time accepting it. (Trivia:  which team on which season could this sentence also describe?)
  • Jazmine/Danielle, two young black women who are top heptathletes at UC Riverside.
  • Rick and Cindy Chac, married couple from San Diego. She’s a dentist, he’s an OB/GYN. They call themselves Chac-attack.
  • Ernest/Jin, black brothers who the show says are homeless and street entertainers. Their profile on the CBS site says one does multiple jobs (including dance instruction) and the other’s a student and stock boy. So they appear to have a checkered past.
  • When I first caught sight of Justin/Diana, I thought of Team Brenchel, the all-star couple originally from Big Brother. Like Brenchel, this team loves the Irish-green spangles. He’s a radio announcer, she’s a teacher–and they prove prone to Brenchel-like meltdowns as this leg progresses. Stay tnned!
  • Tanner/Josh, this season’s manly-men beefcake team, although their jobs aren’t fitness-related. They’re both muscular guys who boast about how they’re going to charm the women.
  • Tiffany/Kirsta, NFL cheerleaders–like all-stars Jamie/Cara. Somebody who casts TAR likes cheerleaders.

When teams reach the marina, they find the bikes they’ll be riding are “water bikes,” a cross between bikes and pontoons. They have to be pedaled across the water on a very long route to the other side of the marina. Musclemen Tanner/Josh think they’ve got it but their bike chain breaks and every other team passes them.

Justin/Diana in their green spangles win the tickets for a faster flight to Rio. They boast about how they’ve got a 30-min. lead (not so fast, Team Green Spangles).

Phil continues handing out clue envelopes for the trip to Rio at the end of the water-bike route.  Tanner/Josh straggle in way behind everybody else.  Phil wants to know if they were so strong they broke the bike chain, and they agree.

The first flight with Justin/Diana gets into Rio late, the second flight with everybody else gets in early. The 30-min. lead is already diminished to about five minutes. Teams have instructions to go to a place that gives helicopter tours of Rio. When Justin/Diana arrive at the helicopter pad in 1st place, they find a fast forward in the waiting clue envelope. It’s for hang gliding–depending on weather.  The weather looks great, so they opt for the FF.

As other teams arrive at the helipad, they realize somebody else has probably taken the FF, so they get immediately in line for the helicopter tour.  Helicopters only take one team at a time, so some teams are on the next task while the stragglers are still waiting for their rides. Teams have an additional task here.  When the helicopter lands, they have to answer a question about what they’ve seen on the tour. Viewers know, but teams don’t, that it’s about the giant statue of Christ the Redeemer that overlooks the city.

Justin/Diana arrive at the hang gliding site but–the company tells them strong winds make hang gliding too dangerous today. They slip from first place essentially to last, just like that. On the way back, it’s Justin who sobs uncontrollably while Diana sits stone-faced.

As teams get off their helicopter rides, a man asks, “What is the name of that monument?” and points to the Christ statue.  Some people answer the question in Portuguese, others in English, but everybody gets it right.

Next clue’s for a detour:  teams are to take taxis to Copacabana Beach–the beach that stretches for miles along the Rio waterfront. When they find the right place on the beach, one choice is to work complicated slide puzzles that are set up along the beach walkway.  (Fans of Survivor will be familiar with such puzzles because they appear frequently on that show, too.) When properly put together, the puzzles show a mosaic wave pattern similar to the walkway itself.

As for the other choice: this episode’s already seen a combination of bikes and pontoons, now we see a combination of soccer and volleyball. There are professional athletes in Brazil who play volleyball but with soccer moves–headbutts and bicycle kicks, no hands. TAR teams may play regular volleyball against two-person pro Brazilian teams, and the TAR teams need only score six points before the pros score eighteen. It still proves too hard for anybody who’s not good at volleyball.

Teams have to change into beachwear for either task. Seven teams complete the volleyball (called “foot-volley”) task.  The others complete the sliding puzzle. There are some complications as we will see.

Tanner/Josh are first to complete either detour–they score six points in “foot-volley.” The next clue is for the pit stop, atop a lookout at the other end of the beach. They ask a man if they can walk the distance and he says they can. What he doesn’t tell them is, it’s five kilometers. There’s a possibility all the other teams could take taxis and arrive ahead of the male team.

It doesn’t happen, though. Tanner/Josh win the leg. Phil awards them an express pass but explains a new rule:  they’ll have to use it by the fifth leg, then pass it along to another team, and that team would have to use it on the next leg.

UCR heptathletes Jazmine/Danielle place 2nd, Cindy/Rick 3rd, the mother-son team 4th, Logan/Chris, 5th. About this time Justin/Diana join the stragglers on the beach. Little people Alex/Adam place 6th. The black bros and the dating reporters are a close 7th and 8th.

Justin/Diana finish playing their foot-volley game. They get to the pit stop in 9th place, after boasting they’d get 1st. That leaves the TMZ girls and the NFL cheerleaders (who had bad taxi luck), sliding puzzle pieces around for hours.  (The cheerleaders tried the game but gave up.) The cheerleaders finish their puzzle ahead of Team TMZ and place tenth. That means Phil comes down to the walkway and tells TMZ–who’ve just solved their puzzle–that all the other teams have checked in, and they’re the first team to be eliminated in season 27.

 

Tags: Amazing Race