Recap: ‘The Amazing Race’ – ‘Can I Get a Hot Tub!’

04.24.15 3 years ago


I want Hayley from “The Amazing Race” to be my new Waze voice.

Is that so much to ask?

FOX keeps teasing me with Waze voices from their shows — Terry Crews, Tom Mison, Will Forte — and then pulling them for no good reason. Right now I'm using Vlade Divac and as funny as Vlade has been at times over the years, his directions aren't amusing me and he bumbles “left” and “right” in ways that leave me a bit perplexed, which would cause a real problem were it not for the reality that I rely on Waze to give me a few major points, but I often ignore the little things, like when Waze tries to get me to take left turns onto crowded intersections without lights.

I want Hayley from “The Amazing Race” as my Waze voice so that she can keep telling me the correct way to go and I can follow my own path and every time I shoot by her preferred street, she can shriek at me and as I keep driving further and further past, she can tell me to slow down and listen to her, pausing only to swoon about different cute guys walking down to street, and finally she can just give up and yell, “I'm always right and you never listen!”

Yup. I want Hayley from “The Amazing Race” to be my new Waze voice.

I wonder how long it would take for me to have the hollowed-out eyes and shell-shocked expression that Blair is sporting at this point, a mien that says “If I win a million dollars, this will have been totally worth it, but if somehow we don't win and all we get is one stupid trip somewhere… TOGETHER… I'm gonna utterly snap on Phil Keoghan.”

That's my major takeaway from Friday (April 24) night's episode of “The Amazing Race.”

What? You got something more dramatic from the episode? Liar.

More after the break…

So yeah, Friday's “Amazing Race” was another Non-Elimination Leg. 

Matt & Ashley were spared elimination.

You kinda had to figure that was the way things were going once Matt & Ashley fell as far behind as they did at the Roadblock, because the episode began with an unusually long sequence set after the conclusion of the last Leg, as we watched teams feasting in tents in Namibia and Matt & Ashley sought an awkward peace with Jelani & Jenny over last week's U-Turn incident and Jenny vowed revenge. If Matt & Ashley were just going to go out due to poor performance on a needle-in-haystack challenge, we didn't need to start the episode with U-Turn-based foreshadowing. That doesn't mean that Jenny will definitely get to U-Turn Matt & Ashley and that that will be the cause of their eventual demise, but you can't have foreshadow and anti-climax in the same episode. Or you shouldn't. And no matter how much I like to periodically make fun of “The Amazing Race” and its editing team, they're still good at their jobs more often than they're bad.

So this episode was less about getting to results and more just about reenforcing our feelings about these teams and reminding us of why some of these pairings are likable, which makes for a stark contrast with our latest “Awful people doing awful things to each other” episode of “Survivor.”

The Leg began with a trip from Namibia to Amsterdam, a whiplash-y jaunt that has seen the teams bounce from Asian to Europe to Africa right back to Europin a five-Leg circle. 

Then we got the Roadblock, in which one player from each team had to look at one Dutch wooden shoe and find the matching shoe in a room of hundreds of clogs with very similar markings. It wasn't easy, but if you had proper attention to detail, it also clearly wasn't hard. Jenny, for example, passed on pretty much her first attempt. It took Matt 43 tries to match one shoe to the other. Even with little enhancements, this was yet another task in which the editors struggled to delineate between successful and unsuccessful attempts. The dots and wavy lines on the clogs either matched or they didn't and if the picture clicked for a contestant it wasn't hard, but if you were Matt, it was nearly impossible.

That was the episode's differentiator. Matt couldn't find a shoe. 

But Ashley was consistently encouraging of Matt as he struggled. And then at the Detour they were constantly encouraging of each other, even though they were far enough behind that they didn't see another team at their Detour of choice. And then as they went to the Pit Stop, expecting elimination, they talked about how the Race solidified their love and would be a great story to tell their kids. And then when Phil told them they'd been spared, I think they had my favorite reaction ever to an NEL.

Matt looked on the verge of tears of relief, while a manic Ashley practically jumped into his arms and yelped, “We're not having babies yet!”

It made me smile. 

I also smiled a lot at Blair's latest attempts to put distance between himself and Hayley, in this case literally biking 10 feet ahead of her as she complained about the cold, complained about the fecal spell in the air and complained about his lack of attentiveness to her complaints. Then, however, they worked pretty well together on the Detour, so maybe they actually are learning things about teamwork, or at least a specific kind of teamwork.

They're not as cute together as Laura and Tyler, nor could they ever be. 

Unlike Phil, I'm not desperate for Laura and Tyler to be deeply in love, but I like that they seem to joke with each other with total ease, whether it's chiding about Tyler's frequently mistaken Race predictions or a back-and-forth about urinating in a public floating hot tub in Amsterdam.

Yes, that's apparently a thing.

The Detour choice was Soak or Shuffle. 

In Soak, even though it was barely over freezing, teams had to take a dip in floating hot tubs, steering down canals and figuring out a series of three fairly simple puzzles telling them to go to an Ice Skating Ring. So there were laughs in Tyler's eagerness to show off his muscles to the locals, Hayley's shyness in showing off her butt to the locals and several people not understanding that the clue “i i i i i” meant “i's” and meant “ice.”

And Laura's, “I wouldn't pee in here you nut-bag” should have been the episode title, if you ask me.

Laura & Tyler won the Leg, their second straight victory, because they got into Amsterdam Central and to the Detour ahead of Jelani & Jenny because the lawyers got back instructions into the city.

Matt & Ashley finished last because of clogs.

[Oh and the Shuffle Detour task was playing a little shuffleboard surrounded by drunk period-costumed Dutch gentlemen. I don't quite get it as a Detour task, but it looked fun. As fun as hot tub sailing on the canals with Laura? Probably not.]

A few other thoughts from Friday's Non-Elimination Leg:

*** The top three finishers were the Blind Dating teams. I don't think this means very much. Matt & Ashley weren't nearly eliminated because of the specifics of their relationship. He just wasn't good at pattern recognition in footwear.

*** Problem with this format and this casting: Long stretches of time in this episode went by with the editors playing the “Girls are just harpies trying to change their men” card, as we bounced from Hayley's haranguing to Laura's joking about Tyler's predictions to Rochelle talking about Mike's need for contact lenses. Two of the three women may have been joking, but edited together practically as a package, it was unseemly in its pointless affirmation of gender stereotyping.

*** Going back to foreshadowing and then anti-climaxes… What was the point of Blair reminding us that Hayley was going back to their airport in which she fell in love with the bush plane pilot only to not bring the pilot back and not cutting to Hayley's disappointment?

*** Laura making the 15-year-old hockey player at the Pit Stop uncomfortable by telling him he looked fierce was awesome. 

*** And, in conclusion, get me my Hayley Waze voice.


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