Racer Reports

Racer Report - Episode Three

My favorite moment was Joyce's enthusiasm and excitement over getting to go parasailing. She's definitely not the wussy type!
Team: Bob & Joyce
This week Bob & Joyce seemed to really be hitting their stride, running their most consistent leg yet. They started in fifth place, but pulled themselves up one place by finding the white-centered chocolate at the Roadblock more quickly than Marshall, and ended up checking in at the pit stop in fourth place. My favorite moment was Joyce's enthusiasm and excitement over getting to go parasailing. She's definitely not the wussy type!

We didn't see much of this team this week, since they didn't do anything really great or really awful. The worst thing they did was get onto the third flight leaving for Bariloche, which fortunately didn't harm them any. There was no fighting (except Bob's disagreement with Mirna in the Insider footage over the disGUStingness of him moving her bags), no navigational errors, no misreading of clues -- really not much except solid, steady racing.

These two are clearly a force to be reckoned with. They're physically strong and fearless enough to do any task put in front of them; they're very supportive of each other -- Joyce is showing an excellent ability to calm Bob down when he starts to get worked up, which can be very important -- and they seem to have good navigational skills (or at least Joyce does, since so far she's been the navigator). The only area where they haven't shown themselves to be outstanding yet is working the airport counters -- they've been able to get onto flights, but need to work more closely on standby arrangements for earlier flights if they want to move up.

I see these two going far. They're old enough to have learned how to pace themselves well, and Killer Fatigue may not be as big a problem for them as it is for some of the younger teams who are constantly burning up adrenalin with frantic rushing. Right now, a steady middle-of-the-pack race is the best course to make it as far as possible, on which they seem to be maintaining a steady focus. Keep up the good work, Bob & Joyce!
–– by Mama Tiger

Team: Brandon & Nicole
The major theme of the leg for this team was screwing people over – and interestingly enough only Nicole (or Nikki as everyone calls her) seemed to notice or care. They form one alliance after another and the fates – who’ve watched the show before and understand that alliances are for shit in this Race – have fun making them break each one. What’s more, Curly Locks [Oh, that’s good – I’ve been calling them “Nikki and The Hair,” but Curly Locks might work. -- Daria] always seems to be the one who’s perfectly fine with breaking them. Some of his classic lines are “Don’t slow down – teams are on our backs.” This of course after Charla and Mirna had stopped to help them. He also uttered “Aw, man… Just go” when leaving the Pizza Guys behind. And he seems to rationalize it with “We’re so competitive, we just want to win” (a comment that drew a blank stare from Nikki [because no other team has ever wanted to win, they’ve just entered the race because they had nothing better to do -- Daria). Um… Brandon? That title of Mr. Competitive has already gone to Colin because, you know, he’s the most intense person to EVER race.
Of course, we’ve already established that our man Brandon may not the sharpest pencil in the box.
Of course, we’ve already established that our man Brandon may not the sharpest pencil in the box. I mean, why on earth would he ever tell Nikki to stop in the middle of a mud patch??? And, yes, he’s the only Racer to do so. And what does one do when one has stepped out in mud and notice one’s shoes are getting muddy? But of course, take them off so you can get your socks muddy too. I mean, geez louise… it’s actually beyond snarking on [although we’ll certainly try -- Daria]. And this doesn’t even cover the team’s research on flights out of the airport. I personally wouldn’t trust that there was only one airline flying out, and simple research by other teams easily established there were multiple flights by multiple airlines. Wow, who would’ve thunk it.

Overall I’m amazed at their ability to come in third, I really am. It’s a wonder how far dumb luck and generous gate agents will get you. Just as long as Nikki remembers what’s important and that God is helping them win – I’m sure it’ll be alright. [Quite frankly, I think this team’s continued presence in the race attests to the fact that God has a wicked sense of humor -- Daria
–– by MJMarble and Daria

Team: Charla & Mirna
Charla and Mirna did their best to challenge my attempts at journalistic objectivity this week, with plenty of cringe-inducing moments interspersed with the entertaining scenes. For those keeping score at home, I’ve recorded my opinion of various scenes from the third episode.

The Good (henceforth, TG): Charla recognizing that she and Mirna may yell, but will always be there for each other and work together. Awareness is the first step.
Not So Good (NSG): Any time we witness said yelling.

TG: Realizing that working with a closely-bunched team can be mutually beneficial.

TG: Offering to help when Brandon and Nicole were stuck in the mud was a nice gesture.

TG: I’m sorry, but while being zapped by an electric fence hurts, it makes for good TV.

NSG: Mirna complained that they were lost because they trusted others. No dear, you’re lost because Charla had trouble navigating. You’re alone because your so-called allies didn’t wait for you.

TG: Asking for directions. The ‘donde es [airplane animation]’ was amusing, too.

NSG: Mirna yelling at Charla to get in the car, and forget about asking directions.

TG: Realizing that they were still lost, the women followed a cab to the airport.

NSG: Fractured English with a Spanish accent.

NSG: After reuniting with the GodSquad, Mirna decided that the GS should prove their trustworthiness by buying tickets for the cousins. Firstly, they’ve already burned you. Secondly, it’s a Raaaace!, not a team-building seminar replete with trust-building exercises.

TG: Listening in on the Pizza Brothers’ conversation with the ticket agent, and running to hold a spot in line at the sales counter.
In contrast to her earlier arguments that she’d be happy to work together with other teams, Mirna was rather rude to the Boys with her “none of your business” responses.
NSG: In contrast to her earlier arguments that she’d be happy to work together with other teams, Mirna was rather rude to the Boys with her “none of your business” responses. Something more polite might have helped, but given the ‘talk to the hand’/ “I hate her so much” crap, I don’t know if anything would have helped with the brothers.

NSG: After the alliance collapsed, Mirna complained that others will take any opportunity to “squash you like a fly.” [Raaace!]

NSG: After getting tickets on the 0940 flight, using the “doctoro” line to get a priority spot on the standby list for the 0910 flight. While that may have been shrewd racing, it’s not helping to break stereotypes. And what happened to the “only one set of tickets” rule?

TG: Charla recognized the beautiful surroundings upon landing in Bariloche, and successfully navigated to the Mayor’s office.

TG: Charla quickly volunteered to do the Roadblock and did well at the task.

NSG: Mirna, while refusing to do the task herself, continued to yell instructions to Charla.

TG: Charla’s dramatic leap off of the stool deserves a mention.

NSG: Mirna’s trouble with and pouting about getting the vehicle in gear.

TG: Mirna was able to brush off the rude and insulting comment from the brothers, noting only that the people they dealt with were “disgusting.”

TG: Charla’s encouraging comments to Mirna, who was nervous about paragliding.

The Wacky: “It was like I was a bird” and “We did everything! Cartwheel!”

NSG: Mirna was more concerned with her appearance than with navigating to the PitStop, and even stopped to roll down her pants after wading across the lake.

TG: Phil’s smile - he seems to break out an extra-wide grin when these two appear.

NSG: Another hug – even Phil looked apprehensive while saying “okay.”

NSG: Calling the cute little girls “nino.” I don’t speak Spanish, but I’m pretty sure that girls are “ninas.”

NSG: Another ticket counter standoff next week. Sigh.
–– by Kanuck

Team: Chip & Kim – Married Parents
I’m starting to really worry about this team. Another near-last place finish when they could have very easily been in fifth place this week. They managed to let not only Kami and Karli, but also Linda and Karen beat them to the pit stop after they finished ahead of both teams at the detour. I’m beginning to think they are not the strongest at navigating, as they are usually last of their pack to arrive at a destination. This ultimately will be their downfall, I believe.

Still, they ran a clean third leg, seemingly unwilling to allow their falling out with the twins to hamper them, with Chip evidently willing to let bygones be bygones. I thought he was trying to re-establish good graces between them, but the twins did not seem at all amused. Kim, on the other hand, appeared to be going with the attitude of “Hey, they don’t like us anymore. I’m not gonna waste my time trying to play nice with them again,” as evidenced by her “Your friends, the twins” remark to Chip at the gondola ride. It’s funny how the twins are the only other team we’ve really seen Chip and Kim interact with. I’m interested in knowing how the other teams feel about them, and vice versa. Hopefully next week will give us some insight as they seem to be determined to make it to the front of the pack. And Kim? Needs to speak a bit more. She has a good sense of humor, but seems quite reserved. I want to see more of a fire in them because they still seem a bit cautious in their approach, and that‘s not gonna get them anywhere. Keep pushing, guys.
–– by Swimmerboy

Team: Colin & Christie
With some deft airport maneuvering, Team "Texas Extreme" won the leg. Colin and Christie were the seventh team to depart and head to San Carlos De Bariloche in Patagonia, about 1,000 miles to the southwest. On the drive to Buenos Aires, Colin and Christie stop on the highway and agree to lead Linda and Karen, and Bob and Joyce to the Buenos Aires airport.

The situation at the airport turned out to be confusing and complicated, as teams learn of three flights to Bariloche on two different airlines. When Colin asked a ticket agent about the first flight, which left at 9:10, he and Christie got into it. She questioned his discussion of going standby, and he extended his index finger and said "You know what? Just stop talking OK? Because you're real high strung and it's stressing these people out." They then got on the waiting list for the 9:10 flight.

There's been some discussion about this, but Christie did look stressed out, and I think Colin understood how she reacts to stressful situations and therefore was handling the situation with the ticket agent well. I suspect this didn't bother Christie and was not an issue between them. And they got tickets first in the standby line for check-in. This turned out to be the best move among any of the teams at the airport. Before Colin's attempt to get standby on the 9:10 a.m. flight, none of the teams had attempted to get standby status on that flight. And with the steady performance by all but one of the teams for the roadblock, detour, and driving on the remainder of the leg, that was all this team needed to be the first team to arrive at the pit stop.

In Bariloche, teams had to find the mayor; Colin and Christie were the first to do so. Colin thanked the mayor in Spanish, which he’d been speaking fluently all day, and they headed off to find Del Turista, a chocolate factory, two blocks away. As the first team at this roadblock, they opted for Colin to do the task, in which they had to find one of 20 white-centered chocolates out of a total of 11,000. At one point, it was unclear whether Colin had missed spotting a piece with a white center. Later, Colin hit a window to get Christie's attention so that she would help him. Christie voiced over that "Colin has a short fuse. I'm going to give him a little leeway because he gets frustrated." He found a piece shortly thereafter. My view is that it is no more than this - Christie understands how to handle Colin just as well as Colin understands how to handle Christie.

The clue then directs the team to drive to Villa Caterdral, nearly 12 miles away, and take a gondola to the top of a mountain where they will search for the next clue. The team catches up with Charla and Marni during this drive. Colin comments to Christie that "[l]ook they're right there in front of us. Let's make sure we're in front of them." After spotting the gondola, both teams head toward the clue box. During this walk, Colin is heard in a voice over apparently saying to Christie, "Let's beat the midget." This seems to be a voiceover.

The detour they found gave them the option of a rough riding task, which involved riding mountain bikes over a six-mile course. In "smooth sailing," each team member was to parasail with an instructor down the side of the same mountain. Christie tells us that "[w]hen we lifted up into the air, it was absolutely amazing.” The next clue directed them to drive to the pit stop 14 miles away on an unnamed island in Bahia Lopez, a bay near Bariloche. There, three little children served as greeters; both Colin and Christie smiled at them, then learned that they were team number one. Later, Christie observed that "[w]e have started to learn exactly how this game needs to be played."
–– by theschnauzers

Team: Jim & Marsha
Gee - if the amazing editors were really on their toes they would have inserted the Team Who gong-of-doom sound. Talk about prophetic.
Marsha and Jim depart in 3rd place, and voice-over that they are pleased to have moved up significantly from the previous leg. Gee - if the amazing editors were really on their toes they would have inserted the Team Who gong-of-doom sound. Talk about prophetic. The clue directs them to get to Patagonia. They are second to arrive at the domestic airport in B.A. and first in line at the Aerolineas Argentinas ticket counter since Brandon and Nicole are on the phone and Charla and Mirna are off playing Charlades with some unfortunate locals. For the remainder of the airport maneuvering that happens before the counters open, they stay firmly in line. When the counter opens and they are told that there is only one ticket left on the early flight at 9:10, Marsha buys that ticket and gets her father put on standby. Then she buys Brandon and Nicole a ticket on the 10:30, and her father a ticket on the 10:30, and...oh shit. Aren't you forgetting something Marsha? After they walk away from the counter with their tickets, they realize Marsha has no ticket on the 10:30 flight. It appears they never even learn that there is a 9:40 flight on another airline. Nightmare. An airline staff member says they have "about a 10% chance" of getting on a flight.

It is at this point that I must divert from the saga of Marsha and Jim and take note of some other racer activities. Namely, that after Jim and Marsha buy their variety pack of tickets, other teams approach the counter, buy standby tickets, and beg, charm, or lie their way into getting priority treatment on the standby list. When the time comes to board the 9:10 flight, Marsha, the only racer with an actual ticket for the flight, gets left behind because Jim does not get a seat on the flight. Who does? Some little person who apparently needs a doctor. Marsha looks ready to cry.

Now the 10:30 flight. Surely, since Jim has a ticket on this flight, and Marsha had one for the first flight but missed it, the airline will get them on. But do they? No. They call every other team but them. Jim and Marsha are stranded, alone, at the airport while every other team - including one that they bought tickets for - flies to Patagonia. They finally manage to fly out at noon... far behind the other teams.

From the time they land, they run a nearly flawless leg. They get a taxi cab to lead them to the mayor of Bariloche to receive their next clue, and another to guide them to the Villa Cathedral after the chocolate detour (taken by Jim).

Editing makes it look like they are only one gondola behind Marshall and Lance, though I'm sure that's not the case. And speaking of Marshall and Lance, karma tried in every possible way to make them last instead - not only did they get delayed an hour at the chocolate factory, but then the engine of their jeep died on the way to the pit stop and they had to rely on the emergency brake to stop whenever they needed directions. Jim and Marsha do the paragliding, as the other teams do. It really does look spectacular. When Marsha says "we might as well do something fun" you can tell she thinks they're last, but Jim still thinks they can make it if any of the teams are having trouble. But no... it was inevitable from the moment the 10:30 plane took off without them. Phil philiminates them when they arrive at the pit stop.

Their farewell to the Race is bittersweet. They enjoyed being able to spend time together, and just wish they could have gone further. Jim makes most of us tear up (admit it - I know you did) when he says that Marsha already knew everything he thought he could teach her during the race. Awwww. They'll have lots more time and more adventures in Sequesterville I'm sure. Avoiding Allison will be a full time adventure.

Adios, Jim and Marsha. We'll miss you.
–– by Devajd

Team: Kami & Karli
Apparently they raced well because they moved up in the rankings, but this episode was filled with blonde moments and distractions for them. Actually, outside of their stupid moments they had a lot less screen time than in previous episodes. Maybe it’s a good sign, maybe not . . . .

Ok, we get that you guys think Chip is an ass… now get over it. Karma has seen fit to put you near each other constantly. There are still seven other teams this leg to beat. I mean, “Gotta beat them” going into the airport? Was that really necessary? What did it get them? Somehow it got them behind Chip when buying tickets and having to fly standby. Of course they ended up being lucky (perhaps they flirted with the gate attendant??).

Of course, I have to admit that I chuckled when Chip hollered over “Go Twins. Go!” and they muttered, “Yeah, right.” For that exchange alone I cheered for them beating Chip & Kim on the way to the paragliding. I guess I see competition as good, but not when it causes them to focus solely on one particular team.
I don’t know what was better, Phil’s amused tone when pointing out all other teams walked across or the looks on their faces when they realized their stupidity.
I personally loved Kami’s classic look of “give me a wittle kiss” with the chef’s hat pulled down to her eyes and chocolate smeared all over her face. And of course there’s the blonde moment to surpass all other blonde moments from any other season. I don’t know what was better, Phil’s amused tone when pointing out all other teams walked across or the looks on their faces when they realized their stupidity. Maybe they were both trumped by the giggles of the local kids.

Overall, they ran a much better leg this week – I just found it a bit more difficult rooting for them this time out. And this was sans any manipulation or flirting. Something tells me they’re getting their shit together. Here’s hopin’ . . . .
–– by MJMarble

Team: Linda & Karen – Women with Balls
Eh, a sixth-place finish is not all that impressive. Yet like Lance Armstrong, it’s okay to hang back a bit early in a race, as long as you don’t lose too much ground. Yet I was disappointed that Linda & Karen didn’t have their usual kick-ass navigational abilities (and while allied with my second-favorite team, Bob & Joyce, no less!) until the end, when they out-navigated Chip & Kim leaving the paragliding task. And the randomness of the chocolate-eating roadblock got to me, because even a good team could bleed time from that one. I don’t think Linda’s brief balking at the roadblock made much difference in their final time, but we don’t see real times shown, so who knows?
Mom and Dad used to own a bowling alley back in the sixties, when I was a young child. Sadly, it was not a bowling alley/foam disco, or a bowling alley/paragliding school, or even a bowling alley/chocolate factory.
Anyway, I thought the ladies coasted. And I wasn’t entirely comfortable with that. So I called the Original Bowling Mom for advice, whom I call “Mom” for short. Mom and Dad used to own a bowling alley back in the sixties, when I was a young child. Sadly, it was not a bowling alley/foam disco, or a bowling alley/paragliding school, or even a bowling alley/chocolate factory. As I perceived it, Dad worked and Mom bowled. Mom doesn’t like TAR; she thinks it’s too intense. She did watch the first episode, however.

“That’s the team of middle-aged women with the dark-haired one who looks like she could have been my friend Janie’s daughter?” she confirmed.

“Yes, that team. And they coasted this week. No hustle. I need a bowling analogy.”

“You don’t have to play a perfect game every time,” the Original Bowling Mom analogized. “It helps to learn what your opponents are like when they’re confident. And sometimes you need to step back and have a beer and laugh with your friends. It’s supposed to be fun. You know, that dark-haired one looks so much like Janie. And didn’t that nice boy you dated in college marry a girl named Linda?”

“Thanks, Mom, gotta go!”

Okay, so there you have it – this seemingly weak leg was actually an exercise in clever strategizing. Linda & Karen scoped out the opposition by letting most of them get ahead. They certainly laughed, and as usual they had fun. I don’t know about the beer, though; maybe Linda sneaked out a couple of chocolates for Karen instead. You take what you can get on the Race.

Better luck next week, ladies.
–– by Daria

Team: Marshall & Lance
Ok, let me preface this by saying that I am, in general, a very forgiving TAR viewer. Flo? Tara and Wil? Heave? Millie? THUNK? I like them all, or at least I don’t hate any of them. Sure, they all had their less-than-shining moments, but I can honestly say I don’t think any of them are bad people, and in most cases I do actually like them (especially THUNK, Millie, and Flo). I even find a couple halfway good things about Aaron and Arianne whenever I re-watch TAR3. Pretty much the only person I never saw anything redeemable from would be TAR4’s Russell.

Anyway, I’m saying all this because I’m about to defend a team who think that yelling "bitch!" out of a car window at a fellow competitor is a good time.

Though I’d been defending them and trying hard to like them in the first two episodes of the new season, upon my first viewing of this third episode, I couldn’t find much to like at all. The fighting in the airport, the painful Roadblock experience, and of course the awful "bitch!" moment were nearly enough to make me say "to hell with these guys, I’m through defending them." And as much as I love writing these columns, I was actively rooting against them in the end, hoping desperately that Jim and Marsha would get there first. However, after watching the episode a few more times, believe it or not, there are some good moments for them.
I think the tire-changing scene is entertaining, even if it pales in hilarity when compared with Ken and Gerard’s tire troubles.
I think the tire-changing scene is entertaining, even if it pales in hilarity when compared with Ken and Gerard’s tire troubles. I also am kind of on their side in the airport confrontation (although that entire segment of the episode is extremely confusing). The Roadblock was a horrible experience for them (and funny for us), as they watch several teams pass them, while Marshall looks he’s going to blow chunks right on top of the chocolate. They are upset and irritated, but Lance can be heard laughing with someone else outside (Kim, I think?) that "Everyone’s done it but Marshall!" and I liked the fact that he could laugh about it with a competitor even as things weren’t going so well.

There is also another endearing moment when, on the way to the pit stop, Lance looks at the camera, laughing, and says "We’re gettin’ there! Eighth or last, we’re gettin’ there!".

Mm-hmm. Which leaves the "bitch!" scene. It’s unforgivable, and completely lame and assholish behavior, and if anything causes me to start disliking them as much as most other people, it’s going to be any more crap like that. The way I see it, you can talk amongst yourselves all you want about how much you dislike someone else, but yelling it out of the car window is just so lame and juvenile and unnecessary.

So yeah, that really sucked, but they’re still basically ok with me. I gave up a while ago thinking they were gonna be anything like some of our favorite, funny two-guy teams of the past (that hope completely evaporated as the word "bitch!" was still ringing in the air). But I don’t think they’re evil incarnate either, just regular guys who can be a little callous and mean-spirited sometimes.

In any case, I don’t think they’re gonna be in the race long enough to change peoples’ minds. They keep slipping in placing and will be in last place as the 4th leg begins. But I’m always up for a surprise.
–– by Jason(Ronin47

Our Amazing Host: Phil
Phil is warm and friendly and hot and dressing better this season. But what if we didn’t have him? Would the Race lose something? Instead of attempting to write about Phil like the vacationing M. Darcy usually does, I’m going to imagine what Philimination would be like if someone else did it. Someone really insensitive and rude. Say, Phil’s evil (and fictitious) identical twin, Paul.

Paul stands at the mat, the Patagonian children giggling beside him because no one is allowed to reveal that he is not, in fact, Phil. The first team runs up to the Amazing Bath Mat.

“Crazy Eyes and Christie, you’re team number one! Unfortunately, you’re not winning a cruise, because we’re afraid Crazy Eyes here would scare the other passengers. And Christie, you are high-strung. Take a Valium, and find another boyfriend.”

“Shorty, I mean Charla, and Mirna, you’re team number two! Mirna, since we’ve become such good friends, I thought I’d show you some pictures of my lovely wife. Isn’t she beautiful?”

“It’s Nikki and The Hair! Hi, guys! You’re team number three. Don’t lie and tell anyone you’re team number two, either.”

Paul sees the next team coming up the path and runs up to them, flinging himself into the man’s arms. “You two! You’re so . . . so . . . normal! And likable. Bob, please tell me that before you met you each had lots and lots of kids just like you who are adults now and that we can secretly recruit them to run the race instead of getting more of these asshat dating couples. Pleeeaaazzzze!?!” He grabs the woman and hugs her. “Wow, Joyce, you’re still using hair spray, aren’t you? No matter, I love you!” He leans down and gives her a kiss smack on the mouth. Bob glowers at him as they leave. “Oh, and you’re team number four, kids!” Paul calls after them, waving happily.

A few minutes later, Kami and Karli squish up to the mat, dripping wet from their swim. Paul says nothing, but lies on the ground and laughs so hard he can barely breathe, leaving the twins to look at each other with identically puzzled expressions on their faces. After a few moments, production shoos them away, and someone off-camera explains to them what happened.

Having regained something resembling composure, Paul scowls at the next team. “Dammit, ladies, I expected better of you,” he barks at Linda and Karen. “What’s this sixth place finish, anyway? Is that how you win bowling tournaments? Unacceptable! Go stand in the corner and think about what you did wrong, and don’t do it again or you’ll be grounded for the rest of the Race. And no giggling or passing notes, either!”

When Marshall and Lance come up, Paul’s mood turns even worse. “No, no, no, not you two. Good grief! What are you even doing here? Have you even had five good minutes? No, don’t answer that, I don’t want to know. Just go away, and try to do worse next time.”

Finally, Jim and Marsha arrive. “Jim and Marsha,” Paul says in his best Phil imitation, “you are the last team to arrive. I’m sorry to tell you you’ve both been eliminated from the race.” Then he adds, “and Marsha, I have to tell you, even if it’s in front of your dad, that you are one hot babe. And smart too, even if you can’t eavesdrop worth a damn and don’t have the sense to check your airline tickets as soon as you receive them. And Jim, wow – how bad does that leg hurt, anyway? That was, like, really macho of you to keep racing with that cut. I could never do that myself. Fortunately, I don’t have to, since all I do is stand around and look pretty when Phil is unavailable. Oops, except you didn’t hear that, because I’m really Phil. Yeah, I am. Stop looking at me funny, you two losers. Go away, and have a nice life!”

And this is why we like Phil so much, because the alternative could be so awful.
–– by Daria for M. Darcy

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