The ATC Report

In Control, Leg 5

We’ve wanted to visit Egypt since 007 chased Jaws around the pyramids in The Spy Who Loved Me.
For the first time in TAR5 the group went somewhere that created some jealousy from us. We remember when the producers handed our passports back to us right before the race and we hurriedly riffled through them checking out all the visas and entry stamps. We came upon the red herring one from Egypt and said “If only.” We’ve wanted to visit Egypt since 007 chased Jaws around the pyramids in The Spy Who Loved Me. We also replaced Valerie Bertinelli with Barbara Bach.

Man… Egypt, the Sphinx, the mysteries, the time travel. That is the only logical way we can explain how two people, one with a stride of maybe 18 inches, can traverse what appears to be 1000 yards of rolling sand dune in three minutes. Perhaps the “ΨΠ Whistle of Charlaza ΣΩ” was the key. We smell a rat. Either that or we finally solved the riddle of the Sphinx.

Let’s just refer to this episode as the leg of the lemmings, shall we? Six out of seven teams all decide that the ticket agent for Lufthansa is telling the truth when they say that the earliest you can get to Egypt is 3:30 PM the next day…on Lufthansa, of course. So off they all head to Frankfort to camp out and wait for their flight. Colin & Christie showed some brains by using a travel agent to get themselves on a flight that made it in almost an hour earlier – but then showed even more smarts by checking in Paris to see if there might not be an even earlier flight still! As a consequence, they spent the night camped in front of the next route marker instead of the Frankfort airport. While it pains us to do so, we also have to give credit to Charla & Mirna for checking in Frankfort to see if they couldn’t get to Cairo a little earlier. Just by checking they found out they could – and did.

This has to be one of the biggest leads a first-place team has ever been “allowed” to have on The Amazing Race. We know that Colin and Christie checked in at 11:27AM, and that Charla and Mirna started their Detour at 5:30 PM (or shortly thereafter – see below). Figure an hour or more to complete the Detour and check in, and you have a lead in the 7-hour (or greater) range! But from next week’s previews, we know that Colin & Christie “interact” with Charla & Mirna. Can you say “bunching”?

Here’s some things that could have surprised us, but didn’t:

This was the first non-elimination leg. It also revealed the newest “twist” to The Amazing Race. The last place team isn’t eliminated, but loses all their money and gets none to start the next leg. Isn’t that a little overkill? We guess the powers that be have decided that a team begging for money really boosts ratings. Too bad these ladies’ only talent is rolling turkeys, and they shucked their balls the last leg because they were too heavy. We think that one or the other should have been sufficient – either take everything they’ve saved or don’t give them any to start the next leg. Each team before has been provided with $200 “Emergency Funds.” Are these dollars off limits too or, worse yet, gone?
The “Yield” has been the biggest bust of a twist to date.
The “Yield” has been the biggest bust of a twist to date. Since episode one, we haven’t even seen anyone passing the Yield marker, let alone consider using it. Perhaps if they had designed it so that you could only cause a team in front of you to yield it might have worked better. Then again, the show was great to begin with – why mess with the format?

This episode also confirmed what we have known for some time – there are only two Fast Forwards on the whole race. It seems as though the FF still won’t gain a team an appreciable advantage, though. Colin & Christie’s big lead came about because of their smarts in the airport(s). If all the teams had been at the tower as C&C left to do the FF it probably would only have resulted in a lead of an hour or so. Our guess is the Fast Forward reduction is a cost cutting maneuver put in place for Race 5. Pretty soon we’ll have a “Rock Paper Scissors” detour. Who’d have guessed that the Race would find its ratings “feet” in its fifth incarnation? Maybe TAR6 will loosen the purse strings again.

There is real animosity between teams this time. When our race was over and people gathered in Sequesterville, nearly everyone, except of course Russell, hung out with each other, some closer than others. I don’t expect this group to meet at Chucky Cheese’s for Mirna’s birthday party.

Here’s something that DID surprise us:

There wasn’t any prize for finishing first this leg. Usually the prizes begin again on leg 5. Perhaps the 4 NELs have pushed the resumption of the prizes back a few legs, or the new budget rears its ugly head again. Then again, the producers can argue the ratings didn’t show up until they started using coupons. Of course, we didn’t get a trip for first place, why should any of them?

It’s time for the team ratings. This week’s categories and icons are: “Help Received From A Higher Power” (The Creator’s Benevolence and Sympathy icon); the “Nice Guy Award” (the Tom Hanks icon); and finally “I Thought YOU Packed The Personality” (the “Goats”’ icon).

Colin/Christie:

Steve: I think one of these two may have watched the show before. Some smart airport work and they seem to be getting along. Right now the team to beat. David and Jeff redux.
The previews show Shmirna accusing Colin of trying to assault her during leg 6…oh please be successful…oh please, oh please, oh please.
Dave: NOT that there is anything wrong with the Goats, mind you – they’re just a little shy in the on-screen persona department. I also am looking at these two with a lot more respect than before. If it weren’t for a kilo of caviar last episode, they would probably be your leader three legs in a row now. The previews show Shmirna accusing Colin of trying to assault her during leg 6…oh please be successful…oh please, oh please, oh please.

STEVE & DAVE’S RATINGS:

eyeeye
2 EYES

tomtom
2 TOMS

goatsgoatsgoatsgoats
4 GOATS


Charla/Mirna:

Dave: When, I ask you, WHEN has there ever been a Detour where one choice has an “Hours Of Operation” and the other didn’t? And isn’t it mighty freakin’ convenient that the only team who had even the remotest chance of making those hours (except for the team that had already finished the leg) is this one? And don’t you find it odd that the good folks from the Guinness Book weren’t there to congratulate these two on their new world record for the first-ever three minute mile? For crying out loud – the only way these two could have completed the cement-block pulling would have been if Chip had been in a really, really, really good mood and had wanted to “help a sistah.” I suppose I expected the producers to throw a little help Charla’s way, despite her claims that she can do anything a “normal” sized person can do. I just didn’t expect it to be so obvious and so often. The only thing that would have been a bigger giveaway was if the sign was hand-lettered on a piece of cardboard.
Did you know that “We are a team that can do anything” is an anagram for “Phil has NO interest in you one iota, so leave your hair alone, Mirna”?
Steve: Time to break out the “ol Anagram Server” again, Daver. Did you know that “We are a team that can do anything” is an anagram for “Phil has NO interest in you one iota, so leave your hair alone, Mirna”? No? Well it should. Kudos to Charla for putting up with her cuz. Mirna will sit back during the post race interviews and tell everyone Charla wanted to do all the dirty work to prove herself. Any fan will see right through her. Mirna, dear, before you open your mouth to speak again, make sure it’s an improvement on silence.

STEVE & DAVE’S RATINGS:

eyeeyeeyeeye
4 EYES


0 TOMS

goatsgoats
2 GOATS


Brandon/Nicole:

Steve: I’ve always said, “Honesty is the key to any relationship, if you can fake that, you’re in.” These two remind me of an old Gary Larson cartoon where the master is talking to his dog and all the dog hears is it’s name. Brandon…blah,blah blahblahblah, Brandon…blahblah. I expect them to implode like a 25-year-old baseball stadium soon. Of course, it’ll be God’s fault. Funny, funny editors at the shaft entrance. Hey, Brandon! Don’t worry about avoiding temptation; as you get older it avoids you.

Dave: I hope we weren’t the only ones to catch the humor, Stever. Of course, it was another scene swiped from TAR4. Chuck had his fear of “hot and tight” while Brandon fears the crevasse – eh, potato, tomato. The look on his face when he said it almost lead me to believe that he knew he was stealing the line from Chuck.

STEVE & DAVE’S RATINGS:

eyeeye
2 EYES

tomtom
2 TOMS

goatsgoatsgoats
3 GOATS


Chip/Kim:

Dave: I really like these two, but DUDE! You’re in a race for a MILLION dollars! You help Brandon out, you help the Bobblehead Twins out. You get repaid by finishing behind Brandon and Nicole. You’re coming across like the great guy that I’m sure you are, but your generosity did hurt you this leg. These two had my favorite quote of the night though, “the Nile River? This is where history from the Bible was!” I just wish he would have let lose with a “let my people go.”
I hope some of the Charla/Mirna magic dust is sprinkled on them to keep them in the race.
Steve: Chip and Kim are going to end up as one of the most favorite teams of any Race. Chip said it all in the post leg interview. He can’t change who he is. I just hope it won’t bite him in the ass down the line. I hope some of the Charla/Mirna magic dust is sprinkled on them to keep them in the race. I do have to remind myself sometimes though, that Chip has a partner. Kim is so quiet it’s like she’s in parentheses.

STEVE & DAVE’S RATINGS:

eye
1 EYE

tomtomtomtom
4 TOMS

goats
1 GOAT(S)


Marshall/Lance:

Steve: I feel your pain Marshall. My knees were like grapefruits by the time Dave and I were eliminated halfway through. Twenty-hour bus rides, 8-hour plane trips, and all the physical challenges are not conducive to healthy knees. I remember going to the store in Sequesterville and all the labels on my stuff said “For Fast Relief.” That said…are you guys having ANY fun at all? Are you thinking about how cousin Mike is screwing up your pizza business? Does he throw dough triangles in the air to make slices? Lighten up or you’ll regret it.
Just out of curiosity, what motivated you two to try TAR?
Dave: Five legs, at least five times where one of these two moons has insulted a fellow racer or the country they are in. Just out of curiosity, what motivated you two to try TAR? You don’t seem to like the people you are with, you don’t seem to like the people you meet, you don’t seem to like the countries you’ve been in, you don’t seem to enjoy the sights and history you are seeing. What part of the TAR experience attracted you? The sleep deprivation? The constant stress? The potential for injury? Well, at least you managed to change that potential into reality.

STEVE & DAVE’S RATINGS:
eye
1 EYE

tom
1 TOM

goatsgoats
2 GOATS


Kami/Karli:

Dave: Dumb. That’s it – just dumb. Hey, we’ve got this clue here that says to use the puzzle pieces to find our next checkpoint, so let’s throw the puzzle to one side and go with our gut instinct, shall we? Their line said it all, “…we have no clue.” Next-to-last three of five times now – when will the luck end?

Steve: These two really do look alike and I’ve given up trying to tell them apart. Say, if one of the twins breaks down, can you use the other for parts? I can’t wait to see how far they are behind Colin and Christie.

STEVE & DAVE’S RATINGS:

eyeeye
2 EYES

tomtom
2 TOMS

goatsgoatsgoats
3 GOATS


Linda/Karen:

Steve: Any bowler worth his salt knows how to beg. Why in only 3 years Dave has begged me for at least 80 beers. But will this add to the enjoyment of the race? At least they’re still in it. Bad breath is better than no breath at all.

Dave: I never knew that “Steve, you lost another beer frame” was begging. TAR4, fifth leg, Steve & Dave finish last, get eliminated. TAR5, fifth leg, Linda & Karen finish last, lose their money. We got screwed.

STEVE & DAVE’S RATINGS:

eye
1 EYE

tomtomtom
3 TOMS

goats
1 GOAT(S)


Alison (resting in loser lodge):
SatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatanSatan
15 SPAWNS (Hey, everyone has a good week sooner or later.)




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