Commentary

TAR2 Memories

For those who have seen these episodes, these will be a walk down memory lane. If you are new to the show and don't know the outcome, these moments might give away the action, so tape/TiVo the GSN repeat, watch the episode, discover your own moments and then come back and see if yours match up with ours.

(For each episode, click on the "+" button to see the moments. Click "-" to hide them again.)


Episode One


Champagne Repeats - by emjaytee
Remember when this was first aired? UPN was running repeats on Fridays. I was so excited that I could see the episodes again. (Why it never occurred to me to tape them until TAR3 is beyond me.) Then they stopped doing that after about four episodes, but I don't remember why.

The first time we get to know Danny and Oswald during those interview segments, they make a big deal about how they're used to five-star hotels and champagne. I turned to KonaKini and said "Hate Them." BOY, was I ever a jerk. I love them and they are one of my favorite teams of all time.

Favorite Siblings - by TPorter
Episode One of TAR Season 2 introduces us to one of my favorite TAR teams, Blake & Paige. They are awesome, and they tell each other that they are awesome. They high five, a lot. In short, you can tell they are a brother-sister team who actually like and respect each other. Later on, we will learn how great it is that Blake can read a map, and how nice it is that Paige doesn't complain, and how well they both rappel. Go, Team Mycoskie!

Speeding, Security and First Alliances - by Cyndi & Russell
On January 2, 2002, Russell and I were flown to the "start city" of Las Vegas. We were about to embark on an adventure that is hard to put into words: to face this challenge together, knowing that the jetlag, lack of food and sleep, and dealing with the other teams, would NOT cause us to turn on one another. If in the process we lose our relationship, we have lost far more than a million dollars.

After four days of "rules and interviews" we took off early in the morning on January 7th. We were flown by helicopter to a desert bed approximately 30 minutes southwest of Vegas. As we were flying over the area, Russell noticed the two flags at the edge of the desert bed and marked them in his memory, not sharing the info with the other two teams that were sharing the ride with us. So we took the short route out of the desert, but soon we had teams on our tale and passing us. There was a speeding rule, and we soon learned who believed in following RULES! But it made no difference in the end, when we were all stopped dead in our tracks at the Vegas airport by security. We were the first race filmed after the terrorist events of September 11th, and security was at a high level. We all decided to split up and snuck into separate entrances. Thankfully we made it on the first flight, and off to Brazil we flew!

The first leg of the race in Brazil took three days to complete, when the edited version was just a one-hour episode. It was so beautiful to see the "Christ the Redeemer" statue, but the climb was a thigh-killer! Once we received our next clue to find Paqueta Island, we asked our taxi driver to use his cell phone to help us find the fastest way there. Russell got rather nervous when he didn't see any other teams when we went to the other dock to check out the big boat, but we were told to wait for the smaller, faster boat. It was worth the wait. Once on the island, I saw the first major fight between the teams on the race. Look out and stay back was my philosophy!

The next morning we loaded on the first boat and headed back for Rio. I learned the hard way what the word "rappel" meant, praying within myself all the way down the 590-foot cliff. Once down, we teamed up with the twins to get a boat to take us out to the pit stop ship. The twins did not have any money left, so we paid their way as long as we could get on the mat first. We have been friends ever since!


Episode Two


Don't Make Me Beg About the Begging - by emjaytee
When Blake lost his wallet, I remember feeling really uncomfortable that they had to beg to pay for their bus tickets. Then later in the race, they showed Gary and Dave doing it just to supplement their savings. I didn't like it then (even though Blake and Paige had no choice) and I don't like it now when it's built right into the race on non-elim legs.

That Show - by Daria
At some point during the week before this episode aired, I realized that "that show" was back on. So I diligently tuned in and caught a task that seemed like pure fun - getting the clue from the scantily clad dancer at the club! This season is going to be so much fun, I thought. The handsome twins played beach volleyball like pros. And grandmothers in flight, bad knees and all! Later, a couple of muscular guys with Boston accents changed a flat bus tire. I remember thinking they must have been pretty motivated to win.

What Kind of Advantage? - by Cyndi & Russell
So much happens during each episode that is not "air-time worthy", but will forever be cemented in my memory. As we are coming ashore in our zodiac boat, our motor gets entangled in a beach rope. Then our taxi is taking forever to find the Samba Club and chooses to stop by a "lighted angel" booth. That's when you hear the infamous statement AGAIN out of Russell mouth: "We have a spiritual advantage!" When this aired, I called the next morning to a CBS producer and asked him to please check into it, because they were not giving the full quote. We felt we had a personal spiritual advantage working together for over 20 years, and could overcome any challenge that came our way. The producers were very understanding and said they went back and listen to the unedited footage, and we would not hear the phrase again. I did not want people to get the wrong impression that we thought we were in any way better than them! We are called to preach, but we have to live it like everyone else!

The bus ride to Iguacu Falls was extremely challenging. We had a hunch that we had passed the first bus, with our take-off time being only one half hour behind them, but there is so much you didn't see. Our bus driver decided to stop along the way and help another broken down bus. After a LONG wait, he loaded all of those stranded people on our bus and made continual stops at each of their homes along the highway. We were fit to be tied! So we knew we had to hustle. Oswald and Danny said we could follow them, but then they took off without us. We found out later, that their jeep broke down. We would have helped them fix it, but we never saw them until the pit stop.

It was hard to see Hope & Norm's race end here. We got along so well with them on Paqueta Island and they are a special couple.


Episode Three


Round About Route - by emjaytee
I would love to have been a fly on the wall when production found out the flight arrangements to South Africa that Peggy and Claire made. (Wasn't it via Taiwan and Greenland?)

Jam-packed Adventure - by Daria
Five seasons later, this is still the episode I use to describe the show to other people: "They flew from Brazil to South Africa, visited the prison cell where Nelson Mandela was held for 27 years, put on costumes and danced with a street troupe, went into a poor shantytown and bought a sheep's head, and drove to a historic winery." And I feel like I'm leaving so much out of that description.

Wine Consequences - by Danny
One of my favorite times during the race was when we first arrived at the winery in South Africa. It is a gorgeous location. We were hosted for a cookout and given lots of vine. This is where I first got GOUT, a condition like arthritis caused by eating meat and drinking red wine.

Airport Tension and a Drunken Pit Stop - by Cyndi & Russell
The airport at Sao Paulo proved to be a challenge for all. I first went to Varig and was told there were no flights and that I could not get on any standby list. We then met up with the twins and decided to work together to find flights. Basically, that meant I needed to find eight tickets for the two teams with camera crews. I found a flight for four that would have gotten our team into Cape Town by 7 a.m., but because I gave the twins my word, I took the next flight for 8 a.m. and gave them the sure tickets and we took the standby ones. Yes, go ahead and call me STUPID! But in the end, it made no difference, and our friendship stayed intact. When we were not able to get on the flight, we began to run through Heathrow to get to South African Airline. All of a sudden we were being chased by 5 or 6 armed officers with machine guns, no less. For some reason, most likely temporary insanity, I just kept running. At that point, I had no time to talk - the flight was leaving in minutes. Once we arrived at the ticket counter, our camera crew talked to the officers and got us out of HOT water. Once in Cape Town, we teamed up with Chris and Alex. I had bought a book in London that proved to be a life-saver, helping us to run the leg in record time. We had agreed to jump on the mat together, so when we got out of the van, Russell began to hand everyone their packs and Chris and Alex took off. Russell's pack was buried under the camera crew's equipment, so it was a challenge for him to pull it out. We knew the grannies were behind us, so it didn't make a difference. Now we know the RACE IS ON…

The grannies were a day late, so this 36-hour pit stop proved to be an opportunity for the teams to really get to know one another better and more alliances were formed. The winery became a drunken fest for a couple of the teams. All of the teams had to sleep on thin mats on the floor of the attic, so by 3 a.m. I attempted to quiet them down so I could finally get some sleep. My words fell on deaf ears, so Russell spoke up and you could hear a pin drop. Then came the drunken whispers… "I can say the 'F' word anytime I want." In the morning we made a deal with Shola & Doyin, Blake & Paige, and Mary & Peach to leave Chris & Alex in the dust.


Episode Four


Foiled Plans and a Fond Farewell - by Cyndi & Russell
Here we come Namibia! While sitting in the airport waiting for our flight, Blake hands me a note to read in the bathroom. We were sure that Chris & Alex would go for the fast-forward, so Mary & Peach agreed they'd go for it first, being that they made the earlier flight. And we three remaining teams would run the leg in high gear and hopefully eliminate Chris & Alex. After the lighthouse, Blake & Paige and Shola & Doyin ran with us and we all jumped into the trucks. Black & Paige took off and we tried to stay behind them. We thought Shola & Doyin would follow us, but when we looked behind, they were not there. We did not know they were not familiar with stick shifts. We lost Blake & Paige, so all three team were now on their own. By the time we were finished with the sand dune, we saw Chris & Alex speeding up the dusty trail. They were on our tails for the rest of the leg and we knew they were speeding. It was nice to see production slap them and Gary & David with a well-deserved time penalty.

My heart sunk when the twins came in last. They are two great brothers and we took them in like our own sons. I'm still waiting for that "Doublemint" commercial!!!


Episode Five


Those Clever Editors - by emjaytee
I love when the editors keep you guessing who the last team will be. They do it all the time and it gets me, even as I know they're going to do it. One of my most memorable "Who will it be?" moments was when Cyndi and Russell were eliminated in Bangkok. It was between them and Danny and Oswald. I remember Phil standing there after dark with the greeter. You see an out of focus boat coming and YES! it's Cha-cha-cha. Such relief.

Goodbye Cruel Race - by Cyndi & Russell
This will be the hardest recap of all to write. My biggest challenge will be not to say too much trying to defend all of my "great moves." You see, I was the "MAP" and Russell was the "Luggage Carrier". Need I say the "Luggage Carrier" did a fabulous job? So here's our story from my slanted viewpoint:

On the plane ride to Bangkok, I met a wonderful lady and her daughter who were so helpful. I begged them to go with me and I would pay them for the day, but the mother said she could not miss work and did not feel comfortable having her 15-year-old daughter accompany us. But she drew out a map on how to get to the first clue box. I shared this map with Mary & Peach. Once at the Bangkok airport, I saw Will & Tara and Chris & Alex getting a "taxi van" at the booth. They called it a "mini bus", but I knew better. Russell & I yelled at them as they were getting in the van, but they just smirked back at us. Our clue said to take the airport BUS, which makes many stops along the way. All you hear me saying on camera to Russell is, "We're going to do it right." They edited out the rest. When Mary & Peach got on the bus with us we told them what happened, and thought for sure they would be given an automatic 24-hour penalty. In AR1, Nancy & Emily were giving a 24-hour penalty for taking a taxi instead of the bus, and the result was their elimination.

We got to the first clue box right before Mary & Peach and asked two men on a bench to circle on our map the location of the water taxi. Mary & Peach were sent one way and we were sent the opposite. I was confident we were going the right way according to our newly marked map, and we were. The problem was: If you ask the right question to the wrong person, you could be sent down a road of confusion. I took us directly to the mark on the map, but it was the wrong water system, six miles out of the way! As we were about to get on another boat to go up the river, I showed a Thai businessman the clue and he abruptly said, "You are on the wrong river system", and then he jumped on the boat. I told Russell and crew to quickly jump on. I kindly went back up to the grumpy looking businessman to ask for more help. He rudely said, "Lady, I told you this boat would not take you there. You are on the wrong river. Why should I talk to you if you are not going to listen to me?" I sweetly shared with him that he was the first person to help me today that made any sense. Would he please mark my map and tell me what was the best way to get there. He nicely complied and said to take a taxi, but according to the clue, we had to "WALK" to the water taxi. So off we go with my correctly marked map to get us back on track. I knew by then that we had lost so much time that it would take a miracle to keep us in the race. A non-elimination round sounded like the only ticket that would save our necks.

We finally made it to the great bat cave. By this time, I knew I owed Russell big time, so I wasn't about to make him do the Roadblock. The editors were so kind to me. They could have really made me look like the "sissy" I am! I came back out once screaming, but Russell sent me back in. I yelled and said, "No amount of money is worth having to do this." After the bat cave, the only available transportation left was a tuktuk. He got lost and ran out of gas - need I say more? As if we were not already late enough - we had already sealed our fate. By the time we made it to the mat, we were mentally prepared to hear those dreadful words, "You have been eliminated!"

After our exit interviews, we were taken back to Bangkok to a fabulous hotel. It was now about 2 a.m., and as Russell was about to jump in the shower he heard a life-shattering scream from the other room. My knight in shining armor rushed in to find a giant roach attached to the tip of my big toe, one priceless keepsake from the bat cave that I was not about to take home with me. A day later we were on our way to a gorgeous resort with oceanfront accommodations and treated like royalty. Thanks AR Productions & CBS! Everyone was so wonderful to work with. It was an adventure of a lifetime!

Here is the final paragraph that I wrote in my journal immediately upon completion of the race. I think it says it all:

"Would I do it again? Yes, in a heart beat! But I would get in even better shape! It would be nice to run the race without all of the 'negative,' but some would say that wouldn't make great TV. Unless you are really running this Amazing Race, you can never know the adrenaline rush that comes over you even though you are beyond exhaustion and too tired to even be hungry. To go all day drinking only water and yet never stopping once to go to the bathroom seems impossible, but it became a common reality. Pushed beyond your limits, but somewhere deep inside, you find the strength to keep on going. Working as a team and walking away with your heads held high knowing that you didn't compromise what you believe and stand for. God's amazing grace for this Amazing Race was always there!"


Episode Six


Play Time - by emjaytee
I like when teams can play with each other, even during the heat of the race. I liked the interaction between Gary/Dave and Mary/Peach when they were taking those bamboo rafts down the river. The gals passed them up and the guys were all fake upset at losing their lead on them. It was cute.

Lesson Learned - by Daria
After missing Episode Five, I tuned in to find the reverends missing. "How did that happen?" I wondered. And I thought, "how sad." At the first commercial break, I went up to my home office and wrote on the calendar that I should tape the next episode. Work, vacations, family crises, hockey and baseball games, dinners out with friends, and birthday parties have since made me miss seeing some episodes in real time. But starting with Episode Seven of Season Two, I've taped every episode of TAR, meaning that starting with Episode Six of Season Two, I haven't missed a one.

Anti-Diva Drugs - by Danny
The only time when I did not know what to do with Oswald was on the train ride in Thailand. It was a 23-hour ride in a third-class cabin. My diva friend was not happy to say the least. But when the going gets tough, the tough take drugs. I gave him painkillers - I had to knock him out - and he slept most of the ride.

The Restorative Power of Pain Killers - by Oswald
To be honest, one of my favorite Race moments didn't make it on air. We were going from Bangkok to Chang Mai and I was in the worst mood you could possibly imagine, even on the brink of quitting the Race. Well, Mr. Danny was suffering from the gout and had some painkillers. He proceeded to shove them down my throat and I ended up sleeping for the 15-hour train ride, waking up with the best energy. Who says pain killers are downers? They saved my life!


Episode Seven


Late Lunch - by Daria
Okay, so maybe it was quitting. I like to think of it as an untimely moment to step back and reassess. Or maybe it was just realism - on reality TV, imagine that! In any case, when Peach decided she'd had enough, that she couldn't go on, that this was all too much and she didn't need to continue, it made sense. I liked that Mary supported her. I liked that they left the grid and had lunch instead of dashing off to the next task. I hated that they left.


Episode Eight


Waltzing Into First - by Danny
I enjoyed our time in Honk Kong. We were able to do what we do best when we travel together. We enjoyed Starbucks, we shopped, we were driven in a Mercedes Benz to the airport, and we came in first place in Sydney.

Calm, Cool, Collected and Fabulous - by emjaytee
This season was the Danny-and-Oswald Show to me. Plus we saw an example of great editing when Oswald was doing the roadblock in Australia and they juxtaposed his calm reading of the ENTIRE clue with the scattered inattentive actions of Wil and Blake. Not only was Oswald ahead of the pack but he was actually having fun performing the tasks.

Cha Love - by Daria
This was the episode in which my feelings for Danny and Oswald turned to love. They were cool and calm and had fun every step of the way. They were possibly the classiest team ever to race, and their purchase of the cologne - or was it perfume? - just because it made them feel good was one of the best vignettes the producers have ever shown.


Episode Nine


Boomerang Bitch - by emjaytee
I loved when Oswald and Tara were attempting the boomerang roadblock. The playful interplay between them showed that they had affection for each other even though they were competitors. Plus, the cute way Ozzy called her "Beetch" always cracked me up.


Episode Ten


Scream Like a Girl - by Danny
One of my fun experiences was bungee jumping with my best friend and watching him scream like a little girl in fear. But I must say, he did complete the task.

Fear of Sympathy - by miri
I remember watching Wil get ready for that bungee jump. You could tell he was extremely scared and didn't want to do it. For a brief second, I almost felt sorry for him - he looked so frightened. Then I remember, oh wait! This is Wil! I'm not feeling sorry for that guy.


Episode Eleven


Forth Place Curse - by miri
We have to say good-bye to the much-loved team of Danny & Oswald in this episode. They go out with as much style as they ran the rest of the Race. "Look at me, I would never ruin a glitter shirt!" This makes the second season in a row that a fan favorite goes out fourth. Could it be a curse?


Episode Twelve


Clueless - by TPorter
Episode Twelve of TAR Season 2 brings us another original moment, the first lost clue! Oh, there have been clues that have been misread before. But here we have a team that has managed to lose the clue. THE CLUE! And it is Tara and Wil. Who do seem, well, clueless. A new low reached by a great show. And they ask the other teams to share the clue with them. To my great relief, the other teams don't help Tar and Wil. Because if you lose the clue, you don't deserve help. It's a RACE!


Episode Thirteen


Armed and Dangerous - by miri
I don't remember a whole lot about the TAR2 finale. I was too busy having panic attacks at my first TARcon. One thing I do remember is seriously wondering about the sanity of the people who planned the last leg. They have a guy (Wil) with serious anger issues and who is duking it out for $1 million dollars against a guy who's flirting with his wife. And production arms him? And they don't just give him one weapon. Nope, not our beloved race planners. They load him up with a blowtorch, a saw, a chisel, a hammer, and a drill. Couldn't they sense the lawsuit possibilities?

And then, there was the run for the finish line. I've never seen a room full of people so tense and praying for a face-plant. (Did I mention Wil's anger issues?) It still stands as the closest finish in Race history.