Racer Reports

Racer Report - Episode Five

Team: David and Jeff
David and Jeff continue to be the quiet, laid-back, surfer dude team that creates little drama, and who are able to stay away from the last-team-to-arrive position. Actually, that's not bad, since until it's down to the final three teams, which is all that matters.

We actually got to see a little more of them on-camera this week. They were not seen running past clue boxes or taunting their former allies. They certainly do not argue, bicker, or fight with one another. On their departure from the Austrian pit stop, they decided, as did the other teams that departed later, to take the train to the airport.

Along with Steve and Dave, they opt for a flight via Paris to Amsterdam, which required not only a change of flights, but travel between the two airports in Paris, Orly and Charles de Gaulle. As posters in the Timeline thread at TWoP noted, these airports are not connected by convenient public transit; the fastest way seems to be by taxicab. I had fears as the episode unfolded that the taxicab curse (best known in season one as that which was visited on Rob and Brennan) would re-emerge, and it did for both teams. They missed their original intended connecting flight, and took a flight that arrived in Amsterdam about an hour later than they had planned. In spite of this, what worked in their favor was that it was Steve and Dave, the ATCs, which they were traveling with.

At the Marine Museum route marker, choices worked in David and Jeff's favor. Although they got to that clue box after Steve and Dave, they chose to go to the dung pile option for the detour, which was closer, and not to the cheese market. After that, with all the problems that befell Tian and Jaree after their arrival in Amsterdam, David and Jeff were in the clear for the remainder of the leg. They arrived at the pit stop before sunset after Reichen and Chip, but apparently well ahead of both Tian and Jaree, and Steve and Dave, who were eliminated.

There really was little to criticize about their performance this leg other than their choice of flights to Amsterdam. It's hard to say whether that was a bad choice in the end or not, since the viewer was not shown their other flight options. Next week, India. Nothing in the previews has mentioned David and Jeff, so I don’t know what to expect (as usual).
–– by theschnauzers
Another week, another exhibition of hyper-extroversion. Or maybe just hyper. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, mind you.
Team: Jon and Al – Team Clown n’ Ball
Another week, another exhibition of hyper-extroversion. Or maybe just hyper. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, mind you.

Beyond the mugging that bothers some people (including me), this team is solid. Al may very well be the best navigator in TAR4. The man knows his maps, that’s for sure. They were first at the poo option, where they thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and they were second at the pit stop only behind the FF-using Millie and Chuck. All along, they exuded confidence, had fun, and made no nasty remarks about any of the racer – including each other. They’re racing smart, and they’re racing with class. MJ will fill in the details of this leg when his report comes through.
–– by Daria for MJMarble

Team: Kelly and Jon
They depart at 3:00am in 7th place. Kelly is in the back seat with map and headlamp and says “I am THE worst map reader in the world.” Jon tells her she has to have practice reading maps because she may not always be the one able to drive. It seems to me that they would have had map-reading 101 while still at home. Learning on the fly might not be the most ideal way, but maybe Kelly just didn’t want to learn beforehand. In a taped interview Kelly wonders if this is how he’s gonna treat her in the marriage. What? Ask her to be 50% percent of the relationship? Isn’t that what she wants? But for all his lecturing, they wind up at the airport in 3rd place.

There is a bit of line drama once again at the airport. When Reichip finds that there are three teams in front of them, they try the old end run by asking Tian if she’ll buy their tickets for them. She says “Sure” but adds that she’ll have to ask Jaree. Because, you know, if she ends up not buying them, she can always say that Jaree refused to go along. Because Chuck/Millie leave the line when Tian can’t give them a straight answer as to what she’s going to do, Kelly/Jon find themselves in 2nd place. When Reichip go up to the counter with Tian/Jaree, Jon tells them “No cutting. I’ll punch your eye out.” Whee! I love that he told these two loads to take a hike. Then Reichip voices over that they decided to honor the line. What integrity!

They go to Amsterdam and, while on the Amstel River, decide to follow Millie/Chuck because, you know, they respect them so much. Kelly does this whole “comedy” routine where she discloses that it was Jon who came up with Millie the Mole (not sure Jon was all that happy about her tattletaling) and that she thought Chuck looked like a werewolf. She says that he’s handsome but because of his funky muscles around his mouth, he’s like a 2nd stage werewolf. As opposed to a junior high mentality shrew. (I said he had Mandible of Death, which I consider to be a compliment.) They argue some more about the wisdom of following a lupine creature and a facial growth. They finally decide that “They’re idiots. They don’t know where they’re going” and peel off. Remind me again. The idiots are which ones? The ones reading the map and getting lost? Or the ones not reading the map and following the ones getting lost? They finally discover the Museum and decide on the poo half of the detour.

Kelly says “Pooville here we come”. When they put on their poo clothes and caps, (Jon even puts the cap on top of his earflap hat. Hee) Kelly says “Hey baby, I’m damn sexy” and does this little shimmy dance that is cute and makes me think they’d be a lot more fun to watch if they were a bit more self-effacing and a little less obsessed with the looks of Millie/Chuck. After they find their clue, they do a “high poo five” as Kelly puts the dirty clue in her clean hand so she can high five Jon with her dirty hand.

At the roadblock, which Jon does, he is scooping up eels and Kelly wants to know what they feel like. In a continuation of last week’s theme of “It’s all about the sex”, Jon says “A slippery penis.” The editors quickly cut in Kelly saying “I want to touch one.” Funny funny funny!

They make their way to the pit stop in 3rd place. I could really like this team if they would knock off the whole Millie/Chuck obsession. Are they jealous for some reason? Did Jon make the mistake of saying “That Millicent is one hot chick”? Who knows? But. Quit. It.
–– by emjaytee

Team: Millie and Chuck
In this fifth leg of the race, teams were offered a remedial course in canal navigation, although there were no singing gondoliers this time around. Millie and Chuck were the second team to depart from the Chateau, tied with Jon and Al, and both teams were entirely too cheerful for 2:26AM. Interestingly, the Fast Forward only provided Tian and Jaree with a 15 minute lead on these teams, so perhaps it wasn’t most advantageous for them to have used it in leg four. Teams drove to the airport in Marseilles where yet another line–jumping disagreement arose. Millie noted that Tian and Jaree had agreed to buy tickets for Reichip, and thus decided to move to the British Airways counter with the Clowns. Only two teams were able to find seats on the Air France flight, so this switch allowed both teams in the Virgin–Clown alliance to get seats. Although their flight left Marseilles 25 minutes later than the Air France flight and connected through London, the two leading flights arrived in Amsterdam within three minutes of each other.

At the Amsterdam airport, Millie and Chuck spoke with several local people (bonus points for checking with more than one person), and determined that taking a taxi to the next clue would be faster than taking the train. They did indeed arrive at the clue first, but as they were bickering about the task, the train bunch caught up. Millie was rather impatient and wanted to get going immediately, while Chuck wanted to read the clue and determine their position on the map. As they attempted to navigate the canals, Chuck suggested that Millie focus her attention on reading signs instead of losing the other teams, and I would have to agree with this plan. Kelly and her ever–so–mature nicknames did follow Millie and Chuck for a while, but both teams became rather lost in the maze of canals. Millie became increasingly frustrated that Chuck wasn’t listening to her opinions (Translation: he isn’t doing exactly what I want), and suggested that they take the Fast Forward. As they were able to find their way back to the launching point, they couldn’t have been that badly lost in the canals. If they had taken a few moments to relax and work together, I suspect they would have been able to find the Museum instead of wasting the Fast Forward. Watching the race, it’s easy to note that there were two teams that were almost two hours behind, which means that this wasn’t the most advantageous time to use the Fast Forward, but it’s always easier to make those comments from the comfort of our living rooms.
Chuck in particular noted that he found some much–needed peace alone at the top of the windmill, and I wonder how stressed he must have been if a five minute ride was able to provide that much rest.
In any case, Millie and Chuck decided to go for the Fast Forward. In the cab en route to the windmill, Chuck felt the need to apologize for the boating failure, and Millie showed some insight by noting that “it takes two. ” The Fast Forward involved being strapped to the blades of a windmill and then riding around for ten revolutions, as explained by Phil and his strange sweater. Chuck’s claustrophobia chose not to make an appearance during this task, and both teammates seemed to enjoy the ride. Chuck in particular noted that he found some much–needed peace alone at the top of the windmill, and I wonder how stressed he must have been if a five minute ride was able to provide that much rest. Upon completion of the Fast Forward, the team was provided a car and directed to drive to the Kasteel Muiderblot Pit Stop. I noticed again that both Millie and Chuck had smaller backpacks than many of the others, so they get some bonus points for their packing skills. They were the first to arrive (and won a [Product Placement] cruise), and the change in daylight suggested that they had a several–hour lead over some of the other teams. Next week, the TARacers travel to India, however, so I’m sure that airport bunching will eliminate their lead.

Interview clips used during this leg hinted at disagreements between Millie and Chuck, and she mentioned that “compatibility issues” had arisen during the Race. She also complained that Chuck doesn’t really know her and doesn’t respect her travel history. I have to wonder at their relationship if they’ve been together for twelve years and yet still don’t know each other... She also noted that it’s “hard to work together” (yeah, life can be like that) and that Chuck doesn’t trust her. I agree with Chuck’s statement that trust does not mean that he must always do exactly what she says. My interpretation of their relationship is that Millie tends to be rather independent and a bit self–centred, and expects Chuck to follow her lead and direction. He may be quieter, but he’s not a pushover and is not willing to blindly follow and obey. I still have hope that she can improve with time and maturity, as she may be impatient but she doesn’t display the cruel and loathsome behaviour of certain other TARacers.

–– by Kanuck

Team: Monica and Sheree – Poise Under Pressure
Well, I’m back from my summer vacation, just in time to see these ladies hit their stride. While other teams appear to be succumbing to killer fatigue, the moms are racing harder, stronger and smarter each week. Can they keep it up?

This episode started out with the ladies making it to the airport from the pit stop early enough to get a seat on the all-important second plane. By making the British Airways flight that left twenty-five minutes after the first flight out, the ladies insured that they would enter Amsterdam securely in the middle of the pack. They made it off the flight and onto the train with four other teams.

The riverboat trip showed one of the strengths of this team. When they are in situations where all of the teams are bunched together, they are willing to sit back a bit watch and follow and see what develops. They don’t make a big deal about it, and it almost appears that their fellow racers aren’t aware that is what is happening. They quickly got their map skills going and navigated to the dock following only the clowns, Reichen and Chip, and Kelly and Jon. At the Detour, the ladies decided to go for the poo. A quick trip to the mountain of manure, an almost lost boot and a couple of nose wrinkles later, and the ladies were on their way to their next route marker.
The efficiency with which they dealt with this setback reminded me of Ian and the diesel fuel fiasco from last season.
This was the point at which the ladies positives really began to show. Sheree mentioned that they were having a problem with reverse on the car and, therefore, they were looking for a flat place to turn the car around. Monica drives off the road and promptly sinks into about four inches of mud under the grass. The more they struggled the worse the situation looked. Sheree got out of the car and tried to push, all to no avail. Now, I’m not mentioning any names here, but certain current racers might have thrown a hissy fit, they might have cursed at the Gods, the fates, and their partners, or they might have started to cry. Not these ladies. A truck came by and the ladies enlisted their help to get out of the muddy mess. After a poo-covered hug they were off again to the next route marker. The efficiency with which they dealt with this setback reminded me of Ian and the diesel fuel fiasco from last season. Rather than bitch moan or complain, just roll up your sleeves and fix your mistake. Fine work on the ladies’ part.

After slinging eels like they were pros, the ladies took off for the pit stop and finished in a very respectable fifth place. If they can keep their wits about them and can keep the fatigue from catching up and playing games with their minds, these ladies can go very far. Top three finish anyone?
–– by RLB

Reichen & Chip ? The Chipsters
The Chipsters leave the pit stop in 5th place at 2:54 a.m. en route to the Marseilles Airport. They are an hour and 20 minutes ahead of the ATC’s, which shows you how quickly they made it to the pit stop last week. During the drive they mention that they have to not get so distracted. They keep learning from their previous mistakes (which so far haven’t been bad enough to get them Philiminated), so I’m impressed. On their way into the airport they claim they will have to ‘respect the line’, but proceed to the front to ask Tian to buy them tickets. This prompts a few of the teams to head to another ticket counter. Which, if you ask me, they should have done in the first place. Just because you’re in France doesn’t mean Air France has the fastest flight to Amsterdam, even if it leaves earlier.
And thank goodness they do, because the Chipsters prancing around in clogs hauling big wheels of cheese while oom-pah music plays is pure comedy gold.
They are on the British Airways flight out of Marseilles along with four other teams, which arrives in Amsterdam only 3 minutes after the Air France flight. Along with most teams, the Chipsters choose to take the train to the Magere Brug. They make a mistake by following the Bickersons in the boats for a while, but still make it to the detour clue in 2nd place. They choose the cheese detour after determining that the pile of poo would be much taller than they are! And thank goodness they do, because the Chipsters prancing around in clogs hauling big wheels of cheese while oom-pah music plays is pure comedy gold. They reminded me of the Cha here, who often chose the less popular options in the detours.

After driving to the roadblock at the statue, Reichen does the eel toss while Chip cheers him on. I wish they had been doing this roadblock at the same time as BuffJon and overheard the slippery penis remark…. They are competing against The Supremes though, and finish just ahead of them. These two teams really seem to get along well. Reichen says they’re the only team he trusts. They follow each other to yet another pit stop palace, and the Chipters arrive in fourth place.

Next week? India! Ooh, I can’t wait! Now we’ll see some breakdowns.
–– by devajd

Team: Steve and Dave
Slow and steady wins the race. Yeah, right.

The boys (or the editors) chose this episode to compare themselves to the tortoise of the “and the hare” fame. You might almost think we were being set up to believe that the slow and purposeful tortoise does indeed win out over the speedy but imprecise hare. Instead, it was proven once and for all that that old fable is a load of, well….cow manure.

Early in this leg, it did seem as if Steve and Dave were doing fairly well for a team that left nearly an hour and twenty minutes after the second-to-last team, Kelly and Jon. They spent the better portion of the first half right on the tail of David and Jeff. Despite the fact that, at one point, I would almost swear that they were shown moving in slow motion. Tricky camera or post production work? Naah. Just Dave ambling into the Marseilles Airport. And then when they had to make a very, very tight connection at Charles de Gaulle Airport, do you think they stepped up the pace a bit? Naah. What’s the hurry? Granted, David and Jeff also missed the flight, even though they did haul ass to get into the airport, but that’s irrelevant. The point was that there was an important flight to catch, traffic held them up and they needed to scramble to even hold the slightest hope of making the flight. Geezus. Never have I ever wanted to use a cattle prod on a pair of racers like I have with these two. They make Danny and Oswald look like the speediest of bunnies.

While I was disappointed that they didn’t even consider the cow manure detour, which was obviously set up to be the quicker-yet-disgusting challenge, they certainly did relish their cheese-carrying adventure. (On the third viewing, I finally noticed that the wooden shoes were marked for individual racers.) They seemed to really enjoy the task, the crowd, and interacting with the cheese guys. I will say this for them; they really took the time to enjoy the things and places they encountered along the way. I really do like it when racers can pause to take in their surroundings, and truly enjoy the experience. I just prefer they do it at a slightly quicker pace! In the end, I liked these guys. I just don’t think they were cut out to be racers, much less Amazing Racers.

Two feet away from their final Bathmat, Steve finally kicks it into gear and “runs” up to be Philiminated. YAY! NOW you get it. Too late! Bye-bye Steve and Dave! Enjoy your cheese in Sequesterville!
–– by Tribefan

Team: Tian and Jaree
Behind this week’s bickering, I saw one wiped out racer battling a racer who’d just decided she was in it for real. Welcome to the Amazing Race, Jaree. We’re glad to see you! Dig in your heels and stick around for a while. At the same time, Tian looked sick. PMS, incipient head cold, stomach bug, whatever – she looked like she needed a nap and chocolate, chicken soup, or crackers. And maybe a hug. Or maybe not a hug – maybe she needed to be by herself for a while, away from the camera and Jaree and the other racers and us. It didn’t happen.

Yeah, they were bitchy to each other. It didn’t bother me. I like that Jaree went from standing up to Tian to cajoling her to stick with it. There’s a “tough love” dynamic between these two, and it seems to work pretty well, at least in terms of the race. I’m not so sure about the friendship, but we’ll find out about that eventually. I just hope they can smooth out how they operate together while they’re still racing. Anyway, it’s good to see Jaree’s competitive side.

(Note to Jaree: my racers are not allowed to use the term “dumb ass.” Just thought I’d let you know. Please don’t do it again, or I’ll have to put you in the same category as that thing that left at the end of Episode Three. And I really don’t want to, since I think you’re better than he is in all respects.)
On the detour, they chose Turds instead of Whey, which was probably right.
This probably would have been a good leg for the models had they not spent most of their time on the Amstel River fighting instead of looking for the clue box. On the detour, they chose Turds instead of Whey, which was probably right. They found their clue fairly quickly in the manure pile, whereas carrying about 1,100 pounds of cheese was probably a horrible idea for two women, especially if I’m right about Tian feeling sick. Like her, I wish Jaree had done the Roadblock, but maybe next time. They finished seventh – second to last – and were lucky to be there.

Both women have asserted themselves now. They have to take each other seriously and work together. I think it’ll happen in the next leg. If not, they’ll crash. Jaree? If you want to shove that guy out the window in the next episode, you go right ahead. Anyone fool enough to stand in your way now deserves what he – or she – gets. And Tian? I’m looking forward to seeing you in fighting form again. I’ve still got this team in the final four.
–– by Daria

Host: Phil
Why? Phil, why? That is all I am going to say about the sweater. Oh well, Phil had a different type of leg this week. Due to the nature of this week's tasks, Phil went directly to the next pit stop, stopping only twice to pose by a windmill and a boat. (Was it the same boat as the one with the eels? Only Phil knows for sure). Phil went directly to the Kastel Mulderslot to meet his new greeter, the Dutch Soldier (very cute). And, yes this week the greeter was cuter than Phil, because of the sweater. Oops. Ok, I promise, no more mentions of the sweater. By going directly to the pitstop, Phil got to avoid poo (tm Kelly and Jon), eels, cheese, wooden shoes, people laughing at Chip and Reichen, teams fighting in the canals, bad map reading and teams saying Marseilles incorrectly (seriously, have none of these people ever seen Casablanca?). Since it was advantageous for them to go for the fast forward this week (advantageous = can't navigate around Amsterdam), Millie and Chuck arrive first and win a cruise where they won't have sex for a week. Then, to atone for the sweater (last time, I promise) Phil has to talk to Millie (Chuck, seriously, you can do better - Cindy might be available). After waiting until dark to greet the last two teams, Phil, after practicing for two weeks, finally eliminates Steve and Dave. And, then Phil is off to India. Ok, last time about the sweater, my friend thinks that Phil was just being a good visitor to Holland and was wearing a typical Dutch Sweater.
–– by M. Darcy