Uchenna_joyce_amazingrace11_240Last Sunday, I lamented Rob and Amber’s premature detour off of Amazing Race: All Stars and the comments — hardly a scientific polling of the populace, mind you — were split down the middle. Half of you said that without Romber, you could actually get back to enjoying a show which their self-promoting antics and cutthroat behavior had destroyed for you. The other half argued that without Romber’s self-promoting antics and cutthroat behavior, the rest of the season wouldn’t be worth watching.

Sunday  (March 18) night’s episode marked the first hour of the season’s post-Rob-and-Amber Era and my immediate response is… Oh yeah, naturally the week after Rob and Amber are booted just happens to be a non-elimination leg, which just happens to favor the team that beat Rob and Amber the first time around, Joyce and Uchenna. Sigh. Say it ain’t so, Phil.

My quest to find a new team to cheer for wasn’t all that fruitful. Dustin and Kandice, probably the favorites to be my new favorites, lost ground for running past a clue for the second time in three weeks. They need to bring back the unexpected intelligence (and appealing willingness to play dirty) they showed last season, or else they may lose my support.

Instead, I may need to root for Team Cha-Cha-Cha, whose actual season was before I began watching. They got off the line of the episode when, after a near-disastrous failure to figure out an avalanche beacon in Argentina, they quipped that all they’d learned from the experience was "If you get caught in an avalanche, never come looking for Oswald and Danny to get you out." They also get points for their teasing relationship with Phil Keoghan, chasing the stone-faced host around the mat to give him a coal-coated hug.

There’s also a tight battle being waged for the mantle of my most hated team. That’s a lie. Charla and Mirna will always hold a special place in the dark corner of my heart. It would take a lot for anybody to catch up, but Eric and Danielle seem like contenders. They’re like Romber without the sneaky cleverness, the calculated strategy and the competitive fire. They’re just loud, uncouth and if they hadn’t started dating, nobody would have remembered them, much less considered them All-Stars.

A couple thoughts on the episode:

  • Why hasn’t Phil been telling us the pros and cons of the Detours this season? The Porter challenge (involving the coal that came to cover Danny and Oswald) sounded more straight-forward and predictable than the Pamper option (with its fingernail painting), but all three teams that picked Pamper finished far ahead of the Porter teams. That doesn’t make for good drama.
  • As stupid as Eric and Danielle looked, baiting Team Guido on the road, Team Guido’s reaction was irrational and far less sympathetic than if they’d just rolled their eyes and looked the other way.
  • I still don’t understand what was happening in the Roadblock with the giant rats and what made some teams and their rats perform better than others. I don’t like challenges that are all left to chance, much less episodes that include so many equalizers.

    What’d you think of the episode? Was it blissfully Romber-free for all of you haters? Who are you rooting for these days?

  • Posted by:Daniel Fienberg