garrettpaul jessicastout amazingrace15 290 'The Amazing Race': Garrett and Jessica run afowl

I have no idea why there were cop cars racing around the Los Angeles River at the start of “The Amazing Race” tonight, but there were and Phil was talking about Hollywood movies and stunts. Perhaps the point was to highlight all the “drama” we’re clear to encounter with some of the racers we were introduced to tonight. I know I shouldn’t judge them on first impressions, but based solely on those little snippets we got, I was rooting for the Globetrotters (and not just because I’ve always wanted to go to a game but never have).

Maybe the drama that was supposed to be highlighted wasn’t the racers, but the instant elimination, the show’s brand new bit of awesome. The first destination of the season was the Shinagawa District in Tokyo, and there were only 11 license plates from Shinagawa on a wall of license plates in the “river,” so only 11 of the 12 teams would be making the trip to Japan. The “smaht” folks from Massachusetts almost left the race instantly and I wouldn’t have been sad to see them go, but watching the Yoga gurus disappearing didn’t bother me either. Take that chakras!

I don’t know how I feel about the instant elimination thing, but I do know that the show morphing into “I Survived a Japanese Game Show” once in Japan was odd. CBS didn’t have a problem with “Amazing Race” doing that? As for the game they were playing on the show, Sushi Roulette, that was awesome – you gotta keep eating until you get a wasabi bomb, which then had to be downed in under two minutes. There were even great sound effects and graphics with the whole thing. Fun, but it didn’t really look that hard.

Meghan & Cheyne got one of the first wasabi bombs and made it to the shrine Pitstop first. I was all worried that Ericka & Brian, because they left the studio last, would get eliminated when there were so many other teams more deserving of a plane ticket home. The two managed to get lucky however and not lose any tourists on their way to the shrine, but the poker players weren’t as fortunate. Those two – who were on my list for lying about what they were doing for a living to other teams – did lose tourists. They didn’t get eliminated though because this was a non-elimination leg (or, more accurately, a non-double elimination leg).

Part two of our double-episode tonight sent the teams to Ho Chi Minh City. And I was thrilled to see that while at the airport in Japan our poker players were spotted. Here’s the thing about them – they were acting like completely horrible individuals, not the non-profit do-gooders they were pretending to be. Surely their ridiculous ruse wasn’t going to last all that long anyway, and now that it’s gone, I’m sure all the other teams hate them more than they otherwise would have. That’s some smaht thinking ladies!

Once in Vietnam, the teams had to jump on a bus and go to a village. The folks on the later bus all agreed to throw in extra money to pay for the empty seats so the bus could leave early. Smaht plan. Also a completely unnecessary one as the docks where they were all going were closed for the night by the time the first bus arrived. I hope those folks don’t need that money later, that’s the sort of thing that could come back and get you.

The first task in Vietnam involved throwing mud over tree roots and seemed like a pretty easy, straightforward task, but sadly not as straightforward and easy as the poker players’ Speed Bump, which barely cost them any time at all. Zev & Justin did have some trouble with the tree roots, but only because they lost their clue after finishing the task.

I know Justin fell in the river, but if you’re on this show, don’t you make sure you know, to a certainty, every single second where that clue is? Don’t you check obsessively every single step of the way?

The next stop, the Roadblock, involved duck herding, which seems to require some sort of magical ability, though I can’t pinpoint what that ability might be (perhaps it’s similar to the abilities required to be a nerf herder?). I do know that I wanted to give it a shot, not that I would have been successful, but if I wasn’t I certainly would have feasted that night.

From duck herding we went to the Pitstop, where Gary & Matt arrived first even though Sam & Dan finished herding first. Neither Ericka nor Jessica could herd a duck worth a damn and their two teams ended up well behind all the others. The two women looked to complete the task close enough to each other that it seemed like a relatively tight race to the finish with Ericka & Brian beating out Jessica & Garrett, who became the second team to leave this season.

What do we think of the season so far? It was a fun opening night, but I’m not getting that cheese-rolling feeling yet.

Bits and pieces:

  • The poker players were lying about what they did for a living. What sort of insanity is that?

  • Some would call Marcy “frantic,” right now I just think of her as “peppy.” If I were anywhere with her it might change into “annoying,” but as she’s only on my screen I’m going with “peppy.”

  • “You can throw up later.” That’s the kind of woman I want standing beside me.

  • Did we get two legs of the race and no Detours tonight? Things seem to be a little different this season.

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Posted by:Josh Lasser