The distant sound of helicopters approaching can mean only one thing: an invasion is imminent.
A nattily dressed man is standing on the deck of the Queen Mary in the port of Long Beach, California. It's Phil, our tour guide for this, the seventh installment of the A-meh-zing Race.
"You smell that?" Phil asks the camera. "That's the smell of money grubbing
nobodies with a burning desire to become pseudo-celebrities! God I love the
smell of media whores in the morning!"
Helicopters race towards Long Beach to vomit 11 teams onto the port that serves as the starting point for a race around the world for One. Million. Dollars.
The first team to emerge from a helicopter's birth canal are Debbie and Bianca, lifelong friends. They describe themselves as fun loving and silly, silly, silly, they enjoy laughing, wearing high heels, but they aren't girly girls. For a moment, I feel as if I'm watching a twisted version of Elim-A-Date.
Next are Lynn and Alex, boyfriends from West Hollywood. They are fierce competitors; unfortunately, they were both too fat and too penis-endowed to be on America's Next Top Model. They explain that most teams will love them (especially when they do their Cabaret number on amateur talent night), but that they should stay off their bad side (which would be front, back, right, or left? they all look bad to me), because that's when the claws will come out to scratch their eyes out, but only when they aren't looking. Their fierceness appears to be all for show however, because they don't really want to break a nail and they have the evil genius savvy of Dr. Evil, with a side of swishiness.
Third out of the chopper's doors are
"Survivors" Rob and Amber. Technically, only Amber is a Survivor, while Rob lost twice. They speak of how lucky they are to have a profound friendship that turned into love, that they want to settle down and have a normal life (all while milking their media whoredom of every last nanosecond CBS will provide them), but first they want to win the race. Guess a million dollars doesn't go as far as it used to when you have a greaseball by your side. Their ability to mention their experience on Survivor during their 30 second intro seems to serve as the launching point for the promotion of the eventual crossover reality TV hit
"Amazing Survival", set to begin filming in Darfur.
Ryan and Chuck are next out of the Chopper. These rotund retards are best friends from South Carolina. Their butchery of the English language is offset only by the fact that they are shown playing chicken with two back loaders. They say that their size isn't an issue, as the natives of whatever land they're in will see them as teddy bears and
"take up with them". Christ, I hope that isn't some local southern dialect for
"I'm gonna get me some foreign poontang!"
The helicopter pilot tosses out a pair of
Barbie dolls that Phil tells us are Megan and Heidi, roommates from California. They are two halves of one whole person that is hard for them to explain. I'm thinking somebody used that line on them to fulfill their two girls/one guy fantasy and the ditzy blondes thought it was very deep. They plan to use their long legs and blonde hair to play the game. Seriously, is this a very special episode of Fifth Wheel or something?
Susan and Patrick are next out of the chopper. They are the first mother/son team to compete on The Amazing Race. Woo! So very cutting edge… They plan to let the other teams assume that Patrick is little Suzy Homemaker. They have a devious side and are willing to lie to get ahead. Just as long as other teams don't lie, everything should work out just fine. This is actually a business trip for them because they are really a mother/son team of experienced snipers, cast for their ability to pick off people one by one by one. The detour in the Afghanistan leg of the race will probably be something like
"Daisies: Pushing or Planting", where planting requires teams to find land suitable for growing a field of daisies, and pushing has teams finding and killing Osama bin Laden.
The time has come for the token old folks to appear: Meredith and Gretchen, married retirees. Meredith is the one with the penis. They believe that old age and treachery can outperform youth and inexperience. Seems that Gretchen's motherly shtick is all an act, she's really a cougar, on the hunt for some international young man meat; old people in open marriages are disgusting!
The final chopper to land disgorges Brian and Greg, who believe that their biggest strength is that they are brothers. They know each other so well, they won't be arguing and they can make friends easily to get them far in the race. They are self-admitted goofballs who believe that pulling down each other's pants while skateboarding is the height of televised comedy. It might better than Everybody Loves Raymond, but it probably won't help them in the race.
Ucheena and Joyce, the token black team, are a married couple from Houston. They are childless, having failed with two previous in-vitro fertilization attempts. Both have been laid off from major corporations, placing an overwhelming financial burden on their relationship. They hope the race will serve to re-spark their relationship. Not only are they the token black team, they are the designated tear-jerkers. Joyce, who resembles Diana Ross with serious withdrawal hopes that they can win the race to have the baby they've always wanted. Who knew it was so expensive to hire someone to cut a baby out of someone else's womb?
Ron and Kelly are the long-distance daters. He's a former POW and she's a former beauty queen. They met because she was unable to find anyone to escort her when she had to relinquish her Miss South Carolina Crown, so she figured a rejected Iraqi POW would fit the bill perfectly.
Ray and Deana are a formerly dating couple that constantly butt heads because if things don't go Ray's way, he cries and whines like a little bitch, and Deana hates being seen as the only one with balls in their relationship. They don't know what keeps them together, but it's stronger than what is trying to tear them apart. With a little luck, some stressful travel, and a television camera pointed in their faces 24/7, maybe what is tearing them apart will finally prevail.
Phil explains the rules of the race to the awaiting teams. There will be a number of legs, and the teams will have to perform various tasks. At the start of each leg, they will receive a small amount of cash that has to cover their expenses, except for their airline tickets that they won't have to pay for. I'm hoping that they are forced to travel as cargo, but I'm not holding my breath. The last team to arrive at the 8 elimination pit stops will be soundly humiliated on national television and have to do hard time on the Early Show to explain how they fucked up so badly that they were outwitted by Rob and Amber.
Phil gives the signal, sending the teams on their merry way. As teams race to their backpacks and rip open their first clue, they learn that they must fly on one of two flights to Lima, Peru, where they will have to search for the Plaza de Armas. Teams hop into their rental cars and begin the race to LAX, where they must get on either a United or American Airlines flight. All assigned cameramen call shotgun as the teams toss their bags into the trunks of the cars. All teams, except Rob and Amber. Seems that Rob might be able to build a really sweet shelter on a tropical island, but he can't figure out how to open the trunk of a car.
As teams begin their trek to the airport, Ucheena wonders how many teams know that he and Joyce grew up in LA and that they know the way to the airport. I'm guessing none, which is the same number of viewers that care. Ryan and Chuck mumble some southern encouragement to each other that sounds like
"drive it like you stole it" and "if it's got a motor, then I kin drive it". Lynn describes Peru as being donkeys and blankets, while Alex reminds him that they should avoid sweeping generalizations, jutht becauthe all homothexualth thpeak with a lithp and act like drama queens. By the time Rob opens the trunk, all other teams are on the highway, with the boyfriends passing the hillbillies ("there go them happy boys") and barbies. As teams follow the signs to the airport, Heidi wonders where she is going and almost gets into an accident; she is subsequently replaced at the wheel by Megan, as the camera man's insurance doesn't cover injuries due to
"acts of blonde".
Booking the tickets to Lima is incredibly boring, as all teams struggle to get on the American flight, which arrives in Peru earlier. The brothers decide to forgo the shuttle and get their
"jog on" to the American terminal, where they are behind Ucheena and Joyce who wonder if there will be enough tickets available. While waiting in line, Bianca mentions that Patrick reminds her of her first boyfriend ever. Patrick asks if he ended up being gay, because she looks like the kind of girl who could do that to most men. Debbie and Bianca exchange kisses and proclaim their love for each other, which gets Brian and Greg snickering like schoolboys at the back of the line.
When the blacks arrive at the American counter, they discover that the flight is all sold out, so they must go to United. The American Airlines flight has Susan & Patrick, Debbie & Bianca, Megan & Heidi, Ryan & Chuck, Ron & Kelly, and Ray & Deana. The United flight has Greg & Brian, Ucheena & Joyce, Lynn & Alex, Meredith & Gretchen, Rob & Amber
While waiting for their flight to depart, Ron decides to confide in Ray about his time as a POW. Obviously, Ron feels the need to air out his ginormous testicles as he recounts his tale, because his feet are roughly two yards apart. Ron doesn't feel comfortable telling everybody about his experience as a POW or his enormous gonads, but Ray shakes his hand telling him how much he respects Ron for confiding in him.
When teams land in Lima, they must travel by bus and find Plaza de Armas, also known as Plaza Major, to find their next clue. Bianca speaks fluent Spanish and is able to converse with the locals on finding a bus that will get them to their destination. Chuck requests a bus that doesn't make any stops, but his fluent Portuguese is lost on the Spanish-speaking Peruvians. Once on the bus, Ron takes the early lead for the
"Ugly American Abroad" award, as he comments that Lima looks like downtown Baghdad. I always thought that POWs were kept captive; maybe Ron got day passes to tour the sites while he was prisoner.
Upon opening their clue, teams learn that they must get on another bus and travel to Ancon, where they will have to take a rickshaw to Playa Hermosa and dig through giant piles of sand, previously used as kitty litter, searching for tickets on one of three morning flights to Cuzco. As the 6 teams begin to search for buses that will take them to Ancon, Debbie and Bianca and Susan and Patrick break off from the rest of the pack to search for a bus as a smaller group. By the time the 4 other teams realize that they've lost the chick who speaks Spanish, they have been wandering aimlessly through the streets of
Baghdad Lima asking in English and Portuguese where the magical bus to Ancon is.
As the United flight unloads its media whores in Lima, Rob and Amber's previous media exposure gets them noticed by a Bachelor Bob wannabe named Craig who is probably hoping for some camera time and a hand job from Rob because his palm is greasier than Amber's. They break away from the pack and their new bestest buddy gets them to bribe the bus driver to go directly to Plaza de Armas without picking anybody else up.
On the bus to Ancon, Patrick reveals to Debbie and Bianca that he has watched Survivor and that Rob is dumb as a bag of blonde hammers. This is followed by a shot of Rob, Amber, lackey Craig, and a few token Peruvians on a bus whose driver Rob bribed $30 to not pick anyone else up on the way to Ancon. Rob's cunning allows him to manipulate bus drivers to do his bidding; next week, he'll be doing stupid hypnotism tricks at the local Rotary Club.
Eventually all teams get their clue and head off to Ancon. During the rickshaw ride to the beach, Debbie and Bianca share some intimate moments (but they aren't dykes), while Suzie Homemaker and Little Gay Boy take in the local sights. Meredith falls while trying to get on the bus to Ancon, and makes an
"I've fallen and I can't get up" joke that endears him to his wife. The rest of wish he'd have broken his hip to expedite team Geriatric's Philimination.
Arriving at Playa Hermosa, the dykes and team PFLAG begin digging for (and claim) tickets on the earliest flight to Cuzco. Other teams seemingly arrive simultaneously at Ancon and start racing their rickshaws. The hillbillies feel that pedal power is insufficient, so they get out and pull the rickshaw ahead of two other teams, a lead they promptly lose when they get winded and hop back in their seats. Rob and Amber arrive slightly ahead of Ron and Deana, who start a frantic search for the final 6am flight that they lose to Rob & Amber.
POW and Beauty Queen are told by Debbie and Bianca to dig in the pile with tickets on the 7:40 flight, not bothering to see what was posted for the other pile. When they discover that they were snookered, Ron reveals the treachery of the lesbians to Ray, where they agree that it's
"Game On". All the other teams catch up and claim their tickets before settling in for a peaceful night of sleep on the beach.
There is a minor panic attack when the 7am flight is delayed due to
"technical difficulties" (which is Spanish for CBS wants to give Rob & Amber every possible chance to win), but everybody gets on the 7:40 flight, so there is much ado about nothing. When teams arrive in Cuzco, they are sold a bottle of Matta de Coca to help with altitude sickness. Their clue instructs them to take a marked taxi to a roadside souvenir shop in Huambutio, owned by some dude named Felipe who will hand them their next clue.
Teams must now proceed to the top of a gorge where they must take a zip line to the bottom. When they reach the bottom, they open their next clue. Nothing interesting happens on the zip line, other than Rob saying a prayer to the holiest of Italian deserts, Saint Cannoli, and the hillbillies joking that they are the zip line's stress test.
When teams arrive at the bottom, a detour makes teams choose between Rope a Llama and Rope a Basket]. The llama task involves guiding a pair of llamas from an open field to a marked pen in the next field. The basket task involves wearing a poncho, a toque, and hauling a basket with 35lbs of alfalfa to a shop 2/3 of a mile away. There's an even split between teams choosing the llamas and baskets, and only Debbie & Bianca start one task (llamas), only to change their mind.
After teams complete the detour, they must load themselves onto a delivery truck that will drive them to the town of Pisac, where they must search a market for their next clue. Trucks leave every 20 minutes, but a great deal of drama is made over the fact that some teams miss a truck by this much. Most notable is Ray who missed his transport to Pisac by seconds after continuously telling Deana to
"suck it up", despite her face turning blue as the basket of alfalfa pulls the rope tighter around her neck. For a few brief, scary moments, it's like Jonathan Livingston Asshole is back on my television, verbally abusing Botox Barbie.
When teams arrive in Pisac, they search the market for the clue box, which instructs them to return to Cuzco by taxi, and find La Merced, a 325 year old church, which is the first pit stop of the race. Rob & Amber and Susan & Patrick are tied for first arriving in Pisac and work together to find the clue box. Patrick tells the camera that he and mommy want to align with Rob & Amber, so that they can be personally responsible for their disposal from the race. Maybe Little Gay Boy is a sniper after all.
Debbie & Bianca arrive third in Pisac and get under way shortly after PFLAG and Rombur. All 3 teams get stuck in traffic, but Rombur have to help push a stalled car out of the way before they can continue. A mad dash to the pit stop sees Debbie & Bianca arrive first, where Phil informs them that, as the winner of this first leg of the race, they have won $10,000 cash. Omigod!Omigod!Omigod! This is SO exciting! To make it even better,
Phil adds the word "each", which gets the dykes even more hyper. Fine, go buy yourself a trip to exotic Europe, or magnificent Mexico, or beautiful Botswana, American Airlines was clearly too cheap to sponsor this first leg of the race.
Team PFLAG arrives second, Rombur third, Brian & Greg fourth, Lynn & Alex fifth, team Geritol is sixth, Ray & Deana seventh, and Ucheena & Diana Ross arrive eighth. The final 3 teams, POW & Beauty Queen, hillbillies, and the barbies all arrive at La Merced at the same time, and it's a race to the mat. The barbies arrive in ninth. The POW tries to remember how he got in and out of temples in Baghdad while the hillbillies ask for directions to the entrance in Portuguese. In the end, Ron & Kelly narrowly beat out Ryan & Chuck, who are the first team to be Philiminated from The A-meh-zing Race.
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