The Amazing Race: Good Old Fashioned Spit in the Face
October 16, 2015 11:41 PM - Season 27, Episode 4 - Subscribe

8 teams travel from Rio to Zambia to Zimbabwe on the fourth leg in a race around the world

This episode started off with the anti-Justin express pass machinations, and went on to feature a village welcome, monkeys, Victoria Falls, fantastic patterned fabrics in clothes and head wraps, elephants and monkeys and warthogs and hippos, motorized gliders, machinations foiled by assumptions about race structure, staining hand-carved giraffes, screaming into a microphone attached to one's glider-driver’s headphones, rainbows, croquet, and the continuing impression that the taxi drivers of the world care that they are on a race.

Oh, and there’s a “cliffhanger" at the end of the episode.
posted by julen (7 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sadly, the “cliffhanger” doesn’t include someone hanging on the side of a cliff.

Also, I am sure that some folks filled their backpacks with hair product.

Also, saying “hashtag [SomethingSomething]” is super-obnoxious, and I would like to ban all reality tv people from saying it.
posted by julen at 11:41 PM on October 16, 2015

I was a bit confused about the Texans' strategy -- did anyone catch exactly what they said? It sounded like they wanted to U-Turn the green team, but then am I right in thinking that they wanted the next team (the reporters?) to U-Turn the Texans themselves? (Presumably to no effect?) Can a team only be U-turned once in a race? If so, then that makes sense and is quite clever, but I didn't think that the show did a great job of making that strategy clear -- maybe because it didn't come to fruition.
posted by cider at 9:57 AM on October 18, 2015

The strategy, as I understood it, was to U-turn the Green Team themselves if they got to the U-Turn first. However, if they didn't, they wanted the other team to do it for them, and when the Green Team retaliated by U-turning Team Texas (or be u-turned by others), they would then use their express pass to get through the U-Turn in a heart beat.

...that's how I think it was intended to work originally and as we saw, all plans for that fell apart, especially when they wasted the Express Pass on the speed bump and didn't wait to use it on the detour.

Whatever happened, their best laid plans were definitely laid to waste. I'll agree that the guy on the Green Team can come across as kind of annoying, but I like him and his wife a whole lot more than the Texans who entered with kind of a bro-like, "We're awesome physical specimens and perfect people, so we're going to run over everyone and win this." Meh.
posted by Atreides at 10:26 AM on October 18, 2015

As I understood it, the Texans wanted to use their express pass to get to the U-Turn first and use it on the green team. Then the reporters in second place use the U-Turn on the Texans. This wastes that second spot since the Texans are past it, and ensures the green team can't U-Turn anyone behind them.

But they used their express pass too early and before a major catchup point, neither challenge was that hard and a U-Turn may not have knocked out the green team, and it was a non-elimination leg. They are playing way too hard way too early.
posted by Gary at 1:19 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

One of the reasons I have always preferred TAR over the other competition reality shows, (Survivor in particular) has been the relative lack of scheming and gamesmanship. I remember how annoyed I was when Boston Rob from Survivor was on the Race and immediately started in with that bullshit. So I am always gratified when stuff backfires or bites some team in the butt down the road, and this episode particularly pleased me.
posted by briank at 6:05 PM on October 18, 2015 [1 favorite]

I'm a fan of Survivor, but I absolutely agree, I enjoy TAR far more when it's more about teams simply competing against the challenges versus actively plotting or aligning with each other. It soils the fun and good hearted nature of the show. Thankfully, short of deception, there's only a few limited circumstances where any real conniving and planning can be put to use. We don't have episodic tribal councils where the fate of players is almost entirely in the hands of others. Here, the fate of teams rests almost entirely in their own hands and abilities.

Gary, thanks for clearing that up!
posted by Atreides at 6:53 AM on October 19, 2015

I'm a survivor fan and it took me a while to get into The Amazing Race for those reasons. If you try to watch it as a competition, it can be a disappointing show. Once the truly bad teams are gone (usually about half way) you end up with a bunch of evenly matched teams who get eliminated for bad cabs, needle-in-a-haystack contests, or a variety of other reasons that sometimes seem unfair. On top of that, the teams that try to play very hard and cut-throat look like asses.

But if you come to the show wanting to see teams have fun and enjoy some amazing scenery, it's pretty great. The cat is well out of the bag now, but it may have been a better show with smaller cash prizes or maybe a portion of the winnings going towards charity instead.
posted by Gary at 10:25 AM on October 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

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