Author: watson (with additional writing by Carleen)
At the Hope Island resort off Australia's Gold Coast, you can play golf, improve your backhand at the Pat Cash International Tennis Academy, dock your luxury yacht, enjoy food & beverage at the exclusive Spike's Café and Bar, even purchase property for either permanent stays or as vacation homes. Now I sound like I missed my calling as time-share salesperson. [*Fencey rolls his eyes.*] It was also the latest pitstop for a grueling race around the world, now entering a critical phase.
As Phil says, the five teams have no idea what is in store for them, though I can guess it'll involve traipsing around in Australia or venturing to New Zealand sometime this episode or next. Perhaps moseying to Asia again or Pacific Islands before heading back to the States. Then again I may be completely wrong and the Amazing Producers produce some miracle of geography and have the teams go to a place completely unexpected. [*what? like the moon?*]
Teams at the Pitstop, enjoying the country club surroundings. The shotgun marriage of Rupert & Randy and Adam & Oz isn't heading for divorce court yet, they are at the poolside chatting away and comparing notes. A barbie is shown prominently in the background, manned by a burly hunk in T-shirt and safari shorts. For those of you uninitiated in Aussie Slang, a barbie is a barbeque grill, not an anatomically impossible doll.
Willow & Tara, having lost their allies, are in a world of their own. Phil wonders if they will flounder or emerge stronger. They're in a world of their own alright, sitting quietly at a corner whispering to each other. Casting my mind back to the beginning of the Race, when they seem to be struggling to get comfortable with each other, now I think we have a full blown relationship going strong. I'm not stupid, I know something big happened at the camp in Kenya and it wasn't just "naming stars". My point, and I think I have one, is how happy I am about the progress of this pair, just don't do something stupid and ruin my impression of you, okay? I goo-ga at teams I like, but equally I become bitter and caustic if they incur my wrath.
10.09pm. R.Randy do the rip and tear of the clue envelope. They learn that they are to fly to Sydney and play a game of chess at the giant chessboard at Hyde Park. When the game ends, they will receive their next clue. Sounds fun, in a 'aren't chess players at parks a bunch of old fogies?' sort of way. No offense to the youth-challenged sector of the chess-playing circle, of course.
"We're feeling invincible right now, we're nearing the end of the race and we're becoming the team to beat. The couples have their tension-filled moments, but Dad and I are doing so well on our own steam. I can't wait to get going," Randy is as excited as a boy getting ready for a prom date. Just don't take that first step on the dance floor and fall flat on your face, Boy. They jump into their car.
10.33pm. Team Efficiency look seriously like they're getting ready to step up to the starting block in a track race. They're, like, doing stretching exercises and running on the spot and being all energetic. Are they, like, planning to run to Sydney?
"This is the stage of a race where strength of mind is more important than pure physical ability. The pressure cooker is all the way at max now. To have the belief that you are going to win, it takes minds of steel," Robin tries, and fails again with his sports metaphors. Minds of steel? Yes you have pecs of steel, but I don't want any iron filings inside my mind thank you very much.
10.49pm. Lovebirds in rojak clothing. Oh how I have missed the hypnotic effects of the crazy-dye fireworks. They must have been playing with fireworks alright, cos they have this unmistakable, um, afterglow of luuurrrrve about them. It's all dark but man, I can tell from this side of the screen. And it's not even a flatscreen tv! Yes they were definitely too busy during the Pitstop to do their laundry *wags eyebrows*.
11.12pm. Goldies are the antithesis of afterglow. Like, what's the opposite of afterglow? Beforeglow? Riley induced stupor? Stare at Buffy long enough and you get lethargic?
"This is a critical stage of the Race. We must make sure we're in the final three, then we'll be the team to beat," Riley interviews. Okay, did the teams, like, have a brain meld at the Pitstop, cos he's using the same language as his archrival Randy. And that makes me shudder with fear.
11.29pm. TallShort count out the money, they have $171 for this leg of the race. Palindrome Banker makes a cameo! "We have to look sharp," Adam says as they throw their backpacks into their car and drive off into the night.
TallShort car leaves the resort carpark just as R.Randy car pulls into the airport carpark of Brisbane airport.
Guess what? It's the we-know-it'll-make-you-want-to-be-in-a-coma-but-we're-doing-it-anyway segment of the program. It's, gasp, the return of airport bunching. The last flight for Sydney left at 9.10pm and the next one will be at 6am next morning. I'm less incensed about this, since the teams are close together and may have gotten on the same flight anyway. Or may be I have finally resigned myself to the inevitable.
"It was expected. I didn't think the airport will be open this late, it's so rural here," Randy comments. He's big on the commentary today isn't he. And on behalf of the residents of Brisbane, heck, the residents of Queensland, I slap him one. Rural? That's so patronizing. An airport servicing 12 million passengers a year with over 2,100 flights a week to 56 international and domestic destinations is not rural (what? I googled it). An airport with one flight a week and manned by a dungaree-wearing, armpit-scratching, baccy-chewing old timer, that's rural. Shut up, Randy.
Teams arrive in short succession and are greeted by the same empty counter with the big honking sign 'Closed. Open at 5am'. They set up camp at the waiting area.
"We're so used to this bunching now, we just skip over it and think ahead to the next stage," Tara says. SHEEP!
"Time to get some sleep," Willow yawns. BAA-BAA!
Early morning and we get a final sweeping shot of lifeguards and beach babes before zooming in to capture the riveting sight of teams getting on a plane. Yeah, yawn.
7.30am. G'day Sydney! We're back at the scene of much TAR goodness. Who can forget the TAR2 Aussie slang Roadblock, where some teams learnt by painful experience that it's always a good idea to Read the Clue. Or the BridgeClimb? Or 'going for a fast forward cos the other team says they're going for it but we think they're lying'? Sigh. Good times. I'm misting up now.
"Taxi, taxi," shout the teams exiting the airport. I always wonder why people do that, shout "taxi!", cos when I'm driving I can't hear people shouting at me from the sidewalk. I mean they're, like, not within my earshot. I can see waving, but since I close my windows cos of the air-con or I have the radio on, they can shout all they want but I can't hear them. I don't have Slayer hearing. Does it mean taxi drivers do? Or they have a special receiving device that picks up shouts of "taxi!" from outside their vehicle? Okay that's the end of my daily Random Rant About Nothing in Particular. I'll shut up before Sars gets her lazy ass off her couch and sporks me one. [*I'll do more than spork you, I'll tear your tongue out so you can't speak and have to rely on typing out your words for the rest of your life. Time to learn your emoticons, baby. Love, Sars.*]
"Where to, mate?" asks the R.Randy taxi driver. "Hyde Park, mate," Randy grins as he replies with an atrocious Aussie accent. It's like his jaw is stuck from too much cheek sucking. Stop trying so hard, Randy.
"Go, go, go," Riley urges his driver, who shoots him a dirty look before scrolling his eyes to Buffy, who has decided to do a Hayden impression today with the skimpy strap top and no bra look. Problem is, she has nothing to display. Now, Faith, on the other hand ... okay, deep breath, quick slap on face, ice cold shower *whistles innocently*.
In the TallShort cab, they're playing 'Name that Famous Australian' with their cab driver.
"Mel Gibson and Nicole Kidman, we consider them ours," Mr Cabbie says.
"We'll let you have them, but with the understanding that they're both Americans by birth," Adam argues.
"Nature versus nurture, I say we win," Mr Cabbie replies.
"You guys have some crazy representation in Hollywood," says Oz.
"Russell Crowe is hardly a typical example," Adam interjects.
"He's a Kiwi." Oh I love them Aussies, so to the point. See how Mr Cabbie disowns Mr Crowe with just one statement?
"What about Portia de Rossi, she's a little loose in the head," Oz snorts. I have the image of Portia as Nearly Headless Nick with her head about to fall off. May be she'll scandalize the whole school by having an affair with the Fat Lady. Snerk.
"On the contrary, ditching one rich, hot babe for another isn't loose, it's practical," Adam says. I almost spill diet vanilla coke on my brand new all white T-shirt (cos you have to buy new white T-shirts every so often, especially when your old ones start getting yellow at certain seams) at Adam saying "rich, hot babe", oh hubba bubba.
The first team to arrive at Hyde Park is Rupert & Randy, continuing their streak of good placing. Now I have to contemplate this pairing in the final three, cos I never considered that they'd make it this far. Rupert isn't the fittest fiddle in the Race, and Randy is simply too random, but may be I dismissed them too soon.
They join the locals playing chess at a person-sized board painted on the ground. The pieces are about 2 feet tall and it all looks quite quaint. The players are office types in shirts and ties even, not the old fogies I expected. I can imagine one of them saying as he leaves his suburban home, "I'm off now honey, getting a game of chess before I start the day in the office." Heh.
Rupert wisely figures out the best way to get to the end of the game and the clue is to lose quickly, which he does in ruthless abandonment, even earning a handshake and backpat from his opponent.
"The first instinct when playing is to win, but we're not here to win, we need to finish the game and get the clue, which means letting our opponent win. So I played a variation of what's known as Fool's Mate, and I was so happy my opponent recognized it," Rupert explained. Not bad, for an old fogey.
They get the clue, which includes a Fast Forward. Amazing Exposition Hands and Yummy Phil join forces to explain. Blah blah blah only two for the whole Race, only one team can get it each time, proceed directly to the pitstop, yeah we know the drill, Phil. He does the "teams have to decide when is the most advantageous to go for it" spiel too. In this FF, teams have to go to the Sydney Cricket Ground and complete two tasks - Bowl a Maiden Over and Hit a Boundary. I've been told these are kosher cricket terms, for which I can only say, call the Society Against Cruelty to Maidens and Boundaries, stat. The camera pans to a large grass pitch with people in white uniforms pitching a red ball overarm at another person standing in front of three little sticks holding what looks suspiciously like a short-handled paddle. Yes, that's cricket in a nutshell.
"That doesn't sound too hard, let's go for it," Rupert orders. Randy follows meekly.
Teams arrive at Hyde Park to sign up for their turns on the chessboard. It's now TallShort. They play against a surfer dude type, in good company there. They don't clue onto the need to end the game quickly until part way through the game when Oz has a lightbulb moment. He then proceeds to play badly and gets checkmated shortly after. They get the clue envelope and spy the FF. After a short debate they decide to go for the FF, despite knowing they're not first. That is logic that stumps me. Oh men of few words, you're disappointing me.
Goldies' turn at the chessboard. Riley is clearly out of his league, he takes his sweet time before each move, sweat can be seen dripping out of his brain. Buffy tries to help but gets rebuked. She decides, wisely or not, to stand aside.
Lovebirds and Efficiency look on with impatience. We can tell Willow has figured out the strategy and is angsty for Goldies to finish.
"What I don't understand is why Riley is trying so hard. He doesn't know how to play chess and obviously needs a miracle to win. It's like putting Homer Simpson in the ring with Yoda. He should move along, let the other guy win and get the clue. He's wasting our time too," she says, while pacing a groove in the park.
Luckily GoldenBoy sucks at chess and gets checkmated. He looks disappointed, someone please hit him with a clue by four - winning doesn't matter this time! They decide to give the FF a miss and go for the Detour. A FF and Detour in the same clue envelope, that's new isn't it? Did the FF in TAR7 (the one where Joyce shaved her head) have a Detour inside too? Ack, I need my EEFPs. [*Oh I know! There's this wacky notion of reading the recap. Love, Sars.*]
In this Detour teams choose between High Roller or High Flyer. In High Roller, they travel by bus and light rail to Sydney's only casino and play a coin-tossing game called "Two Up". In High Flyer they travel by bus to Fox Studios and take part in a mock stunt shoot.
I truly expect Goldies to go for the stunt cos it's physical and suits them fine. It must be Surprise Your Recapper Day, cos they go for the coin toss.
"We decided on the coin toss because we want to gain time, and figured we need to think more strategically instead of going for the most obvious task," Buffy explained. Think strategically? What about that display just now at the chessboard?
I heave a sigh of relief as Goldies disappear off my screen, which immediately turns into a sigh of happiness at Lovebirds eye-candy. Alas their appearance is brief because Willow is implementing her get-the-game-over-quickly strategy, they have their clue within minutes. They choose the stunt Detour, wow, this is Surprise Your Recapper Day.
Team Efficiency, uncharacteristically last, have enough Race chops to be watching the teams before them keenly. "We were watching Riley and Willow play, and it was obvious Riley was doing something wrong, not a big surprise, the big oaf is more brawn than brain. Interesting how Willow played to let the other person win and get the clue quickly. We tried to play like her but it messed up our game, it's as hard to lose as to win. Man, chess is hard," Robin laments. At least one team is behaving as expected, they go for the stunt.
We're at the Fast Forward. Rupert & Randy are getting changed into cricket uniforms. Rupert looks quite the dashing colonial gentleman in his crisp whites, Randy looks like a hospital orderly. They are to split up and play with two local teams.
Simple cricket rules. The playing area is a thin rectangular strip in the middle of a large grass field. The pitcher (who they call bowler) bowls 6 times at the batter who hits the ball and runs between the strip. Each time he runs the length of the strip he gets a point (called a run). At the end of the 6 bowls (called an over) another bowler bowls 6 balls from the other end. A maiden over is an over where the batter doesn't score any runs. I'm still laughing furiously at the term, it must have some virgin connotations, damn those English, with their subtle humor. A batter who hits the ball to the edge of the field without the ball being intercepted is said to have scored a boundary. Phil reminds us that the task in the FF is for the Racer on the bowling team to bowl a maiden over, and the Racer on the batting team to score a boundary.
Rupert is with the batting team and Randy with the bowling team. The coach give each of them some pointers and they nod like they understand.
Meanwhile TallShort have arrived and are kitting up. They set up camp with another group of players at the other side of the field. Oz is bowling and Adam is batting. Oz bowls at an opponent and the ball is hit back at him, he runs after it but slips, he looks peeved.
Funny segment of the four guys running, throwing and bowling, it's like something out of Monty Python. I don't know who is funnier, Randy doing an impression of a dancing puppet with his bowling action, or huge Adam trying to connect a tiny wooden paddle with a tiny ball. It's an even contest.
Elsewhere, we're at the Detour. Goldies are doing the All Sydney public transport tour, they're on a bus, asking the bus driver about the light rail. Then they're at the light rail, asking the conductor about the casino. "I can't believe how small the city is, looking at the map we've traveled through half the central area already, I thought it'd be larger and more urban, like LA," Buffy says. That comment sounds mundane enough, but when I think about it, it's kind of patronizing. It's like she's disappointed at the size of the city, I can't quite put my finger on it. Perhaps I'm blinded by my dislike of this team; that has happened before.
They hop onto the light rail and are next seen disembarking at the casino. The casino is a bustling place, full of locals and tourists. A special area is set up for the game of Two Up, and Phil helpfully tells us about the game's heritage, that it was played by Australian soldiers during World War I and how it is only legal to play outside of a casino on ANZAC Day (Australian Memorial Day). As he explains the rules, it occurs to me that it's merely a glorified coin toss game; the only exciting thing is that people gamble on the outcome. No wonder it's no longer popular, I mean, coin tossing vs say, internet poker, it's a no brainer really.
Goldies get ready to toss the coin and make bets. I almost expect a representative from Gamblers Anonymous to march up any second now. Buffy steps up, she's told she has to place them in slots in a small wooden paddle and then flip the paddle so the coins are tossed up over her head. People bet on the outcome, like two heads or two tails. One head and one tail is void. Riiight, between this coin tossing contraption and the cricket bat, I'm seeing a paddle theme here. Are the Amazing Producers telling us something? Are we moving to BDSM territory soon?
Buffy tosses the coins amidst loud cheering from a rapidly growing number of on-lookers. What can I say, the combination of pretty blonde and gambling works every time. You ever wondered why there are so many scantily-clad big-hair blondes in Las Vegas or Atlantic City? Look at the profile of the punters - men with pot-bellies and more cash than sense, gambling is probably the only thing keeping them up (you can interpret that whichever way you want). And that's my second Random Rant About Nothing in Particular. Will someone please shut me up now? [*You're pushing it, buddy, I'm watching you. Love, Sars.*]
Back at the FF, Rupert hits a shot to the edge of the field and gets his boundary, he looks pleased, with a self-satisfied smirk normally found on Randy. Like father, like son, eh. Randy is still trying to get his maiden.
Adam is doing poorly and not hitting the ball at all. Guess he never made the softball team, huh. Oz's bowls are also too tame, the batter easily hits him all over the park.
Meantime Randy somehow gets the bowling action right and he gets his maiden over. Now we have both Rupert and Randy with self-satisfied smirks. It's not a pretty sight. They receive the clue, which tells them to make their way to the ferry terminal and head directly for the Taronga Zoo, the Pitstop for this leg of the Race. They're ecstatic.
Adam & Oz, looking like two deflated punch bags, sitting at the side of the field. "We're screwed," Adam says. They debate whether to do the coin toss or mock stunt, the choice is made easy as they find out that Fox Studios is next to the cricket ground. They hasten to the studio.
We're back at the casino detour. Buffy is still tossing coins, to the delight of the crowd. She's supposed to land the coins inside the marked area, but she mistimes one toss and they roll away. She chases after it, but it's elusive, like Riley's one brain cell. She runs after it gallantly. Eventually she catches up and stomps on it, may be it is Riley's one brain cell and she needs it, hence the desperation. Snerk.
Riley meantime, is placing bets on the outcome. No brain cells needed, cos it's completely random. He wins some, he loses some, he makes slow progress towards the $20.
"This is going far too slowly, I'm gonna take a big gamble," he decides. Buffy is too busy tossing to notice, not sure how much she can stop him anyway. He proceeds to put all the money he's won so far in one single bet. When I watched the episode first time his recklessness shocked me, but on subsequent viewing (cos I have to watch an episode, like, 6 times when I'm recapping. Y'all think I have a photographic memory or something?) and reflection, this is exactly the half-assed stupid move Riley will pull.
This time it pays off and he gets his $20. Chalk it up to dumb luck. The next clue tells them to take a postcard of the Sydney Opera House, write the name of the original architect and hand it to an official at the Opera House. If that's supposed to be a puzzle clue, it's not that challenging. But as a regular, non task driven clue, it's simple in its effectiveness.
Fox Studios in Sydney is the new Hollywood, or that's how they sell themselves. The Matrix, Mission Impossible 2, Star Wars Eps 2 and 3 were all filmed there. What, I wonder, is FOX is doing on CBS? Isn't allowing a competitor on your screen a major no-no? Does Rupert Murdoch, like, have some dirt on Les Moonves that we don't know about? Or won a golf bet with Sumner Redstone?
I choose to ignore the blatant cross-advertising. My attention returns to the task, and boy what a task. First to arrive are Lovebirds. In this Detour teams change into costumes, are hooked up with rigged wires and will be filmed doing a stunt sequence in front of a blue screen. They meet the Taskmaster General, a laid-back man of indeterminate age wearing a T-shirt that says I'm much hotter on the internet. He introduces himself as Chris.
"I have just the right costumes for you ladies, it just happens that they started filming SMUT Bunnies: The Movie last week and we have the scene all set up," he grinned. Oooooh, I heard they are filming the adaptation of the comic, and I can't believe CBS set itself up for another product placement. May be they have negotiated first showing rights of "Making of SMUT Bunnies - the Documentary"?
Lovebirds are excited as hell. "I've been reading SMUT Bunnies since the first edition, I have the entire collection, each edition is sealed in an airtight bag and double wrapped, so the paper quality doesn't deteriorate," Willow explains. AHA! I have her pegged as a geek from day one and I'm never wrong, I dance the gleeful dance of recognizing another geek.
"Um, I like them too," Tara says softly. "I like the art, it's very realistic and lively." Not to mention the hot women, my inner snark smirks, but shuts up when it sees how sweet Tara looks. Swoon.
"So, ladies, I'm gonna kit you up as Bunny Agents. We're shooting a scene where Agents Shy Bunny and Adorabunny infiltrate the costume ball on the Disco Volante and they make their escape by jumping onto their Aston Martin submarine. You remember who they dressed up as?" he asks. Do I detect a slight leer? Bad, bad Taskmaster Chris. You can drool but do it in private!
"Supergirl and Lara Croft," Willow supplies the answer immediately. Both girls blush. Yeah, me too, when I look back at the comic (what? I have the entire collection too. I'm a geek, sue me) and remember how totally hot the agents are in their disguise. No wonder Taskmaster Chris is drooling at the thought.
When Lovebirds reappear in their costumes, I realize it has turned into Make Your Recapper Drool All Over the Carpet Day. Hubba bubba. I reach for the remote for the air-con and make a mental note to put ice in my shower. Of course they're hot, but their discomfort and embarrassment at being dressed in such provoking outfits make them cuter. I'd give my left kidney to be a fly-on-the-wall in the changing room, to see their reactions when seeing each other dressed up. I bet it's full of shy, coy glances that speak their desire more than a thousand words. They casually compliment each other, while resisting the impulse to rip each other's clothes off and make hot steamy love in the tiny confines of the changing room. Heehee, I'm turning into a fanfic writer, somebody give me a smut-filled fic challenge to sink my teeth into!
Taskmaster Chris sets them up in harnesses and attaches them to the wire rig. They stand on top of what is supposed to be the deck of the ocean liner, and water is splashed over them to make it more realistic. There is a rocking movement, mimicking the vessel moving with the roll of the waves.
"I feel like I'm spilling out of this suit," Tara says, trying hard not to squirm in her outfit.
"Yeah it's pretty tight especially when it's wet, and not much support," Willow adds, while adjusting her weapons belt.
At Chris' word, the 'agents' dive off the platform into a mini-swimming pool, doubling as the ocean. They swim a few strokes and climb aboard the Aston Martin submarine. At this point they are soaking wet and their costumes all sorts of clingy. Willow flexes her shoulders as she pretends to start the vehicle and I'm heading dangerously towards NC-17 territory. Tara shakes water out of her hair and the action looks exactly like a shampoo ad. You know, when the model rises up from underneath the water surface, her back arched against the waterfall in the background, and shakes her head so droplets fall enticingly down her lithe, toned body. That's what Tara shaking water out of her hair looks like. Man, this is better than the Herbal Essence ad with the orgasmic moans.
"While you change back into your own clothes, the computer will add the special effects," Chris instructs, helping the 'agents' out of their vehicle. How does he keep a straight face? I bet he's drooling internally.
The film is realistic and action-filled, and I did I say hot already? Well, it bears repeating, the sight of Willow and Tara dressed as SMUT Bunny Agents has completely redeemed the season for me. If I never see The Amazing Race ever again, I'll be happy. Sigh.
After watching the film, they receive the next clue, telling them about taking the postcard to the Opera House and writing down the name of the original architect. Chris looks over their shoulders at the clue and says "Jørn Utzon, the architect's name is Jørn Utzon. Jørn is spelt with a slash across the 'o'," Oh hey! Now he's turning into Fern. We can't have that. He grins at his own cleverness.
Lovebirds thank him profusely and run off to the next routemarker. "He knows all about SMUT Bunnies and comics and other stuff like Star Trek and Buffy and wargames. He's an even bigger geek than Willow. They were talking so much to each other I had to gently remind her that we had a Race to run, if not they'd still be talking," Tara laughs. "He gave us his website address though, he's so sweet."
Next to arrive at Taskmaster Chris' Room o' Tricks are Team Efficiency. Chris is now wearing a T-shirt that says Objects under this T-shirt are larger than they appear, and a large luminous arrow pointing down. I crack up, this guy's funny.
Faith takes one look at the T-shirt and says to Robin, "You need this T-shirt." Oh, I'm cracking up so hard my kidneys hurt. Robin and Chris share a look, as if each mentally comparing himself against the other guy, you know, the way guys do.
"You know what will be perfect for you two? Neo and Trinity," Chris says as he leads them to a Matrix rig.
I wait with bated breath for them to reappear in costume, and when they do my eyes bulge so much my eyeballs are in danger of falling to the floor to join my jaw, which has already dropped there. That girl Faith is born to be decked out in all leather and shades, believe me. I imagine her in red latex and I can feel myself zone out. I hope some casting agent is watching, cos she can give Sydney Bristow a run for her money any day.
Chris gives Robin a jealous look, as if saying, "Yeah dude, no wonder you have larger objects than me, with a girlfriend like that." Robin himself is looking very cool, with his long leather coat and clunky boots and dark glasses. Even behind the glasses, Robin has the smirk of the very lucky.
They get ready for their stunt which involves going through a few martial arts moves and jumping off blocks around 15 feet high onto a heavily padded safety net. The resultant film, of them dodging bullets Matrix-style, then both leaping off the top of a skyscraper, should make even Master Yuen smile.
While they're watching, TallShort arrive. Looks like they aren't as far behind as I thought. Riley at the chessboard probably delayed Efficiency.
Chris leaves Efficiency with the film and greets his newest vict-, er, customers. He takes one look at the duo and says one word, "Tarzan." Next thing we see ... Oh. my. god. Adam in a loincloth as Tarzan and Oz in a monkey suit as Cheetah. This is How Many Shocks Can Your Recapper Take Day!
Efficiency are on their way out of the studio and they do a double take when they see TallShort. "Hey Jungle Man, you've got a nice object under your loincloth," Faith smirks. I'm dying here. Robin looks like he's trying not to laugh and fart at the same time.
Oz raises an eyebrow. "Yeah, nice loincloth you have there," he says to his team-mate. Look people. I so don't need my attention to be drawn to the very tiny, cheetah print [*groan*] loincloth that barely covers Adam's, um, objects, okay?
If Adam is embarrassed about displaying his objects, he's not showing. "Thanks, I like your tail," he tosses back at Oz.
"It doesn't make my butt look big?" Oz deadpans. Oh fuck me with a feather. These two should have their own show, they're the masters of deadpan, makes Stan Laurel smile a rare smile in his grave.
Adam raises an eyebrow. "Not compared to the rest of you, Monkey Boy."
Now it's Oz's turn with the raised eyebrow. "Didn't see that coming, I'm impressed."
Wow, that's the most emotion this pair has shown, like, all Race, it's quite the event. I feel like it's Imitate Phil's Eyebrow Pop Day and my knees go weak at the eyebrow popping. Don't y'all know I have a weakness for hot dudes popping their eyebrows?
They get ready for their stunt. Taskmaster Chris has in the meantime changed into a T-shirt that says Don't Panic. It'll only seem kinky the first time. Why is Chris changing T-shirts every time a team appears? This guy is nuts, but a good sort of nuts. Sars and Wing should recruit him, I bet he does a mean recap.
Meanwhile, Efficiency are leaving. Faith gives Chris a friendly kiss on the cheek before running off. He blushes 15 shades of pink and covers up his puppy-eye look at Faith by returning to Tarzan and Cheetah. He rigs them up and shows them how to swing from 'trees', just like they're in the jungle.
As if my day isn't crazy enough, I have Tarzan and Jane (click to play) playing in a loop inside my head as soon as I see TallShort as Tarzan and Cheetah. Sheesh, these 90s dance music are addictive.
Tarzan is handsome, Tarzan is strong
Sigh. I think I'll have to ask for early retirement, or a long sabbatical, after this Race is over. My mind is slipping.
Tarzan and his pet monkey finish the stunt, and the film is wild, man. They get their clue from Chris, now sporting a T-shirt that says Chaos! Panic! Disorder! My Work Here is Done! So, it's HIM! He's the one causing chaos in my head. Help! Help! [/Penelope Pitstop voice]
After the craziness that is the Best. Detour. Ever, we are pulled back to the dreariness that is the rest of the Race. Arriving first at the Opera House are Lovebirds, fresh from their Smut Bunnies experience (I'm still hyperventilating).
They exit their taxi, take a moment to admire the unique architecture, and are at the routemarker. They hand the postcard with the answer to the lady at the souvenir shop and receive their next clue.
Now, the debate on whether they should receive a time penalty because they arrived with the answer, which Taskmaster Chris gave them. First of all, we are not privy to all the inner workings of the Race, may be they do receive a time penalty at the Pitstop, may be they don't. It's entirely up to the Amazing Producers. Secondly, the name of the architect is so prominently displayed in and around the Opera House, even Riley will have no problems flipping through a souvenir brochure or looking at a plague and finding the answer. How much time do Willow & Tara gain by knowing the answer to the clue already? In my opinion, probably only 5-10 minutes.
Right, rant over. The next clue is a Roadblock. Teams have to 'Eat 3 Tigers in Woolloomooloo'. They are not told where or what Woolloomooloo is, or even how to pronounce it. And I know the Amazing Producers are sadistic, but they won't have teams eat actual tigers. I hope. It's hilarious, hearing them making moo-moo sounds, they laugh at themselves too. They ask a few people around the Opera House, eventually they learn that Woolloomooloo (I love typing this out!) is just east of the Opera House district and they are to go to Harry's Café de Wheels. They hop into a taxi.
Phil explains that Harry's is a mobile café that has been in its current location since the 1930s and is world famous for its beef pies. Their 'Tiger' is a pie topped with mashed potato, mushy peas and gravy. I feel the need to brag now, because I've been to Harry's and I'm so in love with the pies that when my gf suggested going to Australia for vacation I was like "Yay pies!" and not "Yay! Opera House! Harbour Bridge! Koalas!"
In the mean time, Goldies (geez, I've forgotten about them, I'm so lucky) and Efficiency pull up at the Opera House almost at the same time. Like I said before, getting the name of Jørn Utzon is so very easy, but the Roadblock has them stumped. Riley tries to pronounce Woolloomooloo and I totally crack up, he's making mouth movements like he's blowing out candles. Faith doesn't even try to pronounce it, just laughs insanely at Riley's attempt.
They split up to ask directions, which Goldies find first. They hop into a taxi, and when Efficiency sees that, they merely hop into the next one and shout "Follow that cab!" Is this the most overused phrase in the movies? I hazard a guess, yes. Heh.
Lovebirds arrive at Harry's, having decided that Willow is taking the Roadblock. She shrugs and begins eating. I expect a reaction from her at the amount she has to consume, but she tucks in like she hasn't eaten all week. "It was a long day and I was hungry, I didn't feel stuffed till after the second pie, the third one was a challenge. I'm glad they weren't pork pies though, I'm Jewish and Tara is vegetarian, so that would have been fun to try," she explains.
This is an okay Roadblock, as far as a Foodblock goes. Not too off-putting, like the African meat one in Leg 6. Three portions of pie seems tame though, the Amazing Producers could have may be made them eat six. But, hey, that's just me. I like torturing my teams.
The Comedy Duo of TallShort arrive at the Opera House, get their clue and are off to find the pies.
Back at Harry's it's Buffy against Robin. No matter how much Buffy can scoff, she is simply no match for Robin, who almost bite off the entire portion in one mouthful. Is size of mouth proportional to, say, size of objects? Yeah, I don't wanna go there.
Willow finishes her pies and gets the clue for the Pitstop.
Now we return to the team I have forgotten. R.Randy leave their ferry and arrive at Taronga Zoo. Phil is obviously enjoying being near home, he returns to our screen in a checked shirt and tight pants, his Kiwi accent oh so more obvious. He explains that the Pitstop is slightly different than usual, in that a task is involved. When teams arrive at the Zoo they will make their way to the bird show amphitheater where a handler will fly one of the resident birds of prey onto the outstretched arm of the team members. When the bird lands, the team will be checked in. I pick my jaw back up from its dropped position on the floor, it's been spending a lot of time there today. What an amazing experience!
When R.Randy arrive, they are told that they will be getting their timecheck by one of the cockatoos. The handler equips them with gloves and it's a beautiful swooping shot of the bird coming in to land. The inner child in me screams that I want to go to Taronga Zoo next weekend.
Rupert & Randy, you're team number one. That's two legs in a row, they look so pleased with themselves. "Winning the fast forward gave us a great adrenalin rush, we are totally unstoppable now. We're gonna win this thing," Randy interviews.
Back at Harry's Robin finishes just as TallShort pull up. Buffy finishes shortly afterwards and the Two Athletic Couples are off to catch their ferry.
Lovebirds at the Circular Quay, they get on a ferry crowded with school children. They look out for the other teams and breathe a sigh of relief as the ferry leaves with only them aboard.
Goldies and Efficiency arrive at the quay and board another ferry. Although the editing suggests they are close to Lovebirds, a quick search for the timetable reveals the ferries are actually half an hour apart. Pffft, Amazing Editors, trying to fool me?
Meanwhile Oz finishes for his team. Unless there is a miracle and this is a non-Elim, we won't be getting any more deadpan humor anymore. My heart cries.
At Taronga Zoo, Willow & Tara receive their check-in time from a beautiful Barking Owl. They are team number two.
"We had the most wonderful day, and looked at a side of ourselves we never thought possible. Now the whole world knows how hot my girlfriend is," Willow grins. Tara hides behind her. The capacity crowd at Club 71 and numerous viewing parties cheer wildly. Large portions of the viewing public, male and female, feel a need to adjust and shift in their seats.
Buffy & Riley beat Efficiency to the amphitheater, they hook up with a Long Billed Corella parrot and are team number three. "We're in the top three, that's the most important. We had a good leg, I'm very proud of our performance," Riley puffs his chest out as he speaks. I look away.
Faith & Robin are greeted by a Black Kite, welcome team number four. "The most awesome memory? It'll have to be either the film or just now, with the bird. No, I think seeing me and Ace on film as Matrix heroes. That was the coolest," Faith gushes.
"We're in fourth place, this is not a good position to be in. Coming up to the final bend, we have to double our efforts. But yeah, seeing myself as Keanu, that made my day," Robin grins.
So now we have Adam & Oz, jogging in last. They stretch out their arms to a White Bellied Sea Eagle, it's a spectacular sight. Phil does his "You're the last team to arrive. I'm ....." pause for one second more than I can stand and it's not non-Elim. They are Philminated. I'm sad, and just as I'm getting into them and harboring secret thoughts about a TallShort victory too.
"It was a great trip, I have absolutely no regrets," Adam says.
"And I get to keep the monkey tail, I'm glad I came," Oz adds. What a great pair, I'll miss them as much as I miss BaldSnark or the Frats. Yes, I put them that high on my list of Recapper's Favorites.
As for my Final Three prediction? Y'all know I've been keeping score. Using the semi-scientific method I'm using, the final three will be Efficiency, Lovebirds and R.Randy. I'm going for that as final placing too.
Teaser for Episode 11
Confusion as teams are sent on a wild goose chase towards elusive transportation.
"What's this?" "Pork dumplings." "And this?" "Steamed pork dumplings." "What about these?" "Pork dumplings wrapped in vegetables." "Do you do anything other than pork dumplings?"
Tara signing to a toddler, and gets a smile and a hug.
Rupert admonishes his son. "Why can't you listen to me for once?"
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