Sunday, October 18, 2009

1x04: Sydney, Australia

It's Sydney, and as you'd expect, the bridge and the Opera House both make an appearance. Sigh. But at least this is my 25th published recap, so there's that to celebrate.


Previously on Oh, Yes, There Will Be Crud: Way back in 2007, when I was still in high school (lots of memories, not many of them great), someone on Television Without Pity bitched and moaned about one particular episode of The X-Files not being recapped, even though the show had finished five years earlier. The idea took off, and soon aaaaall the kids were doing it. Except, you know, the ones who had something resembling a life. Once the project died a sudden and unexpected death, like the one Kyle Sandilands is well and truly due for at this stage, I branched out into recapping other shows with the experience those three recaps had provided me. First stop, as you would expect when you're trying to find something worth mocking, was the Australian version of Survivor. Over the course of fourteen recaps, seventy-six Youtube videos, and around about 110,000 words, we wound up knowing a couple of things. Firstly, I have no life. Aside from that: Kadina were adorably incompetent, and Tipara was filled with dicks, the biggest one of which we never got to see on camera. Bee stings are hilarious, even when they happen to people you like. I am wayyy too invested in reality television for anyone's good, least of all my own. All those "do a crappy physical thing, then solve the lame-ass puzzle" challenges that keep turning up on the American version were our fault. Link might have been bland, but at least he's better than Eddie McGuire. Oh, and I am apparently some sort of harbinger of death. So choke on that, Sandilands. Five Amazing Race Asia recaps taught me nothing at all, but did at least give me a chance to mock funny, Rose Porteous-like accents. One Mole recap was more than enough for now, because you really have to ration the unfathomable awesomeness of a few of those contestants. (And Petrina is still the Mole.) One episode of Celebrity Survivor convinced me that if I ever write an autobiography, it will be called "Are You There, God? It's Me, The Recapper". And now you're up to date, just in time for the X-Files project to be rebooted. May we all bask in the hotness that is Alex Krycek, and all forget the aborted recap in which I mentioned Michael Jackson and drug abuse in the same sentence. Twenty-four recaps, people. This is number twenty-five. Let's hope it's a good one, y'all.

...Oh, you mean on the show? The nine teams flew to Bali, famous for its tropical beaches, where a digging RoadBlock gave new meaning to the words "epic fail". Monkeys and elephants beckoned the next morning, but Aubrey and Jacqueline decided to pretty much do everything except race, and were deservedly eliminated. Eight teams are left. Who will be eliminated... TONIGHT?

Credits. Sing along with them, why don't you? "Twen-ty! Five! Knob's no lon-ger a-live! Was time for him! To! Go! Now it's King Ky-le's show! Dy-ing time! And so I'm ma-king rhymes! He'll cark it! When! I come... up with... the right... way to... make it... hap-pen! Fast! Will I need! A! Wea-pon! Yes! He'll Die! [THUD.]"

Look, it's Bali. It's still in Indonesia, just like it was in the previous episode, and God is still shining plenty of sun down on the place for getting rid of the Portable Posse so he could go and make popcorn for this episode instead. (He refuses to acknowledge the existence or involvement of Buddha for some reason.) At the Tanah Lot Temple, where our last thrilling installment ended, the ever-robotic WuWho explains that the teams are about to leave -- you guessed it -- twelve hours after they arrived. Or sixteen, if you decided to not race and took the penalty instead.

Howard and Cirran did not, and will leave at 12:31am. Despite the giant stage light above them flaring the camera, Cirran holds a flashlight over the clue as Howard reads it. They are told to fly to Sydney, Australia. You may have heard of it. In case you haven't, WuWho explains that Sydney is the biggest and oldest city in the nation. Oldest? Sure. Biggest? Hell, no! Melbourne's a much larger city, area-wise. In other news, I wonder which harbour this city is supposedly based around, and how they travel around it. Because I've certainly never seen anything about any famous bridges on Sydney's harbour before.

Oh, look, bridge. It only took them nine seconds. Opera house, too. The next clue's even going to be right beneath the bridge. Shut up, show.

Leaving the mat, Howard and Cirran take the chance to tell us how much they just loooooove Australia, and a confessional shows them saying that finishing first has given them an extra push to succeed. I'm sure we'll be seeing both of these come to fruition, aren't you?

Second to depart, instead of their usual last, SanFran leave at 12:55am, and we learn teams have to buy their tickets before they get to the airport. Fran confessionals that anything can happen at any time. Just in case you thought nothing could ever happen at any time. If you thought this, go back to watching Big Brother, because we don't want you.

Howard and Cirran have decided to visit the travel agent mentioned in the clue, while SanFran borrow their cabbie's mobile phone. As it turns out, Cirran is given the skinny that nobody's getting out of Bali today. Oh, good. They can go back to Kuta Beach and spend another few hours moving all that sand back into place. Howard remarks that the travel agents "have very unhappy customers", which as we all know will help them get better flights. SanFran arrive at the travel agents and begin booking.

1:56am. Hi, Sharon and Melody! Sharon, usually attached at the hip to her Lee Lin Chin Clue Enunciation voice, makes a rare blunder, calling their next location something along the lines of "Duh Wees Point". But since she's utterly adorable, and since it's only Sydney, I really don't care. They express their joy over going to Sydney as they walk away from the mat. As they strategise in their cab, SanFran leave the travel agent. It looks as though Howard and Cirran have also left at some point, because the office is empty when the girls arrive. Sharon confessionals that she's learned how capable she is of doing things without sleep, and how supportive Melody is of her, while Melody gives her a "Shut up, woman!" embarrassed look. Heh. In the travel agents, they learn that this morning's flight is fully booked. Surely there's more than one daily flight between Bali and Australia, though.

At the airport, Howard and Cirran learn from the information screens that there's a flight to Melbourne. Shoutout! They and SanFran soon realise that it's going to leave in a touch under 25 minutes. (Interestingly, we are shown the screen, and there isn't a single flight to Sydney listed.) While a random security guard-looking guy checks to see whether these teams can make it onto the Melbourne flight, Howard and Fran complain about not being able to remember that flying to Melbourne might be an advantage. Melbourne gives them the finger, one they both thoroughly deserve. Howard provides us a little explanation here, telling us that the main reason they're not sure if they'll be able to get on is because the flight was originally supposed to have left four hours ago, and is delayed. A Qantas plane is shown, because the airline sponsors of this show want it made perfectly clear that their flights are never ever delayed. Or something.

The answer is no. Cirran is begging, everyone else is whining. Yawn. Fran hears a boarding call for the flight itself, and uses it as an excuse to whine some more.

At 2:06am, Team Idiot depart, helpfully reminding us that as annoying as Fran can get, it can be even worse. Sahil also calls it Duh Wees Point, and it's officially no longer endearing, even if it is Sydney. Prashant says that their strategy is going to be to read the clues carefully, and that's totally going to pay off down the track, believe me. Also, he can start by pronouncing the fucking place name correctly. Dawes Point isn't even a hard one. Wait until they get a clue directing them to Woolloomooloo or Tangambalanga or Lake Cadibarrawirracanna. Probably not Tittybong, though, because that's pronounced exactly as it looks.

Airport. SanFran talk over each other as they explain that they could have made the Melbourne flight if they'd got there ten minutes earlier. Fran wonders aloud if her chances of getting on the flight would have improved if she'd started crying on cue. Heh.

Team Idiot arrives at the travel agent, where Sharon and Melody are booking their tickets. Sharon has the right idea here -- get on a fairly decent flight as soon as possible, and then keep looking for better options. Meanwhile, Sahil has exactly the wrong idea -- when the guy tells you he can't make a booking, don't demand to use the phone to make the booking yourself. Dude, it's only his job to help you. If he says he can't? He probably can't. Either that, or you guys are just being twats.

Please, Zabrina and Joe Jer, 4:30am is wayyy too early for squeeing. Especially about Sydney. Joe Jer, unlike everyone else, wonders how exactly she's supposed to pronounce Dawes Point, but still gets it right. Zabrina confessionals that the race comes down to how you deal with two things -- the physical aspect, and luck. She thinks you can deal with luck, because everyone has that, but you can't deal with your own team's lack of physical prowess compared to the others. I get the feeling she's trying to say something along the lines of "we're women, so we're obviously not going to be as strong as the teams with men", but she's trying to say it without thinking "we're the underdogs", because she knows that as soon as you think that about yourselves, it's already too late to win. And more power to her. A flight leaving from Singapore tomorrow morning is too late for the girls, so they get the person they've called from their cab to try and do their job a bit better.

5:11am. The Super Marsio Bros., once again not wearing matching plumber outfits, leave.

For some reason, my version of the episode fucks up here, so we're skipping ahead about thirty seconds here. Stupid internet.

When we return, Antsy are the last team to leave, with their all-important $165, and they're doing so at 5:55am. So, in essence, we're missing out on Andy and Laura leaving, and the boring footage of them talking about luck that inevitably follows them leaving. Oh, thank God. Syeon tells us that she and Admiral Whinypants met in Australia, in a little town called Jindabyne. Now, why couldn't we have forced Sahil and Prashant to try and pronounce that?

In an incredibly well-edited internet cafe sequence, which still manages to be incredibly dull, we (as well as Zabrina and Joe Jer, Andy and Laura, and the Super Marsio Bros.) learn that the teams will have to fly through Singapore, because they missed the morning flights out to Australia. Zabrina tells us that she thinks "everyone's getting a bit paranoid". Yes, because WuWho really does give off serial killer vibes, doesn't he? Lulls you in with a false sense of security, and then BAM!

Turns out I didn't miss Andy whining about luck. Shut up, Andy.

Cirran also whines about everyone being on a level playing field again. Shut up, Cirran. This happens pretty much every week now. You should know to expect it.

The Amazing Map, Amazing Yellow Line, and Amazing Graphically-Inserted Plane show us the route from Denpasar, Bali to Singapore. I wonder why they can't have a little tiny cartoon plane flying at the front of the Amazing Yellow Line to further belabor the point.

At the Singapore airport, Andy and Laura hide all of the maps in the bookshop. Because that will work. If the layover is long enough for you to hide the maps, it's long enough for the other teams to find them. Laura points out that they'll have to go to every bookshop in the entire airport to stop the other teams from buying maps. I'm confused. Why can't they print a map off from the internet? Why couldn't they buy a map in Bali? Why couldn't they just go without, especially since you already know you'll be travelling by taxi for at least some of your time in Sydney? Idiots.

Also idiots? The Super Marsio Bros., who are again spending some of their small budget using a foot massager.

The Map, Line, and Plane are back to show us how to get from Singapore to Sydney. For some reason, the plane shot is off the wheels taxiing along a runway, which makes me hope everyone here can breathe underwater, because that would have been a long, slow flight.

In an incredibly fake looking shot, everyone tears out of the airport, and Joe Jer falls over. Limping, she immediately gets back up and resumes hobbling towards the taxis. In fact, everyone gets to the taxis, and we learn the teams have arrived before dawn. Inside their cab, Zabrina tries to sort out Joe Jer's injury, which she chalks up to Team Idiot being too dumb to know how strong they really are. Of course, Sahil is in his cab commenting on how it was "pretty funny" that "someone" fell over. Ugh. This isn't Funniest Home Videos, you know. Team Idiot and Andy and Laura both wonder who it was that fell over. Prashant thinks it was "a girl". Right. Because that makes it funny.

Team Idiot decides to ask their driver where he's from, and do not seem disappointed to learn he's from Pakistan. Now, you may be aware that India and Pakistan aren't exactly friendly. In any event, it appears that Team Idiot is not. While the other two all-male teams both complain about being in last place, Team Idiot realise they speak the same language as their driver, so they're "communicating". Ah, yes. English is such an obscure and rarely-spoken language. They think it'll give them an advantage.

...Apparently not, given the very next thing we see is their driver getting them lost. Prashant blames the driver for misunderstanding his very thick accent and trying to take them to "Dolls Point" instead of Dawes Point. I'm taking it as a less than subtle jab that the editors feel that both Sahil and Prashant need to be subtitled here.

SanFran and Andy and Laura approach the actual, factual Dawes Point. Andy and Laura reach the cluebox, and it's worth noting that their "Currently in 1st Place" graphic is obscured by a scrolling trivia question, while the Opera House in the background is much easier to see. Because, you know, you just have to be reminded that you're in Sydney. The clue is a Detour.

As always, a Detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons. This time, the two choices are named "Elevation" and "Crustacean", which really shouldn't crack me up, but does anyway. WuWho introduces the Detour from in the shade of the bridge, because it's Sydney, and they kick you out if you don't use the bridge enough in your show. In Elevation, you climb the bridge. That's it. Not exactly the most original task idea they could have come up with for a city like Sydney. For Crustacean, you walk to a restaurant and throw another shrimp on the barbie. Aside from the fact that they're actually prawns. And you have to peel them. And there's fourteen kilograms of them. And no barbie. So, really, not so much like putting another shrimp on the barbie at all. Whichever option you do, you have to walk to. The pros and cons for each task are apparently so obvious that WuWho does not feel a need to mention them.

Andy and Laura decide that they want to "do the bridge" in spite of an injury Laura has apparently gotten to her leg. I wonder how she got the injury, since we haven't been shown. Huh.

Team Idiot is on their way back to the airport. Sydney, as well as Australia as a whole, could not possibly be happier at this news.

Antsy arrive at Dawes Point and choose the prawns. Meanwhile, Andy and Laura discover, as you always do right before a commercial break, that disaster has struck. This time, their cab driver has driven off with their bags.

Commercials! Rather than use this bit to point out that some random D-lister is too hot for his own safety, I'm going to use this, and all the commercial breaks in this episode, as a place to relive some of the more interesting things I've said over the past 24 and-a-bit recaps. So, from Episode 9 of Australian Survivor... "Even when he's being a bitch about someone, he's still willing to compliment them. That's the first sign I've seen that it would never work between Craig and me."

We return to see Andy blame their inability to grab their bags out of their cab the first time as their karmic smackdown for arriving at Dawes Point first. Sigh. Shut up, Andy.

Other teams are still looking for the cluebox. But they are not as important as the ongoing saga of Andy Whining, so back we go. They've found their cab, but the driver doesn't want to give them their bags or something, so they have to resort to yelling at him in an attempt to get him to move faster. I'd like to tell him to shut his trap some more, but, frankly, I'd be yelling too here.

The Super Marsio Bros. arrive in 3rd place, and take a second to admire the view before SanFran arrive. The brothers choose to climb the bridge, while SanFran choose to peel the prawns, which is pretty much exactly the opposite I would have predicted from both teams. Howard and Cirran are still lost, but at least are now close enough to have ditched their taxi. The other teams continue walking to their options, while Sharon and Melody arrive at Dawes Point. Hi-ho, hi-ho, it's up the bridge they go.

Fran reads the additional info for the prawns as they run, while the Super Marsio Bros. read it in their cab. Both are incredulous at how much fourteen kilograms is, but Fran also explains that they have to take away the head, tail, and the hard shell, leaving that delicious soft-ish prawn centre.

As Antsy arrive at an unmarked door, the Super Marsio Bros. realise that they have to walk, and direct their driver back.

Antsy's unmarked door has turned out to be the one for the restaurant, so either they entered through the staff entrance, or that place needs some serious renovation. They will be shelling these prawns outside on what looks like they're the restaurant's actual tables, which can't possibly be safe. Syeon continues to overthink how they should do the task. Hey! Overthinking things is my job!

In the meantime, the other teams continue searching for where they're going. Zabrina and Joe Jer are next to arrive at Dawes Point, and hilariously don't seem to know what "one of Sydney's most famous landmarks" could be, even though the bridge is taking up literally the entire background of the shot, and doesn't look to be more than a hundred metres away. Bwah! Obviously, they choose the prawns.

Restaurant Of Softcore Prawn. Fran thinks that the teams are going to be here for "45 hours", because they aren't professional prawn peelers. I wonder if she knows she's allowed to change Detour options, if she's that pessimistic about how long it could take. Just a little trick some teams have tried in the past.

Howard and Cirran finally arrive at Dawes Point. They are surprised to learn that not only one, but six, of their rival teams have already been. Surprisingly, given Cirran's already-seen fear of heights, they choose Elevation. Do they not remember what happened at the rappel? It was only three whole episodes ago.

Bridge Of Sydney Has Nothing Else To Offer. Andy snarks that Laura's bullshitting about being afraid of heights. Of course, if she was still scared, anyway, he'd probably be blaming it on their bad luck somehow.

Team Idiot finally arrives at Dawes Point, in last place. Guess speaking the same language really was an advantage, huh?

At the start of the bridge climb, Sharon and Melody are given their safety briefing. It's totally worth listening to, if you plan on illegally climbing your own city's harbour bridge one day.

Team Idiot choose the prawns, as do the Super Marsio Bros., who are switching from the bridge because their um widdle weggies are hurting. They confessional that they love eating prawns, so they thought the task would be easier for them. Apparently, they didn't take the time to think which would be easier when they actually needed to decide which was easier. Sigh.

Bridge Of Sydney Has Nothing Else To Offer. Sharon or Melody voices over that everyone's getting stronger and more determined to win. Which is good, because it might actually make the race feel more competitive than it has been up until this point.

Zabrina and Joe Jer arrive at the restaurant. They are shocked to learn that they have to peel an entire, fourteen-kilogram box of prawns, because they misread the clue and thought they only had to do fourteen prawns in total. Heh. Not a good week for reading the clue, is it? Eventually, they decide to go and try the bridge, because they think it'll be quicker. I'm not sure this is the right move, to be honest -- the bridge looks to be a fair distance away at this point, and the time you'd lose by having to walk all the way over would probably nullify all the time you'd gain by switching tasks. Not to mention they've already started peeling prawns.

Bridge Of Sydney Has Nothing Else To Offer. Sharon and Melody decide to make like Titanic, apparently not remembering that the bridge is not a boat.

Team Idiot sees the Super Marsio Bros. on the way to the restaurant, and tries to outrun them. The Super Marsio Bros. still win. Sahil and Marsio watch the demonstration, and Sahil notably tries to simplify the process.

Bridge Of Sydney Has Nothing Else To Offer. Howard confessionals that the only reason they did the bridge is because Cirran had done it before. Because, as you know, the only way to confront a fear of heights is to do something twice.

Restaurant of Softcore Prawn. Marsio points out that fourteen kilograms isn't exactly going to go quickly, and Mardy tells him to shut up and peel. He does not shut up, and Mardy says something along the lines of "My God, I can't take you anywhere, can I?". Heh. Prashant tells Sahil to stop bitching about being last. Such wonderful individuals.

Bridge Of Sydney Has Nothing Else To Offer. Sharon and Melody see Howard and Cirran coming up the other side of the bridge, and yell out to them. Heh. Cirran confessionals that there were some "freaky moments", like "climbing up and down steps". Damn steps. Howard admires the view.

Restaurant of Softcore Prawn, and no, that name will never not be funny. Team Idiot explains that they've somehow cut down a three-step process -- head, tail, and shell -- into two steps. The Super Marsio Bros. ask how long this would normally take, and the chef tells them that his "guys do it in 45 minutes".

Bridge Of Sydney Has Nothing Else To Offer. Zabrina tells us she didn't want to look down, so she just looked at the steps. Because, as you know, steps are in exactly the opposite direction of "down".

Restaurant of Softcore Prawn. Mardy complains that his hands are getting numb because the prawns are so cold. Fran is astonished to be able to feel the tips of her fingers again. That can't be a good sign. Antsy confessional about how the task was slow, and how they always pick the slower option. Because, as you know, teams have no choice about which task they perform at a Detour. Shut up, Antsy.

Andy and Laura, now back in their normal clothes (as opposed to the grey bridge-climbing jumpsuit), get their clue back down at the bridge climb headquarters. It tells them to make their way on foot to Mrs. Macquarie's Chair. Honestly, Andy. You're British. Macquarie isn't a hard word to pronounce. (Still, I suppose we should be thankful nobody decided to pronounce the city's name like it was "Cindy".) Essentially, it's this season's Clue At Somewhere Carved Out Of Rock. Interestingly, here's where the Detour really becomes interesting. Since they have to walk from their Detour options, you'd assume the Bridge Of Sydney Has Nothing Else To Offer and the Restaurant of Softcore Prawn are roughly the same distance away, right? Wrong. Basically, not only is the restaurant much closer, it's also on the way if you're walking from the bridge climb. So, you know, that's a nice trade-off for taking the slower Detour option. Hmmm.

...I have nothing snarky to say about that. I just thought it was interesting.

Andy and Laura instantly run for a cab. Sharon and Melody are now reading the clue to remind us of what it says, which is helpful, because the next thing we see they are taking their bags out of the cab. I'm beginning to think I named the wrong team Team Idiot. (...Nah, it'll pass.) Howard and Cirran and Zabrina and Joe Jer also get the clue in short order, with the girls in the background as Howard and Cirran read theirs. Guess they didn't lose so much time with the prawns after all.

In fifth place, Antsy are now just finishing the prawns. Syeon seems to think she knows where it is.

Sharon and Melody are walking.

Restaurant Of Softcore Prawn. Fran realises that she and San don't have much left to do before they're finished.

Here is by far the most hilarious single shot of this entire episode. Essentially, it's just Sharon and Melody walking across the screen. But what makes it so funny is that the shot's right in front of the Opera House, and Sharon and Melody are singing a little... well, melody. It's not even a recognisable song, it's just lalalalalala-ing, and it just looks like even the editors are trying to say something like, "Sydney has an Opera House. Got it? Moving on." Hee!

For some reason, Andy and Laura are walking down a city street.

SanFran finally finish peeling. It appears the checking process consists of nothing more than shaking the box of peeled prawns a few times. Heh. Fran also mispronounces "Macquarie". Gah. The Super Marsio Bros. are also done.

Everyone is walking and asking for directions. Mardy is also taking the time to admire the view. I like him for noticing this, but: Mate, there's a time for sightseeing and a time for racing. This is the time for racing. Note, Melody, it's not a time for stepping in dog poo either.

Team Idiot are still back at the Restaurant Of Softcore Prawn, and are currently being told they'll have to redo it, because the shell didn't peel off of some of their prawns. We get a slo-mo reaction shot of them learning this.

Commercials. From the "previously on" bit at the start of the TAR Asia episode 2 recap: 'Kuala Lumpur has a lot of tall buildings. One of these buildings forced Cirran to step over the edge. In a surprising move, the producers decided ropes would add to the drama rather than detract from it, which is probably a good move, because twenty spontaneous funerals would have been very expensive.'

The chef tells them they sucked so bad that they've still got a lot of work to do, and Sahil bitches that he doesn't care, because he doesn't have to be a professional prawn peeler. When you're in a race, and you have to do it with a degree of competence to move on? You sort of do. Shut up, Sahil.

Sharon and Melody are at the chair, and read the clue, in first place for the first time. Go, girls! They have to find a [Sega] store, at the World Square Shopping Centre. I thought we settled the debate about the world being round about five hundred years ago, but apparently not. When they arrive at the store, they'll be handed a video camera and must find someone one the street who will sing Click Go The Shears for them. Then, they take the camera back to the store, and it'll be played on a giant product-placed television screen. If their person sang the right song, they'll be given the next clue. I am curious about why Click Go The Shears was chosen -- it's a recognisable song, sure, but it's not exactly recognisable to the point where you could find someone on the street who knows it. Granted, Melbourne and Sydney probably have different tastes in music, but surely there would have been better songs to choose. Waltzing Matilda? You're The Voice? Khe Sanh, with its Asian-history tie-in? I Still Call Australia Home? (Actually, the entire Peter Allen back-catalogue would have worked. Imagine an I Go To Rio singalong, complete with Team Idiot on maracas. Hee.)

Andy and Laura arrive second, just in time for the recording to fuck up again. We rejoin the action right as Antsy arrive, in fourth place. They, Zabrina and Joe Jer (in 5th) and SanFran (in 6th) all read the clue.

Team Idiot is finally done with their prawns. Now they can resume stinking up the rest of Sydney. Unfortunately, they're going to have to keep stinking it up in last place, because the Super Marsio Bros. are now arriving at Mrs. Macquarie's Chair, in seventh. (Obviously, Howard and Cirran must have arrived there during the glitch.)

The lead group of teams, indeed including Howard and Cirran, are now at the shopping centre. Sharon and Melody are first to arrive, and get shown how to use their camera by a cute guy who may or may not be Asian himself. It's sort of hard to tell. It's not so hard to tell where the store is, because it appears to be the only one open. Andy and Laura arrive and get their camera. So do Howard and Cirran.

Andy and Laura find some random in the shopping centre itself who knows the song. It appears teams get the lyrics anyway, but the locals still have to know the basic tune. For some reason, Howard and Cirran have apparently decided that the person most likely to know a song written in the 19th century is a teenage punk with a gigantic mohawk. Luckily for them, Mohawk Guy's comparatively-normal-looking friend does know the song, even if she still has green hair.

Antsy arrive at the shopping centre. Team Idiot is lost again. Try to look surprised.

Howard and Cirran return to the store, and Mohawk Guy's friend was singing the right song -- and doing a pretty good job of it, I might add, compared to the other people we'll hear in this episode. The next clue directs teams to travel "by ferry to Manly", where "dangerous Australian animals" will point the way to the next clue. WuWho adds nothing to the episode, as per usual, aside from the little bit of insider information that they're headed to OceanWorld.

Antsy are having trouble getting people to sing for them. Andy and Laura are not, now that they've gotten their Manly ferry clue. Sharon and Melody's people were officially singing "the wrong tune", which would be a bit easier to believe if they were singing a tune to begin with.

Sahil and Prashant's accent is annoying locals again. Sigh.

Sharon, who thinks she knows the song herself, has decided to see if she can get randoms to sing along with her, almost as if she was a Grade 2 teacher trying to teach a bunch of snot-nosed little runts about echoes.

Howard thinks he and Cirran are in "third or fourth". Zabrina and Joe Jer have arrived at the store, just in time to see Antsy get their clue. SanFran arrive. Sharon and Melody get the clue. Zabrina and Joe Jer barely even have to leave the store to find their singers, who are so good they soon get the clue. SanFran don't even leave the store, which really makes a mockery of the "find someone on the street" part of the task.

Admiral Whinypants whines about Zabrina and Joe Jer being right behind them as they were leaving, and Syeon apparently did not notice.

Unlike many teams throughout this race's long and illustrious history, the Super Marsio Bros. do not take even the slightest bit of offence to Zabrina and Joe Jer poaching their cab. Good for them.

Team Idiot is finally on their way to the shopping centre. SanFran will have to leave the store after all, because their person sang the wrong tune.

Howard and Cirran are trying to locate their ferry. As it turns out, they'll have to wait for fifteen minutes, so there's a chance the others are going to catch up.

SanFran's lady is singing again, and this time she's right next to the judges. Now, that's just cheating. The Super Marsio Bros. arrive.

Andy and Laura make it to the ferry terminal.

Mardy comes up with the brilliant idea to claim that they're from [Nintendo] and are "road-testing" the camera.

SanFran get the clue. See, here's the thing. This task is a great idea. Really. But having to recap it eight times is just making me want to wish bad things upon whoever designed it anyway.

Zabrina and Joe Jer are in their cab, trying to figure out what exactly these "dangerous Australian animals" could be. Zabrina thinks they might be seagulls. Yes, seagulls. We cut to a shot of a seagull looking entirely not threatening, because the editors of this show rock. After a brief interlude with some of the other teams in which absolutely nothing of any real importance happens, we return to see Zabrina trying to justify the seagull comment by claiming that there are "millions" of seagulls on Manly Beach. Is Manly Beach really this well known up in Malaysia? I always thought Bondi Beach was the one that got all the publicity. Or so the Australian media would have me believe. Shut up, Australian media.

Antsy and Sharon and Melody get to the ferry terminal, while SanFran get a taxi. SanFran point out that the Super Marsio Bros. aren't very far behind, because their video was being watched as they left. Unfortunately, it's the wrong song, and they'll have to redo it. It might have helped them to check out the basic accent of the guy they got to sing to make sure he wasn't British before they recorded. Suddenly, they're outside, and a jovial older couple is singing the song with more enthusiasm than pretty much anyone we've seen so far.

SanFran's taxi driver has decided to drive them to Manly rather than take them to the ferry terminal. Fran says, "Oh, no!" Cue commercial break.

Commercials. From my very first recap, for a first-season X-Files episode called Fire: 'She says goodbye to Scully, who returns this with the ever-popular "I-don't-really-like-you-but-I'm-doing-this-so-you-get-the-fuck-out-now-instead-of-pestering-my-partner-to-tell-me-to-be-polite" wave. Gotta love it.'

When we return, Fran confessionals that they probably wouldn't have known they were fucking up if their driver hadn't decided to take them across the bridge. What's the problem? There's a ferry dock on the other side that would get you to Manly.

Zabrina and Joe Jer buy their ferry tickets.

The Super Marsio Bros. get the clue, and compliment the song. As you do. They and SanFran soon get their ferry tickets, but have apparently missed the first ferry, which houses the first five teams.

Team Idiot arrives at the store.

SanFran and the Super Marsio Bros. both buy new tickets for a second ferry, which is an express one and should overtake the first ferry on the way to Manly. You know, a lot of this is their good luck that they managed to just miss the first ferry, forcing them to find this, but I have to also blame the other teams for not bothering to check something like this. It's not like they were all rushing to make it.

Team Idiot are recording an old guy singing, and seem to think that cheering in the middle of the song and clapping their hands out of time with the beat will help make the tune more recognisable.

The Super Marsio Bros. point out the other ferry as they pass it. Zabrina confessionals that they thought they couldn't take the express Jetcat ferry because it wasn't called a ferry on the sign. Huh. It's not like people to pay attention to small details like this on this show. Hell, one time a couple of teams even passed off a rental van as a bus without penalty (and I am still bitter about that, Wil, even though it happened almost eight years ago now). In many cases, the idea of following the clue to the letter makes perfect sense, but this really isn't one of them. This is like having a leg in New York with a clue telling the teams to "Travel by subway..." and then spending three hours on the platform waiting for an actual subway to stop instead of a normal train.

We lose another thirty seconds or so here, returning to see Team Idiot's video getting approved.

The Super Marsio Bros. and SanFran, having apparently disembarked from their ferry during the latest glitch, are looking for where they're meant to be going. San thinks alligators are Australian animals. They find a sign for OceanWorld, as some old guy badgers the Super Marsio Bros.

Team Idiot boards their ferry.

We see the words "Dangerous Australian Animals" painted on the facade of OceanWorld as SanFran run up. You know, this really is a brilliant clue -- it's pretty much impossible to figure out before you get off the ferry, but once you do, it's entirely obvious if you pay enough attention. More clues like this, show.

For some reason, there are eight Yield numbers on the cluebox, even though this is a RoadBlock. If you're new to this show (in which case, you picked a great episode to join us with, and WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?), a RoadBlock is a task that only one team member can perform. They get a little hint to help them decide who does the task, but don't get told what it is until they've chosen. This time, the teaser is "Who wants to take the plunge with a nurse?" Fran thinks it involves "doctoring an animal", and knows San will be doing it. She is entirely wrong about the task, though, as WuWho and the less than subtle RoadBlock graphic tell us that they'll have to dive into a shark-filled tank and search for the clue, which is on top of the bubble-shaped walkway all aquariums seem to have. And I do mean all of them. Couldn't they have come up with something a bit more... Australian for this? Pretty much every major city in the world has an aquarium with sharks. It's not like Australia's devoid of culture, so why do we need this particular generic task? More to the point, why do we need to recycle this particular generic task from when the American version did it? (Maybe I'm just projecting here, because I'm bitter about Melbourne having never been visited by any version.)

Marsio volunteers Mardy for the task.

The slow ferry arrives.

Fran tells us that San will love the task because he grew up on an island, and... I have no idea how to mock the idea of "he lived on an island, therefore he has no problems with water" without turning it into a mention of the horrible situation in Samoa at the moment. Can we just move on, before the hole I'm digging myself gets any deeper? Thanks. (Samoa, our thoughts and sympathies lie with you, and not necessarily for having to deal with the worst batch of Survivor contestants yet.)

That hole I'm digging myself? Just struck China.

The slow ferry teams manage to figure out the clue, but Laura falls over and hurts her ankle or something. It's not shown, making me wonder whether the incident was too disturbing to show, or whether they just didn't get the footage. Antsy realise there's nothing they can do but watch her get even slower, and continue walking. Andy tells her to "just suck it up". Ah, yes, I can see why she's going to marry that charming specimen. Shut up, Andy.

Surprisingly without a commercial, we go to the aquarium. San's diving instructor has to make little walking motions with his fingers to get San to move around in the tank. Heh.

Laura gets up and slowly limps away, providing an explanatory voice-over in which she exposits that she was watching the surfers on the beach instead of where she was walking. To be honest, I'd be watching the surfers too, because how dumb would they have to be to be trying to surf on a giant pile of sand when there's so much water right nearby? (Though, it is Sydney...) Of course, Andy immediately tries to blame her fall on "bad luck". I move that we kidnap Andy and take him to a casino to play against.

Sharon and Melody are third, Antsy are fourth, Zabrina and Joe Jer are fifth, and Howard and Cirran are sixth to arrive at the RoadBlock. Melody, Syeon, Howard, and Joe Jer take the task. Howard thinks a nurse is a type of dolphin. Oh, please. Sharks are, like, the Bart Simpsons of the marine world, dolphins are the Milhouses.

San manages to swim up to his clue, which isn't positioned so they can't just walk to it. Well, at least that's one good thing about this lame task. Fran doesn't want San to touch the shark, and it appears as though the diving instructor isn't too keen on the idea either, but San does it anyway.

Andy takes the RoadBlock for the obvious reason of being able to stay upright for long enough to do it.

The last ferry must really be slow, because the damned bridge is still easily visible in Team Idiot's Titanic shot. How did that movie end, again?

A medical guy comes to check out Laura's ankle. While San leaves the tank with his clue, she tells some offsider that one of the things she "really wanted to do" was go into a tank filled with creatures who could tear you from limb-to-limb just because they can. Obviously, she has never been to a Boxing Day sale. Laura thinks someone might freak out and be unable to do it. Right on cue, Mardy is having trouble breathing, because his diving suit is too small. While he changes into a bigger suit, we cut to a confessional in which he says that "the guy" gave him a medium-sized vest. Now, come on. If Mardy's a medium, then I'm thin enough to be a catwalk model. The Guy himself provides an off-the-cuff interview in which he thinks Mardy is trying to stall because he's scared of the sharks. The Guy is cute, and totally aware of the camera. You can tell when he provides a quick cursory glance over to the camera right at the end of the interview. (But I do like the idea of interviewing some of the stunt whores and other assorted extras about what they see, because some of their reactions are pure gold even when they don't speak. Imagine what'll happen if they get the chance to put it into words.)

Outside, Howard is bitching that Cirran is more concerned about their current position than whether Howard is about to "get [his] head bitten off by a shark or not". Then perhaps he should try and do his share of the RoadBlocks. Just a suggestion.

The medical guy tells the same offsider Laura was talking to, who must be a producer or something, that they'll have to take her up the road to the hospital. Laura instead decides that she'd "like to complete the leg", and it's nice to see she hasn't lost her dry sense of humour.

Fran tells San that sharks aren't "kittycats", as she pulls the clue out of its plastic envelope. They have to take a ferry back to Circular Quay, and then take a floating taxi to the Pit Stop, which is at the Bounty Tallship. It's a replica of the actual Bounty that was made for a film, and as usual, the last team to check in may be eliminated.

Laura and Andy argue about their being in seventh, and whether it was Laura's fault. It totally was, by the way.

Fucking recording. Anyway, when we return after this latest gap, Team Idiot are celebrating the beauty of Sydney, as the little graphic tells us they're in last place. Just in case you didn't notice from them being in last place the entire day up until this point.

SanFran make the first ferry, and realise that the only team who could possibly join them is the Super Marsio Bros. Speaking of them, Mardy gets his clue. Cirran wonders where Howard is, because he isn't in the tank like everyone else yet. That's because he's currently freaking out in the training tank. Wait until he sees some actual sea creatures. Melody gets her clue, accompanied by the Horns Of Perseverance.

Howard is freaking out, and freezing, apparently.

Syeon seems to have somehow provided a revisionist history of her time in the tank, trying to claim that she finished in second place. Whatever, Syeon.

Howard is still freaking out. Oh, for Pete's sake. Who is Pete, anyway, and how did he get an entire expression?

Antsy are out of the aquarium in second place, after somehow managing to beat both Melody and Mardy in getting out of the wetsuit and into her normal clothes.

Joe Jer is flailing in the tank, and confessionals that she felt sorry for a poor turtle she kept landing on. The turtle doesn't mind, because at least it wasn't Team Idiot.

Sharon and Melody and the Super Marsio Bros. read the clue, in third and fourth respectively.

On their ferry, Team Idiot display a rare moment of intelligence by asking the boat's captain for help figuring out the clue.

Fucking download. Have I mentioned how much it's been annoying me yet? This episode is officially turning into the iSnack 2.0 of recaps. This time, we lose basically an entire minute and a half.

Howard tells a diver that he's not going to quit the task. Famous last words.

Commercials. And now, for a comment from a future recap, release date unknown: 'Grant voices over that even though they're all happy now, the mood is about to change. Suddenly, the television turns on, all ready to release a plague of black balloons upon the world, and Grant appears. That's not changing the mood, that's just making the women horny!'

Cirran says that he's the one who's feeling nervous.

All of a sudden, Howard decides he can't dive after all, and blames it on the combination of the smell of fish, the smell of the diving equipment, and having a cold. Yes, that's right, the smell of the diving equipment is what's causing him to have a panic attack. I don't know where to begin mocking him for this.

Cirran talks to an off-camera producer and says that "whatever he decides is fine". Oooh, oooh, I know this one! It's "Things An Idiot Might Say", isn't it?

Howard is now complaining about claustrophobia. For the love of criminy, just pick a lame excuse and stick with it already.

Antsy learn about the Jetcat back to Circular Quay. Andy gets the clue. Antsy get on the Jetcat, thus ending The Least Interesting Few Seconds Of Footage This Episode.

Sharon and Melody confessional that even though SanFran got on the first return ferry, this time they got on the slow one, while the girls themselves were able to get onto a Jetcat.

Zabrina and Joe Jer reunite and read the Pit Stop clue.

The Super Marsio Bros. are pissed to learn that they missed the Jetcat by "half a minute". Damn that diving instructor and his lack of ability to tell the difference between "medium" and "extra large"!

Sharon and Melody tell Antsy about their ticket lady, because this is important enough to make the episode, apparently.

Team Idiot decides to rock up at the RoadBlock, and Prashant is astonished to learn that they're in last place. Really? Wow. I wouldn't have guessed, considering they've been in last place ever since their accents got the cabbie lost on the way to Dawes Point, and they had to do the Detour twice, and they took the slow ferry. Shut up, Team Idiot. Anyway, Sahil take the RoadBlock, misreading "plunge" as "punch". Of course he does.

As it turns out, both SanFran's regular ferry and the other teams' express ferry have arrived at exactly the same time. Footrace! Unfortunately for them, SanFran are held back by their ferry not letting them off immediately, and by the time they make it to the water taxi dock, both Antsy and Sharon and Melody (who are sharing) are already gone.

Andy and Laura read the Pit Stop clue. Laura demands that Andy slow down. You know what helps you recover from a foot injury? Spending even more time than necessary on your feet, apparently.

Sharon remarks on how it's been "a glorious Sydney Sunday", which will no doubt please the timeline geeks.

Laura tells Andy that "someone's supposed to have freaked" at the aquarium, and we cut to Cirran, now trying to help a de-wetsuited Howard regain some dignity.

Andy and Laura learn that both the Jetcat and the regular ferry are going to arrive at the same time, and so take the regular ferry.

Cirran tries to offer Howard some words of support. Because Howard can't see, he rolls his eyes while he does it.

Sahil grabs the clue. Howard is fully dressed and walking outside for some air.

Pit Stop. Antsy and Sharon and Melody's water taxi arrives.

Cirran wants to take Howard's bag. Huh. Usually, people can't wait to get rid of their own bags on this show.

Pit Stop. The editors try and get some tension out of the footrace from the water taxi dock to the mat, but since Antsy were way ahead of Sharon and Melody getting off, it's not going to happen. In any event, Antsy get to the mat first. The Greeter is dressed in 17th Century sea captain attire, because that just sums up the concept of "local dress" perfectly, don't you think? Next time the show comes to Australia, I want to see the greeter dressed like Ned Kelly. (Which, yes, means the race will have to swing down to Melbourne instead of Sydney. I think that -- literally -- the only people complaining about Sydney being passed over in favour of Melbourne will be people who actually live in Sydney.) Anyway, welcome Antsy, you are team number one. They cheer. Welcome, Sharon and Melody, you are team number two.

Team Idiot play Aquarium Tank Charades, neither of them apparently knowing where the clue is.

SanFran board their water taxi, Fran hoping the other teams went the wrong way.

Howard tries to tell Cirran that he doesn't know what'll happen because he quit the RoadBlock. If only they were one of the teams who quit the RoadBlock last time around, just so they'd know.

As SanFran's water taxi goes beneath the bridge, Sahil finally grabs the clue. For some reason, there are still two left, even after he grabs his. One of them must be Howard's, but who's going to take the final clue? Everyone's already been, haven't they?

Laura hobbles to the ticket turnstile at the ferry terminal. Unlucky!

Howard and Cirran, now accompanied by the shiny "4 Hour Penalty Applies" graphic from last week, read the Pit stop clue. Inside the aquarium, Sahil gets out of the tank and says he "can't ask for anything more, mate". I can think of a couple of things I'd ask for at this point.

Marsio thinks his fingers are a video camera.

Howard wants to at least carry The Amazing Bum Bag, but Cirran won't let him. Howard confessionals that he doesn't know why he couldn't dive down today, given he's apparently dived "a thousand times before". Howard eventually gets his bag back.

The Super Marsio Bros. arrive at Circular Quay, and Mardy points out the water taxi, which looks exactly like a normal taxi, except on water. Convenient.

SanFran arrive at the Pit Stop, as Team Idiot read the Pit Stop clue. In what is literally the final twenty metres or so of the run, Fran asks San to take her bag. Because, you know, there was a danger all five teams behind them could have caught up and passed them. Or something. Welcome, SanFran, you are team number three.

On Ferry #4, another slow one, Howard explains to Andy and Laura what happened. Or, rather, what didn't happen.

The Super Marsio Bros. get into a water taxi, driven by a hot guy who tells them he's "got [them] covered".

Team Idiot takes the next Jetcat, which seems to arrive at the same time as the other ferry.

Pit Stop. My favourite piece of music this show has plays as the Super Marsio Bros. arrive at the mat. Welcome, Super Marsio Bros., you are team number four.

Howard and Cirran, Zabrina and Joe Jer (boy, they disappeared for a while there, didn't they?), and Andy and Laura all try and navigate through a plaza or something to get to the water taxi dock. Team Idiot, of course, is already on theirs, which is pulling up to the Pit Stop. Laura hides her head in Andy's shoulders. Team Idiot runs up to the mat. Welcome, Team Idiot, you are somehow team number five, despite being at the back of the pack for the entire day aside from one thirty-second run to a water taxi dock. Fuck that shit.

The final water taxi docks. Zabrina and Joe Jer get out and run. Andy and Laura get out and amble. Howard and Cirran get out, and we cut away before we find out how they've decided to interpret the words "proceed on foot to the Pit Stop". Andy mumbles something, which the subtitles department has decided translates into Normal People Speak as "You got to make it like we can carry on tomorrow honey", even though that's (1) not a proper sentence, and (2) quite clearly not what he's saying. For one, he says the word "God", clear as day.

Welcome, Zabrina and Joe Jer, you are team number six. Zabrina points out that sixth place isn't exactly the sort of finish they were hoping for, but that they're still glad to be in it.

Welcome, Andy and Limping Laura, you are team number seven. Again. WuWho's emotion co-processor malfunctions, and he sounds even more like a robot than usual as he asks Laura if she's "still able to continue in the race". Fade to an ambulance, with Laura getting in. WuWho voices over that "test on the extent of Laura's injury will determine whether Laura and Andy can continue on the next leg of the race." Except she's totally shown racing in the preview for next week, so this is one cliffhanger that isn't. On the one hand, it's good that they're getting the doctors in right now, as opposed to deciding to wait until her leg is on the verge of gangrene before intervening. (Also, fuck you, Survivor.) On the other, what would have happened if she couldn't keep racing?

Howard and Cirran run up to the mat, where WuWho reminds them about Howard being a big quitter, just in case he doesn't feel bad enough, instead of telling them the big news that they're the last team to arrive. But of course, this is a non-elimination, which means that their quitting means... nothing, really, considering chances are high that everyone will be bunched together right at the start of the next leg of the race. Still, at least Howard and Cirran will be starting the next leg flat broke. Howard confessionals that they still both want to finish the race, because it's all about facing your fears, and he thinks they're "doing brilliantly so far". It's a good thing that's the last line of the episode, because I just began choking on the preposterousness of that statement.

Executive Producer: Michael McKay.

Next week: Balls! Bungy jumping! Bad decision-making!


  1. Zabrina thinks they might be seagulls.

    And that was my favourite line of the entire series. I mean, "dangerous Australian creatures". Seagulls.

    Forget the spiders, sharks, crocodiles, blue-ringed octopuses, jellyfish, scorpions, and even magpies - seagulls are the first thing I'd think of.

    She's right though, they do steal your chips!

  2. Oh and I loved the various pronunciations of place names. I did end up having to ask various UK friends how they'd pronounce "Macquarie" though - apparently "Mackery" is the most common pronunciation there. Something which was reinforced last night watching The Story of English, when the host referred to the "Mackery dictionary".

    Dolls Point is down by Sylvania Waters - the taxi for team Idiot - the only team I can actually believe would be killed due to an accidental explosion during a petrol fight - had to take them back past the airport to get into the city again. I still can't believe that in an English speaking and predominantly literate country they didn't show the driver the clue, just to make sure they were saying it correctly. God alone knows where the drivers would have thought "Dar-wees" point was.