Sunday, October 18, 2009

1x07: Bangkok, Thailand (via Singapore)

The race heads to Singapore for no real reason, before going to Bangkok, where everybody compounds acting Ugly by racing poorly. It's a good thing it's a non-elimination, because it's hard to choose which team truly deserves to be booted this week.


Previously on iBungy 2.0: Seven teams decided that while New Zealand as a whole is awesome, Or Clend really isn't worth spending much time in, bringing the entire debate of why Or Clend gets used every single time the race visits the country to the forefront. Andy lost his licence to drive, but apparently not his licence to be an insufferable little bitch, or his licence to complain about their incompetence being due to "bad luck". Some of the teams got what WuWho calls "a bird's-eye view" of Queenstown, which is weird, because last time I checked birds don't have safety harnesses or wires, or fly in a pendulum formation. People got their quadbikes mired in what I assume was mud, but I was too bored by the episode to pay attention to what it was. Someone in production decided that "Mo' Bungy Jumping!" is an acceptable way to advertise the wide and varied culture and lifestyle of everyday Kiwis, and I was understandably unimpressed. So were the people who got freaked out by the idea of dropping over a hundred and thirty metres in eight seconds. For the first time this season, the team with a local actually won the leg, and for the first time this season, a likable team was eliminated, unable to be saved by the additional producer-mandated speeding penalty Andy earned himself. Now, only six teams remain. Who will be eliminated... TONIGHT?

Credits. It's a good thing this show doesn't resort to using existing loosely-related-to-the-subject-matter songs for its theme music like other reality shows do, because Livin' La Vida Loca doesn't have nearly enough [POMP.]

The gondola to last week's Detour introduces us to this episode, and back to Queenstown, which WuWho appears to think is home to only two things, extreme sports and vineyards. I wonder if the presence of so much alcohol has anything to do with the sheer number of places where it is possible to hurl yourself into a canyon. The sixth Pit Stop in a race around the world, the Chard Farm Winery alone is probably responsible for skydiving. As always, the teams are leaving after their mandatory rest period, which may or may not allow them to eat, sleep, and mingle with the other teams.

2:54am. SanFran. We learn that it's finally time to leave New Zealand and its hobbits behind, so it's off to Singapore, where the hobbits may be just as annoying, but at least are forbidden from chewing gum. When they arrive in Singapore, they have to find themselves a taxi to take them to the [Arco] petrol station on MacPherson Road, where they'll have to indulge in an activity that apparently represents the culture and landscape of the clash of cultures that is Singapore -- washing [Holden] cars. Can't we have at least one decent leg in Singapore? The last one there was an absolute disaster (find the TV star in the wackily-located apartment? Swim across a zoo enclosure? Run around a fountain?), and this one's already even worse.

3:15am. Zabrina and Joe Jer. In their car, Joe Jer reads the additional information, which tells them that they must fly [Etihad].

4:05am. Antsy. In their car, Admiral Whinypants wonders whether Handy and Laura will make the flight.

4:22am. Super Marsio Bros. Marsio tells us in a confessional from the winery Pit Stop that they've "come to understand [their] differences", and are working on overcoming them. First stop is apparently getting a glass of champagne to hold.

4:25am. Howard and Cirran. They seem excited to be going to the mythical, mystical land of "Sing-guh-POOR".

6:05am. Handy and Laura, which means their penalty must have been a LOT more than the 92 minutes we were informed about last week.

New Zealand's clouds, while white, do not appear to be very long this morning. Let's sue them for false advertising.

SanFran confessional that they're always making sure that they know where they're going before they go. I can see how that might be a bit of a help. At what their car's clock tells us is 8:23am, they pull into the airport. How did it take them six whole hours to drive there? It's a mystery alright, but not as much as this signpost we see. It's one of those ones that has a bunch of major world cities on it, with the distances so high you'd swear the only way to get there would be to fly. It makes sense for it to be at an airport, I suppose, but... like, it's got places like London (19039km away) and Rome (18083km) and Singapore (8161km) on it, as it should, but then it's also got Brisbane (2365km) and Norfolk Island (1345km). Lovely places, sure, but major world icons? Hardly.

All the teams get on the same flight, even though the ticket guide mistakes SanFran's being last in line somehow (probably got lost, like they have every other time they've driven anywhere on this race) as being "patient". It will not surprise you to learn that the flight to Singapore connects through Or Clend. For some reason, the Amazing Graphically Inserted Plane is not in the background of The Amazing Globe this week, and I for one am disappointed. Why lose a couple of seconds of episode time when you had such an ingenious way of gaining them back?

On the flight, Zabrina and Joe Jer voice over that they are happy to have achieved their goal of being the last all-female team left, and how they have a new goal: to be the last Malaysian team still racing. They might be racing for a while, then, because Antsy is one of only two teams left to have never reached a route marker (or finished a task) in last place. The other, for all you pub trivia geeks? The Super Marsio Bros., which is a statistic I am shocked to learn. Admiral Whinypants himself voices over that the "other contestants are lagging", and aren't up to his standards with regards to competition.

The teams arrive in Singapore, piling into a bunch of taxis. I am curious as to what this "egg delivery challenge" mentioned in the on-screen competition ticker is, and why there would be a trivia question about it. (Of course, then I remember that hey, I've seen this episode before, and I already know, but still. Why spoil your own show when you don't have to?)

Anyway, Fran tells her driver that they're racing, and to "run, run, run". One would assume that the point of racing would be to get there quickly, and that taking the taxi would be slightly quicker than crossing half of Singpore by foot, but what do I know? I only write the recaps. The sun is setting as Howard and Cirran find the petrol station. Cirran confessionals that he's "more than proud" of Howard for having "excelled" at everything he's encountered on the race, and how he's "conquered" a bunch of stuff. Like sharks. In an unrelated confessional from the same place, a room full of wine barrels, Howard tells us that it doesn't matter if you get somewhere first, but you want to stay in the top half. Because apparently if you finish in the top half, you won't have as much chance of getting eliminated as the people who finish, say, dead last. Who knew?

Laura goes through the "wax on, wax off" routine from The Karate Kid with Handy. Lesson: Asian people know how to wash cars. Thanks for that wonderful moment of cultural awareness, Laura! She voices over that as the race goes on, people are going to stop being polite and start getting real, even though these particular people, in her eyes, lack the "competitive edge". I think she's one of those twits who thinks that if you're not yelling at each other, you're not being competitive. Shut up, Laura. As SanFran pass them, Andy whines that he and Laura always "get the slow taxi driver". Unlucky! In their cab, Fran talks too fast for me to understand exactly what she's saying, but the gist is "What the hell makes petrol stations representative of Singaporean culture?" And she's got a point.

The Super Marsio Bros. are the first team to arrive at the petrol station. SanFran drive past a station they realise isn't the one they need, but Howard and Cirran decide to stop. As always, this is a case of not reading the clue correctly -- we've already heard in the episode that the teams were given the exact address for this one, so I can't feel sorry for them at all. Admittedly, it would have been hard for me to feel sorry for Howard and Cirran anyway, but whatever. SanFran arrive at the right place, just as Handy and Laura get stopped at a red light. Unlucky!

Music that sounds like it belongs in a jazzy, upbeat porn film plays as the teams begin washing their cars. Some of the shots are even semi-pornographic. Seriously, watch the bit at the start where San thrusts while he's cleaning the bonnet. Or the bit where San tries to clean the windscreen wipers by fingering it. Or the bit where... let's just say that San probably would not be out of place in said jazzy, upbeat porn film -- he's got the technique, now we just need to find out whether he's got the equipment.

In the meantime, Andy tries to claim to one of the task judges that the colour of the car makes it more obvious that their car isn't clean. Of course, since there isn't anything even approaching a mud brown car here, I'm not sure what he's on about -- if he hasn't done his job properly, that stain's going to be there regardless of whether they car they picked was blue or white or yellow with hot pink polka dots.

Antsy are first to finish The Most Culturally Irrelevant Task Ever. Howard bitches that they're not finished even though he thinks their car looks better than Antsy's. Perhaps he could ask one of the task judges to check whether his car is finished. Just a suggestion. Admiral Whinypants reads the clue, which tells them to find the Fountain of Wealth. Not this again. Please no running, please no running. The little clips playing over WuWho's clip tell us that there will indeed be no running into the fountain, with the cluebox just sitting in the surrounding area, and that the Fountain of Wealth Board of Promotional Advertising are not exactly keeping the "world's biggest fountain" thing under wraps. As Antsy leave, Handy and Laura bicker some more, and the Super Marsio Bros. get their clue. Howard and Cirran's judge is unimpressed, but SanFran get their clue, proving that a little bit of mechanical foreplay is always a good thing. The Super Marsio Bros. want to go to the "Fountain of Youth". Heeeee hee hee. Soon, though, Howard and Cirran, Zabrina and Joe Jer, and Handy and Laura all get clues.

Antsy are at the Fountain already. There's some sort of light show going on, which is a shame, because the teams are going to miss it while they're flying to Bangkok. As Admiral Whinypants stumbles over the name of the place they're going to have to take a taxi to when they arrive, Syeon helpfully adds "temple" as her one contribution to doing anything. Even the little graphic doesn't know how to spell it, preferring to call it -- Wat Niwet Thamaprawat, for those of you playing at home -- "Bangkok Buddhist Temple", even though we just heard, and are reminded by WuWho, that it's located in Ayutthaya, an entirely different place. Anyway, once they arrive at the place, wherever it is, they'll have to take a ski-gondola-like thing across the river to the temple, where they'll search for a cluebox. Sound easy? No? Well, it's even harder than that. You see, there are a bunch of different clueboxes, and only one has the actual next clue.

In other news, the hell? You come to Singapore to wash a car, and then leave basically straight away? You don't even try to make a better leg than the sheer crappiness we saw last time the race visited Singapore? That's just ridiculous. Shut up, show.

Antsy leave just as SanFran arrives. The Super Marsio Bros. get the clue, but Marsio apparently does not hide well enough to stop SanFran from seeing the cluebox. SanFran themselves are very excited to be going to Bangkok. Howard and Cirran arrive next, right as the light show conveniently displays a globe. Don't quote me on this, but I'm beginning to think world travel might be a little bit of a theme on this show. Mardy is happy about going to Bangkok, because he "can pray to [his] Buddha". Is there some sort of rule against praying to Buddha in any of the other places this race has been so far? I doubt it, considering that the American version visited a Buddhist temple in Malaysia one season, and that one of the largest Buddhas in the world is in the Borobodur in Indonesia. But... you know, it was a little funny, even if it was slightly culturally offensive. San remarks on how funny it is that they "came all the way to Singapore just to wash a car". Cultural irrelevance is hilarious! Hahahaha! More tasks like this, show! (Except not.)

Andy and Laura think they're in last place when they get to the cluebox, but since Zabrina and Joe Jer are lost somewhere in the general vicinity of the fountain, they're actually in 5th place. As Laura remarks in her cab that they're going to their home country, and gets prepared to treat Bangkok's cabbies like her personal butlers, Zabrina and Joe Jer grab the clue.

When the teams arrive at the airport, the first five teams all have no problems checking in to their flight on Product Placement Airlines. Unfortunately, Zabrina and Joe Jer get dropped off at the wrong terminal. And since Changi Airport isn't a tiny airport by any stretch of the imagination, it's not surprising that by the time they finally do make it to the PPA desk, the ticketing guy isn't even sure whether they can make it onto the flight. Oh, no! Not my favourite team! This sucks! Right?

Commercials. This week's Andy Hallett Memorial Award goes to Cory Monteith. Fuck or pass?

Of course, as is always the case on the race, things are never as bad as they seem right before the commercial break, and Zabrina and Joe Jer do indeed manage to get on the flight. I have to wonder if they'd have got on if PPA wasn't a sponsor of the show who wanted good publicity. But anyway, they're on, and San is shirtless on the plane, and I think I need to lie down. WuWho informs us that all six teams are flying from Singapore to Bangkok. This announcement is accompanied by the Amazing World Map and the Amazing Yellow Line, just in case you're a visual learner.

Everyone arrives and gets into taxis. Shocking, I know. All the hovercrafts must have been busy or something. SanFran immediately tell their driver to follow the departing Super Marsio Bros. In their cab, Marsio starts telling their driver to go fast in Thai, and has to explain to a questioning Mardy that that's what Handy said was the right word. Right on cue, we cut to Handy and Laura's cab, in which Laura is using the exact same word to get their driver to go fast. So much for Andy's talk about the "competitive edge". Fran kvetches about how they're losing sight of the Super Marsio Bros.' cab. Fran hits herself over the head with the clue, and says she "hate[s] countries like this". Oh. My. LORD. I know she's tired and everything, but if I didn't already dislike half of the remaining teams (Antsy, Howard and Cirran, and Handy and Laura), she would have just made The List. She's definitely just lost herself 500 points. San confessionals that "you can't blame the cab drivers for not knowing where they're going just because you can't speak the language". If anyone knows any reason why I should not propose to San right here, speak now or forever hold your peace.

Oh, he's straight, you say? And dating her? Damn. Carry on, then.

Of course, Fran has not finished joining the Hall of Ugly Amazing Race Moments, both with mouthing the words "Yes, you can! Of course you can!" (or something similar) while San is talking, and then, back in their cab, yelling at their driver when he tells them he doesn't know where Ayutthaya is, before telling San to "just deal with this". Fran, honey? It's an entirely different city, and he's a Bangkok taxi. Just because Thailand isn't the size of America, he's supposed to know every road in the country? Getting a Bangkok cabbie who knows the streets of Ayutthaya would be the equivalent of getting a New York City cabbie who can take you around Boston without getting lost. Why would you expect him to know where he's going once he gets out of the city he lives in? Shut up. Fran confessionals, much more calmly, that the driver had no idea where he was going. In the cab, San suggests switching to a new one.

Handy and Laura think it'll take about 40 minutes to get to the temple. Meanwhile, Fran is using some of her 40 minutes to bitch some more about how slow their driver is. Helpful! And necessary!

Zabrina and Joe Jer have made a nice recovery, and are the first team to arrive at the temple, at what looks like it's the same time as Handy and Laura. Both teams learn that the temple will be opening at 6:30am, since no Buddhist temple accessible only by cable car could turn any sort of profit at this time of night -- it's 2am, y'all. For some reason, the hours-of-operation sign, clearly placed by the production crew, is accompanied by a second sign with a large X on it. Someone start drilling into that post, there's bound to be some good treasure in there.

SanFran are finally switching taxis. Fran is being her usual self, San is being his usual self, and I am seriously trying not to wonder how he got stuck with a girl like Fran.

Antsy and Howard and Cirran arrive at the temple. Zabrina and Joe Jer and Howard and Cirran decide to camp out, immedaitely scoring them both 60 points. Zabrina and Joe Jer were so far ahead of any non-Sandy racers at this point that their points don't even matter any more, but at least Howard and Cirran are almost not in negative numbers anymore.

Fran sees a sign for the temple and directs her driver to turn around so he can follow the map. Oh, goody.

It turns out that all of the teams have decided to not go to a hotel, either staying on the cable-car platform or in their taxis, and thus San moves into the same scoring echelon as Mother Teresa, Barack Obama, and Zabrina and Joe Jer (because I loves them thaaaat much). Meanwhile, Handy and Laura move up into the same scoring echelon as Schapelle Corby, Entertainment Tonight, and foot fungus.

It's a new dawn, it's a new day, but there's no Michael Bublé. I can't think of a single show in history that wouldn't be improved with some Bublé. But that's beside the point right now. Cirran brings Howard a coffee from the temple Starbucks or something. Because you know they totally have one. He confessionals that the hardest thing about the race is the lack of clean toilets. Howard drinks his coffee and bitches about how bad their night's sleep was. As far as I'm concerned, if you had the opportunity to go to a hotel and gave it up in favour of keeping your place in line, then you also forgo the chance to be a whiny little jerkwad. Shut up, Howard. He does not, and tries joking with Cirran about the word "Ayutthaya". Well, at least he's not going with any Bangkok jokes, I suppose. Cirran politely tells him to cram it.

The cable car starts running, and the teams go over one at a time. Handy voices over that they "all had a gentlemen's agreement" that the first team to get to the temple got to go over first. It's a fair deal, but it doesn't show much competitive edge, Handy. Fran points out, in case San hadn't noticed from all the teams standing in front of him in line, that they're going to be the last team to get across.

The teams start crossing, and Joe Jer sees a cluebox almost immediately, speaking loud enough we can hear her across the other side with Howard and Cirran. Speaking of, Cirran instructs Howard on where they will be searching for their clue. Zabrina and Joe Jer are surprised to find out that their clue isn't a clue. I don't think they were told about this twist in the task, which is just a little bit cruel, but still fun to watch. Handy and Laura run around, while Howard and Cirran note which direction they're running from in their cable car. Joe Jer has decided that, for some reason known only to her, it is appropriate to search the interior of the temple by standing in the doorway and hopping on the spot. As you do. The Super Marsio Bros. cross the river. Handy and Laura also find an incorrect clue. Howard and Cirran too. The Super Marsio Bros. have found a clue right in front of a statue of what I assume is Buddha. They decide to pray, which is entirely unnecessary and a little bit patronising, but... I appreciate the effort, you know? And it's not the right clue, anyway. Zabrina and Joe Jer, behind for so much of this leg, have found the right clue, which is located inside a little gazebo on the edge of the river. Antsy seems to think that someone's found a clue.

The girls, having walked away from the gazebo to not make it obvious, read the clue. And this time, when I say "clue", I actually mean "clue", as opposed to "a map with detailed street instructions, seating plans, and a chauffeur-driven limo to take you there". They've been given a Thai coin, and need to find a taxi to take them to the landmark that's featured on the coin. WuWho informs us that the landmark they're looking for is the Golden Mount temple, all the way back in Bangkok, and calls the coin a "local Thai coin" in order to differentiate between all those local Belgian coins and local Peruvian coins that Thailand has. Zabrina and Joe Jer get back to the cable car just as Antsy are arriving, and the girls tell them which way to go. I don't know whether this shows a lack of "competitive edge", or whether the girls just want some competition up there at the head of the pack. Perhaps Handy could tell me. Antsy confessionals that because of this favour, they hope that they'll "make it today". Maybe I'm just reading too much into this, but since they're all relaxed and whatnot, it seems as though they're saying this after they've arrived at the Pit Stop, but before the girls arrive. Way to not spoil your own show, show.

Antsy are indeed second to get to the clue. Right after SanFran's cable car arrives, Howard and Cirran are at the cluebox the Super Marsio Bros. found. It still isn't correct. Andy and Laura also try that cluebox, as Zabrina and Joe Jer make it back. Syeon, waiting on the cable car platform with Admiral Whinypants, tells him she needs to go to the toilet. He asks why. Does it matter? There are only a couple of things you would need to go to the toilet to do, and none of them are the sort of thing you can hold off until you reach the Pit Stop at this point. Remember, even though this leg has already been going on for forever now, you still have to do the Detour and the RoadBlock. SanFran are next to find it, running past a group of monks in the process. The Super Marsio Bros. are at another cluebox with another Buddha, and are praying again. I wonder if it's coincidental that the correct cluebox is the only one we've seen so far without a Buddha statue near it.

Antsy get on their cable car, having apparently not stopped for Syeon's nanna-bladder. Handy and Laura are lost, but the Super Marsio Bros. are finally in the right place. Instead of praying to Buddha this time, they've decided to comment on how pretty the palace is. Guys, you've lost enough time. It's a pretty palace, but for the love of Buddha, RACE!

Antsy argue about going to the toilet on the cable car. Sigh. Laura shouts at Handy to stop shouting. Because it's only adorable when she does it, you know. Syeon is still wondering where the toilets are when their cable car arrives. Laura seems to think it's "daft" to look for the clue. She can find her way to the Golden Mount without being told to, thank you very much!

SanFran are back. Joe Jer cheerily encourages her driver to go fast. Laura has taken over from Handy as Chief Luck Whiner. While the leaders try to determine whether their cabbies know the Golden Mount, and the Super Marsio Bros. board the return cable car thinking they're in last place, Handy and Laura are still searching for the cluebox. In their cab, Admiral Whinypants mimes Donkey Kong as a substitute for "fast", which surely can't help Syeon at the moment. Handy and Laura have finally found the clue. Three cheers for them! (...No, how about two?) (...Okay, one?) (...Half a cheer?)

Syeon is still whining about needing a toilet. Admiral Whinypants puts his hand on her thigh in support, unfortunately doing it as she says the words "it's hard to hold". Handy and Laura also think they're last, which makes me think the temple is much bigger than it looks, because Howard and Cirran are still searching. Surely they would have known if the others were leaving. Meanwhile, the girls' driver does at least know that the Golden Mount is in Bangkok, which is a help. Howard and Cirran run around and talk about being in last place and do pretty much everything they can do without finding the clue.

Commercials. iSnack 2.0 sounds like something designed to fix anorexic computers.

We return with Howard and Cirran still searching. Howard tells a silent Cirran not to panic. I... didn't think he was, Howard. A dog watches them search, as other teams get back to their cabs. Howard tells us it took them "half an hour" to find the clue, which they've already worked out is the right one before they open it, what with all the others' clues being missing and all. So now Howard and Cirran are on their cable car back, and everyone else is on their way to the Golden Mount.

Syeon is still busting to go, but that doesn't make a port-a-potty appear in the middle of a Thai highway, odlly enough. So, of course, she whines louder.

Cirran complains about being in a slow taxi after they spent so long at the temple searching for the clue, and Howard snidely retorts that there's no way they could have finished quicker. Aside from working with another team? Aside from secretly following another team who doesn't want to work with you? Aside from asking the monks if they've seen clueboxes? Aside from walking in the right fucking direction to begin with?

Eventually, Admiral Whinypants just tells Syeon that she might just have to go on the roadside. She asks where, and Admiral Whinypants' reply is, and I quote, "It's Thailand. No one's going to give a shit." Except for Syeon, that is. (I can't believe I just stooped that low to mock someone. Sigh. See what being around these people has turned me into? DO YOU?) They stop, and thankfully we cut to the much more bladder-competent SanFran, who are also complaining about a slow driver. Back in her car, Syeon is apologetic yet proud of being able to drop trou in some poor paddock.

Golden Mount. Zabrina and Joe Jer. A wooden elephant blocks a cluebox with a sign giving operating hours from 8am to 5:30pm on it, making me think that whatever the task is is going to be fun and elephant-related. Unfortunately, it is a RoadBlock with the hint "Who rings a bell? Patience and perseverence may be needed.", and the task will be anything but. WuWho is on the roof of the Golden Mount, walking around a bunch of tinkling windchimes. He reminds us of what he always does (RoadBlock! One person!), and tells us that this time, whoever does it has to climb to the rooftop and search through 560 bells for one of 100 clue capsules. So, you know, great odds, especially given that all the bells are practically next to each other. However, only six of the 100 capsules contain the "correct clue", which is literally just a congratulatory message, thus making the task at least worthy of not being called the Worst Task In This Episode, even though it's still pretty close to the car washing in terms of inanity, and is definitely the Least Difficult RoadBlock Ever. Joe Jer takes it.

Somehow, Antsy and SanFran head down the same stretch of road (or so the identical camera shots will have you believe), with Antsy ahead, and yet SanFran reach the clue first. Somewhat ironically given her behaviour throughout this episode, Fran takes the task specifically requiring an amount of patience higher than "zero", and even she notices. Antsy get the clue in 3rd, the Super Marsio Bros. in fourth, Handy and Laura in fifth, and Howard and Cirran in sixth. Syeon and Marsio take it. We spend a hilarious little moment with Handy and Laura in which neither of them wants to own up to having a shred of patience, just staring at each other, waiting patiently for someone to take the task. Heh. Handy does.

The temple, which apparently was closed, opens amidst bell ringing, and the five RoadBlockers we've got at the moment sprint up the stairs. Syeon seems to think she has to check the big bells for the little tiny clues. Soon, everyone is up on the actual rooftop searching.

Cirran sees some red and yellow race flags somewhere in a group of two yellow flags and two Thai national flags. Is Facebook paying to get it's Thai-flag-blue logo put onto all the race flags now?

Just like that, Handy is done with the Least Difficult RoadBlock Ever. The normal temple visitors go about their worshipping in peace, while the crazy reality TV contestants fiddle with their wind chimes and make a helluva din nearby. Heh. Sometimes, you don't need smart wordplay or people racking themselves in order to laugh, and this is one of those times.

Howard and Cirran are arriving at the temple, in case you cared. And, in fact, even if you didn't.

Syeon gets her clue. Back down with Laura, Handy reads the clue, which is a Detour. Y'all know the thing about the two tasks and the pros and the cons, right? Good. From in front of a weird pink-bricked structure, WuWho informs us that this time, their choice is between Bacon and Eggs. Aren't they legally required to offer a vegan option? In Bacon, you take a taxi to a group of marked tuk-tuks (Yay! Tuk-tuks!), choose one, and direct the driver through the streets to what the show calls the "Pig Monument". They can ask for directions from anyone who isn't the driver. In Eggs, you go to a market so big it's been on the American version before, find a particular egg stall, stacks 20 trays of eggs onto one of those wheely things you use for moving whitegoods around, and take them through the crowded market to another stall. If you break any eggs, you have to go back for replacements before you get the clue. You know, this is one of those rare Detours in which both tasks seem to have the same pros and cons. They're both navigation heavy, so teams who can communicate with the locals will do well, but they're both in Bangkok, which means moving around will be pretty slowgoing, all things considered. Still, it's a nice task, and the tuk-tuk navigation beats the pants off of those trannies the American version got to sing karaoke in the back of cabs when they did a similar task.

Laura demands Handy choose which task they do, thus confirming he was indeed the right pick for the Least Difficult RoadBlock Ever. Handy and Laura take Eggs, Antsy take the Bacon. It kind of surprises me that Handy and Laura don't go for the option that will presumably require dealing with the language barrier.

Howard and Sahran are both lost and last, ticking off two boxes in the Things You Don't Want To Be While Racing survey. Cirran confessionals that he "just wanted to reach across, you know, over to [the driver], hold him, and slap him", complete with hand motions. Cirran, you know how they have those Please Do Not Feed The Animals signs at zoos? Well, the only reason they don't have Please Do Not Slap The Driver signs in cabs is because it's kind of assumed. Back in the cab, Cirran asks what the driver's "waiting for. A sign from God?" I doubt it, given the whole Buddhism theme running through the Thailand portion of this episode.

Fran gets her clue, as Marsio finds his capsule. He gets the clue, and the cluegiver guy has to actually call him back so he can go back down to Mardy through the door next to said cluegiver guy. Some people just don't pay attention, now, do they? (In reality TV circles, we call them "casting producers".)

Marsio takes more time to Buddha on his way out. We get it. Move on. SanFran do indeed move on, having selected Eggs as their entree du jour today. Joe Jer has not moved on, and is still searching for the capsule. She tells us she was panicking after everyone else had no problems finishing the Least Difficult RoadBlock Ever. Remember, though, that since only six capsules had the right clue to begin with, there are only two left for her and either Howard or Cirran to find, so she might be here for a little while.

Howard and Cirran are fretting about whether the place they're at is the place they're looking for. Meanwhile, Fran thinks it's so cute that she can get a pink taxi. The Super Marsio Bros. pick Bacon. Howard and Cirran arrive at the RoadBlock cluebox. As Zabrina finally gets her clue, Cirran takes on the task of searching through all those dozens of bells for the one and only correct capsule. It's probably not as hard as it sounds, given that the other teams presumably all took out some of the fake capsules, but still? Not great odds. I hate these tasks that make the teams in last place fall even farther behind.

Andy and Laura try directing their cab driver to the exact address of the Egg task. The Super Marsio Bros. make pig noises, not realising that they're not yet trying to get to the pig, they're trying to find the tuk-tuks. Read the damn clue, guys. I don't dislike you as much as I dislike some of the other people left here, nor very much at all, but my Non-Denominationally-Specific Deity you're dense sometimes. The girls take Bacon, not feeling like carting eggs around. In their cab, the Super Marsio Bros. have a driver who knows where the "Pig Memorial Monument" is. Helpful. If only they were supposed to be going there right now.

Cirran is searching the bells. Antsy have passed the market and are annoyed, even though their task is the one that doesn't involved the market. Laura is telling Andy they should walk, because all the streets are one way. Zabrina is telling Joe Jer they should have walked. Cirran finally has the clue. Joe Jer points out that, in relation to that "women can't drive without getting lost" myth (which has still yet to be completely busted), "it's the male taxi drivers in Thailand who don't know anywhere". I would be curious as to how many of the taxi drivers in Thailand are female, and what experience Joe Jer has to back this up, but in general? "Taxi drivers get lost sometimes" works for me. Zabrina threatens not to pay her driver if he doesn't get them there quickly, and that'll be more than enough of that, thank you very much. I still want to entirely like at least one team by the end of this episode. Howard and Cirran take the Bacon.

Handy and Laura ditch their cab so they can make it to the right stall on foot, and Laura wonders why Handy would bother thanking their driver.

Zabrina voices over about how the local cab drivers would rather take you around in circles than admit they have no idea where they're going. The only thing about this exchange that makes no sense is why she's providing a confessional when it's the Super Marsio Bros. we see getting lost. Soon, though, everyone else (including the girls) is having trouble communicating with their driver. And they haven't even reached the tuk-tuks yet! Antsy and the girls ditch their cabs.

Handy and Laura have found the egg stall, which looks like it's on the edge of the road. So, you know, probably not ridiculously hard to find, as far as "Find The Market Stall" challenges go, even if it's plenty crowded and chaotic at the market itself. As the Super Marsio Bros. and SanFran continue to make themselves frustrated by staying in their cabs, Handy and Laura bicker childishly about whether it's a smart idea to put the egg-carrier on the ground before or after they stack the eggs on it. Hmmm. I wonder. Their argument features the "I was just asking!"/"I was just telling!" exchange most people grew out of when they were, like, eleven years old. Shut up, the both of you.

SanFran arrive at the market while Handy and Laura stack, but their cab driver decides that the reality contestant's baggage really can't be that important to them, and so drives off without it. Honestly, I'm not sure which side to take here. Either their driver knew their bags were in the cab and drove off anyway; or SanFran are idiots for leaving their bags behind. Both arguments work well, but there doesn't seem to be any way we can tell which is "right" in this case. In any event, they get the bags back without an issue.

Antsy and the girls (who I am only calling "the girls" because it's quicker and easier than typing out "Zabrina and Joe Jer" a hundred and fifty times, and not to do with any "Women suck!" sentiments, because these particular two are in fact the least sucky team here by a long way) are lost. The girls laughingly tells us that people just point in random directions when you ask for help, rather than trying to figure out where you want to go. It's just like the way I react with people who are lost. So, even if it is My Favourite Team This Season: Go, Thai locals!

Commercials. I am the very model of a modern Major-General, provided a modern Major-General is pretty much the exact opposite of a traditional Major-General.

The girls get directions from a tuk-tuk driver, then a cop, not realising that it's possible to actually, you know, travel to a tuk-tuk task in a tuk-tuk. Mardy snits that Marsio isn't "conveying" what he's trying to say, and Marsio snaps at him to have a go, so he can be a jerk when Mardy fails. This, my friends (and other people I don't know or care about), is surely the beginnings of Killer Fatigue. Good old Bangkok. Never change. But do share the spotlight 'round a bit, okay? We don't want you turning into another India or China. The girls get directions from a random guy who appears to know exactly where they've got to go. Meanwhile, the Super Marsio Bros. ditch their cab. It's that sort of day.

Antsy have spotted the tuk-tuks, but by some bizarre fluke of nature, luck, and happenstance, Howard and Cirran are the first team there. Soon both teams have figured out that it's going to be impossible to direct the driver to the Pig Monument. Oinking ensues.

Handy and Laura appear to be doing just fine with the task. SanFran, on the other hand, are headed in the wrong direction, realise it, and keep going for the fun of it. Or something. Fran says she's "going to scream".

Laura is trying to stop the eggs from breaking with... cabbage leaves? Huh.

Antsy realise that they're going to need some sort of plan to help them get to the Pig Monument. Howard proposes going to a hotel for directions, but Cirran realises that they're still going to have to get directions to the hotel in order to get directions to the statue. In any event, both teams leave, with Admiral Whinypants still trying to figure out where he is, and with Cirran telling Howard to "look out" for the monument, in case they pass it on their way to a hotel.

Fran is going to cry. More Killer Fatigue!

Handy and Laura voice over yet another shot of them arguing that they don't think they fight much, because this is exactly how they are all the time. And... like, I sort of get where they come from, because I'm no stranger to arguing with certain people, but perhaps if you bicker like this so often you've become desensitised to knowing when it's happening, and should probably ask yourselves whether you're the right people to be in a couple. Both they and SanFran are still asking for directions.

Antsy are also asking for directions in their tuk-tuk. They get a guy on a motorbike to help them as he drives past. I'm impressed the tuk-tuk can keep up, really. Cirran thinks he and Howard are "doomed". I'll say.

Handy gets even crankier when Laura tries to stop the eggs breaking, saying that she's "pushing it into [his] arse". Let the record show that Handy hates having things rammed in his backside.

Fran is still bitching about being lost, complainging that "it always happens". Well, yes, dear. Strangely enough, when you continue walking knowingly in the wrong direction, you will get lost. She decides the one way to get herself out of her current situation is to impersonate a chook.

Handy bitterly snaps that something (what, we don't know) is "really funny". You know what I think is "really funny"? How deliriously happy I'll be if you guys don't win. Handy confessionals that it was apparently harder to find the delivery stall than it was to find the pick-up stall. Back in the market, they are so busy arguing that they almost aren't paying attention when they approach the right place. Lucky for them (but not for me), they do indeed manage to open their stress-clouded eyes for long enough to see the flag.

Antsy and Howard and Cirran are still making pig noises, but at least Howard and Cirran seem to have gotten someone to write down the name of the monument in Thai, which will undoubtedly help them get there a bit quicker than impersonating a constipated hog will. They confessional that they've since learned that the Thai word for "pig" is "moo", which is going to make Old McDonald's farm even more crowded than it already is. Both they and Antsy get directions.

Handy and Laura unload their trays of eggs at the delivery stall, and learn that since ten of their eggs are broken, they'll have to go back and get ten more. Fran confessionals that even though the place they were looking for was "two minutes down the road", it took them three quarters of an hour to get there. Suddenly, Handy and Laura are bringing a bag containing ten eggs back to the delivery stall, which is apparently much easier to find now. And guess who they find there? SanFran, who have decided that when the clue says "go here, and then go here", they can skip the first part and just travel to the end of the task. Handy and Laura decide to tell them where the shop is. Go, competitive edge! Laura confessionals that they only told them because they didn't want to have to deal with all the "hostility" lying would result in. Because they're totally the most popular team there at the moment, apparently. SanFran always looks on the bright side of life, cheerfully pointing out that at least they won't have trouble finding the delivery stall.

Handy and Laura read their clue, which sends them to the Pit Stop at the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Very, very pretty shots of the temple accompany WuWho explaining why the temple, known as Wat Pho to locals, but as the Temple of the Coin-Dropping Fast Forward to fans of the American version of this show, was chosen. Turns out there's a big reclining Buddha in the temple, and it's Thailand's largest. WuWho tries to build up suspense by telling us that the last team to turn up might possibly be eliminated, but since we've got three eliminations left to spread over the next seven episodes, that's about as likely as President Obama winning the Nobel Peace Prize after eight months in o... about as likely as David Letterman getting busted cheating on his w... about as likely as George W. Bush saying something coherent. (Also? In the event of a tie, whichever team can paintball the most sheep in thirty minutes gets to stay, even if they'll get charged with animal cruelty afterwards.)

Since the last team might be getting the boot, it's time to check up on the last two teams, neither of whom we've really seen much of since the last commercial. They are both headed on foot to the tuk-tuks, and are both having trouble getting directions.

SanFran have finally found the egg pick-up stall, and San gives us what I think is his first "Woo hoo hoo hoo!" of the episode. Welcome back, nobody missed you. They both realise fairly quickly that having to lean the egg-carrier back is probably where the eggs will break, if any of them indeed do.

Handy and Laura arrive at the Pit Stop and begin running, while SanFran gingerly cart their eggs. As Handy and Laura continue running, they tell us that they think the concept of a home team advantage is a lie. Well, the team who's quite clearly about to win a leg in their home country would say that. The greeter is all golden and glittery as she welcomes them to Bangkok. They are, unsurprisingly, Team Number One. The first thing Handy does is cheer about winning the leg in their home country, and exclaim "Thailand rules!" in a goofy voice. Thailand wonders whether it's too late to deport him. As it turns out, they also win what is possibly the second lamest prize ever, after those damn cameras -- a year's supply of engine-cleaning petrol.

Zabrina and Joe Jer arrive at a chilli stall, still lost. The Super Marsio Bros. try and decide whether they should catch another cab.

Howard and Cirran have found the Pig Monument, which looks like some drunken frat boys have been tampering with it. While SanFran are still carting their eggs, Howard reads the Pit Stop clue. As they leave, Antsy pass them on their way in. SanFran could not possibly be going any slower without actually already being eliminated. Syeon wants to know how many clues there are at the monument, which is stupid given this isn't one of those Detours in which it's entirely obvious which task all the teams are going to take as soon as they reveal what said tasks are. It's a brilliant Detour -- both tasks are much more difficult than they sound, and it wasn't clear immediately that one task would be much quicker. Fran, clearly sick of everything they've had to go through during the task, tells the delivery stall lady that if any of the eggs are smashed, the delivery stall lady broke them. We do not see her slamming her hand down on all twenty trays and asking them to deliver more. It turns out they only need four more eggs.

Admiral Whinypants calls the pig statue "a stupid monument", because it was just a pig, and the pig wasn't very big. Syeon wonders why they would even bother building a monument for pigs, and Andrew doesn't know. As a simple Wikipedia search tells me, it's there to celebrate people born in the Year of the Pig, not for the actual delicious animal itself (and thus, both Israel and Miss Piggy are very happy.)

SanFran grab their extra eggs and run back, carrying the eggs in their bare hands. They manage not to squish them, and the trivia question about them turning up at the wrong part of the Detour first scrolls along the screen again as they read the clue. So, to sum it up, they, Howard and Cirran, and Antsy are on their way to the Pit Stop, while the other two teams haven't even found the starting point for the Detour yet. Howard and Cirran think yelling at their driver will help him move through a traffic jam quicker. Ugh. Shut up, you two.

Commercials. Does anyone actually remember what the rest of the Chicken Tonight jingle is?

Howard and Cirran are still cajoling their cabbie, while Antsy get out of theirs. Fran tells us having to sit in a taxi "is enough to make [her] want to shoot [her]self." Yes, well, watching everyone be jerks this week is almost enough to make me want to shoot myself, so I guess I know how she's feeling. Antsy manage to get lost between their taxi and the mat, while Howard and Cirran arrive in their taxi. Fran tells us that she starts freaking out as soon as she realises that not everything is going perfectly. Really? I hadn't noticed. Huh.

Antsy, running. Howard and Cirran, running. Who! Will! Survive! Well, both, obviously. Welcome, Antsy, you are Team Number Two. Howard and Cirran, running. SanFran, running. Who! Will! Survive! This time! Again, both, obviously. Welcome, Howard and Cirran, you are Team Number Three. Welcome, SanFran, you are Team Number Four. All three teams are giddy with excitement.

The Super Marsio Bros. and Zabrina and Joe Jer are still lost. On the plus side, the locals get to eat while they watch the TV stars look like idiots, including one guy who actually IS selling pad thi. Hee! I thought that was just something that Thai restaurants in the Western world came up with as a way of introducing the world to the local cuisine even though the locals never eat it, sort of like beef vindaloo or a Bloomin' Onion or edible English food.

The girls get a taxi soon thereafter, and show the driver where they need to go on a map they have, which sort of begs the question: Why didn't they use the map when they were lost? It might have helped them not wander around aimlessly for however long it's been. Marsio voices over that the girls are "one of the most competitive" teams, because "they never give up". He's got a point. Imagine if, say, Mirna or Adam were in the situation these two have found themselves in today. They totally would have given up all hope of survival, and wandered in to the Pit Stop sometime after dark. Tomorrow night. Anyway, the Super Marsio Bros. notice the girls in their cab, and Marsio tries to get their attention, calling for the mythical "Jo Jo" to appear. They drive off. Heh. Marsio tells us that the girls don't want to work together with anyone when they're racing, and... why should they? They're not racing for you.

Both teams have now found the tuk-tuks, and now they can resume getting lost in Thailand. The Super Marsio Bros. leave first, with their cartoon picture of a... I'm not exactly sure what it is, but the label of "pig" is completely wrong. One of the Super Marsio Bros. claims that they're "totally doomed" if they've been given the wrong directions. Quit being so damn melodramatic! WuWho isn't going to have anything left to do! The All-Purpose Racing Music plays as the teams navigate through the streets on their tuk-tuks. It's worth noting that, even though this is otherwise an outstanding piece of editing here, we never actually see the two teams in the same shot like we see Team Guido and the Frats together when they went around Beijing on those bicycle rickshaws. So, you know, I really have no idea how to recap how tense it is, aside from telling you to go and watch it yourself, because it is THAT good. Anyway, the Super Marsio Bros. arrive at the monument first, even though Mardy has to be convinced that the statue is of a pig. Really? The pig is ugly, I'll grant you that, but it's not exactly a cubist piece of artwork. It's just a pig like any other pig, except not moving and made out of gold or whatever it is. As they read the Pit Stop clue, we get a completely random, blink-and-you'll-miss-it shot of the Pit Stop, where WuWho and the golden greeter are still waiting. The girls get their clue shortly afterwards, surprised to learn that there are three clues in the box. Of course, one is their clue, and the other two belong to the two teams who did the egg task, but... whatever. Zabrina thinks it's good that there are still some clues left, and the snarky editors choose that exact moment for the graphic reminding us that they're in last place to fade in. Heeeeeeee hee hee. It's nice to see these guys are reasonably competent, which is sadly more than I can say for whoever's editing the American version at the moment. (Also: Survivor.) They read the Pit Stop clue.

Pit Stop. The Super Marsio Bros. are arriving, just as Zabrina and Joe Jer are leaving. However, they appear to get lost (it's been a recurring theme throughout this episode, see), and the girls arrive. So now both teams are at the Pit Stop, but are having trouble searching for the mat. Suddenly, the Super Marsio Bros. are running up to the mat. It seems strange to get rid of almost all of the tension from this when the Detour was so well done, but whatever. Welcome, Super Marsio Bros., you are Team Number Five.

The Sad String Music of Reflectiveness plays. Clouds whizz by. The girls get to the mat. Welcome, Zabrina and Joe Jer, you are the Last Team To Arrive, and WuWho is sorry to tell you that. He is not sorry, however, to tell you that this is, as expected, a non-elimination leg, and so you're still around. Zabrina squeals in joy, after having to be consoled by Joe Jer that it was okay to have finished in last. Either Joe Jer figured out at some point that it was probably going to be a non-elimination, or she was just excited to have finished higher than Team Idiot did. WuWho takes their money, finally showing some kind of personality as he responds to Joe Jer's remark about "laughing all the way to the bank" with, "If I can find it." Bwah! Joe Jer tells him he's going to "have problems" finding anywhere in Bangkok. Zabrina confessionals that she didn't want to leave the race while she was feeling as horrible as she has been today. They consider themselves both lucky and grateful that they can keep racing. That's the spirit.

Executive Producer? Michael McKay. I am curious as to why [Mazda] Malaysia gets thanks when the cars were used in Singapore. Eh.

Next week: Oh, great. It's the annual water-based episode, which means it probably won't be very good, Have they ever done a good water/island themed episode on any season of this show? This time around, they'll be impersonating Survivor, with its underpants swimming and coconut smashing and rock climbing. Well, not so much that last one, but still. It doesn't look like it's going to be the best episode of the season. (Speaking of the season? I'm now officially halfway through recapping it. Woo!)

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