This just in: The Amazing Race: The Original Series, has announced its teams for its 23rd Season. Also here. First let's celebrate. 23 season! Totally awesome. Let's hope Amazing Race Canada hits one third of that.
I won't discuss the teams specifically because I really don't have the time, gotta finish my next novel, a grant application and bake cookies. But I have to say something.
Here what's they got. Some blond twin-looking cheerleaders (big surprise there), two ex-athletes (another big surprise), two wives of pro athletes (baseball wives), two ex-partners who say neither of them listen to each other (which is probably why they are no longer married), a young dating couple say the race is a test of their relationship (never a good plan), two drag queens, a set of best friends (these ones are male), two token Asians (male cousins this time), two hippie looking dudes with beards, one father and daughter team (he doesn't listen to her and is probably controlling) and three (yes three) ER doctors. Two are married (with five kids !) and on the same team; the other is the father in the father/daughter team.
Not a lot of surprises, although the drag queen and the bearded dudes seem interesting. And I'll like to see how the ER doctors handle pressure on the race. Docs haven't had a great reputation in past races. And since I'm a dad, I always like to see how dads deal with their grown up daughters.
Not sure if I will blog TAR: TOS after Amazing Race Canada is over. But I will watch.
Back when Amazing Race Canada was announced, the producers asked Canadians to suggest places to go and tasks to do. One of the most popular locales was Nunavut with a task of eating whale blubber. And so this was the Amazing Race Canada episode a good number of folks were waiting for. Heading north, into the part of the country that Canadians are probably the most proud of, but have never been.
But to get to Nunavut, teams gotta head from the last pitstop — Quebec City — to Iqaluit, the capital of Canada's youngest territory. All the teams are on the same flight, including last place Timmies, who surprise everyone by showing up at the airport. Guess nobody told the other teams the last leg was non-elimination. There's the typical surprise and exclamations of how lucky the boys are to be the only team to survive two non-elimination rounds, like it's a historical event. Not so fast. If you're an Amazing Race fan like me, you know this isn't the first time this has happened.
In the first ever season of Amazing Race, Team Guido, hit two non-elimination legs and made the final three. Chris and Alex repeated the feat in Season 2 and actually won the race. So did Flo and Zack (I hated her) in Season 3, also winning. In Season 4, one of my fav teams of all time, Kelly and Jon also hit two non-eliminations and were only beaten when a train crossed their path. It returned in Season 9 when the first Hippie team, B.J and Tyler, did it and then won the race. Team Kentucky David and Mary did in Season 10, Nicky and Vicki (I forgot about this boring team) in Season 17, Bopper and Mark (loved these guys) in Season 20. So it's a semi-regular occurrence.
But luck denies the Zombie Timmies when they arrive in Iqaluit. Everyone finds their clue which is written in Inuktitut (yes, Vanessa it is a different language and they have different word for everything). They get it quickly translated telling them to head to Sylvia Grinnell Territorial Park. I googled that park and found it's only one kilometre from Iqaluit. That's the distance between my house and the local convenience store. But the Timmies get the only cab in town who has no idea where that is. Not only that, the driver's gotta take a leak. Wisely, the Timmies leave the cabbie and his weak bladder.
Once at the park the teams must find the clue box, and though the Sisters arrive first, the Brothers get to the box before them. Find the throat singers by the river, it says. So Jody and Cory decide to have some fun and slide on their butts to the river. Note the word fun here and how it helps teams move forward. The Brothers followed by the Sisters, The Bicep Bros, the Docs and then the Timmies find the throat singers and listen to them perform before getting their clue. Everyone seems captivated by this, and rightly so. I actually recognized the two women, Tanya Tagaq and Celina Kalluk, having seen them perform at the 2010 Edmonton Folkfest. They performed on their own but I mostly recall them jamming including indie band Calexico. The combination of Inuit throat singing and Tex-Mex alt-country was too beautiful to describe. Also nice to finally see some Aboriginal culture in this show; save for the greeter in Vancouver, there's been a dearth of that. I'm still pissed they don't have a single aboriginal competitor.
Anyway, it's Detour time and the teams have two tough choices: Harpoon Hunter or Igloo Builder. In Harpoon Hunter, one team must drag a sled and their partner one kilometre (same distance between the town and the park) and then each member must hit a target with a harpoon. Then the teammate who rode has to drag the sled and their partner back. Igloo Builder is self-explanatory.
The Brothers, the Sisters and later, the Timmes, take on Harpoon. The Docs and the Bicep Bros do Igloo. Every single team struggles, especially the ones doing the Igloo. It doesn't seem tough but it's hard to figure out how to make those blocks of ice stick and not fall over when you make the dome. "You pee on it," Jet suggests, still having fun despite the struggle. Still, dragging the sled isn't that easy. Celina has the hardest time, exclaiming for probably the third or fourth time in the race that this is the hardest thing she's ever had to do. Guess life isn't that hard for a bikini model. Life is harder if you have Parkinson's, but that doesn't stop Tim Sr. He just sucks it up, drags his son and breezes past them. Celina screams in frustration.
At the Harpoon area, Jody shows off his sniper skills and misses the target over and over. Just like he did with the axe in Whitehorse. But they finally make it and head back. Nice of him to offer a high five to Celina on the way back. The Timmies get through quicker and also head back. The Sisters arrive and take their shots. Celina gets it pretty quick but Vanessa, who was sitting in the sled all this time, misses. Over and over.
Back at the igloos, the Docs are starting to freak out under the pressure, again. And the arrival of the Brothers gets both the teams considering a change in Detours. "Good luck, we suck," says Jet (or was it Dave?) as they quickly decide to change. The Docs vacillate. Holly wants to change. Brett's asks if they should but she asks what he thinks. He says they should stay so they do, despite their fruitless efforts. They lose precious time.
The next clue sends the Brothers up a hill to some snowmobiles which they must ride across Frobisher Bay to an old Hudson Bay Post. Cory and Jody seem to be having the time of their lives, which again, is one reason why they are leading this leg. Fun and enjoyment is the key. The Timmies arrive a bit later for their Speed Bump. It's similar to the regular task but with a dogsled. Across the bay, find a food cache, then back. They also have fun riding the sled and get done just as the Sisters arrive. It's a race again for these two teams, this time on snowmobiles.
Jet and Dave are also done and right behind the girls. The Docs, however, are way behind. They finally switched (too late) and struggled with the sled. Brett hits the target on the first try. But Holly misses and misses. And misses. By now, we already know they're out, despite Brett's optimism and support. Of course, if you were paying attention early on, you already knew something was up. While on the way to the Quebec City airport, we got a scene of the Docs talking about their student loan debt, etc. Other teams spoke briefly about themselves but it was the Docs who had a background section first. Not a good sign. (Note to producers: you've done this four times so far and every time — EVERY TIME— the team involved has come in last place, three of them being eliminated. Please find a new storytelling technique. Please).
Meanwhile, back at the trading post, the whale blubber is laid out for a Roadblock. One team member must eat 10 pieces of muktuk. If you puke, you have to start again. Self-described picky eater Jody takes on the challenge. And despite an initial gag, he eats it all. Over to the pitstop boys, and win your first ever leg. Good on them. They had fun this leg, let the intensity relax a bit and that's one reason why they won.
Arch-rivals, the Timmies and the Sisters, get to the muktuk task at the same time, but it's a foregone conclusion. Tim Sr. eats the blubber like it's box of Timbits on a Saturday morning and easily beats Celina. The boys then climb up the hill to the pitstop and have a poignant moment. And here I must praise the producers. They have been very subtle their portrayal of teams with medical conditions like Tim Sr.'s Parkinson's. And Jody's legs. They haven't brought it or edited the teams talk about it every chance they could, like they do in the US edition. They have been very subtle. We see Tim's hand shaking as he recites Robert Service, or while awaiting inspection at the Depot. Or we hear Jody joking about how hard it is to line dance without ankles. Or see him switch to blades in Quebec City. Subtle, nicely done. Great TV.
And though it wasn't great TV seeing Celina retching as she ate blubber, it was better than a twerking Miley Cyrus. It was also great to see the Bicep Boys still having fun even, Jet joking about meal plans and beach season before chowing down on muktuk. It's one reason why they managed to get past their struggles this episode. They get done pretty quickly and it's a race for third place. It's been a long day but it seems the conditioning of the Bicep Boys pays off. They pass the girls with Celina wondering why her 21-year-old sister, the youngest competitor out there, can't seem to climb a hill. "Shut up and come," screams Celina, echoing the sentiments of almost everyone. My buddy Gord and I are more than twice as old as Vanessa and though we love beer and chicken wings, we would have easily passed her on that hill.
But luckily for the Sisters, the Docs are way behind. And though Brett eats a piece of muktuk per second, it's too late for them. They are eliminated from the race. Despite their exclamations of dealing well with pressure, they didn't deal well with pressure. I'll miss the Docs, but I know others won't. Some saw them as villains, but they played the game well. Some were annoyed with Holly and that's okay. But while you are celebrating their dismissal, remember this: in all the times Holly freaked out, and they were a lot of them, Brett was there for her. He didn't yell at her, belittle her or tell her to suck it up, like we've seen many partners do to another in other versions of TAR. He hugged her, dried her tears, helped her calm down, supported her. He was, and is, a good husband. They are also raising money for their hospital, an Amazing Cause. Go donate.
Next week, the Maritimes. The Sister get lost (really?) and funsters Jet and Dave get angry with each other. And there's a U-Turn. Will the Timmies or won't they?
Despite the big prizes and the millions of viewers, The Amazing Race Canada is, at its core, a game. There are rules, strategies, moments for great gameplay. And even though folks may turn on each other (Or U-turn), teams shouldn't take it personally. So far the game has been played pretty well by most teams, even those like Body Break who were eliminated last week.
But one thing that some folks forget is that you're also supposed to have fun when playing a game. Sure you wanna win or last as long as possible, but what's the point of playing a game if you're not having fun? And the only team that seems to get that are Jet and Dave, The Bicep Bros. Or shall I now call them Les Champignons. They are on a roll, scoring a hat trick with their third leg win in a row. They are now my favourite team and not just because they have won the most legs. I like them because they are doing Amazing Race Canada the way my buddy Gord and I would, playing well but cracking jokes, acting silly and razzing one another when the other makes a mistake. It's probably no coincidence that once the Biceps Bros starting having fun, they starting winning.
This episode started typically, with teams back in Regina, scrambling for flights to Quebec City where they have to find a clue in a fort. Some teams switch planes in order to get in a bit earlier, but not surprisingly (raise your hand if you say this coming a mile away), the fort is closed. Teams must hunker down for the night. The only fun bit in this scramble is when Dave mangles the French language, uttering one of the best lines in Amazing Race history: "We are the mushrooms."
Since the Bicep Bros arrive first, they get a little bored and decide to leave a fake clue hastily draw in some sand. "No harm can come from this," Jet says. But the Brothers rush into the fort, find the fake clue and rush out again, into the night. After a bit, the Bicep Bros go after Jody and Cory, telling them it was only a joke. But the Brothers don't seem to see the humour. While I love Jody and Cory and their never-quit attitude, they're always so serious, so single-minded. And at times, it works against them.
So the fort opens and the teams dash about. The Bicep Bros find the clue first, telling them to catch the ferry, head up the funicular and find the statue of Champlain, the father of New France. The other teams do the same, leaving the Timmies (sporting some nice scraggly playoff beards) to clamber about in a panic. There's a bit of a race to the ferry and only the Biceps Bros and the Sisters get there in time. The Docs and the Brothers miss and have to wait a half hour. This allows the Timmies to catch up. I was in Quebec recently for a crime writers festival and my kid and I took great pleasure watching teams take the same ferry and funicular we had taken.
Back to the race, the clue at the statue announces a Detour: Sculpt It or Spot It. In Sculpt It, they have to create an ice sculpture. In Spot It, they have to place word magnets on a smaller reproduction of wall mural to indicat sections missing from the original. In another classic line, Jet asks "Is there a third option?" The sculpting sounds more difficult, but the sculptures have been pre-cut and you only have to chip out the outside bits. In Spot It, the word magnets are in French.
Jet and Dave choose Sculpt while the Sisters initially take Spot It. But they instantly switch once they see how easy Sculpt It is. However, they whine all the while, constantly second-guessing their choice. As the Bicep Bros said earlier, the Sisters may be a great team, but they are lousy competitors. The other teams arrive on the ferry with only the Timmies taking on the ice. The Docs and Brothers go back and forth between the smaller and bigger mural, both having difficulty even though they are the teams most fluent in French.
Again, Les Champignons, I mean the Biceps Bros, finish first and need to find Quebec University or something like that, my notes are unclear. Anyway, they get there and have to make four different crepes in the style shown by the demo chef. Again, language plays a key part because the orders for the crepes will be given in French. Because he can cook, Dave takes it on. But he admittedly says he's never cooked a crepe in his life. And his knowledge of French sucks.
Back in Old Quebec, teams are finishing up their tasks and head to the University. Although the Timmies get confusing directions and spend an hour trying to find the location. The other three teams arrive, putting some pressure on Dave to hurry up. But Dave's still lost in translation; he can't understand what one lady is ordering. He makes an extremely lucky guess with spinach and starts cooking. However, he forgets to turn on the crepe maker, prompting some razing from his partner, which is what a good partner should do at a time like this, right Gord? Jet even takes a potshot at the Brothers, wondering why Cory and Jody haven't finished higher.
Part of the reason is that the Brothers are so single-minded that they forget to read clues, forget to pay attention to the details. It happened to them in Yellowknife when they signed up on the wrong flight. And it happened on this leg when Cory was so determined to get the task done that he didn't realize he had to serve all 4 crepes at once instead of 2 at a time. That's why Holly, a terrible cook, managed to finish the task before Cory, who obviously knew how to cook a crepe. If Cory had paid attention, they would have easily take 2nd place instead of ending up in a tie with the Docs.
But the big mistake of the race came from Tim Jr. Although it was a classic Amazing Race blunder. Vanessa was having difficulty understanding what fruit she was supposed use so she walked up to Tim Jr. and asked him. "Cherry," was all he said. But that single word undermined that great U-Turn they made on Body Break in the last episode. It allowed Vanessa to finish the task before them and the boys ended up in last place.
Still, the luck of the playoff beards paid off because this was the second of three non-elimination legs; the Timmies were saved. Again. If I were them, I wouldn't push that luck anymore. Next week, yhey'll be off to Nunavut and need to do a Speed Bump in the next leg. Although I wonder if it will before or after they have to eat whale blubber. Yumm.
There's been a lot of talk, not just on Amazing Race Canada feeds, but in the regular media, about Joanne's use of language in the most recent leg. In case you don't remember (and how could you not because it was an awesome leg), Bodybreak had been U-Turned by the Timmies and in turn, they U-Turned the Docs. So both had to do the other side of the Brawn or Beauty detour.
Surprising everyone, including themselves, the Docs did the Brawn side in one go. Bodybreak had some trouble with the Brawn and were working on the Beauty. As the Docs ran by heading to the pitstop, Brett wished them luck. Under her breath, but still heard by the cameras, Joanne said something that was bleeped by the censors.
Like many, I was shocked, but pleasantly so. Hal and Jo are Canadian icons and rightly so (can you instantly imagine the intro and music in your head? I can.). But their image is one of healthy living and to some that's synonymous with clean cut living. So to have Joanne drop an F-bomb on the show seemed to be totally opposite to that image. I thought it was fine. It showed that Bodybreak were still normal folks who can get frustrated and lash out. Although an under-the-breath fuck off isn't really lashing. Personally, I would have told Brett to fuck off a few episodes ago but then again, I'm an ex-punk rocker turned crime novelist who's been criticized by some mystery fans for having too much profanity in his books. Go figure, it's okay to kill someone but not to call them bad names as you do it.
Anyway, at first Joanne initially claimed she said "get off" and that the producers bleeped it to make it seem like she said "fuck off". Hal backed her up, saying that he didn't know when the word "get" was bad. Today, they backtracked from that, admitting that Joanne did tell Brett to "fuck off" but only because she was tired, frustrated and Brett had been a bit of a dick in the previous leg.
It's great that they did this but I understand why they first claimed Joanne didn't use profanity. Despite its iconic stature, the Body Break brand hasn't been as prevalent as it was before. But it's been invigorated by their appearance and awesome gameplay inAmazing Race Canada. They also acted the way most great couples act: with respect towards and support for each other, especially during difficult circumstances. Sure, they bickered very slightly when lost in Yellowknife but that is typical of many long term couples travelling together.
So their first instincts was to protect that brand and the new interest in it, by denying that Joanne said what she actually said. You have to remember that it wasn't until 1999 that Hal and Joanne officially admitted they were an actual married couple. Not sure why but they (or their producers or sponsors) had their reasons.
But Joanne's use of profanity tells us one thing: that it's not healthy to keep your feelings in. Every once and awhile (not all the time, mind you) you gotta let your frustrations come out in order to say fuck off to someone who's being a dick. How's that for a Body Break episode?
Please noe: my buddy Gord is in Winnipeg helping his family (along with a bit of vacation) so he should h
Whoa Nelly. For a moment, I was totally speechless about Ep. 5 of Amazing Race Canada. That was one incredible leg, full of really tough tasks, teams quitting to take penalties, a double U-turn that provided a surprise twist (and possibly some new villains for Canadians to hate), loads of lentils and a trip to Rider Nation. Crazy Canucks in Saskatchewan.
So let's get to it. Down, set, hut. The six remaining teams leave the pitstop at Whitehorse (not Carcross but enough quibbling). They gotta find a clue on a boat that tells them to get to Regina. So all the teams head to the airport. And here's where the producers pull out a classic TAR trope that I've talked about before. We get a shot of Hal and Joanne in the back of their cab and there's some background info on how the two met. Once I heard that, I thought "Uh oh." If you've watched as much TAR as I have, you quickly realize than when the producers edit in some background info about a team at this point in the episode, it's a foreshadow of elimination. It's not always true but usually about 75 percent of the time. So I worried about Bodybreak.
Quickly the teams discover that you can't fly direct to Regina from Whitehorse; you gotta go through Edmonton or Calgary (after a changeover in Vancouver). The flight out of YEG arrives 40 minutes earlier. The Bicep Bros and the Docs (in brief alliance that started in Whitehorse with the Biceps calling two cabs instead of one), are out of YEG. The rest: YYC. But Bodybreak use their gameplay (and celebrity, no doubt) and manage to get on the YEG flight. Nice move but it creates a target on their backs. It seems the teams may have had enough of the Bodybreak celebrity.
Arriving in Regina, there's a Blackberry ad as the teams get directions to a pulse trading company. Those who didn't know Saskatchewan was the #2 exporter of lentils in the world, raise your hand. And it seems there are a lot of lentils because the next task is a killer, finding two tiny stuffies in a truck load of lentils, six feet deep. This is one of those dreaded needle in the haystack tasks which have broken many a great team in the past. Luck also plays a major role. The top three teams start digging and pretty quickly, or maybe it's just the editing, the Docs start falling apart. Guess pressure at a hospital is different than digging through lentils. Either way, it's not something I would have enjoyed. Also, why is no one wearing hats under that hot prairie sun? Especially the Docs; they should know better. Or is it a part of the show that prohibits teams from wearing hats.
Anywho, the Biceps Bros dig like dogs and find the stuffies. And the clues orders them to the RCMP Heritage Centre. And they're off, pretty confident about the upcoming roadblock because Jet's a cop. Although he's an odd cop because he's got a problem with authority. Go figure.
Bicep's relatively quick finding of the clue, along with the arrival of the other teams, worries the Docs and Bodybreak; so much so that the Docs decide to quit and take the 2 hour penalty. It's always a tough decision whether to take the penalty in TAR, especially if you're the first team to do so. The key to this decision is to hope another team does the same thing, so that at least you're ahead of them. And lo and behold, that's what happens: Bodybreak calls it quits and accepts the penalty. To be honest, I was quite surprised by this move by Hal and Joanne. They've played a smart game up until then.
The Timmies don't get bogged down, the Sisters cry, and finally, the Brothers do what they always do; they power through the task, quitting the task the last thing on their minds. I truly believe that this is the team to watch. They haven't finished high in the other legs, but they are relentless. I get the feeling they are just going to grind all the other teams down, let them make the mistakes and come up from behind.
Back to the RCMP Depot, the Roadblock requires one teammate to prepare a cadet's pit for inspection. My old man was in the army for 28 years and I know about this kind of stuff. One reason I didn't follow in his footsteps into the military. Even so, it's nice to see a team having fun and making jokes. That's been lacking since the Gay Cowboys left. Although Jet's sarcasm does annoy the Commander who seems surprised that this muscular goofball is also a cop.
And while folks have some trouble with the tasks (save for Jody who spent 20 years in the military) and one of the Sisters cries (again), the big talk is about the two teams that quit the lentil task for a penalty. You could see the relief on the other teams's faces, especially the Sisters, when they heard that news. That meant that the race not to be last was between the Docs and Bodybreak, unless somebody else completely fell apart.
But despite the tears and frustration, the teams pass their inspection. Nice touch with Jody and the Commander for their nods of respect. "Thank you for what you do," they both said to each other. And after a quick Ukrainian dance by city hall, we are transported to Rider Nation, the greatest place in Saskatchewan. If you don't the Canadian football, then here's quick education. The Saskatchewan Roughriders (THE RIDERS!) are the only pro sports team in the province. And everybody who is born in Saskatchewan is a diehard Rider fan and a member of the Rider Nation, till the day they die, not matter where they live.
Rider Nation offers a detour: Brawn or Beauty. With Brawn, they have to do some football tasks including catching and then kicking a football. If they miss the catch or kick, they have to begin again. In Beauty, it's a cheerleading routine with cartwheels and a carry. Totally surprised that Bicep Bros did this because Dave's a cheerleader. Then again, he's more used to catching and throwing and Jet doesn't seem like someone he could throw around.
As with the inspection tasks, some teams struggle while others don't. The elephant in Taylor Field though is the Double U-turn at the top of the stairs. The Bicep Bros finish first and don't U-Turn. They head to the pitstop with their second first place finish in a row. The boys seemed to have a lot of fun on this leg which could be the reason why they've been doing so well. I wonder if they really are going to pick Regina for their free trip in Canada?
And though Bodybreak and the Docs arrived before the Timmies, the father and son team bust through the football. They run up the steps to the U-turn and surprise everyone by U-turning Bodybreak. Are they now the new villains of TAR for knocking out the most favourite team in the country? Some may think and will rail against them, calling the move unnecessary because they were so far ahead. But I don't. It was actually a smart move on the Timmies part to U-turn one of the strongest teams in the race. Everyone else left should thank the Timmies for that move. Especially the Docs.
And to be perfectly honest, the game didn't change when the Timmies U-turned Bodybreak; it changed when Hal and Joanne decided to quit the lentil task and accept the penalty, after one team had already quit. That's what killed them. They put themselves behind the Docs and into the race not to finish last. All the other teams finished the lentil task and because of it, they knew they were safe. Everyone finished ahead of both the Docs and Bodybreak. The Timmies just put the final nail in the coffin.
The drama at the end of the show was fantastic as both tried to finish the other side of the Detour. Who would have thunk that the Docs would beat Bodybreak in a physical task? Which just go to show you; just because you're in good physical shape, it doesn't mean you're coordinated. Or sporty. And another big surprise that everyone's talking about, Joanne breaks out of her wholesome TV character and tells Brett to "Fuck off". It doesn't really get any better than that.
I'm sorry to see Hal and Joanne go, they played the game well but in the Amazing Race, all it takes is one mistake and you're out. And I think they've reinvigorated interest in their efforts to keep Canadians healthy. Before Amazing Race Canada, they weren't even on twitter. And now, they are tweeting like pros with thousands of followers.
But that was another excellent episode. I'm looking forward to the trip to Quebec City, my mom's hometown. According to the teaser, the Sisters get lost. Are you surprised?
Didn't expect to write another Amazing Race Canada post until the next recap, but something came up today that I didn't expect.
I sent what I thought was a relatively innocent tweet to the Docs @TeamPeds, asking that if they were in Tim Jr.'s place and had jumped ahead of Dave for the lake jump, would they have ignored the boos from the crowd and jumped in anyway. If you remember in the past episode, Tim Jr. managed to get roped up before Dave even though Dave had gotten to the task before him. The crowd didn't like it and started booing. From how it looked on TV, it seemed the Tim Jr. decided to be a polite Canadian, listened to the boos and let Dave go ahead of him. I thought it was a lame move and if it was me, I would have ignored the boos and jumped in ahead of Dave.
But this is the tweet I got in response from Dave @thedaveschram:
So Tim Jr. wasn't being lame, he was pulled back by the producers. He would have ignored the boos (good for you, Tim Jr.), but he wasn't allowed to, even though Dave was distracted and allowed Tim Jr. to get roped up ahead of him. Here's a funny tweet back from the Docs about situation:
@thedaveschram @Waynthurson@TimTimeARC I don't know Dave - maybe less flirting with the crowd, more rope attaching ;) #focus
Nice to see the fun interplay between teams on Twitter about this.
However, I'm not sure why the producers interceded in this situation because it was really no different than the Sisters line-cutting at the airport. Or even Cory writing his name on the wrong line and Body Break taking advantage of that. Dave was distracted, Tim Jr. took advantage, got roped in forst and should have been allowed to jump in before him.
Because the producers made Tim. Jr. go back, that allowed the Bicep Bros to get the task done before them. So Jet and Dave got to airstrip and signed up for the first plane to Carcross. And because of that, they won the leg and the trip. However, if the producers hadn't stepped in, the Timmies would have gotten on the first plane to Carcross and the Bicep Bros would have been in on the second plane a half hour behind. So the chances are, the Docs would have finished first because the Timmies needed to do the Speed Bump.
And despite Tim Jr.'s difficulty memorizing his lines, they probably would have finished the Speed Bump before the next plane arrived. And they would have done the Detour and had a good chance of finishing second. Which would have giving them a huge emotional boost after finishing last in the previous legs. The same for the Docs. Body Break or Bicep Bros would have finished third and fourth, or maybe later, depending on when the Sisters arrived to use their Express Pass.
The Hippies would have still been eliminated but the dynamic of the race would have changed. The Bicep Bros would not be on a high of finishing first and who knows how that would have effected them. The Timmies would have been very pleased of finishing second after coming in last, and the Docs would have gotten the free trip.
What do you think? Should the producers have stepped in? And any ideas on why they did?
Since our Amazing Race Canada blog has been getting more readers than we expected (over 1000 last week and almost 600 this week), I've decided to add a bit more content. This may not be a regular occurrence because I have a novel to finish by a certain date and then another one to start, but I'll do my best. I'm also not sure if Gord will do more posts other than his recap because he's a busy guy with his graphic design business. And he's also got to draw more than 40 pages for the first half of the graphic novel I've written for him. That takes a lot of time and effort.
The Amazing Race Canada has been airing every week since July 15, a total of four episodes so far. Ratings have been fantastic, near and sometimes over 3 million viewers. Which is incredible for Canadian standards. If you factor in the repeats of the episodes on TSN, that amounts to about 35 percent of English Canadian viewers watching the show. Big numbers which bodes well for future seasons (Pick me, pick me!)
In the last episode, which originally aired on Aug. 5, 2013, the Hippies were eliminated. And after I watched the show and wrote my recap, I got to thinking: how long have the folks been on the road so far? Sometimes it's hard to judge, especially when we watch an episode a week and then read recaps and keep on top of any other developments. Let's figure it out.
In the first leg, the teams had to fly from Toronto to Kelowna via Vancouver. At the moment, the flight between YYC and YVR is the longest flight on the show so far, averaging about 5 to 5.5 hours, depending on the aircraft flying and the jet stream. When teams arrived in Kelowna, they had to spend a night in a houseboat because the jet-ski place was closed. So they were on their second day when they had to find Ogopogo, jump off the beam and head to the pitstop in the winery. So far: 2 days.
Next leg, the teams had to fly to Vancouver, which is a pretty short flight. All the tasks in this leg took just one day, even though some teams got lost or had trouble with the Detour. So after the hit the mat for Leg 2, they were on Day 3.
They overnighted in Vancouver (sort of) and headed out to Calgary where they found the bull, danced the line dance and then drove to Drumheller. It's only about 90 minutes to Drumheller so not a long trip, but probably longer than the flight from Vancouver, especially since they had to find the coal place or the Tyrell Museum. Tasks done, hit the mat and we're done Day 4.
It was obvious that the teams did not stay near Drumheller after that pitstop, so a short drive into Calgary where they spend the night. Sort of, because Hal and Joanne began this leg just after 2 am. All teams got on the flight to Yellowknife via Edmonton. I've done that flight and it's about 90 minutes. They didn't spend a lot of time in Yellowknife and it was off to Carcross via some twin engine planes. Not sure how long that flight was but I bet it was fantastic and bumpy. On the Inside the Race recap of this episode, the hosts and the Sisters said these were "bush planes". Ha!. The nice flight they were was nothing near being on bush plane. I once took a flight on an old, single-engine float plane over Lake Winnipeg with a pilot who was half drunk. That was a bush plane. Nevertheless, the flight to Carcross and the rest of the tasks happened all on the same day.
So that's a total of 5 days so far these teams have been on the road. This number is based on the assumption that teams are only getting 12 hours at each Pit Stop. In the US version, they've increased some Pit Stops to 24 hours for various production reasons. If the producers have done that for Amazing Race Canada, then my estimation is off.
Five days may not seem like a long time, but it probably feels much longer. I was on a reality show in 2006 (it ran for 8 weeks on BookTV in 2007) in which 12 writers were trapped in a bookstore and had to write a novel in 3 days. I was only there for a long weekend, but it felt like I was away forever. And with the cameras all around you, regular interviews to do and the expectation to be eloquent all the time while trying to accomplish something, it's also very draining. So while I poke fun at these teams from time to time, I know how hard this can be.
See ya after the next episode.
When the teams from Amazing Race Canada were introduced to the country, the one team that I never thought would get burned by Karma was the Hippies. Just check out this line from their bio at the Amazing Race Canada site:.."creating our own realities through positive thinking and sharing love everywhere we go." And they did seem to reflect that positivity throughout most of the race. However, in the last episode, the Hippies moved away from being positive and went back on a deal they made during the first episode. No need to go into details but instead of handing the Express Pass to the team they agreed to hand it over — the Docs — they reneged and handed to the Sisters.
But more on that later. Episode 4 was another great episode, just like the previous one. Full of drama, excitement, mistakes, great tasks, wonderful gameplay and incredible scenery. I've only been to the NWT once and even though it was in the middle of winter, it was fantastic. And that's where the teams head after the Pit Stop in Drumheller: Yellowknife. Obviously, the teams didn't stay near Drumheller for the Pit Stop because they had to get to the Calgary Airport first. And you can't really take a taxi from Drumheller to there. Okay, you can, but it's expensive.
So the teams get to the airport and the Sisters use their physical skills, so to speak, to get to the front of the line. A valid piece of gamesmanship on their part, although in the end, all teams got on the first flight. Even the Timmies. The fact that the other teams were surprised to see the Timmies tells me that the producers are sequestering the teams, rather than letting them hang out together. This way, no one knows who has made it until the next leg.
In Yellowknife, teams go the Bush Pilot Monument, find a clue which directs them to the Government Dock. Most everyone jumps in their vehicles and drive away, thinking they'll find the locale as they drive. This happens a lot in the game and you'd think teams would take a bit of time and check the map before driving away. (Side note: In the final leg of Amazing Race Australia Season 2, two of the three teams did the same thing, while the team that paused and checked the map got to the tasks faster and thus won the entire Race.) Only the Docs paused and discovered they just had to cross the street.
Jumping in the frozen Greater Slave Lake was a great task, simple but tough. And very Canadian. Overall teams didn't linger too much but nice try on Tim Jr. to jump ahead of the Bicep Bros. He should have forgotten the boos of the crowd and jumped in regardless. That's what I would have done. The Amazing Race isn't a popularity contest, especially to the folks that have been hired to act as an audience on a task. Who cares what they think.
Once they finish this frozen task, teams head to a local hanger and sign up for 1 of 3 flights to Carcross, Yukon. Never been there but I've only heard good things about the Yukon. The Docs and Bicep Bros sign up for Flight 1 while Timmies get first for Flight 2. Unfortunately, Cory from the Brothers makes a major mistake. Instead of signing up as the second team for Flight 2, he signs up as the first team on Flight 3. Body Break notice the error and wisely get on Flight 2.
I'll admit to being slightly disappointed when the Brothers asked Body Break to cut them a break. Normally, these guys accept their mistakes and move on. It wasn't Body Break's fault that Cory made a mistake, so to ask them to fix it didn't seem right. And good on Hal and Jo for saying No Chancey Mr. Whalen on the request. Why give up a seat on the second place for one on the last one? That's just asking to be eliminated.
So the teams fly to the Yukon some twin engine planes. I'll bet it was an amazing trip over some of the best landscape this country has to offer. Once in Carcross, the teams gotta find the old Duchess train. Based on how far the teams had to run, it didn't seem that close to the airstrip. It looked to be especially hard on Jodi. At the train, a Detour. Supply Run or Gold Rush.
In Supply Run, teams must build a raft, load it with supplies, paddle out to get a clue and then paddle back. Oddly, the Docs picked this one because it seemed a lot more physical than the Gold Rush, where teams had to complete three small tasks: saw some wood, throw a hatchet and push a teammate in a wheelbarrow while the other teammate was blindfolded. Don't get how the blindfold bit was part of the Gold Rush, but whatever.
The Docs begin in trouble with Brett yelling at Holly for questioning why he chose this task. The Bicep Bros use their Biceps Of Unusual Size (BOUSs) to power through the task. Although the boy with the biggest biceps, Jet, can't throw to save his life. But they are the first to hit the mat. Regardless of the short bickering and their lack of raft building experience, the Docs do pretty good and get second place.
BodyBreak come a respectable third, but the Timmies get caught up on their Roadblock, which is remember and then recite four verses from Robert Service's classic poem of Canadiana, The Shooting of Dan McGrew. Nice to see the producers pay homage to a great Canadian writer. Also, the folks acting as the drinking Klondikers in this task were hilarious. Reminded me of the times I spend with my buddy Gord, drinking beers and eating chicken wings.
Because of the Speed Bump and the Sisters usage of the Express Pass, the two girls move ahead of the Timmies and race to the mat. I love how this rivalry seems to play out on its own, with the two teams always racing each other to the mat. And when the girls were told to bring their backpacks within view of Jon, I thought the boys would win this time around. But they didn't. Still, the Timmie's seemed just glad not to be in last place. "Hugs all around," said Tim Sr., maybe putting the rivalry to rest.
When the Sisters used their Express Pass, my first thought was "Uh-oh. That's not going to be good for the Hippies." And it wasn't. If they had given their pass to the Docs as they first agreed, the girls would have had to complete the task. And based on their coal experience, they would have sucked at it. The Hippies and the Brothers would have beat them easily. So there's the karma. And, instead of using their Express Pass, the Hippies let pride get in the way and took on the raft task because they are both kayaking and canoeing guides. So that allowed the Brothers to pull ahead.
The final minutes of this episode were very exciting, with Jodi worried about letting down his brother, and the Hippies seemingly catching up. Nice editing in the suite, folks. Again, I'm amazed at Jody's strength and determination. He ran a lot in this leg and still kept running, despite the pain he must have been feeling. And so they finished ahead of the Hippies. It probably didn't feel good to be eliminated from the race with an Express Pass in hand, but at least they didn't make excuses they way some team did in the most recent US Season of TAR.
Next week, the Queen City, Regina, Sask. where it looks the Riders play a role in a task and bunch of teams look to fall apart. And a double U-Turn! Can't wait for that.
Since we've been getting some attention to my Amazing Race Canada blog, mostly at this one I share with my buddy Gord, weve been hearing from a couple of racing teams. Body Break and the Docs. Neato.
And the goal of this particular post is about what the Docs tweeted to me. Sure, some may think they are the villains of the show. Boo to you. I think they are one of the few teams to realize that this is a game and are playing the game well. It's not personal, just part of the gameplay.
But they are doctors who work with kids and as a father of a kid, I appreciate that work. My wife is also a medical professional (an OT) who also works with kids so I know it takes a special person to do that. Of course, she's special cause she married me but that's another story.
Anyway, the Docs aren't the villains some may think they are because they are donating 1/4 of any winnings they get from the Amazing Race Canada to the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation. Totally awesome in my book. And it's not just the first place team that gets money. Other teams get a prize depending on how the finish. At least that's what happens in the US version so I hope they will do the same for Amazing Race Canada. And if they don't win, you can also help. They are asking for donations from viewers of Amazing Race Canada. So check it all out at Amazing Cause.
And see ya for Episode 4.
Wayne Arthurson is a huge Amazing Race fan, having watched all the US, Asian, Australian and Canadian versions of the show. He's also a dad, the author of the bestselling Leo Desroches crime series and other books available here, as well as a freelance and ghost writer. Plus, he's played drums in various bands.