I understand the need to inject newness in the show as it becomes 26, the age in which your metabolism starts to slow down and all those foods and drinks you could previously consumed start to add up, on your belly and in your mental faculties. But a whole race of dating couples? I don't mind a few dating couples per race but having that kind of dynamic from all of the teams for the entire race may get a little too much. And the race is the worse place to test a relationship. I remember talking to Alain and Audrey, the dating couple from Season 2 of Amazing Race Canada about testing their relationship on the race. Their reply was that they didn't come on the race to test the strength of their relationships because the test of a good and strong relationship comes from not from some short intense TV but from day to day living. It's the ability to stay in love and work together and compromise as you go about your regular day, week after week, month after month, year after year, that makes a strong and successful relationship. Take it from me, I've been married for 22 years to a woman I still find to the smartest, most beautiful and sexiest woman in the world.
Also, TAR hasn't been that successful in its stunt seasons. Remember that Family Race? That season almost got the show cancelled. Let's just say I'm skeptical about this dating game version but will watch to see what happens. So far it's all okay and predictable. Amongst the already dating couples, you have the celebrity team feature one of the New Kids on the Block (they are also the gay couple), there's the bearded team (though she doesn't have a beard she's tough cause she's a roller derby girl), there's the older couple, the couple of colour and a couple of Olympians (taking a page from TAR Canada). Then there are five guys, four straight, one gay (no lesbian couple, really?) And the guys seem okay, although the doctor seems to be a little too strict in his standards. Come on dude, being a doctor is cool and all but you're still a sort of geek so don't be all high and mighty about your romance needs.
And then the other side of the blind date couples come out, four girls, one guy. The gay couple are a perfect match with the almost exact hair. I think these guys will be strong just cause of that. Most of the other female blind teammates seemed pleased with their new partners although the Doc and his partner seem a little apprehensive; lost of negative body language there. Also, what's with matching the dude of colour with the girl of colour? Why are all the caucasian dudes be matched with another caucasian partner?
Anyway, Phil sends them on their way to Tokyo but before they get to the airport, they have to rush through a muddy obstacle course in order to be one of the first eight teams on the flight. And you can see the strength of all couples based on how they do this task. If you rush through while not waiting for your partner, or stand there and yell at them to move, then you're in trouble. If you stick together through the mud and dirt, helping each other along the way, you have a better chance.
Yep the right there Doc dude, instead of helping your partner get through, you stood there at the ticket shouting at her to hurry up. You weren't mean but you didn't help. And so Jelani and Jenny, the other blind dating couple, who stuck with each other and helped walked up together to grab the final ticket. So along with J & J, the New Kid team, the Olympians, the older couple, and others, eight teams are on the first flight. The rest on the second. Sorry that I don't mention all the teams but I'm doing this mostly from memory, etc. and the first few episodes are really tough to get to know everyone.
In Tokyo teams have to hit Kanda Myojin and in another first, there's a U-Turn on the first leg. It's a blind one so you can U-Turn anonymously. Although Gord and I don't care, if we needed to U-Turn someone, we'd do regardless of whether they knew it or not. Part of the game.
Overall, the drive to the airport ain't too bad, some awkwardness, some funny, although the best part had nothing to do with a relationship. It's when New Kid on the Block has to tell Hayley and Blair that he's one of the New Kids on the Block. I wouldn't have recognized him either but hey, he's pretty cool about it, doesn't expect people to recognize them, well not that much. Still best scene of the opening.
Of to Tokyo, off to the Shrine. Some takes trains some takes taxis. Personally, I'm a train guy cause it's cheaper, you don't have to deal with traffic and you don't have to worry about a bad cab. It's all on you so make sure you got proper directions. But it's a taxi team, J & J who get their first. It's a Detour. And holy crap, it's World Order. I love those guys, weird for a punk rock dude like me but I got all their albums. Their music is great for writing. Totally awesome. Did you know their leader use to be a MMA fighter?
First task is to match World Order choreography and I'd be all over that, just to meet the band. Although Gord and I would suck but I'd just try to meet them. Next task works best for us, memorize 10 sakis, take orders from a bunch of drunk samurais and relay the order at the bar. First World Order and then off to the bar. Story of Gord and Wayne's life, man.
Love the saki samurai though, reminds me of a Japanese, and substantially shorter, version of Gord. And yep, it's beer night with Gord, Wayne and the boys. But hey, it's World Order. And you'd think New Kid would jump all over that, but he must know one of the key rules of TAR: if a task is related to your profession, you'll suck at it. And while the saki task seems hard, you only have to get one order correct before moving. Various teams try various tasks, dancing is always the hardest, while others are lost.
After that you have to make your way to Wakaba Higashi Park for the U-Turn. Then it's off to the Mat on a free parking spot near the UDX Building. Teams run around until JJ#1, one of the blind dating couples finds Phil. And yes, he points. They get the Express Pass. I wonder if the blind date teams are sequestered in a room together, do they get their own rooms alone, and/or is there a chaperone that may or may not be a CIA hitman. (Read the book Confessions of a Dangerous Minds for reference. Or see the movie, it's pretty awesome, especially Sam Rockwell). Other teams come in, JJ#2 come second and night sets in as dancing continues. This part starts to drag, really a bunch of filler to pad the 90 minutes. Team Truckstop U-Turns, Jeff and Lyda, and they U-Turn JJ#2 but that's too late. Team Tuskegee are lost and continue to get lost. Some drama or is it editing?) I think it's editing because Team Tuskegee arrive at the mat, with no one behind him. Jeff and Lyda are out.
It was a pretty good episode, although the watching of dancing got old after awhile. Still, fun and WORLD ORDER! That made it for me. Next episode comes really fast and teams seem to be still in Japan. See ya next time.