The Amazing Race: Cheese May Be Hazardous To Your Health

THE AMAZING RACE 14Welcome, dear readers, to a new and exciting season of Amazing Race recaps! I’ve had a long satisfying winter break but now that Santa Claus, Father Time, The Steelers, and Cupid have all come and gone, it’s time for me to come up with new and exciting ways to describe obscure international locales and viciously insult teams that bother me. Ready… go!

11 new teams arrived via military grade choppers on a base in SoCal before hitting one of two LAX departing flights to Switzerland. Why the producers neglected to save some coin with an east coast starting line I’ll never know, but I’m hardly going to let that bother me. To start things off in a comprehensive fashion, allow me to offer my first impressions on each team:

Margie & Luke: A mother/son team sporting the inspirational story hook of Luke being completely deaf. They fixate a little much on overcoming the notion that deaf people can’t do everything hearing people can, but are there still people backwards enough to think that? Regardless, they’re a kind and happy duo with the promise to be serious contenders.

Tammy & Victor: Sibling lawyers. Teams like these (I’m thinking TAR 12′s Azaria & Hendekea) tend to start strong but falter due to pride or overthinking every last detail, but I wish them my best.

Mark & Michael: Diminutive middle-aged brothers who work as stuntmen for children’s roles. A delightfully unique pairing. If they’re half as enjoyable as famed little person racer Charla, they’ll be a blast.

Mel & Mike: Father/son writers, you might recognize Mike from his role in School of Rock, which he also wrote. They’re quick-witted and they work well together, but I’m a little scared that Mel’s age might get the best of them. I hope they go far.

Amanda & Kris: They’re young, they’re hot, they date, I yawn.

Brad & Victoria: Conceited 50-something married couple who make me miss Ken & Tina already. They might have villainy potential, though.

Jamie & Cara: Former cheerleaders. I hate to be stereotypical, but you do the math on this one, folks.

Kisha & Jen: A seemingly happy sister act, didn’t really get enough screen time in this first go-round for me to form a valid opinion.THE AMAZING RACE 14

Steve & Linda: Appalachian hill folk, to put it kindly. Steve’s blunt derision of his wife’s abilities already have me rooting for their ouster and yearning for the days of David & Mary, a team whose simple kindness and sense of wonder made them a far better class of redneck.

Christie & Jodi: Two catty flight attendants whose skills would seem to put them at a distinct travel advantage, except that this season has been promised to be as airport-free as possible. Lol.

Preston & Jennifer: More young daters, but at least Preston has a southern accent, making him marginally more interesting than Kris by default.

This leg’s stunning alpine setting made for some great adventures (a 700-foot bungee plunge off a dam) and an enjoyable dose of local culture (yodelers!) but what will truly remain in my memories was a task that entailed moving 50-pound cheese wheels up and down a dauntingly steep and slippery hill with only the assistance of a traditional wooden backpack contraption that appeared to be made of balsa wood and crafted with the workmanship of a dollar store lawn chair. When those big freakin’ cheeses got loose and started rolling, they looked ready to deal some serious damage. Also hilarious: Mel scooting down the hill on his ass, cheese in lap, inspiring several more racers to do the same. More than a little bit surreal, that image.

At the end of the leg, Margie & Luke came out on top and Preston & Jennifer were shown the door. Quite nearly the best possible outcome if you ask me. Next week, the race heads to Austria. Would it be too much to ask for a Sound of Music-themed challenge?

Season 14, Episode 1: Don’t Let a Cheese Hit Me (originally aired February 15, 2009)

For another take on this episode, check out More Cheese, Please. by Alana D.

For more on The Amazing Race, click here.

Sundays at 8pm ET/PT on CBS

Photographs courtesy of CBS

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