The Amazing Race: Wordplay Be Tough!

The Amazing Race 15I have to admit, I found watching The Amazing Race last night to be mildly therapeutic. Depressed over the end of indulgent Thanksgiving meals, relaxation and canine bonding and the return to the cold, dark Boston grind, it was amusing to watch people worse off than I am make spectacular fools out of themselves. And truly, that’s what they did. Another benefit: the episode had the most satisfying ending thus far.

The teams begin by racing to the Spanish Synagogue in Prague, where they are directed to the Ekotechnicke Museum. Meghan & Cheyne lead the way…it’s a funny world we live in. Meanwhile, Sam & Dan whine about how everyone thinks they are the villains now because they stole Brian & Ericka’s taxi last week. I say they were justified. Anybody that takes as long to pull themselves across a cable as Brian & Ericka did are just asking to be screwed.

At the museum, the teams have to venture into a Kafkaesque lair filled with ringing telephones. Five of the ringing phones have people on the other end of the line waiting to give them one letter. The challenge is to take the five letters and put them together to spell “Franz,” Kafka’s first name. Then the teams have to write it down and take the paper to a couple of gendarmes (wrong nationality I know, but the term fits) who either approve it or stamp a big red X over the paper. I loved the host’s introduction to Kafka: “the existential author rejected technology and questioned the meaning of life.” What a profoundly thorough preface.

Meghan figures it out pretty fast and she and Cheyne move on to a “kryocentrum,” where they have to spend two minutes in a cryotherapy chamber. Basically all they have to do is freeze their little conservative asses off for a short period of time. I could have done without seeing Cheyne half-naked, but you can’t win them all.

Meanwhile, everyone else is still at the museum trying to complete the challenge. Everyone except Brian & Ericka, that is, who are suffering through a penalty due to coming in last place last week. Their punishment, if you can believe it, is to go to a bar, make and drink a shot of absinthe. Who in their right mind would find going to a bar and drinking for free a punishment? Well, actually, Brian. He whines that he doesn’t drink a drop at home, so this is a big chore for him. They do it, then start running to the next clue. Brian worries about getting stopped for being intoxicated. If I were Brian I’d The Amazing Race 15be more worried about being married to a shrew of a wife.

Everyone gets through the Kafka thing except Flight Time. Every team passes him, including Brian & Ericka, who got there hours after everyone else got there. Truly, he can’t figure out how to put five letters together to spell something coherent, even after Sam (or was it Dan? Who cares?) tells him that it starts with the letter F. I couldn’t believe it. How could anyone be that moronic? Maybe he got smacked in the skull with a basketball too many times. I really want to make some mean-spirited jokes and mockeries here, but being it’s the holiday season, I’ll refrain. Eventually, Flight Time gives up and the Globetrotters take a four hour penalty.

Brian & Ericka make it to the cryotherapy chamber. Ericka keeps whining that she hates the cold. Are you detecting a trend here? Stupid people whining. I really think that should become the new title for the show. I kept hoping that somehow the cryogenics would malfunction and Brian & Ericka would be frozen solid. Then Sylvester Stallone could run in and kick them into a million pieces, like he did to tax-evader Wesley Snipes in Demolition Man. No such luck though.

For the next challenge, teams have a choice between covering a heavy wooden golem with wet clay and lugging it across town to a synagogue, or carrying 30 beers through the town square to a group of soccer punks. I would have taken the beers in a second. Actually, I probably would have done the other one because I wouldn’t trust myself not to drink them.

Meghan & Cheyne finish first once again. The real highlight is watching Flight Time and Big Easy sit on their asses on cold stairs watching their million dollars fly away. They try to make jokes and act like they’re just hanging out, but they know they’re screwed and I knew it too. Can you guess how this one ends? Early on in the season Flight Time talked about how his dying father told him to win the race. Looks like daddy has some grave-rolling ahead of him. Good job buddy. Way to honor your croaking father. On that note, happy holidays everybody

For another take on this week’s episode, check out Sooo Kafka-esque by Alana D.

Season 16, Episode 10: “It starts with an ‘F’.  That’s all I’m going to tell you” (originally aired November 29, 2009)

For more on The Amazing Race, click here.

Sundays at 8pm ET/PT on CBS

Photographs courtesy of Larry D. Horricks, CBS

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