Recap: The Amazing Race 16, Episode 1 – “I have the balance of a drunken elderly person on stilts.”

Episode 16.01: Nana Is Kickin’ Your Butt

The Leg
It seems like it was just yesterday that Meghan & Cheyne ran towards the finish line with the first time the last eight teams welcomed the final three standing in a single line.

But here we are at the starting line of another Amazing Race.  The 16th!! Amazing Race.

The eleven new teams are driven to the start line in a fresh new Amazing Race bus.  Phil, on top of a bulding as always, introduces them…

Brent & Caite are dating models but really, they’re here because Caite is the infamous Miss Teen South Carolina.  They show a clip (featuring Friday Night Lights‘ Aimee Teegarden!) from the NBC broadcast of the pageant.  She wants to prove she isn’t an idiot.

Jet & Cord are cowboy brothers from Oklahoma, they have 5 world titles.  Steve & Allie are father and daughter.  Steve is a pro baseball coach, most recently with the Philadelphia Phillies.  Brothers Dan & Jordan are alike in many ways, except Jordan is gay. 

Dana & Adrian are high school sweethearts, married 17 years.  He poured their savings into a business that failed.  Jordan & Jeff are “dating long-distance.”  They are incredibly annoying reality whores winner and showmance boyfriend from the most recent American Big Brother.  

Jody & Shannon are grandmother and granddaughter… both triathletes.  Grandma Jody can lift.  Louie & Michael are undercover detectives from Rhode Island.  They catch millionaires and crackheads (the scum of the earth).  They think they’ll win every leg.

Monique & Shawne are best friends and attorneys.  Joe & Heidi are married parents from El Segundo.  He’ll be the problem child he says.  And Carol & Brandy are dating from Los Angeles… they love Louis Vuitton.

Phil wishes them well.  “One of the most difficult and demanding Races ever,” he warns.  For the first time since season 6, Phil says once teams go to their bags and open their first clue, they’ll have to use public transportation to get to the airport.  First three teams get tickets to the first flight that leaves an hour before the 2nd one.  

Phil mentions twelve legs and… “The world is waiting for you.  Good luck, travel safe… GO!”

Teams run to their bags and find out they’ll be flying to Santiago, Chile.  They all run in different directions to find buses and trains.  Jody & Shannon run with the detectives, as gayJordan (which we’ll refer to in that way until one or the other is eliminated.  broJeff maybe?) yells “I love you Miss Teen South Carolina” to Caite.  He loves her and imitates her.

Jody & Shannon run ahead of the detectives while Joe & Heidi lead the others to the metro.  The brothers and Brent & Caite make the train, but grandma/daughter and the detectives miss it and have to wait 20 minutes. 

Meanwhile, the other teams head to Union Station and take the LAX Flyaway bus.  While running, Jeff & BBJordan think they’re going to Guatemala or China.  Jordan says she’s never heard of these places.  

Four teams are on the bus and get to the airport first.  Despite BBJordan asking for tickets to China, only her and Jeff, Monique & Shawne, and Dana & Adrian make it onto the first flight (through Dallas), leaving Carol & Brandy to take the later flight.  

The train teams arrive and are surprised to find out they are on the 2nd flight, through Miami. As the teams wait for their flights, gaybroJordan tells Carol & Brandy about Caite, whom they remember as he does another imitation of her answer.  Meanwhile, Jet & Cord go to exchange their money… ALL of it for Brazilian Reals, not Chilean Pesos.

“Every single time I meet people, they’re like ‘Oh, I thought you were gonna be a bitch.'” Caite tells the others.  One of the detectives reply, “One of the lesbians go, ‘Where’s her tiara?'”

Brandy hope for bad weather in Dallas or a major mechanical failure so as to delay the first flight.  She gets her wish.  The flight needs to switch planes, so the three lead teams scramble for new tickets and end up getting on the same flight as the others. 

Once in Chile, teams will have to find buses that will take them to Valparaiso, the “San Francisco of South America” because of the steep hillsides and the use of the TAR trusted funiculars.  In Valparaiso, teams will make their way to the Ascensor VIllaseca where they’ll find their next clue. 

Brent & Caite, Jeff & Jordan, Monique & Shawne, and Dana & Adrian get on the first bus at 12:15.  Jet & Cord  attempt to get on the 12:20 bus, but the driver won’t accept their Chilean money.  All but three teams make the 2nd bus.  Jet & Cord, Jody & Shannon, and the detectives settle for the last bus at 12:30.

The first bus arrives in Valparaiso and the teams get in taxis, the other teams are minutes behind.  Brent & Caite arrive at the clue box first and find the Road Block, cable walking.  In this Road Block, teams will have to balance 120 feet above the ground and make their way across a 100 yard cable.  They’ll get their clue on the other side.

Caite decides to do the Road Block.  She isn’t afraid of heights, but Jeff is, so BBJordan does the Road Block for them.

The other two teams from the first bus get lost allowing the second bus teams to arrive.  Joe, Allie, and Dan do the Road Block for their teams.  (“I love you bro!!” repeats gaybroJordan.)  Steve gets emotional talking about his daughter as Brandy joins the other five teams on the cables.  Brandy shakes as Caite finishes and gets their next clue.  Teams must now take one of the funiculars, the Ascensor Artilleria, down the hillside and find their next clue.

The final bus arrives in Valparaiso, the Jody & Shannon and the cowboy brothers in last.Shawne and Adrian decide on doing the Road Block.

Dan leans back and falls off the cable, but now has to pull himself to the end.  Brandy continues shaking crazily and now sits on the cable before pushing herself and gets back up..  Shawne prays as she goes over while BBJordan finishes.

Jeff & BBJordan have no idea what a funicular is, but find their way allowing Dan & gaybroJordan to catch up and they take a funicular together.  Caite & Brent walk down the hill instead… oops.

The couple finds the next clue, “It’s time to paint the town.”  Teams will help in the city’s prettiness by grabbing four cans of paint, two brushes, and a ladder, walking up the steep Templeman Street to find a house matching their paint color.  They’ll paint an unfinished section of the house’s wall and then receive their next clue.

Jordeff and the brothers grab their supplies and try to find the homes as Steve & Allie and Joe & Heidi ride down the funiculars.  Carol & Brandy are close behind. 

Brent & Caite meet up with Jordan & Jeff.  The dating models have gone in circles, everywhere except where they’re supposed to… up the hill.  Jordan & Jeff are the ones who go up first and find the wall where there’s a no bigger than 12×12 in spot they have to paint over.  Brent & Caite follow.

Detectives Louie & Michael finally get to the Road Block as the other teams get to looking for the house.    Louie passes Adrian on the ropes before Adrian falls over.  The safety specialist comes over to help him, but Adrian says he wants to go.  He can’t so the specialist pulls him back to the start as Shannon and Cord catch up and go over.

Meanwhile on the other side of town, Jeff & Jordan officially check in first and win a trip to (cute trick!) Vancouver!!!  Not only that!  But they get to have a go at the Whistler Sliding Centre!

Brent & Caite come running in after and Phil tells them they’re the 2nd to arrive.  They have a celebratory kiss, but oops… yeah, they had to go down the funicular.  30 minute penalty for them!

In 7th place, Monique & Shawne are lucky enough to meet a guy that points them in the right direction.  They finish and end up officially as Team #2.

On the streets of Valparaiso, Dan loses one of their brushes and they are sure it’ll be a penalty.  gaybroJordan wants to look for it, but Dan says they can’t spend all day, so they have to move on.  Steve & Allie are running into their own trouble when they walk into a home being renovated and begin painting a wall with the renovators having no idea who they are and what they’re doing there.

Louie & Michael, Jet & Cord, and Jody & Shannon finish the Road Block, leaving Dana to wonder what has happened to Adrian on the other side.  He decides to try again. 

Like Steve & Allie, Louie & Michael begin painting over the graffiti on some random wall.”That is ugly!  They don’t know how to paint,” the soduku renovator says to the father and daughter, after having just painted half a wall inside the house, leave to find the right place.  The right place to which Jet & Cord, being in 9th place, find very quickly.  They move up to 3rd at the Mat.

Dan & Jordan finish and head to the mat, but because of their lost paintbrush, they get a 15 minute penalty.  Just as they walk off the mat, Steve & Allie check in Team #4 and Joe & Heidi check in Team #5.

Carol & Brandy finish Team #6 and Brent & Caite can check in now at #7.  Dan & Jordan finish their penalty and finish #8.  Louie & Michael follow at #9 and Jody & Shannon finish 10th. 

Adrian falls off the cable again, but Dana can’t help but be proud of him as he tried his best. Phil goes to meet them at the Road Block starting point and they are the first team eliminated from the Race.

First off… YAY! The Amazing Race is back! Which is always great.

The episode itself, while fun and exciting, did seem more like a regular leg than the premiere one.  Still, it was enjoyable and the teams are refreshing.  Not one villainous person on the Race… yet.  Even Jeff & Jordan were tolerable and Caite actually seemed like she could be a strong competitor!  Go figure!

Valparaiso, Chile looked beautiful!  “San Francisco of South America” eh?  *wink*wink*hint*hint*

The house painting could’ve been one side of a Detour, the side that isn’t too hard of a task, but a pain to find as opposed to the nearby task, but impossibly difficult.  It was great because it was a chance for some local sightseeing, but more importantly because it threw teams way out of whack, so much so that teams at the bottom of the pack finished 2nd and 3rd!

The Vancouver prize was cute.  I do hope TAR holds up well against the Olympics these first two weeks. 

All in all, an great start. Not an epic premiere like last season’s, but good.  I am definitely intrigued by Phil’s “most difficult and demanding” comment.  Reminds me of The Amazing Race Asia‘s “toughest Race ever” tagline.  I wonder what’s in store for the teams this season.  The Amazing Race 10 was the most physically demanding Race ever, so it may be that TAR16 surpasses it!  

Leg One Itinerary
Vista Hermosa Natural Park
Los Angeles, California

Miami, Florida

Santiago, Chile

Ascensor Villaseca
Valparaiso, Chile

Ascensor Artilleria
Valparaiso, Chile

Paseo Templeman (Templeman Street)
Valparaiso, Chile

Palacio Baburizza
Valparaiso, Chile

Who Did the Detour?
In order of completion



Road Block Count
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did this week’s Road Block

Who has the balance of a cat and the courage of a lion?
0 Brent Caite 1
1 Jordan Jeff 0
1 Dan Jordan 0
0 Steve Allie 1
1 Joe Heidi 0
0 Carol Brandy 1
0 Monique Shawne 1
1 Louie Michael 0
0 Jody Shannon 1
0 Jet Cord 1
0 Dana Adrian* 0

Order of Finish
1st Jeff & Jordan
2nd Monique & Shawne
3rd Jet & Cord
4th Steve & Allie
5th Joe & Heidi
6th Carol & Brandy
7th Brent & Caite *
8th Dan & Jordan *
9th Louie & Michael
10th Jody & Shannon
Eliminated Dana & Adrian
* Brent & Caite arrived 2nd, but were issued a 30 minute penalty.  Dan & Jordan arrived 4th, but were issued a 15 minute penalty.

My Subjective Team Rankings for Leg 1
Daniel & Jordan Dan & Jordan – They seem like fun guys.  They’re both young and fit, which probably means they’ll go far barring stupid mistakes like them losing their paintbrush.
Steve & Allie Steve & Allie – They seem like a fun and loving father and daughter.  A little bit of a slip-up in the first leg, but avoid walking into people’s houses, and they can do well.
Jody & Shannon Jody & Shannon – Jody seems like she’s very tough and they could be a great team, but this just wasn’t their leg.  Not a good sign either that they got both the last train to LAX and then the last bus to Valparaiso.  I always root for the grandparents though!
Monique & Shawne Monique & Shawne – They had a good combination of luck and high spirits.  Having good energy will help you in the Race and they were positive throughout landing them in 2nd.
Brent & Caite Brent & Caite – She wanted to prove she wasn’t the idiot she made herself out to be on Miss Teen USA.  Well, she did well for herself in this leg… until she and Brent forgot one of the cardinal rules of the Race… READ YOUR CLUE!!!! If they can keep up with the details as they point out, and read their clue, they may be a strong team.
Jet & Cord Jet & Cord – This was the first time a Racer wearing sunglasses struck me as odd.  Jet’s sunglasses and grin as Cord went across the cable almost felt arrogant to me, yet I think they’re okay.  Maybe make sure before changing all your dollars though.
Dana & Adrian Dana & Adrian – It was a shame they had to go out that way, but that’s just the Race.  First signs of “difficult” and “demanding” maybe?  Good people though.
Carol & Brandy Carol & Brandy – Their intro and first few minutes on the leg painted them as a little snobbish, no doubt.  But they picked it up at the Road Block and could be solid with their teamwork. 
Joe & Heidi Joe & Heidi – Not much from them this leg except for lots of kissing, but it looks like the “problem child” may appear next week based on the sole focus in the preview.
Louie & Michael Louie & Michael – The bit of bravado in their intro video was probably greatly misplaced.  Not only that, they seemed absolutely shocked they were 9th.  Really?
Jordan & Jeff Jordan & Jeff – In fairness, they were very tolerable this opening leg.  While I still don’t agree with casting other CBS reality show rejects (in the loosest form), their gaffes were sort of amusing in a “Oh here we go again” sort of way.  Their persistent dumb-ness and Jeff’s arrogance were almost unbearable on Big Brother, let’s hope that doesn’t show up here.
Quotes from Episode 16-01

Dan: “Gay all the way.”
Jordan: “Gay is the only way.”
Dan: “Not true.”

A Detective: “Little old lady is kickin’ your butt, baby.  C’mon.  Nanna is kickin’ your butt.”

Jeff: “Didn’t you ever watch Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego?

Jordan: “We need tickets to China.”

Carol/Brandy: “We’re looking for a Martha Stewart Teafoam Green… from the 1997 collection… before jail.”

Jody: “I have the balance of a drunken elderly person on stilts.  We start losing our sense of balance at age 40 and I’m 71, so I just… I can barely stand on one foot.”

Monique: “That damn ladder!  …bear my cross!  I said if Jesus could do this, I could this.  I’m trying to be like Jesus.”

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