Recap: The Amazing Race 20, Episode 4 – “The Amazing Race is supposed to be fun and good!”

The Amazing Race 20, Episode 4 – Taste Your Salami

The Leg

Teams open their first clue and they’re heading to Europe. Teams must fly to Turin, Italy. Unlike their fellow competitors, Bopper & Mark decide to head to the airport instead of stopping by a travel agent first to book tickets.  Kentucky sees Art & JJ (hours ahead of everyone else!?) at the airport who tell them their mistake.  As everyone else gets on a flight arriving in Turin at 10:35am, Bopper & Mark get a flight arriving at 11:50am.  But it isn’t until they’re all sitting at the airport that they find out they are on a later flight. They try getting on the earlier flight with everyone else, but no luck.

The seven teams arrive in Turin and must drive a Ford Focus to the Lingotto building for their next clue. Art & JJ arrive first with other teams behind them running up the building and they find the Fast Forward.

In this Fast Forward, teams will have to land a remote controlled helicopter on the helipad of a scale model of the Lingotto building that’ll be sitting on their partner’s head.

Art & JJ decide to do it (of course, they’re in first).

Knowing Art & JJ already went for the Fast Forward, Brendon & Rachel, in 2nd, decide to move on to the Road Block.

In this Road Block, teams will rappel down the middle of the spiral section of the Lingotto building and obtain a clue hanging from one of the levels and then reunite with their partner at the bottom.  Teams must grab the clue within two minutes, otherwise they’ll have to run back up to the top of the building and do it again.

Rachel goes first and quickly rappels down with Danny right behind. They get the next clue and leave for Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile while Art & JJ have a little trouble with the Fast Forward.

While Rachel and Dave argue over wanting to go for the Fast Forward, Vanessa and Jamie get started on the Road Block, but fail to get the clue before the two minutes are up.  As both of them run back up, Rachel manages to grab the clue before them.

At the museum, teams must use the Active Park Assist feature on the Ford Focus before heading inside. Brendon & Rachel arrive first, but get testy before the car can park itself, allowing Joey & Danny to pass them.  Once inside the museum, teams must search for the 1916 Tin Lizzie, also known as the original Ford Model T, for their next clue.

Back at the Lingotto, Jamie and Vanessa finally get their clues as Art & JJ complete the Fast Forward and head to the Pit Stop at Piazza Castello.  Kerri & Stacy just arrive at the Lingotto while Bopper & Mark are far behind.

Back at the museum, a calmer Brendon & Rachel find the Model T and little ring boxes with a 2-cent Euro on it.  Teams have to figure out that they have to go to the building on the back of the coin, the Mole Antonelliana.

Brendon & Rachel can’t figure that out, so they try to find a slot in the car to drop the coin in then slowly walk through the museum to find a clue.  That allows Joey & Danny, Rachel & Dave, Vanessa & Ralph and Nary & Jamie to pass them. 

Art & JJ arrive at the Mat and claim their 2nd first place in a row and win $5000 each.  Meanwhile, Joey & Danny arrive at the Mole Antonelliana first.  Teams have to take the elevator to the top to find their clue.

It’s the Detour.
In Clean That Statue, teams must clean and polish one of Turin’s treasured statues using the equipment provided. Once “restored to it’s original glory,” teams will get their next clue.
In Name That Salami, teams have to find the Gastronomia Salumeria and taste 14 different Salamis and their names. They’ll then walk to Piazza Vittorio Veneto and correctly identify those 14 Salamis at a food stand.

While Brendon & Rachel gets started with the salami, Joey & Danny, Rachel & Dave, Vanessa & Ralph and Nary & Jamie drive a long way to the statues. 

Rachel & Dave finish the Detour first and head to the Pit Stop as Brendon & Rachel start off well identifying some of the salamis.  But as Rachel & Dave check in 2nd (which is complete and utter failure according to Dave), Rachel begins to get frustrated when Kerri & Stacy show up at the Salumeria.  They only have four more salamis left, but Rachel breaks down.

With Joey & Danny, Vanessa & Ralph, and Nary & Jamie all checking-in 3rd through 5th respectively, Rachel calms back down again and she and Brendon happily identify their last salamis.  They head to the Pit Stop (“DiGiorno!”) and are officially 6th.

Kerri & Stacy just escape last after checking in 7th.

That leaves Bopper & Mark in last place.  They head to the Mat and are already teary eyed. Phil tells them they’re last and that Art & JJ have something they want to tell them.  The border patrol agents say they will give Bopper half of their $10,000 1st place prize from this leg to help with his sick daughter.

Bopper & Mark are in even more tears, but that’s not all.  Phil informs them that this is a non-elimination leg.

Episode Thoughts
This was a great episode. Fun and hilarious all thanks to Brendon & Rachel.  Rachel & Dave may have tried to grab the couple dysfunction airtime, but nothing could trump Brendon & Rachel’s usual antics.  Their drama was (as it has always been) absurdly hilarious. You couple that with some one-liners from them as well as Kentucky and the “badonkadonk” girls and some wonderfully stunning locations in Torino and awesome cars and you’ve got a great hour.

Though the tasks were alright, they were able to show off a little of the city.

Now the Fast Forward is another story. That was a boring task. But the greater issue is how it’s been completely stripped of its awesomeness from the days of Classic TAR. It’s something I’ve bitched about every season since it started getting eliminated from every leg. Having the FF only once or twice in a Race just takes any and all excitement and drama away from it.

It used to be the Fast Forward was something like a safety net for some teams who wanted to go for it to get themselves out of the bottom of the pack or maybe for a team fed up with always coming in 2nd in a leg. It never guaranteed first place, but the drama of deciding when it was “most advantageous” to go for it and then the drama of teams battling to get it was great TV and great for TAR. Now it’s basically a bonus for a team already in front.

The FF was understandably, though sadly, cut back for budget reasons. The cost of setting up tasks every leg with the possibility of no one even going for it was too much, not to mention the logistics of it. TAR’s become simplified over the years, due in large part to wanting to be as cost-efficient as possible. But I feel like the FF should be either in every leg or just retired altogether.

The tasks for a FF don’t need to be elaborate. They could be simple and cheap, something that’s easy to set up, but still interesting and challenging enough for teams. But over at Sucks, someonecame up with the genius idea of having the Fast Forward be as simple as a clue to an extra location that teams had to find. That’s genius. It could even be some sort of riddle or puzzle on the clue itself that teams would have to figure out to find the location of the Fast Forward award.

Nonetheless, we’ll wait and see what Bert and Co. do in the future.

Speaking of money, I know most everyone hates product placement, but the in-show Ford commercials don’t bother me. For one, they’re driving the cars anyway. And two, it’s money that TAR can use to ease the budget, maybe use the money for say, more Fast Forwards? From the Ford to the Sprite to the Snapple product placements, I definitely don’t mind as long as it helps keep TAR on the air, yes?

Escalinata de Antequera
Asunción, Paraguay

Lingotto Building
Turin, Italy

Museo Nazionale dell’Automobile
Turin, Italy

Mole Antonelliana
Turin, Italy

L’Arte Marmi
Turin, Italy

Gastronomia Salumeria & Piazza Vittorio Veneto
Turin, Italy

Piazza Castello
Turin, Italy

Escalinata de Antequera
Asunción, Paraguay

Art & JJ 5:10pm
Brendon & Rachel 9:59pm
Joey & Danny 10:00pm
Bopper & Mark 10:08pm
Nary & Jamie 10:09pm
Rachel & Dave 10:10pm
Kerri & Stacy 10:45pm
Vanessa & Ralph 12:15am



Art & JJ skipped the Detour by using the Fast Forward
In order of completion
> or < indicates team switched Detours.

Who did the Road Block?
What goes up must come down.
In order of completion; Italics indicate who did the Road Block

1 Brendon Rachel 3
1 Joey Danny 3
2 Rachel Dave 2
2 Art JJ 1
2 Nary Jamie 2
2 Vanessa Ralph 2
2 Kerri Stacy 2
2 Bopper Mark 2

1 Elliot Andrew 2
1 Dave Cherie 1
0 Misa Maiya 1

Piazza Castello
Turin, Italy

1st Art & JJ =
2nd Rachel & Dave +4
3rd Joey & Danny =
4th Vanessa & Ralph +4
5th Nary & Jamie =
6th Brendon & Rachel -4
7th Kerri & Stacy =
8th Bopper & Mark -4
Brendon & Rachel Brendon & Rachel – The stars of the episode.  Their usual Brenchel dramatics were hilarious. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I thought it was awesome. Even better, Rachel rocked the Road Block and they did well with the Detour in spite of Rachel’s breakdown. They’re fierce competitors, but their emotions get the better of them a lot of the time. Hopefully they can still keep their emotions in check to avoid elimination.
Bopper & Mark Bopper & Mark – A sloppy start to the leg, but they kept their heads high and kept going.  As hilarious as ever, it is great having them on the Race. They’ll have to step it up a little because they can’t keep having to catch up every leg. Starting legs off horribly, especially now in the era of simplified TAR legs, will be the death knell for any team.
Joey & Danny Joey & Danny – A strong leg for them.  They started out strong and maintained that lead the entire leg. Finally a solid outing from them. Though quiet, they managed to step up their game. Let’s see if they can continue the momentum.
Kerri & Stacy Kerri & Stacy – They’re chugging along.  I wish they’d step it up though because they’re getting dangerously close to the bottom. One little mistake could cost them if they don’t perform better on the Race.
Nary & Jamie Nary & Jamie – Pretty slow leg for them.  They were trailing the entire time and falling behind. They’ve actually been a little underwhelming and have been just scraping by. Still hoping they can step it up and make a run for the finals.
Rachel & Dave Rachel & Dave – The tensions continues to escalate.  Unlike’s Brenchel’s obvious (yet still awesomely hilarious) for-show dramatics, Rachel & Dave’s bickering is more real… and strangely boring. Though Rachel’s kind of fun in her “Are you kidding me?” reactions to Dave’s WTF-inducing comments about shades, helicopters and a disastrous 2nd place finish.
Art & JJ Art & JJ – They get some brownie points for giving some money to Bopper and his family.  But the cynical side of me thinks it was just their cockiness and being sure they’d be winning even more money later on. We’ll see about that.
Vanessa & Ralph Vanessa & Ralph – They really are obsessed with Rachel’s ass!  Though last week Ralph was the level-headed one to Vanessa’s catty priorities, he joined in just as much this week. Brendon & Rachel seem to have left them alone this whole team, yet all the animosity.  Still waiting for that preview clip of the airport showdown coming up. Otherwise, a pretty middle of the road team.
Quotes from Episode 20.04

Mark: “Italy!”
Bopper: “We is going somewhere tropical!”

Kerri: “On the inside, I’m pukey, but on the outside I’m still trying to be cutesy.”

Mark: “They don’t speak no English neither my brother.”

Rachel: “I don’t know where the center is, Brendon. I don’t live in Italy… obviously.”

Brendon: “So we saw the ogre… and the Triflin’ Ho.”

Joey: “She’s a dirty girl, but she’s not the type of dirty girls that Danny likes.”

Rachel: “The Amazing Race is supposed to be fun and good.”

Bopper: “Man, you think I’d engage somethin’ that ugly!?”

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The Amazing Race, Season 19 - The Amazing Race

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