Recap: The Amazing Race 28, Episode 1 – I Should’ve Been a Boy Scout
Phil declares this to be a “very special” season of The Amazing Race because it features “social media influencers.” Okay.
And to make it even more special, instead of a traditional Starting Line, teams will pretend they are on Big Brother by waiting at home to get a video message from Phil on their brand new? (though not provided with promotional consideration) Microsoft/Nokia Lumia phones.
Phil says he’s waiting for them at the Monument of the Revolution in Mexico City and that teams must hurry to the nearest airport to get there. They all run outside to the waiting cabs.
After names inexplicably start flying across the screen, we get a quick rundown of how these teams became internet famous.
Tyler & Korey want to be gay role models on YouTube. Dana & Matt are dancers who produce the biggest dance tutorial channel on YouTube. Erin & Joslyn are hosts and producers at Clevver Media on YouTube. Zach, racing with wife Rachel, makes magical Vine videos. Blair, racing with attorney and OB-GYN father Scott, makes beauty tutorial videos on YouTube. Sheri & Cole are mother and son who make Vine videos. Brodie & Kurt do Frisbee trick shots on YouTube. Burnie & Ashley run Rooster Teeth, the biggest gaming channel on YouTube. Brittany & Jessica are Instagram models (who want to be cougars for Cole). Marty, racing with daughter Hagan, had a viral video of her fun flight safety demo. Brothers Darius & Cameron make Vine videos.
After unnecessarily convoluted flight itineraries, all teams are released at the same time from the airport in Mexico City.
They hop into taxis to meet Phil in person for the first time at Monument of the Revolution where they find the Detour: Mariachi Madness or Great Bulls of Fire.
In Mariachi Madness, teams must head to Plaza Garibaldi to figure out who of the 350 mariachi players are just pretending. They must then bring them to the Escuela de Mariachi to exchange them for their next clue.
In Great Bulls of Fire, teams must assemble a paper mache bull known as a torito and light it up with fireworks.
The teams make their Detour decisions and are edited to look lost before commercial break.
Brodie & Kurt arrive at Plaza Garibaldi first and think they’ve got the right faker. They drag him to the Escuela de Mariachi, but he turns out to have actually been playing. Erin & Joslyn and Dana & Matt are next.
Burnie & Ashley, Marty & Hagan, Tyler & Korey and Scott & Blair arrive at the toritos rooftop.
Sheri & Cole, Zach & Rachel finally arrive at Plaza Garibaldi after wandering around for a while. Darius & Cameron get to the fireworks
Brodie & Kurt try again and get the thumbs up. Erin & Joslyn and Dana & Matt get it on their first try. Teams must now make their way to Cuevas de Teotihuacan. There, teams find a sign-up board for morning departure times of 7:30am, 7:40am and 7:50am. Only four teams can leave at 7:30am and it is Sheri & Cole who grab the last spot. Zach & Rachel end up with 7:40am.
Tyler & Korey finish the fireworks first followed by Marty & Hagan, Burnie & Ashley, Scott & Blair, Brittany & Jessica and Cameron & Darius.
Next morning, the first group opens the first clue revealing the Road Block: Who’s ready to pick up the pieces?
For this Road Block, teams must dig for 13 puzzle pieces at an archaeological cave site at Teotihuacan. Once they’ve put the puzzle pieces onto a Teotihuacanian mask which they can find by following the sound of drums, they will get the next clue.
Kurt, Erin, Matt and Sheri start first. They think they’ve found all the pieces they need, so they head over to the masks. But Sheri and Kurt find that they need 13 pieces of the same color, so they head back to the dig site.
In the 2nd group, Tyler, Zach, Scott and Marty do the Road Block and for the last group, it’s Darius, Jessica and Burnie.
Scott leaves the cave and wanders around above ground, dropping all his pieces. Jessica follows Scott and thinks little drums are on the ground.
But it is Matt who figures out the mask puzzle first. He and Dana head to the Pit Stop at Museo Soumaya, but Tyler & Korey are right behind them. They finish as Teams 1 and 2.
Zach & Rachel are Team #3 and they take a selfie at the Mat. Darius & Cameron are 4th. Brodie & Kurt are Team #5 and Burnie & Ashley are Team #6. Brittany & Jessica and Marty & Hagan finish 7th and 8th respectively.
Down in the caves, Erin suggests to Sheri that they take the penalty. Sheri says if no one else is putting the puzzle together, they’ll do it. But Scott is still there.
Erin finally finishes her puzzle and offers to help Sheri. But Sheri says Erin should just go. Scott comes over and Sheri tells him about digging up all possible pieces. Scott realizes he has to go back for more.
Sheri finishes the Road Block next and Scott is last.
It’s a three-way Race to the Mat. Erin & Joslyn’s cab is too slow and that allows Sheri & Cole to finish 9th. Erin & Joslyn have to settle for 10th.
Scott & Blair step on the Mat knowing they are last. But Phil says this is a Non-Elimination Leg!
Alright then. So here we go with TAR’s attempt to artificially boosts its ratings in an effort to live and see another season.
So, I was definitely not a fan of the gimmick when it was first anounced. TAR26 was bad enough. Not to mention one Joey & Meghan on a season. But the idea of 11 internet famous teams was pretty scary. Especially with the way TAR has treated “celebrities” in recent seasons, it is not unreasonable to expect some groan-inducing editing and favoritism when it comes to how teams are presented.
Now I’ll be a bit of a hypocrite since all the way back in 2010, I was very excited to have Kevin Wu and his father (aka Kevjumba and Papa Jumba) on the Race. I was already a fan of theirs before TAR and was happy to see them pop up on the Race. And they mostly delivered. (More Papa Jumba than Kevin though.)
But while they are still one of my all-time favorite teams, they got me thinking. Kevjumba, the YouTuber, was funny and witty. His videos, especially for an Asian-American college kid like me (at the time), were great and very relatable. But Kevin, the Racer, was much different and was instead just a regular, normal American teen. Papa Jumba/Michael was still hilarious fun and charming, but they reminded me that these YouTubers (this was long before Vine and Instagram) put on personalities and characters for their videos. And in real life, they could be completely different.
So after Joey & Meghan (especially Joey) brought that forced personality onto TAR22 (not TAR24), the thought of 11 of these kinds of teams was definitely very frightening.
And we’re at this point because TAR’s ratings have collapsed in the last few years and they need a big boost from millennials who love internet celebrities. Again, it’s sad that TAR needs to do these kinds of things. But it’s their own fault after years of poor casting, poor tasks and horrible Leg design.
But this is where we are. So let’s get to the episode.
First, that opening has to be the worst, most contrived ever on The Amazing Race. It felt so forced and fake and even made Big Brother‘s keys look spontaneous. The different flights were completely unnecessary and must have been some budget-saving decision. Though apparently, teams were flown to Los Angeles then back home. Plus, it appears teams were held at the airport in Mexico City anyway so they could be released at the same time.
Having an opening Leg at night is awesome. And in Mexico City too. But meh to the equalizer. Just do a full night Leg! That would at least make everything feel fresh and different.
Both Detours seemed alright, but they just rushed through them that you really didn’t get to see much of either. And what was that crazy editing before the first commercial break? It was hilariously bad just to get a faux-cliffhanger for the break.
The Road Block was good though. They purposely made it tricky with the different pieces and stuff. But we can’t even be sure since sometimes they can take 5 minute tasks and make them seem like hours-long.
The Non-Elimination isn’t a surprise because of course TAR wants to at least have all these teams for two Legs. TARUS really needs to have more Non-Eliminations in the first or second Leg. And contrary to Phil’s assertion on Twitter (he’s been very defensive of this season lol), there have been plenty of first Leg Non-Eliminations on TARUS and others around the world.
Elsewhere, how about that absurd new opening title sequence? WTF was that?! Those flying names look horrible and cheap. It’s absolutely unbelievable that they would freshen up the opening credits and decide to go with that. TAR Australia still has the best opening credits of any TAR franchise. Just epic.
The return of Microgramma as the in-show font is good too, but the yellow-green is still very strange and kind of cheap as well.
OUCH! No prize for this first Leg? No Express Pass, but not even a Travelocity prize? Travelocity is still a sponsor because I saw the Roaming Gnome in the season preview. But ouch at even sponsors not too eager to spend money on TAR. (Hello Ford!)
And finally, the teams. I don’t really have any strong feelings for any of them. Just who seems less annoying than others I guess. But in this first episode, we can already see teams who think they’re still on YouTube/Instagram/Vine/Twitter/Wherever instead of on The Amazing Race.
My Subjective Team Rankings
So this early on, the rankings don’t really mean much. But Cameron & Darius came off as the most “normal” of the bunch. And that automatically makes them the most tolerable.
I put Scott & Blair this high up because Scott bumbling about was very amusing and Blair’s screaming was the most fun out of all the screaming in this Leg. And we’re going to get more of her “enthusiasm” in future Legs because there’s a video of her from I believe next Leg’s Pit Stop showing her screaming her way to the Mat. It’s hilarious. If anything, I hope they make it far because they’re a parent-child team, but also because Blair can be a louder version of Mallory.
Marty & Hagan‘s claim to internet-fame seems to be the least famewhore-y since Marty only had one viral video. And fun airplane safety demos are certainly not that special. So yay for another close-to-normal team. And a mother-daughter one too. Sheri & Cole are in that #TeamJumba-mold. But what I am looking forward to from them is their random crying. I hope to see them cry on every Leg they’re in. And I’m sure any tears will be from something small or tears of happiness which can be fun to watch. Cole needs to tone it down though. A lot.
Zach & Rachel, Burnie & Ashley and Matt & Dana are typical couples. Erin & Joslyn are okay and could be fun. But I feel like the TMZ girls from last season would be more fun with their snarkiness instead. Kurt & Brodie definitely need to tone it down. I think Kurt especially. Was he the one screaming all episode? That’s crazy.
All Jessica & Brittany talked about all episode was their modeling and/or hooking up with Cole. That’s not too interesting eh? And if we’re going to get Tyler & Korey being recognized all Race, then I hope they get eliminated sooner rather than later. Selfies by the teams are bad enough. Now we have people coming to them and taxi drivers asking for autographs? No thank you.
Cole: “I believe in multiple girlfriends. I believe in multiple wives.”
Tyler: “Come love me.”
Erin: “I’m kind of, like, turned on right now.”
Cole: “Can you be mariachi?”
Brittany: “This is a bunch of bull.”
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