Courteous? This Is A Race!
The Amazing Race 7 : Episode 1


It's a plane! Previously... you know what, I'd rather not dwell on the previous season, which is definitely the worst season ever in my book. Dull cast, too many squabbling, Pornathan and Tori... ugh, ugh, ugh. Let me start this season on a clean slate and consign the previous season out of my mind. Now, where am I?

Hello there, Philo Koughie. He's looking good with a shorter haircut that makes him look quite convincing as a rugged adventurer kinda guy. He's on a boat called Queen Mary and he announces that he is at the Port of Long Beach, California (trivia: it's the world's twelfth busiest container port). Helicopters will be bringing this season's eleven Teams of two to the starting line, so without much ado, Philo introduces them as they get down from their respective helicopters.

First to get off their helicopter are Debbie and Bianca, the Lilith Sisters. They are lifelong friends from Virginia (not Vagina, as some silly men who couldn't read insist *cough*hubby*cough*). The Lilith Sisters insist that they are goofy and fun-loving. To demonstrate, they drink martinis in silly glasses and roller skate in what seems like a driveway while looking like women who tried out for and failed to get the role that eventually went to Jennifer Garner in 13 Going On 30. They also insist that they are intelligent, strong, blah blah blah. Too late, dearies, I've already seen the roller blade attempts.

Next is a couple from West Hollywood, and, it seems, straight out of a truly cringe-inducing stereotype factory of What It Means To Be Gay. The Fat Fatales are Alex and Lynn, boyfriends, who try way too hard to channel the Guidos, only with ten pounds more facial cream and enough embarrassing cattiness to make even the most die-hard Nathan Lane fan cringe. They insist that they will be catty but they don't want to break a nail, they will scratch out the eyes of those who are in their way, but only they are provoked... and they even have a dog who must have hated itself and would have gnawed off its own four feet in ritual suicide by the time the Fat Fatales return home. By the way, in case anyone who hasn't caught on by now that these two are flaming queens of the nth disorder, do you know that they are flaming queens of the nth disorder?

Eh, the Robfather and Ambore are here, just like those pre-season rumors suggested. My, when he gets out of that helicopter, the winds flutter against his trousers so much that I can see every contour at his crotch. Let's just say that I never knew that helicopter rides can excite a man that much. Now that's a way to win my heart, if he hasn't done so since Survivor Marquesas, and also, that's the way to reassure me that the season may rock after all. After all, if it gives the Robfather a happy chubby, who am I to disagree, eh? I know, I know. I promise to try not to become too much of a fangirl when it comes to the Robfather. Okay, I roll up my eyes when the Robfather talks about how he and Ambore went through sleep and food deprivation on Survivor so he thinks they will get through the Race without too much hassle. I may still have a chance to remain impartial to this guy. Or his accent. Or his smile. Or his mischievous eyes. Or let me just smack myself a little - ow - and move on to the next Team.

Ryan and Chuck are the Yogi Bears. They are big-sized best buddies from South Carolina. They work the whole leather jackets, big bikes, tractors, and blue-collar schtick to the fullest but it's not as embarrassing as that sounds because these big fellows are actually lovely, intelligent people, as I should soon find out. They say that they expect to be underestimated and seen as "teddy bear" types and they aren't above taking advantage of being mistakenly perceived as hillybilly types.

Next are the Maybellines, two blondes called Megan and Heidi whose reasons for being chosen to be on this show are clear when they sunbathe on a beach in their introductory clip. Reinforcing the unfortunate dumb blonde stereotypes every time they open their mouth, their verbal gems include them expecting to be underestimated because they are thin (because fat people always win the Race, see) and how when they "come together", they "prosper". I can see so many guys out there drooling already as they imagine just what the Maybellines mean by "coming together and prosper".

Patrick and Susan are a gay son and professor mother Team. He has Edward Furlong pretensions if his hair is anything to go by and he talks as if he has this huge chip on his shoulder because he feels that his life is somehow being oppressed, although he doesn't know how because he obviously isn't, being that he is a pampered white kid living with academic parents and all that. He says that people would underestimate Susan because they think of Susan as some housewifey Carol Brady type (cue scene of Susan taking a tray of cookies out of the oven and placing it before Patrick) while people will think of him as some bratty gay kid. For some reason Patrick seems to feel that him being gay means that people will underestimate him. Methinks this guy is grasping at straws to portray himself on TV as some hip rebel with a cause. Lose the jacket, Patrick, and get a decent haircut, and then we'll talk. The Team of Mom and Moan say that they will lie and be devious on the show. Notice how the ones that claim to be devious and cunning always end up being the ones that... aren't?

Meet the Cannon Fodders, Meredith and Gretchen, a husband-and-wife team. Meredith's the husband, by the way. He's 69, she's 66, and as much as they try to pretend that old age and "treachery" (huh?) can outlast youth and agility, let me be the first to say this: goodbye, Cannon Fodders. If not in this episode, maybe the next one or the one after. It doesn't matter. Goodbye in advance, thanks for playing.

Finally, an all-male alpha male Team makes an appearance and... yucks. Dumb and Dumber, or rather, Brian and Greg, show up looking like fugly and fuglier in bandannas and clothes that they hope to show off how manly they are but instead suggests to me why the Village People revival is best left in the drawing board. They act like twelve-year old boys in gym-honed adult bodies, wrestling with each other and all that. I've seen Brian in that stupid beer commercial where he helps Jennifer Aniston reach for some of that beer cans at the top shelf in a supermarket only to keep the beers for himself. So yeah, that's what the idea of masculinity is reduced to nowadays: a wannabe actor and a bouncer (read: aspiring wannabe actor).

The token African-American couple gets out of their helicopter. Uchenna and Joyce talk about their infertility problems and their being laid-off from the companies they work for in their introductory clip voiceover. He looks pretty cute but she, on the other hand, looks like her bulging eyes will fly out of their sockets at any moment and when she speaks, she sounds like she is high on something. They are like Frodo and Gollum searching for the Ring at the finish line of the Race. What shall I call them? Ah, how about the IVFs?

Since we must keep the Republicans happy, up next are the former Iraqi prisoner-of-war, Ron (or "GI Joe"), and his beauty pageant girlfriend Kelly ("Barbie Jane"). I love the idea of Republican military-types tuning in to this show only to confront two ambiguously touchy-feely female friends, two in-your face mincing queens, and one gay boy with issues and even better, having to watch these Teams trounce the GOPs in this episode. And what's with the pairing of the ugliest beauty pageant queen I have ever seen with a guy celebrated for being a military hero? Is this like some JFK and Marilyn Monroe thing? GI Joe and Barbie Jane talk about how delighted Barbie Jane is to have a handsome ex-POW as a boyfriend. Some women collect football players as conquests on their belt, Barbie Jane collects POWs. Nice.

Finally, Ray and Deana get off their helicopter. The RADs are the obligatory ex-maybe-not couple who promise to bring on the antagonism and competitiveness, although the jury is still out on whether they will be an ass to other people or to each other. Ray says that he doesn't know why they are still together. Oh, I know! Maybe they want to win a million dollars? Just a hunch.

As the Teams start to assemble in a curved line before Philo, he tells the camera his usual spiel about teamwork, brains, brawns being needed to win this Race. He explains the rules to the Teams (they don't have to pay for plane tickets but every other expense will have to be footed by them using the limited amount of money given to them at the start of each leg of the Race, et cetera). And then he tells them to get ready, the world is theirs to abuse, and... GO! Everyone runs for the bags, screaming along the way, and eager fingers rip open the clue envelopes placed among their bags. Teams must fly to Lima, Peru, using one of the two predetermined flights of United 840 and American 252, and travel a bus from Lima to the Plaza de Armas. Teams are also given $132 for this leg of the Race.

Teams start hopping into their vehicles and dashing for the airport. The RADs and Mom and Moan seem to be leading. And trailing at the back are the Rombore. Ambore taps somewhat impatiently at the back of the vehicle as she asks the Robfather to open the trunk. The Robfather gives her a look and says, "Yeah, if I know how." He then laughs at his own inability to open the truck. Meanwhile, Joyce goes "Woo-hoo!" because she is so excited that the Race has started and she is actually going to Peru. Woo-hoo indeed.

And with that, credits. There are American flags fluttering in the background of the GOPs' scene. I wonder what the flags are supposed to signify.

Breathlessly fast zig-zag montages of vehicle chatter follow the credits. Joyce breathlessly hyperventilates - or in her own way, speaks - that the IVFs grew up in California so omigod, they know where the airport is, squeal. Brian asks Greg at the back whether "G" is feeling good. Great, I will be subjected to bohunk dude speak all over again this season. Haven't I suffered enough from the Boston Bulldogs, the Oily Bohunks, and the Templates? GI Joe says that the GOPs are merely following Dumb and Dumber, whom he describes as "dark-haired tall guys". Megan thinks that Heidi is driving too fast and Heidi realizes that what she mistakes for the speedometer is actually something else. Chuck thinks that he is great behind the wheels because he drives like he has just stolen this baby. Ryan, at the back, announces that the Yogi Bears are going to beat everybody. Big talk, big guy. The Fat Fatales are hamming it up for the camera and I'm already tired of them and it's not even midseason yet. The Cannon Fodders wonder why they are on the Race and not watching the show in their cozy living room. I think the whole world who is watching is wondering exactly the same thing. The Lilith Sisters realize that they have only one Team at their tail and they don't think that it is a good sign.

Still not moving are the Robfather and Ambore. He finally figures out how to press a button to get the trunk opened and chuckle to himself. As they hit the road, he tells the camera that they are making good progress so far. Ambore reminds him that they are last. He shrugs that off, saying that they leave last but they will arrive first at the end of the Race.

Susan overtakes the RADs, causing the RADs to argue over who should be doing the driving and whether they should follow Mom and Moan and break the speed limit. Deana tells the camera that she doesn't like it when Ray always thinks that he's right. Dumb and Dumber pass the IVFs, leading Uchenna to comment, rather stupidly, that Dumb and Dumber want to win the Race. Of course they do, duh! The Fat Fatales pass the Yogi Bears and I learn that the Fat Fatales call the Yogi Bears "hillbillies" while the Yogi Bears consider the Fat Fatales "happy boys". Lynn thinks that the Yogi Bears don't look comfortable behind the wheels because the Yogi Bears are used to tractors. The Fat Fatales are really trying too hard to come off like bitchy slag queens. Give it a rest, boys, it's only the first episode. The Fat Fatales try to overtake the Maybellines next, and the Maybellines, in trying not to let the Fat Fatales pass them, nearly crash into another vehicle. Heidi and Megan wonder whether they should exchange places and let Megan drive instead. They laugh nervously but it's clear that they are shaken from the near-crash. Because of this, uh, set-back, the Fat Fatales overtake them (Lynn naturally goes "Omigosh" in a mean way about Heidi's near-accident). The Lilith Sisters also overtake the Maybellines, with Debbie saying in the Lilith Sister vehicle, "See you, big boobie beauties!" I love it when big boobie beauties accuse each other of being more superficial than the other person. Someone please pass them the memo: at the end of the day, they are all on the show to be exploited as eye candies so there's really no reason to call each other names.

The Robfather is driving while Ambore is at the back checking the road maps. While everyone else seems to be trying to court a car crash in the highway, these two are traveling at a sedate pace through what seems like a pleasant suburb area. In fact, he wonders aloud whether they should stop and eat since he's hungry and they have plenty of money. Ambore tells him that "they" should lose some weight and by "they", it's obvious that she's talking about "him" and only "him", heh. The Robfather has obviously gained some pounds since his Survivor days but he's still looking dishy though.

Ahead, Megan decides to take over the task of driving for the Maybellines because Heidi says that she may kill someone if she remains behind the wheel. To the camera, Heidi says that Megan always helps her see straight when she is plagued by doubts and worries. Somewhere else, Patrick tells his mother that his hands are shaking because he is really excited. About the Race, I hope, because anything else will make this conversation rather creepy. Deana reminds Ray that they have to go to Peru because Ray has forgotten. Brian tells "G" that Dumb and Dumber have missed the turn to the airport. Barbie Jane talks about wanting to know whether she and GI Joe are meant to be. After seven seasons, these people still haven't learned that the Race is not a courtship or a testing ground for their tentative relationships. Still, she is honest enough to say that a million dollars will provide a "fairytale ending" to their relationship. If they don't get the money, does that mean that the fairytale is indeed ending? (Actually, people are saying that these two are not together anymore so hey, she has the "ending" part right, at least.)

The GOPs are the first to pull up at the airport parking lot. Close behind them are the RADs as well as Mom and Moan. The Yogi Bears cut past the Fat Fatales as they approach the airport, causing the Fat Fatales to go "Oh, those hillbillies" one more time. The Lilith Sisters are also pulling up at the car park. The Yogi Bears, the Fat Fatales, the GOPs, and Mom and Moan end up in the same shuttle bus while the RADs make a run for the bus with Ray telling Deana to "suck it up". I always get leery when men say that to me, especially when they haven't even dropped their pants yet, so Deana, run for it, run away, and don't look back. The IVFs also show up but they and the RADs can't get onboard the shuttle bus as it is already full. Lynn, in the meantime, is telling the other Teams in the shuttle bus about the Maybellines' brush with a car crash on the road. So on top of being a mincing bitchy slag fat nelly queen, he's also a tell-tale. Is there any stereotype about gay men that he doesn't embody?

I don't know how far behind or even where Ambore and the Robfather are going but they don't seem to even close to the airport. The Robfather casually tells the camera that they are going to win the million dollars. "Did I tell you that?" he says to the camera as he drives, mugging it up in a way that I can't say I find particularly attractive. Ambore tells him and the camera that they are going to have fun while winning. The Robfather pauses and then laughs before saying that hey, what the heck, they have already won a million dollars. For a brief moment, Ambore scowls at the back of his head, no doubt thinking that hello, she won the million dollars, not "they". And then she smiles because the camera is, after all, still rolling.

Dumb and Dumber gallantly let the Maybellines go ahead of them, with Brian even commenting on the Maybellines' "cute little pink butts". But since one of the Maybellines is wearing pink pants with "PINK" written across her bum, I can't say that the Maybellines aren't actually asking for such remarks to be thrown their way. The Maybellines giggle upon hearing Brian's, uh, compliment and I feel like I'm watching the bizarre courting ritual between two particularly ugly frat brothers and two empty-headed sorority sisters. May they never, ever breed. These two Teams along with the RADs and the IVFs end up in the second shuttle bus.

The first shuttle bus drops off the Teams that are on it. The GOPs and the Yogi Bears end up at the American counter, the GOPs' decision apparently having come about because Barbie Jane thinks that the GOPs are an all-American couple so they may as well buy tickets on an American flight. How unfortunate that she has to be dumb as well as ugly. When GI Joe tries to ask the American ticket counter person about the landing time of the United flight, Barbie Jane interrupts him to inform him that duh, the American ticket counter person naturally will not have that information. The Fat Fatales approach the United counter but learns from the ticket counter person that while American 252 takes off later than United 840, it arrives at Lima earlier. They stroll off towards the American counter.

The Cannon Fodders are still on the road. Gretchen, the missus, realizes that Meredith has been driving in the wrong direction and launches into a series of profanity that will make a sailor blush, like "Doggone it!" and "God darn it!" How awful! Meanwhile, the Robfather and Ambore pull up at the car park. I think the departure times of both flights must be written in the clue because in the second shuttle bus, the IVFs are talking about how the American 252 flight will take off later but the counter for the American flight is closer to where they will get off. Could it be that the flight that leaves later will arrive earlier in Lima? (Ding, ding, we have a winner.) They get off at the American counter where they meet Susan and Patrick and discuss which flight they should all take. It seems that the American counter person won't tell them the arrival time of the United flight because the two Teams have to borrow a passer-by's phone and call the United counter to find out.

The Robfather comments wryly that he and Ambore need to be a little faster because they are taking too much time already. Which is why they walk in a leisurely stroll towards the thurd shuttle bus, heh. The Cannon Fodders get out of their vehicle but the shuttle bus is already moving when they try to run towards it. They yell and wave at the bus to stop for them but the Robfather asks the driver to keep going. He smirks when he sees the bus move away from the two frantically-waving old folks. "That's too bad," he says, displaying a shocking lack of respect towards senior citizens. What can I say? I don't expect any less from him. The shuttle bus driver has more respect towards old people though because he ends up stopping for the Cannon Fodders. As the old geezers board the bus, Gretchen of the team that have claimed earlier to be treacherous and all chastises the Robfather and Ambore for telling the driver to leave without the Cannon Fodders. Ambore puts on her sweetest innocent gal face and says, "That's not necessarily true!" Which is exactly the kind of half-truth, half-lie statements that won't work unless you can pull off the sweetpea act like Ambore is doing right now. The two Teams are soon joined by the Fat Fatales who have just left the American counter because they are convinced that the flight is full. They share this information with the two Teams.

The Fat Fatales left the American counter because there are many other Teams who have showed up since the RADs, Mom and Moan, the GOPs, and the IVFs. Dumb and Dumber are there flirting with the Maybellines and seem disappointed that the Maybellines aren't sisters. There goes their fantasies of lipstick lesbian incestuous sisters, I suppose. The Yogi Bears manage to get seats on the American flight. The IVFs, at the back of the line, start counting the Teams ahead of them in the queue and begin to worry that there may not be any more tickers when it comes their turn. Patrick is talking to the Lilith Sisters and Bianca tells him that he reminds her of her first boyfriend. He asks her whether the boyfriend "ended up" being gay. Of course, which woman would want to admit that she turned her boyfriend gay? Duh. She says no and Patrick takes this as his cue to admit that he is gay. See? He is hoping that just by being gay, he will have some valid reason to be angsty and hip. The Lilith Sisters in the meantime act touchy-feely and exchange vows of love, leading Dumb to tell Dumber, "Those two girls were... never mind." These two should get together with the Fat Fatales some time. They are both walking encyclopedias of stereotypes about men, Dumb Jock Males (Ugly Ones) and Screaming Bitchy Nellies, brothers in spirit and soul when it comes to making me cringe.

It turns out that the IVFs' fears and the Fat Fatales' suspicion are correct because they and Dumb and Dumber are unable to get on the American 252 flight as it is full. They will join the Robfather and Ambore and the Cannon Fodders in the United 840 flight.

The United 840 flight takes off, leaving the Teams boarding the American 252 flight to mingle and chat in the departure area. Here, GI Joe tells Ray that Ray is the lucky person to know what GI Joe is about to tell him and nobody else (or so GI Joe claims): GI Joe was a prisoner-of-war in Iraq! And he is on this Race to win money for the disabled veterans of the second Gulf War! What can Ray say to that, really, other than a "Wow!" and claims of respect for what GI Joe wants to do? On the other hand, Barbie Jane may not be so happy that her fairytale ending is going to some soldiers out there that she isn't currently sleeping with. I wonder how many people GI Joe has told of his POW thing in confidence.

Lima! As scheduled, the American 252 flight lands earlier than United 840. The Teams on the American flight dash for a bus to take them to the Plaza de Armas. I'm sure the people of Lima will really appreciate GI Joe comparing the place to Baghdad. Susan on the other hand merely thinks that life in Lima is different from what she's used to. I love how she can deduce all about life in Lima in the brief moment where she stands there outside the airport and take a look around her.

These Teams all board the same bus that drops them off somewhere near the Plaza de Armas. The Plaza, by the way, is a historic site that dates back to the Spanish colonial days of the ancient Inca civilization. Many old buildings still stand there to this day. Teams try to locate where the Plaza is and stumble upon the beginning of their problems: the language barrier. They eventually manage to locate the Plaza and rip open their clues. Now they must board another bus to Ancon and travel by rickshaw to the famous tourist beach Playa Hermosa. Playa Hermosa means "beautiful beach", or so I'm told. Philo explains that at Playa Hermosa, Teams must go to one of three mounds of sand in which are buried tags. The tags in each mound corresponds to the departure time of one of three chartered flights that will take them to their next destination, Cuzco. Teams can tell the time on the buried tags by checking with the sign in front of each mount of sand. The three flights each leave at 6:00 am, 7:00 am, and 7:40 am. Oh, and Teams cannot exchange the tags they have dug up for another.

The Teams now face the problem of having to locate where the buses to Ancon are. The Yogi Bears can speak Portuguese which I'm sure is useful as it's the most commonly spoken language in South America. The GOPs, who have gone another direction, are stymied in their attempts to get directions because nobody they meet speaks English. Oh, sorry, Barbie Jane, American. The Lilith Sisters and Mom and Moan decide to work together, although "work together" in this case is pretty much Mom and Moan latching on to the Lilith Sisters because the Bianca can speak Spanish. Finally, the GOPs meet up with the RADs and the Maybellines after some wandering around and they decide that three Teams who can't speak in Spanish will somehow get things done better than one Team who can't speak in Spanish. In the meantime, the Gay, Lesbians, and Mom (GLAM) Alliance learn that the buses to Ancon are a few blocks down the street. Also, Ryan manages to obtain from a local where the buses are. Meanwhile, the other Teams stumble and wander around, culminating in GI Joe saying in frustration that they are looking for some magic bus that they will never ever find. Yup, that's what he says. Then again, he's a soldier turned fameho, not a rosanjin scholar, so I'll let that pass.

The GLAMs happily board a bus. As for the others, the magic bus still doesn't want to be found.

Here comes the United 840 flight to Lima. The Robfather explains to the camera that while he and Ambore are waiting for customs clearance, they meet a fellow American who recognizes them from Survivor and offers to help them out. How lucky for them that this guy, whose name is later revealed to be Craig, isn't the kind who will lure them into a house and goes all Kathy Bates in Misery on them. The Robfather quickly draws Craig aside and asks Craig to follow him and Ambore as they quietly break away from the other Teams. As he tells Ambore, he is certain that the other Teams are waiting for a chance to "screw them over" so they may as well not help these Teams too much. While the other Teams wait for a bus to arrive (the Fat Fatales as usual going all Nathan Lane on the buses with Alex calling them "grande" and Lynn saying that Alex is so "international" in a tone reserved for catty bitches), the Robfather and Ambore are boarding a bus with Craig. Craig has negotiated with the bus driver so that instead of waiting to take up to the maximum capacity of fifteen passengers, they will pay the driver more if he will depart at this very moment and not stopping along the way until they reach the Plaza de Almas. As the other Teams board a bus (wondering aloud where the Robfather and Ambore are), these three are already at the clue stand at Plaza de Almas. Craig gets directions to the stop for the buses to Ancon from a local. As he and Ambore happily follow Craig, the Robfather smiles at the camera and says in boyish excitement that they have the entire Peru working for them. What's next for the Robfather after this show? Ambassadorship to Peru?

The GLAMs, in their bus, are relaxing. Patrick is telling the Lilith Sisters that the Robfather is as dumb as a rock. He knows that because he has watched Survivor. Oh, really? Are we talking about the same guy who along with his girlfriend manipulated his entire tribe all the way to the Final Two? I have a hunch that Patrick is a Hagrid fan. When people say that the Robfather is a homophobe for his remarks about Crybaby John in Marquesas, I can see where they are coming from. When people call the Robfather a jerk, I can understand that too. But I don't understand where this "the Robfather is as dumb as a rock" thing is coming from. Patrick also says that the Robfather cannot put a sentence together. I'm starting to believe that he has never watched a single episode of Survivor. That or Patrick is one of those guys who cannot get past the Robfather's thick Bostonian accent that is normally associated with blue-collar folks and automatically associates blue-collar folks with stupidity. I don't know. All this talk of the Robfather being an incoherent dumb guy truly mystifies me.

Meanwhile, Ambore and the Robfather are on a happy trip because Craig has helped them once more to negotiate with the bus driver. This time, the bus driver will drop off passengers but not pick up anyone new all the way to Ancon. The Robfather is pleased that this costs the Team only $30. In the meantime, the remaining Teams from the first flight are still searching for the buses to Ancon. I suspect that they have probably wandered off far away in the opposite direction of the bus terminal because it can't be that hard to locate the buses which are waiting for them a few blocks down the street where they first were! The Yogi Bears' Portuguese aren't as good as I suspected at first because they too haven't located the bus terminal. Maybe they are just lousy at following directions. Finally, they along with the GOPs, RADs, and the Maybellines end up on the third bus to Ancon.

After they have left, the trailing Teams finally show up at Plaza de Almas. They manage to get a local to take them to the bus terminal and this guy actually does backflips on the road. Hey, some people would do anything to be on TV, I guess.

Ah, Ancon, land of the rich, decadent, and cosmetically enhanced. The GLAMs get off the bus and hop onto the waiting rickshaws. The Lilith Sisters, when they are not telling the rickshaw ride to "andale, andale", smooch each other's cheeks and exchange te amo. I'm starting to suspect that these two aren't genuine lesbians as much as they just like to play ones on TV because they know it attracts men out of the woodworks. Shortly after, the Robfather and Ambore along with Craig hop off the second bus and get into a rickshaw as well. It's a close squeeze for three but as the rickshaw approaches the beach, the Robfather muses aloud, probably surprised at himself for realizing it, that he is actually having fun on the Race. The Teams in the third bus are not that upbeat, although Ray tries to tell the camera that seeing all those things in Lima (you know, happy people doing cartwheels on the street and all that) makes him realize that humanity or some rot like that is more important to him than racing. If this is what Lima makes him feel, I can't wait for the time when he hits the obligatory Poverty-Stricken Third World stop and decides to write a screenplay out of his experiences.

The cartwheeling local tells the trailing Teams at the Plaza de Almas where the buses to Ancon are. It's five blocks down the street. The IVFs decide to run for it but the other Teams think it's a better idea to take a cab. The Fat Fatales even get another guy to help them communicate with the cab driver. Sheesh. Because the Teams that take cabs put their fates in the hands of fickle cab drivers, everyone ends up separated and on different buses to Ancon. Dumb and Dumber take off first. The Fat Fatales take the next bus. The Cannon Fodders take the subsequent bus after Meredith nearly impales himself on the bus driver (seriously). And finally, the IVFs reach the bus terminal and take the next bus out of there.

Over at Playa Hermosa, the GLAMs look over the three mounds of sand and naturally start digging at the 6:00 am mound. The Robfather and Ambore reach Playa Hermosa and Craig tells them the fastest way to get down to the beach. This earns from the Robfather a surprisingly earnest declaration about how lucky he and Ambore are to have found this guy. Then again, I'm sure Craig enjoys the bragging rights of having helped these two people, right before he gets beaten bloody by a bunch of Hagrid and Lex Loser fans.

Just behind them are the teams from the third bus. The Yogi Bears go "beep, beep, beep" but I don't think their rickshaw can go any faster, with them weighing a ton between the both of them and all that. The GOPs go "arriba, arriba" to their rickshaw rider. Seriously, if they are going to learn foreign languages from Speedy Gonzales, the least they could do is to realize that arriba means "up". The poor rickshaw rider must be wondering why these crazy people are urging him to go up. Deana thinks that the beach is pretty and Ray disapproves of her laidback attitude, saying tightly that they could appreciate the beach when they get there. I'm starting to understand why these two aren't meant to be.

Oh, the Yogi Bears! They realize that they are slowing down their rickshaw rider so they decide to hop off and run alongside the rickshaw! "The high side! Clear on the high side!" they yell to everyone who is in their way. The rickshaw rider is grinning at these silly, funny people. Finally, the Yogi Bears realize that they can't run anymore and hop back onto the rickshaw before they go into cardiac arrests.

The Lilith Sisters unearth their tag, which comes with a clue. Philo explains that Teams must now take the chartered flight to Cuzco, which is located 11,000 feet above sea level, before receiving their next clue. Patrick unearths the tag for his Team. They point out that there is only one more spot remaining for the 6:00 am flight and wonder who will get it. Since the flight leaves at 6:00 am, there is nothing more they can do here but to hang around. The Teams will be sleeping tonight in the hotel, by the way.

The Robfather notes that there is one mound of sand that has been dug through and concludes that it must be the one for the flight that leaves the earliest. When he and Ambore start digging at the mound, Patrick pretty much grits his teeth as he points out the Team to his mother and the Lilith Sisters. Ray and Deana are the first to pull up at the beach after the Robfather and Ambore and they are stunned into wondering aloud how those two can catch up with the RADs. Wave hi to Craig, Ray, and be nice to that young man. Ray throws himself into a flurry of digging with the Robfather and Ambore and it's now a race to see who will get lucky and snag the last 6:00 am flight spot. Deana rather belatedly joins Ray in the digging.

The Maybellines are the next to show up. Seeing those two, the Lilith Sisters yell, "Go blondies!" Does this mean that I can call the Lilith Sisters "lezzies" now? They run past the frenzied digging in the 6:00 am mound, not even looking at it, and stop before the 7:40 am mound. Megan wonders what the other mound says but Heidi says that they are at this mound first so they may as well start digging. I have a feeling that they will be winning the Darwin awards anytime soon. Over at the other mound, the Robfather manages to pull the last 6:00 am tag out of the mound. "By the skin of our teeth," he says in relief as he watches Ray and Deana disappointedly running to the 7:00 am mound. Watching the Robfather and Ambore smooch happily over their luck, Bianca says to Debbie that it isn't fair that those two are in the Race since the Robfather and Ambore have already won in Survivor. She won't pick those two to be on the show, she declares. The Legion of Like We Care say hello to her.

The Yogi Bears are here and they spot the Maybellines and soon join in. They ask the Maybellines what the departure time for the flight represented by the other mound is. The Maybellines are like, "Er, we don't know because we didn't check." And the Yogi Bears are like, "Uh, yeah, whatever, we'll just keep digging by your side." The GOPs then show up and darling Bianca calls out to them that there are only the 7:00 am and 7:40 am flights available so advises them to go dig where the "blonde girls" are digging. Pointlessly lying to other Teams while receiving absolutely no advantage for themselves in the process on day one of the show - yup, that's the way to be sneaky and underhanded on this show alright!

Deana locates the tag for the 7:00 am flight. Meanwhile, the three teams digging for the 7:40 am tickets get theirs and celebrate happily. That is, until the GOPs decide to take a look at the time stated on the sign of the third mound and realize that they have been complete idiots digging like mad in a mound for the privilege to be last. Barbie Jane says that they shouldn't have trusted the Lilith Sisters. Yes, they shouldn't. But they should have also stopped and check the time on the other mound before digging for the 7:40 am tag so they have only themselves to blame at the end of the day.

Dumb and Dumber are therefore quite shocked to realize that the 7:40 am tags have been grabbed while the 7:00 am tags are wide up for grabs. "Isn't 7:00 am before 7:40 am?" they ask each other. Well, I would ask that myself if I am in their shoes because really, who would be so stupid as to dig for 7:40 am tags when the 7:00 am tags are available? The Fat Fatales run like fat chickens hungry for worms to the 7:00 am mound next while the Cannon Fodders pull off a stupid and grab the last tag in the 7:40 am mound. When the IVFs finally show up, they are stunned that when they realize that the last available tag for them is from the 7:00 am flight, which puts them in the middle instead of last like Uchenna initially suspected. This is one Team that benefits from the stupidity of some other Teams - good for them, really.

Later that night, the Teams are gathered around a campfire on a beach. The Robfather voices over that this reminds him of Survivor all over again and he is sure that the other Teams are plotting against him and Ambore. I'm sure that is true, just as I'm sure that if he doesn't stop with the Survivor references, I'm going to start beating my head against the wall.



It's a new day and the teams for the 6:00 am flight get into their respective cabs. Ambore tells the camera that the other Teams are generally nice to her face but she suspects that they don't really want her and the Robfather around. The Robfather tells her that these people just don't want them to win again and adds, "That's just too bad for them, isn't it?" Oh, the Robfather, all is forgiven at that point because there is nothing like a cocky bastard who can actually deliver what he brags about when it comes to making me swoon like a fangirl. The 6:00 am flight takes off while the Teams on the other two flights wait in the airport. And then comes the shocker: the 7:00 am flight is having "technical difficulties" (yes, GI Joe, this is like Baghdad all over again, eeeeek) so it will actually leave after the 7:40 am flight! Way to go in rewarding the idiots on the show, Mr Technical Difficulty. Gretchen tells the disappointed 7:00 am Teams that they should "get used to being burned" because according to her that's going to "happen a lot" on the Race. Those are some words of wisdom indeed from a stupid old broad who dug in the 7:40 am mound because she didn't bother to check the other mound and is now benefitting from some screw-up that is nothing of her doing. In the end, it turns out that all Teams will be sent off in the 7:40 am flight so the first three Teams now have more than an hour lead over the others.

The first flight lands at Cuzco. This is another historic site that dates back to the Incan civilization of yore. The Lilith Sisters say that the high elevation of Cuzco makes Debbie feel "light-headed" - as if she has never been in that condition before, pfffft - and then these two enact what seems to me is the most bizarre product-placement scene ever. They go buy some coca tea, talk to the camera about how coca tea can help one get over altitude-sickness as if they are some has-been TV star pitching some dietary product in a commercial, and then Debbie drinks it and announces that she is feeling better already. Teams learn that they must now take "marked cabs" to Huambutio, a forty minutes trip from Cuzco, and locate a kiosk called Felipe's for their next clue. While the Lilith Sisters crow about being first, the Robfather and Ambore talk about how beautiful the scenery is. What is the world coming to when these two are becoming sweet and mushy?

At Felipe's, the Lilith Sisters realize that they must now head down across a nearby bridge to the top of the Pisac Gorge. The Pisac Gorge is 100-metres deep and all those people who enjoy rock-climbing and other sports of this kind flock to this place for obvious reasons. Philo explains that Teams must zip across and zip one more time down to the bottom of the gorge before receiving their next clue. Mom and Moan are the next to reach Felipe's and as they leave, the Robfather and Ambore show up. Patrick crows that he and his mother have beaten those two. Maybe if he's talking about beating those two to the finish line I'd appreciate his words better. As it is, pffffft, whatever. The Robfather is non-plussed and he makes me laugh in the process. I wonder if Patrick feels the same when he closes his eyes and dreams of being the Robgirlfriend.

The Lilith Sisters go "Eeeeeek" as they zip across and then down the gorge. Since nobody ever dies or breaks a bone in zip events, there is never anything to say about such activities. The Lilith Sisters learn that they must now choose a Detour. Philo explains that in "Rope A Llama", Teams must corral two llamas in a nearby farm and lead them into their pen. Sounds easy, right? The thing is, llamas are very stubborn animals. In "Rope A Basket", Teams must carry on each of their backs a basket filled with thirty-five pounds of alfafa and deliver these two baskets to a vegetable vendor some two-thirds of a mile away. This one may be a physically taxing task, especially considering the high altitude of Cuzco. Those two immediately begin arguing over what they should do.

Mom and Moan finish the zip task and they decide to rope a llama. Patrick says that he is glad that he stopped to pee before he did the zipline. Since all he has done so far on this episode is to take a long pee on his competition, he'd have to clarify that statement a little if he wants to be more specific. When the Lilith Sisters spot Mom and Moan, they realize that they have lost whatever time advantage they have and decide to just follow those two in roping a llama. Patrick tells them the happy news: they have all beaten the Robfather and Ambore! The more he keeps going about those two, the more I am starting to suspect that he secretly wants to marry the Robfather and is just jealous of Ambore. The Robfather and the canoli in his pants go "Holy canoli!" as he zips after Ambore and they both decide to rope a basket.

The trailing five Teams finally land in Cuzco. Dumb and Dumber lead the pack in getting cabs and speeding off to Felipe's kiosk. Meanwhile, I realize that I missed "theatrical showboat" in the list of gay stereotypes that the Fat Fatales could have embodied but Lynn rectifies that by singing "We are racing in Peru! We are racing in Peru!" in the cab. Watch out, Peru, the motley monsters are racing the streets!

At the llama farm, the llamas glare at the humans in such a bitchy-diva way that the Fat Fatales would really appreciate (and practice emulating before the mirror) as Patrick and Susan try to find llamas that they think will like them. The llamas are like, "Oh please, bitches!" Debbie, in the meantime, is already whining that there is no way that she could handle those llamas. Elsewhere, the Robfather and Ambore don those straw hats and slowly lift those heavy baskets onto their backs. The Robfather muses about having to wear his Red Sox cap over the straw hat before shrugging and saying philosophically that when he's in "Incaville", he'd best do what the Incas do.

A llama spits on Patrick. I want a llama for my birthday. Debbie is still whining like a baby as she declares that llamas are "retards" and pretty much blames Bianca for making her do this Detour. She complains that the Robfather and Ambore must be right now carrying those baskets and beating them to the finish line. What happened to being intelligent and strong, ladies? And what is this preoccupation with those two anyway?

The Robfather's basket nearly tips over and he is becoming frustrated. Ambore calmly stops and shows him how to tie the basket to his back correctly before telling him to keep going. See, that's why I think that Ambore is a great partner for the Robfather both in All-Stars Survivor and here. She may not be an overwhelming TV personality but she seems to be the one to calm him down and hold him back before he does anything too outrageous or impulsive that can sink them both. As much as the Robfather dominated All-Stars Survivor, I doubt he will be as successful in doing so if Ambore wasn't there to soothe any feathers he ruffled among his tribemates.

Back at the llama farm, Debbie once more announces that they must be very behind you-know-who by now so she is "so furious" with Bianca right now. After all, it's Bianca's fault that Debbie cannot handle a llama. She wants them to go do the vegetable basket Detour instead. Bianca bitches about the long walk to the vegetable farm but she follows Debbie nonetheless. What is weird here was that in their previous argument about which Detour options they should choose, Debbie was the one pushing for the llamas. Yet here she is acting as if Bianca has forced her to do the llamas against the will. And Bianca, who was previously pushing for the vegetable baskets, is now insisting that they should have stuck with the llamas. So they are both angry with each other over decisions that they believe the other person made but in truth, they are the ones who originally pushed for the decision. Am I making sense here? Somewhere else in the llama farm, Patrick and Susan are getting drenched in llama spit and Patrick complains that you-know-who must be beating them to the finish line by now.

Speaking of you-know-who, they are right now looking for the store that they must drop the baskets off at. Meanwhile, the Teams start to reach Felipe's one by one and head off for the Gorge. The Robfather and Ambore locate the store and drop off their baskets, earning them a clue that tells them to go to the Huambatio police station and hop onto the back of a marked delivery truck to get to the nearby town of Pisac some twenty miles away. I wonder why these trucks are lined outside the police station. Maybe the truck drivers can't pay up their fines and the trucks are now being used as props for the show, I guess. The trucks will depart within twenty minutes of each other, by the way.

Patrick gets a major drenching from a llama. I think its name is Damai Llama. Okay, that's a bad joke, I know. Elsewhere, the Robfather and Ambore meet the Lilith Sisters who are on their way to the store. He tells the Lilith Sisters to keep going and Ambore tells them to carrying the baskets around their necks, which is supposedly easier. As they leave, the Robfather tells Ambore that they done have their share of good deeds for the next thirty days. He's such a bad boy, hmmph!

"I will stand in front of your face and you can blow me with as much snot as you want if you get in your f**king pen!" Patrick tells his llama. Surprisingly, it works. The treacherous Patrick doesn't stand there and the let llama blow him with snort though as he and Susan grab their clue and run off for the trucks. The Lilith Sisters drop off their baskets and notice that their clue states that only a maximum of three Teams can get onto a single truck. The Robfather and Ambore are right now hoping that their truck leaves without any other Team, but alas, Susan and Patrick hop onboard shortly before the truck pulls out. The Lilith Sisters realize that the truck has left without them and wail that the Robfather and Ambore are gone. Apparently, this means that their lives are now ruined or something. The Robfather must be quite surprised at how some people use him to validate their worth on the Race. The Lilith Sisters get onto the next truck which leave without any other Team showing up.

Dumb and Dumber zip. They choose to rope a basket. Lynn compares the Gorge to "Splash Mountain". At least it's not Baghdad, I guess. The Fat Fatales zip up and zip down. They also choose to rope a basket. Gretchen announces that the zip is the Cannon Fodders' "worst fear", which is why they are on a show where a zip line stunt features prominently in the first episode of every season. She then proceeds to talk about wedgies in that embarrassing manner that senior people trying too hard to be hip and fashionable tend to be. Their children watching at home must be praying hard that she doesn't go on next about liking "cool music" by "Bouncy Knowles", "Maminam", and "50 Dollars". She and Meredith yell "Geronimo!" as they zip down. What can I say? At least it isn't "Pokemon". They decide to rope a llama.

Showing up at Felipe's one by one are the IVFs, the Yogi Bears, the GOPs, and the Maybellines.

Dumb and Dumber carry baskets of vegetables into town in search for the vendor. They pass some kids and promptly tell these kids to eat well and don't do drugs. Or they'll end up as ugly men going on reality TV shows to crack into acting. They drop off the baskets. Meanwhile, the Fat Fatales are just starting out on the Detour. They fuss with each other's hats and baskets because they have to look good for the cameras, I suppose, even if they aren't looking very good in the first place. Over at the llama farm, the Cannon Fodders tackle the llamas in what seems like the same way they tackle their unruly children. Meredith drags the two llamas from the front while Gretchen pushes the llamas from behind. That way, only one will get drenched in spit while the other hopes that the llamas don't try to do anything funny to the lady pushing and prodding at their posteriors.

Deana and Ray zip down and they decide to rope a basket because Ray doesn't have the patience to learn how to handle a llama (or so he says). When Deana chokes from the effort of carrying the basket, he tells her to "suck it up", which seems to be his favorite phrase as he's used it twice on the show already. It looks like he doesn't have the patience to learn how to treat a woman right either.

When the Fat Fatales encounter Dumb and Dumber, Dumb and Dumber joke that the Fat Fatales have passed the store. The Fat Fatales are horrified until Dumb and Dumber laugh and say that they are only kidding. "You bitches!" screams Lynn and finally, he makes me laugh when so many of his camera-conscious attempts at jokes and sardony fail to do so. Sometimes humor and wit are best delivered in a spontaneous manner. Dumb and Dumber point out the location of the store to the Fat Fatales before hopping onto the back of a truck. There are some children there so Dumb and Dumber introduce themselves. It's like two Shaggies saying hello to some Scooby-Doos where each party thinks the other is simply the coolest while the rest of the world holds a less flattering opinion of them. I find myself liking these two dumb meatheads when they aren't trying too hard to be idiotic fratboys. The Fat Fatales join them on the truck and they all take off.

The IVFs zip across and down the gorge. They choose the llama. Then the Yogi Bears perform the zip, or as Ryan puts it, "load test" the zip line. After some harrowing encounter where Chuck's privates nearly get acquainted with some cactus plants, the Yogi Bears decide to rope a llama. The GOPs zip and choose the basket. Ditto the Maybellines.

The Cannon Fodders close the gate of the pen on two annoyed llamas and receive their clue. They take off as fast as their creaky old bones will allow to the trucks.

Deana begs Ray to help her adjust her basket because the rope is choking her. He flat out refuses, saying that he has his own basket to worry about. They drop off the baskets but miss the truck that is carrying the Cannon Fodders to Pisac. Ray berates Deana for not - yup, you guessed it - "sucking it up" and therefore making them miss the truck. All I can say is this: after Tori and Pornathan in the previous season, I don't have the energy to muster up any emotion for dysfunctional couples. If she wants to be with him, then she should just lie on the bed she makes. That's harsh, I know, but I'm tired of watching couples using this show as their personal Dr Phil or Jerry Springer session. So, to conclude, Ray seems like a jerk and Deana is still sleeping with him. That's that, so let's just move on.

In the leading truck, the Robfather tells Patrick that he and his mother are kicking all kinds of "ass". Patrick returns the compliment, saying that initially he isn't sure whether the Robfather and Ambore will be "nice". I never understand people who would say to other people's face things like "Oh, I thought you were some stuck-up bitch - nice to meet you!" and then expect other people to smile and become their friends. Maybe Patrick knows why some people do this kind of thing. The two Teams decide to work together to locate the next clue in Pisac. Patrick tells the camera that he agrees to this alliance because he wants his Team to be the ones responsible for the downfalls of the Robfather and Ambore. Yup, someone is definitely in love with the Robfather. Also, Patrick is giving the wrong kind of confessional in this show. Someone tell him to save that "I am your downfall, muahahahaha!" speech for Survivor. Over at the second truck, the Lilith Sisters are handing out what seems like bracelets to the kiddies in the truck with them. I am always cynical about people who go on shows like this one armed with goodies to hand out to the kiddies when the cameras are rolling.

At Pisac, the clue stand is located somewhere in the busy city. True to their superficial alliance, the leading two Teams start searching for it. Mom and Moan manage to locate it and call out to the Robfather and Ambore to get over to where they are. And then all bets are off as both Teams compete in cabs to get to the Pit Stop at La Merced, a church and covent that dates back to the thirteenth century in Cuzco. Philo reminds everyone that the last Team to check in at the Pit Stop will be eliminated. The Robfather's cab overtakes the other cab, making poor Patrick pout so prettily. Shortly after the two Teams have left, the Lilith Sisters show up at the clue stand in Pisac and they too quickly hop into a cab to take them to La Merced.

The Cannon Fodders somehow manage to break the eggs of one of the people sharing their truck and offer five American dollars as compensation. Ray is still being an ass. The IVFs and the Yogi Bears struggle with the recalcitant llamas. The GOPs and the Maybellines carry their baskets. It should be obvious that one of these Teams are heading home at the end of episode.

Dumb and Dumber and the Fat Fatales agree to cooperate in looking for the clue stand once they reach Pisac. They quickly get their clue and dash into cabs to get back to Cuzco. "Muy, muy, muy... what am I saying? Very, very, very?" Lynn wonders after his aborted attempt to egg his cab driver to drive faster. The more I see this desperately unfunny guy, the more I expect him to grow a twirly moustache that he will play with when he cracks his painfully camera-conscious one-liners.

The llamas are all herded up and the IVFs are now heading towards the truck. The Yogi Bears follow shortly after. Elsewhere, the GOPs and the Maybellines are also delivering their baskets and receiving their clues. Over at Pisac, the Cannon Fodders locate the clue stand and take off for the Pit Stop. The IVFs manage to catch up with the RADs and the truck carrying both Teams leave just as the GOPs and the Yogi Bears show up. Ahead, Patrick is talking about how awesome it is that in the end it all boils down to his Team versus the Robfather and Ambore. Sheesh, this is just the first leg of the Race - he's putting way too much importance into this "duel" of his. On the other hand, the Robfather can't be bothered with that pipsqueak, obviously, as he has more pressing concerns to worry about. Such as his cab being stuck in a road behind a vehicle that is just there on the street, without a driver - just... there. There goes his lead.

Mom and Moan are caught in a traffic jam as well, causing Susan to moan about how it always boils down to a cab ride in determining the winners of the Race. If this is how they are going to be on the first leg of the Race, I have a feeling that they will experience a beautiful meltdown when the stress piles on later in the Race.

The Robfather gets out of the cab and asks the people around him to help him move the stalled vehicle out of the way. Ooh, I love a man who takes charge and do things instead of sitting there and moaning that life is passing him by. With the vehicle out of the way, the cab can get moving. The Robfather hopes that they can still maintain their lead.

Three Teams pull up at the Pit Stop - the Robfather and Ambore, Mom and Moan, and the Lilith Sisters. Who will make it to the Finishing Mat first? Philo and the VIP cock their heads when they see someone approaching. Which Team is arriving in first place? Eeuw, the Lilith Sisters are the first Team to arrive. Philo announces that for coming in first, the Lilith Sisters will receive a bonus prize of twenty thousand dollars. Compared to zero in the first two seasons and crappy Kodak cameras in the third season, twenty grand is a grand prize indeed.

Mom and Moan are second. Susan wishes that they have come in first. The Robfather and Ambore are third. That stupid stalled vehicle! Philo congratulates them on moving from the back of the pack to among the frontrunners. I'm sure the Robfather is plotting a comeback though even as we speak. Dumb and Dumber come in fourth and the Fat Fatales fifth.

The RADs and the IVFs agree on cooperating to look for the clue in Pisac but once they get there and the RADs discover the clue stand, they take off without informing the IVFs. People who keep bringing up the Robfather's duplicity should take note that there are underhanded machinations from other Teams as well, such as this one. Fortunately, the IVFs manage to locate the clue stand on their own and they too take off.

Chuck begins singing She'll Be Coming Round The Mountain as he and Ryan along with the GOPs and the Maybellines are sharing space in the trailing truck to Pisac. At Pisac, all three Teams quickly locate the clue stand. It's a race back to the Pit Stop.

The Cannon Fodders come in sixth, followed by the RADs in seventh place, and the IVFs in eighth place. Philo asks the IVFs whether they want a llama for a pet. Uchenna doesn't mention that he has already married one so he's alright in my book. Just kidding, people. The IVFs politely turn down the llama.

And finally, the race to the finish for the trailing three Teams. Things don't look good for the Yogi Bears when their cab is overtaken by the cabs of the other two Teams. GI Joe offers to pay his driver more money if he drives faster and faster. The Maybellines' cab driver claims to know a shortcut. Indeed, it is a short-cut as the Maybellines end up coming in at ninth place. And finally, the GOPs come in at tenth place, with the Yogi Bears literally just seconds behind them. The Yogi Bears cry and talk about how they are friends forever and then they are gone from the Race. Sigh. I like them.

Oh, and you know what a possible sign that this season will be infinitely better than the last is? Me being able to tell the Teams apart after one episode!


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