5 Continents... 10 Countries... And More Than 59 Thousand Miles!
The Amazing Race 9 : Finale


It's a plane! Previously, Jerry Bonghammer and his buddy Bertie van Munster must have decided that it's time this show has its own Rupert Boneham. A Team that will be universally beloved by the audience, one that would be viewed as a champion of sorts for the everyday person. This Team will embody what many fans believe the Race should be all about: fun, open-mindedness, and ability. They believed they have this Team in the form of the BoHo Boys. But... something went wrong along the way. Maybe it's due to the fact that when you have a Team shameless enough to want to share that dream of Ruperthood with Bonghammer and Company, you will end up with a Team so self-absorbed in what it perceives to be its own grandness that the Team cannot process anything that doesn't involve them being in the center of attention in their heads. But whatever it is, the BoHo Boys end up amusing many people nonetheless with their constant condenscension towards other cultures and their often mistaking borderline racist ethnic jokes for humor ("Pizza pie!"). I'm not saying that the BoHo Boys are racist, let me make this clear, I'm saying that the BoHos are obviously of very limited mental capacity in the sense that they cannot think of any amusing shtick or gag that doesn't involve the most blatant (and as it is often in this case, borderline offensive) punchlines and driving this punchline to the ground with constant repetition. The BoHo Boys are golden examples of the worst kinds of stand-up folks: they really have no idea how to be funny but they just won't stop trying because they think they are funny.

The editors gleefully abet the canonization of the BoHo Boys: their less than golden moments (arguments with each other, their insulting the MoJos as "rednecks") are hidden from the TV shows and are played only on the Insider section of the official website and any Team that dares cross the BoHo Boys in any way are edited to be monsters and fiends. My case in point: several Teams, including the MoJos, have confirmed in post-show interviews that the BoHo did threaten to Yield the MoJos before the ninth episode and they also threatened to Yield the Team should the MoJos refuse to donate anything to them. But on the show, what do we get? The MoJos coming off like churls because we are not shown that the BoHo started the silly feud and therefore we instead see the MoJos "suddenly" hating on the favored sons of this season. To be fair on the editors, they subsequently showed the BoHo Boys at their all-time low (trying to wedge apart Joseph and Monica using ridiculous rumors of her cheating on him - which is nice, I tell you, because it is always a good thing when you destroy someone's relationship to win the Race) but for every negative depiction, the show tries very hard to put two more positive depictions. With Philo reminding everyone at each Pit Stop how lovable they are and of course they reminding everyone of the same in every episode ("We're hippies! We're peace-loving! We're good people! Except when you don't bow down to us, bitch, but really, we're nice people!"), the BoHo Boys are the new saints.

And here I thought the whole beatification of Uchenna and Joyce as the new saviors of good in the seventh season was pretty annoying. Oh boy, little do I know that this season isn't just being set up to depict the chosen Team as the best and most moral Team ever, they are also being portrayed as the only Team who respected other cultures (such as "Pizza pie!", insulting and mocking affectation of the most offensively stereotypical patois and accents of the countries they visit, et cetera) and the only Team who are not just smart, courageous, and all, but also intelligent to boot. If I just tune in, I'd think that before the BoHo Boys, the Race was run by truly horrible xenophobes who spent the entire time kicking homeless people and spitting in the faces of ticket agents. Ugh. No wonder the ratings keep falling throughout the season.

Sorry about the rant - the "Previously!" recap by Philo sets me off because the recap is all about the BoHo Boys. They're adorable! They respect everyone! They are hippies! Never mind that Tyler comes from a filthy rich family so it's easy for him to claim to be bohemian and all when us mere mortals are stuck to our ball and chains daily in some rat race to find enough money to pay for our own funeral, hippies are funny! And amazing! And... and... pass me the bucket, somebody.

Philo "Please Buy My Book Because I'll Need The Money When This Show Gets Cancelled" Koughie steps out before the camera to explain that he's in Bangkok, the "cultural and economical" center of Thailand. He also mentions "exotic metropolis" and "uniquely designed religious monuments", although the last time I was in Bangkok, I'd use "traffic-clogged metropolis" and "the brothels and the nightclubs are, in a way, the religious monuments of Bangkok" to describe that place instead. I still remember how a few years ago when we Giggles were on a road trip to Thailand, I went in and booked a room for the night at a cheap hotel. My husband was still outside trying to find a parking space so this sweet young lady behind the counter assumed that I was alone. She gave me a room key and then asked me whether I'd like her to go call up a companion, so to speak, for me. "Man or woman, all also can!" was what she told me. I told her I didn't need any companions for the night and then she asked whether I'd like some chemical aid, let's just say, to help me enjoy my stay better. Goodness, were all those sweet young ladies also procurers and drug dealers? Perhaps I should have been born in Bangkok. My childhood and teenaged years would have been more colorful and exciting, I'd bet!

Anyway, remember how the Telcoms won the Travelocity prize in the previous leg? They won a stay at a luxurious suite as well as a yacht cruise to Sydney, Australia on the next New Year's Eve. Well, the luxurious suite in question was the Four Seasons suite they stayed for the mandatory rest period between the previous leg and this one. I assume the other two Teams have to sleep in a typical suite while the Telcoms get a bigger room that comes a bigger bathroom. So let's check in on them. No, in a scene that is definitely not staged for this show, the Telcoms are looking at a Travelocity webpage that contains information on trips to Sydney. No, no, it's just something that loving couples do when they get to sleep in a luxurious suite - they switch on the PC and go visit the Travelocity webpage. Philo ends this exciting insight into the lifestyles of the rich and famous by wondering whether so-and-so will keep up with the other Teams and whether the so-and-so will maintain their lead. Why do Philo keep talking as if he hasn't heard of bunchings in this Race. Of course so-and-so will keep up! This Race won't let any Team move ahead of the other Teams for more than three steps before bunching them all again. Between Philo's increasingly pointless introductory voiceovers to the show turning into a product-placement hell, kinda like The Apprentice with more running, I'm starting to feel like wanting this show to be cancelled because I love this show too much to see it die slowly like this.

Ah yes, the Race. 11:18 pm. The BoHo Boys, who fast-forwarded themselves to first place in the previous leg, get to go first. After their usual "Look at me!" antics, they realize from their clue that they must now take a cab to the Royal Kraal some 75 miles away in Ayutthaya. The Royal Kraal is the home of the country's famous white elephants and I guess it is only a sign that the show has gone to hell that the Teams will be getting a T-Mobile Sidekick each that contains their clue instead of actually getting at look at the white elephants in question. Who cares about culture (unless it's another arsenal in the BoHo Boys' "Look at me!" campaign) when we can sell the T-Mobile Sidekick to the audience of this show? After planning to "blow" (if you're BJ) or "buy" (if you're Tyler) the Marble Temple with their million dollars, the two idiots leave to look for a cab. Along the way, BJ says that he expected before the Race that he and Tyler would murder the competition because apparently he thinks that he and Tyler are smarter than everyone else on this Race. However, now he realizes that the BoHo Boys have made some mistakes so oh no, our modest BJ realizes that the BoHo Boys are not as perfect as they think they were. Not that it will stop them from crowing that they are the good guys on this Race, of course. Tyler talks about not having to fear about losing because they are just focusing on getting to the finish line. The cab shows up and they then offer me a few seconds of respite by leaving the TV screen.

1:21 am. The Freaky Fratboys count their money - each Team is given $388 for this leg, it seems - and then spot a cab on their way out of the Marble Temple. They tell the camera that they want to be a Team and they want to win, et cetera. Gee, I never notice how dough-like their complexions are until now when I see their confessionals. If these guys really want to be actors, they will be typecasted as extras in a mob comedy starring James Spader, oh dear. In their cab, Eric tells the camera but he is looking at Jeremy so it seems like he's telling Jeremy instead that he has never seen an elephant up close but he has however seen elephants on When Elephants Attack! Is that the title of his orgy video that features the BoHo Boys as well? Ugh, that makes all those "aggressive trunks" jokes most unsavory in this context then, I suppose.

Ahead, the BoHo Boys reach the Royal Kraal and learn that it's closed until 4:00 am. At the rate things are going, I wonder why the Race seems determined to make the Teams leave early in the morning when it's clear that they will have to wait until daylight for the next stop to admit them in. Since the Race loves that "take a number, stand in line" crap, why not let the Teams leave in specific intervals every morning from, say, 5:00 am in the order that they arrived in the Pit Stop at the previous leg? That way I will be spared from having to see the Teams looking at a closed gate in the dark of night without fail five minutes into every episode of this show. Watching Teams grumble about being bunched is not my idea of fun, especially when this means that the BoHo Boys will take the opportunity to make the most obvious and overused elephant jokes to clown around for the camera.

1:28 am. I don't know why the Telcoms even bother to wake up to Race since they are the ones most likely to get lost while trying to pull on a sock, but hey, they're now ready to leave. As they leave to get a cab, Ray talks about how being a couple puts an extra edge and tension on the Telcoms, which in a way is true. It will be so much easier to Race when a Team is unified through douchebaggery (the Freaky Fratboys) or through desperation for love and attention (the BoHo Boys). Considering how the Telcoms narrowly lose the title of the Most Boring Dating Couple Ever to the Templates from the sixth season, they really shouldn't complain so much. Then again, maybe if they don't say anything to the camera, people will forget that they are even in this episode. Oh, and Ray calls the Freaky Fratboys "the frat girls". Maybe he knows something about those two that I don't.

As the clock ticks towards 4:00 am, the three Teams meet up at the gates of the Royal Kraal where the Telcoms and the BoHo Boys act like they're happy that the Telcoms are still in the Race. Then it's 4:00 am and the three Teams dash inside while making a spectacle about trying to avoid elephant droppings on the ground. Then it's on to the performing elephants that hand over those T-Mobile Sidekicks to the Teams. Flashed on the monitor of each T-Mobile Sidekick is the clue that tells each Team to make their way to Tokyo, Japan, a trip that Philo says is of more than 7,000 miles. Once the Teams are in Tokyo, they will drive themselves to Shibuya, Tokyo's entertainment and business district that Philo claims is the Japanese version of Times Square and also the location of the world's busiest intersection. The Teams' next clue is "hidden", if you can call it that, in one of those big video monitors all over Shibuya. The video monitor they are looking for should have the familiar yellow and red motive and a message that says "Find Hachiko".

The BoHo Boys are excited and make sure the cameras capture their happy bopping because - and pay attention because they will explain this only six thousand times more in this episode - Tyler had a Japanese girlfriend and he did that Kintaro video thing that his supporters claim ad nauseum is the evidence that Tyler is "real" and not some attention-hog that just happens to want to film his "enlightened trip to Japan to learn its culture" thingie to, uh, enlighten the world and spread the good hippie word. Or something. The Freaky Fratboys go, oh great, now the BoHo Boys have an advantage over the other Teams. And it's just my luck, isn't it, that the Race happens to go to Japan where the BoHo Boys not only have an advantage over the other Teams because Tyler is familiar with the place and the language but also in Japan the BoHo Boys will have more excuses to announce their special greatness to the entire world some more?

A trip to the Bangkok International Airport is unavoidable, of course. The Telcoms and the Freaky Fratboys gravitate towards the United flight that will leave at 6:40 am and land in Tokyo at 2:15 pm. They manage to get seats on that flight without much difficulty so at 6:40 am, they're off ago-go to Tokyo, wheeee! The BoHo Boys on the other hand decide to check out a Nippon Air flight only to learn that it's full. Oh no, will the BoHo Boys be stuck in Bangkok forever? Of course not. A quick visit to other ticket counters reveals that there is a Thai Airline flight going to Tokyo that will depart at 8:20 am. They will be behind the other two Teams by about an hour and a half but no matter, the BoHo Boys are confident of victory being at hand since Tyler knows Japanese and he has done that Kintaro video crap... the usual, really. As the two flights are on their way to Tokyo, Philo explains that in Tokyo Teams will make their way to the parking lot at the Hotel Nikko Narita and locate their vehicles that they will then use to make their way to Shibuya. Don't worry about the Teams not knowing where to go in order to locate the Hotel, people, because there is a free shuttle bus service from the Tokyo International Airport to the Hotel that will get them there in about five or ten minutes. This Race is exciting enough without having to add in actual figuring out of directions and all!

Once the first flight lands in Tokyo, the Telcoms and the Freaky Fratboys take some time to browse the maps and travelogues in the airport bookstore before ending up on the same shuttle bus to the Hotel. The Freaky Fratboys approach the hotel reception for directions and they end up with a map while the Telcoms decide to go gung-ho and hit the road. As to be expected by now, they manage to miss a big sign on the road and end up getting so lost that they actually stop their vehicle in the middle of the highway where it splits into two roads to figure out which way to turn. The Freaky Fratboys, on the other hand, find their map most useful, as they should. The BoHo Boys reach Tokyo as well and this sends Tyler into even more hyperkinetic "Look at me! Me! Me! MEEEE!" drive than usual as he can't stop telling everyone how familiar he is with Japan and all. Once they are in the Shibuya district, the Freaky Fratboys locate the Sakomoto Building which is where Teams must all park their vehicles (or so I presume judging from what Eric and Jeremy are telling each other as they drive into the Sakomoto Building parking lot). They then hit the streets on foot to locate the video monitor that has their clue. Meanwhile, the Telcoms are lost, they can't communicate with the locals, and Ray calls Yolanda "Driving Miss Crazy". The BoHo Boys are of course trying to get my attention but I'll just ignore them until I really have to say something about them.

The Freaky Fratboys look so befuddled and lost as they peer at the giant video monitors around them, I almost feel sorry for them. Poor Jeremy is actually breathing through his mouth. Eventually they locate the monitor in question and Philo steps out to explain that Hachiko is not an androgynous male J-pop singer like one may assume but instead a famous Akita dog that kept waiting every day at the Shibuya Station for his master Eisaburo Ueno for eleven years after Eisaburo's death in 1925. Some spoilsports say that Hachiko kept going back to the station because the vendors there spoiled the dog silly with food but why let a nice story be ruined by realism, eh? Anyway, in Shibuya is a statue of Hachiko and this is where the Teams must now head towards. A rather typical androgynous local fellow will be waiting by the statue to hand the Teams their next clue.

The Freaky Fratboys ask some young ladies where "Hachiko" is and once they're at the Statue, they assume that Hachiko is the name of the man that gives them the clue. They marvel about how "Hachiko" could have been well-known by those "hot chicks" the Freaky Fratboys have encountered a while ago. This is one of those moments where the Freaky Fratboys are just too funny without them intending to come off that way. Once they open the clue, they learn that it's now time for a Detour. In "Maiden", Teams must travel to a unnamed Japanese tea garden seven miles away and carry a young lady with a creepy wide smile, sorry, a "maiden" in a palanquin for a distance of a third of a mile to a tea ceremony. In "Messenger", Teams must walk some 200 yards to an unnamed "parking lot" where they will assemble two "folding bikes" and cycle around town to deliver two packages to two different addresses. Once they've done that and have their delivery receipts signed by the recipients, they will return to the "parking lot" to get their next clue. Unsurprisingly, the Freaky Fratboys opt to chase after a maiden.

Next to reach Shibuya are the BoHo Boys. Where are the Telcoms, you ask? Good question. Tyler opts to show off his Japanese and he's not as fluent as he imagines himself to be, but hey, I'm sure he's still the greatest human being in the whole universe. After they have located correct the video monitor, Tyler doesn't know who Hachiko is, which is most amusing indeed considering how he's the first fellow to blab about how he is like Marco Polo in a trip to Tokyo. They nonetheless manage to locate the Statue and opt to become courier boys for a day. Why? The BoHo Boys once more talk about how Tyler knows Japanese, blah blah blah.

Ahead at the Japanese tea garden, the Freaky Fratboys must be disappointed that they aren't going to be performing giant feats of heroism like rescuing naked damsels in distress. Instead, they at first lift the palanquin and carry it in a wrong way (instead of balancing the beam on their shoulders, they try to lift the beam using their hands all the way) so they soon complain that the palanquin is too heavy for their liking. I'm sure the maiden in the palanquin will not be pleased to hear that. But after some false starts, they end up balancing the beam on their shoulders so they end up stumbling upon the correct way to carry a palanquin without realizing it. Lucky twits indeed. With that, they and the fair maiden make their way to the tea ceremony. Back in the Shibuya Hachikoguchi, the BoHo Boys are asking people for directions in Japanese, which is a sensible thing to do. But once the BoHo Boys reach the "parking lot" and finish assembling the bikes and all, Tyler announces that he's been in those buildings they have to deliver the parcels to. I'm starting to suspect that Tyler is just bragging to the camera to come off as more of a Tokyo rat than he actually is. Then again, maybe it is possible that he was a courier boy in Tokyo once upon a time, hmm. Anyway, they bike away, ringing the bells and all because watch out, people, they want their own TV show and they want it now!

The Telcoms are still wandering around, probably on their way to Sopporo by now. Ray tries to be optimistic and imagines that the other Teams could very well be having as much problems as they but Yolanda can see the writing on the wall. Don't worry, though - another day, another bunch. We'll see.

The Freaky Fratboys finally reach the site of the Japanese tea ceremony where the "maiden" they've been carrying steps out of the palanquin to get her cup of tea from the creepy-looking geisha lady waiting for them. Eric thinks that the whole scene is like a naughty fantasy coming true for him. What, he actually has a naughty fantasy about carrying a woman in a palanquin to some place where she can then get a drink? It seems like Eric here has some naughty dreams about being a woman's naughty little boyslave, doesn't it? (Of course, we should all bear in mind that this is a show where holding hands is considered "flirting".) The Freaky Fratboys are now given their next clue where they learn that they must head over to the Capsule Land Hotel, an uniquely Japanese "thing" where people sleep in capsules that are stacked on top of each other. A perfect comparison is to sleep in those narrow compartments in a morgue cold chamber. It is things like capsule hotels that always remind the rest of the world that Japanese don't think and do things like the rest of the world. The fellow behind the reception desk at our Japanese Morgue Motel will hand over the next clue.

The BoHo Boys deliver their first parcel and act like they're the second coming of Santa Claus. How funny, snort. Meanwhile, the Telcoms are starting to argue, and even then, they argue in the same manner that they Race - as if they really have no enthusiasm or energy left. Eventually they manage to locate the Sokomoto Building. Now it's just the matter missing the "Find Hachiko" video monitor even if it's right in front of them. I really want to root for the Telcoms but egads, they are completely hopeless. The BoHo Boys finish delivering their second parcel, all the while ringing the bells and making all kinds of "Look at me! Me! MEEE!" noises, and they now cycle back to the "parking lot" where they started out from to return the bikes and receive their next clue.

That's an interesting Detour, eh, people? Maybe if they actually make the location of the buildings harder to find or increase the distance the palanquin-bearers must walk, this whole episode won't have such an annoying watered-down for-dummies feel about it. To use an example from a recent season for comparison, remember the wild "let's send tea to the folks in the Lucknow government building" back in the seventh season? That one is tricky and is fun to watch. How can delivering a mere two parcels to two different buildings even hope to be exciting to watch? What are the idiots designing this Race thinking? I don't want to complain, mind you, but it is killing me to watch how unchallenging and stupid the Race is becoming with each season. If Bonghammer wants to keep the Race as it is, please, for the next season, scrap the human Teams and bring in the primates instead. Watching chimpanzees, orangutans, babboons, and gorillas competing to munch down a bowl of deep-fried crickets or arrange fruits on a table will be so much more enjoyable.

The show quickly cuts to the Telcoms finally locating the correct video monitor and just as quickly, the Statue and the guy waiting to hand them their clue. Who knows how long it really takes for the Telcoms to locate these things though - one hour, six hours, six weeks? The Telcoms are in no mood to play the direction-guessing game anymore so they decide to take the Detour that allows them to move in a straight line. That's right, the Maiden Detour. Meanwhile, the Freaky Fratboys manage to locate a helpful cabdriver who doesn't know where the Capsule Land Hotel is other than it's somewhere in Shibuya but this guy is happy to make a few calls to find out the exact location. The BoHo Boys reach the "parking lot" where Tyler once more talks about how great he feels about Racing in Japan and all. It's a pity that I'm not playing a drinking game where I take a chug each time he talks about how much he knows about or loves Japan. Otherwise, I would be drunk enough pretty soon to the point that I may actually start to find him funny.

The Telcoms meanwhile are fortunate enough to reach the Japanese tea ceremony spot without getting lost. Still, they may as well stop to have dinner and even watch a dubbed American movie or something because another bunch, a big one, is coming up. Ahead, the Freaky Fratboys reach the Capsule Land Hotel where they learn that they are the first Team to arrive. The fact that they are first only means that they have earned the privilege to depart at 9:00 am the next day. For now, they will be spending the night in one of those capsules. I hope they aren't prone to claustrophobia. The two twits actually find the idea of sleeping in those capsules amusing, at least amusing enough for Eric to talk aloud about not wanting to wake up and find himself back in 1972. It occurs to me that maybe Eric isn't so bad if he can quote a line from the 1973 movie Sleeper. It also occurs to me that Eric may have outed himself as a Woody Allen fan and... I really don't know what to think since it is now a possibility that Eric isn't putting on a horny frat twit act on this show as much as he is putting on his best Miles Monroe impersonation only to lose the plot and come off as Austin Power's mentally handicapped brother instead. The image of Eric and Jeremy fighting in Blockbuster over the decision to rent a Woody Allen or Barbra Streisand movie is most amusing though.

Meanwhile, the Telcoms seem to be in better spirits as they carry the palanquin to their destination, with Ray even going, "I don't know but I've been told..." That their getting lost is getting old? They are probably happy because their adventures of Lostville have come to an end. As they get their clue and board a cab to the Capsule Land Hotel, Ray hopes that they will come in second. Yes, and I still hope that I will come in first in next year's Miss Chinatown beauty pageant. Ahead, the BoHo Boys are the second Team to arrive at the Hotel where they get a departure time of 9:15 am. As they and the Freaky Fratboys wonder where the Telcoms are while dressing up in white robes like they're in an "Uglies only" sauna, the Telcoms show up. They aren't happy to realize that they're in last time even when their departure time at 9:30 am means that they end up being only half an hour behind the first Team - which is very good if you consider the mess they were in earlier that day on the streets of Tokyo. Tyler asks Ray whether the Telcoms got lost and Ray answers curtly that they were stuck in traffic. Snigger. Everyone tries to get some sleep soon after (but not before the predictable exclamations about how the capsules look like prisons and such, although I doubt even solitary cells in prisons are as small as these capsules). Oh, and Jeremy looks like a fifty-five year old woman without his make-up. Everyone climbs into their respective capsules, pulls down the shades to keep out the light, and nods off.

9:00 am now. The Freaky Fratboys are ready to leave and they learn that they must now drive themselves to the Fuji-Q Highland Park, the place to go if you want an opportunity to puke out every piece of sushi you have eaten the day before in one of their extreme roller coaster rides. The show still calls it "Fujikyu Highland" but I hear that the Japanese have switched to the apparently more "hip" Fuji-Q and I'll just stick to Fuji-Q as a result. The Freaky Fratboys head over to the car park and while they're waiting for their vehicle to emerge from those cool vehicle elevator thingies, they ask around for directions. A guy who looks like the twin brother of the Hachiko Statue clue bearer points out the highway to take on the Freaky Fratboys' road map. Apparently a Highway Four is the road to take. At 9:15 am, the BoHo Boys leave and they would like to remind everyone that they love being in Japan because Tyler can speak the language and yadda yadda yadda - go buy the book if you're interested to know more. They too head over to the car park, obtain directions, et cetera. At 9:30 am, the Telcoms do the same thing, only they decide to ask for directions in a nearby Denny's. They figure that they will encounter some English-speaking locals or even some expats eating breakfast there. However, their luck being what they are, they instead encounter a waiter who waves his hands and speaks broken English with such a heavy accent that the Telcoms can only pick out the words "highway" and "Fuji-Q". Yolanda however thanks him before the two befuddled Telcoms quickly flee Denny's.

Ahead, the Freaky Fratboys spot a distant snow-capped mountain as they drive along the highway. Jeremy says that the mountain must be "Mount Tokyo". Eric calls Jeremy a dumbass and says that the mountain has to be Mount Fuji. The gong chimes as we then switch to the BoHo Boys - a clear warning that Tyler is going to open his mouth so I automatically cringe when I hear that sound. Tyler sees the mountain and goes, "Cool!" Behind them, the Telcoms can see Mount Fuji too but Ray is more focused on playing with as many ways he can say "Fujikyu" as possible. At this moment I have to wonder: I've seen the Freaky Fratboys with a map. Why don't the Telcoms have one of their own?

Ahead, the Freaky Fratboys ask some "van guy" (as Jeremy puts it) for directions and the van guy offers to lead them to Fuji-Q Highland. Why can't the Telcoms find this kind of luck, eh? As they follow the man, Jeremy talks about how he has learned that you have to speak very fast in order to get the people around here to understand you. I see that there are some people getting offended about it (and it amuses me no end as to how there are so many American fans of this show so willing to get offended on us Asians' behalf) but take it from an Asian who has lived in this area since the dinosaur days: Jeremy is 100% correct. If you listen to Jeremy's deliberate garbled "FujikooHighland" that he uses to make his point, you will encounter so many non-speaking Chinese, Korean, and Japanese people that speak exactly in that same way if you take a trip to this side of the world. And he's right about people in that part of the world speaking very fast. I always have a hard time understanding Chinese as spoken by the actual folks from China because they speak ten times faster than Chinese people from the world outside China usually do. Also, their intonation has a harsher and even guttural "growl" to it. Anyway, it seems like Jeremy has a talent for being an anthropologist if he puts his mind to it, hmm. Won't it be interesting if these two nitwits reveal themselves to be some kind of superheroes where they save the world and crush the terrorists when they are not pretending to be two stupid beach bums in their daily normal life?

The Freaky Fratboys and the BoHo Boys pretty much reach Fuji-Q Highland Park at the same time, causing the Freaky Fratboys to go, "Those hippies, and their damn language-knowing!" Okay, those two won't be teaching English grammar in schools anytime soon, but I don't think anyone expects them to, heh. Those two Teams learn that it's now time for a Roadblock that predictably enough involves roller coaster rides. Philo tries to make the whole thing more impressive than it actually is by mentioning words like "physical strain" and "adrenaline rush" but basically, each person from a Team has to go on three rides - the Pizza, the Dodonpa, and the Fujiyama. Philo doesn't mention this but the Fujiyama is the tallest and longest roller coaster in Fuji-Q Highland. While the twit is enjoying the rides, he or she must keep an eye out for a guy holding a big sign that says "Lake Yamanaka". Once the third ride (the Fujiyama) is over, the twit must repeat the phrase to the park manager to receive their next clue. If they are wrong, they have to repeat all three rides.

Tyler and Jeremy take one for their respective Teams. The Pizza is first. Strapped onto his seat on the Pizza, Tyler tells the women seated beside him that he is looking for a man with a big sign. The women chuckle politely, no doubt thinking, "And this is supposed to interest me... how, exactly? Stupid white man!" Jeremy waves at the women beside him and those women actually look away, snigger. The Pizza then takes off (it is actually a ride that swings the passengers around like some crazy pendulum) and I'm sure the Pizza is an enjoyable ride but watching people on the Pizza however, isn't too interesting. Tyler and Jeremy claim that they can't spot anyone with a sign which isn't too surprising considering that I'm sure the Race people will make sure that the fellow that holds up the sign only do so when the Racers are on the Fujiyama. Why cut short this Roadblock that the designers are sure will put me at the edge of my seat, after all? The fact that watching people on rides is never as fun as actually being in those rides must have gone over the designers' heads.

Way behind, the Telcoms not only do not know where they are going, they also lose the ticket they need to pay at the tollbooth. As those two start to rummage around the floor of the vehicle to search for that ticket, I really wish the MoJos are still here. I bet those two will give the BoHo Boys and the Freaky Fratboys a run for their money. The Telcoms are too pathetic for words. Heck, they make the likes of the Cannon Fodders from the seventh season and the Gutsy Groanies from the second season look like brainiac Teams, which is just plain sad when I take into account that Ray and Yolanda are athletic types that shouldn't fumble like this on the Race. Ray ends up talking to the toll station manager who agrees to let the Telcoms pay without having to use a ticket. He also gives Ray directions to Fuji-Q Highland and swats Ray's behind as Ray makes his way back to his vehicle. Ray comments good-naturedly that the Telcoms need to get out of there quickly because men don't do that where Ray is from. I guess Ray hasn't seen a football match in his country before. If you ask me, after all the manager has done for Ray, the least Ray could do is to let that man swat his behind.

At the Fuji-Q Highland Park, the two nitwits are now strapped on the Dodonpa. Apparently this lady is so taken with Tyler's beard that Tyler generously allows her to touch it. Is this where I should feel ashamed about not caring one bit about the fact that Tyler apparently makes Japanese women weak in the knees with his hirsuteness? Okay, I'd love to touch Tyler's beard too, only to grab a fistful of hair and give a hard yank for a good measure. Once this ride is over (good for them, yawns from me), Tyler tells Jeremy that he has seen the sign. He actually hasn't, and in case I am too smart to get his jokes, Tyler winks at the camera because when it comes to comedy, he's always a subtle one - there is a good chance that his original jokes may be missed by the audience. Jeremy is worried that he will have to endure all three rides again and again like he's stuck in a bad Goosebumps novel, but lo, by the late stages of the Fujiyama, our signbearer holds up the sign and sure enough, the two twits can't miss it. So there ends another challenging and exciting task in this season.

Both Teams now must head over to Lake Yamanaka - hey, the sign has to mean something, after all - which is one of the five lakes at the base of Mount Fuji and a popular spot for people wanting to admire nature but are too poor to afford a trip to the northern regions of Japan. Philo points out that it's a seven and a half mile journey. Once at Lake Yamanaka, the Teams must hop on one of those duck boats waiting by the pier and pedal themselves to the Big Swan, which is the Pit Stop of this leg of the Race. Philo claims that Big Swan is a popular attraction. I haven't even heard of the Big Swan (I have heard of swan boats, though) so I'll just take Philo's word for it. Jeremy says that he and Eric can outpedal the BoHo Boys because apparently he's the captain of the swan boat club in high school. He's obviously joking but after the Freaky Fratboys' displays of innate linguistic abilities, shockingly sharp wit, and a way to deal with fools, I won't be too surprised to learn that Jeremy was indeed the captain of the swan boat club in his school and not only that, he was also the president of the chess club and the founder of the school's chastity pledge. Meanwhile, Eric would be the opera, drama, and theatre club president and the founder of the school ballet troupe. And somehow in the meantime they managed to sleep with all the cheerleaders in the school, become valedictorians, graduate from Sanford, and have dinner with the Prime Minister of Japan, thus sending poor envious Tyler into literal convulsions of pain.

As the Teams drive off, the BoHo Boys congratulate themselves on being sneaky while the Freaky Fratboys commiserate about being sneaked-up on. I... is it just me or are even the whole interteam drama this season has a very juvenile feel to it? The tasks are nothing more than kiddie-nursery field trip activities (count the heads on a fence that goes round and round, whee, now sit on roller coaster rides, whoo) and now even the Teams are arguing in a manner reminiscent of playground kiddie antics. I miss the days of illicit love triangles, actual flirtation (instead of the whole "Omigosh holding hands, how shocking, eeee!" nonsense), and genuine villainy. I hope all those putzes always championing this show to be more family-friendly are happy now that everyone and everything on this Race has an Archie-meets-Porky comic feel.

In the meantime, the Telcoms show up, bickering, and Yolanda has no choice but to take the Roadblock, which she claims is good for her because she gets to be away from Ray. Shockingly enough, she manages to spot the sign during her ride on the Fujiyama, although I suppose she could very well take sixty turns on the three rides before she spots the clue and the editors show only her successful turn. She spots the sign, the Telcoms get the clue, and they run into people that give them directions that they cannot decipher. Yolanda has a map, I see, but since it's the Telcoms we're talking about, I'm sure she will accidentally use the map to wipe her mouth after dinner and toss it into a garbage bin. As they leave for the Lake, she good-naturedly tells Ray that she hates his driving and Ray just as good-humoredly says that when Yolanda is driving, she will say that she hates the way Ray is reading the map, so Ray pretty much can't win either way. See, that's what frustrates me about the Telcoms: even when they argue, they are doing it in a somewhat good-natured way that doesn't degenerate into screamfests or cold silence, so on paper they should be a dynamic Team to beat like the Templates were in the sixth season.

Ahead, there are running along the pier, intense paddling, and a dash onto the Big Swan and onto the mat. The BoHo Boys are first, winning themselves T-Mobile Sidekicks along with three years of free service. The Freaky Fratboys come in second where Philo misguidedly heckle them for losing to the "hippies". Of course, the "hippies" are as much hippies as the "fratboys" are fratboys, which is to say, they aren't hippies as much as pampered rich kids that fancy themselves as hippies because they are too ugly to use any other shtick to become famous just as the fratboys aren't fratboys as much as they are aspiring actors with a few possible gay porn stints in their past trying to grab some spotlight on TV before they go completely bald. Tyler also heckles the Freaky Fratboys until they joke that the BoHo Boys are playing dirty. Tyler starts insisting that the BoHo Boys haven't played dirty, instead accusing the Freaky Fratboys of being the ones that played dirty. It's impressive how Tyler exempts himself from the same rules that he judges other people with, just as it is impressive how Tyler automatically goes on the overly-defensive when the Freaky Fratboys are just making a harmless joke.

And finally, the Telcoms show up to be mugged of all their money and everything else that they aren't wearing on their backs. This show should have just mercy-eliminate them because there is no point for the Telcoms to keep Racing. Is there? Philo talks about how it will be tough to get money in a land where not many people speak English because I'm supposed to be so gullible that I will forget that these people are in Japan, the land of the rich and the mighty, and worry that the poor Telcoms will never get any money in the next leg. Then again, perhaps the Telcoms are terrible enough to even bomb at the task of begging for money, who knows? I'll find out soon enough, I suppose.



Philo steps out to remind everyone that he's at... yeah, yeah, it was just a few minutes ago when the previous leg ended but it is possible that Aunt Margie has just tuned in while she is switching channels and she'd appreciate at least knowing where the three bunch of twits will be running out from in this leg of the Race. Philo talks about the Teams having some mandatory rest period where they reiterate what good friends they are to each other and how they will hold orgies where they will hump each in half-naked conditions so that everyone can have homoerotic fantasies about them. Unfortunately, homoeroticism works best when it's presented in subtext so there's that, I'm afraid.

Anyway, on with the Race. 12:18 am. The BoHo Boys are the first to depart since they were the first to arrive at the mat in the previous leg. Their clue tells them to head over to Anchorage, Alaska. It's a journey of more than 9,000 miles according to Philo. In Anchorage, Teams will locate a marked vehicle in the airport parking lot for their next clue. The BoHo Boys head over to where they parked their vehicles when they arrived at the wharf of Lake Yamanaka. They first drop off some money for the Telcoms before using their passports to scrape the snow off the windscreen. Since the Race is ending, those two once again seize the opportunity to promote themselves as hippies with "wide-eyed enthusiasm and joy". The only thing that seems genuine in their propaganda is the part where Tyler says that they have been preparing all their lives to be on this Race. The BoHo Boys come off as two men who have been waiting all this while for a chance to be on camera and mug for attention.

12:20 am. The Freaky Fratboys talk about how they don't want to come in second - they can come in third then, heh - and how they want to kick everyone's butt. Then they use their passports to scrape the snow off the windscreen of their vehicle. In their vehicle, Jeremy entertains Eric with his "kung-fu chicken" impersonation, which would have been more funny to me if I haven't heard my brother using the same shtick to amuse his four-year old niece a few days ago. They and the BoHo Boys are on the same road until they reach a fork. One Team take one path, the other Team take the other path. Both Teams think they are on the better and more correct way. I would probably be more worked up about possible screw-ups if they aren't making their way back to the Hotel Nikko Narita where there's a bus to take them to an airport at a specific time, as I'd find out soon enough.

It is 3:01 am when the Telcoms finally get to leave. Yes, it's amazing, isn't it, how they are nearly three hours behind the Freaky Fratboys? Let's hope that they will improve their record and end the Race with a staggering one week behind the next Team! They give some banal pre-Race babble about how they are "excellent" in making comebacks so they will definitely win in this leg. I'd like to believe that they are just saying all that for the sake of saying something on TV. Otherwise, they're even more of a sad story than they should be. Two good-looking athletic fellows - how did they go wrong? Sigh. They are nonetheless happy to find that the BoHo Boys have left $20. The BoHo Boys also left a note to the Telcoms to make sure that the Telcoms do not have any doubt about who left them the money (if you are going to do a good thing, make sure the whole world know about it, that sort of thing).

Meanwhile, the BoHo Boys have arrived at the Hotel where they have to wait for a shuttle bus to take them to the Tokyo International Airport. And this bus doesn't leave until 6:10 am. My goodness, have we reached a point in this Race where the Teams cannot even head to the nearby airport without having to use spoonfed transportation? The BoHo Boys ask the hotel information counter whether there is any place in the hotel that they can use to access the Web, perhaps to do another impromptu advertisement for the Travelocity website. When he is told where to go to surf the Web, BJ asks the guy behind the counter to act like the guy doesn't speak English should other Teams approach him. That is nice, especially when he and Tyler will continue to act like they are people full of integrity and other nonsense that these contestants and fans of this show place a lot of misguided importance on for who knows what reason. The stupid guy behind the counter then actually tells the Freaky Fratboys later when those two show up that there is an Internet service in the hotel before he remembers what BJ told him and tries very lamely to insist that there is actually no online access in this hotel, which is in Tokyo, the most modern city in the most progressive country in Asia and located close to the Tokyo International Airport, which means that the hotel caters to an international clientele that visit Tokyo daily for business as well as entertainment purposes. Sure, there's no Internet access in this hotel, snort. The Freaky Fratboys cut through this Tokyo version of the Gordian knot by calling up a travel agent to make reservations.

Meanwhile, the Telcoms make a stop at Jonathan's, a place that seems like an expat hangout site, to beg for money. Ray decides that a sign saying "Yen?" will help them overcome any language barrier this time around. One dirty pervert (there are many of them in Tokyo, by the way) tells Yolanda that she looks like Janet Jackson and his companions, obviously drunk, laugh and even start to do those drunk-crazy jigs that they will remember nothing about when they're sober. Yolanda isn't so amused as she tells them to give her money if they find her so amusing. Those silly fools actually do just that and Yolanda promises them that she will tell Michael that they say hi. She and Ray make their way to the Hotel, aware of the fact that those drunken buffoons may be obnoxious but their money will help Ray and Yolanda tremendously in this leg.

Some buffoonery follows when the BoHo Boys manage to make reservations on a Northwest flight that will get them in Anchorage by 10:53 am. The website they use is deliberately not shown because it is not a Travelocity website. Downstairs, the Freaky Fratboys manage to get reservations on a flight that will get them to Anchorage via Taipei by 7:50 am. Hmm, I guess the BoHo Boys' scheming really pays off big time in this instance! Next is a completely ridiculous moment where the BoHo Boys try to pretend that they are sneaking around spying on the Freaky Fratboys and trying to throw them off instead of directly coming down the stairs (they don't want the Freaky Fratboys to know that they can access the Web on the first floor, you see), and the two twits of course telling the camera about how wacky and brilliant they are while the Freaky Fratboys are edited to look so lost and confused (although Eric is clearly on to those two twits when he comments about the perplexing lack of Internet service in a hotel). However, and this is a big however, the editors and the BoHo Boys seem to forget that the BoHo Boys' supposed brilliance have landed the two idiots on a flight that will get them to Anchorage nearly three hours behind the Freaky Fratboys. Sometimes it is no use trying to polish turd, if you ask me: turd is turd and never will turd somehow turn into diamond even if the editors and the BoHo Boys wish very hard for that to take place. Finally, at 6:10 am, the two Teams board the shuttle bus to the Airport, noting that the Telcoms haven't caught up with them yet.

At the Airport, the Freaky Fratboys decide to hide from the BoHo Boys because they believe correctly that the BoHo Boys plan to follow them around the airport. The BoHo Boys end up wandering around the place wondering where the Freaky Fratboys are. The Telcoms are at the Hotel at around this time where they catch the next shuttle bus to the Airport. The Freaky Fratboys collect their tickets and head off to board their flight. Meanwhile, the BoHo Boys learn of a later flight that will stop at Taipei and allow them to take another transit flight from there to Anchorage. This is the same transit flight that will take the Freaky Fratboys to Anchorage, by the way. The Telcoms, when they reach the airport, look and ask around until they too stumble upon the same flight that the BoHo Boys are now taking. However, the flight is closed for boarding when the Telcoms try to get on it! Nothing can be done about it! But of course, in a blink of an eye, calls are being made to the plane and next thing I know, the Telcoms happily bump into the BoHo Boys. Ray is pleased for the first time to see the BoHo Boys and tells the BoHo Boys this. The BoHo Boys, who don't find it funny when other people mock them the way they mock other people - see just early on in this episode when Tyler sarcastically asked Ray at the Capsule Land Hotel whether the Telcoms had gotten lost on their way there - look disgusted. I'm so glad that when this episode ends, I never have to endure looking at the repulsive faces of those two BoHo Boy vermins ever again, I tell you. Later, at Taipei, the Freaky Fratboys can only watch in dismay when the other two Teams catch up with them.

Hello, cold and icy Anchorage. Woosh, the plane lands and for the thousandth time, the Freaky Fratboys are the first to leave an airport to locate their six millionth parked marked vehicle in this Race. They learn that they must now drive some thirty miles to Mirror Lake, a place to admire ice and snow. The Freaky Fratboys learn that they must take the Old Seward Highway to get to Mirror Lake. The BoHo Boys bolt off in their vehicles as well, followed in the rear by the Telcoms, who think that they only have to ask directions just this one more time for the rest of the Race. Well, they also believe that they will win the Race, so I don't know what to say, really.

Over at Mirror Lake, the Freaky Fratboys and the BoHo Boys rush to the clue stand at pretty much the same time and learn that it's time for a Detour. In "Drill It", Teams must carry off the steps taken in ice-fishing where they first use some augurs to drill ten holes in the ice and then cover at least two of those holes with a big fishing shack that they will drag from the shore to their holes. In "Deliver It", it involves having to deliver by plane some packages but that's not important because this Detour cannot be carried out due to the weather condition that prevents any plane from flying. Therefore, this is one Detour that isn't much of a Detour. The BoHo Boys want to deliver packages but they learn of the weather so they have no option but to join the Freaky Fratboys in drilling holes all over the place. Maybe this is where they get the inspiration for their party games: drilling holes, moaning, and insulting each other.

The Telcoms are lost. I'm sure you don't see that one coming. On the bright side, the people they approach for directions can speak English. You don't think that will help the Telcoms much? Hey, you can't blame me for trying to be an optimist.

The Freaky Fratboys finish their task first, leaving the BoHo Boys to moan about having to catch up and all. The Freaky Fratboys now have to drive some 26 miles to Kincaid Park to locate a chalet with snowshoes and poles, gear up, and locate the clue stand by trekking through the snow along a path. They take off with Jeremy complaining in their vehicle that his biceps hurt from all that drilling. Hmm, that image is not as sexy as he would imagine it to be. Homoerotic puns aren't that fun when the people dishing out the puns are expecting me to snigger at their wit. The BoHo Boys now finish their Detour and as they leave, the Telcoms show up. Ray starts to grumble that he and drilling don't get along too well. As the Freaky Fratboys on the road try to plot out schemes that will prevent the BoHo Boys from following them - alas, turning invisible is not an option - the Telcoms wheeze and moan and groan until they eventually finish all that drilling and dragging over that fishing shack. They hope they can keep up with the others.

At Kincaid Park, the Freaky Fratboys locate the snowshoes and poles and gear up accordingly. They then take off for the path they have to take, noting unhappily the arrival of the BoHo Boys as they do so. The BoHo Boys however miss the snowshoes and poles. They run into the chalet before going up and down the stairs and in and out of the chalet in a comical display of ineptitude that will make even the FranBerries blush in embarrassment. Finally someone just has to tell them to look outside the chalet. Even after gearing up, Tyler has to clown around until he tries to catch a snow on his tongue and ends up with a face full of snow when a tree branch over his head happens to shake just hard enough at that very moment. Who says God doesn't have a sense of timing?

Ahead, the Freaky Fratboys reach the clue stand where they learn that they must now fly to Denver, Colorado, thus bringing the Race to a full circle at last. Philo explains that once the Teams are in Denver, they must take a cab to Golden some thirty miles away and locate the Clear Creek History Park for their next clue. Those two hurry to the chalet to remove their gear and get a cab to the airport. The BoHo Boys show up next at the clue stand. Meanwhile, who knows where the Telcoms are. The BoHo Boys decide to arrange the snowshoes and poles at the chalet nicely so that the Telcoms will be fooled into thinking that no Team has been here. I love it when the BoHo Boys scheme and plot: they are so super inept that I will never have to fear about falling for any of their plots. Later, the Telcoms show up and do their thing to the tune of nobody cares.

At the airport, hoping that the other two Teams are frozen somewhere in the snowfields out there - oh, how I wish - the Freaky Fratboys manage to get on a flight that will take them to Denver in 11:10 pm. The BoHo Boys, using a cellphone borrowed from their cab driver, learn of this flight as well. The Telcoms show up on my TV screen for a while to remind me that they're still in this episode and I shouldn't worry about them being dead or worse. The BoHo Boys meet the Freajy Fratboys at the airport, where Tyler demonstrates truly how irritating he can be when he just can't shut up even when the Freaky Fratboys clearly demonstrate that they want to be left alone. Tyler at first chatters nonsensical rhetorics about "frat boys" making the Race amusing or something vapidly Tylerish, tries to goad the Freaky Fratboys into sharing flight information only to stupidly revealing the flight the BoHo Boys are taking when Eric says flippantly, "Air China!" (my favorite scene in the entire episode, because dude, if Eric can make Tyler look like a blooming idiot...), and then going on and on about how the million dollars are tearing this grand friendship between the two Teams apart. What is annoying about Tyler's chattering is that he is not chattering to the Freaky Fratboys as much as he is talking to them in a voice loud enough so that every word of his is captured by the cameras. Tyler is so camera-conscious, but that won't be a bad thing if he shows that he has some erudite wit or a cunning mind or even a working sense of intelligence to go with the constant noise pollution he is creating. The Telcoms then show up at the airport where they also manage to board the 11:10 pm flight. So yes, all three Teams are on their way to Denver in the same flight, back at square one. Eric talks sardonically about how fun it is to be always in the lead only to have everyone catch up with them again. Poor dear, I feel his pain, but he's not the first person to feel unhappy about constant bunchings and unfortunately, I don't think he will be the last person to feel this way. It may be small comfort for him that many people must be feeling the same way since the ratings for this show plummet week after week.

Da-da-dum... Denver! Once again, the Freaky Fratboys are the first to leave the airport just as the Telcoms are again the last to leave. Go, go, go... Golden! At the Clear Creek History Park, the Freaky Fratboys are told to go to the starting line of the Race, the Red Rocks Park. I love how the last few moments of this Race, the moments that are the only ones that matter since everything else ended with an equalizer bunch boil down to a cab race. Why don't we have a season involving cab drivers speeding on the roads all over the world? After all, after so many seasons involving cab driver luck, it's time we reward the real true Racers on this show: those cab drivers. Let's give a Team of cab drivers a million dollars! Anyway, the Freaky Fratboys note that they are ahead of the BoHo Boys by mere minutes so they have to hurry.

Ra, ra, ra... Red Rocks Park! Again, the Freaky Fratboys are the first Team to arrive and they realize that it's now time for the last Roadblock ever in this season. Simply, one person must run into a field where there are 285 flags and collect one for every country they have visited in this Race. This person will then arrange the flags in the correct order before they can proceed. Eric takes this one because he is the brain of the two, which isn't saying much, I know. The BoHo Boys show up next and BJ takes this one. For some reason, even if this is a Roadblock, Jeremy and Tyler are allowed to shout instructions and all to Eric and BJ. Maybe the Race people realize that with the intelligence level of the Teams this season, it's better to have two brains than one. Anyway, I try to think of the countries (which isn't easy to do, considering how I detest this season) and I come up with Brazil, Russia, Germany, Italy, Greece, Oman, Australia, Thailand, and Japan. However, for the life of me I cannot recall what the flag of Oman looks like so in a way I can sympathize with BJ and Eric as they stumble and struggle.

Just like the stupid finale in the third season, the winning Team is decided solely by the last task in the Race thanks to all the bunchings throughout the last leg. Eric can identify the flag of Oman, thus shaming me to no end. BJ for some reason decides that Russia isn't one of the places they have visited, and any chance for him to think clearly is obliterated by Tyler's constant screaming at him. So basically the "winning" determinant boils down to this: Eric has two sets of flags arranged wrongly (Germany/Russia and Italy/Greece are mixed up) while BJ realizes that he is one flag short (Russia). Tyler directs BJ to pick up the Russian flag while Jeremy tells Eric that the Oman flag is actually the flag for Thailand. Tyler is correct, Jeremy is wrong. Eric ends up correctly switching the positions of the two sets of the mixed-up flags but he then goes ahead and listens to Jeremy, so... oh my.

The finish line is just up ahead, so run, BoHo Boys, run! So yes, in the end, the nauseating self-proclaimed wunderhippies with the heart of gold and other vainglorious masturbatory self-prettification come through to win a million dollars and what they no doubt hope to be a future of superstardom and T-towery. Philo tells the Freaky Fratboys that everything boils down to brain over brawns, which I suppose is this season's Very Important Theme that follows the seventh season's Very Important Theme of Good People Always Win. Maybe in the next season we can get the BoHo Boys and the IVFs clad in celestial robes to greet the winning Team at the finish line and sing holy, holy hallelujah because the holy, the good, and the virtuous come through once again to reassure everyone watching this show that there is still love and good in this desolate world. Hey, it's easier after all to pretend to be lofty to hide the fact that this entire season is poorly designed, full of crap (not counting the swill from the BoHo Boys' mouths), and reeking of too-obvious editor-introduced contrivances in the depictions of the Teams.

Hmm, have I forgotten someone? Oh yes, here they are, the Telcoms. Where have they been? I don't think even they know the answer to that.

So there it is, the ninth season of The Amazing Race. Everyone loves each other, good is in the world, and oh yes, the BoHo Boys once again remind me how childlike, wonderful, open-minded, kind, and amazing they are as hippies. Yeah, yeah, and I'll also buy the inevitable book, snort.

I really think it's time for the Race to undergo a revamp. A back-to-basics type where we make the clues actually challenging for once and each leg more interesting to watch than an endless procession of morons sulking in charter buses or outside bunch points when they are not doing tasks that even chimpanzees can do without a hitch. Returning the Race to a Team of two format after the disastrous eighth season is a step in the right direction but obviously the cosmetic reformatting isn't enough as the same designers of the idiotic eighth season are obviously behind the design of this equally idiotic season. I love this show, as I'm sure my recaps of the earlier seasons can testify, and if I become jaded over the last few seasons, it's because I love the show and I hate to see the dumbed-down shadow of its former glory that it has become. If it is impossible to visit interesting places in the world because these places aren't safe anymore, then perhaps it's time to just pull the plug on the show and leave me with good memories of the show. However, I'm sure the show can be interesting even if we visit the same places a few times. For example, I'm sure there are interesting things in Japan that we can showcase apart from a shopping hub.

So how about it, Jerry Bonghammer? The ratings are hemorrhaging at a rate that can horrifyingly rival Donald Trump's imbecilic show if things are allowed to continue, the fans are tuning out, and even if the show and the fans of the BoHo Boys try to hype the BoHo Boys as the Best Team Ever, obviously the fandom do not share that view since the ratings for this finale is down in the pits. Interesting tasks, challenging clues and puzzles, and fun personalities are the ingredients to a good season because these things allow the viewer to enjoy vicariously the thrill the Teams are experiencing on the show. No matter how hard the show believes that a star of Rupert Boneham proportion can save the season (clearly the BoHo Boys are expected to be the breakout stars of this show), I don't think it is possible to come close to doing that, not when the show deliberately shuts down the vicarious experience of the viewer and forces the viewer to just sit back and stare blankly at the TV at a bunch of people taking shuttle buses, marked vehicles, and performing tasks that barely fire up the neurons. The fact that the Race has become bloody stupid is killing this show, period.


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