The Amazing Race – Episode 20-7 Review – “Tanzania Mania*”
by Jill Mader on April 11, 2012

*That title doesn’t actually rhyme, because Tanzania is pronounced “Tan-zah-nee-ah”, but whatevs. It happened, just go with it.

So on The Amazing Race last night, the six remaining teams traveled to gorgeous Kilimanjaro, Tanzania to race around completing tasks at an exhausting 8,000 miles above sea level. It was a tight race this leg, so click through for the full recap.

So it may have been a close leg, but it was also a non-elimination leg. I had a feeling it might be, and had it saved Ralph and Vanessa from elimination I probably would have been happy — I mean, really, who wants to see the girl who made Rachel cry go home? Not me! Vanessa is a Bee-yotch and I love it.

Cat Fights, and I’m Not Talking Lions and Tigers

Showdown!

So let’s talk about the cat fight, because it was glorious. Someone knocked into someone else (who cares, really?) Brendon threw his middle finger in Ralph’s face, and before you knew it catty barbs were being traded back and forth. Rachel sneered something about Vanessa’s age being 38 and Vanessa responded “Yes, I’m 38, and somehow I still manage to look younger than you.” Zing! Beautiful comeback, just beautiful. See, what she did was let the original insult (Vanessa is 31, not 38) roll off her back and she actually flipped it and turned it into an insult to Rachel! Success!  She followed that up with the decidedly bitchier “Get your nose done before you get your boobs done and do everybody a favor next time.”

OK, so maybe that last zinger was a little uncalled for, but I can’t stand Rachel so much that I’m not only willing to accept it, I’m applauding it. This is not a blog for children, people! I am openly saying that bullying is OK when the victim is a squeaky crybaby redhead from Big Brother.

When it was all said and done, Vanessa felt fine. “I didn’t make her cry. Her lack of self-esteem made her cry.” Can’t argue with that.

Save The Drama For Michelle Obama

In fact, this leg of the race was absolutely riddled with interpersonal drama. We’ve known all along that Vanessa hates Team Big Brother, and that likely everyone else does too (just not as openly). After all, they’re from Big Brother. And they’re annoying. But it turns out that Art and J.J. felt Team BB were following them around too much, so the grudges were beginning to run deeper.

Art and J.J. also had a bit of a kerfuffle with another team this week – Nary and Jamie. As you’ll remember, Nary and Jamie are federal agents trying to pass themselves off as kindergarten teachers. Now, if social skills are an issue perhaps they should  have chosen a less snuggly fake career. But they definitely should have avoided using law enforcement lingo around the border patrol agents, letting words normal humans don’t use roll off their tongues the way I’ll drop “totes” into a conversation without thinking twice.

Nary and Jamie created their covers so people wouldn’t be intimidated by them. But they’ve done so poorly on the race that there’s nothing to be intimidated by. They should have just owned up to the facts when Art and J.J. called them on their bluff. The only reason not to is that it’s a bit embarrassing that they couldn’t keep the charade up. They’re FBI agents! How are they so crappy? Does one of them have The Intersect in her head? Is that it? It must be.

Mountain Time

OK, enough about all the bickering. Can we talk about how pretty Africa is? I’ve been in love with Africa ever since I visited Cape Town, South Africa about five years ago and visiting Mount Kilimanjaro is at the top of my travel wishlist now. The first “task” was for teams to go on a small plane ride, which was basically just an excuse for producers to get a lot of awesome overhead shots of the landscape. Bopper was hilariously excited, as always. Nary fell asleep, which is what I tend to do anytime she comes on screen!

Throwing.

This is where the episode got weak – the Detour. The Detour was Courtship and Marksmanship. In Marksmanship, each team member had to smash a moving target using a traditional Maasai weapon. In Courtship, both team members had to take part in a traditional Maasai ritual in which they’d jump up and down for a minute.

Jumping.

Jumping. For 60 seconds. Was the challenge.

WHAT???

Obviously, all the teams who chose Courtship left quickly. Marksmanship was certainly better than, say, getting a watermelon in the face but it could still take some time.

Camped Out

Whining.

The most difficult thing teams encountered, in fact, were some old bicycles they had to ride to and from the Detour. They were kind of high for the girls, and Vanessa in particular struggled. Sigh. This is where she lost me – I get that it’s hard to ride a bike when your feet can’t touch the ground, but all the other girls managed to do it. She got frustrated too easily and didn’t try hard enough.

The final challenge was for each team to set up a campsite exactly like the example. I like things that require attention to detail, but the task felt too easy. No one really screwed up, but everyone bickered like hell. Even Mark and Bopper got a little tense – although they still look like sunshine on a cloudy day compared to everyone else. I was worried Dave might kill Rachel in her sleep later, they fought so much.

The poles required to set up the tent were heavy and hard to handle, and as the only all-female team left in the race Nary and Jamie really struggled. That gave Vanessa and Ralph a chance to catch up, so Nary and Jamie knew that unless it was a non-elimination leg their adventure would be over.

Rachel and Dave had scored themselves another first place victory, followed by Bopper and Mark in second, Art and J.J. in third, Brendon and Rachel in fourth and Vanessa and Ralph in fifth.

I liked how Nary and Jamie stopped to appreciate a passing herd of elephants on their way to the pit stop, where they could have been eliminated. Though, you know, hopefully they didn’t stand there in awe too long since they weren’t in fact eliminated. Next week they’ll have to face a Speed Bump, but those are rarely difficult and teams should be more concerned about the Double U-Turn that’s ahead. Man, I’m hoping it’s used to take out TeamBig Brother.

All in all I felt like this was kind of a letdown of an episode, if only because really, this whole season has been a letdown. I’m rooting for Mark and Bopper, but I don’t feel confident that they’ll even make the finale let alone win. Who would I root for then? Art and J.J., who I thought I hated at the beginning of the season? Vanessa, who threw a tantrum over a tall bike? I don’t know yet. What do y’all think?





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