The Amazing Race – Episode 17-2 Review

I love when The Amazing Race goes to third world countries. The stress of heartbreaking poverty, crazy traffic, unpleasant smells and overall mayhem usually throws off a few people. This week, the teams were sent to Accra, Ghana, and I’ve got to say they fared pretty well. So far, that is.

The teams departed England, where Brook (the Hope Shopping Channel chatterbox) revealed her entire strategy for the race – kissing. She kissed some guy in a tractor in exchange for directions, asking “Have you been kissed by an American before?” No, he hadn’t, and now the poor sap thinks it’ll happen any time he directs someone to the nearest gas station. The best part of this was when Brook yelled “I just kissed an Englishman in a tractor!” and Claire responded “You’ve kissed worse!” Some friendship. Though Michael and Kevin got out to a roughish start, (Michael: “My leg hurts.” Kevin: “Ignore it.”), all the teams evened up when they landed on the same flight to Accra.

In Accra, things got a little overwhelming. People came up to the taxi windows asking for money, which Team Glee did not seem prepared for. “I feel unsafe. Please go,” one said. Honestly, not the best way to handle the situation, but whatevs. The mom from Team Gilmore actually gave the kids money, but I could sympathize. You probably shouldn’t give away the money you’re allotted on The Amazing Race, but I know from experience that it’s pretty tough to ignore a starving child.
The Roadblock was for one team member to sell enough sunglasses in a local market to earn 15 Cedi. The catch was that they couldn’t sell a pair for less than 3 Cedi. This seemed like an obvious task for women to do since they would probably grab more attention in the market. Especially blonde ones, since they stand out so much. Naturally, Brook rocked the challenge. She’s a home shopping host, so she was throwing out phrases like “It’s so different, and it really pops” left and right. It helped that she thanked everyone with a hug and kiss, too. She and Claire left in first place. Michael took a more conservative approach, saying of his final customer “I almost want to kiss her, but of course I can’t.” Why not, everyone else seemed to be? Some other teams, like Team Dunce and the first place team from last wee, Jill and Thomas, had less effective sales strategies. And by less effective, I mean non-existent. They just wandered around for a long time. I half wondered if someone from the TAR crew purchased their sunglasses just so they could get the hell out of there. I did feel bad for Jill though, who later tried to prevent someone from buying scratched sunglasses from her and said “Money is tight here, I don’t want to sell them bad sunglasses.” Her boyfriend, however, seemed entirely unsympathetic.

The Detour presented two options: “Tune In” or “Check Out”. In “Tune In”, teams had to install a cable antenna at someone’s house and adjust it until the picture was good enough. In “Check out”, teams had to move a crazy Ghanian coffin from one location to the other. Seriously, how wacky were those coffins? Cameras, lobsters and fish? I would have gone for the coffins, because setting up a cable antenna to someone’s liking sounded incredibly difficult. I was surprised to find that most of the teams went to cable antenna route.

Team Home Shopping surprised me by rocking the antenna task. Or, I guess, Brook surprised me. She basically did all the work while Claire looked at a local kid’s food and said “That smells good. I’m hungry.” At which point I scoffed at the TV and said something along the lines of “You’re hungry? Argh!” (I’m sure she was legitimately hungry, but it’s hard to stomach watching someone covet a kid’s food in a third world country. Get it? Hard to stomach? I know, horrible pun.)

Team Glee quit the cable antenna task WAY too quickly. If that’s going to be their attitude throughout the race, then they’re in trouble. They made up for switching to the coffin task by saying “I guess if you really like fish, you’re sleeping with the fishes,” when they chose a fish coffin to transport.

After providing service with a smile while installing their cable antenna, Team Home Shopping skipped off to the pit stop in first place. They were followed by Team Volleyball (my pick to win), then Michael and Kevin, and Chad and Stephanie in fourth. I feel like we didn’t see much of Team Tinkerbell this week, but I have a feeling they’ll be around for at least a few more legs.

When the final few teams were racing to the pit stop at yet another large, chaotic market, traffic got insane. Instead of sitting around waiting, the cab drivers made their own new lane down the center of the road. Best lines of the night go to the Team Glee member without glasses who said “I want my mom” and “I’m just so proud that I haven’t soiled myself.” Ha! Love that guy. I’m not so sure about his Harry Potter lookalike friend, though. They ended up coming in sixth, just after Jill and Thomas in fifth. The docs pulled in just behind them to grab seventh. Finally, Team Dunce meandered their way to the pit stop to come in eighth place. They NEVER seem to be in a rush, how are they still in this thing?

It came down to Team Gilmore Girls and the father and his Miss Kentucky daughter. I was sad to see this two teams in last place, since I like them both and I certainly could have stood to lose Team Dunce instead. If I was happy to see Gary and Mallory arrive first only because I thought they had a better shot at making a comeback than Team Gilmore. That Mallory is talkative, but she’s pretty funny. When her dad asked Phil if he had good news, she piped up “Or any news, before I have a heart attack and die on this mat!…has that happened before?”

Poor Team Gilmore. We hardly knew ye. You hardly knew each other, actually. What did we learn from them? That the world is unfair and giving money to poor kids will not win you good karma. That a biological mom and daughter who just met can gt along better than couples who plan on getting married soon. And that closing interview where Andie said she’d chosen a good family for Jenna was pretty freakin’ touching, right?

What did you think of the episode? Were you loving the location as much as I was? Who do you think will win? I’ve still got my eye on Team Volleyball, but this episode I thought Michael and Kevin’s stock went up, while Team Doc and Team Glee’s stock went down. And will the father/daughter duo be able to make a comeback?