Great a new season of The Amazing Race with the wonderful Phil (who must have the best job on TV and is also a New Zealander) back hosting. I was ready for exotic locations, fighting couples, and scheming competitors.
Channel 7 were billing this as a new series, and yes it was for Australian viewers, however it must be a few series behind the US as two of the couples have already been seen on the Best Of Amazing Race Series which had been screened earlier this year.
It was the usual diverse couples:
Pete and Sara triathletes - however Sara only has one leg, and Pete also works with prothesises. So they have lots in common.
Bilal and Said - muslims from Cleveland - the show is trying to build bridges in a post Sept 11 environment. Not helped by the fact they refused to shake the women's hands. Apparently not allowed in the Koran. I will convert to any religion whose religious text forbids women to do housework, unfortunately that one hasn't been written yet. Maybe it is a cult I should start. If the Scientologist can become a worldwide religion based on the fact we descend from Aliens, I think a religion based on no housework, cooking or washing could gain a following.
Rob & Kimberley - Are a dating couple. Is this the new Johnathan and Victoria - if you cannot remember Johnathan famously nearly hit Victoria at a pit stop. They were just ugly from start to finish. I wonder if J & V are still together.
Dustin & Candice - Miss California and Miss New York beauty queens, both look like twin barbie dolls, however they must do ok in this series as they make to the Best of Amazing Race series.
David & Mary - Married hillbillies from Kentucky - Again this pair made it to the Best of series. So should stick around for awhile. For some reason I quite like this pair - the way they interact with each other and the other competitors. Having said that they are clearly not rocket scientists.
Irwin & Galwin - Korean brothers from San Francisco, who appear to have the smarts plus the physical side sorted.
Duke & Lauren - Father and daughter team. Father wept and said he was disappointed she was gay. So are on the show to try and rebuild their relationship.
Vipaul & Arti - Indian couple who have been married two and half years. Want an adventure before settling down to have kids.
Kelly & Jaime - South Carolina cheerleaders. More eye candy for the male viewers.
Tyler & Jay - Models and former drug addicts from California. Will either of them hook up with the beauty queens or the cheerleaders?
Len & Carlin - black single mums and friends from Alabama.
Tom and Terry - the inevitable gay couple from New York. This show never has a lesbian couple on it only male gays. Avid viewers of this show may be able to correct me on this point.
Anyway the episode starts off in Seattle with the contestants being flown to the starting line in sea planes. Phil states there is going to be lots of surprise twists in this series.
The start was predictable they have to run to the bags where their first clue was waiting for once no one fell over getting to it.
The clue said they were to fly to Beijing China. They had two flights to choose from either United Airlines or Korean. Only 6 people on each.
So then the usual happened. Some people couldn't get their cars going (mercedes must be sponsoring the show again) I don't know how they will go when the inevitable manual car turns up in one of the episodes. Then some people get lost, get on wrong freeways etc, then cannot find where they are meant to park the car. Even in the first five minutes it showed that Rob & Kimberley were going to make interesting reality tv viewing, with him sniping at her at least five times.
At the airport Bilal and Said refused to shake the cheerleaders hands so clearly no alliances will be formed there. Maybe they may have better luck with the Kentucky couple with Mary saying " In Kentucky the men make all the decisions," though she does add this will need to change during the race.
The United Airlines flight was the one to get onto as it was suppose to arrive in Beijing an hour prior to the Korean airlines flight. However United was delayed so the six people on that flight did not get as much of a head start as they would have liked.
They were to go to the Golden Door restaurant for their next clue. You knew it was going to be ugly and it was going to involve some sort of food. It was a roadblock and the contestants had to eat fish eyes. Which in hind sight at least it was not pig penis.
Most people got through quite easily just swallowing, however there was some dry retching.
The beauty queens got hideously lost at this point and competitors from the Korean flight caught up to them.
Also the Korean guys had issues getting their as well (maybe Chinese antipathy to other asians?) or maybe cab drivers worldwide don't know where they are going.
They were then to go to the Meridian Gate at the Forbidden city. Where there were cards with three departure times 7.00am, 7.15am, and 7.30am plus a last team to arrive card.
Last place was being fought out by Bilal and Said, and the Korean guys, with the Korean guys just getting there before them.
I had just been wondering if the muslims guys were going to have difficulty with immigration at the different countries the race would be going to hence being at a disadvantage (as western airports are notorious at targeting this ethnic group) and then they were eliminated.
Gosh that was a bit rough they had not even got to do a detour.
Anyway next day contestants had to go down the road and get onto motorbikes and find a pedicab manager there they would be given their next clue.
The contestants had the choice between labour or leisure.
Labour - was doing some brick work, and leisure was learning a special chinese routine.
The majority pick labour as they know these can be physically demanding but you do get them done, whereas the other can go on infinitely. Both of the challenges looked difficult and complex.
The two couples who picked leisure got stuck in a traffic jam so lost a lot of time there so it was difficult to know whether it was that or the task that made get to the next stage later then most.
Vipaul and Arti got lost on their motorbikes and took awhile to get to the pedicab so were at a huge disadvantage.
When the contestants first hit the brick work they did not look at it properly and just started with the small brick and not the bigger outer grey ones.
Tyler and James with their new rehabbed brains were the first to work it out when they arrived and proceeded to easily do the task. It was hilarious to see the other contestants who were over half way done realise their mistakes.
The Alabaman ladies also got through this task quite well.
The next clue was to take a taxi to the Great Wall of China which they then had to climb up this rope to get to the pit stop.
Tyler and James made short work of this and were first to arrive and win the $20,000 first prize. Nice.
The Alabaman ladies struggled and at one stage looked like one of them would not be able to make it up.
Sara, the disable triathlete also looked like she was going to struggle as she had her running leg on, but she finally worked out a technique to get herself up.
Duke & Lauren who this episode had been sailing under the radar came in second by passing the two couples above. Then the triathlete couple came in third.
The Kentucky couple thought they were going to be eliminated as it took Mary ages to get up. They were very surprised to find they were team 10. They had not realised that Vipaul and Arti had been seriously lost which meant they were eliminated.