Amazing Race
Counting Bears Is Not Rocket Science

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Previously on Our Future's So Bright, Provided He Doesn't Lose His Shades: El Hornio was so angry about being told to take off his sunglasses that he threatened to never speak to Rebecca again. When she showed discomfort with the dynamic, he made her feel a lot better about their relationship by threatening a very melodramatic, Teen Angel-like suicide. Fortunately, they came up with something else to concentrate on when Don and MJ accidentally drove off in their car. The car was returned in due time, but probably with changes made to all the radio station presets so that every button they pushed played Bobby Darin. Freddy and Kendra also biffed the leg by snagging themselves an extra clue, so they sat out an agonizing half-hour penalty at the finish line. Aaron did not enjoy the part of roller-skiing where he kept leaving body parts smeared on the pavement. Or the part where he smacked his head into a railing. Other than that, it was a delight. Meredith and Maria didn't know how to drive stick, weren't very good with directions, took a long time with Viking games, and ultimately found themselves on the wrong side of Philimination. Nine teams left. Who will be eliminated...next?

Credits. In the credits of my imagination, the dog takes a big chomp out of Jonathan's face. [BOMP.]

Commercials. Thank you, Denise Austin, for giving the finger to actual fitness so you can hawk nutrition bars. Go join Suze Orman, who, like you, just finished auctioning off her credibility for what is undoubtedly a hefty sum and can probably fill you in on the tax consequences.

We roll into Norway, and because it is Scandinavia and they never have wars, the music is ringing and has chimes, and the usual belligerent synthesizer noises are getting the week off. Phil claims that the landscape of Norway -- the whole country -- "goes relatively untouched by the modern world." Sure, they're producing a few million barrels of oil a day, but really, civilization has barely arrived in this chilly burg. Just as we all find ourselves pining for the fjords, Phil emerges on a hillside to tell us that in the countryside, there is a farm, E-I-E-I-Ø, and on that farm there was a pit stop, E-I-E-I-Ø. And for once, I can say I approve of the way Phil is dressed. The green flatters him, and his pants don't look like they're hiked up to his armpits the way they sometimes do.

Again, we are getting the non-E/S/M version of the opening patter, so...Exposition Hands good, no footage of Freddy getting out of the shower, bad. (It's comforting to know that over six seasons, some things remain constant, now isn't it?) What's funny is that they still have the old part of that patter where Phil says they "figure out how to get" to the next spot "by solving clues." Which once was true, but sadly is not true anymore. Ought to change that wording, probably, to something like, "teams will have to figure out how to get to the next yellow and red route marker by reading the directions that say, 'Go here, bonehead.'" It's not like plenty of the teams don't still find it a challenge. Anyway, Phil wonders whether Hornio will keep fighting -- maybe over socks this time, or a bar of soap -- and whether Lena and Kristy will remain in last place.

2:47 AM. Here go Kris and Jon, who are currently flying the flag of My Favorite Team, despite wearing headlamps. They open the clue, and she -- smiling, of course -- reads that they're supposed to go by bus to Stockholm. Phil says that this will start with a ten-mile drive back to Voss, and then a train and a bus to get to Stockholm. There, they'll find a hotel containing the Icebar (actually the Absolut Icebar, but with no product placement fee, they won't be telling you so), which is, as you might be able to intuit, a bar made entirely of ice. They build a similar palace once a year in my neck of the woods, but I have to admit I've never been seized by the urge to socialize there. From the introductory footage of the Ice Bar, it looks like they have an ice sculpture of a moose or something, which I would make fun of if my neck of the woods weren't also famous for carving women's likenesses in butter. Kris and Jon leave, with him saying they just want to keep going and "stay the course." And "go for the gold." He's going to run out of clichés pretty soon, so he ought to pace himself. Slow and steady wins the race!

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Amazing Race

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