The twelfth (!) race kicks off in California, which is fitting, since it's where about half the teams are from. They head over to Ireland, running into the not-unusual circumstance in which the "better" flight hits a delay at Heathrow and winds up as the emphatically worse flight. There's a funny sequence with a ferry that certainly makes it appear that perhaps there's a task missing, unless just riding a ferry was seen as particularly engrossing. Things accelerate as the teams ride a big bicycling contraption over a zillion-foot drop, and then things become utterly awesome as the final task brings donkeys into the mix. Ah, stubborn pack animals...that's the stuff. There is some luck involved in choosing the correct donkey, but there is also some skill involved in understanding how to treat an animal and, more importantly, how not to. Bickering HugeTinies Nathan and Jennifer wind up with a stalled donkey that, shockingly, does not react very well when they stand there and yell at it, while Ari and Staella, the "we're going to be the bitchy best friends!" best friends, yank and slap and screech at their donkey, with similar results. Team after team strolls right by all these fools, until they're battling it out for last place -- a denouement that, for once, can only end in joy. Ultimately, it's Ari and Staella taking the first long ride to Sequesterville, which: awesome, and there are still ten teams left, solidly eight or nine of which seem mostly likable. It's one of the stronger premieres they've had, and if you can get over the preposterous presence of Ryan freaking Seacrest's freaking ex-freaking-girlfriend, there's a lot to like. Oh, and did I mention the stubborn pack animal standing in the middle of the road yelling, "DONK-eeeee-DONK-eeeee-DONK-eeeee"? Because it was pretty magnificent.
Previously on Phil It To The Rim With Him: Eric and Danielle. Let's not talk about it. I was never here. You were never here. Eric and Danielle were never here. We never had this conversation. What conversation? Exactly.
Aaaand, BRRRRUMP! Big buildings! The water! Something with a red carpet in front of it! Starlets' panties hanging from every tree! We frantically search until we come across Phil, who is atop a tall building, announcing that we are in Los Angeles, California, and approximately half the cast would like you to know that you can see their houses from here! Phil refers to L.A. as an "entertainment mecca," which is true, unless of course you find writing entertaining, in which case it's primarily a "traffic mecca" at the moment. This is the spot from which eleven teams will set out on their racearoundtheworld. For a million dollars!
We learn that classic cars (which seem prepared to turn this show into The New Adventures Of Old Stephen King's Christine) are carrying the teams to the starting line, which is at the Playboy mansion. Because Hollywood is horny and loves dirty pictures, and boobs are the Everglades of California. So let's meet the teams.
Marianna and Julia are sisters from Miami. They are very cute, and I cannot tell them apart. Julia claims that she and Marianna have "the heart and soul of a soldier." In a jar. Not really. We see them on a speedboat, throwing back their hair in luscious appreciation of...their hair, actually. Marianna (I think it's Marianna...they look a lot alike, for reals) adds that they have a woman's good looks and a man's "competitiveness and aggressiveness." If she thinks women need men's competitiveness and aggressiveness, she clearly doesn't know the women I know. Or...some of the men. (Just kidding, men I know! You are all terrifying!) We see them on horseback, officially completing a trifecta -- back of car, edge of speedboat, horseback -- of thirteen-year-olds' masturbatory fantasies. Next up: High School Musical 3!
Ronald and Christina are father and daughter. As they ride Razor scooters together (exactly as I'd do with my dad were I looking to get his other hip replaced), Ronald explains that he was gone a lot when Christina was growing up, and Christina says she's looking forward to getting to know her dad, because he's "almost sixty years old," so she's treasuring every day he has left. I have to take this moment to offer a shout-out to my awesome, funny, slightly neurotic grandma on my mom's side, who began planning her death about thirty years before it actually occurred. She once attended church and returned home raving about the soloist, saying she had already extracted a promise that the woman would sing at her funeral. To which my uncle (also awesome and funny) piped up merrily, "I guess she'd better start practicing." Oh, Grandma. Happy late birthday. (Grandma was the one in the family with the facility for silly rhymes, so if you liked the old [BOMP] lyrics? That's all Grandma.) Anyway, I tell you this to point out that I don't think even my grandma was making bleak references to the limited time she had left when she was under sixty years old, so Christina? Seriously, relax, put down the headstone catalogue, and stop taking his pulse.