Previously on American Airlines Suspense Theater: Eleven teams took off from a desolate portion of Nevada, and made their way to Rio. (Insert Duran Duran joke here -- I don't have the strength.) Blake successfully lobbied Congress for an exemption from the Universal Hat Contempt Act (UHCA). Phil talked a lot, and paused a lot. The Really Big Jesus, Fat Maria The Kissing Tree, and Sugarloaf Mountain loomed large. Peggy and Claire were just sure they were eliminated, and when they weren't, they screamed loudly enough to wake up bears hibernating in foreign countries. Blake hissed and Wil spat, and they pulled each other's hair. Deidre and Hillary were eliminated. (Phil voices over that they were "overcome with emotion." You know, there ARE things I can figure out for myself, given enough hugging and crying.)
Credits. Sing along, following the bouncing ball (okay, you have to imagine the bouncing ball first): "It's! The! Race! Amazing Race! So! Try! To come in first! Not! Last! Your taxi must! Be! Fast! You! Will! Ride! On camels and! On! Planes! Don't waste your dough! Wear your...sunscreen...don't be...too mean...and the...teams! Will! Come! And they must try! To! Win! Phil's handsome! [BOMP.]"
Drunken cameramen careen around Rio de Janeiro, pausing briefly to admire The Really Big Jesus. Phil, in a lovely sky-blue shirt that brings out his accent, strolls on the deck of the Rio yacht where the first leg ended. He explains that the teams are resting and mingling. Believe it or not, there's a shot of Peggy mingling while wearing the same sour, defeated expression she wears for much of the rest of the episode. I think her socks are too tight or something. Anyway, Phil says the teams have no idea what's in store for them, have to figure it out for themselves, find the route markers, and -- BAH! Those are not the Exposition Hands. Those are New Exposition Hands. I am heartbroken. Didn't anyone learn anything from New Coke? Bring back Exposition Hands Classic, people, or I'm switching to Celebrity Boxing. Frankly, I've always wondered whether Tonya Harding was really all that much of a bad-ass when she didn't have a guy with a lead pipe to do her dirty work. And hey, Paula Jones could wind up with a free nose job. Well, another free nose job, after the one she got from Richard Mellon Scaife. Anyway, after a quick, Koyaanisqatsi-esque time-lapse shot of a busy road at night which apparently has absolutely nothing to do with anything, Phil wonders aloud whether the teams will be friends or be competitive, and whether Wil will stop being a jackass. (Okay, I was the one who was wondering about that. Phil was just thinking it to himself quietly.)
11:06 PM. Tara and Wil (his hair looks even more like a clog in the drain than last time, and her Flowing Straw-Like Hippie Hair isn't much better) prepare to leave. (Although I am not qualified to make remarks about anyone else's hair. True story: A woman walking behind me on my way to the parking lot after work the other day looked at my ponytail and said, with a very slight drawl, "Is that your real hair color?" Me, after giving it a moment of thought: "Pretty much." Her: "It's just beautiful. You know, out in the sun, it's just this chestnut brown...you know, I have horses..." My left eyebrow: "[Sproing.]" Her: "...and one of them is just that exact color, and it's so beautiful." Me, trying to stifle a laugh: "Well, thank you." Her: "I mean, not to compare you to a horse!" Me: "No, no, not at all." Her: "Take that in the nicest way!" Me: "I absolutely will do that.")