Amazing Race
Man, They Should Have Used Fake Names

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Enjoying the glory of Darwin

11:47 PM. Eric and Jeremy, who were first again last week, are first to leave. Jeremy has decided not to wear any hilarious or ironic shirts this week to start off with, so that's an auspicious beginning to a leg. The clue tells the teams to head for Swan Bells, and although that sounds like the title of a tween soap about summer romances at a resort being operated by a lovable but dictatorial owner, it is in fact a tower 15 miles "across town" from the pit stop. This is a six-story tower that...well, towers over the Swan River. Not, I would note, the Swanee River, although if my father had been watching this episode with me, that's the song he would have sung during the reading of the clue. The tower holds bells that England gave the city of Perth for the Australian bicentennial. So it turns out that the appropriate gift for a 200th anniversary is bells. That's good for Australia, which still remembers how mad it was when it learned that the appropriate gift for a first anniversary was convicts.

Eric and Jeremy chitchat in voice-over about how people are edgy, how BJ and Tyler and MoJo have this stupid thing going on between them, and Eric says that he finds the fighting "pretty fun." It's amazing how, as other people become obnoxious, people who are blank slates become more and more appealing.

11:48 PM. MoJo. She has certainly not let her hair slide, in terms of starting to wear it in practical, workmanlike styles. She has not let go of the poodle, stylistically speaking. I'm also amused by how her shorts are entertainingly too short, while Joseph's are entertainingly too long. Their love is like Goldilocks. My final comment on appearance is that she appears to be racing with very little...support, and to me, you would only do that if you were a really slightly built lady, which she is not. I'm not so much saying it's unflattering as I am that I can't imagine it's comfortable with this much running. "We're gonna beat these damn hippies," Joseph says as they leave the mat. Joseph notes that teams are getting mean, and Monica swears that they would never be "this vindictive" in non-race situations. She would, however, wear just as much pink. They run into Eric and Jeremy, and both teams borrow a handy cell phone to call a pair of taxis.

11:56 PM. BJ and Tyler. They do a Funny Clue Opening, taken from their book, 10,000 Jokes, Toasts, And Clue Openings, and then they finally actually read the Swan Bells clue. The teams are getting $70 for the leg, and BJ and Tyler are back in the money-getting portion of the game. "We told Monica and Joseph that we were going to Yield them if they didn't leave us any money," Tyler says, making me pretty damn stupid to have tried to give them the benefit of the doubt last week, because they in fact did exactly what detractors accused them of doing. Of course, there's nothing rule-breaking about threatening to Yield people who don't give you money, but it's just another reason why both the Yield and the money-taking are stupid -- it adds a bunch of dynamics that are irritating but not interesting. It also seems to me that if you're BJ and Tyler, it's embarrassing to have to try to threaten teams into giving you free money. They need to do something about this entire business of taking money and giving money and using the Yield to try to extract money...I like it best when people are trying to figure out how to complete tasks quickly and cover distance quickly. The scheming to thwart other teams is always the least interesting part of any season, unless the people being thwarted suck so much that their suffering is its own entertainment, in which case I'm never happy they're on the show in the first place.

BJ and Tyler come up on Eric and Jeremy and MoJo, and they try to get information about the location of Swan Bells. "Did you guys find out where the Swan Bells are?" Tyler asks. "Yep," Jeremy says. "Did you really?" Tyler repeats. "Nope," Jeremy says. Heh. "You guys waiting for a bus here?" Tyler adds, because he still really hates doing his own work, and Jeremy (I think) says, "Yep." Because he isn't so crazy about doing Tyler's work for him, no matter how hard Tyler tries. And then the taxis arrive, demonstrating that the teams are not so much waiting for a bus. And because the taxis are reserved in the names of the teams who called for them, they pick up MoJo and Eric and Jeremy. BJ and Tyler initially get that MoJo has a cab in Joseph's name, and tries to get that driver to order two more cabs, but they quickly learn that the other half of the Choad Family was in cahoots with MoJo and didn't tell them the truth about buses and so forth. Once the other teams are gone and can no longer be sponged off of, BJ and Tyler approach a guy, borrow his cell phone, and call a taxi for themselves, which they could have done earlier if they hadn't been standing around to see what the other teams were doing. The accusation that they are followers is, I think, a pretty fair one. And after he calls the taxi, Tyler says, "T-Tow." We are put through the speech again about how it's the "circle of life" and their "power word." It certainly has the "power" to intensely annoy, that's for sure. And as for "circular," if that can somehow be related to the idea of mind-numbing repetition and boredom, I vote yes. They get in their taxi.

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Amazing Race

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