Here it is, the nineteenth season. Hard to believe, isn't it? Soon we're going to have to stop counting.
Over lots of shots of shoreline porn, Phil declares, "This is the western edge of the United States." Could you be a little more specific, there, Phil? "And the world-famous coastline of California." Well, that only narrows it down by half, but there's the Santa Monica Pier, so I'm starting to get my bearings now. The camera zooms up along the Pacific Coast Highway to where Phil stands at a scenic pullout, telling us that from here, eleven teams will embark on a race around the world for one million dollars. He leaves out how it's the nineteenth time, though. Probably can't believe it himself.
You know how the teams are often conveyed to the starting line in some kind of interesting way? They're skipping that this time, just driving them all there in a bus with one of those full-body decal condoms on it, this one featuring the Amazing Race logo and the slogan "The World is Waiting," because some non-English major failed to realize that despite its length, "is" is a verb and thus should be capitalized. This show has gone so far downhill. Phil says the bus is bringing the teams to the Hsi Lai Buddhist Temple in the L.A. foothills, which has roofs like a Chinese pagoda. Very confusing to my six-year-old, who's watching with me. The teams start hopping off the bus one by one, so it looks like it's already time to meet them.
Andy & Tommy are former Olympic snowboarders from California. Over lots of footage of each of them snowboarding and wakeboarding and various other types of boarding, Tommy, the less shaggy one, says he was on the U.S. team in '02 and Andy in '06. He expects the other teams to see them as slackers, "but when it's time to get serious, we'll get the job done." Andy dubs them "the Machine and the Animal." I hope I'm not expected to know which is which any time soon.
I've watched all of one episode of Survivor in my life, and even I know who Ethan and Jenna are, although I don't think I was fully aware that they'd both won before. Or that they've been dating for seven years. Over footage of them exercising together, Ethan adds that he also had a rare form of Hodgkin's Lymphoma, which fortunately is in remission now, but which is gives their team that extra hook that The Amazing Race is looking for. Jenna basically says if they can beat cancer they can beat anything. The other teams had better hope there's no Road Block where they have to battle a tumor.