"It's early morning in downtown Los Angeles," Phil narrates over aerial footage of, coincidentally enough, downtown Los Angeles. "And the temperature is rising fast in the movie capital of the world." From there, we zero in onto the Los Angeles River, which of course is a mostly dry concrete trough with a narrow trickle of water running through it. In case you don't recognize it on sight, Phil explains, "This is the Los Angeles River," as cop cars and a helicopter do some stunt-driving along the dry bed, "an iconic setting that's been used as a location for stunts in movies such as Grease and Terminator 2." Not to mention one of the first episodes of 24 I ever recapped. Finally we get an eyeful of Phil himself, walking toward the camera and explaining, "And from this legendary Hollywood setting, twelve teams will begin a race around the world for one...milliondollars.
Cut to a big tour bus with The Amazing Race painted on the roof and the destination sign, heading down a clear freeway. Exactly how early is it? Because the sun is up, but based on the traffic I'm thinking it must be about 3:30 AM. Phil says the teams are on their way. Time to meet them, but don't get too attached to a couple of them. Unfortunately, there are more than a couple of teams you'll find it easy to get attached to anyway.
Brian and Ericka enter the river through a tunnel first, dressed in yellow. Phil says they are "Married two years from Nashville." The first thing the show thinks we need to know about them comes in the form of some archive footage showing Ericka being crowned Miss America in 2004. In their pre-race interview, she says it has prepared her for who she is today. Brian says that as an interracial couple (he is white, and she is black) they look forward to showing America what being in love is all about regardless of skin tone. You sure you want to put that kind of pressure on your relationship right before we all see how the two of you react under pressure? Well, okay, then.
In maroon are Lance and Keri, who, as Phil tells us, are "engaged, from Salem, Massachusetts." Phil tells us. Over footage of them working out in the gym, Lance boasts, "We bring too much mentally and physically into this game not to win." Oh good, that means I don't have to watch them, right? No? Keri claims that Lance is "smaht," and he confirms that he's a trial lawyer, which I think is the one thing he could have said to make America like him even less. It's just a crying shame that the world of jurisprudence robbed us of someone who could have been the greatest Joey Buttafuoco impersonator of all time.