Tuesday, August 20, 2013

We are Les Champignons!

Despite the big prizes and the millions of viewers, The Amazing Race Canada is, at its core, a game. There are rules, strategies, moments for great gameplay. And even though folks may turn on each other (Or U-turn), teams shouldn't take it personally. So far the game has been played pretty well by most teams, even those like Body Break who were eliminated last week.

But one thing that some folks forget is that you're also supposed to have fun when playing a game. Sure you wanna win or last as long as possible, but what's the point of playing a game if you're not having fun? And the only team that seems to get that are Jet and Dave,  The Bicep Bros. Or shall I now call them Les Champignons. They are on a roll, scoring a hat trick with their third leg win in a row. They are now my favourite team and not just because they have won the most legs. I like them because they are doing Amazing Race Canada the way my buddy Gord and I would, playing well but cracking jokes, acting silly and razzing one another when the other makes a mistake. It's probably no coincidence that once the Biceps Bros starting having fun, they starting winning.

This episode started typically, with teams back in Regina, scrambling for flights to Quebec City where they have to find a clue in a fort. Some teams switch planes in order to get in a bit earlier, but not surprisingly (raise your hand if you say this coming a mile away), the fort is closed. Teams must hunker down for the night. The only fun bit in this scramble is when Dave mangles the French language, uttering one of the best lines in Amazing Race history: "We are the mushrooms."

Since the Bicep Bros arrive first, they get a little bored and decide to leave a fake clue hastily draw in some sand. "No harm can come from this," Jet says. But the Brothers rush into the fort, find the fake clue and rush out again, into the night. After a bit, the Bicep Bros go after Jody and Cory, telling them it was only a joke. But the Brothers  don't seem to see the humour. While I love Jody and Cory and their never-quit attitude, they're always so serious, so single-minded. And at times, it works against them. 

So the fort opens and the teams dash about. The Bicep Bros find the clue first, telling them to catch the ferry, head up the funicular and find the statue of Champlain, the father of New France.  The other teams do the same, leaving the Timmies (sporting some nice scraggly playoff beards) to clamber about in a panic. There's a bit of a race to the ferry and only the Biceps Bros and the Sisters get there in time. The Docs and the Brothers miss and have to wait a half hour. This allows the Timmies to catch up. I was in Quebec recently for a crime writers festival and my kid and I took great pleasure watching teams take the same ferry and funicular we had taken.

Back to the race, the clue at the statue announces a Detour: Sculpt It or Spot It. In Sculpt It, they have to create an ice sculpture. In Spot It, they have to place word magnets on a smaller reproduction of wall mural to indicat sections missing from the original. In another classic line, Jet asks  "Is there a third option?" The sculpting sounds more difficult, but the sculptures have been pre-cut and you only have to chip out the outside bits. In Spot It, the word magnets are in French. 

Jet and Dave choose Sculpt while the Sisters initially take Spot It. But they instantly switch once they see how easy Sculpt It is. However, they whine all the while, constantly second-guessing their choice. As the Bicep Bros said earlier, the Sisters may be a great team, but they are lousy competitors. The other teams arrive on the ferry with only the Timmies taking on the ice. The Docs and Brothers go back and forth between the smaller and bigger mural, both having difficulty even though they are the teams most fluent in French. 

Again, Les Champignons, I mean the Biceps Bros, finish first and need to find Quebec University or something like that, my notes are unclear. Anyway, they get there and have to make four different crepes in the style shown by the demo chef. Again, language plays a key part because the orders for the crepes will be given in French. Because he can cook, Dave takes it on. But he admittedly says he's never cooked a crepe in his life. And his knowledge of French sucks.

Back in Old Quebec, teams are finishing up their tasks and head to the University. Although the Timmies get confusing directions and spend an hour trying to find the location. The other three teams arrive, putting some pressure on Dave to hurry up. But Dave's still lost in translation; he can't understand what one lady is ordering. He makes an extremely lucky guess with spinach and starts cooking. However, he forgets to turn on the crepe maker, prompting some razing from his partner, which is what a good partner should do at a time like this, right Gord? Jet even takes a potshot at the Brothers, wondering why Cory and Jody haven't finished higher. 

Part of the reason is that the Brothers are so single-minded that they forget to read clues, forget to pay attention to the details. It happened to them in Yellowknife when they signed up on the wrong flight. And it happened on this leg when Cory was so determined to get the task done that he didn't realize he had to serve all 4 crepes at once instead of 2 at a time. That's why Holly, a terrible cook, managed to finish the task before Cory, who obviously knew how to cook a crepe. If Cory had paid attention, they would have easily take 2nd place instead of ending up in a tie with the Docs.

But the big mistake of the race came from Tim Jr. Although it was a classic Amazing Race blunder. Vanessa was having difficulty understanding what fruit she was supposed use so she walked up to Tim Jr. and asked him. "Cherry," was all he said. But that single word undermined that great  U-Turn they made on Body Break in the last episode. It allowed Vanessa to finish the task before them and the boys ended up in last place. 

Still, the luck of the playoff beards paid off because this was the second of three non-elimination legs; the Timmies were saved. Again. If I were them, I wouldn't push that luck anymore.  Next week, yhey'll be off to Nunavut and need to do a Speed Bump in the next leg. Although I wonder if it will before or after they have to eat whale blubber. Yumm.

FYI. I will not longer post my recaps here. I have another Amazing Race Canada blog with my buddy Gord Here. We get more traffic and I'm tired of cutting and pasting, so head over there instead. I also have other non-recap blog posts at the other site. Thanks for following me here. But now go see Gord and Wayne.

Monday, August 12, 2013

New villains and classic tropes

Whoa Nelly. For a moment, I was totally speechless about Ep. 5 of Amazing Race Canada. That was one incredible leg, full of really tough tasks, teams quitting to take penalties, a double U-turn that provided a surprise twist (and possibly some new villains for Canadians to hate), loads of lentils and a trip to Rider Nation. Crazy Canucks in Saskatchewan.

So let's get to it. Down, set, hut. The six remaining teams leave the pitstop at Whitehorse (not Carcross but enough quibbling). They gotta find a clue on a boat that tells them to get to Regina. So all the teams head to the airport. And here's where the producers pull out a classic TAR trope that I've talked about before. We get a shot of Hal and Joanne in the back of their cab and there's some background info on how the two met. Once I heard that, I thought "Uh oh." If you've watched as much TAR as I have, you quickly realize than when the producers edit in some background info about a team at this point in the episode, it's a foreshadow of elimination. It's not always true but usually about 75 percent of the time. So I worried about Bodybreak.

Quickly the teams discover that you can't fly direct to Regina from Whitehorse; you gotta go through Edmonton or Calgary (after a changeover in Vancouver). The flight out of YEG arrives 40 minutes earlier. The Bicep Bros and the Docs (in brief alliance that started in Whitehorse with the Biceps calling two cabs instead of one), are out of YEG. The rest: YYC. But Bodybreak use their gameplay (and celebrity, no doubt) and manage to get on the YEG flight. Nice move but it creates a target on their backs. It seems the teams may have had enough of the Bodybreak celebrity.

Arriving in Regina, there's a Blackberry ad as the teams get directions to a pulse trading company. Those who didn't know Saskatchewan was the #2 exporter of lentils in the world, raise  your hand.  And it seems there are a lot of lentils because the next task is a killer, finding two tiny stuffies in a truck load of lentils, six feet deep. This is one of those dreaded needle in the haystack tasks which have broken many a great team in the past. Luck also plays a major role. The top three teams start digging and pretty quickly, or maybe it's just the editing, the Docs start falling apart. Guess pressure at a hospital is different than digging through lentils. Either way, it's not something I would have enjoyed. Also, why is no one wearing hats under that hot prairie sun? Especially the Docs; they should know better. Or is it a part of the show that prohibits teams from wearing hats. 

Anywho, the Biceps Bros dig like dogs and find the stuffies. And the clues orders them to the RCMP Heritage Centre. And they're off, pretty confident about the upcoming roadblock because Jet's a cop. Although he's an odd cop because he's got a problem with authority. Go figure. 

Bicep's relatively quick finding of the clue, along with the arrival of the other teams, worries the Docs and Bodybreak; so much so that the Docs decide to quit and take the 2 hour penalty. It's always a tough decision whether to take the penalty in TAR, especially if you're the first team to do so. The key to this decision is to hope another team does the same thing, so that at least you're ahead of them. And lo and behold, that's what happens: Bodybreak calls it quits and accepts the penalty. To be honest, I was quite surprised by this move by Hal and Joanne. They've played a smart game up until then. 

The Timmies don't get bogged down, the Sisters cry, and finally, the Brothers do what they always do; they power through the task, quitting the task the last thing on their minds. I truly believe that this is the team to watch. They haven't finished high in the other legs, but they are relentless. I get the feeling they are just going to grind all the other teams down, let them make the mistakes and come up from behind.

Back to the RCMP Depot, the Roadblock requires one teammate to prepare a cadet's pit for inspection. My old man was in the army for 28 years and I know about this kind of stuff. One reason I didn't follow in his footsteps into the military. Even so, it's nice to see a team having fun and making jokes. That's been lacking since the Gay Cowboys left. Although Jet's sarcasm does annoy the Commander who seems surprised that this muscular goofball is also a cop. 

And while folks have some trouble with the tasks (save for Jody who spent 20 years in the military) and one of the Sisters cries (again), the big talk is about the two teams that quit the lentil task for a penalty. You could see the relief on the other teams's faces, especially the Sisters, when they heard that news. That meant that the race not to be last was between the Docs and Bodybreak, unless somebody else completely fell apart. 

But despite the tears and frustration, the teams pass their inspection. Nice touch with Jody and the Commander for their nods of respect. "Thank you for what you do," they both said to each other. And after a quick Ukrainian dance by city hall, we are transported to Rider Nation, the greatest place in Saskatchewan. If you don't the Canadian football, then here's quick education. The Saskatchewan Roughriders (THE RIDERS!) are the only pro sports team in the province. And everybody who is born in Saskatchewan is a diehard Rider fan and a member of the Rider Nation, till the day they die, not matter where they live. 

Rider Nation offers a detour: Brawn or Beauty. With Brawn, they have to do some football tasks including catching and then kicking a football. If they miss the catch or kick, they have to begin again. In Beauty, it's a cheerleading routine with cartwheels and a carry. Totally surprised that Bicep Bros did this because Dave's a cheerleader. Then again, he's more used to catching and throwing and Jet doesn't seem like someone he could throw around. 

As with the inspection tasks, some teams struggle while others don't. The elephant in Taylor Field though is the Double U-turn at the top of the stairs. The Bicep Bros finish first and don't U-Turn. They head to the pitstop with their second first place finish in a row. The boys seemed to have a lot of fun on this leg which could be the reason why they've been doing so well. I wonder if they really are going to pick Regina for their free trip in Canada?

And though Bodybreak and the Docs arrived before the Timmies, the father and son team bust through the football. They run up the steps to the U-turn and surprise everyone by U-turning Bodybreak. Are they now the new villains of TAR for knocking out the most favourite team in the country? Some may think and will rail against them, calling the move unnecessary because they were so far ahead. But I don't. It was actually a smart move on the Timmies part to U-turn one of the strongest teams in the race. Everyone else left should thank the Timmies for that move. Especially the Docs.

And to be perfectly honest, the game didn't change when the Timmies U-turned Bodybreak; it changed when Hal and Joanne decided to quit the lentil task and accept the penalty, after one team had already quit. That's what killed them. They put themselves behind the Docs and into the race not to finish last. All the other teams finished the lentil task and because of it, they knew they were safe. Everyone finished ahead of both the Docs and Bodybreak. The Timmies just put the final nail in the coffin.

The drama at the end of the show was fantastic as both tried to finish the other side of the Detour. Who would have thunk that the Docs would beat Bodybreak in a physical task? Which just go to show you; just because you're in good physical shape, it doesn't mean you're coordinated. Or sporty. 

I'm sorry to see Hal and Joanne go, they played the game well but in the Amazing Race, all it takes is one mistake and you're out. And I think they've reinvigorated interest in their efforts to keep Canadians healthy. Before Amazing Race Canada, they weren't even on twitter. And now, they are tweeting like pros with thousands of followers. 

But that was another excellent episode. I'm looking forward to the trip to Quebec City, my mom's hometown. According to the teaser, the Sisters get lost. Are you surprised?

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Boobirds not a factor, says teams

Didn't expect to write another Amazing Race Canada post until the next recap, but something came up today that I didn't expect.

I sent what I thought was a relatively innocent tweet to the Docs @TeamPeds, asking that if they were in Tim Jr.'s place and had jumped ahead of Dave for the lake jump, would they have ignored the boos from the crowd and jumped in anyway. If you remember in the past episode, Tim Jr. managed to get roped up before Dave even though Dave had gotten to the task before him. The crowd didn't like it and started booing. From how it looked on TV, it seemed the Tim Jr. decided to be a polite Canadian, listened to the boos and let Dave go ahead of him. I thought it was a lame move and if it was me, I would have ignored the boos and jumped in ahead of Dave.

But this is the tweet I got in response from Dave @thedaveschram:
@Waynthurson @Teampeds@TimTimeARC HahAh the boos didn't stop Tim, the producers did! Lol #boobirds 

So Tim Jr. wasn't being lame, he was pulled back by the producers. He would have ignored the boos (good for you, Tim Jr.), but he wasn't allowed to, even though Dave was distracted and allowed Tim Jr. to get roped up ahead of him. Here's a funny tweet back from the Docs about situation:

@thedaveschram @Waynthurson@TimTimeARC I don't know Dave - maybe less flirting with the crowd, more rope attaching ;) #focus

Nice to see the fun interplay between teams on Twitter about this.

However, I'm not sure why the producers interceded in this situation because it was really no different than the Sisters line-cutting at the airport. Or even Cory writing his name on the wrong line and Body Break taking advantage of that. Dave was distracted, Tim Jr. took advantage, got roped in forst and should have been allowed to jump in before him.

Because the producers made Tim. Jr. go back, that allowed the Bicep Bros to get the task done before them. So Jet and Dave got to airstrip and signed up for the first plane to Carcross. And because of that, they won the leg and the trip. However, if the producers hadn't stepped in, the Timmies would have gotten on the first plane to Carcross and the Bicep Bros would have been in on the second plane a half hour behind. So the chances are, the Docs would have finished first because the Timmies needed to do the Speed Bump. 

And despite Tim Jr.'s difficulty memorizing his lines, they probably would have finished the Speed Bump before the next plane arrived. And they would have done the Detour and had a good chance of finishing second. Which would have giving them a huge emotional boost after finishing last in the previous legs. The same for the Docs. Body Break or Bicep Bros would have finished third and fourth, or maybe later, depending on when the Sisters arrived to use their Express Pass.

The Hippies would have  still been eliminated but the dynamic of the race would have changed. The Bicep Bros would not be on a high of finishing first and who knows how that would have effected them. The Timmies would have been very pleased of finishing second after coming in last, and the Docs would have gotten the free trip.

What do you think? Should the producers have stepped in? And any ideas on why they did?

Monday, August 5, 2013

Karma's A Bitch, right?

When the teams from Amazing Race Canada were introduced to the country, the one team that I never thought would get burned by Karma was the Hippies. Just check out this line from their bio at the Amazing Race Canada site:.."creating our own realities through positive thinking and sharing love everywhere we go." And they did seem to reflect that positivity throughout most of the race. However, in the last episode, the Hippies moved away from being positive and went back on a deal they made during the first episode. No need to go into details but instead of handing the Express Pass to the team they agreed to hand it over — the Docs — they reneged and handed to the Sisters.

But more on that later. Episode 4 was another great episode, just like the previous one. Full of drama, excitement, mistakes, great tasks, wonderful gameplay and incredible scenery. I've only been to the NWT once and even though it was in the middle of winter, it was fantastic. And that's where the teams head after the Pit Stop in Drumheller: Yellowknife. Obviously, the teams didn't stay near Drumheller for the Pit Stop because they had to get to the Calgary Airport first. And you can't really take a taxi from Drumheller to there. Okay, you can, but it's expensive.

So the teams get to the airport and the Sisters use their physical skills, so to speak, to get to the front of the line. A valid piece of gamesmanship on their part, although in the end, all teams got on the first flight. Even the Timmies. The fact that the other teams were surprised to see the Timmies tells me that the producers are sequestering the teams, rather than letting them hang out together. This way, no one knows who has made it until the next leg. 

In Yellowknife, teams go the Bush Pilot Monument, find a clue which directs them to the Government Dock. Most everyone jumps in their vehicles and drive away, thinking they'll find the locale as they drive. This happens a lot in the game and you'd think teams would take a bit of time and check the map before driving away. (Side note: In the final leg of Amazing Race Australia Season 2, two of the three teams did the same thing, while the team that paused and checked the map got to the tasks faster and thus won the entire Race.) Only the Docs paused and discovered they just had to cross the street.

Jumping in the frozen Greater Slave Lake was a great task, simple but tough. And very Canadian. Overall teams didn't linger too much but nice try on Tim Jr. to jump ahead of the Bicep Bros. He should have forgotten the boos of the crowd and jumped in regardless. That's what I would have done. The Amazing Race isn't a popularity contest, especially to the folks that have been hired to act as an audience on a task. Who cares what they think.

Once they finish this frozen task, teams  head to a local hanger and sign up for 1 of 3 flights to Carcross, Yukon. Never been there but I've only heard good things about the Yukon. The Docs and Bicep Bros sign up for Flight 1 while Timmies get first for Flight 2. Unfortunately, Cory from the Brothers makes a major mistake. Instead of signing up as the second team for Flight 2, he signs up as the first team on Flight 3. Body Break notice the error and wisely get on Flight 2.

I'll admit to being slightly disappointed when the Brothers asked Body Break to cut them a break. Normally, these guys accept their mistakes and move on. It wasn't Body Break's fault that Cory made a mistake, so to ask them to fix it didn't seem right. And good on Hal and Jo for saying No Chancey Mr. Whalen on the request. Why give up a seat on  the second place for one on the last one? That's just asking to be eliminated.

So the teams fly to the Yukon some twin engine planes. I'll bet it was an amazing trip over some of the best landscape this country has to offer. Once in Carcross, the teams gotta find the old Duchess train. Based on how far the teams had to run, it didn't seem that close to the airstrip. It looked to be especially hard on Jodi. At the train, a Detour. Supply Run or Gold Rush.

In Supply Run, teams must build a raft, load it with supplies, paddle out to get a clue and then paddle back. Oddly, the Docs picked this one because it seemed a lot more physical than the Gold Rush, where teams had to complete three small tasks: saw some wood, throw a hatchet and push a teammate in a wheelbarrow while the other teammate was blindfolded. Don't get how the blindfold bit was part of the Gold Rush, but whatever.

The Docs begin in trouble with Brett yelling at Holly for questioning why he chose this task. The Bicep Bros use their Biceps Of Unusual Size (BOUSs) to power through the task. Although the boy with the biggest biceps, Jet, can't throw to save his life. But they are the first to hit the mat. Regardless of the short bickering and their lack of raft building experience, the Docs do pretty good and get second place.

BodyBreak come a respectable third, but the Timmies get caught up on their Roadblock, which is remember and then recite four verses from Robert Service's classic poem of Canadiana, The Shooting of Dan McGrew. Nice to see the producers pay homage to a great Canadian writer. Also, the folks acting as the drinking Klondikers in this task were hilarious. Reminded me of the times I spend with my buddy Gord, drinking beers and eating chicken wings.

Because of the Speed Bump and the Sisters usage of the Express Pass, the two girls move ahead of the Timmies and race to the mat. I love how this rivalry seems to play out on its own,  with the two teams always racing each other to the mat. And when the girls were told to bring their backpacks within view of Jon, I thought the boys would win this time around. But they didn't. Still, the Timmie's seemed just glad not to be in last place. "Hugs all around," said Tim Sr., maybe putting the rivalry to rest.

When the Sisters used their Express Pass, my first thought was "Uh-oh. That's not going to be good for the Hippies." And it wasn't.  If they had given their pass to the Docs as they first agreed, the girls would have had to complete the task. And based on their coal experience, they would have sucked at it. The Hippies and the Brothers would have beat them easily. So there's the karma. And, instead of using their Express Pass, the Hippies let pride get in the way and took on the raft task because they are both kayaking and canoeing guides. So that allowed the Brothers to pull ahead. 

The final minutes of this episode were very exciting, with Jodi worried about letting down his brother, and the Hippies seemingly catching up. Nice editing in the suite, folks. Again, I'm amazed at Jody's strength and determination. He ran a lot in this leg and still kept running, despite the pain he must have been feeling. And so they finished ahead of the Hippies. It probably didn't feel good to be eliminated from the race with an Express Pass in hand, but at least they didn't make excuses they way some team did in the most recent US Season of TAR.

Next week, the Queen City, Regina, Sask. where it looks the Riders play a role in a task and bunch of teams look to fall apart. And a double U-Turn! Can't wait for that.

Friday, August 2, 2013

An Amazing Cause

Since I've been getting some attention to my Amazing Race Canada blog here and here, mostly at the blog I share with my buddy Gord (my posts are exactly the same but I started this blog before Gord set up our tandem one so I've kept both), I've been hearing from a couple of racing teams. Body Break and the Docs. Neato.

And the goal of this particular post is about what the Docs tweeted to me. Sure, some may think they are the villains of the show. Boo to you. I think they are one of the few teams to realize that this is a game and are playing the game well. It's not personal, just part of the gameplay.

But they are doctors who work with kids and as a father of a kid, I appreciate that work. My wife is also a medical professional (an OT) who also works with kids so I know it takes a special person to do that. Of course, she's special cause she married me but that's another story.

Anyway, the Docs aren't the villains some may think they are because they are donating 1/4 of any winnings they get from the Amazing Race Canada to the Montreal Children's Hospital Foundation. Totally awesome in my book. And it's not just the first place team that gets money. Other teams get a prize depending on how the finish. At least that's what happens in the US version so I hope they will do the same for Amazing Race Canada. And if they don't win, you can also help. They are asking for donations from viewers of Amazing Race Canada. So check it all out at Amazing Cause.

And see ya for Episode 4.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Only in Alberta? Pity

Okay, here's the scoop from Ruth Myles of the Calgary Herald on the Blackberry crawl ad (run during the show) that ruined the ending of Ep. 3 of Amazing Race Canada by saying something along the lines of "This non-elimination leg of the race brought to you Blackberry" just before the last commercial break. Note the avid fan (and crime novelist) quoted in this story.

Apparently only Alberta was subjected to the in-episode spoiler, which is kind of ironic since all the tasks in the leg happened in Alberta. Good of Bell Media (the parent company for CTV) to apologize for the mistake.

As I said in the Herald, this was a great episode, save for the Blackberry spoiler. The teams started in Vancouver and had to head to Calgary, booking the Air Canada flights online at a internet cafe. The teams fly to Calgary, barely an hour apart on flights and then the excitement begins. The Hippies who made a deal in Ep. 1 to give their Express Pass to the team in their alliance that came in second behind them, decide to renege on the deal. Instead of giving to the Docs, they had it off to the Sisters. So much for all that positive energy, dudes. Evil Hippies it seems. Don't know why they picked the Sisters, maybe they bonded somehow in the Pitstops. Or maybe they see them as a weak team (they got lost a lot in this episode) and thus wish to compete against them in the final three. Or maybe they just happened to be the team sitting in front of them on the airplane. They didn't really explain why that well. They should have just stuck with their deal. I would have.

But the Docs take it in stride and just get rid of all the Calgary maps in the airport. Not a bad move but in the end it didn't really slow anybody down. Best just to get your map and move on instead of spending time trying to sabotage another team. I'm not 100 percent sure but there may be a rule if you take sabotage too far, so watch out Docs. Still, I loved Brett's reaction when Kristen told him they weren't going to honour their alliance. Being doctor, he said, he honours his promises but you do what you got to do. Funny stuff, but I really understand why she wanted to punch him. He kind of gets under the skin but heck, the Docs understand that it's a game and they are playing it well. They didn't seem to take the snub personally.

Although Holly's dancing skills aren't great. Especially line dancing. And since the teams are in Calgary, they have to do something cowboy related (forget that the city's a dynamic cosmopolitan place let's perpetuate the stereotype). So line dancing at Ranchman's it is. To be fair, this was a much tougher Road Block than the lame skating one in Vancouver. Most teams had a tough time, especially Holly, Tim Sr. and Jody. But Jody's got no ankles, which he states during the task. And if it's one player I really love in this race, it's Jody. Sure, he's got no legs below the knee and some tasks are tough but he just does it, without complaint or asking for special treatment. I also loved his comment on the coal task during the detour. Something about you when you gotta dig a hole, you know it's going to be hard but you just do it.

Back at the Ranchman's, Joanne from Body Break gets done in three tries, heading out to Drumheller for a Detour. Dave from the Bicep Bros also gets done in three tries (he's a cheerleader known for "chucking girls"). But they had trouble, not just finding the Ranchman's but also finding the clue for the Road Block. "Does exterior mean something different in Alberta?" one of them asks as they cluelessly stand right in front of the clue.

The cluelessness of these boys continue as they shovel piles of coal into the coal cart. That's the one half of the Detour in Drumheller; the other half is to build a dinosaur skeleton from memory. But the Bicep Bros don't read the clue and so they shovel coal, take out coal, shovel more coal, make fun of the guy judging the task, whine and complain about the situation and don't realize that you have to hang this little thing on a special hook. Which they hadn't done. So more coal shovelling and complaining. It was hilarious to watch them get all uppity about the situation when in reality it was all their fault. Rule # 1 about Amazing Race:  Read the Clue. Rule #2? Read the Clue.

The Hippies also have a bit of trouble with clue reading but figure it out faster than the Bicep Bros. The Sisters, though, have huge trouble with the task. Sure, they've read the clue but they look so tiny and it was no doubt pretty tough for them to load that cart. After a really long time and much histrionics, they get it done. Only to get lost. Again.

The only team not doing the coal task was the Docs and it made sense they chose the dinosaur. But the pressure seemed to be getting on Holly because she was falling apart. Good on Brett not to harp on her. He just tried to keep her on task and centred. No Jonathan and Victoria from these guys; at least not yet. But boy, was he surprised when Jon told them were Team #6. I've seen every single English language version of Amazing Race and I've never seen a reaction like that. Pretty funny.

In the end, Body Break won the leg handily. They are like most married couples that age, calm, cool and connected. They will be a tough team to beat. Only a total meltdown will destroy them. That or a couple of bad cabs. The rest of the teams come in later, the Sister better thank whatever God they worship (or don't) for running into the Brothers on the way to the pitstops. These girls have terrible direction, map and listening skills. They got great directions from some stranger but neither of them heard a single thing he said. They were tough to finish the coal but will have to pick things up to survive.

Coming in last were the Timmies and thanks to some control room mistake, I and all of Alberta knew this was a non-elimination round. But until that point, it was a great episode. Great tasks, great drama, great team interaction and quotes. Things are starting to pick up and I hope they keep this momentum going.

But no more in-episode spoilers, please; that one really hurt.

Update: Forgot to give props to the producers for mentioning the flood in Calgary and how people could help or donate. The US show has done this a few times so it's good that the Canadian version is following in their footsteps in that manner. Nicely done.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Amazing Mess Due to Blackberry Ad

I was really enjoying Ep. 3 of Amazing Race Canada, loads of drama, lousy dancing, teams fighting, teams being sneaky and backbiting, coal shovelling, not reading of clues and getting lost. It had the makings of a great episode, especially since we had no idea who would come in last.

But then it happened. Some time before the last commercial break, just after the Timmies finished their task with the coal and there it popped on my TV screen: "This Non-elimination leg brought toyou by the Blackberry Q thingy.| I mean, what the fuck was that? I'm not sorry for my bad language because I'm a crime writer and ex-punk rocker. And I am really pissed that someone idiot ran an ad during the show, near the last few minutes, when we were all on the edges of our seats wondering whether the Docs would do their dinosaur in time, if the Sisters would find their way or would the Timmies push by them, an ad that tells me and all the almost 3 million Canadians that this is a non-elimination leg?

Not sure who's to blame, the producers Insight Productions, CTV, some master control switcher who pushed a wrong button, but it ruined what could have been a classic Amazing Race Canada episode. I'm so annoyed that I'm not going to post a recap tonight; I'll do that later in the week.

Don't make that mistake again folks.