Based on the miniscule marketing surge behind it, you might not have realized this, but The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business premiered on Sunday with eleven of our most somewhat memorable teams ever. We had some colorful faves like the cowboys (Jett and Cord) and the Harlem Globetrotters (Flight Time & Big Easy). Also returning were Kent (formerly KYNT) and Vyxsin, whose racing career had been previously stalled by a disastrous meltdown (that thankfully gave us one of the best lines of all time: “VYXSIN, STOP THIS CAR RIGHT NOW!!!”). Those silly Goths continue to be amusing, and same goes for screenwriter Mike White whose dad Mel is now seventy and running the race.
Meanwhile, firebrand redheads Jaime and Cara are back, and I can assure you they’re just as high-strung as ever. Joining them are Margie and Luke, who I still don’t love (although, it’s hard not to love Margie’s unflappable love for her son). Then we have a bunch of generic teams: Kisha and Jen? Really? I’m convinced the only reason they got the nod for this season was because of their rivalry with Margie and Luke (and I suppose the whole bladder thing makes for good unfinished business too). Most bizarre of all is the inclusion of Amanda and Kris who barely made an impression beyond simply being very attractive. This is a TV show though, and we always need our eye candy. Too bad they’re already at a massive disadvantage after having incurred an automatic U-Turn at the outset. Why? Well, they were last to finish a silly QANTAS puzzle, and their punishment was to complete both Detour challenges. How did they fare? Well, hard to say…
You see, there wasn’t actually a Detour on this first episode. In fact, there wasn’t even an elimination. When the teams reached the Pit Stop, Phil informed them that they were still racing. Bad news for Gary and Mallory, who arrived first (and won themselves an Express Pass). They didn’t get a chance to enjoy their first place lead. On the flip side, this might be a blessing for the Cowboys, who found themselves severely behind the pack after a) their plane to Sydney had to make an emergency stop; b) they missed a ferry to the Roadblock; and c) they couldn’t even figure out the Roadblock once they got there. Will they be cut? Hard to say. The episode ended with giant “TO BE CONTINUED” letters across the screen. That’s right: we were left with UNFINISHED BUSINESS.
As for the Roadblock, I appreciated its complexity — seeking a compass in a shark tank and then using it to decode a word puzzle with flags — but I wasn’t overwhelmed with excitement. I did like that it left plenty of room for error though. More challenges should be like that (unlike the ensuing sailboat bit, which certainly was not walk in the park but… kind of was). Ultimately, what this first episode suffered from was a lack of things to do. It’s what always happens on the premiere. Producers have to spend so much time at the beginning introducing teams etc. that they wind up cutting down on the challenges in order to fit all the content in an hour. The more steps and destinations in the leg, the more interesting. Alas.
Nevertheless, there are some fun teams here; so the potential for good times is there. Here’s to hoping next week ups the excitement…
“This is Palm Springs, paper airplane capital of the world. Welcome to Unfinished PhilBusinessâ„¢.”
The race gets off to a slow start when the teams wind up stuck behind Ron and Christina, who manage to drive 22 MPH in a clearly marked 45 MPH zone.
“We are so excited to be back. Ain’t nothing going to get in our way.”
“Yeah, um, can you pull over? I gotta pee.”
“Watch out! Bitch-mobile coming through!”
“Remember us? Neither do we!”
“Our unfinished business is figuring out how to stop being beautiful.”
“Hahaha, because we’re so hot!”
“Hahaha, it’s true.”
“Ladies, I’m sorry, I can’t accept this paper plane.”
“But it has the right answer on it!”
“The only thing I see on here are the words ‘FUCK YOU, PHIL!'”
“I am the scariest child on the Internet.”
“Here we go! Now boarding BITCH Airlines!”
A travel map! With multiple lines! YESSSSSS.
“VYXSIN, stop this thinking about the International Date Line RIGHT NOW!”
“I love this challenge. I can do a Roadblock AND pee at the same time!”
Phil: “What do you see?”
“A bunch of Sheilas in their boardies.”
“You’re a regular ocker, aren’t you?”
“Buggalugs! Big words from someone in his daggy hat.”
“Gary and Mallory, you are the first team to arrive.”
“Looks like your teamwork was solid as Ayers rock.”
“I CAN’T GET THAT STUPID LADY GAGA SONG OUT OF MY HEAD!!!”
“Okay… let’s look at this clue verrrry slowly. Great. This is a great clue. Let’s just think about it for a second. You like this clue?”
“VYXSIN, stop this underwater exploration RIGHT NOW!”
“Seriously, who put all these idiots in our tank?”
“This is the last time we take the S.S. BITCH.”
“VYXSIN, stop this marveling at still being in the race RIGHT NOW!”
What did you think about the premiere? Who you rooting for? Who you rooting against? And who are you surprised to see?