Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Ready.... GO!

The race is on! It's time for the start of the Amazing Race 8!

First off, I'm skeptical of the family edition being as exciting as the regular teams-of-2 format. Too many people means there's sure to be a lot more confusion, likely more drama, but similarly I expect less excitement until they whittle down the number of teams.

And now for the team introductions. We get a 15 second introduction to each team, culminating in a colossal waste of time. Nobody's going to remember a thing about these teams, but I guess at least we get to see them for the first time.

We begin at the starting line which is New York City... on the grounds in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge. "Good luck. Travel safe. GO!" And... they're... off!

"Soho is a nice place.... I think." All of the teams have plenty of drama it seems. In the first 5 minutes we've already taken wrong turns up one-way streets, run countless red lights. The first mission is to drive to Soho and get a specific list of camping supplies. Do we get the clue that the producers are trying to save on some hotel rooms for the first night? :) Well that was painless, the store had their supplies all picked out and on a shelf with the family's name on it.

Now on to find a hotdog stand on 91st street. Well that shouldn't be too hard, if you can just count streets... but again, this is the Amazing Race, nothing is apparently as easy as it seems. Well teams have managed to find the frank on 91st St and they've got their next clue.

Now we're driving to... Pennsylvania. "Like, the state of Pennsylvania?" Now for our historic leg of the race, we're going to cross the Delaware river ala George Washington and retrieve a 13-star US flag. At least they have a GW look-alike at the front of their rowboats. Very nice touch.

Philadelphia... the city of brotherly love. On the road again... just can't wait to get on the road again... and put up a tent. Well, at last they get to rest for a while... even though they're not quite at a pit stop yet. And it's very nice that all of the teams who arrive late were helped by all of the other early teams with their tents. So nice. Then the rain starts. It rains like crazy. This is where the teams first thing to themselves "what are we doing out here?"

At this point... I'm bored. If I recall, I got bored halfway through the first leg of AR7 too. Plus, there's another hour of this mayhem. This is the point in the blog where I criticize the producers for making an episode 2-hours long that really didn't need to be 2-hours long.

And theyr'e off for day 2 of the first leg of the race. 3 teams leave at 10:00, 4 at 10:30 and the remaining 4 at 11:00. Obviously one night together shows the first alliances being formed. I do have to admit that the fact that there isn't an evil Rob and Amber this season makes me incredibly more happy watching the teams race.

Detour! Build it or buggy it. Build a small size working water mill... or push/pull a buggy along a 1/2 mile course. Now, if we recall my mantra from AR7, if one looks obviously easier than the other, choose the one that seems harder! In this case, I'd put my money on the Build It. However, the first 3 teams to arrive all have chosen to buggy it. And this brings us to the Amazing Race 8 Terrifying Moment #1... the buggy loses control on a downhill slope and literally runs over one of the contestants. That one'll make SportsCenter tonight. Apparently there's a break on these buggies.. but this one certainly did not work correctly.
As for the teams that are building it, success is abundant. As expected the task that seemed difficult actually turned out to be as easy as building Ikea furniture (which by the way was actually a detour from 2 seasons ago).

The question now remains... are these teams going to actually get out of the country before one gets eliminated? That would be one lame race for the team that got eliminated... "I was on the Amazing Race... I went to Pennsylvania!!"

And oh yes, my prophesy has been fulfilled, we're off to the pit stop and that is none other than... Lancaster, PA. Now we just have to find Phil and the magic carpet! And the 4 women of the Godlewski family are team number 1 and win... $20,000. Now, I must admit that my prediction in the official cbs.com AR8 Fantasy Game was the Linz family. I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to have correctly picked the last place team of the first leg of the Amazing Race 8.

And then there are the remaining teams, the tempers get shorter, the tension rises... surely compounded by the fact that your failure is soon to be broadcast on national television. Thank you reality TV. Wow, you see who the close families are and who the dysfunctional ones are.

Well, my fantasy family for this week came in as Team #9 after a quick footrace to the finish. Sadly, one of the most cohesive and positive families, the Black family, were the last team to arrive and have become the first victims of AR8. So this season I'd like to give a title to each of the eliminated families of the race. The Black family is now dubbed "The family that was eliminated too soon."

Next week may be a bit delayed since I'll be out of town... but I'll catch up with the 3rd leg of the race. Until then...

Amazing Race 8 Travelblog

Welcome to my Amazing Race 8 Travelblog. I'm here with another season of captivating, cynical, sarcastic, and entertaining blogs that will follow the Amazing Race each week. This season there may be some guest bloggers filling in for me on some weeks, just to change things up a bit. Of course, last seasons blog can still be found at http://ar7travelblog.blogspot.com/.