Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Welcome to Leg . . . well, now, we don’t have The Amazing Race to enjoy right now, do we? So, we (Toyouke, Auburnium513, me, and the rest of us) were watching this season and got all the way to the end of leg 9. You know, the leg where Phil voice-overed that the Pit Stop would be the “Most Memorable Pit Stop EVER!” Yeah, so we all agreed that Jen and Kisha vs. Margie and Luke in a yelling match was probably not something that would stick in our minds forever. Sure, Jonathan going ballistic on Victoria in Berlin at the Brandenberg Gate in Season 6, Leg 5 made for good TV, but a shouting match in which one or more parties are belligerent to their spouse or other teams does not a memorable pit stop make. As a result, here are our picks for the 10 most memorable Pit Stops EVER. (Toyouke: "Plus, video for each one. Although sadly some of the videos didn't adjust to the right size. If it bothers you click on it to watch on another page.") (click for more)

Now, I’m going to use a little ranking system. Putting together this list was extremely difficult because we thought of at least thirty possibilities that we eliminated for various reasons. When considering these however, it comes down to three criteria: the INTELLIGENCE involved on the part of the teams involved to survive or be eliminated; the EXCITEMENT created when the event occurred, positive or negative; and the IMPACT on the race as a whole. All of these have been rated on a 1-10 scale by your favorite recapper.

10) “We’re Moving Up the Food Chain”: Season 7, Leg 6: Teams raced from South Africa to Botswana by taking a charter flight from Johannesburg without being told where they were going. En route to the Pit Stop, the loveable brothers, Brian and Greg, also known as “the Goats”, were driving their vehicle to the Detour and managed to flip the car, prompting all sorts of argument from the remaining teams as to whether or not to stop and see if they needed help. (Kmanpat: “It’s a race, let them fend for themselves.”) Anyway, this knocked them into last place. Once they arrived at the Detour, they noticed that most teams were choosing the Food option, which had them mashing corn to a line. Teams would then run to the mat, waiting nearby on Makgadikgadi Pans. So the Goats decided that they would not be at an advantage to take Food . . . so they took the other option, Water, where they had to fill 12 ostrich eggs using water from an underground spring and a straw, and then burying the eggs in the ground. Doesn’t sound like the fastest option in the world, but their nearest competition, Ray and Deana, the loud obnoxious team of the season, couldn’t grind corn very quickly. So both teams finished their Detour. Simultaneously. Not very exciting, unless you realize that there is one slot left at the mat, which is a good 200 feet away. Brian and Greg, being more athletic, beat Ray and Deana in a footrace, cropping them from a first place Fast Forward finish to last place and an elimination. Memorability factor: Well, no one else has flipped their car before or since, and the move to do the other detour was extremely strategic. (Toyouke: “Plus, the Goats recovered from FLIPPING THEIR CAR.”) So I give INTELLIGENCE a 7, EXCITEMENT an 8, and IMPACT a 4 (mostly due to the removal of themselves in the next leg). Pep talking and reckless driving begin at 3:45.

9) “Gorilla? Gorilla?? Gorilla???”: Season 14, Leg 7: Teams raced from India to Thailand, where the only clue that teams had to find their first location was the picture of a statue of a gorilla at the Phuket Zoo. Problem was, Mel and Mike couldn’t figure it out, got their late, didn’t opt to take the Fast Forward that was still available, and were eliminated. But that’s not what makes this Pit Stop memorable. Nor is the fact that Mark and Michael, having chosen the 2 Miles Detour option, packed up all of the bike pumps, endangering the other teams and hired a taxi to follow to the clue box, incurring two penalties and dropping them from the first to arrive to third to check in. No, no folks. We remember who checked in fourth. Margie and Luke, having just completed the 2 miles Detour were exhausted. Well, Margie was. See, Luke is deaf, and couldn’t hear her when he was driving the rickshaw for directions. So Supermom did it herself. Makes sense. Except her son is heavier than her. And this is Thailand. So they get to the Pit Stop and Margie does what any sensible person would have done: she passes out. Luke flips out, and Phil jumps to the rescue, calling for the medics. It’s one of the first times that Phil has ever interacted with a team at a Pit Stop for a reason other than checking in. And it kept us on the edge of our seats for a week while we waited to hear if Margie was able to keep racing. (Toyouke: “And who can argue the memorability of a medical emergency?”) Memorability factor: Certainly more memorable than the Pit Stop from this season that was SO memorable, because it ultimately involved just about every team in some way or another. So I give INTELLIGENCE a 5 (since who doesn’t try for a fast forward when they are last and who incurs two penalties on one leg?), EXCITEMENT a 9, and IMPACT a 6 (because all things fell into place, as they should have with the decisions made). Go to about 6:45.

8) “Five Continents, 25 Cities, And More Than 40,000 Miles”: Season 7, Leg 12: In the second leg to make the countdown from Season 7, teams raced from Jamaica to San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA to Miami, Florida, USA, where the three remaining teams island hopped their way to the finish line. At the end of the last leg, Uchenna and Joyce had all of their money and possessions stripped by Phil, since this was when he was still in his “let’s rob the contestants” phase. Anyway, Uchenna and Joyce are in Jamaica with no money which is not a good place to be with no money. They complete the necessary tasks and fly to San Juan without any money, where they pull into second place behind everyone’s favorite media whores, Rob and Amber. Teams are at the San Juan Airport for an 11:15 flight to Miami. Romber barely makes it on the flight and the jetway is pulled away from the gate. Miracle of miracles, the pilot gets called back to the gate to let Uchenna and Joyce on the plane. And thus sets up one of the most incredible finishes of the Race. When Uchenna and Joyce finish their tasks and arrive at the entrance to the Finish Line, lo and behold, NO MONEY. With an indeterminate amount of time before Romber arrives, they are able to beg enough money out of someone to allow them to become the winners of TAR7. Memorability factor: It’s the first finish on the list, and definitely one of the closest and most improbable in real life. So I give INTELLIGENCE a 3 (since it really came down to luck?), EXCITEMENT a 10, and IMPACT an 8 (since it was for a win). This video starts in the middle of the begging for money.

7) “You Need To Watch Your Jokes, Guy”: Season 11, Leg 5: In the All-Star Season, teams raced from Argentina to Mozambique while reveling over the surprise elimination of Rob and Amber. In the Detour, teams either had to paint people’s toenails or fill 10 45 pound bags of coal, sew them shut, and carry one of them to a specific address. I personally would choose the toenail painting, but most people would rather get dirty and fill bags of coal, including the perennial favorite, gay best friends Danny and Oswald, the Cha Cha Chas. What’s so memorable about this Pit Stop is simply the boys showing up a filthy mess, letting Phil know that he IS getting a hug from them, and then proceeds to chase him around the Fortaleza de Maputo. In side news, Uchenna and Joyce were last, but saved by non-elimination. Memorability factor: We still talk about this one all the time, simply for the sheer fun of it all. So I give INTELLIGENCE a 1 (doesn’t take much to chase Phil), EXCITEMENT a 10 (we still giggle about this), and IMPACT a 4 (non-elimination with a simple amount of fun). It's at 39:15 in this clip.

6) "I Wonder If They Like Blondes in New Zealand?”: Season 13, Leg 4: Teams raced from Bolivia to New Zealand. What is truly memorable about this episode is the pit stop itself. Yes, teams did have to find the Travelocity Roaming Gnome, jump off the Sky Tower for the Fast Forward, match tattoos on the faces of Maori Warriors, find Kiwi 360° (which is the biggest statue of a fruit I’ve ever seen), and either mash kiwi with their feet or construct and race Blokarts around a track. Yes, Starr hurt her wrist, teams killed their feet from all the kiwifruit and Ken and Tina got to fly in a helicopter. But it was Ken and Tina, walking up the hill to the Pit Stop at Summerhill Rec Farm, stepping onto the mat that has the most effect. “Hi, I’m Phil’s Dad; welcome to New Zealand!” Best Pit Stop Greeter. EVER. Memorability factor: Did I say it before? BEST. PIT STOP. GREETER. EVER. EVER! So I give INTELLIGENCE a 2 (doesn’t take much to get Phil’s Dad to greet, but you have to think of it), EXCITEMENT a 10, and IMPACT a 5 (elimination of Marisa and Brooke, but whatever). Toyouke: “But the look on Phil’s face when his dad insists on giving two cute girls a hug? The best.” Scroll to 8:20 (watch the other videos to see the very end).

5) "The Unexpected Twist”: Season 1, Leg 9: In a season that occurred before quotes were used for episode titles and the Race had really established itself, Teams raced from India to Thailand. Leaving India however, there are two groups. The top three teams leave within a half hour of each other, and the remaining teams, Joe and Bill (Team Guido) and Nancy and Emily (Team Momily) leave in the other group, three hours after the first. It’s this second group that we follow to Thailand and watch closely. All teams get to Thailand and hit hours of operation. When the tasks open, the first three teams concentrate on the Detour, while the other two do the Fast Forward, where teams choose a bowl with coins, drop them in an urn and if the bowl had the right number of coins, the teams wins the pass. Guidos win, so Momily has to go back and do the Detour. In the Detour, Public or Private, teams either had to go to a bus depot to catch a bus to Kanchanaburi which leaves every 15 minutes but takes a while, or find a private van using only a license plate number. Momily, however, GIVES UP, even though the taxi driver that they eventually use to go to Kanchanaburi suggests the bus. In the meantime, the Guidos are at the bus station to go to Krabi, where the pit stop is. This however, is 10 am, and the bus doesn’t leave until 6 pm. They wait. (Toyouke: “As in, they decide to blow 8 hours chilling. Not as if they’re in a race or anything.”) Fast forward to the check in. Momily and the Guidos are sitting with Phil. The Guidos are the last team to arrive. However, Momily chose to intentionally skip the Detour, giving them a 24 hour penalty. So who’s out? Momily. Memorability factor: Being this is the first season, I think there’s something given for setting the standard. So I give INTELLIGENCE a 5 (even though a lot of this is negative in deciding to take a taxi or wait for a bus), EXCITEMENT a 7, and IMPACT a 7 (elimination of Momily and not Guido, as it should have been). Momily checks in at 38:00, and at 40:00 Phil sits everyone down for a chat.

4) "We're Not at Charm School Learning How to Be a Gentleman, We're Racing”: Season 4, Leg 9: Teams raced through Malaysia on the island of Borneo from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan. After teams cut down nut bunches (HEE!) from the trees, there happens to be a fast forward. This happens to be at Sepilok Orangutan Sanctuary, which is a little out of the way. However, both Reichen and Chip and Jon and Kelly go for the pass. Reichen and Chip get it, and Jon and Kelly exclaim loudly and go back to complete the Roadblock. In the meantime, Chuck and Millie, the 12 year dating virgins have gotten lost. I mean, REALLY lost. They finally arrive at the Roadblock at the same time as Jon and Kelly, which gives them new hope. Both teams complete the Roadblock almost simultaneously (Toyouke: “eyeing each other the entire time“), and end up in a car race to the Pit Stop at Sepilok Nature Resort. The Amazing Editors keep up in suspense, but it’s Chillie who eventually get eliminated. Memorability factor: I always talk about this episode in reference to close finishes, and it shows what a team can do when they don’t give up (see above for the alternate). So I give INTELLIGENCE a 6, EXCITEMENT a 9 (those Amazing Editors!), and IMPACT a 6 (since Jon and Kelly do make the final three). Scroll to about 40 minutes in.

3) "Counting Bears Is Not Rocket Science”: Season 6, Leg 3: Teams took a train from Voss Norway to Oslo, and then a bus on to Stockholm Sweden, where teams visited the World’s Largest IKEA. That in itself is memorable, but the true importance of this episode occurs at Häggvik Farm during the Roadblock. In the show’s first true “Needle in a Haystack” task, teams must find a clue where else? In a haystack. One team member had to unroll 270 hay bales until they find one of twenty with a clue. Unfortunately, Lena and Kristy arrive third, and never actually find a clue. After eight HOURS of rolling, Phil comes out to stop them and eliminate them. Memorability factor: Although this is not the first instance of Phil going to a task to eliminate a team (Marshall and Lance of Season 5), it is the first time that they refused to give up. Plus, we now call any needle in a haystack task “Swedish Roulette” in honor of Lena and Kristy. So I give INTELLIGENCE an 8, EXCITEMENT a 7, and IMPACT a 9 (since we still talk about it, and a potentially strong team was eliminated). Scroll to about 40:50.

2) "Follow That Plane!”: Season 2, Leg 13: Teams hung out in the US by starting in Maui, flying to Anchorage and then flying back to Oakland Airport, finishing in San Francisco. Teams bounce back and forth as they do in any finale, but it ends up being a foot race between Chris and Alex and Tara and Wil. After much fake out, both teams arrive at East Fort Baker at the same time. Everyone takes off, and Wil is winning, but Tara is weary. Chris and Alex both run past her, although Wil is still in the lead. But all of this is for naught as you can’t check in without your partner. Chris and Alex check in first, winning TAR2. Memorability factor: Footraces are key to exciting finishes. And this is really the only finish line that had this close of a footrace to watch. So I give INTELLIGENCE a 9 (based on Wil’s ideas to stay hidden), EXCITEMENT an 8 (even though you know Chris and Alex are going to win), and IMPACT a 10 (since it determines a winner). The fakeout happens about 35 minutes in. At around 40 minutes it gets good.

And the most memorable pit stop ever?

1) "Did You See How I Stopped It? With My Face!”: Season 3, Leg 4: Teams raced from Scotland to Portugal. Teams eventually arrived at a Roadblock that required them to block one penalty kick from a teenage soccer star. And remarkably, the female lawyer team of Heather and Eve did it first. So they got the clue: “Walk to the PIT STOP: the Torre de Belém.” OK, I admit, WALKING does not mean walking in the traditional sense. It basically means travel on foot. Run, hop, chicken dance, whatever. But what it does NOT mean is take a taxi. Which is what exactly Heather and Eve do. So they arrive first. And all the teams check in as necessary. When Aaron and Arianne check in, however, we get the bad news. Heather and Eve misread the clue and incurred a 30 minute penalty. Eh, so what? Except. . . all the other teams checked in within 30 minutes. So, Heather and Eve were eliminated. Memorability factor: I hope that the only reason that I remember this is not that it was the first season that I watched all the way through. So I give INTELLIGENCE a 10 (based on the lack thereof), EXCITEMENT an 8 (which is due to the fact that a penalty doesn’t usually eliminate a team), and IMPACT a 10 (since it eliminated a previously strong team and impacted the effect of the race). At 32:30 Heave reads the clue with the word "walk". Or you can skip directly to 40:40 which is where Phil Philiminates them.

And that’s our list! What would you add or delete? Let us know! We’ll see you next time on the Amazing Race!


Anonymous said...

There was a Fast Forward during the leg where Mel & Mike were eliminated? I never knew.

Toyouke said...

Yeah, you can see the green envelope in some of the shots. As a team is reading another clue, in the packet of stuff you can spy the green. I think the cheerleaders had one.