Friday, May 31, 2013

TAR22 Recap BONUS, 05-31-13

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 8.  You know, the leg where Phil voice-overed that the Cheese Rolling Switchback would be the “Most Memorable Task EVER!”  Yeah, so we all agreed that we vaguely remembered the first cheese rolling challenge, but it was probably not something that would stick in our minds forever.  Sure, rolling down a hill and generally being goofy is a lot of fun to watch, but it does not a memorable task make.  As a result, here are our picks for the 11 most memorable Tasks EVER. (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 SIX criteria: the NUMBER of teams involved in the task, the SKILL of the task, the LUCK required to complete the task successfully, the MEMORABILITY of the task (ie. Could we recall it without having to look it up), the ANALYSIS dedicated by recappers at the time the original task occurred, and the EFFECT the task had on the outcome of the race.  All of these have been rated on a 1-5 scale by your favorite recapper, using how old the episode is as the tiebreaker in point ties.  I also gave points for the show choosing a task as a Switchback, especially since someone else remembered them for us.  So, without further ado, here’s what we came up with.

HONORABLE MENTION) “It’s OK, Run Them Over!”: Season 5, Leg 11: Teams raced from New Zealand to the Philippines to the first time.  In the task in question, teams had to find a field with a Giant Duck to find the Detour Clue Box.  The Detour, “Plow or Fowl”, had teams either choose a marked field and use an ox-drawn plow to till the soil until the plow caught on a buried clue, or herd 1000 ducks between two pens 50 yards apart.  But no one cares about the ducks, because none of the four remaining teams actually chose to do this task.  Instead everyone remembers Colin and Christie, the only team in which Colin did all the work, while Christie complained about. . . something with mud, maybe?  This infuriated Colin to the point in which he coined the phrase “My Ox Is Broken!” which now pops up anytime we watch and something doesn’t go according to plan.  (Toyouke: “
It takes a lot to overshadow "I'M PACKIN' IT!!" and almost getting arrested while offering to throw down with the president of the country you're in. So, good job Colin.”)  Memorability factor: TEAMS, 1; SKILL, 4.5 (because oxen don’t break and someone has to know how to plow in order to do the task properly); LUCK, 2.5 (because, when it’s all said and done, this was a little bit Swedish Roulette, more on that later); MEMORABILITY, 5; ANALYSIS, 5; EFFECT, 4 (as this did cause a last place finish on the leg, even though it was non-elimination).  This task ALWAYS comes up in conversations about memorable events, so it needed to make an appearance.

11)  “How Do We Know We Aren’t Going To Get Shot?”: Season 8, Leg 2: Teams raced from Pennsylvania to Washington DC to Virginia in the all-North America, all the time, Family Edition of TAR8.  The task in question was the most recent of the Switchbacks; the Roadblock required one team member to whisper a code phrase (“The sky is blue”) to the fifty spies walking around the Tidal Basin, ten of which would replay with the code phrase (“The sea is green”) and switch briefcases with the team member to get the clue.  A great easy roadblock that I think was improved upon in the Switchback.   Memorability factor: TEAMS, 9; SKILL, 1.5 (because you have to ask a question); LUCK, 4 (because, when it’s all said and done, this was a little bit Swedish Roulette, more on that later); MEMORABILITY, 1 (I didn’t remember it when it was announced as a switchback); ANALYSIS, 2; EFFECT, 2.  Really should be remembered as one of the few good tasks from Family Edition.

10)  “They’re Slithering To The Finish Line Like the Rest of Us!”: Season 3, Leg 13: The three remaining teams raced from Vietnam to the Final Destination City of Seattle.  The task in question is the final Roadblock in Lincoln Park.  In this task, a team member had to choose a totem pole and spin animal faces so they were ordered in the chronological order in which teams encountered them on the Race.  The final clue would be released once the totem was in the correct order.  It was the first use of a final task to determine the finish of the race.  Memorability factor: TEAMS, 3; SKILL, 5 (because you have to remember everything); LUCK, 1.5; MEMORABILITY, 5 (first final task EVER); ANALYSIS, 3; EFFECT, 5 (because it was the last task before the finish line, as Final Tasks tend to be).  It also really changed the way teams raced, as now they had to remember where they had been, as well where they were going.

9)  “We Was Robbed”: Season 21, Leg 8: Teams raced through Russia, and with six teams left, had to work through a Roadblock at Timiryazev Agricultural Academy.  One team member was shown a map of time in Moscow, a time zone map of Russia, and a map with Russian cities.  They needed to fill in five of the cities local time in a time period.  What the teams kept missing was that the time periods were taken off of UTC, not off of Moscow time, which led to lots and LOTS of failed attempts.   (Toyouke: “I was particularly a fan of Ryan from Abbie and Ryan failing.  It is so apparent how much I dislike Ryan. Schadenfreude.”)  The smirking from the Amazing Russian Test Instructor  was also a plus.  Memorability factor: TEAMS, 6; SKILL, 4 (because you have to remember everything); LUCK, 2.5 (because there is some memory involved); MEMORABILITY, 4; ANALYSIS, 4; EFFECT, 3 (since James and Abba had really already determined the outcome of the leg by losing their passports in leg 7). 

8)  “Bollywood Travolta”: Season 20, Leg 9: Teams raced from Tanzania to India, and traveled to Thevara to participate in the Roadblock which was memorable enough to get the title quote.  Roadblockers participated in a Bollywood movie dance routine.  After learning the moves, they would perform the dance with 30 extras.  Getting approval from the choreographer got you the clue.  The most memorable team of the challenge was Mark and Bopper, as Mark performed the dance at least a dozen times before getting it “right” in the India heat.  As the last of the five teams, they were saved by a non-elimination later in the leg.  Memorability factor: TEAMS, 5 (even though 1 stood out among them, all the teams were quite enjoyable to watch); SKILL, 5 (learn a dance, go); LUCK, 1.5; MEMORABILITY, 3; ANALYSIS, 4; EFFECT, 5 (as I mentioned, it caused a last place finish for a team).   (Toyouke: "Also memorable because the border patrol agents got sexist about men dancing.")

7)  “This Is How You Lose a Million Dollars”: Season 14, Leg 11: In the second final leg to make the list, teams raced from China to the USA for a final destination city of Maui, the first time teams didn’t return to mainland USA to finish the race.  The memorable task is once again the memory task, which was the final Roadblock and final task.  Roadblockers had to search a pile of 300 surfboards with pictures on them to find 11 with a task, location, or person that had appeared on each of the previous 10 legs of the race.  Then the surfboards had to be arranged in chronological order.  The most memorable moment was Luke’s breakdown when he got frustrated on the task, begin deaf and gay and easily provoked and all.   Memorability factor: TEAMS, 3 (even though 1 stood out among them, all the teams were quite interesting to watch); SKILL, 4 (because you have to remember everything); LUCK, 3 (because, when it’s all said and done, this was a little bit Swedish Roulette, more on that next); MEMORABILITY, 4; ANALYSIS, 5; EFFECT, 5 (because it was the last task before the finish line, as Final Tasks tend to be).  Plus, who doesn’t want to comfort sad Luke?

6)  "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 (and the memorable task) occurs at Häggvik Farm during the Roadblock.  In the show’s first true “Needle in a Haystack” tasks, 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: TEAMS, 1 (unlike other tasks, the other teams were not memorable in this task, so only Lena and Kristy matter); SKILL, 1 (because you have to unroll haybales); LUCK, 5 (because, when it’s all said and done, this was Swedish Roulette, hence the name); MEMORABILITY, 5 (seriously, talked about ANY time teams have to search for something); ANALYSIS, 5; EFFECT, 5 (because it eliminated a team).  As a Switchback, it gets a little boost, but then again, do you remember a team eliminated this early as well as Lena & Kristy?

5)  "Don’t Let A Cheese Hit Me”: Season 14, Leg 1: The first of two seasons to make the list twice, Season 14 and this leg is what inspired the list because it is the original task that inspired the switchback that caused the list that came from the show that Phil built.  Teams raced from the US to Switzerland, and made their way to Kleine Rugen Wiese to transport four 50 pound wheels of cheese from a shed at the top to the bottom with “traditional Swiss Cheese carriers”.  Sure, not in snow or with sleds, but what occurred was probably the funniest 10 minutes of race footage ever. (Toyouke: "Also the first really good example of locals hanging around just to laugh at racers.")  Memorability factor: TEAMS, 11 (which is why it places so high); SKILL, 4; LUCK, 3; MEMORABILITY, 3; ANALYSIS, 1; EFFECT, 1.  It really appears here thanks to the large number of teams and the Switchback Factor.  So we’ll leave this alone, and move on to a way more interesting task, since beyond here things get WAY more memorable.

4)  "If You’re Going To Whine, Just Shut Up!”: Season 5, Leg 9: Teams raced from the United Arab Emirates to India, and once they arrived in Kolkata, they could do the Detour or head for a Fast Forward, which is the only memorable Fast Forward to make the list.  This may be also because it ahs shown up as a Switchback TWICE, once before the Switchback was a thing.  Anyway, Brandon and Nicole of the pretty hair found out that they had to go to a Hindu temple and participate in a cleansing ritual that required them to shave their heads.  Nicole (And to some extent Brandon) would have none of it, so they moved on.  What is remembered is Nicole’s complete breakdown, and the two subsequent times where the person with hair actually shaved their head (Go Joyce and Bopper!)  The stalling at the Fast Forward caused the team to finish last on the leg, which turned out to be Non-elimination. (Toyouke: "Also memorable because Joyce turned out to be absolutely beautiful.") Memorability factor: TEAMS, 3 (if you include the Switchback teams); SKILL, 1 (just shave your head); LUCK, 1 (you’ll be lucky if you shave your head); MEMORABILITY, 5; ANALYSIS, 5; EFFECT, 5 (because teams have won legs or lost legs because of decisions made on this task). 

3)  "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.  The leg itself is probably one of the most exciting in race history (Fast Forward, lost teams, race to the finish), but the memorable task here is the Detour, Chop or Haul.  In Chop, teams cut down palm nut bunches (HEE!) with a clue.  In Haul, teams used a wheelbarrow to carry 25 nut bunches to load a truck.  This task set the stage for the rest of the leg, as it determined departure order and led to the rest of the excitement.  Memorability factor: TEAMS, 4; SKILL, 5 (because of the local tools required to get nut bunches); LUCK, 2 (some clues were empty); MEMORABILITY, 5; ANALYSIS, 5; EFFECT, 5.  A lot of the memoribility of this task comes from the fact that the rest of the leg is so great.  And nut bunches. 

2)  "It Doesn’t Say Anything About First Come First Served . . . And We’re Bigger!”: Season 4, Leg 2: The second task from this season, happens to be nothing less than a Roadblock.  Teams are racing through Italy and get near the end of the leg at the Palazzo da Mosto.  One team member had to get a picture from the doorman and enter the Palazzo to search rooms with masked revelers for one of four masks.  If they found the person with the mask from their picture, they would get their clue.  If not, the reveler would take the picture and go away, causing the Roadblocker to get back in line outside.  This was disaster for the South Dakotans Amanda and Chris, leading to their elimination.  Memorability factor: TEAMS, 11; SKILL, 1.5 (you have to have good visual memory); LUCK, 4.5 (many masks looked similar); MEMORABILITY, 2; ANALYSIS, 3; EFFECT, 5.  This has since been a task repeated in a number of different ways, but theis was the first of its kind, earning a spot on the list. 

And the most memorable task ever?

1)  "Do You Need Some Mouth-To-Mouth Resuscitation?”: Season 7, Leg 3: Teams raced from Chile to Argentina, and the Roadblock occurred at the end of the leg.  This was the traditional Argentinean Meat Feast of cow rib, pork and blood sausage, cow intestine, cow udder, cow kidney and cow salivary gland.  This amounted to four pounds of meat.  And Boston Rob (of Rob and Amber) wanted nothing to do with it.  So, in one of the first in game strategic moves, Rob and Amber quit.  Then, while they are working on their four hour penalty, they convince THREE other teams to quit as well.  The brilliance?  So close to the end of the leg, it secured their spot in the Top 8, and meant the end of Debbie and Bianca (who actually eliminated themselves by driving the wrong way and never really made it to the task in time anyway).   Memorability factor: TEAMS, 8; SKILL, 3; LUCK, 2; MEMORABILITY, 5; ANALYSIS, 5; EFFECT, 5.  Because Boston Rob is awesome. 

And that’s our list!  What would you add or delete?  Let us know!  We’re working on some other lists that developed from thinking about this one, so stay tuned.  We’ll see you next time on the Amazing Race!

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