The Wife:

How true, episode title as uttered by a pair of old, wily-haired hippie beekeepers. How true. Unless, of course, you throw something at the bees. Then they become decidedly less calm, I understand. I don’t know. I really don’t spend that much time around bees.

But Anita and Arthur, a pair of married beekeepers from Oregon who wear a lot of tie-dye and definitely don’t need to carry large signs with the word HIPPIE on them to demonstrate that they are, in fact, hippies, sure seem to know a lot about bees. Just not much about racing around the world, apparently.

This season’s teams, besides Anita and Arthur, all met on USC property, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, to start their first leg of the race. They were:

  • Toni and Dallas, a mother and son from somewhere in NorCal.
  • Nick and Starr, a pair of over-confident siblings in camouflage from New York and Texas.
  • Ken and Tina, separated spouses from Tampa, Fl. (Bonus: Ken is an ex-professional football player.)
  • Aja and Ty, a long-distance romance.
  • Marisa and Brooke, a pair of South Carolina Belles who look exactly like Elle Woods from Legally Blonde.
  • Andrew and Dan, ostensibly Jewish fraternity brothers from ASU.
  • Anthony and Stephanie, a couple from L.A. who have been dating for four years and think that racing around the world will help them decide if they should get married or not.
  • Kelly and Kristy, a pair of saucy Texan divorcees.
  • Terrence and Sarah, a newly dating couple from NYC. Terrence is a running coach. Sarah is . . . a workaholic?
  • Mark and Bill, a delightful geek bromance from San Diego. (Bonus: Yes, one of them is the treasurer of Comic-Con.)

The teams raced up the stairs to grab their backpacks and their first clue. Surprisingly, Terrence, the running coach, did not make it up the stairs first. The clue directed the teams to drive a Benz to LAX where they were to catch one of two available flights to Salvador, Brazil. Why a Mercedes Benz is the official car of Los Angeles, according to The Amazing Race, I will never know. I will also never know how the teams managed to completely bypass L.A. traffic. A show business miracle, I suppose.

On the drive to LAX, Nick and Starr started scheming to get themselves “adopted” by Ken and Tina, whom they refer to as “Mom and Dad,” under the guise that the elder couple might start to view the young’uns as, well, young’uns and protect them during the race. This apparently worked, and Ken and Tina “adopted” “The Kids” at LAX . . . at least for the next couple of legs of the race. If Nick and Starr begin to outgrow the abilities of their “parents,” I expect we shall see some reality show faux-children infanticide.

After much running back and forth to find the marked counter, six teams found their way aboard the first flight on American Airlines: Mark and Bill, Ken and Tina, Terrence and Sarah, Nick and Starr, Aja and Ty and Kelly and Kristy. The Frat Boys were the next team in line, but just missed the cut-off, forcing them to board the next flight out on United with everyone else.

In Salvador, Terrence and Sarah are the first to hit the ground running. The teams are sent to a sandwich shop where they must pick up a traditional street vending cart and wheel the unwieldy thing through the narrow streets to the Placa de Casa, where a barista will give them their next clue. A number of the teams seemed to be incapable of figuring out how to drive these Blong carts, which I found positively baffling considering they had a steering wheel and a freakin’ truck cab on the front of them. Who doesn’t understand that if a cart of Blong candy has a truck cab on it that the cab is meant to indicate the front, you know, like on a real truck?

Dude, I thought you said it we were going to get a cart full of BONGS? WTF is Blong, dude?

Dude, I thought you said it we were going to get a cart full of BONGS? WTF is Blong, dude?

Fortunately for Terrence, Sarah speaks Portuguese, which gives them an easy head start in soliciting help from the good people of Salvador. Everyone else on the race seems to think that Brazilians speak Spanish. This ignorance continued to annoy me for the rest of the hour.

I was generally amused by the fact that the teams have to maneuver their carts onto a funicular, as were geeks Mark and Bill. I was also amused by Blong candy, which doesn’t seem to exist in the land of the internets and I now suspect isn’t a traditional Brazilian candy at all and was invented by The Amazing Race producers solely for my own amusement. I mean, really. That’s the best name for a candy I’ve ever heard. And I am pretty familiar with a variety of strange Japanese candies. If someone finds some Blong, please leave a note about where I can purchase it. I really, really need some. Curse you, Amazing Race, for filling me with unattainable desires for foreign candy!

Once the Blong candy is delivered, the teams are sent to spend the night at the sweetest-looking military base this Navy/Army brat has ever seen in her life, where they will be potentially exposed to malaria while sleeping under mosquito netting. The first teams to arrive at the base received their choice of three departure times the following day.

From the base, the teams took a taxi to Pelhourino where they met their first detour. Teams could climb a giant stone staircase on their hands and knees and answer a question once they reach the top, or they could climb down a 240-foot cargo net, suspended from an outdoor elevator. Only the Frat Boys chose the staircase, receiving the ultimate “Fuck You” of the day when the question at the top was: “How many steps did you just climb?” They did not think to count the steps, which I thought would have been obvious. So they had to go back to the bottom and do it all over again.

Meanwhile, on the way to the Big Giant Cargo Net of Doom, leaders Terrence and Sarah got lost and were bested by their mortal enemies, Nick and Starr. Sadly, no one got too scared of heights that they sobbed on the net, or chickened out at the top and opted for the stairs instead. Nope, everyone got down the net rather uneventfully. Boo.

Guys, this isnt how they did it in Spider-Man . . .

Guys, this isn't how they did it in Spider-Man.

After completing the detour, the teams raced to Forte Sao Macelo, a floating anti-pirate battlement serving as the Pit Stop for this leg of the race.

Evil Children Nick and Starr checked in first, winning a trip to Belize, follow by Mom and Dad and then Terrence and Sarah. Geeks Mark and Bill took fourth, Divorcees Kelly and Kristy took fifth, followed by Toni and Dallas and Frat Boys Andrew and Dan in seventh place, despite their mistake on the staircase. Aja and Ty came in eighth, followed by Stephanie and Anthony in ninth place and Marisa and Brooke in tenth.

This, of course, means our hippie beekeeping friends were eliminated from the race. Alas, poor hippies, we hardly knew ye.

There are no bees on this map. Thats really disappointing.

There are no bees on this map. That's really disappointing.

The Husband:

Short note: I was completely baffled that the Frat Boys didn’t count the number of steps they had to climb. Ones they had to climb on their hands and knees. Why they didn’t count the steps is something I cannot relate to. I count everything unconsciously. I make beat patterns with my fingers at work and at home on the couch. And I definitely count the steps on a staircase, especially if the climb completely sucks balls.

Why do I obsessively count such things? I guess it’s because I’m a neurotic mess. I know I don’t technically have OCD – I’m too much of a slob in most of my life for that to be true – but I know I’ve always been borderline OCD when it comes to patterns and rhythms. Wheeeeee deep-rooted anxieties!

Another note: Through Terrence, it seems we have our first declaration of the season that he’s not on the show to make friends. I do give him props for wording it in a new way to separate himself from all TAR past asshole contestants and all the other reality shows where this phrase occurs, because for him it was something like:

“I’m not here to be friendly. I’ve got enough friends back at home. I don’t need friends.”

Way to start off the season as a caricature, Terrence. He should be added to the following video. Because, really, I think we all occasionally need to be reminded that no reality show is called America’s Next Top Best Friend: