The Wife:

I always love when TAR goes to Eastern Europe. It makes me think fondly of the year I spent studying Russian (and subsequently forgetting almost everything, except for a story Magen and I wrote about Tom Cruise and gay/light blue elephants). My professor was the kind of woman who gets angry when she sees stereotypes of Eastern Europe, to the point where she nearly stormed out of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire after seeing the Bulgarian boys from Durmstrang march in draped in furs, silent and stern and spinning fire wands around. I often think about her when I watch TAR, and I wonder if she’s happy with the parts of Eastern European cultures TAR chooses to show. I think she would have been very pleased with last season’s Moscow two-parter, which chose to focus on the political and literary history of the city, but I’m not sure how she would feel about TAR’s trip to Romania and Transylvania in this episode.

Romania was basically reduced to one facet of Eastern European culture that’s actually quite prevalent throughout: gymnastics. After numerous airport shenanigans, which included Tammy and Victor’s plane getting turned around and grounded at the Munich airport (causing them to get on a flight with the second group of teams) and Brad and Victoria trying to take a shortcut through Amsterdam that backfired and left them grounded overnight in the Netherlands due to fog, teams made their way to the Sala Gymnastica where they faced their Road Block: learn and perform a gymnastics routine that includes balance beam, parallel bars and floor work. Most teams chose a female racer to do this, with Deaf Luke declaring, “I’m not wearing that girl’s leotard.” Margie looked pretty fucking good in that outfit, as did the two male racers from all-dude teams who took up the mantle of a gymnast and rocked the challenge. Gays of America, you now know what Mike White’s package looks like. If you are into that, call him. And call me if you were able to correctly identify the tattoo on his upper arm.

Seriously, wtf is that tattoo?

Seriously, wtf is that tattoo?

From there, teams have to travel by train to Brasov, Transylvania and taxi to the Black Church where they were given their Detour:

  1. Gypsy Moves, in which teams had to help some gypsies move from one encampment to another by loading all of their weird-ass accumulated belongings onto a carriage.
  2. Vampire Remains, in which teams had to haul locked coffins down a hill, unlock them, pull out the frames inside and impale said frames on a stake until they found on with a TAR flag inside.

Here I learned a very valuable lesson about American Sign Language. The word for “vampire” is signed by pointing to the neck and then making a stabbing motion with the hand. Can you guess which challenge Margie and Luke (and their friends, Cara and Jaime) chose?
Mike and Mel, Amanda and Kris, Kisha and Jen and Mark and Michael chose the gypsies, while Margie and Luke, Cara and Jaime, Christine and Jodi and Tammy and Victor chose the vampires.

And here’s where Victor started making really bad decisions, which could not be corrected, no matter how much prodding little sister Tammy provided. The issue with their plane was unforeseen, but it rattled Victor so much that he stopped thinking like a lawyer who graduated from Harvard and started thinking like a panic-stricken idiot. He jumped out of the cab too early on the way to the Sala Gymnastica back in Romania and lost time for he and his sister, and then followed the wrong path on the way to the vampire detour, forging blindly ahead as they trudged further and further up the mountain despite Tammy’s protestations about what Victor, in his heart, must have known: the signs they were following were not red and yellow TAR signs. But he was so desperate that he wasted probably hours of their time dragging his little sister up the hill, and nothing she said could change his blind determination. Dude lost it, man. Dude lost it.

Tammy and Victor, in dire stakes.

Tammy and Victor, in dire stakes.

Because of Victor’s bad leadership, he and Tammy dropped significantly from their number one spot last week, getting to the coffins long after all of the other teams had taxies to Vila Panoramic, the Pit Stop for this leg of the race, only to be further set back by a key that broke off of their coffin as it slid down the hill. Fortunately, they found it, and were able to finish their race. Amanda and Kris also suffered something of a setback on their way to the Pit Stop when they discovered that they’d misplaced their fanny pack. Kris instantly assumed someone stole it because, hey, they’re gypsies! Gypsies steal things! I imagine my professor storming out of the room upon hearing Kris’s accusation. I think she would have enjoyed seeing the gypsy encampment, with all of its amazing things made out of bicycle parts. (Seriously, don’t you need bicycle skates and a bike-on-a-wire? I do.) She would have even found the humor in the vampire challenge, which brought me great joy to see the racers sprayed with blood each time they staked a wooden frame. However, I’ve long heard her rail about how Gypsies get the shaft. And I was offended that the first thing out of Chris’s mouth was to accuse the people he had just helped, who were being filmed by umpteen television cameras, of stealing. He did find his fanny pack, by the way. It was at the other encampment to which he delivered the gypsy family’s stuff. They held on to it for him and returned it when he arrived.

Rankings this week:

1st: Mel and Mike, who won a trip to Costa Rica

2nd: Amanda and Kris

3rd: Kisha and Jen

4th: Margie and Luke

5th: Mark and Michael

6th: Christine and Jodi

7th: Jaime and Cara

8th: Tammy and Victor

Phileminated: Brad and Victoria

The Husband:

Look! Some TV vampire humor! What would Futurama look like when mixed with Buffy?