In ancient times, hundreds of years before the dawn of history, lived a strange race of people... the Druids. No one knows where they came from or what they were doing, but their legacy remains, hewn into the living rock... Stonehenge. *begin raucous guitar solo*
England. America's cranky stepfather where people talk funny, drink warm beer, and, strangely enough, get to go to the doctor for free. Sure, I've been to England and it's lovely and all that, but I prefer to imagine my England just a teeny tiny more rustic than it is now. I want scullery maids in the basement, old ladies singing in the darkness selling flowers to ne'erdowells, and gangs of orphan children with page boy caps stealing fruit from street vendors. You know, lots of letter writing, bowing to one another, and dance cards at parties. I want Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet in empire waisted gowns while Richard E. Grant sneers off in a corner somewhere sneaking a cigarette. Throw in Johnny Depp in a pair of shorty shortpants and a face disfiguring case of Syphillis and we've got the England of my dreams. So, pip pip cheerio, let's all enjoy a fag and wave at a lorry because England is where season 17 of the Amazing Race kicked off. Let's recap, shall we?
Picture it. Phil, our giant pants'd leader standing on a grand estate in Gloucester, Massachusetts. The air is breezy, seagulls circle above squawking ominously while 12 innocent duos bounce around the choppy water in commercial lobster boats. The smell of fish is in the air as burly ship captains picking chum out of their teeth watch from a distance with smug disdain. It was all so seaport-y and made me want to dip crab leg after crab leg into delicious melted butter. Actually, the last time I was in Gloucester was for a Nine Inch Nails concert. I was wearing black leather pants and a "fuck you" look on my face. I think I stepped on some bitch's foot in the mosh pit and she yanked my hair in response. I'm sorry, but who enters a mosh pit at an industrial show with bare feet? So yeah, I watched Phil and his pants welcome the new teams and the whole time I had a hankering for shellfish and an inexplicable urge to fight. When Phil held his finger to the sky, crouched down, and shouted "GO!", I may or may not have done a fist pump while slurping down some clam chowder.
The race is on and teams discover they are to fly to London on one of two flights and head directly to Stonehenge. The first flight arriving at Heathrow 30 minutes earlier than the second can only take 3 teams. In addition, the team that wins this leg of the race also gets the fancy new Express Pass. No, it's not a discount card to Express. It is, in fact, a pass that can be used at any time in the next 8 legs to bypass a challenge you don't want to complete. It's kind of a huge deal and teams will fight to the death to get it. Right off the bat we discover that Team Blood Diamond (Brook & Claire) is going to be annoying - like really, really annoying. Brook has this urge to narrate everything while simultaneously shrieking in that shrill voice of hers. Conversely, Team Gleek (Connor & Jonathan) is just happy to be there. They get lost on the way to the airport and instead of panicking and freaking out like Brook would have done, guess what they do? Yup, they sing about it. They're so lost duwop, duwop a diddy doo... oh so lost duwop, duwop a diddy doo. When life gives these guy lemons, they give us a song.
I've flown out of Logan Aiport an awful lot and, let me tell you, it's not the easiest airport to access. Driving in Boston is like driving in an M.C. Escher drawing. You go West and end up South. You turn right and find yourself underground with all the Mole People in Manhattan. It's a nightmare so I was pretty impressed when Team Silent Thunder (Ron & Tony), Team Jack & Jill (Jill & Thomas), and Team Fisticuffs (Chad & Stephanie) made it relatively quickly to the ticket counter and onboard that first flight. Team Gleek arrives at the airport last and *shrugs shoulders* it totally cool shooby dee doo because they're making new friends and having a smashing time.
So now we fly across the pond and find ourselves in merry old England. I smiled to myself remembering the woman at the British Museum I once got into a heated debate with about witchcraft. She was colorful and eccentric and resembled Eliza Doolittle before the makeover. OK so the first plane arrives and Teams quickly discover that shifting and driving on the wrong side of the road isn't exactly the easiest of tasks. Chad, of Team Fisticuffs, is especially angry. He kicks Steph's seat from behind screaming for her to get her shit together. She covers her head and cries while driving in circles around Heathrow Airport. She just wants to take in the sights and, oh I don't know, maybe visit the Tower Of London and the Tate while she's in town. Maybe they could score some tickets for Sister Act in the West End or at least hit the Doc Marten superstore. Chad, on the other hand, wonders if there's a knife shop and an abandoned storage unit conveniently located on the way to Stonehenge.
The second plane arrives and Brook is absolutely floored that Claire can shift left handed. She gushes and writhes and, I'm not certain, but I think she touched herself a little bit in the backseat. Over on Team Propofol (Nat & Kat), Nat is sitting in the front seat of her car pricking her finger. I thought for a second we might have our first ever Amazing Race blood oath or maybe she was casting a spell like those chicks did in The Craft when they pricked their fingers. I mean, it's not so far fetched that one would want to cast a spell in England. Those Ley Lines run through everything over there so I totally get it. Turns out Nat has Type 1 Diabetes. *yawn* One of these seasons, so help me Pru Halliwell, I will get a witch on this damn show!
Off in another car Team Don't Abort Me (Andie & Jenna) is having a few problems. Not only does Andie probably suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but she also doesn't know how to drive a stick. Look, I don't know how to drive a stick either, but you better believe I'd learn before I went on the Amazing Race. Randomly shifting and pushing pedals is what Richard Gere did in Pretty Woman. Sure, he got a hooker willing to touch his wangdoodle after all was said and done, but Andie was just burning up the inner parts of her car and screwing up British traffic patterns. It's a good thing Andie and Jenna are virtual strangers because I'm pretty sure if Jenna actually knew that woman attempting to drive her around a foreign country she would have piped up and said something. Instead, she sat there stone faced thinking of her other mom, her better mom - the mom who can not only bake a mean chocoloate chip cookie and send her to college, but the mom who didn't place her in a woven basket and shove her upstream when things got tough.
At this point both Team Blood Diamond and Team Propofol have made it to Stonehenge where the demons dwell, the banshees live, and the children dance to the pipes of Pan. In all honesty, Stonehenge is kind of underwhelming in person. Sure, it's mysterious, but you can't even go up to the rocks unless you're a Druid on Solstice day with government permission. They say the ground is sinking or something so you have to see it from a roped off area and buy yourself a handy dandy Stonehenge book, post card, and an "I didn't get to touch the rocks so all I got was this stupid shirt instead" t-shirt at the gift shop.
Once at Stonehenge teams receive their next clue: Find the castle opposite of Noreaster. Team Propofol asks someone at the Stonehenge gift stop about the clue and is told that it must refer to Eastnor Castle. Team Blood Diamond and Team Propofol immediately decide to team up because Brook, kicking back with a smoke smiling to hereslf, has decided that Nat & Kat are good people - good, salt of the Earth, hard working chicks not unlike herself just navigating through life trying to make a quick buck and looking good doing it. She'll be friends with those gals for life. Unless, of course, they win and take the million from her. Otherwise, she totally plans on calling on them and giving them some sweet discounts on jewelry.
Team Don't Abort Me isn't the only team having car trouble. Team Spike (Katie & Rachel) are stalled on a hill and Team Silent Thunder (Ron & Tony) are halfway back to America at this point. They have no idea where the hell they're going and as every minute passes, their kick ass lead is becoming more of a distant memory. Then we hear it... one of the gems. No, it's not a hot new product Brook is peddling. It's a lovely chocolate dipped air-headed witticism from Vicki on Team Bad Ass (Nick & Vicki). Let's just say, she's Jughead's (Survivor Nicaragua) counterpart. Vicki has never heard of Stonehenge. She's never watched the National Geographic channel and I'm not even sure she graduated from the 8th grade. One thing I do know is that she's delightful in a dumb ass way. When she discovers Stonehenge is just a hunk of rocks she shrugs her shoulders, wonders when nap time is, and goes on with her life. Fancy information about the world and how it works just doesn't interest Vicki and I don't think I can hate her for that. She's comic relief and nothing more. People like Vicki always fascinate me because I can't help but wonder how they spend their days. Does she just run wild in a field of dandelions chasing butterflies or was she raised in the woods like Nell with no access to a television or a newspaper? Vicki, if you're reading this, please invite me over for cupcakes and kool-aid. I just want to sit in a corner and observe you going about your day. It'll be like Jane Goodall observing the chimps... fascinating.
Teams Propofol, Blood Diamond, and Jack & Jill arrive at Eastnor Castle where they're instructed to climb a wall guarded by angry peasants, retrieve a medieval flag, and cross the moat to a knight in shining armor. Back out on the road Team Miss Depends (Gary & Mallory), who has joined forces with Team Gleek, gets a flat tire at the petrol station. Team Gleek wants to help, but, let's be honest, I'm thinking they're about as good at changing a tire as they are at getting a date on a Saturday night. In the end, Team Gleek decides it's best they just go on alone. Besides, they've got vocal exercises to perform and ditties to invent.
The teams at the castle are quickly discovering that the boats shaped like bowls are about as seaworthy as giant hatboxes. The bitches keep tipping over and sinking. The secret is to balance yourself first and then go super slow across the moat. Jack & Jill do well with Jack whispering and being very supportive to Jill. Yes, I know his name is not Jack, but for the purpose of this blog, it is. Depsite Jack's bad hair, they make it to the other side first and race to meet their knight. Not long after the creamy and fuzzy lovely young Jack & Jill romance leaves our screens, we are once again greeted with Team Fisticuffs. Anger management Chad isn't playing around and he needs Steph to get her ass in gear before he shows her a thing or two (his angry fists) later on tonight back at the hotel. They're in the boat and Steph isn't sitting right, she's not breathing right, she's not speaking right... nothing Steph does is right so Chad, naturally, takes her head and shoves it under the water. He can probably move a corpse quicker than he can an incompetent girlfriend. As long as he and Corpse-y reach the Pit Stop together it should still totally count.
We get some quick glimpses of Team Silent Thunder totally lost, Team Bad Ass wondering which direction left is, and Team Spike catching up to Team Blood Diamond, but I began to wonder to myself, "What the hell happened to Team Woo (Michael & Kevin)?!" About an hour into the show and Team Woo is still nowhere to be found. I actually have in my notes, "Where the hell are the Asians?! Panda Express?" Turns out it would be a while before I got my answer.
OK so teams are now approaching the final challenge and it's a doozy. Someone has to shoot watermelons in a sling shot and knock over and knight in shining armor. Brook is THRILLED. She's "Oh my god you can do this! Oh my god this is the best! I am so proud of you! We need this!" thrilled. *sigh* Shit, another Meghan. Oh, you remember Meghan of the infamous "Cheyne, Cheyne, Cheyne, Cheyne, Cheyne". That incessant cheering crap that grates on my brain like nails on a chalkboard. After 85 seasons of Amazing Race, don't people know how annoying that shit is? Anyhow, teams begin hurling their melons and Jack and Nat kinda kicked ass at it. They both arrive at the Pit Stop respectively in first and second place which means Team Jack & Jill have won the Express Pass.
Brook is beginning to get nervous watching the other teams pass her. Claire kinda sucks ass at this watermelon thing so Brook ramps up her cheerleading. "You can do this chica! Right on sister! I am SO proud of you! You got this! You got this! C'mon Claire! Don't give up!" Claire snaps back, "I'm not giving up bitch!" Ok so maybe I took a little bit of creative license with that last quote, but that was basically the sentiment. What happens next is at once delightful and horrifying. Brook shouts, "Right in the kisser!" and Claire hurls that watermelon right. back. in. her. own. face. *cringes* Ooooouch. It was brutal. Funny, but brutal. That's not what makes it delightful though. What makes it delightful is that... wait for it... I've found my witch! Brook is a full-fledged soothsaying oracle reading witch! She said "Right in the kisser!" and it happened. If that's not magical, I don't know what is.
After Claire gets pummelled by the watermelon, she sits there with pink juicy chunks of goodness all over herself and says, "I can't feel my face." It was very Bobcat Goldthwait from the movie Blow. Poor girl's head is spinning, she's missing an eye, and her nose is inverted so she looks to Brook and innocently asks, "Well, what do we do now?" What do you think you do idiot?! You keep on keepin' on! Get your ass back up and start shooting more melons. Brook is very much like me in her callous disregard for potato-y Claire's misfortune. She tells her they have no choice. Claire whines that she can't see. Brook tells her to suck it up, "They don't call it the Amazing Race for nothin'!" LOL I almost liked Brook in that moment. Who the hell does Claire think she is anyway? She's the sidekick, the lesser one, the accoutrement. She better pipe down if she knows what's good for her. Eventually Claire gets her shit together and Team Blood Diamond finishes right after Team Gleek who is in 3rd place. Team Spike finishes not long after and places in 5th.
Back at the boats, guess who's finally decided to show up? It's Team Woo! I was kind of hoping for some Mr. Miyagi Jedi mind tricks on the boat, but it wasn't to be. I'm actually amazed they made it across at all. Over at the knights, Team Fisticuffs is now attempting the watermelons. Chad needs a place to channel his aggression and a helpless knight in shining armor is just the ticket. He manages to smash it quickly enough, but it's what happens next that is of note. Chad insists that the Pit Stop is on the other side of the castle. You can tell by Steph's face that she's not exactly in agreement, but another black eye is the last thing she wants so she stays quiet and goes along with it. They circle this way. They circle that way. They head to Scotland. The hike across Dublin. It was when they reached Reykjavik that Chad finally acknowledged he may have screwed up. They were gone so long that both Teams Miss Depends and Team Wu managed to place in 6th and 7th. Eventually, Team Fisticuffs makes it back to England to place 8th.
All we have left are Team Bad Ass (I really must change that name), Team Don't Abort Me, and Team Silent Thunder. Team Bad Ass actually stands right next to the boats lying on the bank of the moat, hands on hips, scratching heads, looking around, and asking one another, "Where are the boats?" I don't know why, but I find their stupidity charming. With Jeff & Jordan it's nauseating, but with Nick & Vicki I want to bottle it and drink it anytime something bugs me. In the end, Team Bad Ass finds the boats and actually manages to finish ahead of Team Don't Abort Me. Regretfully, we are forced to say goodbye to Team Silent Thunder which completely, totally, absolutely SUCKS. I loved these guys and I'm really sad to see them go.
So, what did you guys think of last night? Who are you liking so far? Who really chaps your ass? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!
I searched youtube for the Elimination Station episode, but came up empty handed. I'll keep looking, but until then... please to enjoy a great inspiration to today's blog: