Monday, November 14, 2011
Let us whisk away to Denmark where the streets are lined with pastries, the dogs are extra large, a college education comes with your first diaper change, and health care for everyone! Revolutionary in the "green" movement, the Danish streets are paved with recycled Viking hats and kroners. Children are born knowing the words to Emperor's New Clothes and Lars Ulrich lives in the next quaint village over the hill. Ever since I saw that Oprah episode about how women live all over the world, Denmark has always been this utopia taunting me from a distance. Tall blonde well-read descendents of Vikings living in cubes full of ergonomic furniture and happily bike riding to a well paid job with 6 weeks of vacation time a year... single Danes apply within. Let's recap, shall we?
Since Team Snowbunny (Andy & Tommy) stomped religiously over Team Bert & Ernie (Cindy & Ernie) at the end of the last leg, they are once again the first team to depart. Teams must now fly to Copenhagen and hop into a Ford Focus. Once in their Ford Focus (Ford Focus, Ford Focus, Ford Focus!), they'll Ford Focus their way to a bell tower and Ford Focus to the top where they'll find a Ford Focus... I mean, a clue. Hark! A Double U-Turn lies ahead. Bert & Ernie depart second and if there's one thing these two know, it's that Denmark has an average of 121 days a year with precipitation and a birth rate of 1.74 children per woman. They also know that they're using that damn U-Turn come hell or high water. Better late than never, I guess.
All of our scraggly teams head to the airport where it's a sneaky sneakfest of sneakers to book the earliest flight out of Africa. Being a British ex-pat and an arrogant know-it-all, Laurence is convinced that London will not only offer more connections to Copenhagen than Amsterdam will, but he'll finally be able to get a decent spot of tea on the flight. Bert spies Laurence talking with an airport employee and innocently inquires, 'What are you doing? Where are you going? Which flight did you book? Do you have your seats yet? Did you know that Danish people eat pickled herring for lunch?" Zac quickly hides behind his hair while Laurence, in all of his craggiliness, looks past Bert and replies, "Um uh, pickled herring you say?" And then he grabs Zac's hand and together they run to the Virgin Atlantic terminal. Bert watches with suspicion as they scurry away while Ernie is trying to remember the name of the lady boy he knows in Amsterdam. Was it Anneke or Gert?
All of the teams end up on the same flight to Amsterdam while Team Gilligan (Laurence & Zac) heads to London. Once in London, the two quickly board a flight to Copenhagen and wouldn't you know it? Laurence was actually right about something... probably because it didn't have to do with water, the ocean, lakes, rivers, streams, maritime happenings, or nautical directions... and he'll arrive in Copenhagen before everyone else. Good for you Laurence. Meanwhile, the other teams are in Amsterdam where Team Armani (Amani & Marcus) thinks it's the most perfect location to take a nap. Now, I've been to Amsterdam and it's a lovely place to walk along the canals, take in an art exhibit, smoke a little Northern Lights, flip through pornography magazines featuring horses, but it's kind of the last place on earth you'd ever want to take a nap in. So while Ernie is frantically texting Gert (Ik heb een worst in mijn zak voor u) before his flight leaves that night, Amani & Marcus are making a nap fort in Terminal B and spraying themselves with some of Camille's lavender spritzer. Marcus is confident that all of the other teams will find Amsterdam the perfect place to nap as well so he's not too worried about leaving the next morning. More time to dream about touchdowns!
While Team Armani is busy dancing with the sandman, the other teams meet up with Team Gilligan in Copenhagen and discover that the bell tower opens early the next morning. The night flits by and while Marcus is just now waking up, rubbing his eyes, and asking, "Where is everyone?", the other 5 teams are racing up the steps of the bell tower in search of their next clue. Once at the top of the bell tower, teams must look for both a flag and a banner that reads "Frederiks-Borg Slot". I envisioned a giant slot machine where photos of apple danish and Ford Focii would spin and spin, but it turns out that slot actually means "castle" in Danish. The challenging part of reading the clues is that the little bastards on the ground holding the banner clue keep rolling it up whenever the fancy strikes them so instead of waiting for the clue to unfurl again, Team Grammer (Camille/Sandy & Kelsey/Jeremy) decides to guess which slot the clue was referring to. Kelsey stares at a map of Copenhagen and goes, "Eenie meenie miney mo. Rosenborg Slot. That sounds good!" Yeah, it sounds good if you want to make a lunch reservation of pickled herring. It turns out Rosenborg Slot is actually a restaurant, not a castle. I wonder if a Danish horticulturist has ever visited the United States and accidentally went to an Olive Garden thinking it was, you know, a garden. It could happen!
Teams Gilligan and Bert & Ernie pull up to Frederiksborg Slot and it's a delicious olden timey playground for the monarchy. Red brick, stone grounds, baroque gardens, elaborate arches... one might imagine a fairy tale princess living inside surrounded by small white dogs and spending her days nibbling on pastel colored macaroons atop sterling silver dishes. Ladies-in-waiting hiding around corners sneaking bites out of footmen... I'd like to live in Frederiksborg Slot. Single royal Danes apply within. OK so we arrive at a Road Block and it's nothing we've never seen before. In fact, we see it every season: Learn a traditional dance. Teams must dress in period costumes and learn a complex 3-part Danish Renaissance dance routine designed to test their memory and coordination. Without even taking a breath, Ernie begins to disrobe and snatches a pair of tights out of the waiting handmaiden's hands. Buckles on shoes and a feather in his cap is so up Ernie's alley. And how fetching did he look in that billowy blouse? Zac, however, shakes his shaggy mane and bemoans his father making him put on tights. Don't think for one second that Laurence didn't do that on purpose.
While the two lads begin to learn their choreography, a bespectacled rake of a man puffs away on a recorder and accompanies them. Meanwhile, the Grammer's and the Armani's are making their way to the bell tower. The Grammer's have to head back because "Eenie meenie miney mo" turned out to not be scientifically viable. Maybe try "Inka dinka" or "One potato, two potato" next time, Kelsey. At home I sat watched in stunned disbelief - how the hell did the Armani's catch up?! I swear to god Team Armani and Team Geritol (Bill & Cathi) made deals with the devil before the race started. Their poor children... a lifetime of hellfire and damnation for a few lucky breaks on The Amazing Race. Anyhow, Camille runs smack dab into Amani and her martini glass goes crashing on the ground. Camille was thinking the exact same thing I was, "How the hell did they catch up?!" Amani breathed a sigh of relief while Camille frantically dug more olives out of her sports bra (that's where she keeps them when she travels).
Back at the castle, Team Geritol has arrived and Cathi quickly volunteers to learn the dance. Now, I don't pretend to know the sex lives of old people, but I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Bill & Cathi like to play naughty nurse once in a while. The look on Bill's face when Cathi stepped out as a Renaissance-era handmaiden was one of "Hot diggity dog!". Too bad Laurence was beat boxing and completely killed the mood. It was sort of sweet watching Bill with pools of drool in the corners of his mouth. Bert listens to Bill's story about how he met Cathi at the tender age of 12 and Bert snorts in response, "I picked up Ernie in a bar. He was one of the showgirls." I might have paraphrased that a little bit, but I'm pretty sure that that's what Bert meant to say.
As a fella with a dancer's past, Ernie passes the challenge with flying colors, asks the handmaiden if he can keep his tights, and tears into the next clue. It's a Detour: All Hopped Up or All Churned Out. In All Hopped Up, teams must lead a freakishly large rabbit through a steeplechase course without knocking anything over. In All Churned Out, teams must whip up 6 sticks of rich creamery butter. After the sheep debacle back in Thailand, Bert & Ernie have sworn off animals forever and choose to churn some butter. They watch a milkmaid prepare her bars of gold and Ernie dives into beating his cream with a zeal any young man would be proud of.
Back at the castle, Zac is profoundly sucking at the dancing. His curls are falling into his eyes and his two left feet move with the agility of two wooden blocks. Andy of Team Snowbunny is faring much better as we learn that the Snowbunnies are also Renaissance-y dancer reenactors. Is there anything these two can't do?! I was about to cry foul, but my attention was diverted by the dandy in the puffy waistcoat dancing with Cathi. A sliver of a man with platinum dyed hair, a ruffled collar, and a cape jauntily placed over his shoulder. He glided through the steps with ease and I made a bet with no one in particular that he's probably known around Copenhagen as 'Lightfooted Lars" or "Garrish Gerhardt". I wonder if Phil has his number. Oh wait! I'll just tweet Ernie.
So Cathi and Andy pass the dance challenge and after Bill stuffed Cathi's bonnet and petticoat into his pocket (for later!), both teams head to the Detour where tiny little butter churning beads of sweat are glistening on Ernie's brow. Phrases like "beat this cream" and "lick it up" fill the tiny little barn and here I thought The Amazing Race was a family show. Back at the castle, the Grammers have finally arrived while out on the road to Finland, a giant black man is scaring the locals. You see, according to Marcus, asking for directions is for suckers. So instead of stopping at a local village or asking a passerby, Marcus decides to wade out into traffic and accost the oncoming cars. Black, white, brown, yellow, I don't care who's waving at me in the middle of road, there's no way in hell I'm stopping my car for a stranger. I watch Investigation Discovery way too much to know that my cute ass would be kidnapped and chopped into hundreds of tiny little pieces and then dumped into a crudely dug hole and covered with cement. Only years later when a parking garage is built on top of my grave will by bones be finally discovered. No thank you!
By this time Team Geritol arrives at the Detour and Bill is just as turned on as Ernie is by the churning. He daydreams about eating stick after stick of rich creamery butter only to have Bert burst his dream bubbles with, "I don't know if you want to eat my sweaty ass butter." It's probably sweaty-ass butter, but I think sweaty ass butter reads funnier, don't you? Ass butter.
Finally, Zac finishes the dance portion of this episode just as Camille is gyrating on my dandy, Gunther. Ca-mille! That marble column is not a stripper pole! Out on route "den slot er that-a-way", Marcus is busy pummeling every football analogy known to large burly men to death. "We need a turn over here!", "I'm hoping for a Hail Mary pass!", "I didn't see no boys in that shower!". I know he's likable and all that, but Marcus drives me crazy. The constant talking, the Al Bundy stories from yesteryear, the napping in the middle of a race (!)... I can't take it. It's more infuriating than charming.
Okay so back at the butter, Ernie has churned all that he can churn (he's spent) and now Bert & Ernie are headed to a windmill for the dreaded U-Turn *thunderclap* Ernie spins his parasol and wonders if U-Turning is a good idea after all while Bert pushes him to the ground and smacks a U-Turn right over Bill & Cathi's heads. Girlfriend wants first place and no old timers are gonna be beat her to the punch! Nicely done, Bert. I knew you had it in you. Ernie, however, is immediately remorseful. He stands with a single tear glistening on his cheek while Bert yanks him out of his trance and stuffs him in the back of the car. She's got a Pit Stop to get to. No lollygagging Ernie!
Team Geritol pass the butter and I twirled my moustache while waiting for them to get to the U-Turn. This is gonna be great! *rubs hands together* The two creak on up to the U-Turn and snap their fingers in annoyance. It wasn't exactly the reaction I was hoping for (I wanted kicking and screaming), but they exacted their anger in an even better way - they U-Turn Team Gilligan! Oh snap! Laurence is going to shit himself... awesome!
The two rickety grandparents hop their way over to the rabbit Detour and choose a bulldog to run their course for them. Did you see that thing? That was no rabbit. That thing ate the real rabbit. That thing should be pulling a sled or taking bourbon to stranded hikers. Anyhow, after constructing their steeplechase course, Bill takes his horserabbit, Hopper, down the course and it fails miserably. The rabbit is immediately sent to the slaughterhouse while Bill chooses another furry life to ruin. This time it's Speckles the dalmation. Speckles is black & white and has trained his entire life for this moment. He's evaded the blade for this long and he's not about to come into contact with it now. Speckles likes his life of green meadows, vast pastures, universal health care, frolicking, and mating. Who wouldn't?! Naturally, Speckles is a rock star. He finishes the course in a blaze of glory and has since retired to a life of Easter basket modeling. Way to go Speckles.
Back out on the road through tears and sniffles, Ernie is asking Bert why why whyyyy did she use that evil U-Turn. Bert quickly tapes his mouth shut and drags his pouting ass onto the mat and into first place. Yay! They finally did it! Too bad they've already been to Fiji and would have preferred a trip to Sierra Leone instead. An extremely witty and bright little blogger has never been there though. Hey Bert, let's take a girls trip to Fiji and leave Ernie back at home where he can watch Hallmark movies and embroider pillows with puppy dogs on them. It's just a thought.
So while Ernie is reluctantly accepting his first place win, the Armani's have finished the dancing, the Grammer's are half way to Sweden, and Team Gilligan has begun to churn their butter. Did you know that Laurence is a butter churning expert from way back? Yup. He's churned butter with the best butter churners in the churning industry. He has also circumnavigated Atlantis and was a passenger on the Titanic. His memoir The Perfect Storm should be released sometime in 2012. I'd rethink that title. How about Tall Tales From The High Seas: Fantastic Swashbuckling Yarns?
In downtown Stockholm is where we find Team Grammer. A passed out Camille lies in the backseat with one foot out the window and her dress above her waist. Had she been lucid she would have been able to tell Kelsey that he was driving away from Copenhagen and right off the map. Muttering under his breath, Kelsey wishes for a new wife, a younger wife - one who doesn't make out with the tennis instructor and thinks vodka is a food group.
Back at the butter, Team Gilligan is finishing up and Laurence is stoked to U-Turn someone. So many names to choose from! So many possibilities! This is his moment, his chance to make up for U-Turning a team that was already ahead of him last week. Over Marcus whooping on the sidelines to his stupid rabbit, we see Laurence approach the windmill. He sees an older gentleman and a young man on the touch screen, but it doesn't immediately register that he's looking at his own face and his dimwitted son. But once the recognition registers... jump back! Smoke blows out of his nostrils, his tail gets caught in his belt loops, and the green green grass around him turns to dust. Laurence is mad, very mad. *clinks gin glasses together* How could someone U-Turn him?!? Oh sure, he was planning on U-Turning another team all along, but still... no fair! *makes a 'W' with fingers*
Kicking rabbits like soccer balls, Laurence reluctantly heads to the bunny challenge just as the Armani's are finishing up and I'm sad to report that Speckles is no longer with us. He was so young, so accomplished. Laurence, how could you?! Unbelievable, the Armani's are now headed to the Pit Stop where Team Geritol and Team Snowbunny have just come in 2nd and 3rd respectively. How do Bill & Cathi do it? The devil is at work here. I'm sure of it!
In the end, no matter how many bunnies paid with their lives, Team Gilligan just wasn't able to overcome their U-Turn and happily Team Armani and Team Grammer slide into 4th and 5th. Laurence and Zac have been eliminated from the race. So, what did you guys think? Are you happy to see Laurence gone? Why was Ernie so bunged up over using the U-Turn? Is Cathi a witch? Comment it out bitches and have a great day!