Oct 1, 2010, Ep 1: “I Didn’t Even Want to Be Here!”

The Amazing Race 17 Secret Scenes, Ep 1: “I Didn’t Even Want to Be Here!”

And Claire (pictured with Brook) still got a watermelon to the face!  As you’ll see in the video though, she’s really not that upset and actually can laugh quite a bit about it!  There’s plenty to also learn about everyone’s past – who is training for the Poker World Championships?  How did Andie reunite with Jenna? Who was a huge defensive lineman in college? Just what happened to Connor & Jonathan in Boston? And of course, how is Claire feeling about watermelon?

Yay, the Amazing Race is back!  With its return is also the return of CBS’ posting of extra videos from each episode which will be recapped here.  I’ll also tag each recap with the teams involved so you can quickly find out more about your favorite teams!

At the Pit Stop

Featured Team: Nick & Vicki (10th Place)

Lessons Learned:  Phil is curious how the intrepid tattooed travelers Nick & Vicki are feeling now that they’re across the ocean in jolly ol’ London, er, England. Both are natives of Florida and this is the farthest either of them have traveled, besides going to Vegas and California.  Phil reminds them that if they come in 10th place again, they may not be on the race anymore.  Nick believes they’ve been able to learn from their mistakes this leg as they made them.  Vicki is just excited they made it in last place.

Featured Teams: Michael & Kevin, Gary & Mallory (6th & 7th Place)

Family Time on the Mat:  Michael (the Dad in the Father/Son team) is exhausted and is too excited to answer Phil’s question about what he thinks of the young people on the race.  Michael & Kevin are laughing because of how many times they sank their boat (5… at least!) but are grateful that Gary & Mallory were nearby as they learned to copy their technique. Gary’s motivation was simpler as he just didn’t want to get in the water.  Mallory is a bundle of energy as she admits she was just hanging on to the rope while her dad pulled them across the river.  Phil then gives them a back-handed compliment in that he’s proud of them but they haven’t put any targets on their back being squarely in the middle of the pack.

Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie (8th Place)

Phil’s Poker Face:  Chad & Stephanie are happily relieved as Phil admits he has been playing poker and is practicing his poker face.  Neither realized he was bluffing even though Chad is a gambler.  Phil informs them that he’s getting ready for the Poker World Championships!  They’re still both trying to calm down after the bluff so Phil just has them hug again.  Phil thinks they look good together like that but Stephanie admits they’ve been fighting all day.

Phil asks if fighting is part of their normal relationship.  Stephanie explains that they’re both similarly strong-willed and that may be part of the problem.  It’s the small differences in their personalities that are really causing the fireworks.  Chad let Stephanie drive today but the whole time he wanted to just bite his arm off.  Phil wonders if yelling or arm-biting is better, but then decides having them hug again is the best option.

Featured Team: Nat & Kat (2nd Place)

Nat & Kat’s Good Luck Charms:  Phil notices a dramatic change in appearance from when Nat & Kat started the race compared to the exhausted, yet happy women in front of him now.  He wonders how actually being on the race is different than watching it on TV.  Kat explains that the flight and all the driving and getting lost are much more exhausting than they expected.

Phil notices that Kat is wearing a four-leaf clover pendant. Kat points out that Nat has a lucky charm of her own in the form of a horseshoe pendant.  Phil wonders if they’re trying to generate luck in order to be the first all-woman team to win the race.  They confirm that is the goal and that they intend on winning.  Phil asks if this is their first-leg declaration of going all the way to the end.  Both realize the race is much harder than expected.  While there’s plenty of teams that are capable of winning, their advantage is having good teamwork.  Phil is confident in their performance so far.

Featured Team: Jill & Thomas (1st Place)

Jill & Thomas’ Big Victory: Phil hands Jill & Thomas the new game twist, the Express Pass, in an envelope and explains to them that this might be the most valuable prize they’ve ever given away.  He warns them not to lose it as it could mean the difference between staying and going.  Thomas is excited that they’re there and Jill is just relieved that after many hours of driving they finally found Eastnor Castle.  Phil tells them they should be proud and cautions that they need to be smart about using the Express Pass.  Thomas only plans on using it if they absolutely have to and hopefully closer to the end of the race.

Featured Team: Andie & Jenna (9th Place)

A Bond Forms:  Andie & Jenna confirm to Phil that actually running the race is much harder than expected, just like every team before them in every season always says at this point.  Andie is aglow with the positives she’s experienced so far in the first leg like running through Heathrow or through the beautiful castle grounds.  Phil asks how the relationship between them is progressing and Andie & Jenna hug and tell him they’re BFFs.  Jenna understands that the situation is weird if you think about it, but they’ve become good friends so far and everything just fits.

Andie is confident that if this is their worst time on the race, they can make it all the way to the end.  Phil confirms that indeed the first leg is NOT the worst and laughs.  He warns them that they’ll be going to many different places where it will be dirty, dusty, hot and then extremely cold.  Andie nervously laughs as she probably starts to realize that this is indeed just the warm up.

Extra Race Footage

Featured Teams: Brook & Claire, Michael & Kevin

An Eye for Jewelry:  While at an airport restaurant, Michael asks Brook & Claire what they do for a living.  They tell him they’re home shopping television hosts on QVC and HSN and that they specialize in jewelry. Brook has noticed Michael’s ring and that it has jade on it which symbolizes luck.  She jokes that she should have thought of that as she could definitely use a little luck.  Michael explains that he got the ring from his mother after she passed away and he does believe it is bringing him luck.  Over the past three years, everyone else in his family has been injured while he’s remained safe.  Kevin laughs as he thinks his bad luck is behind him as he nearly wiped out on the starting run.  Brook bets she’s to blame as she knew she hit someone during that but Michael tries to clear their conscience as he thinks they were not in the right spot to do so.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

Brook & Claire’s Entertainment:  Talkative Brook thinks that the funniest team on the race so far is Connor & Jonathan, the Acapella singers.  If it took them five hours to get to Boston, she wonders how long it’ll take them to get around in England with the roundabouts and left-side driving.  Claire wishes she could be a fly in the car with them now because they were already so frazzled just driving in Boston!  Claire really thought that Connor & Jonathan were going to be the team to beat since they were so meticulous about everything.  She’s certain they’ll be hot messes in England.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

Nickname Rundown:  Claire explains that the nicknames that have arisen are not solely from them but were determined by the entire group as everybody got to know each other.  First up is Andie & Jenna as the Gilmore Girls.  Then Connor & Jonathan are the Nerds, although it’s a term of endearment as they love them.  The Blonde Brigade are volleyball players Katie & Rachel.  Nat & Kat have the self-explanatory The Doctors title.  The Punk Rockers are Nick & Vicki and at that Brook wonders where the heck they are (hint: talking to battlements!).  She would be surprised if they actually ended up being way in the front.  It would be pretty gangster.  Besides them, they know where everybody else is except for the two two-guy teams.

Featured Teams: Nat & Kat, Gary & Mallory, Nick & Vicki

Nat Seeks Hair Therapy:  At the airport, Mallory, Nat, and Vicki are conferring upon hair care products.  Vicki admits to bringing way too much stuff but Kat looks to her for some help with her hair.  Vicki is happy to help and explains that the product she uses works better with dirty hair, which everyone laughs about as they know that’s not going to be a problem.

Both Vicki and Kat admit they don’t really have to comb their hair as all they have to do is run their fingers through it to straighten it out.  Gary tells them he has been ordered to iron Mallory’s hair because as Mallory explains, Gary wouldn’t let her bring any hair or makeup products.  She re-enacts how she she has to lean over the ironing board but they all laugh as they realize what else is there to do during the down time.  Mallory laughs as Gary didn’t know which setting to set the iron to: cotton or silk?  She admits she has extensions so it is a mix. Nat isn’t sure she’d let her dad touch her hair.  Gary confirms that he hasn’t since she was a little girl, and when he did, it was to put a bow in her hair.  The results were not pretty.

Featured Teams: Chad & Stephanie, Ron & Tony

Chad’s Pigskin Past: Chad tells Ron & Tony that he played football for the University of Rhode Island.  Ron asks if he had planned to go pro but Chad had a torn something and also got his ankle twisted and stepped on, so that wasn’t in the cards.  He also admits that the mental toll was too much and he longed to go back home to the South.  Stephanie wishes she had her iPhone so they could see pictures of him as he played defense and he was huge at around 280 pounds.

Ron wondered why he wasn’t drafted even with his other issues but Chad admits his 40 wasn’t that great.  Chad just was glad to be done as playing up north and being away from Florida got to be too much. His dream had been to play with the Gators but Rhode Island offered the full-ride first and he and his dad had committed and they were going to honor that commitment.  He’s glad for the experience of living in that area which has such a melting pot of cultures with New Jersey and New York right there.

Featured Team: Chad & Stephanie

Chad & Stephanie’s First Impressions: Stephanie isn’t sure if it’s because she’s a social butterfly, but she was immediate drawn to Ron & Tony.  She likes that Ron is on Broadway and Tony is in Tourism and they are just good, nice people.  If something were to happen to her & Chad, she’d want Ron & Tony to win.  She admits really wants to make friends (uh oh!).  Chad is more direct and told Ron & Tony that while he likes them a lot, they’re all here to play a game.  There’s mutual respect between the two teams, but that won’t get in the way of the competition.

Featured Team: Nat & Kat

Nat Stays Safe: Nat shows us her blood monitoring device which helps keep track of her insulin levels. She also shows her insulin pump which is always attached to her body to constantly provide a steady stream of insulin.  When she eats, she then has to note how many carbohydrates she consumed into the device in order to get an extra boost of insulin.  Living with diabetes is a complete lifestyle unto itself as she has to check her blood sugar 6-8 times a day, she has to eat healthy, she has to count carbohydrates, and has to exercise every day.  Most importantly she has to have a good attitude.

Featured Teams: Andie & Jenna, Nat & Kat

Andie & Jenna Share Their Story: At the airport, Nat & Kat are getting to know Andie & Jenna and ask if they’re related.  Andie & Jenna tell them about the fact that they’re a mother and daughter who have just been reunited.  It turns out that it was an open adoption and Andie knew the family that Jenna grew up with.  Andie did receive pictures of Jenna as she was growing up, but it wasn’t until Jenna turned 18 when they started exchanging letters.  Both laugh as they realize they’re going to spend enough time together to see both the good and bad sides of each other.

Andie & Jenna are starting to find similarities between each other, like that they’re both double-jointed, have the same height and the same shoe size. They both even studied abroad in Italy.  Nat observes they’re more like sisters than anything else.  Andie agrees and has actually been telling the other teams to avoid calling them the mother/daughter team, they’re just Andie & Jenna.

Featured Team: Jill & Thomas

Jill’s Makeup Mess Up:  At the ticket counter, Jill is bummed because she left her Prada makeup bag in the car.  It had been in the top of her backpack which she had opened to get their wallet. Now she’s lost her makeup and even Thomas says that for Jill, it’s a huge loss.  You should probably not say that to your girlfriend, Thomas!  A friendly stranger had offered to let Jill borrow some of her makeup but Jill isn’t in need of a touch-up yet.  She’s just worried that now she has 30 days ahead of her without makeup.  Finally Thomas tells her she’s beautiful without the makeup, but she’s definitely not buying it and wants her makeup supplies.

Flash forward a few minutes and over by the gate, another (or the same) woman has come up to Jill with a bag of makeup products that she bought for her.  Wow! Jill & Thomas both give the woman big hugs and Jill proceeds to look through the bag o’ goodies, noticing that there’s mascara, concealer, and eye shadow.  They thank the woman profusely as Jill remarks how nice the woman was.  Hopefully that’s not the end of the good tidings for you guys!

Featured Team: Katie & Rachel

Katie & Rachel’s Secret Code:  Rachel explains that she & Katie have a secret way of communicating with each other, which is to add gibberish after the first letter of every syllable.  So Katie becomes Kittah-ay-tigga-tie. They find this useful to talk about others or to talk to each other in private.  They don’t do it too much though as you never know who else also knows how to speak that way.  Apparently it’s a high-school girl thing and 50% of them pick it up, which is why I must be out of the loop as I had no idea about this language.

Featured Team: Michael & Kevin

Their Own Worst Critics:  It’s only the first hour and Kevin admits they haven’t been doing their best as they’ve made some wrong turns.  But they’re communicating and hoping to figure things out by London.  Michael admits that he was too cautious about Kevin’s driving and he neglected his navigation duties because of how paranoid he was about it.  So they first missed an offramp, and then at the airport parking entrance, they turned left when they should have turned right.  Kevin is quick to make a decision and Michael isn’t piping up quick enough to ensure the decision is the right one.  They both understand they have to communicate better. Kevin bets it’s just jitters as the race has just begun.  Michael is feeling better already as they realize there are still teams behind them.

After the Race

Featured Team: Connor & Jonathan

Connor & Jonathan’s Bad Start: Connor & Jonathan explain that in Boston, it was tricky as they got into one of the last cars because they got outplayed for the third car in line. After missing out on that third car, they then ended up missing all the subsequent cars as everyone else had already claimed them.  So after getting one of the trailing cars, the entire line of cars basically formed a convoy up until a literal roadblock.

They took a chance and diverged from the pack thinking they could find a quicker route to the airport.  Unfortunately for them, they were still on an island and there was only that one way off.  After heading back to the road, everyone else was long gone.  A string of bad luck followed as they got bad directions and ended up in West Boston.  After calming down and realizing they weren’t getting on the first plane, they took it easy and just focused on getting to the airport.

Featured Team: Ron & Tony

Doing Their Best: Ron & Tony had fun on the leg, what with the river crossing and the horse and even jumping on the mat to meet Phil.  They did the best they could.  Neither Ron or Tony have any regrets as they pushed hard.  Most all the other teams are younger than them but Ron beat them all in the foot race to their bags.  He is proud of that accomplishment even though he’s now very sore.  Tony knows that they were functioning on only about two hours of sleep and then he’s trying to read a map while tired and hungry.  The brain synapses just weren’t firing as they should.  It was still an amazing experience although unfortunately they really only got to know two of the other teams because they got on the first flight.

Featured Team: Brook & Claire

After the Smash: Claire tells us that her strategy for the watermelon task was to lay down close to the ground in order to get a better angle up to hit the knight.  Brook asks for a time out as she starts cracking up at the fact that Claire is talking about watermelon physics.  Claire admits its nuts and jokingly says, “screw the Amazing Race!”  Claire continues in that eventually she was getting tired and frustrated as she knew they just needed to get this done and move on.  Then she pulls back on one watermelon and thinks, this is it.  Unfortunately, “it” is the Youtube-worthy moment when the watermelon came back for its revenge.  Claire only remembers blacking out.

Upon regaining a semblance of consciousness, Claire couldn’t feel her face and the first thing she thought was her hosting career was over. As she laughs while telling the story, Claire figured she was paralyzed by a watermelon on the Amazing Race, and she didn’t even want to do the race. So she looks up to Brook, who has turned white with shock, and everyone’s silent.  All she can think is why isn’t someone coming over to help?  Brook laughs as her favorite part of the story is when Claire asks about her face and if it’s bad and Brook kept lying and saying no, no, it’s fine. Claire knew Brook was lying though.  When Claire started talking out of one side of her mouth, Brook couldn’t stop laughing.  It’s hilarious how they’re telling this story as both are obviously able to laugh about the whole situation.

So then Brook starts clapping and tries to convince Claire that she needs to get up and keep going.  Meanwhile, Claire can’t feel her face and the last thing she wants to do is launch another watermelon.  It was horrible though and self-deprecatingly, Claire bets it was karma and somehow she deserved it.  Doubtful!  Brook is now on the hook for doing all upcoming Roadblocks as she was even supposed to do that one.

Before the Race

Featured Team: Andie (of Andie & Jenna)

How She Met Her Daughter: Andie had read on Jenna’s Twitter that she wanted to do the Amazing Race.  Andie also wanted to do it, and thought that Jenna must be like her a little and brave.  Andie had seen pictures of Jenna bungee-jumping and figured that she had a sense of adventure that was inherited from her.  As the conversation progressed as to when and where they’d actually meet, Andie pictured an awkward lunch or dinner somewhere with her as well as Jenna’s adoptive parents.  But it was a bit awkward as Andie wanted to explain why she made her decision and that she was loved.  They have had a chance to do that shortly before the race started.

Featured Team: Rachel (of Katie & Rachel)

Rachel’s Hero: When she was 11 years old, Rachel’s dad literally left, never to be seen again. Her mom had to bust her a** to raise them, and Rachel is proud because she’s a good egg.  Her sister is also a good kid, and Rachel isn’t even sure how her mom managed to raise such good kids.  Mom always stressed the importance of athletics, to stay away from drugs, going to school and having appreciation for money and the things you have.  Some kids who have both parents may not appreciate how hard their parents work to provide that, but Rachel does. Rachel would love to win the race in order to help pay her mom back with some luxury.

Featured Team: Gary & Mallory

Gary Sets an Example: As the oldest of six kids in a farming family, Gary knows how much hard work and how many forces are lined up against you there are as a farmer.  So while sitting on a tractor as a youth, he was determined to work in a career where when you work hard, you get rewarded.  Farming just typically isn’t like that.  The coal industry is big around where he grew up, so he got a job in it while going to college and worked it till the day he graduated.  He was the first of his family to go to college, but all six siblings eventually went to college too.

Mallory is appreciate and respectful of how hard her dad worked to make something like college well within reach and an opportunity. It’s important to her that she does something important with what was given to her as it has been much easier for her than it was for Gary.  She believes most people in her generation just don’t appreciate how hard their parents probably had to work to get the same opportunities. Gary has raised his children not to waste these opportunities.  Gary’s hard work in his early life is an example to Mallory of hard work and dedication.

Elimination Station

Where will the teams get exiled to after getting eliminated during this season’s Amazing Race?  Folks, we’re back in Mexico yet again in the lovely city of Cancun.  Our first eliminated team, Ron & Tony, arrive at the airport full of smiles as they get themselves ready for a nearly-30 day stay at Elimination Station.  They let us know it took a mere 22 hours to get from Birmingham, England to Cancun. As they ride in the van to their destination, they admit that never imagined they’d be the first team to be eliminated.  It was shocking to go from a first-place standing to be eliminated. At least they’ll get the best room in the house!

It turns out the house is actually on Isla Mujeras, an island off the coast of Cancun.  They get transported there on a sleek powerboat as the sun sets.  By the time they arrive it’s dark, so the lighting in the house is that much more dramatic.  As they wander around checking the house out, it looks like a house out of the Real World with all sorts of modern touches, bright colors, a sweet pool and wide open spaces.  Ray & Tony finally pick a room on the ground floor that has its own living room as well as a huge canopy bed.  There’s even a private infinity pool just for that room.  There is definitely this perk to being the first team eliminated!

Their first adventure the next morning is to go kayaking.  Both joke that they hope to redeem themselves on these boats.  They both get in the boat and it doesn’t sink, so that’s already an improvement over last time.  Ron laughs that if they had had kayaks instead of coconut shells, they wouldn’t be at Elimination Station!  Back at the most amazing Elimination Station house ever, they’re sitting with their feet in the pool sad that they have no one to share it with. Not!  They aren’t nervous about whoever comes next since both Ron & Tony are so personable.  They can get along with anybody!  They have no idea who the next team to arrive will be, but they do hope it’s not Jill & Thomas or Chad & Stephanie, as those were the two teams they actually got to know from the first flight.


Hobie Barnes works in NYC at 30 Rock (the building, not the show). While not conquering Midtown, he might be found watching DVR’d reality TV, learning the guitar (I’m not afraid of you anymore, C chord!), or getting lost on the subway. He can be reached at hobiewan76@gmail.com.


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