Feb 20, 2010, Ep 1: “Am I at the Kiss-Level Yet?”

Amazing Race 16 Insider, Episode 1:  “Am I at the Kiss-Level Yet?”

Adrian may have failed the cable crossing, effectively losing the race for him & Dana.  But Phil gives Dana the chance to cross herself.  Will this stir the fires of disappointment and regret?  Oh yes.  Read on for all the dramatic details.

We’re back for another season of global intrigue, drama and Insider Videos!  In addition to the aforementioned tension between Dana & Adrian, this week’s clips give plenty of insight into what makes Jody just a little bit awesome, why the rodeo guys are a good shot to make it far (currency issues be damned), and how cutely clueless Jordan & Jeff really are.  Enjoy!

After the Race

Dana & Adrien’s Lessons Learned:  Adrien has learned from his experience that he needs to lighten up on his son.  He has high expectations for him and the truth may be that his son just may not be able to meet these expectations.  Sometimes you have to learn to cut people a little bit of slack.  It may look easy from the outside, but it’s not always as easy as it looks.  Dana thinks that Adrien’s behavior may be from his own childhood growing up in a single-parent household where the lessons learned were via trial and error and not from a voice of experience.  She had a similar experience growing up but she manages to give a little bit of grace to her children in these learning situations.  Dana has always hoped for Adrien to understand that, and now maybe he will.

Adrien understands also that just because you fail at something doesn’t make you a failure.  As a parent, you can be so hard on your children that they may eventually begin to believe they are a screw-up.  So it’s important to realize that you may not be the best at a certain task, but if you have the outlook of trying your best, then that’s the best that can be expected of you.  Dana explains that sometimes people will still perceive that as weakness, but she doesn’t.  If you encounter failure, the important part is how you pick yourself up and how do you move on.

Jordan Says a Little Prayer:  Jordan tells us that when they started the race, their goals included being patient, reading things, and focus.  It wasn’t going to be about who can get to the bags first and take off blindly.  She thinks they’ve even been laid back about the race so far.  Jeff admits they have been lucky, but Jordan chimes in that she’s been saying her prayers.  She prays not to mess up and to be good, and so far He’s been with her.  “Um, yeah” continues Jeff as he says they’re still lucky as they’ve been back and they’ve been up but they keep hitting that fairly high level.  He thinks that in life, that you will sometimes be down and sometimes be up but life will constantly correct to put you at that bar you set and maintain for yourself.

Jet & Cord’s Outlook:  Jet realizes that he & Cord have been so wrapped up in racing that they have forgotten to take the experience in.  He hopes there will be time to do that later on.  Jet wouldn’t want to do this race with anyone but his brother Cord, so this is a special time.  Cord likes to laugh a lot because he likes life, because in the rodeo business, you’re constantly flirting with death.  Jet believes that you need to be able to laugh things off in not only the race, but in life.  They’ve had some rough experiences in their rodeo lives and they’ve stocked up on Brazilian money right before heading to Chile – you have to just laugh it off and enjoy.  It’s this outlook that they believe will be an advantage in the race just as it has been in their lives.

Extra Race Footage

Brent & Caite Meet Steve & Allie:  On the Los Angeles Metro ride to LAX, Steve (the former coach of the Philadelphia Phillies) introduces himself to Brent & Caite.  Steve mentions that Brent looks like Cole Hamels (a quick Google search reveals this to be a pitcher on the Phillies) and Brent admits he gets that a lot.  I am not well versed in sports figures so yay for these two guys!  Steve jokes that when he saw the Cole Hamels look-alike, he thought to himself why isn’t Cole pitching?  He excuses himself and they all say their goodbyes and good lucks.  It’s all very happy here at the beginning of the race.

Now that it’s Brent & Caite alone, Brent brags about Steve’s thoughts of him looking like Cole Hamels and points out that Allie immediately recognized Caite as Miss Teen South Carolina.  Caite corrects the title as Miss South Carolina Teen USA, but Brent barely notices that as he jokes that Allie doesn’t hold who Caite was against her.  Caite laughs, but I bet this joke is getting old to her.  She tells us that she wants to get an even better relationship with Brent out of the race, as well as to prove to the public that she actually is intelligent.  Brent backs her up and tells us that she really doesn’t have to prove anything as those who know her know better.

Louie & Michael Meet Jody & Shannon:  Grandma Jody asks Louie & Michael what their relationship is.  Michael jokes that they’re lovers and everyone gets a big laugh.  He explains that because they’re police partners, every time that they say they are “partners” everyone jumps to the conclusion that they’re a couple.  Both cops are quick to pull a Seinfeld with the “there’s nothing wrong with that.”  Jody is happy because she feels twice as safe knowing that there’s two cops on the race.  She once had to ask a cop friend of hers to use their “car-breaking” tools as she had locked her keys in her car.  Michael brought his car-breaking tools too as he gestures to his arms.  If these teams stay in for the long haul, they could be entertaining!

Louie & Michael Lighten Up:  Michael is hunkered down on the LAX terminal floor cleaning out his backpack.  He explains that after their first real run of the race in the terminal, they’ve realized they overpacked.  They notice the other teams are packed lightly, which to Michael makes it seem that the other teams are planning to go dirty and wash clothes when necessary.  Rodeo stars Jet & Cord arrive and Michael chats them up.  Cord & Michael commiserate on heavy bags but Michael notices that Cord has a small bag which must be tightly packed.  Michael is now fully unpacked in the terminal waiting area and has managed to weed out a shirt, sweatshirt and a pair of shorts.  I’m not sure that’s going to make a significant impact on the load.  In addition to the weight, Michael also realized that his bag just barely fit in the overhead compartment in the airplane.  So two birds, one stone.

Louie has also been weeding out his belongings, and he’s managed to give up some vitamins, supplements and cologne.  But he’s not giving up his butt wipes, er, his baby wipes.  That is hilarious and awesome.  Michael can’t believe Louie admitted that in front of the cowboys.  Jet asks what Louie & Michael do for a living.  Michael tells them they’re cops but asks what they thought they did and if it was the mafia or used-car salesmen.

Allie & Heidi’s Connection:  Still on the Metro train to LAX, Steve tells Joe & Heidi that he is doing the race for his daughter Allie, as it’s probably not something he’d want to do on his own.  Allie asks if they have any kids and Heidi tells them that they have two kids and that it’s hard to leave them.  Steve can relate to that as he in his job he would be away from his kids a lot.  The key was to focus on the job at hand so you would not get overwhelmed by the feelings of missing your kids.  Joe is glad to have this time with Heidi as it can allow them to focus a little bit on themselves as it has been all about the family the last few years.  As the kid talk progresses, the fact that Allie graduated from Pepperdine University comes up.  Heidi reacts immediately as she also went there.  Turns out Steve did too, so they’re all Waves.  Except for Joe.  He probably went to UCLA (which is where I went) or USC, so he’s not part of the club.

Dana’s Turn:  Dana & Adrien are with Phil at the cable line cross and Dana mentions she wishes she could try the course herself.  Phil asks why not and Dana starts wondering if she’ll just get irritated while doing it knowing that if they had chosen her to do the Roadblock, they wouldn’t be eliminated.  After some debate, she clips in and starts off on the course.  I have a feeling that we will see what should have happened for this team.  Adrien walks over to the other side to wait for her as well as to cheer her on.  His cheering annoys her though as she asks him to be quiet.  Yet Dana is a fiend on the course and gets across with little trouble.  I think I’d be annoyed if I was either of them now.  Adrien recognizes that she’s fighting hard and proving that they could have done this.  He recognizes that this accomplishment will be a double-edged sword though.  There are hugs as she finishes, but you just know that this probably wasn’t a good idea for her to do this.  There will always be this lingering doubt about “what if?”

Jody Bounces Back:  At the Miami airport, Jody is doing some ankle stretches as she apparently slightly twisted her ankle at the very beginning of the race.  The excitement and endorphins of the race allowed her to not notice the pain until sitting still for a few hours.  Then the pain showed up.  She got some ice from a flight attendant and used a blanket’s plastic bag to ice it down, which worked really well.  Now she’s wrapping it in Ace bandage.  Jody seems optimistic and I still can’t believe she’s 71.  Shannon is worried about her grandma but believes they’ll be okay.  The video cuts to the next day as they are on their Chilean bus ride.  Jody is feeling great and Shannon is surprised and impressed.  Shannon has never seen anyone recover so quickly from injuries as quick as grandma Jody.  It probably helps that Jody’s a very active athlete.  Jody’s perseverance inspires Shannon not to be such a baby at times.  Jody is appreciative of the good bandage wrap she got and isn’t going to remove it unless there’s swimming ahead.  She too is amazed at the recovery of an elderly body.

Joe’s New Fan Club:  At LAX, Dan & Jordan have some thoughts on Joe & Heidi (the red team).  Both love Heidi but can’t believe how aggressive Joe was.  Joe was asking the FlyAway bus lady to leave early and then to skip to terminal 4 once they got to the airport.  Dan & Jordan couldn’t understand what Joe could be thinking as it was an airport shuttle, not his personal taxi.  Yet they realize now is not the time to cause any problems so their claws are put away for the time being.  But Joe has earned a negative notch in their memory banks and Joe needs to watch himself.

Elimination Station

The beautiful locale for this season’s Elimination Station?  Puerto Vallarta, Mexico!  As Dana & Adrian arrive at the Puerto Vallarta airport, both are bummed to be first out but hope that this means they can pick out the best room.  On their ride from the airport to the ES, they get to see a lot of cultural sights such as native dancing, beautiful scenery, tons of tourists and shops.  While it is unfortunate to be first out, coming here definitely is a nice place to lick your wounds.  They arrive at a ridiculously airy and large villa with a ridiculous, RIDICULOUS giant balcony overlooking the water and the city.  There is a private pool as well.  In Dana & Adrian’s room, which has a bed covered in rose petals, they also have their own private balcony with chaise lounges.  You know, this isn’t half bad by any stretch of the imagination.

On their balcony, Adrian asks if he can finally get some love now.  Dana jokes nope and Adrian realizes he’s still in the doghouse.  Dana admits that the race has brought some things to life, such as Adrian’s macho attitude which can impact and overshadow her.  Uh oh, this just took a turn for the dramatic!  They are now seated at the dinner table having a salad and Adrian asks how Dana is doing.  She can’t help but think about what’s going on in the race right now and thus she can’t relax just yet.  Adrian admits to being disappointed on their performance but Dana says she’s beyond that, she’s highly disappointed.

Adrian recalls the cable line challenge and that his fear of heights worked against him, causing him to lose the challenge.  This discussion dominates their day.  Dana believes that they were stupid to have made such a decision knowing full well his fear of heights.  Their game plan for weeks had been that she would do the heights and jumping while Adrian would take care of heavy-lifting  and gross-food challenges.  Yet on that first challenge, they threw their game plan away.  He jumped in on that first challenge as he thought she was too tired to do it.  Adrian understands that he lost the race for them.  He wanted to make up for his past mistakes so badly that he wanted to be the hero for her on the race.  Dana tells him that he is her hero.  Adrian wants Dana to know that he loves her and wanted this (the race) so bad for her.

It’s now the next day, let’s hope that a night of rest has dissolved some of the tension!  Dana & Adrian head to the marina where they get on a whale-watching powerboat.  Up on the bow of the boat, they actually do get to see a pair of humpback whales break the surface of the water.  Excited exclamations abound as both can’t believe what they’re seeing.  Dana didn’t expect to see whales at all, so it is obviously a nice surprise. Adrian realizes that even though they lost, they are now able to enjoy an all-expenses paid trip in Puerto Vallarta.  My thoughts exactly.  Dana admits she feels better today and Adrian wonders if he’s at kiss level yet.  Dana pauses and admits that he’s almost there.  Ouch.  Forgiveness is almost there.

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, or getting lost on the subway. He can be reached at hobiewan76@gmail.com.


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