Nov 5, 2009, Ep 6: Schadenfreude

Amazing Race 15 Insider, Episode 6: Schadenfreude

If you didn’t get enough of Maria & Tiffany’s tough ordeal, there’s more to see!  The teams also react to Sam & Dan’s coming out while also dealing with their own personal fears, whether it’s of heights or letting others down.  At Elimination Station though, another U.S. – Vietnam showdown is brewing!  Read on to find out more!

After the Race

Heads Held High:  Tiffany believes that the race has shown her all the wonderful qualities and traits that Maria possess which complement those things that Tiffany herself aren’t very good at.  They were able to really balance each other out.  She was happily surprised to watch Maria get physically active as she knew that Maria wasn’t as physically fit as her.  But Maria got out there and embraced challenges without getting “too girly” about them.  Tiffany recognizes that Maria got out of her comfort zone for the team and for her and it was amazing and touching to see.  They weren’t doing this for the money and so pushing through the difficulties was really to do it for each other.  Tiffany will never forget that Maria was a wild woman during this time even if Maria resumes being super clean and girly again.

For Maria, the race was one of the toughest and most grueling things she’s done in her entire life but it was also one of the most rewarding and liberating things too.  She may not be happy with their ending, but she thinks this is how it had to end for them.  She’s able to learn from having pushed herself to the limits and then having to deal with the disappointment.  If it had been all sunshine and rewards, she isn’t sure what she would learned from it all.  Tiffany declares that the race has made her cry like a baby but it will probably end up being the highlight of her life.

Gary & Matt on Golfing:  Gary & Matt recall their frustrations during the golf Detour.  So many times the ball would get cut off by the flag and the ball would hover right over falling into the hole.  Matt would blow the ball to try to make it fall in but alas, that failed.  They then had to start over.  Gary remembers that it got frustrating but also remembers that when they thought about it out there, they’d laugh hysterically.  They’re in their underwear, hitting giant golf balls around a cow pasture.  Kinda surreal and typical crazy Amazing Race.  Gary will never forget Matt’s pink hair, tattoos, and underwear while teeing up to play that crazy golf.  If you don’t enjoy the stress, you’ll go nuts.

Being Real:  Ericka discusses Sam & Dan’s revelation the night prior in Dubai that they are brothers and that they are gay.  She had wondered if they were but it really didn’t matter.  Ericka is aware that everyone is now in the stage of the relationship where people are being honest with each other.  She is glad that they felt comfortable enough to tell them and she has heard that they haven’t even told all their family members yet.  Ericka has experience from some of her friends and knows how hard it is to come out.  She is just so happy when people can finally be who they are.  So Ericka was very excited that Sam & Dan could be real and be who they are here on the race.  This way she knows Sam & Dan can relax and have a good time on the race.

Brian agrees with this and is impressed how Sam & Dan did it, as he knows they could have not said anything about it the entire race.  He’s happy they feel comfortable with the remaining teams and is honored because Sam & Dan haven’t even told their father yet.  Wow.  He has noticed that they seem relieved of a burden now and he’s happy for that too.  Ericka is glad that Sam & Dan can also show that you don’t have to be a certain stereotype when you’re gay.  Brian admits he was initially confused upon them coming out.  He asked if they were really brothers, which they confirmed.  Then he wondered if they were dating each other, which of course they immediately cleared up as a big no.  After that initial confusion though, he’s just glad they came out and can be themselves.

An Equal Partner:  Ericka recalls that  during her hell in the bell tower Roadblock, all she was thinking was that she couldn’t disappoint Brian.  She remembered that in Dubai, Brian was the one who brought the water in from the desert.  So if he can bring water from a desert, she should be able to count some bells!  She felt awful for doing so poorly there.  It’s important for her to feel like she’s an equal contributor, but she began to wonder if perhaps she should have chosen to row the boat in the watch Roadblock and Brian did the bell counting.  She just felt like Brian was disappointed in her but she realizes it was all in her head as Brian gave no indication that he was actually disappointed.

Cheyne’s Decision:  Cheyne admits that he can allow Meghan to make a decision but in this leg’s Detour, he immediately knew that the golf option was the best one and would better suit both of their strengths.  He understood Meghan was unsure about it but also knew she was underestimating herself and that they would succeed once out there.  As for other decisions to be made, if Meghan is adamant about something then he’ll listen.  She wasn’t adamant about the dancing option, so he pressed on.  So he made the decision to golf and she didn’t complain about it one bit, which was good of her. She says thank you and I really can’t tell if there’s sarcasm in this conversation.

Extra Race Footage

Hard to Let Go:  Meghan is frustrated that their lead has evaporated due all the teams bunching up at the airport for the flight to Amsterdam.  She knew it was inevitable that the teams would get evened out again, it’s just hard for both of them to “give up their lead.”  As I hinted at during last week’s videos with them, they realize that they had it nice and now they have to play hard again.  Meghan starts moping about how the other teams are soon going to arrive and there will be dashes to the counter.  Is she forgetting she’s on a competitive game show?

All Over the Map:  While driving in Holland, Brian recalls the wild disparities in wealth between the countries they’ve been to, and now the landscapes are wildly different too.  It’s nice to be in 60-degree weather as well as some greenery as the sand of Dubai got old.  He does miss the amazing buildings from Dubai though.  Ericka is enjoying the sights of all the Dutch windmills, as she knows that’s one of the things Holland is known for.  Brian is amused that America is finally getting the idea to use wind power while the Dutch have been using it for hundreds of years.  One of the things Brian & Ericka have noticed from their travels on the race is that America has a lot of catching up to do in certain things to the rest of the world.

Sam’s Big Mouth:  Meghan tells Cheyne that she wishes the Boys (Sam & Dan) hadn’t told the Girls (Maria & Tiffany) the answer to the bell-counting Roadblock.  She knows that the challenge takes awhile so the girls got an advantage.  Cheyne has seen that Maria & Tiffany and Sam & Dan have an alliance and have been helping each other out the entire race.  It’s frustrating to him but it’s how those teams choose to play the game.  Cheyne just wishes that the answer hadn’t been given so easily as it would have ensured that Maria & Tiffany would still be farther behind, which obviously didn’t matter in the long run anyway!  Meghan complained to Dan at the end of the bells Roadblock about what Sam did which made Dan upset.  Dan recognizes it’s too late in the game to be helping other teams out anymore.

Maria & Tiffany’s Golf Nightmare:  Looks like extended footage from Maria & Tiffany’s nightmarish Detour, and it looks like it’s the second time at the golf course.  Tiffany thinks they could succeed if it wasn’t so windy while Maria thinks being in their underwear is also not helping.  The smile fades from Tiffany’s face and Maria immediately senses it’s time to hug her friend.  It’s still sad to see this for me as honestly, I think that this Detour was definitely not fair for any all-female team.  Usually there’s a physical option or a tedious yet lucky/thinking option as well.  Both of these required more than a minimum of strength to pass.

As they’re hugging for support and for warmth, they start discussing their options.  Maria reasons that she could stay out there as long as it takes, but if it ends up taking all night, what will they do about tomorrow?  Neither of them will have the energy to race the next leg if they make it.  It looks like this is them right before formally bowing out of the race.

Follow the Leader:  If Flight Time had to choose a team to follow, he’d pick Meghan & Cheyne or Matt & Gary.   They’re both good at navigation and instructions.  He has no faith in the girls team (Maria & Tiffany, I presume).  But they don’t have an alliance so they’re going to continue doing their thing.  He recognizes that the “Poker Girls” and the “Out-of-the-Closet Brothers” have an alliance already which he is okay with.  He hopes they’ll knock each other out.  Flight Time references his term for Sam & Dan and explains that before they came out, he had referred to them as the “Brothers.”  Now they have an adjective ahead of their nickname.  He’s got no problem with them being gay and doesn’t think it’s anything to be ashamed of, as you are who you are.  You have to respect everybody.

Ericka’s Tower of Terror:  As Brian & Ericka are driving away from the bells Roadblock, Ericka admits she’s much better with maps/directions than she is with bells.  She still can’t believe how difficult it was.  Brian admits he was surprised there were only 62 bells because of how much time she spent up in the tower.  He thought there must be like over 200 bells.  Brian wonders what the size of the bells was and if there was a large variety of sizes.  She admits there were lots of big and small ones and it was hard to keep track of them all especially when the bells were ringing.

Globetrotters Take Advantage:  Flight Time explains you have to use every single scrap of free time you have to scrounge for maps, information, and resources, whether you’re at the airport, the hotel, or tourist traps.  When you’re at a hotel, look for those touristy pamphlets for local attractions.  It can lead to an advantage as it did in Dubai when they grabbed a few maps.  He does admit that the situation is different here in Amsterdam as there weren’t any maps to grab.

Concerning the other teams, Big Easy is well aware that the other teams want them gone.  He isn’t surprised and would want them gone too.  Big Easy is sure the other teams would much rather have Mika & Canaan around still as they were a team that could be easily beaten.  Everyone is cool to get along with at Pit Stops, but when the race is on, the race is on.

Pit Stop

Their Best Effort:  It’s not technically the Pit Stop, but this will have to do as Maria & Tiffany are chatting with Phil out on the golf course still.  Maria explains that even if others can’t understand their decision to leave, she is fine with it as she & Tiffany have given their all to the entire race.  Tiffany is a confident person so it is humbling to be physically fit yet hit this moment when it is clear she can not do it and she has nothing left to give.  She views this experience positively as a way to understand she’s human and not perfect.

Phil asks if they’ve ever been at this point in their lives before where they literally can’t go on in the race.  Tiffany has not and recalls turning to Maria when she realized that and telling her that she has nothing left.  It’s a frightening and scary experience but a humbling one.  Phil remarks they’re a long way away from the card tables of Las Vegas.  They laugh at that and then Maria explains that initially before the race, she wasn’t sure what she would bring to the team or what she was capable of doing.  Yet after their experience here, she’s very satisfied with her performance.  Maria is also positive that Tiffany being at her side helped her to push forward, as letting someone else down is hard to do over letting yourself down.

Tiffany has learned a lot about Maria during the race.  Even though Maria can be super girly, she knew that when push came to shove, Maria’s inner beast would emerge.  Tiffany is very proud that Maria embraced that part of her.  Tiffany wanted to succeed, especially during the carnival sledgehammer portion, in order to not let her best friend’s recently-paralyzed husband down.  She didn’t want to let down all the other people who can’t even swing a hammer down, so she refused to give up trying to make that bell ring.

Brian & Ericka’s Bad Day:  Phil asks Brian & Ericka what’s going to change for them, in response to them now being in last place.  Brian explains it started out bad and this whole leg has been hills and valley and a rollercoaster ride.  While he’s yammering on about what they’re going to do better, Ericka is at a setting of “constant sob” which makes it very hard to pay attention to what Brian is saying.  But basically he says they can’t let their performance and mistakes get to them.

To Ericka, Phil asks if she’s strong enough to stay in the race.  Through tears, she admits she is but it was just an awful leg.  All the steps she did has left her physically exhausted and she’s also in pain from all the (needless) running they did today in clogs.  Brian concurs with that as he is sure his feet are bleeding.  Everything was awful today for Ericka with the exception of right now as they know they’re still in the game.  Phil wonders why she still wants to be in it.  Ericka wants to prove that she can handle the race and she recognizes that so many thousands of people would kill to do the Race, so she’s not taking her experience for granted.

Brian understands that their failure today was due to their own mistakes and not the actions of another team.  One of their original goals for racing was to prove to Ericka’s family that they made a good team and a good couple.  He knows they didn’t show that today and that if they had lost today, Ericka’s mom would have won.  Since they’re still there, he believes they can show her mom that they are still a team and can survive.  Apparently Ericka’s mom hasn’t called Brian by his first name during the entire two and a half years of marriage (ouch) and he basically wants to show her that he’s here to stay.  He wants to prove that she hasn’t lost a daughter and that she’s gained a son.  Wow, that is pretty harsh to hear about.

Happy in Holland:  Flight Time knows that the viewing audience at home just can’t understand the pressure the teams feel while on the Amazing Race.  Phil asks if he was a slam dunk champion.  It turns out Flight Time is the 1998 NCAA College Slam Dunk champion.  He was the shortest guy in the competition but won anyway.  In a sharp change of topic, Phil brings up the crazy changes in weather, comparing Dubai’s heat to Amsterdam’s thunderstormy morning to windy, yet sunny afternoon.  Big Easy is having a blast through it all and understands this is all an experience.

Phil can’t wait to see Big Easy riding his bicycle while in his getup.  He is actually amazed that he was able to fit on it.  Big Easy did have to raise the seat up but when they left the first time, the seat wasn’t all the way in and fell off.  The bicycling was hard, but for Flight Time, the best part was the dancing.  Phil wonders what they imagine their families are thinking now, seeing these guys in their Danish outfits.  Big Easy is certain his daughter is laughing so hard that juice is spraying through her nose.  Flight Time is sure that everyone is surprised they’re still in it especially after the last leg.  Neither are worried that they’re not in first place now as the only time first matters is on the last leg.  Phil asks if they’re confident they’re going to win as he’ll write the check now.  They’re modest and are going to take it one leg at a time.

In It To Win It:  Since they’re still in the race after seven legs, Phil wonders if Gary & Matt knew they’d last this long from the beginning.  Matt is certain they’ll be in the final three.  Both are feeling that there’s competitive tension amongst the remaining teams although everyone still likes each other.  Yet all the remaining teams are tough competitors and no one is left that isn’t a strong contender to win.  They believe the Globetrotters and Meghan & Cheyne are the hardest competitors although it’s not easy to single them out over everyone else.  For Matt the wind is the hardest thing to deal with now, especially during the golf Detour.  Phil can’t believe anyone would choose to golf in this wind, then laughs and points out they chose to though.  Why didn’t they dance?  Gary & Matt both give a half-hearted attempt to explain they couldn’t dance like that, but as we saw in the broadcast, it seemed they actually changed their mind because of the fish at the end.  What’s going on there?

Overcoming Her Fears:  Meghan understood Mika’s fear of heights and tried to explain to her that you have to overcome them and make yourself do it.  Mika kept refusing to believe she could do it.  Now Meghan is visibly upset that Mika didn’t overcome her fear of the water and heights and she couldn’t conquer them.  She literally starts crying at this recollection.  Phil recalls that Mika had told her that she couldn’t do it and reminds Meghan that she did take the plunge when she needed to.  Meghan knew that she wanted to conquer her fear and this race is the perfect situation to get over things.  Cheyne thinks that the longer you take to conquer your fears, the bigger they become to you.  He wishes Mika would have just gone for it.  He feels bad for Mika & Canaan.

Meghan doesn’t like it if anything has the power to stop her, so she is always on the lookout to try and get over it.  She admits she never would have done the waterslide in a water park on her own, but the race gave her the opportunity to face her fear and get over it.  Now she’s able to do that slide 100 times if need be.  It’s even fun.  Phil asks if there could be something ahead that could still cause Meghan to freeze in her tracks.  She’s tried to imagine the scariest things and then tells herself it’ll be safe.  If it’s sky-diving or bungee-jumping ahead, they’ve agreed she’ll do them in order for her to conquer even more fears.  Cheyne would love to do those things, but recognizes the importance of Meghan fighting her fears.

Get the Globetrotters:  Phil wonders what people will say if they see Dan dressed up like a woman.  Dan doesn’t care though as he’s in first place.  Phil asks how this leg was for them.  It was cold and the shoes were heavy and the golf Detour initially seemed like it would take forever but once they got the hang of it, they knocked it right out.  Phil wants to know who is the target and Sam tells him that all the teams are really after the Globetrotters.  Phil asks if it is because of their taunting of Mika.  Dan feels bad for them and is sorry about Mika’s fears, but he thinks they should have known better to expect some scary challenges.

Phil pursues the line of questioning about what they think of Big Easy preying on Mika’s fears.  Instigate much, Phil?  Sam thinks that it was a smart move but it still sucks for Mika.  He does admit he probably would have done the same thing though.  Awesome!  Sam understands that for a million dollars, you have to look for advantages and exploit them.  Dan thinks everyone feels bad for Mika because she was just a sweet girl.  But it’s a race, so you gotta go for it.  Phil then gets to his point of whether Sam & Dan have anything against the Globetrotters.  They don’t, but they see the Globetrotters as a good team and want them gone.  Again, Phil tries to get them to slam the Globetrotters for their Mika-move by asking if it was unethical, but then he realizes that Sam just said he would probably have done something.  Sam recognizes it could be a bully move, but it was a fair move.

Elimination Station

It’s nighttime at the Station and everyone is out on the back patio gathered around a table having some drinks and playing some cards.  The group is having a blast and everyone is getting along.  The BlackBerry on the table begins ringing and everyone is excited to find out who is calling them.  The phone is answered and an unidentifiable woman speaks, so Zev asks if it’s Ericka.  The woman answers that it’s not and that it’s Maria & Tiffany.  Everyone exclaims “oooh!” and with the knowledge of having been recently eliminated themselves.  It seemed genuine but then the video cuts to Garrett who claims that Maria & Tiffany didn’t bond with anyone and that they’re bad people.  What?  This coming from the team that was eliminated first?

Zev asks what happened and Tiffany begins to explain that it was a tough day and they worked very, very hard.  Zev replies that they also worked hard.  I don’t think Maria & Tiffany are going to get much love from this group.  As Tiffany explains what they had to do (swim across a canal and golf in underwear), Keri asks what really happened as this story doesn’t sound real.  Jessica explains to us that because Maria & Tiffany lied to everyone at the beginning of the race, no one believes them now.  Tiffany wraps the phone call up and tells them that they’ll meet them at End City, so I guess Elimination Station is full to capacity.

Garrett is glad that Maria & Tiffany aren’t there as they didn’t even want to be on the race, according to them.  He believes they want to go back to their cushy Vegas lives as it’s too grueling out here.  At the table, Zev (who appears to be a little buzzed or drunk) explains that the team that everyone has wanted to be eliminated finally has been, and now they can go back to drinking.

The next morning, vans take the group out to a local soccer field to play soccer with a group of local children.  Canaan isn’t sure what to expect in terms of the grounds they’ll be playing in.  His fears are just as it is basically nothing more than a rectangle of dirt, but really mostly mud.  Lance jokes that he can’t wait to absolutely destroy the kids and prove American might.  Jessica thinks it’ll be interesting to see the American guys play the Vietnamese kids, while Keri is ready to see the kids kick the guys’ butts.  Then the “kids” arrive on a bunch of motorized scooters, and everyone realizes that the “kids” are actually teenagers.  I was totally thinking it was going to be cute kids too.  I think this may end up being a tragic American defeat.

Justin mentions they were told it would be 7-, 8-, 9-year-old kids and it’s now looking like the Vietnamese national team.  They have uniforms and everything.  Keri thinks the guys would have a chance if some of the Vietnamese players came over to the American side.  To differentiate the teams, the Americans have chosen skins, allowing the guys to show off a little.  One of the Vietnamese guys has come over to play for the Americans and chuckles when he has to take his shirt off too.  The five-on-five game is about to start, but of course that is the end of the video!  Till next week…

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 or getting lost on the subway. He can be reached at


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