The Amazing Race 14 Insider, Episode 1: â€œWhen Youâ€™re Leading a Pack of Lemmingsâ€¦â€
The top three teams this episode are all hugs and kisses around each other on the mat, but what are they really thinking about each other? Will Preston & Jennifer (right) have a chance to continue working on their relationship at Elimination Station or is it going to blow up in their face? And will Steve ever give Linda a break? These insider videos should help shine a light on all this and more!
And weâ€™re baaaack! I hope you enjoyed the beginning of another season of The Amazing Race as much as I did. I appreciate the new editing and the enhanced focus on the places the teams are going to, as well as the teams themselves. The CBS Insider footage is very entertaining so far. Witness the wreck of Preston & Jenniferâ€™s relationship train as it ran into Elimination Station. See even more of Steve & Lindaâ€™s tearful Swiss campsite blamefest. I canâ€™t detect a Jonathan & Victoria or Kelly & Christy amongst the teams just yet, but letâ€™s give it an episode or two! Also, in Philâ€™s Video Diary, heâ€™ll give you tips on flying first class, plus youâ€™ll get to see his â€œBlue Steelâ€ modeling pose. Letâ€™s begin!
Before the Race:
Victorâ€™s Weaknesses: In this pre-race footage, Tammy explains that her brother Victor is a control freak, but it typically works out for him. Itâ€™s just that now theyâ€™re going to be traveling around the world doing things heâ€™s very bad at doing, such as asking for help, being embarrassed in front of strangers, etc. Sheâ€™s worried if he doesnâ€™t let her take control, there will be problems.
Victor knows that the major strength theyâ€™re going to bring to the race is their strong knowledge of each otherâ€™s strengths and weaknesses. Heâ€™s polite and reserved where Tammy wonâ€™t be. When they were at the Beijing Olympics, he was unable to even ask about tickets from scalpers, let alone buy them. Victor is looking forward to having his boundaries pushed by the race. Meanwhile, Tammy humorously recognizes that sheâ€™s got no problems interacting with strangers as she has a spoiled background and feels â€œentitledâ€ to the help.
Victoria Overcomes: Victoria tells us that she was born with dislocated hips and structural deformities in her feet (geez!). She had numerous surgeries to correct these issues, but Victoria still has a weird walk and weakness in half of her body. Victoria does her best to ignore it when others notice her physical limitations or scars. Strenuous running is now too much for her body, so Tammy has to limit her running to just a few miles a day. Itâ€™s still a challenge, but it forces her to confront and overcome obstacles and physical pain. Effectively, sheâ€™s lived her whole life with these hurdles and looks at the experience as a blessing.
After the Race:
Preston & Jenniferâ€™s Farewell: Preston explains that their relationship on the race was the same as it was before they went on it. Itâ€™s possible they communicate better now, but itâ€™s definitely a point to work on. He says the relationship is both frustrating and awesome, to which Jennifer nods and chuckles in agreement.
Jennifer explains that they were going to use The Amazing Race as couples counseling (my words), but because they raced so little, the relationship is still headed towards staying together. She misses the opportunity to have won a million dollars, but they made some great friends. Preston chimes in that it still would have been good to win the money so bills could get paid and he could finally move out of an apartment. Well, maybe Elimination Station will yield some interesting relationship results for the two?
Extra Race Footage:
Legal Eagles Debrief: In the cab ride away from the Goldeneye dam jump, Tammy explains to Victor that it took her a few moments to process that it was a Roadblock and not a Detour. She was thrilled to not have to make the jump! When it came time to decide who was going to jump, Tammy didnâ€™t want Victor to feel like she was making him do it. Victorâ€™s just plain surprised sheâ€™d even contemplate doing it!
Victor is proud that they both can read and process the clues fast, as they need that edge. It helped them overtake Mark & Michael and get to the jump first. Victor warns that itâ€™s important they both read the clues clearly though, in case one of them is taking a mental break (foreshadowing?).
While pondering how to keep in first place, Victor concludes that itâ€™s important when leading a pack of lemmings to get so far out they canâ€™t even see you and get lost. Tammy recognizes not all the others are lemmings and gives Luke props for his demonstrated skills thus far. She thinks Luke will have to pull his mom Margie along, though. Tammy is happily optimistic she can outrun Margie. Both also like Jaime & Cara and seem to have established a friendly non-binding alliance with them.
(Not So) Well Rested: Brad & Victoria recount their sleep stories at the Swiss campsite. Brad got some zzzâ€™s, but Victoria mostly spent the night listening to othersâ€™ conversations and the surrounding environment. Yet, at two AM, she found herself crying nonstop about anything that came into her mind. A walk around the camp cleared her head, and sheâ€™s feeling good again.
Working Out the Kinks: Margie realizes their teamâ€™s biggest challenge is asking for help. Luke signs that heâ€™s frustrated with Margie as she is hesitant to do so. She points out that people are uncomfortable when communicating with a deaf person, since most have no idea how to sign. The responsibility thus falls on Margie to be out there talking. Writing stuff down is somewhat effective, but Luke interjects that heâ€™s limited to English writing and signing. If they manage to last a long time, this will be a very hard-fought race for them!
I Ainâ€™t Got Nobody: Steve & Linda observe theyâ€™re in the middle of the last pack on the way to Cheese Hill. Steve reveals that he asked Jennifer & Kisha to work with them, but were told that they were too slow. Yet now Jennifer & Kisha are behind them, much to Steve & Lindaâ€™s enjoyment. Steve is a little frustrated because no one wants to work with them in an alliance. Linda believes others think theyâ€™ll slow them down. Steve is just insulted no one wants to help them. (All I can say is â€“ Duh!)
Preston & Jenniferâ€™s Cab Ride:In the cab, Preston tells us about Steveâ€™s frustration with them once it became clear to Steve that Preston & Jennifer werenâ€™t going to ally with him. Preston & Jennifer are already aligned with Amanda & Kris, and loosely aligned with Mike & Mel. Jennifer says that even their current alliance with Amanda & Kris is loose, as theyâ€™re still having to compete strongly with each other. Preston rationally explains that heâ€™s friendly and helpful to a point with Steve & Linda, but after that point, itâ€™s a race!
Steve & Linda Extended: At the Swiss campsite, Linda is in tears and Steve tells her that theyâ€™re making fools of themselves. Linda, through tears, actually makes a solid point that there is still one team that hasnâ€™t even arrived yet. Ever pessimistic, Steve knows that tomorrow theyâ€™ll just mess up again and be in last place. He then aims low and tells Linda that they fell behind three times today because she was too slow.
Linda begins crying again and explains she would have done better if she could. This proves Steveâ€™s point as to why they should just give up. Optimistically, Linda points out that there are more challenges ahead and she canâ€™t be counted out yet. He still harps on her and assumes it wonâ€™t get better because everyone else is jet-lagged too, so she canâ€™t use that as an excuse. Linda agrees, but notes that the others donâ€™t have their husbands yelling at them. (Iâ€™m starting to feel a lot more sympathy for Linda seeing this edit of the video). In the most laugh out loud moment of the video, Steve tells Linda, â€œWell, good job out there today!â€ What?
Steve & Lindaâ€™s Personal Roadblock: At the LAX parking lot entrance, Steve pulls a ticket at the entry gate. He doesnâ€™t pull forward though, as he sees the spikes in the ground that warn drivers from driving a certain direction. Steve calls over an attendant who calmly explains to him that they only do damage if you back up. Wow. Sure enough, they make it through safely! At least theyâ€™re both laughing about it.
Communication Breakdown: Jen & Kisha are at the train station reviewing the map of Interlaken. Kisha thinks they can spend this downtime looking for a better local map in order to gain a potential edge. She also tells us that she doesnâ€™t have a purse so she wouldnâ€™t know what youâ€™d normally put in one. Jen pipes in that Kisha calls her purse a backpack, and that itâ€™s important to keep your purse or backpack secured so nothing falls out. Jen is worried about stuff falling out in cabs (Hello, Dallas of Season 13!). Kisha understands Jenâ€™s point, but thinks Jen should trust her.
Out by the train platform, Jen & Kisha are now arguing. Jen is upset that Kisha gets defensive every time Jen says something to her. Kisha responds that whenever she is talking to Jen, it seems as if Jenâ€™s not listening. Kisha brings up her map suggestion as something Jen blew off. Jen says she thought that they could look for a local map of Interlaken, but there probably wouldnâ€™t be one since Interlaken is three hours away.
Kisha still believes Jen was being negative. Jen finally gives up, and realizes sheâ€™ll have to â€œwalk on eggshells.â€ Yet the argument continues anew, and now itâ€™s back to the whole leaving-your-bag-open issue. Hilariously, Kisha looks directly at the camera and explains that they are having communicaton difficulties right now.
Dr. Giggles: Kisha & Jen meet Preston & Jennifer and Mel & Mike at LAX while waiting to fly to Switzerland. A lot of discussion of family and backgrounds ensues. Jennifer guesses that Kisha & Jen were involved in volleyball or basketball. Mike (of School of Rock fame!) reveals heâ€™s nicknamed Kisha & Jen â€œGigglesâ€ and â€œSleepy,â€ respectively. Kisha laughs and reveals her sorority already calls her Dr. Giggles.
The Passion of Luke: This clip opens with Mark saying heâ€™s impressed by Luke, and can see Luke is the driving force of his team (just like Tammy & Victor noticed above). Mark can see the passion in Lukeâ€™s actions, and his brother Michael believes that passion wins out over muscles. They both see the current top three as the eventual final top three (that being Mark & Michael, Luke & Margie, and Tammy & Victor). Both are confident right now, as theyâ€™re working out the air bubbles and hitting a synergy of their strengths. They definitely see top three in their future. Confident much?
Well Seasoned Traveler: While driving to LAX, Mark tells us about how he travelled constantly while working as a horse jockey. That experience has made him a seasoned traveler. Mark loves it, saying itâ€™s an adrenaline rush to travel. Additionally, the discipline of being a horse jockey 24/7 and having a strict schedule has allowed him to â€œdial in.â€
Stuntmen Meet Flight Attendants: In this scene, Jodi & Christie and Mark & Michael introduce themselves and awkward small talk ensues! The talk eventually turns to the height of Jodi & Christieâ€™s husbands, and whether Mark & Michael have wives. Mark doesnâ€™t wear a ring now, but he is married. He explains the ring is special and clearly points out what he does. Jodi realizes he doesnâ€™t want to admit what he does for a living, and both Mark & Michael agree, saying it can wait for a few legs.
No Men Needed: Out of breath and heading away from the evil Swiss cheese hill, Jaime & Cara are quite proud of their efforts as they had no men helping them out. They know theyâ€™re the first of the female teams out from the cheese hill, but the remaining all-girl teams are right behind them. Cara recognizes that itâ€™s best to not put out the bad vibes just yet, but theyâ€™ve noticed some teams have become sneaky already. Mostly though, Jaime & Cara are glad to chat with the others during the train rides and such, but itâ€™s understood that the game is on when the doors open.
Womanâ€™s Best Friend: On the walk to the Swiss campsite, Jaime sees a very cute Swiss dog and, along with Tammy, heads immediately over to pet it. Jaime does a quick visual spot check of whether itâ€™s a boy or girl, but the dog is too fluffy to tell. The owner tells her the dog is a boy. Jaime wonders if the dog can come back to the campsite with them. The dog loves all the attention as dogs typically do!
A Tough Leg: On the way to the Pit Stop, Preston & Jennifer sing the same song heard on every first leg of The Amazing Raceâ€¦ â€œItâ€™s so much harder than we expected!â€ From 700-foot bungie jumps to 200 pounds of cheese hell, itâ€™s been a very tough leg. Additionally, they havenâ€™t slept for 60 hours, and theyâ€™ve barely eaten anything. The Amazing Race is a huge life experience.
Fired Up: Margie & Luke are crouched over an unlit campfire in this clip, trying to light it. Margie knows her family is going to laugh when they see this. Luke recoils from the hot kerosene lamp theyâ€™re trying to siphon flame from to start the fire. Margie looks around and sees Preston and asks for his help in starting it up. Preston manages to shift up the lanternâ€™s glass a bit and now some kindling can be inserted in it. After a few attempts (is this Survivor?), Preston carefully gets a piece of paper to light. Others have gathered around and also realize this is just like out of Survivor! Everyoneâ€™s stoked for fire.
At the Pit Stop:
Feeling Responsible: Phil points out that eliminating the first team is one of the hardest things he does on The Amazing Race. Jennifer doesnâ€™t like it either, but theyâ€™ve been up for 60 hours straight because they were so paranoid about missing flights. She really didnâ€™t want to go first and nearly cries. Preston assures Jennifer that she did the best she could. The relationship comes up in conversation and Preston states that they didnâ€™t want to be eliminated for acting stupid or not communicating. Jennifer jumps in with â€œWe did!â€ but Preston presses on about how they did everything really well. Theyâ€™re best friends and Jennifer just doesnâ€™t want to feel like she let him down.
A Second Chance: Phil brings up what I was thinking when Jodi & Christie were first introduced â€“ flight attendants must have such an advantage on this show. Jodi & Christie quickly dispel that, saying they only work on U.S.-based flights. But they do know a smattering of foreign languages and were able to communicate with the locals here.
Jodi & Christie are happy about their great day and performanceâ€¦ yesterday. Today was a different story as they didnâ€™t follow their instincts and they took some bad risks. Their reprieve from elimination is a second chance to prove themselves. Theyâ€™ve now gone from first to last and can see how, through sheer perseverance and luck, mistakes can be overcome. Jodi still knows that one little mistake can ruin the best laid plans. Christie tells Jennifer that she shouldnâ€™t feel like she let Preston down. They did awesome and, heck, they made it to Switzerland â€“ so be proud and happy!
Redheads Have More Fun: The Miami-based team of Jaime & Cara are a little winded from the very Alp-y Switzerland. Phil wants to know if the Swiss men have paid attention to them because of their red hair. Jaime & Cara have noticed they stand out in this country of blonde folks. Phil is curious if theyâ€™ve met anyone interesting in their travels so far. They remember in one of the trains that a group of 20 drunken Germans got a little friendly with them. Phil says that this is not only The Amazing Race, but the Amazing Date. Really, Phil?
Harder Than It Looks: Wow â€“ itâ€™s a video with Amanda & Kris â€“ Iâ€™d forgotten they were even on this show! Theyâ€™re exhausted and out of breath at the Pit Stop and canâ€™t believe how hard it is. They havenâ€™t slept, theyâ€™re thirsty, and theyâ€™re hungry. They reveal to Phil that theyâ€™ve made an alliance with Preston & Jennifer and Mel & Mike. Phil inquires about Amandaâ€™s fancy earrings and if theyâ€™re expensive. Kris tells him theyâ€™re Amandaâ€™s fake bling. Apparently, Kris has his Flava Flav wristwatch. That is a big dang watch. Phil wonders if theyâ€™re happy with their position in the first leg. Kris definitely is happy as theyâ€™re further up than they were starting off from the campsite. He just wants to keep creeping up the position ladder.
Mikeâ€™s Pun-ishment: Phil wonders if the race is too physical for Mel. Mel is amusingly defensive. The cheese hill is still in Melâ€™s mind and he loses his train of thought. Mike remembers though, and is just happy that they were on that first train â€“ as they definitely needed that leg up to overcome the other very strong teams. Phil encourages them with a reminder of their fourth-place finish, and Mel tells Phil he just doesnâ€™t want to hear â€œyouâ€™re team number last.â€
Phil asks how their teamwork is going so far. Mike wants Mel to stop with the puns and feels, after the torture of Cheese Hill, he deserves a pun-free zone for a little while. Mel just wants to keep things â€œpunny.â€ Mike grins and points a gun-finger to his head, laughing to himself. Phil wonders why theyâ€™re out here. Mel explains that Mike has always wanted to do this, and Mike wants to have an adventure with his best friend. The one-on-one time is nice to have. Phil recalls a drive across America he had with his dad a few years back. Mel has mostly wanted quality time with Mike, though, and Mike thinks heâ€™s finally given Mel that quality time on Cheese Hill.
Love Fest on the Mat: As the first three teams crowd around the mat, you can see that everyoneâ€™s out of breath, but Phil can also see there are tears in everyoneâ€™s eyes because everyoneâ€™s so happy for each other. Phil asks how his signed â€œyouâ€™re team number oneâ€ was, and Luke signs that it was perfect. Phil comments that Luke & Margie were blazing the trail, but Margie & Luke fully admit that it was almost a team effort with the others on the mat. Margie can see that Luke is running his heart out, which Tammy affirms as Luke can run fast. Although right now, Luke is still really emotional. Margie explains itâ€™s because Luke has wanted to do this for so long.
Tammy & Victor recall how no one knew while flying to Switzerland who was ahead, so it became a case of Team Lufthansa vs. Team Air France. But once on the ground, even while competing, these top three were doing it together. Tammy is really impressed by Victorâ€™s perseverance on the hill, and his willingness to motivate her too even through his pain. Meanwhile, Mark remarks that he had been carrying half his body weight on that hill, and it was just a tough thing to do.
Preston & Jennifer Eliminated: So, where will the eliminated teams go this season? Last year it was Acapulcoâ€¦ and this year itâ€™s Thailand! Preston & Jennifer land at Samui Airport, and they immediately feel itâ€™s very hot here. As theyâ€™re walking through the airport, Jennifer continues being afraid that she let Preston down. He casually ignores her comments and subtly states that they can sit at the pool and wait for the next team to get there.
Jennifer realizes theyâ€™ll get to be the official greeters at Elimination Station. In the van on their way to the Station, Preston says they were so close to beating the blondes (Jodi & Christie). The pain of the Cheese Hill challenge can still be felt, both physically and emotionally. As theyâ€™re staring out the windows of the van, neither can believe theyâ€™re really in Thailand. They pass a highway sign and neither can read it because, as Jennifer puts it, â€œitâ€™s written inâ€¦ Thailand.â€ Preston isnâ€™t convinced the language is called â€œThailand.â€
The van pulls into the estate and three Thai greeters put flowers around their necks. Jenninfer & Preston walk into this amazingly huge and tricked-out Real World-esque house. They check out the whole house and Jennifer sees the silver lining in being first eliminated, as they get first dibs on the bedrooms. After that, Preston & Jennifer step outside to admire the view from the balcony. Preston thinks it may be best for their relationship that they got eliminated early. The stress of the race may not have yielded the hoped-for results.
The next morning, Preston & Jennifer discuss who they think is coming next. Preston is convinced itâ€™ll be Steve & Linda and not Brad & Victoria. Jennifer agrees, and canâ€™t imagine Tammy & Victor or Margie & Luke coming to Thailand anytime soon. Talk turns to how fast Mark & Michael are. Jennifer says height definitely wasnâ€™t a factor, and then Preston laughingly tells her that heâ€™s â€œsorry, but everyoneâ€™s faster than you.â€ Jennifer is not amused by the comment (surprise!) and retorts that Preston was the one that got them lost. Thus ends the honeymoon period. She starts to cry a bit and he sarcastically says itâ€™s not her speed, but obviously his inability to navigate. This sets her off and Jennifer leaves.
Privately, sheâ€™s still very sensitive about losing, and says Prestonâ€™s insensitivity towards that leads her to believe that perhaps their relationship isnâ€™t going to make it. We flash back to Jennifer leaving the breakfast table and saying she wishes she had raced with someone else. Preston figures the outcome wouldnâ€™t have been any better. It IS the Real World house! Whereâ€™s the hot tub?
Philâ€™s Video Diary:
Episode 1 – LAX: Phil and Rudi, the CBS publicity photo guy, are driving down the LAX tarmac to an Air New Zealand 747 as Phil explains itâ€™s time to take the official publicity photos. According to Phil, short of flying the plane, theyâ€™re going to do everything you can with a plane. We next see Phil working with Monty, another photo guy, to figure out the best angles for the shots and where the plane would best be positioned. Cries of â€œthe plane, the planeâ€ are heard.
Cut to the techno-beat montage of Phil being photographed all Amazing Race-like, with the 747 behind him. He even gets photographed while sitting in the front of an engine. Gotta admit, Phil takes a damn good photo. They then go inside the New Zealand Air 747 in which Phil reveals his favorite seats are 19A or 19K. Of course these are the ridiculously comfortable diagonal chairs with ottomans and TV screens. Must be nice to be Phil! Phil gives us the scoop on all the ways you can use 19A/K to entertain at, watch TV on, or sleep on.
Cue the actual photos used from the photo shoot, and that is another episode of Philâ€™s Video Diary. Where will we catch up with him next?