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Dec. 12

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Well, this is it HT. TAR's race for the finish. We stand a 66% chance of an all woman team winning the whole shebang, so let's get started.


But first, a bit of a spoiler and a joke. Bob Eubanks appears in this episode. I don't know how many of you are old enough to remember Bob Eubanks, but he used to host the original Newlywed Game, years ago. I love Bob Eubanks. He was truly brilliant in his ability to rile up the contestants and make them look like complete idiots. For years, urban legend had it that the following exchange took place on one of the Newlywed Game episodes (paraphrasing).


Question: Where is the strangest place that you ever made whoopee?

Answer: In the butt, Bob!


Mr. Eubanks continuously denied that this ever happened. Then, one day, someone dug up this clip. I give you a truly hilarious moment in Newlywed Game History.




That being out of the way, here! we! go!


There is nothing spectacular during the previouslies other than the fact that Chad's temper problems did not prevent Stephanie from accepting his marriage proposal in romantic, humid Oman, and that Pricki was an asshole to Vicki; a lot. Once Phil runs through the teams that were eliminated along the way, he introduces us to the final three teams.


We are reminded of the highlights from the three teams: Brooke and Melonface exhibiting their "Brooke and Melonface flair;" Jill and Thomas who are commended for their athleticism and strategy (according to the show, their strategic highlight was u-turning Brooke and Claire, which really didn't work out for them;) and Doctors Kat and Nat. According to Phil, they ran the race with "surgical precision, using every tool at their disposal."


Really, Phil? You actually agreed to read that?


Did you know that Nat has diabetes? Well, in case you haven't paid attention during the past 3 months, she does.


Jill and Thomas are the first to leave at 3:57AM. They are headed to Los Angeles. Hey, that works out well. I live in LA, so maybe I can add some helpful insights about the locations the racers visit. And, if you don't give a crap about my insights, that's too bad. This is my ship, and I'll run it the way I want.


Jill and Thomas are off, and we get a pre-finale leg interview of their opinions about the possibility of an all-girl team winning the race. Jill says that they have "ran [sic] hard" during the race. Thomas further annoys The Grammar Police by stating that he "could care less" about TAR history being made. Apparently, Thomas' $120,000 Notre Dame education did not include a grammar class, because he should have said that he "couldn't care less." He also thinks that, once in LA, he can break out his Spanish skills to their benefit.


Oh, Thomas.


Brooke and Claire leave at 4:23AM. If you consider the 30 minute penalty they received last week, this means that they finished up last week's leg only 4 minutes ahead of Jill and Thomas ... which makes no sense considering the show's editing. I'll let it go, because it really makes no difference. It's early in the morning, and chances are that they will all get on the same flight.


Nat and Kat leave at 4:27AM, and head to the airport. All teams end up at the Korean Airlines ticket counter, waiting for the ticketing station to open. At 6:30AM, all three teams book their tickets to LA. Once they land, they must head to the port of Long Beach, which is about 20 mile due South of LAX.


The teams arrive and scurry to grab taxis. Nat/Kat are first, with Jill/Thomas and Brooke/Claire hot on their heels. We are treated to an aerial view of their cabs rolling down the highway ... with no traffic. I can't help but wonder exactly when they arrived, because there are very few times in LA when there is such little traffic on the 405 or 710 Freeways.


As Nat/Kat arrive at the next task, Nat becomes concerned when she sees cranes perched atop high platforms. She reminds us about her fear of heights. Once at the clue box, Nat reads "Welcome to the drop zone." That's helpful.


In this task, the teams must head to the top of a gantry crane, strap themselves in and bungee jump. Truth be told, it's kind of a weenie bungee jump. In my book, bungee jumping means that you plummet towards your death hundreds of feet before a skimpy little elastic cord contraption saves you from becoming a grease spot on the sidewalk. In this case, the racers drop a very short distance, and are lowered to a floating platform where they receive their next clue.


Nat's attitude is that she wants to get this over before she thinks about dying. We are reminded about her previous encounter with death, when she rode the gondola in some country that I forget. Whilst they suit up, Jill/Thomas and Brooke/Claire arrive. It seems that both Brooke and Jill have similar issues with fear of heights, although nowhere near Nat's fear.


It looks like there are three separate stations where the racers must suit up and drop. The rules are never fully explained, but it appears that once a team decides to jump, the other teams must wait until the jumping team has finished up. So, the question is if Nat/Kat have problems because of Nat's fears, and she delays jumping off the crane, how long do the other teams have to wait?


We'll never know what the answer is, because a terrified and crying Nat and Kat are the first to jump ... and don't die. After it becomes apparent that Nat is safe, she woohoos, and they are lowered to a dinghy (with Nat noting that she didn't pee her pants), that takes them to the dock for their next clue. They will be boarding a helicopter to a "surprise destination."


Jill/Thomas are the next to drop. Neither one of them dies. They are lowered to their dinghy.


And then, there is Brooke and Claire. While it is apparent that Brooke is terrified, she handles herself quite well ... before the task ... whilst up on the crane ... before being dropped ... while being dropped. However, after being dropped, while she is dangling, she starts screaming ... alot. These are screams of being absolutely convinced that she is headed for a watery death.


Spoiler alert!


Brooke does not die. She and Claire head towards the next clue box.


So, all three teams are headed to a surprise destination. Once in the air, the background music is Wagner's

! . How great is this? This is the music that was playing in Apocalypse Now, when American forces napalmed a Vietnamese Village. I have hope that the racers will napalm some unsuspecting Southern California enclave. Personally, I vote for Orange County.


The surprise destination is ...


The Rose Bowl. For those of you who don't know, the Rose Bowl is located roughly in Pasadena ... about 20 miles NE of Downtown LA. Here is a map of the area. The teams started out at LAX (approximately where El Segundo is located), headed towards Long Beach (at the bottom of the map), and are now at the Rose Bowl.


Nat/Kat arrive first and open the next clue which is this leg's Roadblock. Phil regales us with Rose Parade history which is the theme of this Roadblock. The chosen team member must replicate the decoration of a Rose Bowl Float. If you ever wondered why the Rose Parade is the standard for parades, read the rules concerning the decoration of floats entered in the parade.


The chosen team member must complete three separate sections of decoration of a float according to the rules of Rose Parade. I won't go into specifics, but let's just say that the decoration must adhere to specific standards set by the Rose Bowl Committee.


Nat will be performing the Roadblock. She starts gluing mums onto the side of the float. The show leads us to believe that she finishes up the first part of this task before Jill/Thomas arrive. Once they do arrive, Thomas takes the Roadblock ... which is unfortunate, as far as Jill and Thomas are concerned. Unfortunate, because they planned out the race assuming that the final Roadblock would be physical. Unfortunately, the final Roadblock deals with flowers and floats which is so un-masculine.


Brooke and Claire arrive, and Brooke is beyond happy to be performing this task.


Nat thinks that she has finished the task correctly, but is informed that she did not follow directions. She corrects her mistake, and is the first to finish. They are given their next clue.


Unfortunately, you will have to wait until tomorrow to find out what happens next. It's 12:23AM here on the West Coast, and I need some sleep.

Edited by ff174

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When we last left the final three, Nat had just finished up the Roadblock by successfully decorating portions of a Rose Bowl Float. She runs over to get her clue from the 2009 Rose Queen, leaving Brooke and Thomas to finish up the task.


The clue is a riddle. There are three questions to be answered. The answers to the questions go into empty blanks within a sentence. Once the racers have filled in the blanks with the answers, they will know their next destination. The three questions are:


1. I am Sancho Panza's master. ff knows the answer to this. It's Don Quixote. I am quite surprised that none of the racers knew this, especially Nat or Kat.

2. I am the place to hear The Symphony in the Glen. I kinda' guessed at this. I thought that it would bee The Greek Amphitheater, in Griffith Park. Actually, I was in the right park, but The Symphony in the Glen is a separate location.

3. Monroe's Year of the itch. Must be seven, right? She was in The Seven Year Itch.


So, when you put it all together, I am guessing that the full context of the clue would take them to Don Quixote Studios in Griffith Park where they must find Studio 7.


Nat/Kat head towards the taxi's. They are looking for any taxi driver that has an iPhone. Smart move. They obviously intend to use the phone to do a little internet research to help them with the clue. They jump into one cab and say "Sancho Panza" to the cab driver. I don't know what that was all about, but when the driver's eyes glaze over, they bail and continue their quest to find a iPhoned taxi driver.


And we are headed for commercials. Hey, what a coinky-dink! One of the commercials is about the iPhone!!! Imagine that!!


Nat and Kat ask some cab driver about Sancho Panza, and he thinks it may be a freeway. Once Thomas finishes up, Nat and Kat figure that they better get in a taxi and "call the information." Are they going to dial 411? Because that will get them nowhere fast.


Speaking of getting nowhere fast, let's consider Jill and Thomas' fate for the rest of the leg. (Do you like that segue?) I am making a recapper's decision to do a little spoiling. Oh, come on. It's not like you know who does and doesn't win. You watched the episode, didn't you? Anyway, I am not going to recap Jill and Thomas for the rest of this recap. They finish in last. Not only that, we don't even see them do any more tasks ... unless you count the art of getting unbelievably, completely, utterly and supremely lost as a task. There are two reasons for this. First, they get the TAXI! DRIVER!

FROM! HELL! Strike that, Jill and Thomas would have benefited from getting an actual taxi driver from hell, because that driver would not have been as completely useless as this guy is. It's like he was transported from another country, and dropped into a cab just before the day started. How can he be expected to find anything in LA? He probably can't find his ass with two hands.


And, he does not know what the internet is. Every time that Jill and Thomas ask the driver to get them to a place that has a computer, the driver thinks that he can get any information needed from his GPS.


What I can't figure out is why Jill and Thomas stayed so long with this guy. Sure, LA has a reputation for lousy transportation services outside your own car, but anyone ... ANYONE would have been better than this guy. Also, if the guy does not know what the internet is, there is very little chance that he knows what a "Google Search" is ... which is exactly what Jill and Thomas keep asking him. They finally get out of the cab and head towards a TV repair service asking to use the internet. After this fails, they wander in the street, indiscriminately asking passers-by to use the internet.


Hey! That means that we will get an all female winner of The Race, right? YAY!!


Let's find out who, shall we?


While Brooke finishes up her decorating, Nat has found someone on the phone, and is asking her to Google the internet to find out who exactly Mr. Panza is. The person on the other end of the line tries to beg off claiming that she has a line of people in front of her. I wonder who exactly they called. Nat persists by using the old "we're racing for a lot of money" line, and whomever is on the other end finally gives up the goods.


Brooke finishes up the float decoration and rejoins Claire. They use a different tactic than Jill and Thomas. They ask their driver to get them to a place that has internet access ... also a smart idea, but it's obvious that Nat and Kat's method is far superior. Brooke and Claire make their way to a hotel, I think, to begin their research.


Nat and Kat arrive at Quixote Studios and encounter the last task. The racers must look at a rather large television screen with 48 separate frames. In each of the frames, there are pictures of what I think is the pit stop greeters from not only this year's Race, but also previous year's races. The team mates must identify the pet stop greeters and put them in order on a iPad looking device. Once they arrange the greeters in the correct order, they will receive their next clue from the aforementioned Bob Eubanks.


Nice task, show. This one was well thought out, and quite difficult.


Nat and Kat dive right in, and are breezing through this task. We learn that they took copious notes at the end of each leg of the race. While they probably did not make any notes concerning the greeters, the notes helped them to remember each leg's destination, which really helped them finish up rather quickly.


Meanwhile, Brooke and Claire have the necessary information to get them to Don Quixote Studios. They keep remarking that they feel that they are doing well, and could be in first place ... or last.


Nat and Kat finish up, and the clue directs them to head to the finish line at the Greystoke Mansion. Now, the Greystoke Mansion is in Beverly Hills, which is probably about 20 miles away from Don Quixote Studios, so it looks like Nat and Kat are in pretty good shape. Brooke and Claire arrive to see Bob Eubanks and damn near pee their pants. They attack Bob, saying that he is their idol. Bob, trying to hurry them along, reminding them of the task at hand, responds with "you're mine too!"


Hah! I love Bob.


Anyway the rest is just window dressing. The show tries to make us believe that Brooke and Claire are flying through the task while Nat and Kat deal with LA traffic. But Brooke and Claire will also have to deal with the same traffic, so there is little suspense left. As the eliminated racers cheer them on, Nat and Kat finish first, becoming the first all female team to win the Race.


All I can say is that it is about time.


Brooke and Claire finish up second with Jill and Thomas a distant third.


And that's it, sports' fans! I really enjoyed the opportunity to do this for all of you. See you in the forums!

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