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Finally, A Good Race.

In My Amazing Race Asia Addiction on December 28, 2007 at 1:15 am

I know I haven’t said the best things about the second season of The Amazing Race Asia, but tonight after watching the Japan-Korea episode since last week, I am very glad to finally smile and say…

NOW THAT’S THE KIND OF RACE I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR!

Starting off from last week’s episode where the teams left New Zealand and its boring tasks and headed to Japan, I got the feeling Michael McKay would bring back the long lost soul of TARA.  Terri and Henry’s bickering still annoyed me, Marc and Rovilson were still the hottest -and the most camera-conscious team ever-, Paula and Natasha were… well, competitive as hell, Vanessa and Pamela were stressed out, Daichi and Sawaka were ecstatic to go back home to Japan and Team Desperate Housewives, Ann and Diane were… I don’t know what to say about them except WOW THESE MOMS ARE FAAAASST!

I kinda forgot what happened when they first arrived in Japan.  All I remembered was the Sony singing task, which they repeated from last year’s task in New Zealand… or was it Australia? Ah, Aussie indeed.  You know, when the teams are handed Sony video cameras and they are asked to persuade locals to sing a local song.  While last year it was something Australian, this year the song is a bit familiar to the ears: Sakura.

Afterwards the teams were given a task to locate the girl in a costume (yeah I’ve seen the similar costume competition in Kelly Osbourne’s Going Japanese when Kelly felt so offended wearing a Japanese superhero costume).  Fairly easy task compared to a season of the US TAR when teams arrived in Barcelona and have to locate a tango dancer amidst about twenty couple look-alikes… who were dancing.  These Japanese girls flocked in front of some stage in French-maid costumes, faces away from the camera but practically did nothing but stand around.  And they kinda giggle annoyingly when teams tried to match their faces to the face in their cameras.  Not a greatly executed task, but ok.

The detour was either delivering a set of laundry or catching some fishes using a rice paper device.  Interesting as the delivering stuff were rather challenging and the rice paper thing was a bit nerve-wrecking.  It surprised me how a hard task like this one actually calmed Terri down.  You know, the further I watched this Japan-Korea episode, the more convinced I am that something bad happened in NZ to Terri and Henry that she threw such a big tantrum at her husband, and that something had been cut off in the editing room.  OR, the producers just felt what I really felt… as the NZ tasks were boring, they decided to build a little drama that turned out to be a huge war in the TARA 2 forums between Terri and some online critiques on her behavior.  Well if that’s the case, I think the producers owes her a huge apology, because she really behaved in the last 2 episodes.

Anyway,

The teams then went to Ice Bar Tokyo where they had to figure out where to go next by arranging blocks of ice with letters inside it to reveal their destination.  I really thought Van and Pam were going to fail this, which was rather funny as they read some signs at a bus stop prior to this task and said “Fukuoka” in unison.  Can’t elaborate more here, because the way they shot and edited it made my grip at the edges of my seat tighter.  Dudes, they’re mostly tropical Asians, and to have them think hard below 5 degrees?  It gave me brain freeze just thinking about that.  Seriously.

Daichi and Sawaka had the home advantage as they speak the language and aren’t as illiterate as others when it comes to Japanese signs and directions.  Their competitive side showed when they actually hid in a corner in the station, to avoid other teams to follow them.  Nice to see the normally ‘timid’ Japs turn into real competitors in the race.

And then they were off to the next ‘Pitstop’ which wasn’t really a pit stop because handsome Allan was there handing out clues.  The race was still on, and it brought us to tonight’s episode.

They were brought to Korea, and the race really started when they were looking for a mysteriously located Tae Kwon Do dojo.  The address started with a UN, which almost cost Paula and Natasha their lead over several teams as the taxi driver took them to the United Nations building.  Other teams got lost too, and ironically Daichi and Sawaka somehow got to be in the last place after a glorious lead in Japan.

Arriving first at the dojo were Adrian and Colin, followed closely by the hunks Marc and Rovilson.  The board-breaking task were kinda easy for these equally fit teams… and to my surprise, the Singaporeans took the “evil” side of the road when they “stole” the hunks’ taxi.  I think Colin somehow felt guilty, seeing him converse in sign language with Adrian as the taxi drove off.  But then again, as he said, it was a fair situation.

This thankfully didn’t turn the hunks to play dirty, although I was kinda hoping they’d get fiercer for once and stop being so nice and charming all the time.  I mean, it would be nice to see heroes become villains once in a while, right?

Other teams rat raced to the dojo and since there were no time for drama, they finished off the board breaking quickly and headed off to the golden pig statue, following the previous two teams.

It was a detour, this time.  The teams had options of: Slither or Deliver.  In slither, they have to find two 100 year-old coins inside a tank filled with octopuses.  In deliver, they have to deliver six trays of food to three addresses.  Yeah, any sane mind would take the coin and octopus thing after the grueling task of locating the dojo.  Therefore I was surprised that Sawaka opted for the delivering thing before finally decided that octopuses weren’t so bad.

The funniest thing happened here.  Terri and Henry tried to yield Marc and Rovilson.  What in the world made them think that those hunks were BEHIND them?  But this yield created confusions (and hope) for other teams, as they thought that the normally fastest team were still behind.

And the next task was going to the APEC house to locate the next clue.  Most teams arrived at night time so probably it’s already closed that they had to jump over the gate to get in.  And here’s where I just realized something… the other teams weren’t so crazy about the Desperate Housewives a.k.a. Yummy Mommies a.k.a Ann and Diane from Malaysia.  I was like… What? Did I miss something about them?  I was so sure I didn’t.

The padlock task was an imitation from TAR’s padlock task at The Great Wall of China (I kinda forgot which season).  The aim: last-minute frustration.  The execution:  Fairly well, only they should’ve put MORE padlocks on the chains.  I remembered the TAR padlock task were so frustrating it made a team broke down and… broke an engagement or some sort.  It should have reached THAT level of frustration.  It would be great to see at least three teams trying to open up the locks at the same time and getting frustrated together.  But for this task, it’s quite a good imitation.

In the end, the hunks made it first to the pit stop and the Singapore boys came second.  I hope that the steady second place thing is already their karma, because I don’t want to see them eliminated just yet.  Terri and Henry came third, followed by Pam and Van.  Paula and Natasha were next, and then Ann and Diane.  Allan said goodbye to Daichi and Sawaka, and the episode ended with Sawaka singing a song.  Quite dramatic.

All in all, I’d have to say that these two episodes were probably the best TARA 2 episodes, as the audience such as I am, are forced to be focused on the race rather than unnecessary prolonged drama of yelling and disagreement.  Michale McKay kept his word because FINALLY the real race begun.  What I just couldn’t figure out is why did it take so long to reveal the real excitement.  But that’s in the past.  I now expect next week’s race to be as gripping as this one, and it wouldn’t hurt if it’s better.

Thank God I gave the show a chance.  Good job on this one, dudes.

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  1. He heh… you’d definitely like The Amazing Race (the original one). It’s so touching *sarcastic mode is on* to watch some narrow-minded Americans bitched, “Oh my gosh… doesn’t anyone speak freakin’ English here?” -the race was in small town India- or some other stupid ignorant comments when they visit a developing (I’m not saying a ‘thirld world country’).

  2. Diny: yeah i definitely like the original amazing race (US version). those narrow-minded nutheads are sometimes so silly that i get very entertained than annoyed or offended. it’s always gonna be my favorite show on tv regardless of its poor contestants selection, stale tasks and stupid dramas.

  3. Lady luck really loves those 2 hunks eh ?
    Anyway, Daichi n Sawaka were my favorite and they got eliminated (Honestly, I also like Marc n rovilson but the fact that they are always no 1 leave me unworried)

  4. do you have Sawaka’s song lyric?

  5. mikearmand: yeah she loves ’em. i think it’s because they have the rightest attitude in the show. i just wanna see them break down once in a while for it’ll be a nice dynamic in their relationship. yeah Daichi and Sawaka’s elimination was a bummer, they’re quite good too. hey you know, i am kinda worried that the next episode would be all-drama again. have you seen the teaser on AXN? henry cries like a baby. wonder what’s gonna happen. hope the goodness of the race is still maintained.

    buta: sadly no, but yeah i like her singing 🙂

  6. uh-uh I saw the teaser and i saw a crying ex-marine.

    A crying grown-up man :
    COOL if no one see him
    NOT COOL if the whole asia see him

  7. I saw this episode! I agree with you that the real race has finally begun.

    I was like yelling to the TV screen when Sawaka and Daichi are following the Desperate Housewives and couldn’t stop laugh when Terri and Henry yield Marc and Rovilson, what were they thinking! lol

  8. “Fairly easy task compared to a season of the US TAR when teams arrived in Barcelona and have to locate a tango dancer amidst about twenty couple look-alikes… who were dancing.”

    i thought it wasn’t in Barcelona. This US TAR-5’s detour located in Buenos Aires,Argentina (CMIIW). sorry for my bad english.

  9. Alfresco: oh yeah! Buenos Aires! 😀 thanks for correcting 😉

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