What genius at CBS decided to replace tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race with an hour-long infomercial for Snapple? For many reasons, this was easily the weakest installment of “Unfinished Business” yet, but it’s the rampant product integration that really set my teeth on edge.
We’re still in Kunming as the episode begins, much to the chagrin of most of the racers, who seem inordinately disappointed to learn they’re not leaving China right away but rather taking a taxi to a tea shop for a tasting. Luke is weirdly irked to learn there’s tea-drinking in his future, which turns out to be a harbinger of things to come. After sampling the papaya-mango tea, all teams fly (apparently on the same plane) to Kolkata, India. If you pay as much attention to the rest of the world as I do, you probably also missed it when that city’s name was changed from the anglicized “Calcutta” back in 2001. (Apparently, they missed this in China, too, as the airport monitor still reads “Calcutta.”)
By the time we arrive in Kolkata, the most exciting thing that’s happened is that Zev has changed into a pair of shiny pajamas. At the Roadblock, one member of each team must drink cups of tea until finding the one they all taste-tested earlier. This may well have been a grueling task to complete, but it doesn’t make for the most dramatic or visually-stimulating challenge. I mean, nobody even vomits! Upon correctly identifying the tea, teams are awarded a bottle of SNAPPLE BRAND TEA with a clue underneath the bottle cap. Everyone figures this out except Kisha and Jen, who assume the bottle means they’re supposed to find the place where SNAPPLE BRAND TEA is made.
Eventually, only Flight Time and Luke have yet to complete the task. When the Globetrotter finally prevails, it can only mean one thing: It’s time for Luke to have a breakdown and go crying to his mother. (Cue the video flashback to Luke wandering pantsless in a forest of surfboards.) The other teams have moved on to the Detour, which presents two snooze-worthy options: transporting a pile of books to a schoolhouse via rickshaw or painting a statue of Ganesha. Gary and Giggles are the first to the pit stop, which is good news for Phil, because if anyone else besides ol’ happy-gas had been informed that the prize was a custom-made bottle of Amazing Race Snapple, there might have been bloodshed. As it is, Mallory whoops it up as if she’s just been presented a bottle of authentic Jesus Juice.
Somewhere, Luke is still weeping into a cup of tea. I’ll admit to feeling empathy for Margie as she talks him into completing the task, but I’m not sorry when it becomes clear that they’re about to be eliminated from the race. (Yes, there was some manufactured cab drama with the Globetrotters, but I wasn’t buying it for a second.) I know Luke has had a hard go of it, but his emotional outbursts and mama’s-boy clinginess just make me too uncomfortable. Other than that, I don’t have much to say about this dull episode, except that I’m thirsty for anything but a Snapple.
- Kent noted that Vyxsin kept her bottle of tea “nestling in her bosom.” Yes, I had noticed that.
- “I can’t disco while I’m painting!” Oh, if only you could, Ron. That would have livened things up.
- It looked like there were only about four cups of tea left by the time Luke finished. Maybe he wasn’t actually crying and it was just tea leaking from his eyes.
- We’re off next week due to the Academy of Country Music Awards, so let’s meet back here in two weeks for a (fingers crossed) Snapple-free episode of The Amazing Race.