The Amazing Race: “Super Shady”
B+

The Amazing Race: “Super Shady”

B+

The Amazing Race

“Super Shady”

Season 19, Episode 8
B+

The Amazing Race

“Super Shady”

Season 19, Episode 8

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Let me get this out of the way right up front: I’m not sure this episode actually deserves a B+. But the bunnies certainly do. Is there any chance of getting an all-bunny edition of The Amazing Race next season? Somebody run that up the chain of command over at Worldrace Productions. Of course, cute as they are, the obstacle-hopping rabbits aren’t the only reason this episode turned out better than I thought it would. A surprise ending (and not a particularly unwelcome one) didn’t hurt, either.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. First, it’s time to fly from Africa to Copenhagen, Denmark, a city The Amazing Race has never visited before. Although they all start with the same reservations, teams are given free rein to find their own flights, and apparently there are many options. Laurence and Zac book a flight through London (a fact they don’t exactly share during the uncomfortable exchange with Ernie and Cindy that gives this episode its title) and are the first to arrive at 8:30 p.m. The Dudez and Jeremy and Sandy take the ever-popular Cimber Air, arriving at 10:35, while Bill and Cathi and Ernie and Cindy take Norwegian Air and land at 11:00 p.m. None of this ends up mattering, of course, because their next destination is a tower that doesn’t open until 7 the next morning.

What does matter is that Marcus and Amani are the only team to stick with their original reservations, sleeping through the night in the Amsterdam airport and waking up to find no other teams still around. Indeed, for most of the episode, Marcus and Amani look like a team determined to lose. No matter how many football metaphors Marcus pulls out of his playbook, they keep falling further behind. Fortunately for them, they’re not the only team apparently playing for last place, as Jeremy and Sandy make their share of mistakes, as well. (Late in the episode, Sandy is hilariously oblivious of Jeremy’s increasing frustration at her navigational ineptitude.)

The Roadblock is a Dancing with the Doofuses showdown, as one member of each team must dress like Medieval Times waitstaff and perform a series of jigs to lilting lute music. (Laurence, in one of his many just-shut-up-Laurence moments of the evening, claims he would have been good at this because he was once a frontman in rock band. So why is hapless Zac doing the footwork?) It’s not a particularly exciting task—Andy in particular looks like he’s been to enough Renaissance Faires to pull it off in his sleep—but as long as it irritates Laurence, it’s all right with me.

The Detour is much more entertaining, and I believe I mentioned the reason: bunnies. Sure, the butter-churning had its moments, too—I’ll expect at least a dozen humorous animated gifs from this task online by the time I post this review—but nothing beats Marcus cheering his rabbit through the course like he’s coaching it in Pee-Wee Football. Two other teams are forced to complete the bunny hop as well, thanks to the Double U-Turn. Cindy and a reluctant Ernie U-Turn Bill and Cathi, which struck me as a strategic blunder. Yes, it ensures Cindy and Ernie a first-place finish for this leg, but I think they lost sight of the bigger picture. Don’t they remember just last week, when Tommy and Andy hustled past them to the Pit Stop? Shouldn’t they have taken a shot at knocking the Dudez out of the game?

Then again, if they had U-Turned Tommy and Andy, we might have been denied the satisfying ending to this week’s episode. The U-Turned Bill and Cathi use their own U-Turn on Laurence and Zac, who then manage to get even more lost than Jeremy and Sandy. For the first time in ages, this show faked me out in the end, as I was sure Laurence and Zac would still beat the dating couple to the mat. Honestly, either outcome would have been fine with me, but I’m relieved to see the Laurence show come to an end. Yes, his absence will leave the show without a clear-cut villain, but he was a lame villain anyway, and his one-liners were all terrible. (Two “may the Force be with you” gags? Really?) Since Zac was just sort of boring, I won’t miss them much at all.

Stray observations:

  • Realizing they’ve been U-Turned, Laurence sputters, “This is bloody ridiculous!” What is? U-Turning a team that’s actually still behind you?
  • “Is that a rabbit? In our country, them are goats!”
  • “We choose not to U-Turn.” Actually, that choice was made for you, Amani, as there are no U-Turns remaining.
  • Next week: Bill in a thong. Set your DVRs!

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