TAR All-Stars: Episode 1

If executed poorly, an all-star season of a reality show can easily
alienate the very fans it’s trying to please. Case in point: too much
Rupert on Survivor: All-Stars. Fortunately, the premiere episode of The Amazing Race: All-Stars
had just the right balance of jokers and jerks — even if they’re
missing some of the jokers (Ken & Gerard) and jerks (Colin &
Christie) I was hoping for.

The eleven teams started the race in
Miami, Florida, before departing for Ecuador. In the shuttle ride from
the parking lot to the airport, it became apparent which teams were
really on the ball and which weren’t.

John Vito & Jill, Rob
& Amber, and Ozzy & Danny all realized that the flight leaving
first might not actually arrive in Ecuador first. They checked with
their shuttle drivers and learned that the second flight on American
Airlines arrived nearly two hours earlier than the flight on a smaller
airline, Copa.

David & Mary, who were not widely regarded as
a shrewd team during Season 10, booked their seats on Copa before
asking the ticket agent if it was the faster flight.

The shuttle
ride to the airport also confirmed that, just like in Season 7,
everyone’s gunning for Rob & Amber. Ozzy & Danny, who were
sharing their shuttle, jokingly congratulated Rob & Amber for
having “your own cable channel,” and said they were familiar with
“Romber” simply by virtue of living on the planet Earth.

The
anti-Romber sentiment apparently ramps up next week, which strikes me
as funny, since they didn’t even win their season but are still seen as
the most fearsome team. Meanwhile, no one seems worried about Uchenna
& Joyce, the actual winners of Season 7 and the only TAR millionaires competing in All-Stars.

In
Ecuador, Drew & Kevin were in big trouble. After already losing a
footrace with Charla, Drew fell while stepping out of cab and lay
moaning and rolling in the street for what seemed to be several minutes.

Eventually,
Drew accepted that, were his shoulder actually dislocated, he would not
be able to wave his arm around in pain, and the team was back in the
race.

But Drew & Kevin fell behind the pack on the way to
the Detour the next morning, which was located in the middle of a
nature preserve. Things only got worse when they blew out a tire on the
muddy road, but rather than put on the spare, Drew simply drove on
three wheels and a rim.

Drew’s willingness to go offroad
four-wheeling on three wheels saved Kevin and him from elimination.
Season 3 favorites John Vito & Jill had gotten bad directions along
the way, and they wound up entering the vast nature preserve on the
wrong side. (Earlier in the day, the same thing had happened to Charla
& Mirna — due in no small part to the pseudo-Spanish they spoke
throughout the episode (e.g., “Exallante,” and “Muy dinero.”).

The
outcome of the first episode was all that show producers’ could have
hoped for. Everyone’s nemeses Rob & Amber finished in first place,
making them sure to inspire the hatred of the other teams. And the nice
but boring ex-couple, John Vito & Jill, were eliminated.

Eric
& Danielle, the only “new” team on the race, finished in fourth
place, which is very respectable considering they originally raced with
different partners. And the two most sluggish teams, David & Mary
and Kevin & Drew, finished at the back of the pack–as sluggish
teams tend to do.

Next week, in addition to the escalating Romber bashing, Charla takes on the Beauty Queens, Dustin & Kandice.