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The Amazing Race Episode 3 Summary:
“The Lame Game”, or “From First to Worst”

Author’s Note: “What to do?”, I asked myself. Should I solicit someone to write a summary of this show? But episode 3 already ran, and it was up against “Love Cruise” featuring “shakes the clown”, meaning that most people on SB missed it! "Maybe we could just do without a summary," I thought. But there are all these new people coming to (and its sister sites) … we don’t want to give them the wrong idea of our cozy little home here. I have a duty to the boards. I won’t let a little fact like not seeing the episode stop me … no way, José! So, as a parting favor to the SB powers that be (*waves to Webby and sleeeve*), I hereby present the unofficial summary of The Amazing Race Episode 3, “We’ll Always Have Paris…”

This week on The Amazing Race, inspiration takes a back seat to survival as the teams have to trudge through a living hellhole, fighting off fierce animals, fatigue and starvation to … What? These people get to spend the whole episode in Paris? What kind of an adventure is that? What, are the French going to kiss them to death? Will they eat a bad croissant? Oh well, here we go…

The race picks up from where it left off, which is under the Arc de Triomphe. The leaders in the race, the Moms, Pat and Brenda, had used the Fast Forward clue in the previous episode. Of course, the catch to Fast Forward is that, during the entire race, you can only use it once, like a Kleenex … or a condom. Oops, stray Love Cruise thought there. So Pat and Brenda start off, unprotected … and armed with only their wits (in other words, unarmed), into the dark Paris night trying to decipher a clue written in some savage language (sorry, Pepe). Fortunately, they run into the lone helpful person in all of France, who tells them that they are looking for the famous Paris Ferris Wheel, which can be seen from where they are standing. After squinting really, really hard, they spot it and take off.

One by one, in order of previous arrival, each of the teams gets the same clue to head for the Route Marker at the Ferris Wheel. Only problem is, the Ferris Wheel closes at 12:30 AM. Therefore, all of the teams that got their clues later than that will have to wait until the Ferris Wheel reopens at 9 AM the next morning, effectively wiping out all the time differences in the lower half of the field. What a lame idea … hey, half of “Cannonball Run” was made up of Sue and Jeff V. trying to do exactly the same thing … what fun is it if the producers do it for you?

The second, third and fourth teams in the race are the three former alliance teams. Team Guido, Joe and Bill, had lived in this barbaric place for two years but do not speak the language. What were they doing all that time? Nevertheless, in their fiendish little hearts (especially Joe’s), they believe that they have a huge advantage, and learning that the Ferris Wheel will soon close doesn’t do anything to shake that confidence, as they are convinced that the only other teams with a chance to make it before closing are the other two alliance teams.

While the first two teams gloat at the Ferris Wheel, we hear a little Greek chorus singing in the background about the dangers of hubris. The words fall on deaf ears, just like in Greek drama. Guess some people need to learn the hard way.

The remaining alliance teams, the LA Lawyers, Rob and Brennan, and the Separated (no, they are not divorced -- yet) Couple, Frank and Margarita, get their clue with only 20 minutes to translate it and head for the Ferris Wheel, and a little tension develops when the Separated Couple almost misses the cab to get there. Nevertheless, both teams make it just in time and get the next clue.

The clue (we aren’t told this until later) is a Detour to find either Quasimodo’s bell (at Notre Dame Cathedral) or Foucault’s Pendulum (at the Pantheon). The teams that have the clue learn that these buildings don’t open until ten in the morning, while the Ferris Wheel opens at nine. Hey, how hokey is this? Now the entire time gap between teams is erased courtesy of the producers. It may make for better TV (though that is debatable), but it turns this show into a waiting game.

The lead teams all decide to go to the harder-to-find Pantheon, so that they can stay away from the later teams, who are almost certain to go ring Quasimodo’s chimes (Lenny already knows the way there). The Guidos decide to stroll through Gay Paree (how true) and spend the night sipping tea and sucking … uh, on lemons in one of their favorite hotels. They behave like tourists, not ex-residents. Maybe playing tourist is all they did for their two years here? No wonder they had to move back to the States.

I have no idea what the The Moms did after going to the Ferris Wheel … probably went to some Paris dives seeking sexy Frenchmen for a roll in the hay. Unfortunately, they fail to meet the only helpful person in all of France again. Somehow, they form the impression that Foucault’s Pendulum is located at the Science Museum (probably because one of the two had once seen a Foucault pendulum located at a science museum, and it’s always better to guess than to read the clue). But what can we expect … Brenda writes that her favorite movie is “Joe Versus the Volcano”, a Tom Hanks/Meg Ryan disaster that more frequently ends up included on lists of the worst movies ever made, so this is someone whose elevator doesn’t run all the way to the top. At the end of the movie, Tom and Meg leap into a volcano to appease the volcano god. However, the volcano god (who has apparently been watching the movie) throws up, spitting both of them back out. Come to think of it, I have about the same reaction to Pat and Brenda.

Meanwhile, Frank decides that there will be no more Mr. Nice Guy toward Margarita, while Margarita calls directory assistance in the U.S., searching for a lawyer to subpoena the unedited tapes from this show for use in her divorce and custody petitions (all she has to do is allege domestic cruelty and show the tapes, and she’ll get the settlement of her dreams … which will probably never be paid, because Frank acts like someone who doesn’t even have a pot to pi$$ in). Margarita, how did you ever marry this loser? And having a child with him – why? Get away now before your daughter sees how he treats you and thinks that that’s the way men are supposed to treat women! The CBS Web site says that Frank is a corporate trainer. In what? Sexual harassment — teaching how to harass?

The next team to reach the Ferris Wheel are the Noo Yawkers (aka the Fensters), Kevin and Drew. Having no idea that the clue in the Ferris Wheel will return this match to a virtual tie, they decide that the only way to prevent all the rear teams from catching up to them is to go for the Fast Forward, which is located at some supposedly hard-to-find café that will not open until the morning. The next thing we see is that they miraculously turn up at this hard-to-find café (hey, looking for a café does not exactly have the same sort of drama as shooting the rapids, you know?) and pitch their sleeping bags in front, pulling a Waltons routine as they go to sleep. Even more miraculously, no Parisian wino shows up to snuggle up to them. Of course, that’s probably only because it starts to rain overnight.

The remainder of the stragglers (four teams) show up at the Ferris Wheel to learn that it’s closed, and they have no way to know what tomorrow will bring. They all decide to bed down in front, except for the Mother-Daughter team, Nancy and Eye-Candy Emily, who go back to last night’s hotel to sleep … proving once again, when it starts to rain overnight, that Mom really does know best (right, shakes?). The Grandparents, David and Margaretta, prove that they are human when Grandma tries to steal the sleeping bag of Amie from the Engaged Couple (yes, she was named after the Pure Prairie League song, but none of the song’s beauty seems to have rubbed off on her personality).

In the morning, the Mother-Daughter manage to hail a cab just in time and show up at the Ferris Wheel to get the clue with the other straggler teams. As predicted, they all head for Notre Dame, where they have to climb the tower to ring the bell and receive their next clue. Grandma and Grandpa, showing the effects of spending a cold night outside instead of sleeping until brunch and tee time, screw up at the tower and fall behind.

Meanwhile, the alliance teams are at the Pantheon. They had agreed to enter the building in the order that they arrived, with Team Guido third, but Team Guido immediately breaks the queue when the doors are unlocked and gets to the pendulum, and the clue, first, once again irritating their alliance members. Some alliance: Richard Hatch would have cut their you-know-whats off for this, but all the laid-back LA Lawyers do is moan peacefully. Must be a result of too much sun.

The clue that all of the teams receive is to meet a man in a blue suit across from the Hotel de Ville. This is a race? Looks more like a scavenger hunt or a spy movie. “Yes, look for the man in the multicolored suit with a copy of the New York Times in his left hand, and ask him why the porridge bird lays its egg in the air…”

Meanwhile, Pat and Brenda schlep their way to the science museum. Oops, wrong pendulum! Instead of realizing their mistake right away, they search the museum some more. Cue the Greek chorus again. So, after out-Lennying Lenny, the Moms now have to find their way to the RIGHT building and catch up. Cue the doomed theme.

Finally, the tea shop opened, allowing the Noo Yawkers to order the “special” tea with the Fast-Forward instructions. Kevin says that Paris is “nothing special” and just like Soho. Drew says the tea smells like oregano. So much for building good international relations. The instructions allow them to go directly to the endpoint, an old chateau located in the south of France. On their trip, Kevin says, “We don’t intend on relinquishing the lead.” Uh, hello, Earth to Kevin? There have been three legs of this show so far, and the leader after each one has been the team that won the Fast Forward card on the previous episode. So I’d say that makes the odds on your keeping the lead just about … zero.

The Moms finally show up at the Pantheon, full of spirit despite their incredible blunder, and still so confident that they take time to hug a cat statue (probably the only kind of cat that wouldn't want to scratch their eyes out). The other teams are already meeting the man in the blue suit, who gives them a Roadblock (a task that can be performed by only one member; each team must pick the member before learning the task). The Notre Dame teams, except the Grandparents, arrive before all of the alliance teams.

Team Guido, which had been very pleased with itself for all of its screwing over the past few days (screwing its alliance members, I mean – get your minds back out of the gutter!), arrives ahead of only the Grandparents and the Moms … and suddenly realizes that it is vulnerable despite the supposed “insider knowledge” of Paris. Joe picks this moment to demonstrate that his reality TV role model is Bitchell, as he started trashing everything and everyone around him, raising tensions to the breaking point (has he been hanging around the Off-Topic board lately?) and increasing the outcast status of the Guidos.

The Roadblock is another shitty challenge … except not the kind that the producers have usually been serving up during this show. No, this is 100%, all-French shit, the kind found in the sewers of Paris, which the selected member had to navigate for two blocks to reach the next clue (the chateau). Needless to say, each of the teams is glad for the shit to end … but the viewers at home get no such relief, because the show continues on and on …

The teams race to the train station, for what seems to be this show’s only serious challenge – making train or flight reservations and boarding on time. Hint: if you want to win The Amazing Race 2, pick a travel agent as your partner. The first six teams all make the train, with the alliance sitting in the front car and the tail-enders (who started calling themselves the Underdogs) sitting in the back car. The Gramps miss the train, which is noted with surprise by Nancy, but all the men are too preoccupied with staring at her daughter’s boobs to reply. Unfortunately for them, they are so preoccupied with “Emily fantasies” that they fail to notice that the train runs to Marseilles, but if you get off at Avignon, you’d get to the chateau an hour faster. The alliance, which didn’t have Emily’s assets to admire (not that the Guidos care anyway), figures it out and disembarks without the Underdogs noticing. The Grandparents on the next train also figure it out –- resulting in the Underdogs still occupying the bottom three spots among the remaining teams.

The Guidos are shocked to discover that they are only fourth when they arrive at the chateau. The Underdogs are shocked to discover that they are all behind the Grandparents, and Karyn and Amie let Lenny and Paul have it (when the only thing Lenny and Paul really want to have is a little bit of alone-time with Emily … but I digress). The most shocked of all, though, are the Moms, who keep telling themselves that they aren’t last and even start to believe it … that is, until Phil the Pill Keoghan (sort of a beggarman’s Steve Irwin, except without any discernable talent whatsoever) pops up to meet them after they have trudged up a cobblestone path to the top of the hill. Drew says that the Noo Yawkers had moved from worst to first (only a slight overstatement), but the Moms complete the reverse move in just one episode. Cue the Greek chorus again and fade out.

So … in each of the last two episodes, an all-woman team has bitten the dust, leaving just one: Mother-Daughter, who currently sit in last place. (Do I detect a trend here?) Looks like the “Emily distraction factor” will cease to be a problem for the men pretty soon now ... unless someone else "pulls a Lenny" next time.

Author’s postscript: It’s done. Hooray! See, you don’t have to be Pen or shakes to write a summary. So … who wants to take on the summary of Episode 4?

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