Leg 2: U.S. Virgin Islands to United KingdomAs of week two, Madison's #SweetScientists are still in the running on The Amazing Race (Fridays, CBS). Amy and Maya, a team of UW food science grad students, landed in eighth place, but that's more than good enough to keep the flame going for another week. Like #MomDaughter team member Shelley said, "You don't have to outrun the bear; you just can't be the last one." This quote provides some interesting foreshadowing since Shelley and daughter Nici ended up in next-to-last place in this installment of the reality series.
The episode started off with #TheDentists Misti and Jim getting a head start on everyone, which seemed to mean that they just woke up a lot earlier to chill out at the airport a few hours before the other teams got there. Having been to a few airports in my time, that seems like more of a punishment than a privilege, but they were super excited about it. This week was a lot less dentist-centric, so if part of your Amazing Race drinking game rules involve doing a shot whenever the show's effects team made Misty and Jim’s teeth glimmer unnaturally, it's doubtful that you ended up too buzzed on Friday.
While the contestants were hanging out at the airport, about to fly off to England, Amy gave Bethany of the #SoulSurfers one of her shoes in a humbling moment of sportsladyship. (Bethany had lost a shoe in the previous round.) Once the UW duo landed and were headed to Tower Bridge to meet up with "the pearly king and queen" (a.k.a., the Pearlies), Maya advised the cabbie that he should drive "fast... but no speeding tickets.” That was a nice touch.
I'm pleased to see such wonderful manners on display in a reality TV show in this day and age, but you've gotta get a little more cutthroat, ladies! After all, this was the episode where all sorts of people dropped the "I'm not here to make friends" cliché, so the heat's on. Tell that cabbie to jump the curbs and blow through a stoplight or two if it gets you to your destination faster. In all seriousness, though, if the #SweetScientists can prove the claim that they're "so much more than lab coats beakers and goggles," and that they're some of the most likable people in the history of reality television, there should be a Nobel Prize waiting for them with the prize money.
Upon meeting with the pearly king and queen, the teams had to decide which challenge they wanted to accept next: perform a perfectly executed changing of the guard or run in a race where they would have to make and flip pancakes. Surprisingly, Amy and Maya avoided playing into food scientist stereotypes and went with the changing of the guard. They were berated by a drill sergeant wannabe who was hard to take seriously after he referred to himself as "Yoda-like."
After their second try, the #SweetScientists nailed the assignment and headed to Oxford for a second challenge near the River Cherwell. Shelley, offering another bon mot for this episode, declared, "Punting was something designed by the devil to punish the English." Indeed this was a pretty massive headache for other teams as the montage of folks who ended up in the water attests.
This week's episode also lavished attention on #TheCyclists Kym and Alli. There was a shot of one of them kissing the palace guard on the lips after passing the changing-of-the-guard test and another of them showing up at Blenheim Palace with drawn-on Charlie Chaplin 'staches. I'm rooting for them to make it a ways into the competition, if only so they get more screen time as the pack thins out. I expect to see some charmingly fun chaos if they're in the mix for several episodes.
Maya and Amy helped Bethany and Adam with some shoes at the top of the episode, and the latter team ended up in first place. Our #SweetScientists also cheered on #TheDatingCouple Dennis and Isabelle with a warm "Don't give up, guys!" Those two contestants went home, so it would seem that being blessed by the kindness of Maya and Amy can cut both ways. Perhaps the ladies will figure out how to use this to their advantage.
The preview for the next episode ("Get Your Sheep Together") doesn't feature much footage of Maya and Amy. That might be a good thing since it looks like one of #TheFirefighters suffers a nasty ankle sprain that will possibly spell disaster for that team. Seriously, look away when the cameras cut to the injury, because it is gross.
Keep up with the #SweetScientists and view images of them racing on the team's Facebook page.