By Janell Sutherland
7:39 AM CST, November 19, 2012
This week on "The Amazing Race," we get a sneak peek of CBS's new slapstick comedy: "Boyfriend Ryan and The Professor." It's preceded by "Lexi and The Cabbie," which is almost as good. Other stuff happens, too, and there's 95 percent less screaming from the Twins, so it's really all wonderful.
Let's catch up on last week: Team Dominate and Team Goat Farmers missed a flight and ended up hours and hours behind the lead pack. They vowed to run the rest of the leg together, and we last saw Dominate watching the Farmers try to perform a synchronized swimming routine, failing over and over because of Brent's fear of water.
Meanwhile, Team Rock On left their backpacks in a cab, and the cab disappeared. Abba's passport was in the cab, too, so when they checked in at the Pit Stop Phil told them to produce their passports.
At the beginning of this episode, we see Rock On head to a hotel to make some phone calls. It gets dark.
The swimming pool is about to close, and the swim coach tells Brent he has one more chance. Abbie and Ryan cheer them on, but they still fail. Coach hands them their clue and says they've incurred a four-hour penalty. I think that's a first, where the activity closes before the team is ready to give up.
The two teams caravan to the Roadblock, the padlocked Trees of Love. Abbie and Josh take it, they are so tired and slow. Josh's mind is a bit quicker, though, and he finishes while Abbie is stuck. Josh then gives Abbie a hug and helps her finish her last padlocks. That was a seriously sweet moment, you guys. Boyfriend Ryan hugs Josh and they all leave together.
Phil is at the mat with the cheerful accordion player. The two teams try to synchronize their jumps onto the mat, but they are too tired to coordinate. Phil informs them that there's still a team "out there," having trouble on the course, so he awards them spots four and five. The penalty will be assessed at the beginning of the next leg. How about that for a finish?
Oh, but it's not done. Rock On has contacted the embassy and anyone else they can think of, then they go to the mat to say farewell to Phil. Phil tells them that they are officially the last team to arrive, but as crazy fate would have it, it's a non-elimination leg. They can still race, with a speed bump, but if they don't get a passport, they're out. Interesting.
Lexi and The Cabbie
Trey and Lexi are the first to depart, but no start times are given so I don't know how teams are spaced out. They have to go to Building 6 at an agricultural academy and then report to a large chemistry auditorium.
Their first driver drops them off at what looks like an abandoned subway tunnel full of graffiti and broken glass. They're thinking it's not so much an agricultural academy as a den of lost passports and broken dreams, so they flag down a new cab.
The new driver has swag, y'all. He's in his 60s, maybe, built like a Russian mobster. He's wearing a pink striped shirt, pink tie, and a mint green plaid sport coat. He's just chillin' in the cab, smoking a cigarette with the windows up. Lexi tells him to go back somewhere, he's like, "Girl, why are you telling me where to go?" He then delivers them to an abandoned building.
Something about that green coat compels Texi to stay with their driver. They peer out an open window (somebody had to open a window, even though it's raining) and a passing car splashes both of their faces. It's a great day in Moscow, everyone! Cabbie takes them to a hotel for some translating, because his magical outfit doesn’t seem to be able to convince them that wherever he drops them is the right place.
At the hotel, we see that Cabbie is also rocking some white shoes. Because, of course he is. They finally get to the right building and bid him farewell.
Jaymes and James and The Cabbie
The Chippendales have better luck with their driver. He takes them to the correct building on his first try, where they find out that the task doesn't open until 8 a.m. Their cab driver decides to hang out in the hall with them. They introduce themselves to their driver as Jaymes and James, and he's all, "#@&$ Americans and their redundant names of redundancy."
By the way, the Chipps are shocked and delighted to be the first team there, because it has never happened. By the way, again, they are wearing sleeveless shirts on this leg.
Put the pencils down.
The Roadblock is run by a Professor. He's a thin, stern, Russian professor. He has three lines: "The next round is starting;" "Put the pencils down;" and “It's not correct." He is not someone to mess with.
Let's take a moment to go over the challenge. Russia is the world's largest country and it has nine different time zones. On a large screen at the front of the classroom, three slides will flash for a short period of time. The first says what the current time is in Moscow. The second shows the different zones, labeled as Moscow +4, then unlabeled sections as +6, +7, and so on.
The third slide is the same map as the second, only instead of numbers, it shows the names of various cities in each zone. The Racer is given a sheet of paper with a list of about 20 cities, and they have to calculate the correct time of day in five of them.
It's complicated. The point is that Moscow +4 throws people off. It means Moscow is four hours ahead of something (some unspecified standard time), and the other cities are even more hours ahead. The glitch is that people see Moscow as zero hour and they add seven hours, for instance, when they should only add three. If this all makes no sense, just understand that there's a trick.
Jaymes and Lexi sit next to each other in the auditorium, giggling and chatting like the pretty people do. Lexi writes her name at the top of her paper and draws a smiley face next to it. The round begins, they try to memorize and scribble, they put the pencils down, they are incorrect. Over and over.
They decide to work together, splitting the map in half and then copying answers. They still fail, until after the eleventh time Lexi realizes that they've been adding from zero instead of from four. Jaymes teases that he's been stuck with a dumb cheerleader.
They take it a twelfth time, and The Professor busts out his last line: "I'm really sorry [sad face], but you win!!" Then he cheers for them. He totally took fakeout lessons from Phil.
The Twins and The Cabbie
The Twins leave in third place, one of them is wearing short shorts and long pink socks, because it's cold and rainy (like Seattle, remember?) and that's appropriate for the weather. They tell their cab driver where to go, and on the way he tries to take them to McDonald's. They're like, no thanks, and he's like, but you're American, every American wants to travel to a foreign country and see what the McDonald’s is like, so I take you to McDonald's.
They finally convince him that they don't need to go to McDonald's, and they want him to stop for directions. He busts out his English, then. "I taxi 37 years." You know, quiet down in the back seat!
Seriously, what's up with cab drivers in Russia? Stealing backpacks, dropping teams off at abandoned warehouses ... In Soviet Russia, cab driver tells you where to go!
When the Twins arrive at the Roadblock, they read the instructions and immediately say, "Hell, no!" They hand over their Express Pass and move on, completely missing The Professor Experience.
Jaymes and James and The Cabbie: Epilogue
Remember their driver was hanging out with them, waiting in the hall? When they finish the Roadblock they rush out and tell him they're ready to go. Cabbie is all, "Coffee break?" He was at some cafe getting breakfast, and doesn't really understand why they don't want to pause. Every American wants to stop for coffee!
Oh, the Chipps help Texi get a cab, too, since they got help on the Roadblock. They're paying it forward.
This is the time on Not-Sprockets when we dance!
The popular side of the Detour is called Movers. Phil calls it a grueling physical challenge. They have to learn and perform a Russian soldier dance. You know Russian dances, with the squat kicks and the leg spins? It's that.
James sprained his ankle in Shanghai. Did we miss that? Oh well, he's not gonna make a fuss about it. He's gotta dance! His ankle is killing him, he's sweating profusely from the pain, but he wants to push through and keep their position. Jaymes talks him through the performance. They fail the first time but it looks like they get it the second time. A medic checks out the ankle while Jaymes reads the next clue.
Texi finishes up soon after, and they leave together. The Chipps try to call another cab for Texi, but Texi has disappeared. "Guys, we can't help each other if you run off," Jaymes calls to the empty sidewalk.
Guess what, Chippendales? You are Team Number One! Yay!
Texi takes second place.
The Twins arrive at the dancing Detour when the other teams leave, so they don't get to be loud in front of other people. We established last week that they're quieter when they're alone.
One Twin has a wardrobe malfunction when the soldier pants she's wearing split from back to front, and all the watching soldiers laugh. Otherwise no drama from them, and they arrive at the Pit Stop in third.
Boyfriend Ryan and The Professor
We know Ryan's a nerd, right? The Route Info sends them to an agricultural academy. Ryan: "I went to UC Davis and that's an agricultural school, what what!!" Abbie points out that if it's numbers or science, Ryan's the guy for the job because he's smart. She's only partly teasing him.
Ryan is very excited to dominate the Roadblock. He knows puzzles and brain games, he’s good at memorizing, they'll be in and out. He actually finishes the quiz before the Professor calls pencils down, and he's gathering up his things while he gets graded.
"It's not correct."
Ryan is shocked, says he was right, but he tries again.
Six times, seven times, eight times. He rips up the test before turning it in. Another time, "I did six cities this time, just in case." Professor just says his lines over and over.
Test 18. Ryan says he doesn't know why theres a +4 in the Moscow zone if it's not the same time as Moscow. Abbie points out to the camera that he's overthinking. Test 21, his mind short-circuits. "I thought there was a glitch in the Matrix," he says.
The Professor breaks character and says, "Try to relax."
Ryan answers with, "The file is corrupt."
The Professor chuckles.
Suddenly, feeling hungry, an old, fat hamster wakes up in Ryan's brain and lazily trudges over to a rusty wheel. It begins another hopeless quest for a dried-out piece of cheese dangling forever out of reach, and the power supplied by those four stubby legs creates just enough energy for a two-watt lightbulb in Ryan's brain to crackle faintly to life. He understands. He understands, everyone! He shouts, "I'm so stupid," over and over, and the Professor stands at the front of the room and laughs with glee at Ryan's breakthrough.
Then the Professor quiets his expression and calls for the next round. Ryan finishes it quickly, and the Professor gives him the fakeout. And then they hug! Best scene ever! You can stop reading now because it doesn't get any better.
More stuff that happened
If you're still with me, Goat Farmer Brent was a straight-A student, a teacher's pet. He passes the Roadblock on the first try! After all the drama with Ryan, the Professor is stunned, and he gives another out-of-character line, telling Brent he's a very smart man.
Abbie and Ryan go dancing, and Ryan points out that, "This wasn't Girlfriend Abbie Hat day, this was Dance Instructor Abbie Hat day." Have I told you lately that I love him? With Abbie's coaching, they finish the task and check in with Phil in fourth place.
The Goat Farmers choose the other Detour option, which involves a cocktail party with historic Russian leaders.
"We're very good at cocktail parties," they say.
They have some fun, do some sword fighting, dance with Catherine the Great, get told by Lenin to "be careful with vodka and Russian women." Oh Lenin, you don't know the half of it. They give a final toast to Russia when they finish, and then mention that it was "lively for a dead crowd." Fine, you guys win second place for wit, and fifth place at the Pit Stop.
Megadeth? How about Megadead?
They tried. They went to the police, filed a report, made phone calls. They even ran the Race and did a Speed Bump, although we didn't see much besides them driving around in a limo. It was probably not the best of times, probably not the worst of times, but it was sadly the end of times. When James and Abba check in with Phil, still missing a passport and in last place, he eliminates them.
That kind of totally sucks for them. Phil's Twitter feed didn't mention what happened to them, so let's all just pretend that Team Rock On found a new career serenading newlyweds by the Trees of Love. They're very happy, and Abba's knees are doing very well, thanks for asking.