Monty Brinton/CBS
Josh Wolk
November 17, 2008 AT 05:54 AM EST

Survivor: Gabon‘s dull season suddenly turned around with last week’s merge, and I’d hoped the same for this season’s Amazing Race. Maybe last week’s great paint assault heralded a more exciting race! And then BAM! — Kazakhstan. So much fodder for Borat, so little fun for Amazing Race fans. Turns out last week’s episode wasn’t the miraculous resurrection of a dying man, it was just a gas bubble popping out of a settling corpse.

The entire first segment was devoted to airport finagling that ended up with everyone bottled up at the gate of the chicken factory. Every time that happens on this show, it renders everything that happened before it moot and instantly anticlimactic: It would be as if, on election night, after two years of campaigns, Brian Williams announced, “And now, we’ve just been told, all votes are moot, and the new president will be decided by coin toss.” The only interesting thing to come out of this first part of the show was the long-awaited question to the answer, “Why don’t you ever see any Indian-Kazkh long-distance relationships?” Turns out the only way to get from Delhi to Almaty, Kazakhstan, is to go really out of your way by switching planes in Moscow, Frankfurt, or Dubai. And there beginneth and endeth the fun facts. My mother in law, who is a seasoned, adventurous traveler, can’t bear to watch The Amazing Race: She always says, “It’s just people arguing in airports.” It would be hard to build a rebuttal based on this episode.

When the chicken factory finally opened, it was for a roadblock in which one teammate had to don a Wonkavision suit and look for a golden egg among 30,000 chickens. But wait — a fast forward! One which both Nick-Starr and Sarah-Terence went for. Terence seemed rather beaten down this leg, as evidenced by the fact that he couldn’t motivate himself to sculpt his usual fauxhawk. Plus, his shirt was emblazoned with the word “LOVEMORE.” What? Did he no longer have the get-up-and-go to vocally plead with Sarah for affection, so he just sighed, scribbled it on his shirt as a standing order, and slumped down in the back of a cab? Although, putting your most persistent gripe on a T-shirt could be a very efficient move for many players. Imagine how much energy Tina would save if instead of constantly snapping at Ken, she just wore a shirt with a decal that read, “SHUT UP. YOU’RE WRONG”?

There was something delightful about having Terence shut Sarah down when she questioned trying for the fast forward (“Babe, I don’t think this is a good idea.” “I do.”), and then it ending up his fault that they failed. The task was to eat a nasty bowl of soup made of sheep butt that looked like the winning dish on Top Chef: Bulimia. Unfortunately, Terence was a vegetarian and could only stare at the dish mournfully, as if it had not emotionally supported him. “Be tough, Babe. No one’s tougher than we are,” said Sarah, which is odd, because the list of people tougher than Terence include, but are not limited to, infants, Dungeons and Dragons addicts, and boys in bubbles.

Finally, after much gagging, he and Sarah bailed and returned to the chicken factory, leaving Nick and Starr to win the fast forward and go straight to the mat. (“Come on, we’re the Spanglers!” urged Starr during the task, though that sounded less like a rallying cry and more like the warning you’d hear when agents from the Federal Bureau of Sequins pound on your front door looking to take your old jeans in for BeDazzling.) By the time Terence and Sarah arrived, the other teams had already finished the challenge and had hopped into giant cranes. This is where Dan and Andrew started to fall apart…yet again. It is getting hard to watch these two in action, because they are so joyless in their racing and so bad at it. Their humorless intensity doesn’t even manifest itself as skill. And they can’t even flame out correctly. They just keep failing at a C-minus rate, so they never quite flunk out. If they were juvenile delinquents, they’d be carrying switchblade sporks: technically a threat, but not enough of one to actually get them in trouble.

NEXT: Make an ass out of u and me

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