''The Amazing Race'': Too much monkey business | EW.com

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''The Amazing Race'': Too much monkey business

On ''The Amazing Race,'' the teams dash around Bangkok, confronting cheeky monkeys, deep-fried grasshoppers, and a tricky arts-and-crafts project, and Mojo takes the fall

(The Amazing Race 9: Robert Voets)

”The Amazing Race”: Too much monkey business

Alas, poor Mojo, we knew thee well. Which was kind of the problem. Had we as a TV audience never gotten to know thee, we would not have felt such glee as thou got thine asses booted from The Amazing Race this week.

Monica and Joseph were so confident when they began this leg. As they read their clue, they sniggered as they said, ”One team has zero dollars and no pants,” about the hippies. Wow, I thought, they were actually making a funny — although it became clear when the other three teams said the exact same thing that it was printed on the clue. Not that Mojo aren?t capable of speaking for themselves: When they say, ”Stop crying!” and ”Shut up, Joseph!” that?s all their own improv.

When they left, they announced that they weren?t going to take the hippies? ”mind games.” Unfortunately, they forgot to protect themselves against the mind games of the Thai people. I have never seen an entire country so quickly decide that it collectively disliked two visitors. First, their cab driver wrongly told them that the bus station was closed, making them lose ground against the fratters and Ray and Yolanda. And when they returned to the station later, the employees didn?t tell them about an earlier bus. I think in Thai, ”Mojo” translates to ”kick me.”

Perhaps this kind of bad luck is what you get when you cross a hippie. It?s like if you kick a troll or give an elf a wedgie: You just know a curse is coming your way. The proof was in Yolanda and Ray?s winning of the sweet Australian vacation at the end of the episode. Who left the pantsless BJ a pair of running tights at the beginning? Exactly: Yolanda. Think about that the next time you give the finger to someone in a tie-dyed T-shirt.

The hippies had an impressive rebound this week, proving once again that they are the masters of begging. After being stripped down to just a T-shirt and boxers in Australia, BJ went into a club and emerged with more clothes than he had originally brought on the race. Through the episode, I saw him with new pairs of Hawaiian shorts and jeans, and possibly a change of shirts. He had more costume changes than Cher; I expected to see him arrive in Thailand with cheek implants.

(And speaking of clothes, what was up with frat guy Eric?s never-before-seen tuxedo shirt? Isn?t this a little late in the race to be whipping out new noveltywear? Is he waiting for the final run to the mat to whip out his ”I?m not as think as you drunk I am” T?)

In an added bit of luck, when BJ and Tyler got boxed out of everyone else?s Bangkok flight, they found another one scheduled to land 15 minutes earlier. Granted, they ended up arriving around 45 minutes later, but clearly the power of TTOW was at full tilt to get them there even that closely. I think this magical force works only when the hippies are close together. Did you notice how when they took the shuttle bus to Lopburi, they sat together when most of the other seats were empty? When they have to pee, do they share a urinal? If they win, I worry they are going to spend their million dollars on a solid gold bunkbed.

The hippies ended up finishing first after winning the fast forward for eating giant bowlfuls of stir-fried crickets and grasshoppers. Phil said this was a popular after-school activity in Thailand. So on the Thai-television version of The Amazing Race, do contestants stopping off in America have to down a crate of Devil Dogs and then play X-Box for three hours so all the fat can settle?

The other three teams were left to do the roadblock, organizing a feast for hyper sacred monkeys. I got the feeling that the person who picked this challenge also picks out Phil?s pants, because, like our crotch-hugging host, the monkeys sure liked to flaunt their testicles. I hadn?t seen that many red balls since playing bombardment in sixth-grade gym.

For the detour, it was off to the Buddha Garden, a local meditation center. Because what?s more relaxing for patrons than having six American game-show contestants run through? Ray and Yolanda and the fratters opted to cover a Buddha statue with gold leaf, which was a rigorous but visually dull contest. I wondered if the producers arrived here and realized they forgot to plan a challenge, and someone just looked this one up in 101 Rainy-Day Activities for Bored Boys and Girls. This was less a challenge than an arts-and-crafts project. Tune in next week when the race for a million dollars comes down to this: Whose God?s eye used prettier yarn and bigger Popsicle sticks?

Mojo decided to do the detour?s other half, hauling pots on a long board. Poor, poor Mojo. Shouldn?t they have learned by now that they will always make the wrong decision? If everyone else is doing one thing, why would they possibly try something else? We?ve all heard the famous parental question, ”If everyone else jumped off the Empire State Building, would you jump off after them?” Well, if it was Mojo, I?d advise them to jump. Because with their bad luck, it would turn out that everyone else was jumping into a safety net, while the cable would snap as Mojo went down in the elevator.

Their ill-fated pot hauling allowed us one last opportunity to hear Monica fall apart. As the clay pots smashed on the ground, she mewled, ”This is the hardest thing I?ve ever had to do!” So there you have it: After a long reign on top, walking and chewing gum at the same time has finally been bumped down to No. 2.

When Mojo finally finished, the editors tried to make us think they had a chance, cutting from Ray and Yolanda stuck in traffic to Mojo in a fast cab. ”This guy is hauling balls,” said Joseph, and speaking of hauling balls, Phil and his pants were waiting somberly for the last-placers at the mat. After their weepy elimination, Monica declared that Joseph was her ”rock,” while Joseph said he was sure they would get married someday and have a family. Now that was a mind game.

What do you think? Are you happy to see Mojo go? How do Monica and Joseph stack up against the great dysfunctional couples from past seasons?