The Amazing Race season premiere recap: Back in the Saddle

The 'All-Star' teams -- minus one very lovable hospital patient -- head to China
Ep. 01 | Aired Feb 23, 2014

Host Phil Keoghan's left eyebrow, Browsie, signals the official start of season 24's race around the world.

CBS

Welcome back to The Amazing Race, where it's never too late for a second (or in some cases, third) chance -- as long as one of your vital organs isn't threatening to rupture.

Results first: It's an early goodbye to Sri Lankan "Twinnies" Nadiya and Natalie, the three percent amusing/97 percent horrifying pair of steaming tea kettles who could not stop bickering long enough to locate the correct Chinese bridal boutique. Stunningly, no Guangzhou bridal shop was named "Wedding Dress Ching Chong" a.k.a. "It's all Asian; I can't read it" -- so the Twinnies were fresh out of luck. This coincided nicely with the whole of The Amazing Race viewership remembering how much they disliked the Twinnies. Good try, Twinnies. See ya never.

Now the bigger news: 'Mark and Mallory' the strangers have replaced 'Bopper and Mark' the lifelong friends. See, Bopper, of Mark and Bopper, had run out onto the UCLA football field along with the other teams for the official start of the race, BUT! He had an inflamed pancreas. Dr. Phil had informed Bopper and Mark of the devastating news the night before -- as Phil hovered over the real-life doctor, Dr. Horowitz, in the closest The Amazing Race has ever come to resembling a medical drama (generic office set, lack of foreign flavor from costumed sidekicks save for a stern New Zealander in a grey leather jacket).

Bopper could not engage in any flight time; his poor pancreas was simply not fixin' to hit the race again. So in a dramatic twist, the producers reached up into The Amazing Ether in which they keep all potential last-minute partners and plucked out Mallory Ervin, of season 17's father-daughter team Gary and Mallory. She and Mark are both from Kentucky! It's so random, but I love it. This is actually a great idea for an entire season. I'd rather watch Mismatched Strangers than All-Stars, I think. Maybe some other time.

Pint-size Mallory doesn't like coleslaw, but she's fine with plug-in cars, so the *Ford Fusion product placement* portion of the race went fine for the last-minute team. "I'm so bad with navigation," she warned him as they raced to LAX. I'm gonna need a subtitled "internal monologue" bubble for Mark starting next episode. Just a thought.

NEXT PAGE: A whole street of wedding dresses and not one in Joey's size?


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