The Amazing Race recap: Step by Step

Nick and Starr have a run of bad luck with cabbies, while Dan and Andrew make one mistake after another
Ep. 09 | Aired Nov 23, 2008

MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE Dan and Andrew are trying to prove they've got the brains, stamina, and wit to win. Yep, they're trying.

<p>Monty Brinton/CBS</p>

It is now 4 a.m., and I am just finishing this update. I'm very late because I usually dictate this TV Watch to my editor, but she has started insisting I type it, and it's taking forever: You see, pushing keys with letters on them is a more artsy and fartsy based skill, and I'm more mouth-breathing and sit-on-my-ass based.

Oh Dan, Dan, Dan. Just when I thought I had seen all of your talents, it turns out that you have even fewer. The man can't march! March! Marching is just walking, but with a little extra panache! I'm glad that Andrew took control when they decided to serve borscht: I'm sure Dan would have frozen up, not sure which end of the ladle to stick in the soup.

Okay, let me back up. As usual, I have started this update in the middle. You see, starting at the beginning is a little too logic and basic-intelligence based, and my TV Watch abilities are more doofus and halfwit based.

When the episode began in the Kazakhstan airport as the teams booked tickets to Moscow, the producers took us on a musical tour of the Amazing Race sound cue library. When Nick and Starr inquired about flight times, we got ominous music to cue us that they would have a bad leg. Then Dallas showed up to paw at Starr's thigh, and we quickly cut to light, flirtation music. But this interlude was cut short by Dallas saying that he hates that Nick and Starr constantly finish first, and we abruptly segued into the climactic competition theme. At that point, we cut to the shoeless Dan and Andrew (who were wearing slippers because they left their shoes at the puppet theater), and I was surprised to hear they weren't introduced with the traditional Amazing Race "lunkhead" tune. I love that piece: I always think of it as the soundtrack to a cow with his head stuck in a bucket.

Dan was very worried about money, especially after they both bought sneakers at the 24-hour airport shoe store. An airport shoe store? Boy, cultures are different. Though, while I never would have expected to see one of those, I wonder whether Kazakhs visiting American airports are completely perplexed by the profusion of Cinnabons: "These crazy Americans. Why would they want to eat six pounds of cake and sugar right before being strapped into a small seat for hours? Why not spend their money on comfortable footwear instead?"

In Moscow, the teams first had to find a monastery, and nearly every cab driver got lost. The language barrier in Russia was the most obstructive of the whole season. Why didn't everyone just do what President Bush did in 2001 when faced with the same problem: he didn't need words, he just looked into the eyes of Vladimir Putin and got a sense of his good soul. Perhaps the problem on the Race was that the players were all in the backseat and couldn't make eye contact with their drivers; if they had only been able to stare lovingly into the cabbies' eyes, they could have gotten to their destinations with hours to spare. It's simple politics, people!

NEXT: Dan and Andrew are overconfident

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