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Herc’s Seen Goths, Globetrotters, Cowboys, Cheerleaders, An Aspergers Guy, A Deaf Fellow, A Miss Kentucky and Filmmaker Mike White Return For Tonight's First HD AMAZING RACE!!


I am – Hercules!!

Though this is the first HD edition of “The Amazing Race,” CBS only forwarded a SD screener. Ah well.

“This is Palm Springs, California!” begins Phil Keoghan at the start of what proves a compelling first hour. “Built in a rugged valley, it is the second windiest place on earth! It’s a city on the forefront of modern energy technology!”

All teams in this 18th edition, titled “Unfinished Business,” lost prior races. There are a couple of surprising omissions. Popular “Big Brother” power couple Jordan Lloyd and Jeff "It Hurts!" Schroeder aren’t aboard, nor are “Survivor” vets Rob Mariano and Amber Brkish. (Mariano, who lost twice on “Amazing Race” and three times on “Survivor,” is currently on yet another edition of “Survivor,” pursuing the sixth chance CBS has given him to win a million dollars.)

Even though actual Globetrotters Flight Time and Big Easy are in this race, both members of Team Aspergers wear licensed Harlem Globetrotter active wear.

“This race is going to be very, very different, starting right now,” Phil warns the contestants before the race has begun. “As you all know, second chances don’t come free.”

Spoilers lurk in the text invisible.

The first task takes place near the starting line in Palm Springs. It’s overcast and raining a bit and everybody, Phil included, looks like they’re freezing their hinders off.

Screenwriter-actor-director Mike White (“Freaks & Geeks,” “Chuck & Buck,” “School of Rock”) takes an early lead.

Destination one is Australia. (At one point contestants get to ride the almost-oxymoronic Manly Ferry.)

A shocking bit of real-world crisis precipitates a major reversal of fortune for several of the teams.

LaKisha and Jennifer, the non-swimmers who were undone by an water challenge in their first season (and, yes, they are quick to point out that they embody an African-American stereotype), are again forced to confront an aquatic challenge.

Alliances prove unusually critical this week.

A surprise awaits all teams at the first finish line. And a surprise awaits viewers too: the first episode denies us the knowledge of who – if anyone – is eliminated on the first leg of the race.8 

8 p.m. Sunday. CBS.



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  • Feb. 20, 2011, 2:08 a.m. CST


    by Hawkster

    Looking forward to this's going to be good to see some previous seasons faces

  • Feb. 20, 2011, 2:20 a.m. CST


    by pk68

    Only losers say First...

  • Feb. 20, 2011, 3:01 a.m. CST

    about f'ing time the show went hd

    by Rinse

    at least one of these teams were losers from last season. can't the show give teams a rest before recycling them?

  • Feb. 20, 2011, 3:12 a.m. CST

    I'd like to see Ron & Christina win this

    by Yaroh_Meringue

    That would have been the best ending for TAR 12, story arc-wise. I love watching Kynt & Vyxsin/Jaime & Cara. I respect the cowboy's physical prowess without liking them very much. I'm amazed that Mel & Mike are back because Mel barely made it the first time. I hope that bland, why-the-fuck-were-they-cast couple from TAR14 surprise me and become the stars of this race.

  • Feb. 20, 2011, 9:05 a.m. CST


    by SnootyBoots

  • Feb. 20, 2011, 9:10 a.m. CST

    Of course they had to bring back the deaf guy

    by SnootyBoots

    That's compelling tv right there. But, you know the only reason the young couple in blue is back is because they were U-turned by team deaf guy. There are many better teams from seasons past who should be filling their spot. Also, I was in Palm Springs once and it was not cold and windy. It was miserably hot. Like, at least one hundred ten degrees! Did get nice after the sun went down, though.

  • Feb. 20, 2011, 9:26 a.m. CST

    I hate it when they make people with mental disorders 'tokens'.

    by Anna Valerious

    Seriously, speaking as someone that's been diagnosed with Aspergers, I'm sick of people thinking that we aren't normal. Personally, I don't advertise it to everyone I meet because I'm tired of being treated differently. Of course, I HATE being normal, but I'd rather people just see me for who I am, not a mental disorder. (Once again, I'm glad for No Kidding Me Too, to find out some actors have mental issues they've been dealing with...I also have been dealing with depression and finding out about successful people who have been saddled with these things gives me hope.) BTW, I have met Kynt and Vixsen...they're big Kuromi fans, too. :)

  • Feb. 20, 2011, 6:49 p.m. CST

    Charla and Mirna

    by Hercules

    If memory serves, producers for some reason decided to only recruit those cast subsequent to the first all-star edition. This would rule out Team Chminrna as well as Rob & Ambuh.

  • Feb. 20, 2011, 9:17 p.m. CST

    Ahh, go backto Standard Def!

    by STLost

    The HD was making my whole family sick. It looked too good. I turned the smoothness feature on my TV "on" and that helped a bit. Australia looks gorgeous in HD, though.

  • Feb. 21, 2011, 5:07 a.m. CST

    Irritated that the leg didn't actually end.

    by Yaroh_Meringue

    I hate when they do that. So close to Cowboy Philimination. I was ready for the Globetrotters to get nuked by the flag decoding task and then the nerds just hand it to them. ARGH I HATE TAR 15!!! Jaime & Cara: DON'T TRUST LUKE'S ABILITY ON THE WORD/SYMBOL PUZZLES!!! Kent & Vyxsin aren't even pretending to be a couple anymore. And that's OKAY.

  • Feb. 21, 2011, 5:09 a.m. CST

    Charla and Mirna should be on every season.

    by Yaroh_Meringue

    Charla and Mirna should take over for Phil if he ever steps down from being Phil.

  • Feb. 21, 2011, 8:43 a.m. CST

    The gay goth guy

    by KoolerThanJesus

    Anyone else notice the gay goth guy grab the shirtless guy's ass at the pitstop? It happens right as they are walking away. You can see the surprise in shirtless guy's face.

  • Feb. 21, 2011, 6:48 p.m. CST

    I predict that the Cowboys will make a comeback

    by Truxton Spangler

    They didn't seem all that bright the first time, either, but they turned out to be pretty good racers. I'm not too fond of the overt cheating going on with the alliances and surprised the producers allow it. This isn't Survivor. Giving hints, or other nudges is fine, but flat out allowing teams to finish challenges without even trying undermines the nature of this show's competition. The other stuff changes the nature of the challenge; this bypasses it altogether.

  • Feb. 22, 2011, 2:19 p.m. CST

    deaf guy

    by carouselambra

    he's actually a giant jerk, hope he loses badly.

  • Feb. 22, 2011, 9:58 p.m. CST

    koolerthanjesus, I didn't notice it when I watched it

    by jim

    but he does - gives the guy a pat on the ass as they run away. truxton spanglers cereal cabal, I was thinking the same thing. How is that any different than asking another team to complete a challenge for you ("hey, Cowboys, we're both vegetarians; after you finish this meat eating challenge can you eat our meat too so we can get the clue?")? Or is that allowed too? What's next? Teams stopping short of the pit stop mat to allow others to finish ahead of them?

  • Feb. 23, 2011, 11:44 a.m. CST

    I am grateful for one thing

    by solitaire

    I love this show, and I am so glad they didn't bring back that woman whose husband was run over at Nascar or whatever and her obnoxious family. I hated them to the extent I was throwing stuff at my tv. EVERY damned leg, they ridiculed people, lied, acted like self rightious assholes, and then cried at the pitstop about how they were oppressed by everyone else for trying to live good christian lives. Do assholes like that actually read the bible, I wonder, or just hold it up to seem superior? I guess that whole "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone" passage wasn't in their copy.

  • Feb. 23, 2011, 6:59 p.m. CST

    The family edition sucked anyway

    by Truxton Spangler

    You must be referring to the woman and her daughters that nobody liked. Some people tend to use something in their lives, whether a tragedy, disability or belief, as a rationale to act self-righteously or entitled. Then they act shocked and hurt when others don't buy into their pity party or tolerate their boorish behaviour. Anyway, I'm glad I'm not the only one to notice the cheating alliances and hope it doesn't get out of hand. Just play the damn game, be pleasant, and have fun with it.