Now that we're well and truly in the CBS reality hiatus (until Tough as Nails 2 drops), my mother and I are now watching this season.
To preface, this is right around the time I dropped off of TAR due to it getting moved to Sundays and thus an unfixed timeslot thanks to football. My mother was picking up TAR about this time, but she doesn't really retain lots of details about shows in the way I do. So it's more or less "new" to both of us.
That said, I do recognize these teams to a degree, and to different degrees for different teams. I mean, Kynt and Vyxsin are truly visually iconic Racers, so they're hard to forget. But others like Ron and Christina, and Ari and Stella are/were better at tickling my memory than others like this season's Blondes and TK, who looks like every alternative pseudo-stoner from the '00s.
We watched the first 3 episodes and here's a few highlights of our discussions:
The first Roadblock was pedaling a bicycle across a high wire over a Irish valley, while the other teammate was seated on a pole dangling below the bike. The male/female teams pretty much all had the male doing the pedaling, except for the perky goths. Vyxsin said she was the better cyclist, and given that Kynt was a willowier dude at the time, both those factors played well into her being the one to do the Roadblock. She did pretty well too; only seeming to have difficulties right near the end (which I think would have been a slight incline anyway, if my understanding of physics is correct). But I also think she probably had the second hardest time of the women that did this Roadblock, with Kate of the married lesbian ministers probably having a harder time due to her age and both her and Pat having larger builds as compared to all the other women, Kynt, and even Gramps.
Additionally, Ari and Staella unnecessarily* stole the cab A & H reserved for Ron and Christine, and the cabbie found out he had the wrong people in his cab. Lo and behold, they get donkey on TAR that becomes impossible to work with and thus the agent of Kab Karma. My mother said that karma hit them quickly, and I said that it bit them in the ass.
*To be fair, they didn't know that the cab ride led to an Equalizer ferry. All they knew was they needed to catch a ferry to get to the next marker. But since all the teams, from both initial flights, caught the same ferry, it was indeed unnecessary.
2nd leg was in Amsterdam. And I was thoroughly expecting some form of weed-innuendo comment about that from TK. But if he did say anything, the Amazing Editors kept it off air. The Detour here was interesting; a double Needle in a Haystack (finding two specific marked bikes among hundreds), versus hauling 5 heavy and/or awkward pieces of furniture into an apartment via the window pulley. TK apparently took several attempts to get their first item, a CRT TV, tied up without any success. This led me to ask three questions. 1) Why didn't he switch to another item, like the chair, or baby carriage? Those might have been a lot easier to figure out. (Vyxsin and Kynt started with the carriage for that very reason.) 2) Why didn't he and Rachel switch positions sooner? They saw other teams do so and leave the task long before they ever switched out. 3) Why didn't they Bald-Snark it after a while? If he was having that big a problem with the one side of the Detour, you'd think they'd discuss changing tasks. Eventually Rachel did take over on the ground, leading to a cute moment where she climbed up the 3 stairs of the stoop in order to jump off the top to help her haul the rope better.
This leg was the first time that TAR featured the ditch vaulting, which my mother did recall seeing before (from TAR30 is my guess, since that was the most recent time it was Switchbacked.) Of course, the big moment here was Gramps stripping down to his underwear after some unsuccessful attempts, because his clothes were getting weighed down with mud. Logical. Also logical was Nicholas and him hanging back at the cluebox to watch other teams attempt this before deciding who would take this Roadblock.
This is also the leg that Ron went way overboard on berating both Christina and Nicholas. My mother thought Ron was going to be a good guy based on Leg 1, but this leg soured her on him. I pointed out that when Christina finally snapped at him, he at least became aware that there was an issue with how he was acting, and there was lots of Race left for him to get better.
In the start of Leg 3, Vyxsin had a TH where she said that in her relationship with Kynt, she sometimes took on more "traditional masculine" roles. My mother opined that this meant that both of them were gender-fluid. While I didn't totally discount that possibility, I said it was more that they just didn't fall into stereotypical gender roles, as evidenced in the first Roadblock as I stated above. As far as I know, Kynt identifies as male, and Vyxsin as female. But it's not like it matters one whit if either or both of them identify in another way. Then this led into a conversation about language that is better served by the Grammar Police thread elsewhere in the forums, not the least of why is because I was referring to said thread throughout the conversation.
This was the Burkina Faso leg where Lorena got locked into a panic spiral because of a camel teat. The Roadblock involved milking a camel to a certain volume, then drinking the milk to get the clue. Everyone who was calm and/or had experience with farm animals did quick work. Lorena was not in this group, and her camel could tell. She seemed so nervous to even touch the camel, that when she did, the camel jerked its knee and knocked the bowl Lorena was gathering milk in. This made Lorena more nervous...and the spiral began. What she needed was something outside the spiral to knock her out. Unfortunately, since this was a Roadblock, it couldn't be her partner Jason. All he could do was watch and say non-specific encouraging words. (And props to him for handling that well. He never shouted at her throughout the ordeal, and heaped tons of praise on her once she did finish.) It took Julia of the sisters to break Lorena out of the cycle, by giving her advice on which camel to switch to (now that she was allowed to by the rules.) Unfortunately, that bit of advice allowed Lorena and Jason to catch up to and eventually pass the sisters at the Detour just before the Pit Stop. Which meant that a moment of kindness led to the sisters getting Philiminated. An honorable way to go out though.
Some trivia I learned after the fact (because I always look at the TAR wiki after a team is eliminated to see "where are they now"): TK, Rachel, Stella, and Nathan (this season's Huge in the HugeTiny team) apparently all attended the same high school. Not necessarily at the same time (although I'd wager TK and Rachel did, given their relationship), but that connection does exist. When I told my mother this, she thought it was a bit unusual. But then I mentioned that those 3 teams were all from LA, so it made a bit more sense and seemed less conspiratorial. I also learned that while billed as "married", the ministers weren't actually married until a few months after the show originally aired. We agreed that that was more to do with the legality of it, and not Kate and Pat's commitments to each other.