Go, team, go

In week one of Amazing Race, Team Houston lives to race again

In week one of Amazing Race, Team Houston lives to race again

The Texans may have disappointed us yesterday, but Houston’s other competing team, father and son Amazing Racers, Michael and Kevin Wu, did not. Team Houston, a.k.a. Team Jumba, finished in a respectable — we’ll call it lucky —seventh place.

Twenty minutes into the episode, it became apparent that our team would do well but not too well. The Amazing editors appeared to forget about the team for half the episode, signaling to anyone who has watched even a few competitive reality shows, that the team would not win, but would definitely be safe. In fact, Team Houston got the pleasant edit throughout the show, which depicted them as a nice, functional team, with a few weaknesses.

The race began in Gloucester, Mass., where the audience met the teams. In their introduction clip, Kevin talked a little about his online success and the guys are shown playing basketball and soccer on the mean streets of Sugar Land.

All the teams then received the Amazing ground rules, and their first destination was revealed: Stonehenge.

As we predicted, the race designers threw manual transmissions at the racers immediately upon their arrival in England, with the added challenge of a left-handed stick shift. Also as we predicted, Team Houston handled the situation with ease, unlike another parent/child team who ended up stalled on the motorway with a bunch of unhappy English drivers behind them.

So far Team Houston’s biggest weakness appears to be navigation, as they ended up in the back third of the pack on the trek from London to Stonehenge and then Stonehenge to Eastnor Castle. The challenges at the castle seemed less inspired by Medieval British history as a Monty Python movie. They had to storm the castle, climbing the castle walls while being pummeled with muddy water by some angry “serfs.” Close up shots of the peasants revealed that their anger no doubt sprang from the fact that the invading American racers probably had better dental care than they did. 

One of the funniest moments of the episode occurred when Team Houston had to cross a moat in an ancient boat that looked like a giant turtle shell. Only after sinking four times and copying the technique of the father/daughter team, who passed them, did they manage to maintain their balance and pull themselves across the water. Watching their progress and their later recounting of the task gave the audience one of the best “Awwww” moments of the episode as both team members praised and encouraged the other.

After crossing the moat, teams had to hitch a ride with a knight on a horse, use a ballista to fire watermelons at a suit of armor, and finally deal with a cheeky juggler before getting their final clue to the pit stop.  

Overall, Team Houston showed grace and made a better showing than our other beloved Houston team. Let’s just hope next week they can solve those navigation issues as they race around Ghana. That’s right, Ghana, because to the diabolical Amazing Race planners an England to Ghana route makes perfect sense.

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Mike Wu, left, and Kevin Wu Photo by John P. Filo/CBS
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The participants in this season's "Amazing Race" Photo by John P. Filo/CBS