The Amazing Race: Would You Ever Willingly Choose a Food Challenge?

Sunday night’s installment of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business contained one of those Detours that seemed as easy as choosing between a soothing massage or a thwack in the stomach with a two-by-four. And yet midway through their travels in Vienna, Austria (or according to the Globetrotters “where the Terminator is from”), three of the six remaining teams — Zev and Justin, Kisha and Jen, and Gary and Mallory — shocked me by opting for “quick, easy meal” over “long, hard walk.” Maybe it’s just me, but whenever a food challenge crops up on Amazing Race, it seems like there’s at least a 50-50 chance the show’s producers have cooked up a task designed to end with the following warning: “Side effects may include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, tears, stained clothing, and overall loss of dignity.” And the fact that this week’s task included the words “quick” and “easy” should’ve been a tipoff that the Detour would be anything but.

Indeed “quick, easy meal” asked that teams pick up two large plates of greasy food (plus two slices of cake), board a ferris wheel, and wolf down every last bite during the ride’s 12-minute rotation. As Justin so aptly put it after letting out a pained burp and realizing there was no way he could clear his plate before the ride was over: “This was a terrible idea.” In fact, Gary was the only one of the six players on the ride to conquer his meal; unfortunately, he couldn’t simultaneously manage to consume half of Mallory’s meal for her. As they jumped off the ferris wheel to head to the “long, hard walk,” the ever-game Mallory pulled herself together and brightly suggested, “I can throw up and try again!” Fortunately, dad said no.

And yet unfortunately, Gary and Mallory’s misadventure put them squarely in last place, and they never had another opportunity to recover. I really disliked the final Road Block — in which one team member had to play chimney sweep on a Vienna rooftop — since it was so simple it didn’t really leave any opportunity for disaster, or a chance for a trailing team to make up any significant ground. Of course, that flaw in the task clued me in to the fact that we might be looking at a non-elimination leg of the race — and that indeed turned out to be the case. Final order of finish at the Pit Stop was Zev and Justin (new cars for both of ’em!); Big Easy and Flight Time (who probably should’ve been docked 15 minutes for public urination, no?); Kent and Vyxsin (the latter finally put her sniveling partner into place by hissing, “I need you to quit acting like a chick and maybe just go into problem-solving mode and not emotional, mean, blaming mode!”); Kisha and Jen (who never do anything spectacular aside from never getting themselves into jeopardy); Jet and Cord (who once again took a separate flight from their fellow racers); and Gary and Mallory

What did you think of this week’s Amazing Race? Were you as happy as I was to see Gary and Mallory get another lease on their competitive life? And would you ever willingly choose a food challenge? Sound off below, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!