Amazing Race: Did Vyxsin Cheat During the Chocolate Gnome Incident?

Who’d have thought that an extended product placement segment starring the Travelocity gnome and some mellow Swiss chocolate makers could yield a bubbling cauldron of intrigue, drama, and hurt feelings? But that’s exactly what went down on Sunday night’s installment of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business.

The incident occurred during a Roadblock in which a member of each team was tasked with creating a chocolate replica of Travelocity’s sprightly, bearded mascot. It was a classic case of “too many cooks in the kitchen,” as Zev put it, and at one point, Vyxsin removed from the freezer a painted “gnome mold” that Flight Time insisted belonged to him. It wasn’t completely clear who was in the wrong, but Vyxsin didn’t seem to defend her position very vigorously, and Flight Time seemed completely indignant that a switcheroo had occurred. Personally, I think some of the blame falls on the show’s producers: Sure, the possible mixup created plenty of tension and a few minutes of good television, but ultimately, it’s their responsibility to ensure that the race is conducted as fairly and honestly as possible. Without a baseline integrity, it’s hard as a viewer to get wrapped up in caring about the outcome. Couldn’t someone on staff have played back some camera footage to determine the facts? Why wasn’t there a system in place to ensure this kind of mixup didn’t occur in the first place? (How about a color-coded mark or symbol on each mold?)

Even though my gut feeling is that Vyxsin messed up, I’m pretty confident she didn’t intentionally cheat. It’s more likely that her partner’s yapping-animal antics (“Keep it fast, Vyxsin, keep it fast. Fast, fast, honey!”) distracted her enough to prompt the error. Later on, I felt a little uncomfortable watching Kent’s reaction to Big Easy’s loud and defiant protests on behalf of Flight Time. “The Globetrotters, when they don’t get their way, what do they do?” asked Kent, as he made the international symbol for cuckoo behind his rival’s back. “They start yellin’, they start hoopin’, they start holla!”

Of course, karma is always the silent participant in the race of life, and on their way from the chocolate shop to the Pit Stop, Kent and Vyxsin failed to read the directions carefully, taking a cab to the finish line instead of traveling on foot. The snafu resulted in a half-hour penalty, and a temper tantrum from Kent, who huffed and whined and blamed his fuchsia-haired girlfriend. “At least I always stay positive no matter what,” huffed the deluded Kent, who would have no competition in the vote for the season’s most negative player. Vyxsin’s retort summed it up best: “Yeah, but your version of being positive is to attack me, and that’s not very encouraging or positive. It sucks.”

Thankfully, trailing Zev and Justin arrived at the pit stop before Kent and Vyxsin’s time penalty had expired, and the Goths were ousted from the competition.

Other highlights from the episode:

* Kent, in classing Kent style, declared his intention to start off each leg of the race in a happier mood, then promptly started having a mini meltdown when Gary and Mallory made up an 18-minute deficit to pass them on their way to the air-rescue helicopter port.

* Anyone else get a case of the warm fuzzies after finding out Justin’s 12-year-old sister knitted matching hats for him and Zev?

* This tongue-in-cheek quote from Zev: “The Matterhorn was named after the Disneyland ride. Pretty mind-boggling to me.”

* Who’d have thought the “Search” portion of the Detour would turn out to be more challenging than the “Rescue”? The Goths, the Globetrotters, and Kisha/Jen all chose the latter challenge, and zipped through the process of rappelling into an icy crevice, “rescuing” a stranded hiker, and bringing him to the surface. The sole drama in the task came courtesy of Kent (pictured), who went into stream-of-chihuahua barking (“Stop, Vyxsin, stop! Stop! Stop!) when his partner lowered him too far into the pit. (For a moment, I wondered if she was planning to drop him to his icy demise, cut the cord, and walk away.)

Over at “Search,” though, Justin/Zev and Gary/Mallory were faced with brute labor in extreme winds and high-altitudes that left Gary gasping, and me worried that the season’s oldest player was about to experience heart failure. Justin, meanwhile, did all the digging for his team while trying to motivate a supine, barely present Zev. If the latter duo is going to stand any chance to take home the top prize, Zev is going to have to improve his work ethic and sense of fire. When it was all said and done, though, the image of both teams accidentally severing their rescue dummies’ legs from their torsos was the comedic highlight of the episode. “He’s alive!” howled Gary. “I think he’s gonna make it!”

Final order of finish for the leg: Flight Time/Big Easy; Kisha/Jen; Gary/Mallory; Zev/Justin; Kent/Vyxsin (eliminated).

What did you think of this week’s episode? Who was most in the wrong during Gnomegate? The Goths? The Globetrotters? The show’s producers? And will you miss Kent and Vyxsin’s bickering faces next week?  Sound off in the comments, and for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Sean says:

    To answer your question….nobody took the tray in the freezer. There would have been a penalty if so. If the Globetrotters got a penalty for taking a fannypack by accident, there definitely would have been one here, and it’s not like the cameras could have missed it.

    My Random Thoughts:

    – If you were a cab driver in this Swiss town, and early one morning, you saw Kent and Vyxsin running around trying to flag you down, and even tapping on your window as you drove by…would you stop? Kent went back to using that creepy whisper voice again too, which only would have made me drive away faster if I was the cab driver.

    – For the annual return of the Travelocity Gnome, at least the teams actually had to make one out of chocolate. Much better than just having to take it to the Pit Stop for absolutely no reason. Remember when they used to have prizes on the bottom of some of the Gnomes? At least then there was a point…now it’s just a safety hazard. Think about it, someone is running to the mat at the end of a leg in a footrace, and trips and impales themself on the Gnome. They say all publicity is good publicity, but I have to think that a bloody Gnome hat poking out of someone’s chest like a scene from Alien would be bad for business.

    After you’re done here, I hope you’ll check out the rest of my recap at

    • Caution says:


    • darclyte says:

      I don’t believe that Vyxsin took anyone else’s mold. Remember, she had her molds at her work station and was working on both of them at the same time for a bit, and then realized that she was behind in putting her molds into the freezer. She finished the top, put it in the freezer, then worked to finish the bottom.

      • Kris says:

        I honestly don’t know what to believe. They showed her saying “Mine is on the bottom” when she put her molds in but I guess she could have taken Flight Time’s by accident. If she did, I honestly don’t believe it was intentional and I felt really bad for her when she was being ganged up on. Big Easy was being a massive jerk about it and because of that, I found it very hard to feel sorry for him or happy for him when he came in first. No matter what, KEEP IT CLASSY!

        • tina says:

          we saw her put her’s in the freezer, saying ok, I’ll put it on the bottom shelf, she didn’t cheat. The writer of this recap didn’t seem to really watch the show because that scene was shown for a purpose. The purpose being that when he went to the fridge and couldn’t find his, he says oh I’ll take this one on the bottom, as if it didn’t matter. I don’t get why people can’t figure it out when we saw her painting the chocolate on, taking her half to the fridge, what more can be shown?

    • Cindy Miller says:

      I really enjoyed watching Kent and Vyxsin race. When they did well it was unforgettable (ie Uturning the Reds) and when they had meltdown moments the comedy made the episode.

      They were Reality TV gold and viewers had a range of opinions on them….which is exactly why this show keeps winning emmys!


  2. FR says:

    So glad the goths are gone. Can’t even hope they’ll see themselves on TV and realize how absolutely ridiculous they are since it apparently didn’t do anything the first time around.

    Globetrotters winning instead was karma!

    • Kris says:

      I have no problem with Vyxsin, she seems like a down-to-Earth, cool person. Her style is a bit different but who cares? Kent is the person who needs a reality check. He’s whiny, selfish, immature and I’m relatively sure that Vixsin is just his beard.

  3. Lisa says:

    Yay Kent & Vyxsin are gone. I am so happy.
    Now Gary & Mallory just need too win.

  4. Jess says:

    Vyxsen had both her moulds on her table. She put one in the freezer and didn’t take one out. The Globetrotters totally pointed fingers at the wrong people. But what does it matter, the Goths went out anyway for another reason so no harm done…

  5. Eddie Z says:

    Anyone think that Kent, while rappelling, looked like the Child Catcher in “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang”?

  6. Mark says:

    Zev is a complete jackass. He did not need to be such a jackass to the woman who was putting the chocolate into the gnome. “Thanks Captain Obvious.” That woman was so sweet and he is such a jerk. I so wanted them out.

    Big Easy came off as a total jerk to me more so than Kent. Making fun of Kent saying the gnome looked pretty was extremely rude.

    Gary/Mallory FTW!

    • Dbalcer says:

      Zev has Asperger Syndrome which causes a person to have poor social skills.

      • Mark says:

        I understand that he has Asperger’s but he should still know to keep his mouth shut with rude comments.

        • HH says:

          I don’t think you quite understand Aspergers.
          Apergers don’t have social filters. With therapy, they do try to mimic those social exchanges and behaviors and with Aspergers the brain in extremely literal, so in all actuality, I think he was trying to be funny/friendly and repeating a line that is probably used on him quite often.
          Just trying to broaden your understanding. Although I realize it won’t matter if you are determined to be offended.

          • Mark says:

            Perhaps. I thought that at his age though he would be better with it. *Shrugs* I guess not.

          • AlistairCrane says:

            Perhaps an idiot with Aspergers shouldn’t be competing on the Amazing Race.

          • Kris says:

            I understand that Aspergers is a serious disorder but there are people at his age who have much better control of it. I dont think that line sealed his fate as “biggest jerk of the episode” as that certainly goes to Big Easy or Kent but it wasn’t neccessary.

        • anon says:

          Google it.

        • Asperger Mom says:

          As explained already to you but I will reiterate. People with Aspergers have poor social skills and not much of a verbal filter. I can say it gets better (my son is 31) after so many years of being constantly corrected and monitored but in situations of extreme stress (and I think TAR qualifies) and being “out of your comfort zone” there is always the chance that that filter is gone. In these situations even “normal” people lose their filters. Like it has also been said, read about it and hopefully have some understanding. I am thrilled that Zev had been able to do so well and that Justin is such a great friend.

          • AlistairCrane says:

            People with Asperger’s should be seeking mental help in an institution, not competing on the Amazing Race. I just want to slap and shake Zev—yuck, yuck, yuck!!!

          • susela says:

            @AlistairCrane: Zev’s social skills are superior to yours.

          • anon says:

            @AlistairCrane: it’s ok to admit that you have the hots for Zev… just admit it…

          • Amber says:

            @AlistairCrane: Your comments to other posters on this site are always so rude and uncalled for. It’s like you’re trying to start fights. You seem to have no social filter yourself. Maybe you should be seeking mental help instead of being allowed to post on this website.

          • Heather B. says:

            Asperger Mom, I think you summed it up well. I work with Asperger kids and while they are kids and not adults, it’s not at all unusual for their skills to deteriorate in uncomfortable or stressful situations. Zev is way out of any kind of regular routine, doing a lot of stressful things, interacting with a lot of new people, opening himself to all kinds of sensory overloads (noises, temperatures etc.). I guess I could see why people unfamiliar with Asperger’s might be put off, but I think Zev is doing amazingly well. I don’t think I’d handle all that stuff nearly as well.

          • tarfan says:

            @Heather B: Ladyhawke has Asperger and she’s doing awesome compared to Captain Obvious.

      • AlistairCrane says:

        So what? He’s still a disgusting prick! And if he has that disease, maybe he should have been in the hospital and not on the AMazing Race.

        • tarfan says:

          Yeah, he’s been rude to people in China, India, everywhere he goes.

        • Zev says:

          Disgusting Prick? Well in your case, the saying that “It takes one to know one” is clearly true… Perhaps you also suffer from the same condition, as you don’t seem to have social filters.. but then you might also might be an classless idiot, which is more likely the case…

    • HH says:

      Big Easy is a Bully. But Kent is equally Whiney.
      Zev has Aspurgers and doesn’t have social concepts. He is very literal and thus akward (misunderstood/stands) socially.

      • mike says:

        Zev is a quote machine! I laughed out loud when Zev “Thanks Captain Obvious.” Hilarious. Mallory too, although she hasn’t benn focused that much the past two legs.

        Rooting for Gary and Mal! :)

    • Daniel says:

      Zev didn’t behave like that the first time he was on the race, not even close. One thing is to have asperger, the other, being a misanthrope. Nothing to do with social skills, he is a major a-hole. Second, Mallory actually complained about Vyxin being annoying??? My god.

      • anon says:

        You clearly have zero understanding of Aspergers.

      • Moxley says:

        I think Mallory was complaining about Kent being annoying when he kept telling Vyxsin what to do, and not being able to put up with it if she were Vyxsin.

      • Tego Livi says:

        This is life, not a little girl’s tea party, and “Thanks Captain Obvious” is hardly spitting in someone’s face. It was mildly sarcastic, but the problem was that one generally shouldn’t use sarcasm unless one is with friends. Which is exactly the kind of thing that comes up with Asperger’s. But even if Zev didn’t have Asperger’s, it wouldn’t have been that big a deal. I’m more concerned with the personality disorders of the people who are upset about it than I am with Zev’s AS.

      • AlistairCrane says:

        I can’t stand that retarded Aspergers goof. I hope they lose!

        • Amanda says:

          Alistaircrane… just as last week, you again are a troll. Go crawl back under that rock you slithered out from.

          • hAmanda says:

            Oh, and Mike – great job with the recap! I only wish you could keep the trolls from commenting… surprising they have internet access, maybe they use the public library?

    • DonMI says:

      I sincerely doubt that a woman whose native language is not English would understand what he said anyway. He tends to ramble on almost incoherently during all his solo tasks, and I’ll bet most people just ignore him after a few minutes of it.

      • tarfan says:

        This is an educated woman from Europe (it was probably her chocolate factory) and not some maid from Tijuana. Captain Obvious also smashed a tea cup on purpose, yelled at that Chinese guy and so on. Even when your native language isn’t English you can still get it.

  7. HH says:

    I watched the fridge scenes in slow mo.
    Which are not quite in order, by the way, but if you watch FT is carrying one with ONLY the boots and belt done (no white base, no hat) to the fridge.
    Vyxsin had TWO molds and Finally just put one on the BOTTOM shelf of the second fridge.
    The Mallory was using the first fridge.
    Jen was using the second fridge first and second shelves, but she had more details of her gnome done than Flight Time.
    So Flight Time started to take Jens, but she stopped him and then he went for Vyxsins.
    Intentionally? His was right there on the top shelf, just not as far done as the others. Did he forget or was he trying to get ahead?
    Big Easy took a tense situation and heated it up by pointing fingers and accusing.
    Flight time decided “ain’t mine but I’ll work with it” (it WAS his!)
    Why did AR not air what happened (like they usually do when someone makes a mistake – either way -) I don’t understand.
    I really hope AR cleared up between the parties what happened and that Vix got an apology for the accusations and attitude of Big Easy.

    • Amber says:

      I think you might be right on this. It seems like if someone had taken the wrong mold they would have gotten a penalty. TAR doesn’t allow teams to hurt other teams whether accidentally or on purpose. I think in the end everyone was actually working with their own molds whether they realized they were or not. It is surprising they didn’t show video to clear up what happened, and I’m also surprised Phil didn’t say anything at the checkpoint about the drama, because he usually does.

      • lauren says:

        This reminded me of another question I had. Perhaps I wasn’t watching closely enough, but did I miss Zev and Justin pulling out the bottom half of their mannequin? I only remember seeing the top half. At the time, I thought “Uh oh, they’re going to get a penalty for that,” but since they didn’t, I thought maybe I just missed it…

        • HH says:

          I don’t think they aired that part. I think in editing they decided to show the struggle, so a clip of sucess and move on, thinking most either wouldn’t notice or would just chalk it up to editing. That Justin has a heart of gold. Even under stress he maintains his patience with Zev and his obliviousness.

        • Darlene says:

          He did finally get both parts of the mannequin out

      • Corky says:

        They actually pulled the legs out first where Gary and Mallory pulled the head and torso out first. They showed both parts pulled out by both teams.

        • lauren says:

          Ahhh… thanks for clearing that up! I guess I’m always hyper-observant when I watch AR because I think about how easy it is to slip up and get a penalty!

  8. Lauren says:

    Woohoooo! I am so glad to finally see Kent and Vyxsin gone. I couldn’t take Kent’s whining or Vyxsin putting up with it anymore! Could not be happier with tonight’s outcome.

    • HH says:

      I know. I really like her, but he is like an overtired two year old. I couldn’t deal with it (from a grown up) but I think outside of the Race he probably doesn’t whine quite as often, or as loud and that she is used to being in control (taking care of everything) so in normal day to day they probably suit each other fine. Not for me, but there is someone for everyone, right? And we have seen WAY worse ‘partners’ on this show, that are downright rude, MEAN and abusive to thier ‘partner’ as well as everone else.

      • Lauren says:

        Very true! At least they GET each other. And I think you’re right, they probably do work in real life. I’m not even sure my 2-and-a-half-year relationship would make it through the stress that is AR. In fact, there are very few people I think I could do the show with. It’s just such a stressful situation and really brings out the best or worst in people.

    • JohnDoe says:

      After watching all the episodes this season, I’m pretty sure she was the one that wouldn’t shut the hell up. Most of the time, at least until later in the race, Kent didn’t say a damn thing when Vyxsin would go on her annoying tirades.

    • AlistairCrane says:

      Disagree. They were the only team I was rooting for. Now the finale is going to be lame because I hate all the other teams and don’t care who wins.

  9. Darlene says:

    The “nose cam” as exhibited in this article’s picture is the worst invention ever.

  10. Fred says:

    They probably lack footage revealing enough to show what happened. Cameras were probably much more focused on the work, not the fridge. But they were pretty clear about Vyxsin saying she was putting her’s on the bottom shelf to show that Flight Time’s gnome was not the one on the bottom. He forgot which was his (perhaps after someone moved his over a little to fit theirs) and freaked out.

    I also disagree with the notion that Zev is a weakness. One thing I like about team Aspergers is that when one is down, the other picks them up, like last weeks fondue challenge that Zev powered through along side a struggling Justin. And I think Zeb did a pretty reasonable job of the gnome. I am curious, though, if the roadblock limit is 6 or 7. If it is 7 like in recent seasons, Zev should not have to worry about more roadblocks. If it is 6, than he probably has one more.

    I think there trouble was more the California boys just not knowing how to dig in the snow.

    • Mel31602 says:

      There will be 11 roadblocks this year since one of the double leg eps didn’t have one. so the limit is 6. Zev has done four and Justin has done five, so they each must do one of the last two. This is assuming there us a roadblock in the finale.

  11. melon says:

    Justin retweets his little sisters tweets enough that I know she is precocious and hilarious. I was really glad to see the shoutout to her, too. Justin is a total sweetie.

  12. AlistairCrane says:

    Disappointed. Kent and Vyxsin were the only team I was rooting for. Now I’m going into the finale just not caring who wins.

  13. Elizabeth Wingett says:

    I live in CA, so I didn’t get to see it. It was all news about Osama. Any chance it will air for us?

  14. the voice fan says:

    slezak said “but ultimately, it’s their responsibility to ensure that the race is conducted as fairly and honestly as possible.”

    it would seem to me that each team should actually have to complete the task successfully themselves…instead of having it handed to them by other teams

    and yes, i’m still bitter that the cowboys were eventually ousted because some of the teams were given the answer and did not have to repeat the task as the cowboys did when determining the length of lichtenstein

  15. SeeSome says:

    I wonder if Kynt & Vyxsin did incur a penalty for taking the wrong mold but the show edited it out.

    With one 30-minute penalty it could have easily gone either way and the tension at the end of the episode was high.

    OTOH, if they had received two 30-minute penalties there would have been no question that Justin & Zev would catch them, leading to a dull finish for the episode.

    In that scenario, I could see the producers deciding to simply edit out the shots that made the mold-stealing clear and Phil’s informing K&V about the penalty but keeping the taxi-penalty (much harder to edit out) for dramatic tension.

  16. No Far says:

    I believe that K&V were cheated because Zev and Justin did not completely dig out thier person out of the snow. It clearly showed it… I think they were cheated because they are “clean Shaving people” and they would have passed right through the waxing road block… I hate this show….. By the way I think Jen and Kisha stole the mold…

  17. Linda says:

    Please reread and reconsider your posts before you put them out there for the whole world to see. Some of you exhibit your ignorance, your intolerance, your extreme stupidity, and the rest of the world shakes its head in disbelief. I love TAR and will continue to watch the show, moan about this and that, and complain often, but only to my close family and friends. And, I hope that if I ever make an inapproriate comment such as some I’ve read here, that my loved ones wil smack me, as I would love to smack some of you…Allstaircrane, not to mention any names…