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!

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. Lindsay says:

    Chances are when the words “quick” and “easy” are in the name of the detour it is not. Choose the other one! These people raced before, they should know this.

  2. BabyBird says:

    I seriously wanted to smack Kent this entire episode (and for the last few before that)… he really needs to stop whining!! MAN UP! C’mon dude… seriously…

    Agreed on the “easy” final task.. it’s like.. okay, put this thing down the chimney and pull it back up 3 times? That’s it!? Mallory’s definitely always game for everything.. so hilarious.. such a trooper.. glad to see them not eliminated. REALLY wished it was whiny-pants.

  3. Ryndt says:


    • Sally Stinson says:

      How are Kent and Vyxsin lucky? The poor team has had nothing but BAD LUCK the entire Race, starting with Leg #1 when they worked hard and won the better FLIGHT to only have it get delayed because of a sick guy aboard. K & V are hard workers, much harder than Gary/Mallory who keep getting lucky. Mallory is the new Miss Piggy

  4. Rachel says:

    My favorite part was how many teams missed the fact that they’d been given a dolly to roll the couch the mile and ended up carrying it… (Also – no. Never choose a food challenge if you can help it.)

  5. Amanda says:

    They all should know not to pick the food detour on Amazing Race, its never easy. As for Kynt and Vyxsin, I find them to be a disapointment. At first I was happy that they were going to be on this season but then I didn’t remember them being such bickerers or being such gameplayers(not in a good way).

  6. Horrified says:

    Im still upset that the globetrotter stopped to per on the side of a building. It was a gross and rude act, that kind of behavior shouldnt be allowed on tar.

    • Nicole says:

      Public urination is actually fairly common in European countries. It’s not nearly as much of a faux pas as you would think.

  7. dctoronto says:

    I think my gut reaction would have been to go with the food…I’m a fast eater and I can’t think of any disgusting Austrian food BUT out of sheer personal/professional interest I would have moved Freud’s couch.

  8. Ada says:

    Gary&Mallory better stay in the race cause they are adorable and my favorites along with Zev&Justin. Kynt and Vyxin are annoying, especially Kynt, he’s so whiny.

    Oh man, I’ve been to Vienna and Austria in general several times ,we here in Europe(at least where I’m at) love schnitzels and I was getting jealous seeing them eat. I’m a fast eater so I could have definitely eaten that schnitzel, I would have stuffed it down with the Sacher Torte haha

  9. Rock Golf says:

    Kynt & Vyxin’s least favorite song: “Hello, Dolly!”

    And seriously! 12 minutes to eat a Wiener Schnitzel et al? Why did everyone use a knife & fork? Pick that baby up & chomp it down like a pizza! (Also, rule #1 in a speed food challenge: “Don’t talk, chew!”)

    That’s it. I’m out of exclamation points.

  10. daisyj says:

    You know, as much as Mallory’s “I’m-so-cute-I-don’t-need-higher-brain-functions” shtick annoys the hell out of me, I do have to admit that she is a trouper when it comes to the challenges. But I still wish this hadn’t been a non-elimination leg, if only so I didn’t have to watch a grown woman standing around with her tongue sticking out. (And my tip-off for the non-elim. was when they didn’t bother with the false-drama editing for the finish. But now that you mention it, that lame challenge should have been a hint.)

    • djm says:

      I’m with you. I have no idea where all the love for Mallory comes from – I honestly couldn’t stand her the first time she was on and I like her even less now. Sorry, but her constant praying annoys me to no end. I for one hope that Jesus has mor egoing on than answering the prayers of a reality show contestant that wants to win $1 million – like maybe answering the prayers of the person asking for the cure to cancer or AIDS or finding a job so they don’t lose their home or something important like that. And I am glad the Globe dudes didn’t win the cars – I think Zev & Justin couldn’t probably use them more.

      • Kitty says:

        Normally, I loathe those who pray for help on competition reality shows. I personally think God has more to be concerned about than helping anyone down schnitzel and a torte in 12 minutes. I Mallory seems genuine. Didn’t she ask for world peace for her wish in China, not to win the race like oh – almost everyone else did. Dad Gary rocks it. I love Mallory.

        If my cowboys don’t win, I want Mallory and Gary to take it.

        Kent and Vyxsin need to go. If nothing else, perhaps Vyxsin will dump Kent on his whiny bony ass and get a haircut and a real job. FOr Crissake; you can’t work at Hot Topic forever……

    • Kris says:

      Give me a break. Mallory is a trooper? How? She doesn’t do anything to make her a trooper. Gary is the one who does everything. If it wasn’t for Gary, they would’ve been eliminated probably around the same time as Mel & Mike. Let’s face it, Mallory isn’t the brightest light bulb and she’s not that strong. Gary is the one who’s smart and strong. He’s the one who’s been carrying Mallory throughout this race (and last season). If anyone should be a trooper in that team, it should be Gary for putting up with Mallory not doing much of anything.

  11. Angela says:

    I could have eaten the Schnitzel and the Sacher Torte (that chocolate cake), but there’s no way I could have possibly done it in 12 minutes. Give me an hour and a lot of water, and I could have gotten it all down!

    • Ali K says:

      The thing that bugged me the most was that everyone who did the food task used a knife and fork. Why oh why, if you’re eating solid food, would you not use your hands in a timed event?!

  12. absherlock says:

    Without a doubt, I would have tried the eating challenge – if you succeed, you’ve saved a lot of time and if you don’t, you’ve only really wasted twelve minutes. Also, I love schnitzel (and would probably have asked for a little gravy and red cabbage!).

    My wife and I were disappointed, though, that neither the Globetrotters or the cowboys tried it as we thought they’d’ve been most likely to finish it.

  13. Laura says:

    Hilarious! I said the same thing about the public urination!

  14. Beth T says:

    Even if a team thought the food challenge might be doable form the description, I thought as soon as they saw the plates of food they could have done the math and just turned around right there and headed for the couches.

    I’m still trying to figure out how Zev and Justin – who finished the couch task 5th – ended up not just passing the Cowboys, but every other team in front of them as well – did everyone else really get so lost?

    • Kris says:

      I have noticed that is Zev & Justin’s biggest attribute (and why I think they’ll win this race): they have an excellent sense of direction. Remember in Japan when they were traveling with the teams who were at the bottom of the challenge: the cheerleaders, Margie & Luke, and Kent & Vyxsin. They all stopped for directions and still couldn’t figure out how to get to that kerate challenge. Except for Zev & Justin who decided to go on their own. If I’m not mistaken, they wound up coming in 1st place. Ron & Christina also had a good sense of direction. But the rest of them have a lousy sense of direction–especially the Globetrotters, the Cowboys, and Kent & Vxysin. That’s probably why the Globetrotters, the Cowboys, and Ken & Vxysin did well in China and India–they didn’t have to drive! They took taxis.

  15. Amber says:

    Not sure how I missed the public urination part, I must have been in the restroom myself at that point, lol. I do like Mallory’s enthusiasm, and I think she’s adorable, but the praying thing is really getting on my nerves. It bothered me the first time they were on the show too, I was not displeased when they got kicked off. I don’t think God is up there trying to help people win a million dollars so that they can buy whatever material objects they want, and it annoys the hell out of me that people think he would care, like they’re so special he wouldn’t want to help the other contestants win. Kent needs to get off his period, he is really bothering me as well. He reminds me of Flo from the 1st Amazing Race season. I think he is abusive to Vyxsin, who seems to be a pretty impressively tough gal. At this point, I’m probably rooting for the cowboys to win. They haven’t been too ugly American-ish.

    • Californian says:

      Cowbros have NEVER been ugly Americans! In fact, they are polite, say “thank you”, manage to notice and appreciate the scenary, like the incred ceiling in the bldg on this race. Love them! Do not like Zev & Justin at all – the bearded one is not a nice person nor are his smirks. Love the goths! They add mirth and diversity to the mix. Mallory gags me (like in finger down my throat), yes and her praying/making the sign of the cross like ball players often do – Sheesh! I. Don’t. Think. if there is a god that he/she gives a prayer about TAR.

      Cowbros to the WIN!

  16. Buffy Freak says:

    Even though it was only 12 minutes, there is always the threat of not finishing and having to do it over. I’m not sure Kobayashi could have eaten all that in 12 minutes. If I had never seen the show I might have been tempted to do the food challenge…but not now.

    Kent seriously needs to get off my TV soon. The only girl I heard a peep from while moving the couch was Mallory but she wasn’t 1/10th as bad as Kent. He reimnds me of the old Dana Carvey SNL skit, Lyle the Effeminate Heterosexual.

  17. Mark It Right says:

    I am not a religious person,but I find no problem with her asking for help from something/someone that gives her strength and piece of mind. I am sure that you don’t get a busy signal or put on hold when you ask for help. God is probably able to hear everyone.
    Also, I am kind of hoping that Mal & Gary win. They never say anything or do anything bad to others. They take in and appreciate the places and people where they are taken on the race. Not to mention Mal’s sheer spunk. I didn’t care for her a lot at the beginning of the first time they were on the race, but I have grown to like her a lot. I know generally most people don’t pull for the plain ole nice people to win, but I hope they do! Btw, ready for Kent to go. Vyxin needs a better partner!

  18. Robin says:

    I was so happy it was a non elimination leg. I loved Gary and Mallory as well as the Cowboys so I didn’t want either of the last two teams arriving to have been eliminated. I somehow must have totally missed the public peeing thing with the Globetrotters…
    But I did find it amusing or confusing as to how all the teams seemed to stop and ask for directions to the castle when they were in a car that probably had navigation…GPS. I was like why aren’t they using that? Perhaps it was disabled or something though.

  19. Sean says:

    My Random Thoughts:

    – Upon arriving in Vienna, we were treated to a 7-minute long commercial for the “2012 Ford Focus” and all of it’s wonderful new features. Pardon me while I vomit. I’ve tolerated the ridiculous Travelocity gnome for years on TAR, but the product placement has been way over-the-top this year…first with the Snapple, and now with the Ford Focus. Even Big Brother was looking at this season and saying “You guys are sell-outs!” The only thing of note with this Ford ad, was that, for the first time I can ever remember, the teams were told in advance what the prize for winning the leg would be.

    – Kent was a drama queen supreme in this episode, whining and complaining at every turn, most of the time in a weird soft voice usually reserved for people trying to offer children free candy. And most of the time he was melting down and Vyxsin called him on it, he just kept saying that he wasn’t doing it. He would turn when she said not to, and not turn when she told him to go straight (insert your own joke about Vyxsin telling Kent to “go straight”), and then try to say that he was holding it all together.

    – At the Road Block, teams had to become **** Van **** and act as chimney sweeps. Wait a minute, isn’t this Austrian episode supposed to be themed after The Sound Of Music? Now we’re getting a Mary Poppins reference with the chimney sweep challenge? And don’t even try to tell me there was no correlation…the clue even said “Who feels as lucky as lucky can be?”, a direct quote from Mary Poppins.


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

  20. JayK says:

    Okay, I gotta admit, I probably would have totally been sucked into that food challenge. It looked delicious and I’m a fast eater. Looking at how the other teams did, however, I really doubt I could have done it.
    I agree, I hated the chimney sweep road block. No possible difficulties, everyone takes about the same amount of time. Boooring.
    I couldn’t beleive Zev and Justin dropped off the couch fifth and finished first overall! That was impressive.
    I’m worried about the Cowboys. They need to find another level.

  21. Lee says:

    All right. So Kent kept whining like a baby. But Vyxsin didn’t help matters by yelling at him like a mother going through menopause. You need teamwork in order to win and neither of them display this attribute. If Kent & Vyxsin did that food challenge, they would’ve come in last place.

    I also thought that chimney sweeping was lame. For the past few weeks, the roadblocks have all been lame: tasting tea, finding holy men, and sweeping a chimney. I don’t know what’s going on with TAR. At the beginning of the race, they had a lot more challenging roadblocks, such as putting together a dinosaur. This was one of my least favorite episodes this season, and making it a non-elimination leg didn’t help matters.