“The Amazing Race” is one of my favorite TV shows of all time. During the season premiere tonight, I noticed the show blatantly explained that one of the teams of two are Harlem Globetrotters. I’ve decided to start a series on “Paints in the Point” dedicated to covering their performance during the race, entitled “Globetrotting with the Globetrotters.”
“Globetrotting with the Globetrotters” is a tale of two black men traveling the world, using their unique combination of acting and basketball skills in attempt to win the race and the million dollar prize. Will they flatten the competition like they flatten the Washington Generals game after game? Will they survive until the next episode? Read and find out!
Their names: Flight Time and Big Easy. I like them infinitely more. Until I find out that their real names are “Herbert” and “Nathaniel,” respectively. A quote from their bio, courtesy of The Amazing Race at CBS.com:
Herbert believes he can get along with anyone on the planet and that he brings joy and laughter to all corners of the globe. Standing at 6’3,” Herb is known among his colleagues as “Flight Time.” Nathaniel, who goes by the name “The Big Easy,” towers over the competition at 6’9,” and admits to being worried that seating could present a problem on some of the flights.
Both have traveled extensively with the Globetrotters. Herbert has traveled to over 60 countries, and Nathaniel has traveled to over 30 countries. Despite their love of exploring new places, and their extensive knowledge of other countries, they’re eager to see how well they can travel together when it is just the two of them.
Even if their fancy footwork does not translate to winning the $ 1 million prize, they both are confident that their relationship will remain the same regardless of where they end up in the Race.
But even some teams manage to mess up “Flight Time” and “The Big Easy” by calling one of them “Easy Flight.”
In a new twist this season, teams must complete a challenge to get their airline tickets. There are only eleven sets of tickets for the twelve teams. The team left without tickets are immediately eliminated. Teams must find a specific Japanese license plate from a large wall of them from around the world. Teams are given a hint in the clue in the form of Japanese characters printed at the top.
Flight Time and Big Easy are one of the first five teams to clear the challenge, and are on the first flight, an American Airlines one. Appropriate for perhaps one of the most unique institutions of America, along with apple pie. This season’s title sequence starts, where each team gets about five seconds of screen time, each clip with something that represents their team. So, what do the editors choose? Both guys spinning red-white-and-blue basketballs on one finger. How original.
“Sweet Georgia Brown” plays as they introduce themselves to the other teams in the airport. I hope this doesn’t become a recurring theme throughout this season. While the song itself is great, I don’t think I need to be reminded who the tall African American guys are week after week.
The first Roadblock (a task that only one team member performs) is “Sushi Roulette,” a “Japanese game show” (a term I placed in quotes because it is only slightly more Japanese than the failed ABC reality program, “I Survived a Japanese Game Show!”, as the producers of “The Amazing Race” created their own game show, instead of finding a real show) in which teams have to eat sushi (view the video). All teams sit around a large wheel, with an arrow in front of each of them. The host spins the wheel. Sushi that lands in front of a team must be eaten. If a “Wasabi Bomb” (a large amount of wasabi and rice, wrapped in some seaweed) lands in front of a team, they have two minutes to finish it, or else they must do it again. Through editing magic, a highly stereotypical Asian woman yells “Eat da Wasabi!”
The first few people attempt eating the wasabi bomb and are successful. When the Wasabi Bomb lands in front of Big Easy, and he downs it in approximately 90 seconds, when most other teams were taking the full two minutes. They are the sixth team to leave the challenge.
After leaving “Sushi Roulette,” teams must lead a group of twenty people in the audience with a certain color visor through the crowded streets of Tokyo to the end of the leg. As they are leaving, Flight Time asks Big Easy how it tasted:
“It tasted like money.”
“Boy, you mothered that thing.”
As they lead their group through Tokyo, Flight Time notes that when the native people saw Big Easy,
“They thought Godzilla was walking through that street.”
The editor reminds everyone that they are members of the Harlem Globetrotters by playing “Sweet Georgia Brown” again.
They start going down the wrong street, but end up at the Pit Stop (where they check-in and stop for a mandatory rest period of twelve hours) in fifth place.
Since the episode was two hours long, after a commercial break, they start racing again. Big Easy and Flight Time leave at 12:42 AM, a half hour behind the leading team.
The clue indicates that they must travel to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Big Easy and Flight Time agree that their attitude to the other competitors is the same:
“Game on, we’re not feeling sorry for you.”
They arrive with the other teams, where they learn that they have to travel to Cai Be. The ‘trotters get on the first bus at 3:30 PM, about an hour ahead of the other teams. They arrive in the small town, where they are instructed to get on a boat and go to a fruit farm on the other side of the river. The boat dock is closed, and teams wait until next morning for it to open. Their challenge at the farm is to pile mud around a the trunk of a tree. Big Easy and Flight Time leave in fifth place.
The next Roadblock: duck herding. In one of the greatest challenges of all time, teams have ten minutes to lead 150 ducks across a bridge from one end of the pen to the other end, and back again, using only two long sticks with flags on the end.
Flight Time has an obvious advantage: his enormous wingspan. He does work (beating the last duck with the stick to get it into the pen), and they travel to the next Pit Stop, the Bassic III Riverboat, and finish third in this leg. After this episode, they are definitely my favorites.
For a full recap of the episode, check out the CBS.com recap.
Will the Globetrotters continue trotting the globe? Find out next week on “Globetrotting with the Globetrotters!”