Rob Cesternino (@RobCesternino) and chief Amazing Race correspondent Jessica Liese (@HaymakerHattie) are joined by the winner of the first ever Amazing Race Brennan Swain (@BrennanSwain) to recap episode 9 of the Amazing Race All-Stars “Accidental Alliance”, which took teams from Italy to Switzerland.
Mayor of Race-ville
Brennan would say it was fair to call him the Mayor the Amazing Race, but says that more people use the term Godfather rather than Mayor. He remembers being at a charity event with Brenchel, and Brendon referring to him as the Godfather.
Rob thinks there is a lot less tension with Amazing Race teams post-race then there are with former Survivors. Brennan agrees and says that former Big Brother Houseguest and Amazing Racer Jeff Schroder agrees, saying that a lot of it is because racers do not have to vote each other out.
Brenchel vs. Accidental
Brennan feels that there are arguments for both sides of the Accidental Alliance vs. Brenchel feud. Brenchel is right in the fact that it is a race, and you can’t really be mad at them for playing the game. However, he does not agree with Brenchels decision to U-Turn Dave and Connor, and thinks the U-Turn should only be used on a strong team in the back of the pack to ensure there elimination. He feels that the decision was made with only the winning the leg in mind, when they should have been focused on winning the race.
Brennan feels the Accidental Alliance may have gone a little too far with the hatred of Brenchel, but thinks the hatred may be considered a fun thing by the teams to take their mind off of the race on the train. He mentions that there was a similar accidental alliance made in Season One against Team Guido when they cut off three teams in an airport in Tunisia, and he is still very close to those teams.
Epic Teams, Not Tasks
Brennan has been surprised the most this season by Dave and Connor. He feels that they didn’t really have a chance to compete in their season, and is impressed by what they can do against some really high caliber teams.
If given the choice to U-Turn a common enemy like the Guidos or a threat to win the race like Frank and Margarita, Brennan would have used it on the Guidos. However, he feels despite their personal problems with them, the Guidos were still the strongest competition on the race, so he would have used it on them.
Rob inquires as to whether or not Brennan feels the challenges have “gotten less epic” since Season One. Brennan responds saying that the tasks have to get less epic, because the race does not want to use repeat locations and in season one they visited a lot of epic places. Although he admits the hotel room task was lame, he still thinks they are coming up with some pretty cool tasks 24 season later.
Brennan thinks that the layout of the clues was a little weird this episode, with no detours and extra tasks. He thinks that the Race is such a well-oiled machine at this point, that he wouldn’t be surprised if that is how it was laid out right from the start. Jessica said a friend of hers believes that the Maids challenge was supposed to be part of a Detour, but no one chose the other side and therefore wasn’t shown.
Brennan felt the format for non-elimination episodes changed from season one because the viewers wanted a payoff at the end of every episode like there was for Survivor. He feels the begging got on peoples nerves though because they were often in very poor countries, and that struck the wrong chord with viewers. Although Speed Bumps are often very simple tasks, he thinks they are the best solution.
All-American, Not All-Stars
Brennan got the idea to give out American Flags, from his father who went on a trip to Jamaica and happened to have those American Flags with him and gave them out to the local kids. Brennan thinks that Racers definitely serve as good will ambassadors to other countries, and thinks it’s interesting that the first ever episode of the race aired a week after 9/11.
Brennan agrees with the statement that it truly isn’t an All-Stars season because there are no winners on it and calls it frustrating as a former racer. He also finds it off that some teams have been given third chances, saying that the teams were more fan favorites then good racers.
Since the teams are generally staying in one country for two legs, Brennan feels that has its advantages and disadvantages. He feels that the airports are a great place for teams who are a little bit behind to make up for lost time. On the other hand, he feels that by not traveling as much, the teams are fresher for tasks.
There is nothing that Brennan has in mind for the final task, but he likes the fact that there is a challenge before the race to the mat.
Brennan thinks it’s cool that the season finale of the Amazing Race will involve David Copperfield. Jessica thinks this the most famous person involved in the race other than the Obama cutout, but believes that Wayne Newton may be up there with him.
No Easy Path
Brennan is not surprised that there is no Fast Forwards on this season, since there has been a digression from them being on every leg of the race. He thinks Express Passes involve more strategy on the teams part, and keep some of the mystery there of who will win the leg.
Since the preview shows Leo and Jamal getting to the U-Turn first, he thinks they will U-Turn Brenchel without even having to be paid for it like on the first All-Stars. He still does not get the hatred for them though since it is just the game.
Brennan feels that there is a little bit of jealousy when people from Survivor or Big Brother go on the Amazing Race, because no Racers have been on any other shows. He gets why casting puts them there though because of the interesting dynamics between them, and the previous connection with the audience.
Who Can Blame the Country Girls?
Brennan thinks the Country Girls are not relying too much on other people because if you can get it, use it. He thinks they have gotten more help than any other team in the race, but feels no one can blame them for using it.
Brennan feels that the Cowboys are slipping by the other teams since they are focusing all of their efforts on Brenchel.
If the Cowboys were to win, Brennan may look down on them since it took them three times, but feels the competition this season was much tougher then it would have been if it were eleven new teams or even Unfinished Business.
Amazing Race: Kumbayah Edition
Brennan feels that the Kumbayah atmosphere has nothing to do with the fact that the teams know each other, but more so to do with the shared jubilation of the fact they are running the race again.
Brennan feels that the Afganimals didn’t get mad at Dave and Connor, because it’s to be expected once you get U-Turned that you are going to put another team up there. Dave and Connor were obviously remorseful and helped them complete their tasks.
Since there are only three teams that can U-Turn this week, Brennan feels there is additional strategy needed for those teams as to who they U-Turn.
Brennan feels there is no need to turn on the Accidental Alliance, because Brendon and Rachel is a strong team and getting them out is a great goal for them to stick with.
Stereotypes and Cell Phones
The move that Brennan and Rob made during the first season in the race to pay $300 to borrow someone’s cell phone was banned in later seasons. The promise was made with the thought of returning the phone when they could. However, they had to go out and buy a cell phone charger since the phone had very little charge left on it. They did go out and buy a charger for it and sent it back to its rightful owner after the race.
In terms of the team’s stereotypes, Brennan likes the younger couples because he thinks the drama and entertainment factor. He also likes teams like the Twinnies and Afganimals who play up to the cameras.
Brennan’s race partner Rob is an introvert, so he doesn’t interact much with fans. He is still a practicing lawyer and works at a small law firm that gives him flexibility with hours. He also writes novels and screenplays, and is working with some pretty big name people in Hollywood.
Since Rachel stopped crying, will the Cowboys stop winning?
Brennan thinks it’s tough to beat the Cowboys at this point, but he thinks Dave and Connor can do it.
According to Brennan, production doesn’t take money after each leg, so they can save up. Jessica feels that rule may have changed however. Brennan notes that they do take the money after the conclusion of the race. Rob notes that he kept $240 from the Survivor Auction, but that it was destroyed by the fire.
Brennan was annoyed by Rachel on her first season on the race, but thinks she is a lot different on this race and has been the stronger of the partners on this race. He thinks they haven’t done a whole lot for teams to have distain for them this season of the race. Jessica thinks they have toned down their personalities this time though. Rob believes they have a very strong and abrasive personality.
Run Dogs, Run!
On the first season of the race, Brennans favorite place to be was Southern Thailand and has visited some of the points on the race again. In terms of the tasks though, he liked the dogsled task in Alaska because their dogs were faster than Frank and Margaritas.
Brennan feels that the teams that are left shouldn’t alter their strategies because it has gotten them this far, but feels Jenn and Caroline may have to because teams will be less likely to help them.
If you want to follow Brennan on twitter, you can @BrennanSwain but don’t expect him to tweet a lot. Tomorrow, Rob will be talking Big Brother Canada 2 with Kenny Brain. Survivor Know-It-Alls is back on Wednesday with Stephen, and Rob will be joined by Tyson Apostal on Thursday.
Special Thanks to Michael Shaheen for this week’s Amazing Race Recap