Expedition:Impossible – We turn it up to 11!!

Posted: June 23, 2011 by ksteets in TV

Reality show super producer Mark Burnett just can’t get enough shows on TV these days. Burnett is currently riding high with the success of his non-idol singing competition The Voice on NBC and is also the creator of Survivor, currently in it’s 98th season and The Apprentice, celebrity or otherwise, with political powerhouse Donald Trump. Now Burnett brings us Expedition: Impossible, which from all accounts looks like the Amazing Race but with three person teams instead of two. You see, it’s not the same. Burnett wants us to know that team size isn’t the only thing that separates this show from the CBS hit. E:I takes place entirely in Morocco, contestants will not be taking taxis or buses or planes. “Here, you actually need to put yourself on the line, really be willing to cross the deserts and the mountains and use the camels and the horses. So, it’s a very, very much more difficult competition.” he said. So let’s see how it goes.

The thirteen teams arrive in the Sahara desert, an area “fiercely guarded by local warriors”. The first team we meet dub themselves The Fab 3. It features brother and sister AJ & Kari and AJ’s ex-boyfriend Ryan. Next we get introduced to The Country Boys; Jason, Chad and Nicholas, they say Morocco is pretty much the same as their home state Mississippi, except with a lot of sand. Dashia, Raven and Mai make up Latin Persuasion and Mai needs her lip gloss to survive. Next we meet The Football Players, college teammates who all went onto the NFL. The only name I recognize off the bat is Akbar Gbaja-Biamila who spent time with Oakland and San Diego. His buddies, Robert Ortiz and Ricky Sharpe played for San Diego and Cleveland respectively.

Mom’s Army introduces themselves. We meet mother Ellie and her two daughters Ruthie and Abbie. Next up is Erik from Team No Limits. Erik is blind so it seems the other teams already think No Limits will lose. Erik and his friends, Jeff and Aaron have been to the peak of Mt. Everest so they have that going for them….which is nice. 69-year-old grandpa Dick leads up Grandpa’s Warriors with his son Steven and his grand-daughter Samantha. The California Girls wouldn’t want to race with their grandpa though. Christina, Brittany and Natalie don’t have much to say after that. Something tells me this might happen often. The Country Boys pop back on-screen to let us know Latin Persuasion has no chance because they’re dressed like a dance group, “A damn ugly one.” Heyyooooooo!!!

We get our introduction from the host Dave Salmoni, who has a bunch of shows on Animal Planet. We find out the competition has been broken into 10 stages, each with a series of checkpoints. The last team to check in at the end of each stage will be eliminated, see not like The Amazing Race at all! The winners at the end of it all will win $150,000 and 3 Ford Explorers.

The race starts and the teams must race up a giant sand dune then back down to a camel station where further instructions will be given. The guys in No Limits carry a bell for Erik to follow who says no one ever wants to lose to a blind guy, but when he’s told about The Fab 3’s choice in clothes he claim’s there’s no way he’s gonna lose to guy’s with knee-high socks on.

We finally get to meet the NY Firemen. Kevin, Mike and Rob grew up together and sport heavy NY accents. Totally opposite of The Gypsies, a trio of “free-spirited nomadic adventurers” from San Diego who sport some sweet mustaches.

Hey guys, I just wanted to wish you good luck. We're all counting on you.

When the teams reach the first checkpoint, they’re advised they must select three camels to take them across the desert. Karl Pilkington could have told them this was a bad idea. While the firemen struggle to get their camels under control we’re introduced to Team Kansas sisters from Florida……just kidding, they’re from Kansas.

Apparently the sands of Morocco are nothing like Mississippi as Chad can’t make it up the hill and is ready to quit already. He does manage to get off his ass and make it up the hill eventually and get to the first checkpoint in last place. Latin Persuasion is arguing already, wait…what?? Latin women arguing? Never heard of that before. Their bickering has put them in last place now. Meanwhile No Limits has reached the 2nd checkpoint in first with The Fab 3 right behind them, watch out! The teams are charged with finding water “the local way”. Akbar of Team Football wants to tap the camels hump like a keg, while the Fab 3 start digging holes looking for a source where the Gypsies jump in and help them. The Fishermen show up and start their own hole. Gus, Nino and Joe hail from Gloucester, Mass just outside of Boston and if the TV gods shine upon will eventually be take down by The NY Firemen. Go Yankees!!

Fab 3’s hole idea worked and even teams that didn’t help out benefited from it as the rest of the pack feast on the already dug hole.  Why has no one filled the hole!!! Terrible strategy by everyone. Latin Persuasion shows up and continue to argue as Mai just stands there while Dashia and Raven gather water. At one point one the locals claims “I would never have these women for my wife.”

The teams must now go on foot to the top of the Tojur Mountain. We’re told the teams have fallen into packs with the last group of Latin Persuasion, Grandpa’s Army, Country Boys and Mom’s Army an hour behind the leader’s which at this point is The Gypsies, Fab 3, Football and No Limits. Once at the checkpoint on top the team’s find that now they have to repel 30 stories back down and follow the dry riverbed to the next checkpoint and have to watch a snake charming routine where the final destination of the leg will revealed. The Gypsies are the first team to the snake charmer. Now they have to count the number of snakes in the routine then pick the box with the corresponding number. If they got the right number, the directions in the box will lead them 5 miles to the finish line. An incorrect number will get them directions that lead the team 30 minutes off course. The Gypsies, Football and Fab 3 all count 11 while No Limits, with no help from blind Erik, count 10.

Mom from Mom’s Army is flipping out on the repel line and making noises like a chipmunk. She must be excited. She eventually gets down. Latin Persuasion nuts up and flies down the line leaving Grandpa’s Warriors in last place.

Back to the front of the pack where we find that No Limits chose poorly and now are 30 mins in the wrong direction, which means they need to hike another 30 minutes back to the snake charmer. Meanwhile The Gypsies are the first team to reach the final checkpoint followed by Fab 3 then Team Football.

No Limits returns to the checkpoint to find Team Kansas, Country Boys, California Girls and The Fishermen are all there. They get the right number this time and the teams are off. With all the teams on the right path it’s a footrace for Latin Persuasion and Grandpa’s Warriors fighting to stay out of last. Latin Persuasion takes a pit stop to hurl allowing Grandpa’s Warriors to emerge from the desert darkness and move on to the next round. And just like that we’re robbed of 9 more hours of screaming and yelling. Thanks A Lot!!

So there’s the beginning, is it a rip-off of Amazing Race? Not so much as it looked. It really is more straight up traveling across Morocco, there doesn’t seem to be any eating challenges or areas where teams are waiting around for a plane allowing the rest of the teams to catch up. Weird thing is we really weren’t introduced to Robert, Dani and James of Team Cop though they did manage to check-in in 10th place ahead of Mom’s Army. With one less team to follow next week we should get a proper introduction.

What did you think of the first episode of Burnett’s new arm of his reality machine?


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