Finally, The Amazing Race is back!  TV’s best reality show is ready for its 15th season, and things are a little different.  We have professional poker players, Harlem Globetrotters, an awesome guy with Asperger’s Syndrome and the show’s first interracial couple.  Grab your passports and pack smart, because it’s time to start the race around the world.

Or at least it’s time for 11 teams.  For the first time ever, The Amazing Race starts off with a challenge, and before they even get their first plane tickets, one team is eliminated.  That sucks out loud for them, but luckily, it’s not a team I care about.

The first challenge is to find a license plate from the location in Japan they’re going to for the first destination, and many teams have difficulty understanding that the random symbol on top of their clue is actually part of the clue.  After a tense battle, the one team that gets eliminated right away is Eric and Lisa, the married yoga teachers.  They seemed a little intense for yoga teachers, so I suspect we’ve just been spared another Jonathan and Victoria type situation.

For the other 11 teams, it’s off to Japan for the first of what I’m sure will be 10,000 bunches on the Race.  If you’re new to the concept, bunching refers to when all the teams are stopped by some element outside of their control which allows anyone lagging behind to catch up.  It’s the bane of Race purists like myself, but I suppose they’re necessary to avoid obscene separations like season 1, when the third place team was about two full days behind the winners.

But this bunch is fun, because it’s a Japanese game show that is infinitely better than Majide ever was.  The 11 teams play Sushi Roulette, where one member from each team sits around the giant wheel.  If a piece of sushi lands in front of them, they eat it.  However, the only way to move on is to get a Wasabi Bomb, a ton of mouth-murdering hotness inside a little rice.  The person has two minutes to finish it, otherwise they must continue playing.

As with all Japanese game shows, there’s confetti, hilarious Godzilla graphics and a tiny baby voice that says “Eat-a Wasabi!”  The game is totally nuts, and slowly but surely, teams manage to make it through.  Poker player Maria has a difficult time, falling to finish the bomb in her first attempt, which means she eats a second Wasabi Bomb.  The same thing happens to interracial husband Brian.

However, none of it really matters since they leave the studio and must lead a group 20 20 Japanese people to the first Pit Stop.  Since one team was eliminated right away, it’s obvious this is going to be a non-elimination leg, which it is.

Despite leaving in the middle of the pack, the poker ladies manage to lose two of their Japanese ladies, and instead of trying to find them in the crowded streets, they give up, take their two-hour penalty and check in last.  Luckily for them, this is a re-buy tournament, but they need to complete a Speed Bump in the next leg.

Read Our Recap of Part 2 of The Amazing Race 15 Season Premiere>>

-John Kubicek, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image courtesy of CBS)

John Kubicek

Senior Writer, BuddyTV

John watches nearly every show on TV, but he specializes in sci-fi/fantasy like The Vampire DiariesSupernatural and True Blood. However, he can also be found writing about everything from Survivor and Glee to One Tree Hill and Smallville.