I once went on a date so bad, where we had so little to talk about that we actually made out for 40 minutes in my car just because we had nothing else to say. We’d even break for a few seconds and I’d back away, pause, do that shifty eye thing like I was waiting for something to happen, then lean back in just to avoid the awkward silence.

Afterwards, she called me to say what a good time she had, and I told her I had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn’t really ready to date anyone (which was both true and convenient). Then I ran into her a few months later, and she told me she had been nervous and that’s why she was so quiet.

After a decent conversation over some drinks, I thought maybe I’d written her off too soon. I made sure the number I had for her was still correct, and she said, “Now let’s see what you do with it.” The ball was clearly in my court, so I figured I’d wait a few days and give her a call. 

But when she called me at 8am the next morning and tried to set something up, I realized I had made a mistake. I had clearly learned nothing, and I nearly put myself in a position to make the same blunder twice. I had failed to capitalize on my bad date. 

And that sentiment, however based on wordplay it may be, was the key component behind this week’s U-Turn Award on The Amazing Race. In an episode aptly named “Speed Dating is the Worst,” every team struggled at one point or another, mostly with no fingers to point at anyone but themselves. 

The Amazing Race Recap: Driving and Dating Challenges >>>

Where is My Date?

Leo and Jamal got the leg started off on a great note, using a computer to secure tickets on a flight to Abu Dhabi that arrived 10 minutes before any of the other teams. But they ran into trouble once they got to the “Sort it Out” Detour, and Timothy and Reebs (Marie) and Ally and Ashley would go on to make the same mistake.

None of teams checked the other tables for different kinds of dates before assembling their platter, assuming that all the varieties they needed were on the closest table. Even though they knew they had the incorrect type of date, they just kept plugging away with the same old pieces of fruit. And if there’s one thing that’s important when dating, you gotta be thorough.

Let’s Net Fight

Nicole and Travis lost their patience and their cool with each other during the “Sew It Up” Detour, during which they had to assemble a traditional fisherman’s net. Travis was not happy when he had to re-do some of Nicole’s work, and they even contemplated using their Express Pass. 

A third-place finish with time to spare proved that it was the correct decision to hold onto it, and they quickly got back on the same page after Nicole apologized. Still, they were lucky the failure to communicate didn’t hurt them worse.

What Time Is It?

Jason and Amy breezed through the net assembly, but they hit their snag while going head to head with the Afghanimals in the “Drop and Drive” Roadblock. While speeding around the track, one team member had to remember the name and winning time of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix record holder. 

Even though Jason saw the correct sign on his first lap, he developed a slight case of dyslexia and kept misplacing the numbers. It took him three tries to correctly identify the time, while Leo nailed it in two, earning the pair first place.

Several teams needed multiple laps (Travis was the only one who got it on his first try), but no one exemplified utter futility like the Ice Girls. Ally needed more than half a dozen mostly clueless trips zooming around the track, seemingly having no idea what she was even looking for at first. 

They continue to show they’re at the back of the pack when it comes to team strength, but they’ve had just enough luck to squeak by so far.

Capitalize on Bad Dates

In the end, this U-Turn Award goes to a team that I really want to like but is so inconsistent and unopportunistic that they nearly did themselves in. Baseball wives Nicky and Kim have shown flashes of brilliance, but they seem to give up every lead they’ve ever had, and in dumb fashion to boot. 

This time, they were the only teammates who realized they needed dates from a table at the far end of the market, and they even managed to snag some without the other teams noticing. They wisely avoided telling Leo and Jamal where said dates were located, buying themselves even more time to push ahead of the slacking teams. 

So how did they not win the leg? Why did they need to be saved by a non-elimination round? Because they still made mistakes on their platter and had to reorganize it a number of times, which allowed all the other teams to pass them.

Run, NicKim, Run!

Then — and this error is inexplicable — even though they knew they were in last place and that the yachts left every 15 minutes, they still took their time getting their bags out of the taxi and walking to the dock. 

If ever there was an example of every moment counting, this was it. The girls missed the yacht literally by less than five seconds, and they were doomed to last place because of it. 

So enjoy your U-Turn Award, ladies. Hold it up high and give your best pageant wave. You might have a Speed Bump (or whatever would be replacing that this season — thank goodness they got rid of the one where teams had to beg poor people for money) coming up, but you’re also one of the few teams that can redeem yourselves after making the blunder of the week. Don’t do what I did. Don’t make the same mistake twice.

The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS.

(Image courtesy of CBS)

Bill King

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV

Emmy-winning news producer & former BuddyTV blogger. Lover of Philly sports, Ned, Zoe, Liam and Delaine…not in that order