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Help Me, I'm American! is the second episode of The Amazing Race 2.


Tara & Wil are first to depart at 11:06 pm from the Tocorimé yacht. The clue states that teams have to take the zodiac boat back to Urca beach and take a blue taxi to Acadêmicos da Barra da Tijuca in Barra da Tijuca and make their way to the samba club in the academy. Once in there, teams have to find the dancer whose headdress matches the feather they were given. Once found, the dancer will give them the next clue. They are given $200 in this leg of the race.

I couldn't ask for a better partner. I'm sure I'm going to say this the whole way through. She's the calming person, I'm the hothead. We both motivate each other in different ways.Wil

Cyndi & Russell depart second at 11:34 pm.

Every other team has a lot more international traveling experience than Cyndi and I have, but we're not going to let that affect us.Russell

Shola & Doyin depart third at 11:35 pm.

We know each other so well. Our abilities are so common. There's no doubt the two of us in a team event could have an advantage over other teams.Doyin

In the taxi, Tara finds out that the driver is going circles, with Wil reassuring her that he knows where to go nonetheless. Cyndi & Russell also find it hard for the taxi driver to know where they´re going, forcing the driver to pull in at a church and ask for directions.

He pulls us in to get direction, and there's this angel lit up right where he pulled in, and that just got us to the nightclub. We're both ordained ministers. We've probably got a spiritual advantage.Russell

Cyndi & Russell are first to arrive at the samba club. Unaware of what a samba club is, Cyndi is shocked to see some women wearing skimpy outfits.

I don't know what a samba club is. So we pull in an and I'm going, 'Oh!'.Cyndi

The married ministers find the woman with the matching headdress, getting their next clue.

She was so beautiful that it's like I wanted to go (covers eyes), all right, here, give me my clue. Have a fun night everybody, we got to go.Cyndi

Tara & Wil arrive at the club and get the clue. Upon seeing them, Cyndi & Russell leave the samba club before Shola & Doyin arrive. The clue states that teams have to make their way to the mountain of Pedra Bonita and find the next route marker.

We went to the samba club. There was a beautiful woman in there wearing a red-feathered cap on her head. We got the clue and moved on.Shola

Blake & Paige and Hope & Norm depart at 12:19 am.

We clocked out at the same time as Hope and Norm.Paige
My sister and I have been best friends forever, and I think we'll continue to be best friends no matter what happens.Blake
This race is a proving ground for each of us to show each other we're as much in love with each other and amazed by each other's presence as when we first met.Norm

Chris & Alex depart at 12:20 am.

Chris and I are just two good buddies trying to win a million bucks. It's a win-win situation.Alex

Mary & Peach depart at 12:45 am.

This is more difficult than I could ever imagined. My sister is extremely demanding and she's like a mule, she can do everything.Peach

Oswald & Danny depart at 12:46 am.

This race is basically going to be another chapter in our friendship. We recognize each other for what we are, and we trust each other implicitly.Oswald

Blake & Paige get the clue from the samba club, with Chris & Alex and Hope & Norm getting their clues quickly after. As the three teams leave to race to Pedra Bonita, Mary & Peach and Oswald & Danny get their clues. Meanwhile, Tara & Wil's patience in their driver is wearing thin, thinking that they're getting nowhere, as Gary & Dave depart at 1:24 am.

We are, you know, two funny, crazy best friends against the world. We may not have smarts, we may not have looks, but we have heart. We have heart. And you know what? Tortoises aren't very smart, but they win the race.Gary

Peggy & Claire are last to depart at 1:32 am.

We do think we have a little competition-Peggy
We have a lot.Peggy
but nothing we can overcome. The thing is, she's [Claire's] faster than I am. Running, walking, all of that she's much faster. I on the other hand, get exhausted.Peggy

Meanwhile, Cyndi & Russell finds the clue at Pedra Bonita find their next clue: a Detour where they must choose either Freak Out or Seek Out. In Freak Out, teams have to hang glide in tandem with a local instructor, gliding from the mountain to the São Conrado beach below. Once both teammates land on the beach, they will immediately be given their next clue. In Seek Out, teams will take a taxi cab to São Conrado beach. Once there, teams then travel down to the beach and use a marked metal detector to find the next clue buried somewhere along a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) stretch of sand. Cyndi & Russell choose to do Freak Out.

When we opened the Detour, our first response was we're gonna hang glide.Cyndi

When Shola & Doyin arrive at the mountain, the cab driver inadvertently runs over Doyin's heel.

Doyin: When the cab driver ran over the heel of my foot, he was actually on my Achilles tendon.
Shola: I though that would completely end our whole experience, because, you know, that's pretty serious.
Doyin: I've come too far to do this. Nothing short of me being in a body cast is gonna stop me from competing in this race. So it was hard when I was walking up hills, but...

Doyin reassures the cab driver that's he fine and he likely didn't mean to run over his heel. Tara & Wil arrive at Pedra Bonita shortly after and both teams find the clue box. Tara intially attempts to get both teams to do Seek Out, but she and Wil decide on Freak Out instead.

When we got the clue, I didn't even consider another Detour, I was like, we are hang gliding.Tara

Gary & Dave and Peggy & Claire arrive at Acadêmicos da Barra da Tijuca, getting their clues from one of the samba dancers.

When we left the samba club, we wanted to get the Fast Forward. We thought it was our only salvation.Claire

To get the Fast Forward, teams must play volleyball against a pair of professionals at Copacabana beach, and be the first to earn ten points. Whereas the professionals will only play in Rio style (without using their hands), teams may play in American style. Peggy is hesitant about the Fast Forward, but Claire convinces her that it'll be easy and they go to attempt it.

Claire played volleyball in high school, so she though we could beat the professional volleyball players here in Brazil.Peggy

Back on Pedra Bonita, Shola is having second thoughts about the Freak Out Detour.

Shola: I'm afraid of heights, so when I saw the hang gliding thing, I was like, no way.
Doyin: We were in third place at the time. We figured let's go at least check out the Fast Forward and see if we can do this, so that's what we decided to do.

Meanwhile at Pedra Bonita, the remaining teams, sans Gary & Dave and Peggy & Claire arrive, each getting a clue for the Detour. Chris & Alex and Hope & Norm decide on Freak Out. Blake & Paige lie to the teams about getting a meal, but instead try to get a metal detector before the Seek Out Detour opens at 8:00 am, so they know where to look for the clue at the Detour.

Gary & Dave arrive at Pedra Bonita, wanting to do the Freak Out Detour, but not wanting to wait another two hours decide to do the Fast Forward instead.

We decided the best thing to do was to do the Fast Forward clue, which was playing volleyball at Copacabana beach at 6:30 am.Gary
We raced, really, back to Copacabana because we wanted to get the Fast Forward.Claire

Upon arriving at Copacabana beach, Peggy & Claire find that Shola & Doyin are there, waiting for the task to start. They decide to head to Pedra Bonita, knowing that the twins would likely get the Fast Forward before them. Gary & Dave arrive at Copacabana.

Peggy & Claire are greet by the teams waiting for the Freak Out Detour. Peggy wants for them to do the Seek Out Detour, since she is scared, but the teams are able to convince the Gutsy Grannies to hang glide instead.

The Fast Forward task opens for the day.

I wasn't too concerned about Gary and David showing up at the volleyball court. Gary doesn't seem all that athletic. We figured we'd make quick work of them and move on. The first team to score 10 points against these Brazilians that don't use their hands win the Fast Forward.Doyin

As expected, the professional volleyballers are making it difficult for the teams.

We're like, oh my God, these guys are pretty good. We're going to have to bring out A-game in order to beat them.Shola
There's a couple sports I'm not so good at. Volleyball seems to be one of them.Gary
When we saw Gary and David, it made us want to play even harder because we wanted to beat those guys.Shola
I was actually out of the corner of my eye, seeing the Doublemint twins was doing really well.Gary

Shola & Doyin win the Fast Forward. They are instructed to travel by bus to a jungle camp in Iguaçu National Park to check in at the Pit Stop. Gary & Dave are forced to perform the Detour instead, choosing Seek Out.

Then we had a brilliant idea to do the other clue, looking for things under the beach with one metal detector.Gary

Around 7:45 am, Blake & Paige return to Pedra Bonita, saying they slept on the beach where teams would land for the Freak Out Detour. All teams, except Gary & Dave and Shola & Doyin, are gearing up for their hang gliding experience. Cyndi & Russell are the first to do the Detour. Upon seeing that they'll have to be running, Peggy is having second thoughts.

I don't run very fast. I tore my knee up years ago in a skiing accident. So when I run, sometimes it will give out on me.Peggy

Tara & Wil begin hang gliding.

I can't run that fast on a good day, and I'm just exhausted.Peggy

At São Conrado beach, Gary & Dave see how fast the Freak Out Detour is compared to Seek Out and decide to return to Pedra Bonita. Cyndi & Russell and Tara & Wil land at the beach, getting their next clue. The clue informs them to head to Foz do Iguaçu by bus, where they will then find a Jeep outside the bus terminal and their next clue. The two teams are having trouble getting a taxi.

Mary & Peach are the third team to hang glide. Peggy is still nervous over the thought of having to run.

The instructor said, 'run fast'.Peggy

Chris & Alex are fourth to perform Freak Out. Hope is also beginning to get nervous.

Everything in your brain, in your body, is saying, "You're crazy. Don't do this". Then I was fighting back tears and fear.Hope

Norm & Hope perform the Detour.

My oldest son is terrified of heights, too. I felt like saying, you know, I really know how you feel. After I ran off the roof, you know, and your feet aren't touching anything anymore, it's the most incredible feeling.Hope

Oswald & Danny are sixth to do Freak Out. Peggy is still nervous over the task.

I'd like to think I'm not afraid of things, but I was thinking I don't want to die if I don't run fast or if I fall on my face, then we'd nosedive down into the trees.Peggy

Peggy declares she's done with the task.

If I didn't do it, Claire wouldn't do it, either, because we're a team, and that will screw it all up. So we did it.Peggy

Despite this, Peggy & Claire still go through with the Detour.

My legs were wobbly. I could hardly stand up. We're going to go off balance, and we'll dive down in the trees and die. We flew over the ocean and I saw Claire when we got back in to land. My landing wasn't exactly smooth, but... (laughs)'Peggy

Peggy finds herself amazed that she was able to hang glide and thanks her instructor.

Peggy: I'm thinking I might even take hang gliding lessons.
Claire: Peggy, you're not thinking that for one second.

Blake & Paige are eighth to hang glide.

When Gary & Dave return to Pedra Bonita, they see that all of the other teams have already performed Freak Out.

We finally get up there. No teams were there.Gary

Gary & Dave get the Freak Out Detour finished. All teams are currently en route to a bus terminal.

Shola & Doyin arrive at Terminal Rodoviário Novo Rio.

During the volleyball game, I twisted my knee. It's really swollen right now. Pretty tough to want on and that might be a concern down the road.Shola

Tara & Wil get tickets to Foz do Iguaçu, and find they're are four tickets left after purchasing their tickets, meaning only one more team will get on the bus. Cyndi & Russell and Chris & Alex arrive at the bus terminal.

I asked information, "What's the quickest way to get to Foz do Iguaçu?", and they said Pluma.Alex

Chris & Alex get the last tickets on the first bus to Foz do Iguaçu.

We got the last tickets on that bus. That was huge, huge, huge, huge.Alex

Shola & Doyin notice that there are other teams at the bus terminal.

Shola and I got the Fast Forward. We figured out we were gonna make it down there hours and hours ahead of the other teams, but Tara & Wil and the Boston boys ended up making it on our bus.Doyin

Chris & Alex, Shola & Doyin, and Tara & Wil depart at 9:50 am on a direct bus to Foz do Iguaçu, and are scheduled to arrive 22 hours later. Cyndi & Russell, Mary & Peach, and Oswald & Danny are on the second 10:00 am direct bus to Foz do Iguaçu.

Peggy & Claire arrive at the bus terminal followed by Blake & Paige. As Peggy & Claire are getting tickets for the 3:00 pm bus, Blake find he doesn't have their wallet. Blake & Paige go to search for their missing wallet. Peggy says this is their break.

We met this really swell guy, and he translated everything for us. He was like our guardian angel.Peggy

Gary & Dave arrive at the bus terminal.

So we finally got the 11 o'clock to São Paulo.Gary

Gary & Dave and Peggy & Claire both depart at 11:00 am on different buses to São Paulo to get a connecting bus to Foz do Iguaçu.

Meanwhile, Blake & Paige have to beg for some money.

We got someone to write "Please help. We're American and we need money for bus ticket". Within five minutes we had like $20.Blake

Hope & Norm arrive at the bus terminal.

We found an English-speaking taxi driver. We told him we need to get to the bus station as soon as possible. And we found out that he took us the longest route that could be done out of all of them.Norm

Hope & Norm get tickets for the 2:30 pm bus.

Norm: We got our tickets. We're standing in line.
Hope: And the only people in there was just Paige and Blake.

Blake & Paige and Hope & Norm are the only ones on the 2:30 pm bus directly to Foz do Iguaçu.

On the first bus, teams hear a thumping noise.

We're all confident. We're like, yeah, we got the best bus, but all of a sudden, we're going down the road, a we hear like thump, thump, thump. So we shuffled off the bus, one of the inside wheels on the double wheels of the bus blew out.Chris

The first bus has a flat tire that needs to be replaced.

Our bus got a flat tire. And we're like, oh my God, what else could go wrong today?Shola
We had half an hour lead and we though we just lost it. So every time a bus went by, Alex was out there trying to stop the bus, because we didn't want to lose that lead.Chris

As the bus driver is having difficulty replacing the tire,Chris decides to help out.

I was like screw that, man. I'm not going to wait around. I got right in there, whether the guy liked it or not.Chris
Chris came in there, just took control of the whole situation.Alex
We just got out there and we changed it out right away. We fixed everything.Chris

The first bus's tire is fixed and is heading to Foz do Iguaçu.

In São Paulo, Gary & Dave arrive at 4:29 pm. They attempt to find a bus that leaves early, but the earliest available is at 6:00 pm. Peggy & Claire arrive at 4:45 pm.

We bought tickets, we thought, would've gotten out of São Paulo at 6 o'clock. We got there, and as it turned out, they did not have a seat left, so they got us on the 8 o'clock.Claire

Gary & Dave leave on the 6:00 pm bus, but a grinding noise forces the bus to pull over.

Gary: Coming out of São Paulo, we faced some difficulty.
Dave: The engine's still going, we hear this "grrr". The whole thing just shuts down.
Gary: There was this woman there who spoke English, who had a cell phone, who called the bus company. They were going to either send another bus or a mechanic. I was like, no mechanic.

Flagging down a Pluma bus, Gary is able to get themselves and some of the other passengers to Foz do Iguaçu.

The first bus arrives only 15 minutes after its scheduled arrival. Chris & Alex, Shola & Doyin, and Tara & Wil go outside of the terminal to get their Jeeps. Teams must drive themselves to Macuco Safari Dock in Iguaçu National Park to get their next clue. Chris & Alex and Tara & Wil decide to help one another.

We're scratching Tara and Wil's back, and we hope they'll scratch ours. You got to have another strong team with you to get to that last leg.Alex

Gary & Dave arrive at Foz do Iguaçu, followed by the teams on the second bus: Cyndi & Russell, Mary & Peach, and Oswald & Danny.

Chris & Alex and Tara & Wil find the clue box at Macuco Safari Dock, finding it's a Roadblock. For the Roadblock, one team member has to ride a speedboat and use a map to direct the driver to Iguaçu falls. At the falls, teams then have to spot the Route Marker at the top of a rock formation and retrieve the clue, then head back to the dock. Alex and Tara decide to perform the Roadblock.

I jumped in the boast, and Tara was right in front, so we just start hauling up the river.Alex
We went super fast with all these rapids. Then there was this beautiful waterfall.Tara
You have two choices on the boats, where to go and I saw her spin back around. So fell to the right.Alex

The two search for the flag around the falls. Alex spots it first, and points for Tara where the flag is.

I guess she never saw the flag, but I saw the flag, pointed to it, like, that's good.Alex

The two find where they can disembark from, and both run up the trail.

There's like a good chemistry that goes on with Tara and I. She's really cool, you know, and we have a great time together. We had to take a second to just stop and look because we saw this rainbow and it went across the whole falls. It was just amazing.Alex

Alex and Tara both get their clue, instructing them they'll need to drive, then hike to a nearby jungle camp to check in at the Pit Stop.

Shola & Doyin arrive at the marker where to hike to the jungle camp.

Problem was that we were just rushing around too much. When you rush, you make some simple mistakes, and then you get to the point where you don't know where you are. Then you start panicking. Lack of sleep and lack of nourishment doesn't help either.Doyin

Finding the Pit Stop, they check in. Phil announces that they're first.

It's going to take a lot more than a broken foot or a twisted ankle, or a twisted knee to keep us from moving forward.Doyin

Peggy & Claire arrive in Foz do Iguaçu.

Chris & Alex finish in second, with Tara & Wil finishing in a close third.

I think we're in the group that can do more damage to these other teams than they can do to us. You're going to slowly see these other teams deteriorate.Wil

Dave, Peach, Russell, and Oswald complete the Roadblock for their teams.

Peggy & Claire get the clue for the Roadblock. Claire volunteers, and after a little trouble, spots the flag.

You had to climb way up on top of the cliff. Oh man, I can't tell you how steep that was.Claire

Claire returns to Macuco Safari Dock, reads the clue to Peggy. The two think they're in dead last.

We're disappointed, trying to be enthusiastic and Claire's doing a wonderful job of being enthusiastic. The worst that can happen is this is it.Peggy

Mary & Peach check in fourth.

Gary & Dave finish in fifth.

Fifth place, after we were so clearly in last. It was great.Dave

Cyndi & Russell finish the leg in sixth.

Oswald & Danny are happy to find themselves in seventh place.

Peggy & Claire find the Pit Stop.

We walk up, and everybody's very dramatic. They kind of look at you, and you think, okay, swell.Claire

To their shock, the Gutsy Grannies actually finish in eighth. The first seven teams to check in and Phil all congratulate them.

Oh my God. We're still in the race, I can't believe it.Peggy

The final bus is still on its way to Foz do Iguaçu.

We're basically in last place. We're going to have to just haul buns.Paige
At the twenty-first hour, is when our luck kind of changed, and we found a guy in the back of the bus who had a guidebook. We've been traveling with Hope and Norm, and we really like them a lo, but we had to sneak back there and copy this map without them seeing us. It was just hard because we knew we had to do that.Blake

Blake & Paige and Hope & Norm arrive at Foz do Iguaçu. Blake & Paige use their map to get to Iguaçu National Park, while Hope & Norm are attempting to get directions or a map a gas stations or rest areas.

Finding Macuco Safari Dock, Paige does the Roadblock. As Paige is at the falls, searching, Norm gets on a speedboat. Both of them spot the flag.

This whole race is going to come down to how we perform on the Roadblock. I knew that Norm was on his way.Blake

Paige is the first to return to the dock, and the siblings run to the Pit Stop. They check in ninth.

Norm finishes the Roadblock, and both he and Hop arrive at the Pit Stop, where Phil informs then they are the last teams to arrive, and unfortunately have been eliminated from the Race.

Norm: My key along this whole thing was to enjoy some of these fabulous places, and to experience it with my best friend, which is my wife.
Hope: He said something to me on the way over. He said, "I found my girlfriend again". I feel the same way. He's my choice. I choose him no matter what.

Route Markers[]

The order of departure from Tocorimé Yacht are as follows:

  1. Tara & Wil (11:06 pm)
  2. Cyndi & Russell (11:34 pm)
  3. Shola & Doyin (11:35 pm)
  4. Blake & Paige (12:19 am)
  5. Hope & Norm (12:19 am)
  6. Chris & Alex (12:20 am)
  7. Mary & Peach (12:45 am)
  8. Oswald & Danny (12:46 am)
  9. Gary & Dave (1:24 am)
  10. Peggy & Claire (1:32 am)

Teams must take a zodiac boat back to Urca beach. Teams must take a taxi to Acadêmicos da Barra de Tijuca in Barra da Tijuca, and make their way to the samba club in the academy. There, teams must find the dancer whose headdress matches the feather they were given in their clue. The dancer will then hand them their next clue.

Teams must make their way to Pedra Bonita and find the next Route Marker.

The Fast Forward instructions were given to them after receiving their clue at the samba club. Teams will have to go to Copacabana beach and play volleyball against a pair of professionals. The team that earns ten points first wins the Fast Forward. The professionals will only play in Rio style (without using their hands), as per local regulations, however teams may play in American style. Shola & Doyin won the Fast Forward.

Choice A: Freak Out
Teams have to hang glide in tandem with a local instructor, gliding from the mountain to the São Conrado beach below. Once both teammates had landed on the beach, they were immediately given their next clue.

All of the teams chose this task.

Choice B: Seek Out
Teams will take a taxi cab to São Conrado beach. Once there, teams had to travel down to the beach and use a marked metal detector to find the next clue buried somewhere along a 1.5 miles (2.4 km) stretch of sand.

None of the teams chose this task.

Teams must take a bus to Foz do Iguaçu. Outside the bus terminal at Foz do Iguaçu is a vehicle and clue waiting for the teams.

Teams must drive themselves to Macuco Safari Dock near the Iguaçu Falls in Iguaçu National Park to find their next clue.

"For someone with keen eyes and a good sense of direction."

One team member had to ride a speedboat and use a map to direct the driver to Iguaçu falls. At the falls, teams then had to spot the Route Marker at the top of a rock formation and retrieve the clue, then head back to the dock.

The Roadblock performers per team are underlined:

Team must drive and then hike to a remote jungle camp in the park.


     First Place •      Eliminated     Last placer on a Non-Elimination Leg or continue racing on a No-Rest Leg     Season winner •      Season 2nd place •      Season 3rd place • Used the Fast Forward
Shola & Doyin
 1st place 
Shola & Doyin
Chris & Alex
 2nd place 
Chris & Alex
Lifelong Friends
Tara & Wil
 3rd place 
Tara & Wil
Separated Couple
Mary & Peach
 4th place 
Mary & Peach
Gary & Dave
 5th place 
Gary & Dave
Former Roommates
Cyndi & Russell
 6th place 
Cyndi & Russell
Pastors/Married Parents
Oswald & Danny
 7th place 
Oswald & Danny
Best Friends
Peggy & Claire
 8th place 
Peggy & Claire
Blake & Paige
 9th place 
Blake & Paige
Hope & Norm
 10th place 
Hope & Norm
Married Parents


  • This episode's title comes from Blake Mycoskie, who was asking people at the bus terminal for money since he and Paige Mycoskie lost their wallet.
    • This makes it the first episode title to have a quote from a racer.
  • Location of the samba club was switched at the last-minute due to local media finding out where the shooting of original location was to take place in Argentina due to the ongoing riots at the time.[2]
  • The Roadblock in this episode actually took place on the Argentina side the portion of Iguaçu Falls.
  • Shola & Doyin became the first Family Team to win a leg, surpassed Nancy & Emily's previous highest placement (3rd) in The Amazing Race 1.
  • The episode's Fast Forward and the Freak Out Detour would return as unacknowledged Switchbacks in "A Little Too Much Beefcake".
  • Blake allegedly threatened to sue CBS if his team was not provided with a time credit after the jeep provided in this episode broke down through no fault of his own or his sister.
    • In the end, it did not make a difference as they finished ahead of Hope & Norm without production intervention.[3]
    • Due to the confusion of the rules regarding time credit for broken down vehicles, production changed the rules after the season to clarify that teams would receive a replacement, but not be given a time credit if a vehicle broke down.
  • This episode had an encore airing two days later on UPN.[4]


The Amazing Race 2 Episodes

"The World Is Waiting: Go!" · "Help Me, I'm American!" · "My Alarm Clock Didn't Go Off!" · "This Game Is About Minutes" · "Welcome to the World of Being Human" · "I'm Gonna Take His Girl" · "I'm Gonna Throw Up on Phil's Shoes" · "I'm Not a Miner! No, You're an Idiot!" · "Ready to Lose Our Lives" · "It's Hammer Time" · "Follow That Plane!"