So The Amazing Race is a reality show that airs on CBS at 8 PM on Sundays (in the spring; in the fall it airs an hour and five minutes or so after the last NFL game ends). It's one of the best examples of the genre, routinely winning the Emmy in this category until this past year when I believe Top Chef finally unseated it for the first time ever.
It is hosted by Phil Keoghan
, who is a cool dude.
The show is a fairly simple concept, with teams of two in a pre-existing relationship (most frequently young, cute dating couples) traveling around the world doing tasks vaguely (or sometimes directly) related to the local culture and/or history. At the start of each leg, teams receive a pre-determined amount of money which must cover all non-airfare costs There are two major kinds of tasks which make an appearance on all or nearly all legs: the detour and the roadblock. A detour is a choice between two tasks, each with its own pros and cons (in theory). Frequently there's a brain/brawns split to these tasks. Or a "hey boring losers, don't take this task" vs. "WOOOOOO BUNGEE!!!" choice. A roadblock is a task that only one team member may perform and the teams must roughly split the roadblocks in half. It was for a while a requirement to be 6-6, but it may have been relaxed to 7-5. At the end of most legs, the last place team is eliminated, until there are three teams left. The first team to finish the final leg wins a million dollars woo.
This spring, TAR is doing its second All-Star kind of season with former competitors being invited back. They range from highly competitive former high finishers to forgettable also-rans whose only distinguishing characteristic in their previous race was having the female half of the team look really good in a gymnastics leotard.
Amanda and Kris (Engaged couple from TAR14 - 8th place)
: They were bland but dull in their attempt to be Kris and Jon from TAR6. They were not nearly as competent as those two. Nor as (stealth) funny. Or as unbelievably chipper and awesome about other cultures. Or as hot. She's pretty cute though, so they've got that going for them. Should be Kris and Jon, but we're not inviting anyone from before TAR12, so that's sad.
Gary and Mallory (Father/Daughter from TAR17 - 6th place)
: Gary is pretty awesome. His daughter is loud and a little over exuberant. Also a beauty queen and decent eye candy. I like Gary, I'm meh about her. Last season had fairly good racers so their finish isn't as awful as it could be.
Flight Time and Big Easy (Harlem Globetrotters from TAR15 - 4th place)
: They're Globetrotters! They come with Globetrotter theme music! Pretty likable. Good racers until they blew it on a puzzle task in the second to last episode.
Jaime and Cara (Friends/Cheerleaders from TAR14 - 2nd place)
: They're hot. They were nearly the first all female team to win the race in their season (this finally happened last year), but lost due to taxis if I remember right. Also if I remember right one of them (Jaime, I think) is a totally awful human being. So... hooray?
Jet and Cord (Brothers/Cowboys from TAR16 - 2nd place)
: Dominated their race and then blew it by not getting near enough to the door on the last plane and shitty final leg design. Likable as they were depicted on the show. There may have been some usage of the word "faggot" to denigrate one of the guys they lost to at TARCon, which would be sad and make them less likable. But popular and competent and basically had to be cast.
Kent and Vyxsin (Dating/"Goths" from TAR12 - 5th place)
: I think they're ridiculous posers. HATE. Especially him. She's kind of a badass. But very popular for reasons I don't pretend to understand.
LaKisha and Jennifer (Sisters from TAR14 - 4th place)
: Lost when one of them decided they had to go to the bathroom before checking in at the pit stop. Collegiate athletes who were quite good racers except when facing swimming tasks.
Margie and Luke (Mother and Son from TAR14 - 3rd place)
: He's deaf, she's possibly enhanced with cybernetic implants. Very good racers, but possess an insufferable persecution complex about his lack of hearing. Hate Kisha and Jen for spurious and silly reasons. Wheee!
Mel and Mike (Gay Father and Son from TAR14 - 6th place)
: They're among the funniest teams in race history (Kevin and Drew from TAR1, Danny and Oswald from TAR2, Ken and Gerard from TAR3). Mike is in fact professionally funny, writing and appearing in School of Rock. I love them, but they're probably doomed, as impressive as Mel is for his age.
Ron and Christina (Father and Daughter from TAR12 - 2nd place)
: He treats his daughter horribly. She loves him and expects him to get better! It's an awesome dynamic. Love her, loathe him. He said one of the creepiest things in race history at the end of their season about how "for the first time he means it" when he says he loved his daughter. They were (she was) excellent racers who were foiled by a brilliant puzzle roadblock at the end of the race. Possibly my favorite task in race history besides the ox that inspired the greatest line in television history "My ox is broken! This is bullshit!"
Zev and Justin (Best Friends from TAR15 - 9th place)
: Zev has Asperger's or some other place on the austistic spectrum. Justin is a cool dude who befriended him. They lost Zev's passport in a leg they finished first on and ultimately could not be checked in because without a passport you can't keep racing around the world. It was a bummer as they're pretty cool. Decent racers.
All in all, not the greatest casting, even given the theme. I wish we could have had some older teams, particularly Ken and Gerard (brothers from TAR3) and Kris and Jon (couple from TAR6) my two favorite teams of all time (and possessing the two best navigators in Kris and Gerard). Hell, I'd take Flo over some of these people. But it could hardly be worse than the original All Star season which featured similarly depressing casting, bad race design that allowed 24 hour leads and Dustin and Kandice to start a leg before other teams finished the previous one and horrible, horrible things that kept friggin' Mirna in the race instead of Guido and it was sad. And then the fake team that was totally dating after they met on TAR9 except really they just fucked a couple times won. Sigh.
Anyway, hopefully this will be excellent, as the show is usually great, even if just for the locations. And I think it's finally in HD! Which it always should have been as the scenery is usually gorgeous.
Also, in this thread, we can discuss the other mainstay CBS reality show, which once again features these two:
"Boston" Rob Mariano, making his fourth
Survivor appearance, along with his two TAR appearances. He's a professional camera whore, but he's also fairly entertaining and good at both games. He's finished 10th, 2nd (losing to his wife... if you haven't heard), and 14th in his three seasons. I like him. There is a "rivalry" with...
Russell Hantz, making his third appearance in four seasons. He's a terrible, terrible human being and tremendously bad at Survivor in the sense that he cannot ever win the game. He's very good at self-aggrandizing though and makes you sure he's the best player ever. Except the woman he lost to in Survivor 19 made the key play (at 12) and Sandra/Parvati thoroughly kicked his ass in Survivor 20. He's a great goat to take to the final tribal council because he's such an unlikable asshole and is incredibly non-self aware. HAAAAAAATE.
The season premiere was tonight, and things look fairly promising despite the ridiculous gimmick of them and Redemption Island. Not enough personalities shown and I only REALLY hate one person besides Russell so far. So that's good news.
Anyway, use this thread to discuss the flagship CBS reality shows!