Loving and Hating "The Amazing Race": Are They Sinking Into a Cesspool?

I know we’re in the second cycle of it, but I still have trouble wrapping my brain around Friday evening episodes of “The Amazing Race,” and don’t even get me started on random Wednesday premieres. These scheduling shenanigans caused me to watch the first three episodes of the season over the last two nights, and I have some observations which I’d like to share.

Spoilers. There will be spoilers. Surely you knew that, right?

Listen, I don’t mind the “Race” doing the half-blind date and half-couple thing. In fact, I think it’s actually something of a good idea. In the first three episodes it has proven interesting to see how the couples work together or don’t. The most fascinating relationship to this point has been the doctor-nurse combo. They seem like they could be a really strong team if only they could get along.

Now, I say that they could be a strong team after they finished the most recent leg in second place as it feels like they’re going to implode. The nurse was absolutely right there that if the doctor had listened to her, they maybe could have finished in first.

As I tell my children, she was right until she became wrong. You lose all ability to say you’re right once you do the first wrong thing in the situation, then you’re both wrong.

The doctor should have listened to her with the zipline food delivery. He was a fool not to listen. It was actually the second time she was right about directions, although the first time I don’t recall her having proffered an opinion, just questioning his. With the food delivering, he just shut her down and was completely wrong.

Then, however, she couldn’t let it go. She just kept needling him with it, and at that point contributed just as much to hurting their relationship as he had done by not listening in the first place.

Truth time – I would love to go on “The Amazing Race.” I think it would be spectacular, but I would never want to do it with my wife. Why? Because I would destroy our relationship. It would be ugly, I would get so wrapped up in whatever task I was doing and any mistakes we made along the way that I would just keep pecking at them, and her, until I did serious damage.

I think you get one “See, I told you so” during the race, and I could never hold myself to that, just as the nurse didn’t. Right now, that relationship looks seriously rocky. The doctor needs to listen better, but if he does listen next time and the nurse proves to be wrong, all hell could break loose.

Moving along, what I’m not sold on this season is the show offering up views of the sleeping arrangements. It is one thing to throw couples together and quite another for a series which doesn’t really disclose the hotels/sleeping arrangements the teams have to offer views at them every night. It makes the “Race” feel like it’s wading into a cesspool in order to attempt to tantalize/disgust viewers. Don’t show the beds on any other season, don’t show them this season.

Also abominable? The selfie cams. I am certainly insanely pleased that the selfie cam helped the least deserving team from the first two weeks get eliminated in that second week, but my god are the cameras themselves annoying. I have taken more than one selfie in my life, but the way in which they’re being used on the show feels like poor filler or a terrible way to segue from one moment to the next (I am reminded of Homer and his star wipes).

I am convinced that teams have taken selfies before on the show—why wouldn’t you, there you are at some fabulous place you’ll be lucky to visit ever again—but why are you now including them on the show? It feels like product placement, but bad product placement because I couldn’t tell you who makes the phone they’re using to snap the pics. I could tell you that if I ever see one I’ll be sure to not buy it, but that’s it.

What truly concerns me however is that after three episodes this season, I’m not entirely sure who I’m rooting for yet which is a little troubling as I’m prone to snap judgments on these things. If doctor and nurse could get it together that would be great, but I don’t see it happening. I can’t root for the Olympians either because I feel like it’s vaguely unfair to have two such great athletes on a single team. Right now, I’m leaning towards Team New Kid. They just might have the right stuff.

Wow, okay, forgive me for that one.

photo credit: Monty Brinton/CBS 

Categories: Random Thoughts

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