November 03, 2005

The not-so Amazing Race

OK, so I've been pretty clear on this blog in the past that The Amazing Race (TAR) is in my world the best reality show on television. It has a frenetic pace, exotic locales, interesting views into human psychology, and an adorable kiwi host (Phil Keoghan formerly of New Zealand).

Over the first 7 seasons, it's certainly had its ups and downs. A run-down of those seasons:
  1. Raw, new, great personalities, a surprising ending.
  2. A couple nasty teams, but a couple that were absolute delight (Danny & Oswald)
  3. The ultimate season for me. Racers I loved with a passion (Ken & Gerard) or hated with equal venom (Flo).
  4. Plenty of fighting between teams, but an exciting season, which ended with a disappointing finish.
  5. Similar to season 3 with loves (Chip & Kim) and hates (Colin & Christie). Also the season where I went to a finale party in NYC and met some of the racers in person!
  6. A nosedive season which featured the worst couple ever (Jonathan & Victoria).
  7. A redemptive season with a return to many of the things that made this show so great.

And now I come to season 8 - Family Edition.

OK, first of all whomever came up with this idea should be shot. Why take a great concept and try to make it more family-friendly? It was already a good family show! Sure there was the occasional cussing racer, but it gets bleeped out, and it's not like kids don't hear it on the streets.

And the show is just not designed for families. Everything is being adjusted in unhappy ways. In previous seasons part of the drama is in teams finding how to get from point A to point B. This season the transportation is almost always spoon-fed, and they "miraculously" find those van-sized taxis everywhere.

What's worse are the stupid locations. Nowhere, Alabama. Backwater, Louisiana. Amishland, Pennsylvania. The last two episodes they finally left the US to see Panama and Costa Rica, although even in those places they are seeing very little of interest. ("Go to a BP gas station...")

And tasks involved are so easy it's insulting to the kid racers. ("Fill 20 oil lanterns and light them.") I understand that with the family version you can't have everything be overly physical, but come on.

But I slog through each week, watching more out of a sense of obligation than anything else. CBS had better get their butt in gear and deliver a good "regular" season after this, or my faith in good reality television will be dead. (I'll just sit at home watching my delightful The Mole DVDs, given to me by the lovely Em.)

Also this is a heads-up that I will actually be starting to talk about things other than TV. I enjoy other types of entertainment as well!


ScottE. said...

My only comment, since I haven't watched a single episode of TAR....Mmmm, Anderson Cooper...The Mole was my first introduction to the Silver Fox and I'm happy he's doing so well on CNN.

DC Food Blog said...

A big fat WORD! Totally right on. I would only add my anabashed love of Kris and Jon. It's hard to find people so smoking hot that you don't resent. These two were lovable.

Dancer in DC said...

So very true. Kris & Jon were a breath of fresh air in a season of detestable personalities. It was so nice to see a couple that was beautiful inside and out, clearly in love, and willing to enjoy the whole experience. When they played with the kids in the water? *SOB*

Em said...

Agreed. TAR:FE sucks. I've seen a couple of episodes, and it barely held my interest. It really is a shame because the regular show is so good.

The Mole rocked too, and I have had a crush on Anderson Cooper ever since. I wish they'd bring that one back -- it was fun because in a way you could play along at home, trying to figure out who the mole was. But alas, I guess the ratings weren't good enough, and of course, Anderson now has a much better job at CNN.

J-Lo, thanks for the linky link to my blog! Unfortunately, I haven't had anything to say since the original post!

Stef said...

Kris & Jon: Two thumbs up!

Season 8: I'm not watching. It's up against House, anyway. But I did just read that Fox is having challenges this year cuz so many of its new shows are doing so well, they're gonna have problems when they bring back Am Idol and 24. So they may reshuffle their schedule and House could move. Maybe I'll have Tuesdays at 9 back by the time TAR9 comes on.