Since I first heard what this newest edition of The Amazing Race would feature—folks who didn't win but nearly did or lost for horrible reasons—I've been referring to it not by its correct title, The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business, but rather as The Amazing Race: First Loser Edition. That is of course unfair, only three of the teams racing this season came in second in their original runs, but the title also signifies my increasingly negative feelings about the show.
For a number of years I recapped the series on a weekly basis and I really enjoyed the show both before and during much of that time. I thought it was fun and different and I completely understood why it took home so many Emmys. Then, a funny thing or two happened – the number of teams who were shrill and annoying seemed to multiple, the number of bottlenecks seemed to increase, and the tasks seemed to get easier and easier. At first I couldn't decide whether I had simply outgrown my love of the show or if it was in fact kind of coasting on past success. After The Amazing Race failed to win an Emmy last year, I decided that even if it wasn't the show, I wasn't alone in how I felt about it.
I pointed out in my review of the fall cycle of the series that The Amazing Race excels at throwing types of teams at us—engaged, parent/child, friends, coworkers—the show also seems to give us nearly the same mix of nearly the same type of people every season. While that makes it easier for the audience to get a handle on which team is which, when you see the same types year after year, it's easy to lose the distinctions between them.
Think about it, how many dating/engaged teams have we seen where the guy is a wholly inconsiderate jackass? I've grown to hate every dating/engaged team because after watching so many seasons I've lost the ability to differentiate between them and just as I start to think that maybe this new team is different, the guy starts yelling at the girl about how she's incompetent and how if she would just focus they might not lose. Then I have to swear off the dating team for another cycle.