Wednesday , February 21 2024
Don't hate the racer, hate the game.

Amazing Race: How Sweet The Sound

I tend not to write that much about reality television. I’m not quite sure why that is, but today that’ll change. At least it will for today, because we just have to talk about The Amazing Race: All Stars. I’ve really enjoyed this season so far, but the show is infuriating at the same time. How’s that? Let’s look…

First, the fun, which this past week involved watching people eat two feet of kielbasa sausage and then promptly vomit, or, in Charla’s case, vomiting in the middle of eating the sausage, almost immediately grabbing the fork and knife again, and going back at it. If there’s something better than watching one-half of The Blondes, 2005’s Miss California (Dustin), heave just as she finishes her sausage, I don’t know what it is. Unquestionably it helps that I despise the teams of Charla and Mirna and Dustin and Kandice more than words can possibly express.

And, that’s another reason why The Amazing Race is fun (at least if you’re just a little bit mean-spirited). I go through the early episodes figuring out which teams I like and which I absolutely and completely detest (I’m looking at you Charla and Mirna). 

Please note before I continue on this little jaunt that I am in no way saying that Charla and Mirna, or any other team I detest are bad people (or that those I like are good people). I give the benefit of the doubt to all people on reality shows that the way in which the show has been edited has simply made people appear more like the Spawn of Satan than they actually are. Thus, when I say that I detest Charla and Mirna, I am referring to the characters that I watch on television and not the actual people that Charla and Mirna may be in real life. Let’s face it, the situations these people are put in are not “reality” and all reality shows work better when there’s a bad guy. Charla and Mirna may be great people, the nicest, kindest, sweetest, most wonderful people you can imagine in real life. On TV, they are wretched refuse and deserve no shelter. 

So, I rank those that I hate the most and hope with every fiber of my being that they take a wrong turn, miss their flights, or vomit up two feet of kielbasa sausage. Happily this week the two teams that are on the bottom of my list did just that. Who could ask for more?

That’s why the show is great, but here’s why it’s infuriating…

The are far too many bottlenecks, or, what I like to refer to as the producers cheating. The entire race is engineered so that teams are forcibly bunched together. Once a team gets way out in front (like the Blondes did this past week), there’s always some airline flight thing that will inevitably slow the front team down tremendously. Sure enough, The Blondes were off on their next leg before teams even could check in from the previous leg, and instantly found out that the charter bus they were going to take to Auschwitz wouldn’t leave for about 12 hours, and was going to force them to ride with two other teams, thus eliminating immediately the monstrous lead they had built.

This sort of tactic on the producers' part does stop one team from getting so far out front so as to destroy the sense of competition for the rest of the season, but it also feels like a very forced ploy. It’s distressing to watch one team do so well, even if it is The Blondes, only to lose the entire advantage in order to keep the competition more fierce. 

Harrison Bergeron where are you now?

About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.

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