Pop Culture Junkette

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Tuesday, April 03, 2007

What's Going on with the Amazing Race?

This season of The Amazing Race has really suffered from some poor planning. It started 4 weeks ago with the Sign It v. Navigate It detour in Punta Arenas, where everyone who chose the latter (and even two teams who tried both) finished before the only team to complete the former. Then the same thing happened the next week in Mozambique with the Pamper v. Porter. Obviously, the two choices can't have the exact same degree of difficulty, but it would be nice if they would be close -- even if they require different skills -- so that the difference between winning and losing isn't just having made a lucky guess about which Detour to do.

Then, last week was sort of a disaster with teams ending up more than 12 hours apart just because some teams got on the standby list like a minute before others did. This, in turn, forced the producers to conjure up a transparently phony "storm" to prevent Mirna and Charla from being even farther ahead. I wonder what the deal was there, but it seems like the producers should reserve seats on various flights just to make sure that they don't get so spaced out (like they did with the trip from Ushuaia to Mozambique and tried to do from Zanzibar to Warsaw).

This carried over into this week's first episode. To give the producers credit, if the final two teams had made their connection as planned, they would only have been 2 hours behind the lead team and it would have been a closer leg. Did anyone else get the impression that there was a Road Block in there somewhere that got edited out? If not, it's not clear how Joe and Bill ended up an hour and half behind Eric and Danielle.

With the help of more blatant producer-created bunching, things were back on track with only 4 hours separating the top and bottom teams. I really question the combination of an Intersection, a Fast Forward, and a 4 hour gap, following a non-elimination leg. First, the only interesting thing about a Fast Forward is that you're taking a risk that you can't do it (either because it's too hard or someone else has already done it). But that risk doesn't really exist when you know that you have a 4-hour lead. Second, I just don't see how Joe and Bill could have made up half an hour unless one of the other teams totally screwed up. The only way this could possibly have worked is if the two lead teams decided not to go for the Fast Forward.

All of that being said, this is still some quality television. I've never been a fan of the eating challenges, but that polish sausage one was hilarious. How can you not like the BQs after that? And the armor, although I can't believe they missed the chance to dress Phil up in armor. That would have been awesome.

Go Danny and Oswald and BQs!

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Blogger Red Fraggle said...

I'm with you on all of this.

Two things you didn't mention:
1.) I thought it was stupid for Cha Cha Cha and Uchenna and Joyce to take the fast forward. They knew that they were four hours ahead of the other teams. They know the Race is designed so that no team gets TOO far ahead (in the long run, at least). So why take the Fast Forward when you know you will end up in first (or second, depending on whether the intersection lasted the whole leg, which they couldn't know ahead of time)? Once you use the Fast Forward you can't use it again. I would have saved it for a time where it might actually be worth something.

2.) Eric's "Ladies and Gentlemen, Miss California," line was legitimately funny. I couldn't believe he actually had that humor in him.

4/03/2007 6:20 PM  
Blogger Samantha Baker said...

I was hoping you guys would blog about the Amazing Race. It's a really weird season, that's for sure.

I can't imagine why anyone would choose the eating challenge, it's always always gross and everyone barfs and it's just a terrible choice. Especially for someone as small as Charla, and the other 3 probably aren't more that 110 pounds either.

Yah, I'm rooting for the BQs or Cha Cha Cha as well.

4/04/2007 11:23 AM  
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