If you don’t like this season of The Amazing Race, we can’t be friends.
We’re just six episodes, only four official legs, in to the 18th season of The Amazing Race and I’m already satisfied. Every leg has been competitive. This leg was no exception. All of the teams are funny, interesting to watch and good competitors. I’m not even rooting for Ron and Christina’s demise anymore, as I once was.
As an avid watcher of reality shows I can say that an All-Star-esque season always seems to work. Survivor is three-for-three in different iterations of the idea (four-for-four if you want to count this season). The Amazing Race hit a home run with its first run at an All-Star season and this version has been better.The reason it has been better is that the producers and leg designers (or whomever is in charge of creating the race course) have done a phenomenal job of putting together immensely challenging legs. Right off the bat, the unconfirmed idea that there are no non-elimination legs this season, just double-legs instead is an awesome change. I hope it’s something we see in all future seasons.
Even the components of the legs themselves have been original and brilliantly planned. None more so than this week when the racers were thrown off-balance by a seemingly useless stop at a tea shop before heading to India. Excited by the prospect of getting out of China, only Ron and Christina took the time to figure out what they were drinking. Admittedly the language barrier makes it tough, but the lesson is to constantly pay attention.
Another aspect of this season of The Amazing Race is that I constantly find myself emotionally invested in different teams. Last week I was pulling for Jaime and Cara to make a miraculous comeback from the double U-Turn and frustration at the Roadblock and felt bad for them when they were eliminated.
Similarly, this week, I felt bad for Luke’s struggles at the Roadblock (and not just because we have the same, rare first name). I’m not sure it warranted the emotional breakdown that he went through, but you know it was tough when Big Easy was rooting him on as well, even though Luke finding the cup before Flight Time might have resulted in them getting eliminated. I was glad that Flight Time and Big Easy avoided elimination, but appreciated Margie and Luke’s spirit.
Beyond the teams who suffer the misfortune of getting eliminated, there have been a plethora of great moments when you can’t help but smile at the teams. Mallory takes the cake in this category with her unmatched enthusiasm. Who says “I love India already!” upon landing at an absurdly crowded Kolkata airport? She follows it up with a wonderfully self-aware comment about living like the people live while on the race.
Beyond just Mallory, other racers have stepped up. The aforementioned Big Easy cheering on Luke at a difficult Roadblock. How about Big Easy, Flight Time and others fooling the late arrivals at the Town Hall in to thinking there was a sign up somewhere? Perhaps my favorite moment this week was Jet and Cord high fiving and cheering with the kids at the primary school.
More form this week:
- What on earth possessed Zev to bring silver, silk pajamas with him on the race? I hope it was just to be funny because it worked.
- Most teams sipped their tea at the shop in China. Jet and Cord threw it back like a shot of whiskey.
- I love when the race uses props as clues. While most teams typically figure it out, there’s always one that struggles and thus makes it worthwhile.
- Ron changed the meaning of the word disco from a place or style of music to a form of dancing. Hilarious.