The Amazing Race Champions Are...
Great cast, great beginning, slow ending.
Compared to the previous seventeen seasons, this was probably the best season we’ve ever seen. Teams like Flight Time and Big Easy, Jet and Cord, Zev and Justin and Gary and Mallory carried the show. Watching them race was high entertainment from start to finish.
Unlike Survivor, however, The Amazing Race is as much a product of the course that is laid out as it is of the people who race it. No matter how entertaining the people are, if the course is not dynamic, there’s only so much the racers can do.
The start of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business was chock full of dynamic challenges, interesting legs and surprises. As the number of teams got whittled down, the legs became less creative. By the second hour of the finale, the last leg of the race, we watched a leg where the lead changed just twice and Gary and Mallory never had a chance after their opening taxi ride.
Where this season of The Amazing Race surpassed previous seasons early on, it failed us in its finale. I’ve complained that the legs of previous seasons became formulaic, but often those seasons ended with a bang. The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business was the opposite.
The only twist we got to see was having two Roadblocks which forced the person who didn’t complete the previous roadblock to do the second one. Unfortunately, it didn’t result in any changes in the standings.
Recently the final challenge the teams had to complete was very difficult and incorporated elements from the previous legs. I’ve always thought this was a very interesting and challenging way to make the final teams earn the win in the final leg. Often this final challenge has provided some of the more interesting moments of the seasons.
The big challenge this season was recreating a mobile home scene from a brochure. If it wasn’t windy, it wouldn’t have been challenging at all. The only wrinkle the teams did not figure out initially was with the table setting and even that was easily identifiable and quickly fixed.
The penultimate leg was equally as static as the finale. Once Zev and Justin fell behind because of a bad cab ride, they didn’t have much of a chance to get ahead, even if the Detour provided a glimmer of hope. At least we got a hilarious comment out of Justin during the body waxing, “what’s the penalty for knocking her out cold?”
Any disappointment in the finale was diminished by a great performance from the final three teams and even Zev and Justin for half of the finale. Flight Time and Big Easy and Zev and Justin were their usual hilarious personalities. Mallory’s unflappable positive attitude became increasingly infectious throughout the season.
Finally, Kisha and Jen gave us the fairy tale ending as the team who did not win a leg the entire race winning the final one. At the finish mat Flight Time noted that Kisha and Jen were the most consistent team on the race, having never struggled. He was right. While Kisha and Jen didn’t win any leg, they never finished in second to last place, more or less last place.
The girls did win a leg back in their first try, Season 14, but until the finale, that represented their only win. Zev and Justin, meanwhile, took the most legs this season, ending with four collars to their name. Considering that on one leg they won a car, I’d guess the pair came away with at least $50,000 in prizes each.
We’ll miss many of our favorite teams from this season. The beauty of The Amazing Race, however, is that we don’t need a great cast to have a great show. With that in mind, we look forward to next fall for the start of another season of The Amazing Race. Maybe we’ll get a few good cast members too.
Check back with TV Fanatic in the fall for more reviews of The Amazing Race.