The Amazing Race, on CBS, is one of the most energetic and exciting shows on television. I don’t usually become very enthusiastic about what you might call “reality” shows. But when The Amazing Race is on, I enjoy every minute of it, and when it’s off, I get nostalgic for it and anticipate its return.
So far, this season hasn’t failed to please. It started off with the standard breakneck pace that typifies every season. It’s common on this show for some competitors who appear to be extremely athletic and able to fall behind because of stupid mistakes. Often they choose one task at a Road Block—which is a choice between two tasks—and after struggling for a while make the error of quitting that task to go and do the other.
This mistake of second-guessing tasks is what happened in tonight’s episode where the diminutive team, Mark and Michael, were in the top 3 teams with a huge lead over the remaining 5. In the middle of their Road Block challenge in Siberia, their stack of wood collapsed, making them have to start over. Instead of bucking-up and fixing it, they abandoned the task and went to do the other challenge, which ended up leaving them even more confused. All of these problems caused them to fall from the first group of 3 teams with a huge lead down to the second. Mark and Michael saved from elimination only because one of the most athletic teams, Kris and Amanda had been given a “U-Turn,” which meant they were forced to go back and complete the other task also in the Road Block.
Among the competitors this season, my favorites are mother and son team Margie and Luke. Luke is a totally deaf young man who communicates solely by American Sign Language and does not read lips. If anyone was under the impression that deaf people are any less capable of performing any task, Luke is definitely one to prove them wrong.
The Amazing Race’s host, Phil Keoghan, who has learned how to use sign language to tell Luke their standing in the race when they reach each pit stop, also particularly impresses me. I’m sure for logistics of the show, it made sense for him to do it that way, but they could have just as easily left it up to Luke’s mom to tell him what place they were in. Phil impresses me as probably one of the nicest hosts on TV. Actually, the first year they were nominated for and won an Emmy, I found his email address on his personal site and sent him an email congratulating him and telling him that I hoped to see more seasons. He actually responded to me, thanking me and saying that he was hoping for more seasons as well. It always impresses me when someone takes time to communicate with a random fan like that.
For me, The Amazing Race is much more than just a reality show—it’s like a sporting event. It isn’t as much about social dynamics as it is about skill, luck, and levels of sportsmanship. It’s the only game/reality show that I’ve seriously considered applying for. Who knows… maybe next season?