End of The Amazing Race

The first season of the CBS television program The Amazing Race ends tonight with the grand finale.

Since the program started, we have been Big Fans. Although, as Edward Hasbrouck points out in an interesting series of columns, the travel in the program is a distant relative of “real” life on the road (and how could it be, with TV cameras on all the time, and a time limit?), I find the show appeals to my latent desire to move. It’s like the Reader’s Digest of travel, and sometimes Reader’s Digesting something can be useful (and even entertaining).

Like the rest of North America we were biggest fans of Kevin and Drew, the rollicking New Yorkers who were eliminated two weeks ago. Now that it’s down to the finish with three teams, I’m torn between the Rob/Brennan team and the Frank/Margarita team. I am not torn, however, by the quite pleasure I take at the demise of the Joe/Bill team (aka “Team Guido” after their dog); they have been consistently snotty, and deserve to lose (of course by some miracle, they could still win, even though they’re a full 24 hours behind the others at this point).

Catherine and I agree that of all the “reality TV” shows, The Amazing Race is the only one we’d relish participating in. Unfortunately it looks they’ve already cast the next episode. I suppose there’s always next time. Still unclear as to whether having wee Oliver strapped to our back would slow us down.

Be sure to watch CBS tonight, 10 p.m. Atlantic Time, for the thrilling conclusion.

Comments

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on December 13, 2001 - 16:16

Reality TV isn’t. Dave’s Cinimainacs may well change that though! Go Dave! Go LMS! Go ~whatever~!

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 13, 2001 - 16:18

Kevin, I fear that your blind “reality TV isn’t 100% absolute reality” is blinding you to some of the virtues of the genre. Television, by definition, cannot capture reality. Peter Mansbridge is an actor, so are the people on the ground in Pakistan. So are you.

Dave Moses's picture
Dave Moses on December 13, 2001 - 17:28

it’s ironic, and not in an alanis morrissettian way, that “reality tv” was coined yesterday by same people who, today, criticise it for not being as they described it.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on December 13, 2001 - 18:09

Dave, and they are…?

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on December 13, 2001 - 18:20

Pete, 100% reality isn’t really what I’m after… but what I ~am~ after is reality tv that ~could possibly~ be real. I know we must suspend disbelief whenever we come in contact with almost every single performing art there is. But, when participants are required to make religious-like, albeit paganesque, icons and “sacrifice” them to the raging torrents my bullshit threshold is well and truly breached and my disbelief will have to wait for another day to be suspended.


Funny too, that incident happened in the one episode of Survivor that I decided to watch from start to finish. It became more difficult than usual to avoid doing a couple of video-laps with the zapper.


Anyway, to me, reality TV is about the worst genre to ever use up the airwaves. Survivor is to television what hip-hop is to music; some like it, some like it a lot, other’s are perennially confused by the search for answers to the various “why” questions; that, roughly, is the category I fall into.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 13, 2001 - 18:21

All this form a guy whose idea of entertainment heaven is watching a rollicking performance of Guys and Dolls :-)

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on December 13, 2001 - 18:22

Just another thought Pete, I couldn’t possibly agree more with your statements, “Television, by definition, cannot capture reality. Peter
Mansbridge is an actor, so are the people on the ground in
Pakistan. So are you. “

Charlie's picture
Charlie on December 13, 2001 - 20:36

My girlfriend Erin and I are avid reality TV fans (waiting for the Mole 2 to return!) and have watched The Amazing Race from start to tonight’s finish. We agree with you that this is the one we could most see ourselves taking part in and perhaps even doing well at. I think the amazing race clearly benefits from strong “casting” as it were. We are survivor fans but this season there are only a couple good characters in the show with the majority of the young blonde female players blending into one another. I will say though, that we are Team Guido fans. They have played a strong game and pulled some dirty moves to stay alive, and I would do the same. I loved the move where they tried to make the others miss their plane by getting in line ahead of them without a ticket, brilliant! I wish it had worked! I see the guido’s making a strong run tonight but sadly I don’t think they will be able to win it all. That said, I hope the lawyers win as Frank and Margerita are terribly annoying.

Dave Moses's picture
Dave Moses on December 14, 2001 - 00:20

They” are that sweet mix of crunchy media pundits and delicious leftovers of the military industrial complex and day-old employees of the CBC… Of course.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 14, 2001 - 02:04

What is wrong with Guys and Dolls? Popular musical theater — like jazz canoeing and pick-ups — is a great north american expression. Beats the hell out of TV anyday. I watch Survivor but feel like a big fat loser after — like you feel after pigging out at MacDonalds. Eating plastic. I challenge TV theme singing to beat the raw human experience of belting out “You Gotta Have Heart” from Damn Yankees or “Can Do” from Guys and Dolls after a few ales.

Day Old Matt's picture
Day Old Matt on December 14, 2001 - 12:59

It’s become trendy to bash “reality TV” and to use the moniker for all kinds of different programming out there. “Amazing Race” was really a souped up game show, and it was fantastic. It was the best adrenaline ride on TV and every week I found my jaw dropping at the mere thought of how much work would have gone into collecting the tape we see. It was a thrilling finish to a show that surprisingly didn’t find a very big audience. But people I know watched faithfully.
I agree that conventionally titled “reality shows” like Big Brother, and even this round of “Survivor” (last night’s episode featured a couple of minutes discussing a boil on a contestant’s neck — I had to put down my frothy drink) have no doubt provided the fuel for these trendy reality-bashers. (“Reality show, bah! Give me my Urkel!”) Amazing Race and, to a lesser extent, The Mole are birds of a different feather.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 14, 2001 - 13:17

I hear it is getting trendy to couch disagreement with another by calling the other’s point of view “trendy” and substantiating the divergent view in no other way.

Matt's picture
Matt on December 14, 2001 - 14:42

If I had a buck for everytime I heard someone say something wishy-washy like “I watch Survivor, but I really don’t like it,” I’d be on my own Amazing Race.

When you hear something countless times by people trying to project an image (I’m above this, but where’s the volume control) well, that’s trendy to me.

I have no guilt for watching a television show. My point was that these are just new versions of “Press Your Luck,” or “Family Feud.” Dismissing “Amazing Race” as a reality show and not watching on that basis alone is missing out on a good program.

And Alan… the lawyers won!

Matt's picture
Matt on December 14, 2001 - 14:43

If I had a buck for everytime I heard someone say something wishy-washy like “I watch Survivor, but I really don’t like it,” I’d be on my own Amazing Race.

When you hear something countless times by people trying to project an image (I’m above this, but where’s the volume control) well, that’s trendy to me.

I have no guilt for watching a television show. My point was that these are just new versions of “Press Your Luck,” or “Family Feud.” Dismissing “Amazing Race” as a reality show and not watching on that basis alone is missing out on a good program.

And Alan… the lawyers won!

Alan's picture
Alan on December 14, 2001 - 15:52

I never said I did not like watching survivor — its the bad TV hangover afterwards. I do agree that it has devolved into “Card Sharks”…and sometimes I find myself pausing on the Game Show network to watch that in passing, too. I did not get into the “Amazing Race” just through lack of attention. I think the Mole was the best of the bunch.

PS: winning lawyers is not a compelling draw to lawyers. Can’t bear the yups.

dave moses's picture
dave moses on December 14, 2001 - 16:12

the morning after
***
the thrilling end was not so thrilling maybe.
for obvious reasons i’ve been thinking alot about the structure of shows like Amazing Race—- shows that try to create an interesting entertainment around a staged event— to better understand how i might create a more interesting entertainment myself. (cf. www.cinemaniax.net).
***
was it more or less interesting when all the teams were kinda grouped together for the first 3/4 of the show? what if they didn’t have those enforced stop-overs? what if the teams were more spread out…some still in Africa while others were already in Alaska? what if they weren’t picked off and everybody was still out there?

might it have been more interesting who came in third or fourth instead of who came in first or second?

what we were left with was this awkward and maybe unpleasant moment when the Guido’s were about to hop on to their dog teams and they got the news that the lawyers won… what the hell?… i mean so what happened that’s it?

it made me think of the difference i find between the British Scrapheap Challenge and the American Junkyard Wars. The british teams never seem to give up. It’s not over until everybody crosses the finish line— even if it means pushing their pile of junk over the line… the american teams seem to give up at the first blown gasket. i dunno.

i don’t know if it would have been a better show if it was a real race that still had everybody going and it wasn’t over until the last team crossed the line—- but i would’ve liked to see it anyway.

Charlie's picture
Charlie on December 14, 2001 - 16:28

Did anyone watch Lost? We quite enjoyed the premise of “We are dropping you here, figure out where you are and call us, if you are right you can open a box with some money and find your way back to New York.” That’s all, no rules, no stopovers. Just find your way home and don’t forget the camera guy. I believe it took the winning team about 7 or 8 days to get home from Mongolia which made for only 3 or 4 episodes, but it was still a nice change.

I wonder if they changed the stopover rule in Amazing Race would it enhance the game? I’m picturing something along the lines of you have to stop for at least 60 hours every ten days. At the end of each ten day period you will have to wait out any hours you are short. If you had to decide before opening up that next envelope it would make for some interesting tv.

Annie's picture
Annie on December 14, 2001 - 20:26

What I can’t believe is that this generated so much discussion and the often considerably more thoughtful things on Peter’s site don’t generate any. In the end, it’s only a TV show. Who’s for a free for all on how the governmenmt is stripping away our rights in the name of fighting terrorism? That would make an interesting “reality based” show, don’t you think?

Alan's picture
Alan on December 15, 2001 - 13:16

Dave: I think your comparison of the UK and US Junkyard Wars is interesting. [Just so I can get my two cents in early with the world’s next Moses Znaimer,] I can remember the personalities of the UK characters — the motorcycling Bodgers, the military brothers, the washing machine repairmen —  because they were “personalities” or better they were just human. One of the things that makes TV an arid place for the most part is the lack of connection with the person behind the talking head. TV that avoids this currently is Naked Chef (we know the folks, the girlfriend, the pals, the band), Hockey Night in Canada (they may be jocks but you know that — compare to US NFL coverage where the athletes are “celebrities”), to a degree the muchmusics, to a degree a show like This hour has 22 minutes used to be…Red Green and his evil nephew Tom. The last stab at a variety show was the cursed Friday Night with Ralph Benmergie. While I would not wish the specific content of Juliette or Carol Burnette on my TV again, I would like to see the format attempted. On BBC Canada, “Later with Jools” is a good purely pop music based expression of the variety show. Jools was the keyboard player with Squeeze and conveys mutual respect in his presentation and discussions with the bands. Celebrity, instruction, pure narrative and even the “human interest show” as a third party look at a life are all somewhat disassociative with the people involved. Each lacks personal intimacy. Radio seldom suffers from this as the media makes you feel that you are personally having the conversation with the reporter, the comedian, the actor in the play. Make TV like radio.

dave moses's picture
dave moses on December 15, 2001 - 14:46

Hey Annie:
I think there was such a show… they called it News… or maybe “The” News. xo dave

Paulina's picture
Paulina on August 25, 2003 - 09:06

hey everyone:

i want to make a comment is that: i enjoyed the mole, amazing race and survivor…..

Survivor: i love survivor very much and i like the amazon is better as… like heidi and jenna r friends from the start and you know what jenna have won the one millon dollars.

the mole: cam is back on the game show and people dont like when he was back……

Amazing Race: i must say that the amazing race is so good and it’s very interesting becuase theres some fighting going on.

thankyou and goodbye

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