Sunday, October 3, 2010

Amazing Race 17. That's right. Seven-effing-teen!

(On The Run Again!)

I can't believe there have been so many seasons of Amazing Race. Hard to believe looking at the number 17 in the title that in its earlier years, the show was under constant threat of cancellation Winning the Emmy for reality competition series again and again and again was the only thing that really saved it. Its first loss ever in that category was this year (to Top Chef) and for once TAR really didn't deserve to win. The challenges and the racers had grown a bit stale. I still loved watching the show last year, it just could've tried harder to really be Amazing.

This season, however, is off to a good start. I've enjoyed the pace and challenges of the first two episodes. Usually at the beginning of the season I do a review of all the teams and who I think will be in the top and bottom of the pack. Two seasons ago, i guessed all 5 final teams correctly. Last season, I didn't guess even one correctly. I was ashamed, and it since has shaken my confidence in predicting. This year, I just can't tell. Part of the problem is that the geniuses in central casting decided to have 4 almost identical "newly dating" couples on this season's Race. "Newly dating" is the lamest relationship in Race History. I've spoken out against it on the blog before. It's not that this type of team never wins the race, but you add the stress from constant traveling and not sleeping to their already unstable relationship bond, and they usually get so sick of each other and us of them by the end of the race that they wind up immediately separating and us not caring about them at all. I don't like watching people whine at each other until they split up. It's not entertaining to me in the least. Don't go on the race to test if you're meant to be together. If you're looking for the Race to answer that question, you ain't meant to be together.

Having said all that, I think there are a few strong contenders in the mix this season that could become TAR's first all-female winning team. It's never happened before, but the deck seems stacked so that at least one of them makes it all the way this time. There were 4 all female teams this year, and though one has already been eliminated, the others look strong. Here's a run down.

Brook and Claire

What's their Deal?: Friends and home shopping hosts.
Team Nickname: The Mellon Ballers
Why They Could Take It: In the first leg, Claire got hit in the face with a watermelon. That was launched from her own giant slingshot in close range. And then she just kept on going, behind Brook's awesome support, ultimately finishing fourth for the leg. Then these ladies finished first in the second leg! There's no question these two mean business. They seem to have a very stabilizing bond, a competitive nature, and an ability to not get lost while driving. That's a big recipe for success in this game. Plus their ability to sell things to the masses will help them in challenges where they need support from the locals. A big added bonus, methinks.

Katie and Rachel
What's their Deal?: They are friends & beach volleyball partners. And purdy.
Team Nickname: Sweet Volley High
Why They Could Take It: Athletes usually have good Race endurance are sometimes more accustomed to constant travel than your average racer. These ladies know each others strengths and weaknesses and know how to compensate as a team. They are competitive and physically strong, and have so far finished well, so if they avoid silly mistakes they should advance through the early legs pretty swiftly.

Nat and Kat

What's Their Deal?: They are doctors and best friends.
Team Nickname: Nat 'N Kat (you can't beat the natural rhyming)
Why They Could Take it: They were second in the first leg, and despite some roadblock issues in the second, they ultimately floored past a couple teams right at the end to pull themselves out of danger. That's a good skill to have. Also, if years of watching medical drams on TV has taught me anything it's that Docs can stay awake during very long shifts and be ready and alert during tense situations. This skill should serve them well. Plus they seem like really nice smart women and are also very athletic to boot. They just can't afford to get passive. But otherwise they have the abilities to go all the way.

So good luck, Racers! The world is waiting! I hope one of you three teams makes it to Phil and the Big Finish Line first! I'll be cheering for you!

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