[Looking for details on The Amazing Race Season 15 finale with Meghan and Cheyne, Sam and Dan and Brian and Ericka? Find out who won, and whether they deserved it, here!]
Who Won The Amazing Race Season 14?
May 10th, 2009
In what began as one of the most promising seasons of The Amazing Race in recent memory, with some slick new editing and the much-loved pairing of Mike and Mel White, tonight’s season finale was in some ways a let down before it even began: while there are reasons to appreciate or even admire the three teams who have made it this far, they have all done things that have kept me from actually liking them. This isn’t to say that any of the three teams are objectionable, or that they don’t truly deserve to win, but rather that all of them feel at least a little bit problematic from an analytical perspective.
However, there needed to be one winning team, and after traveling tens of thousands of miles and visiting what seemed like even more individual countries than ever before (until the end, anyways), the winner of The Amazing Race Season 14 is…
“Alright Guys, We’re At War!”
March 22nd, 2009
The worst kind of Amazing Race leg are the ones where nothing happens: the good teams are good, the annoying teams are annoying, and everything goes according to plan with the weak teams lagging behind and the strong teams rocketing forward. On the surface, this could seem like one of those episodes, where the leading teams don’t really change and where the outcome is one we could have predicted before the leg began.
But there’s been some subtle changes that have made this a better race to watch, and this leg continued that trend: teams that seemed to fade into the background before are becoming more distinct, while a team that was once impossible to watch has become more charmingly than frustratingly annoying. It’s not that the poverty and chaos of India immediately makes teams more likeable, and there’s a few instances of Ugly Americanism, but something about these teams are making them a really competitive and interesting group to watch.
So, despite nothing major going down, a building leg for the race.
“She’s a Little Scared of Stick…”
March 15th, 2009
I spent a great deal of this, the fifth leg of The Amazing Race’s fourteenth season, wishing that last week’s blind U-Turn hadn’t happened, or that Kris and Amanda had been able to make it past the Detour in time to keep it from affecting them. While I understand that it’s part of the game, this race is weaker without them: a team that were likeable, fun to watch and competitive is the kind of team you want to have while you get rid of the weaker teams who are, well, not those things. Kris and Amanda may have been a threat to the competitive spirit of other teams, but they were much better from my own perspective – selfish, I know.
This week did little to assuage my concerns that we’re dealing with a slightly less interesting race as a result, although I’ll admit that this remains one of the most genuinely inoffensive group of racers in a long time. While there are a few teams who are legitimately struggling, it seems less as if they are just really bad at this race but rather that their skills lie in certain areas that don’t happen to come into effect when the teams are trapped in the depths of Siberia. We’re getting to the point where frontrunners are quite clear, and where the people who struggle are becoming more clearly identified, but there exists no one team that I would U-Turn if I was running this race with them.
But, of course, I’m not in race mode, so perhaps my rationality would go out the window when the time came.
“I’m Not Wearing That Girls Leotard!”
March 1st, 2009
The major change that we’re getting during this season of The Amazing Race is that there is no rest for the wicked – while before there were often legs which were constructed so as to require no planes at all, staying within one city or one country for a second leg, this year they’re mixing things up. Just as quickly as the racers had flown into and raced around Germany and Austria, the teams were back on a plane to Bucharest, Romania, and off for another leg of their adventure. It’s something that is going to catch up with teams very quickly, the spectre of killer fatigue preparing to play an even more substantial part in this race than in years past.
Unfortunately for one team this week, though, it’s not early enough yet for this to start to happen. And when it comes down to flying at the start of the leg, there are various problems that can crop up, and when things add up just wrong for you the leg isn’t going to give you a chance to catch up – there’s no suspense in this one, and it’s a sad story for a team that really didn’t deserve to go home at this stage.
But this isn’t to say that this is a momentum killer for the season, in fact quite the opposite: there is still plenty of heartwarming moments from Mel and Mike, finally a chink in the armour of too perfect Kris and Amanda, some redemption of sorts for two all-female teams who proved they’re not quite as incompetent as we first thought, and one team even gives the editors a freebie to be able to make it seem at least theoretically competitive. It’s a very even field right now, and despite the unfortunate loss there’s a lot to look forward to.
“You Look Like Peter Pan”
December 7th, 2008
After last week’s heartbreaking exit of Toni and Dallas, this finale is bittersweet. You have one team that’s been dominant, one team that’s been a bit tough to watch, and one team that for all rights shouldn’t even still be there. The season never really picked up much steam after a certain point, the explosive rivalries ending up being both early and driven by stupidity more than emotions (no offense, Kelly and Christy, but REALLY.)
Going into this leg, I believe that this can only be satisfyingly be won by Nick and Starr – yes, I think there is some type of story to be found in Dan & Andrew’s potential triumph, and Ken & Tina’s marital position would make for (at least) not an entirely boring victory, but I want to see good racers win for running a good race.
Or, perhaps to satisfy my demands, Nick and Starr can get the race-equivalent of pixie dust and fly to the finish line.
Season Finale Preview
[The race is over? Check out Cultural Learnings’ cover to find out who won and how they did it!]
It has been a few weeks since I last reviewed an episode of The Amazing Race, but you’ll have to forgive me. After this past week’s tragic events, and the previous week’s predictable non-elimination episode, the end of this season has been without anything even close to suspense. This isn’t to say that it has been bad television, or that the show has been off its game, but a series of circumstances outside of its control have led to a final three without anything approaching intrigue.
It’s also a final three, unfortunately, where I will only really be happy with one team’s victory. While Ken and Tina’s story of a marriage on the rocks would certainly make for a potentially emotional victory, her shrill attitude has been frustrating throughout the race and I don’t know if I necessarily want that to be their happy ending. Although Dan and Andrew want to make themselves out to be the underdogs, they really are the “Only left in the race because of sheer luck” dogs and don’t deserve to win a million dollars because of it.
No, Nick and Starr are the team that deserve this. And while some might feel that their prior dominance sucks all the fun out of their victory, I’d like to see a team with The Amazing Race that, well, actually ran a good race.
“I’m Like An Angry Cow”
November 16th, 2008
As far as basic human capacities go, thinking logically and reading comprehension appear to be the first to disappear when people go on The Amazing Race. Last week, Kelly and Christy finally saw their inability to read clues (or even think that what they were doing made absolutely no sense) prove their undoing, getting sent home to leave five teams standing. And while Nick and Starr and Toni and Dallas seem to be mostly capable of avoiding these particular concerns, and Ken and Tina’s few reading mistakes can be explained (but not excused) by the tense nature of their relationship, the two teams that find themselves at odds with these basic human capacities are the ones caught in a battle of who’s headed home.
The result of that battle, ultimately, is the one that feels right. At this stage, so close to the end of the race, I’m concerned with one thing: having teams in the final three that, if they win, I will not want to throw things at the television. And, if that’s our barometer, then this week’s episode has us on the right path (even if there’s one more team to go).
“My Nose is On Fire”
November 9th, 2008
I’ve heard a few people noting that there has been a disconnect this year between viewers and the racers who are running around the world this season on The Amazing Race. And I think it’s not wrong: I’m enjoying it, and the challenges have been good, but there’s been a few barriers to entry so to speak.
And this episode was very aware of that, because its real stars were the various locals who dominated the proceedings. Whether it was the guy at the sewing machine who pushes people away and gives thumbs down, or the festival revelers who threw paint and water at the racers during the roadblock, or the genius that was the Pit Stop Greeter running back to water the grounds as soon as he has said hello to the team in question.
It makes for an episode that actually featured some really interesting gameplay shifts and the continued proof that, eventually, poor racing is going to catch up with you. That’s a solid lesson for the show, and it’s been a season where, with five teams left, the teams who are performing the worst are the ones who are going home.
So if it isn’t lighting a fire, so to speak, I’d argue that the show is right within its wheelhouse nonetheless.
“Please Hold While I Singe My Skull”
November 2nd, 2008
Returning from the grave we hoped he had stayed in, tonight’s sixth leg of The Amazing Race saw the return of obnoxious, demanding, and in many ways downright unreasonable Terence. In a season where villains are luckily in short supply, it is very clear that he is the one exception, his bullying of Sarah reaching some new lows tonight.
And I don’t think he’s an awful human being by any stretch of the imagination: I just think that these two are in a new relationship, have very different personalities, and are discovering that this race is not meant for his demeanor in particular. As he fights to get Sarah to do exactly what he wants at a well-planned roadblock, at no point do we get the desired moment of self-realization: instead, he only shuts up when Sarah asks him to, and only for a few moments.
It’s a relationship that is being tested to the limits by this race, and even if it makes me cross my fingers for them to be absent from the finale it does demonstrate that the human qualities of this race are still in full effect.