[Looking for who won the 15th Season of The Amazing Race, featuring Meghan and Cheyne, Sam and Dan and Brian and Ericka? Find out at this link!]
Who Won The Amazing Race 13?
Eleven Legs, eleven teams, and eleven hilarious mistakes by Dan & Andrew have brought us to this point: we have three teams racing to the finish, searching for that flight back to the United State of America and the finish line.
Who made it there first? To find out how they did it, read Cultural Learnings’ full review. To find out who it was, and whether they deserved it, click on below.
“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.
“Do it Like a Madman”
October 26th, 2008
As a race, the thirteenth season of The Amazing Race isn’t all that compelling. The show made very little effort to make the conclusion suspenseful, as they knew as well as we did that there was no other option.
What the episode did demonstrate, though, is that this season’s group of racers is trying their darndest to make a compelling episode of television at every turn. Whether it’s broken down boats, paranoid directions asking, extremely poor hand cranking or an editor’s wet dream of an ironic talking head to start the leg, this group is quite poor at actually running the Race in a way that’s less annoying than it is charming. When even those teams who looked like they could grate, just a little, have managed thus far to prove largely inoffensive, you’ve got the recipe for an edition of the Race that, if not reaching the heights of the show’s best, could prove fun to watch without having to hate someone.
“Did You Push My Sports Bra Off the Ledge?”
October 12th, 2008
A Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers (I’m with Robin Cherbotsky, Canadian Thanksgiving is totally the “real” thanksgiving), but television does not rest (not that my holiday has been that restful considering my major presentation on Tuesday, but I digress), and The Amazing Race certainly doesn’t rest.
And on its third leg, the thirteenth edition of The Amazing Race has finally hits its first apex of interpersonal conflict, what will henceforth be known as “SportsBraGate” (Props to Daniel Fienberg, of Zap2it, for the phrase). There comes a time in every race where we start to come across events which make us ask questions about the circumstances: is it that these racers are just so justifiably insane that they would do these types of things normally, or is it the Race bringing out the worst in them?
For a few teams this week, this becomes quite a challenge, but for the most part it’s an entertaining one: with an extremely entertaining Roadblock, the dreaded appearance of the clue reading penalty, and the drama of SportsBraGate, it’s clear that The Amazing Race is cycling back around to where we start to identify with the racers, for better or for worse.
“Do You Like American Candy?”
October 5th, 2008
The second episode of The Amazing Race is always one of the most awkward: there isn’t yet any really compelling stories yet between teams, within teams, or within the race itself. And yet, unlike the first episode, there isn’t the need for a lot of exposition, so the producers have to hope that in the distance between one spot and another in close proximity the racers fall into every possible cliche.
Well, the producers lucked out: while some of it disheartened me to see, as personal favourites took a turn for the race, everything from airline drama to clue misreading turned up for a leg that, even without anything close to a suspenseful ending, told us a lot of things about these teams, defined some new relationships between them, and even gave us a couple of lessons about Karma. In the end, it’s an entertaining second leg that bodes well for the season ahead, if not quite blowing us away with anything particularly mindblowing.
“Bees Are Much Calmer Than All This!”
September 28th, 2008
I probably wrote something very similar to this last season, but the best Amazing Race premieres are quite simple: they feature no objectionable individuals, they feature interesting tasks, and give us a good introduction to the teams without feeling like we’re spending more time watching them fulfill their stereotypes than watching them enjoy the chaos that is The Amazing Race. Invariably, though, this is what happens: every thing people do becomes about their cliche: when the separated couple bickers, it’s about his cheating. When the pair of Comic Book Geeks figure out a way to solve a challenge, it’s about their unique intuitive thinking skills. And when someone is particularly objectionable, what reality producer isn’t going to put them front and center?
So, since it’s the only thing we can really judge, this group of competitors feels like one that could be fun to watch beyond its cliches. The first episode follows the usual pattern: the flights, the bunching, the elimination that feels slightly undeserved if perhaps a bit welcome. But whether it’s Superbad, our villains less objectionable than most, or the suprisingly level-headed nature of the young siblings Nick and Starr, the stereotypes feel like they are less blatant, that these people aren’t just mugging for the sake of being on reality television. Yes, Terence and Sarah are perhaps as objectionable a team as the race has seen this early on, but let’s focus on the broad strokes, shall we?
And the broad strokes are as enjoyable as ever.