October 17, 2012

TV: The Amazing Race 21, "There's No Crying in Baseball"


In the current era of The Amazing Race, the producers have used two primary tactics to generate tension. The first move is casting volatile teams like Brendon and Rachel from last season that create drama with their mere presence. In cases where the cast is generally likable, precise game design is a necessity to avoid watching congenial teams meekly depart each week. If there was more drama among the teams this year, it’s guaranteed the editors would make a big deal about the infractions. Since that isn’t possible so far, an old-school approach is needed to set up an exciting conclusion. There are plenty of different ways the producers can try to influence the race, and two come into play during this leg. The result is a surprisingly tense finish where an apparently weaker team steals the final spot.“There’s No Crying in Baseball” splits the nine remaining teams into two groups by setting up train rides more than three hours apart. The decisive task is a Detour where teams may choose between having eggs fried on their heads or donning a giant lion's head. An added layer to the Detour is the existence of the Double U-Turn, which allows them to make others do both options. For more details, check out my full review for Sound on Sight.

Here are some other interesting points that I didn't address in my review:

  • It's easy to criticize Gary and Will  for choosing a team ahead of them at the U-Turn. I don't believe that's really fair, however. Given the chaos that ensued with the last three teams scrambling to avoid elimination, it's an understandable mistake. They're still looking shaky and likely won't last much longer.
  • Caitlin and Brittany seem nice, but going into a foreign country and criticizing the people because they can't speak English is never good. It's a common trend on the race and usually comes under serious stress, but it makes little sense.
  • The "Egg Head" Detour option was surprisingly easy, but most teams avoided it. Josh and Brent were the only team who picked this task, but Gary and Will joined the fun after the U-Turn. One of the main reasons they survived was the fact that this option took very little time.
  • The Chippendales don't seem very bright, but there's something endearing about their goofiness. Watching them try to cram into the tiny becak was definitely a ridiculous image and just adds to their comic moments from the season. 

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