October 9, 2012

TV: The Amazing Race 21, "Long Hair, Don't Care"

When it comes to analyzing episodes of The Amazing Race, it’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between poor game design and an undesirable result. The producers are blamed when they make it too easy for a likable team, but they face criticism when bad luck dooms that pair. It’s true that a bad taxi driver is the reason for Amy and Daniel’s surprise exit. However, plenty of other teams did locate the destination, so the task isn’t unfairly challenging. Amy and Daniel are good competitors and seem nice, but they’re too passive to realize they’re being driven right out of the race. Several other teams have similar issues and keep it interesting, but it isn’t enough to change the sad result. Watching a popular team leave early is common on The Amazing Race, yet it still feels unfortunate. The teams that barely survived don’t seem likely to pull themselves back from the brink next time. However, this week provides a reminder that nothing is certain in such an unpredictable competition. 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:

  • After hearing Phil's description, it seemed like "Ice by the Pound" was the obvious choice for the Detour. Carrying and sorting the large amount of fish did not seem wise. However, Natalie and Nadiya actually gained significant ground by picking it. It's doubtful that comically inept teams like Gary and Will could have handled it, but it shows that maybe the options weren't so lopsided.
  • Speaking of Gary and Will, they refused to run to the Pitstop at the end because it seemed like they were in last. That is not a wise move and isn't going to win them many fans. After finding out they survived, Will belted out "We're going all the way now!" While silly proclamations are always fun, this goes beyond simple confidence and moves closer to delusion.
  • Caitlin and Brittany celebrated their seventh place finish and were thrilled. On the other hand, James and Abba finished sixth and looked resigned to their horrible fate. I have a feeling that attitude may not help the rockers in the long run. 
  • My inclination is to root against the attractive young couples, but that isn't the case with Trey and Lexi. They only missed the Express Pass by a slim margin but didn't make excuses about it. Both of the top teams got along really well and seem like they could work together in the future. 

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