Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Not So Amazing

The Amazing Race Family Edition

Ok, I broke my promise and actually watched the first hour of The Amazing Race: Family Edition (TAR-F) last night... well, at least the first hour of it. It's pretty much everything I feared it would be. Leave it to some television VP to take one of the few good reality shows and muck it all up. The problems were many, and format less than exciting.

The first of many problems with the TAR-F format is the teams. Previous seasons have stuck to the unwritten rule that a reality show should start with no more than 20-24 contestants. (Think survivor, the apprentice, etc.) Traditionally, TAR has 11 to 12 teams of 2, in the "F'ing" edition they have 10 teams of four. So rather than slowly getting to know these teams, we have a massive blob of 40 people, and kids...Screaming and running around...Even worse though is that producers, perhaps seeking a more family friendly production schedule, have taken the "Amazing" out of the race. The first leg of previous seasons had racers heading to Iceland to snowmobile across a glacier, or Rio to hang glide off a mountain. On TAR-F, the first task was to drive from Brooklyn into Manhattan and stop at an Eastern Mountain Sports store in SoHo! From their teams had to drive (I kid you not!) to the Upper Eastside! There they had to get a clue from some hot dog vendors (who if you didn't notice were Kevin and Drew from season one).

It really didn't get any better after that. Teams had to make their way to Washington Landing, PA and row a George Washington across the Delaware River. One contestant, confused as to their destination, kept saying "I think Pennsylvania may be a state or something." Really?! Do you think so?! Dear lord. It did get a little scary when the teams had to camp out in a park in Philly, and their tent assemble was supervised by a team of ...Gasp...Eagle Scouts. I stopped watching at this point and delved into my TiVo library for something decent. I understand that the teams made it all the way to Lancaster, PA on this first leg...I don't think I'll be able to sleep until I find out if they make it to say...Timonium, MD or something. Pretty disappointing.

Wow, this posting totally sounds like it should be in a Star Trek chat room or something...But needless to say, before I turned off the idiot box last night, I erased TAR-F from my season pass list. Perhaps, if I'm lucky, they'll return to a more Amazing type race next season.

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