TV is the answer

Beth Carpenter

My love for any reality television show that involves a modicum of skill – or Tyra Banks – is very well known. About three weeks ago, after finally giving in to a friend’s almost constant insistence, I watched my first episode of “The Amazing Race.” Yes, this is the show that has won the Outstanding Reality-Competition Program Emmy every year since the creation of the award.
The basic premise of the show is that it is a “race around the world.” The competitors form teams of two, and they are given clues to various points around the globe, taking them from the United States to Japan to Vietnam to Cambodia. And that was just the first four episodes of this season. I can say that this show gets me more emotionally involved than a reality TV show has in a long time.
I have since watched the first three seasons on YouTube, and I can safely say that this show is my new favorite skill-based competition program. Every season definitely seems to have the same personalities.
There are couples who are confused about the premise of the show and think it would be a good idea to test their relationships under these high-pressure situations. There are the married couples who maybe should not be married and tend to just yell in loud obnoxious voices. There are the best friends and brothers who dominate early on and flirt with the 20-something girls. There is the old couple who usually gets eliminated early and always says they “just couldn’t keep up” but that they have “done things they never thought they could.”
There are the mother/daughter or father/son teams, just trying to reconnect with each other, as though racing against 10 other teams in a high-pressure situation is the best way to return to the relationship that you shared with your parent when you were a child. And finally, there are the likeable pairs; sometimes dating couples who actually seem to enjoy each other’s company, sometimes best friends who complement each other’s skills, or sometimes the married couple who realizes that this is not a test for their marriage but a race to the finish line.
This season, I’ve found a few favorites already. There is the duo of Meghan and Cheyne, who I resisted supporting at first, based solely on Cheyne’s name, but the duo has actually been entertaining as well as successful in the race. Former Miss America Ericka and her husband Brian have nicknamed themselves “Team Zebra,” and “Flight Time” and “Big Easy” are two Harlem Globetrotters who said that when they were walking around Japan, the people they encountered probably thought Godzilla was walking towards them.
“The Amazing Race” airs every Sunday night at 7 p.m. on CBS.