THE AMAZING RACE Season Premiere - 'They Don't Call it The Amazing Race for Nothin'!' - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

THE AMAZING RACE Season Premiere – ‘They Don’t Call it The Amazing Race for Nothin’!’

September 27, 2010 by  

I think we can all agree that last season of THE AMAZING RACE left something to be desired. The empty-headed contestants seemed to be rivaling the JERSEY SHORE kids for the ‘dumbest people on reality TV’ prize. The challenges were uninspired. Even the twosome who crossed the finish line first got a mediocre round of applause as they were among the most anti-climactic winners of all the seasons.

I’m going out on a limb here to say that all the sins of THE AMAZING RACE 16 were wiped away by ‘The Watermelon Incident’. Am I wrong?

The editor and producers of TAR clearly had a field day watching poor Claire get bashed in the face by the high-speed watermelon.  We saw it in real time, in slow motion, and then again about 10 times before and after the commercial break.  The scene was released early as part of the season premiere promo and in every commercial leading up to last night’s premiere.  They certainly got their mileage about of Claire’s face full of watermelon.  But knowing that she is OK and there was no lasting damage, we have to agree that it was kind of awesome, no? What I can’t get over is the she wasn’t seriously injured. This is a watermelon we are talking about my friends. If you are holding a watermelon and you drop it on your foot, it’s going to hurt.  Now imagine how it must have felt to have a watermelon fly in your face after you’ve pulled it back in a slingshot? Ouch. I’m still not sure I understand the physics behind how it happened, but I do know it could have been a lot worse.

Claire is so awesome that she might have inspired me to buy a sweater with embroidered squirrels on it from HSN today.

I led with ‘the watermelon incident’ (a) because I didn’t want to bury the lead and (b) it happened to be the most exciting moment of the 90-minute season premiere. I always give the TAR team a pass on the season premiere as they have a lot of ground to cover both geographically and in introducing us to the 11 teams, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to go easy on them next week.

Talk about a cake leg. The teams kicked things off in Gloucester, MA (btw, had I known Phil was in Massachusetts I would have stalked him out) and were instructed to get themselves to Stonehenge in England. Given the bizarre infrastructure of the Mass highway systems, I was surprised the teams made it to Logan as quickly as (most of them) did.  We’re talking about a state where 128 and 95 are the same roads and you have to take them south in order to go north.  I suppose it was more of a win that none of the team were driven off the road by any Masshole drivers.

There is always a certain lack of excitement when teams are in countries where everyone speaks English. If they get lost they can just pull over and ask for directions.  Road signs and maps are all in English. So the fact that so many teams had trouble navigating around London doesn’t bode well for the rest of the season. Here’s to hoping it was just first leg nerves.

As for the challenges last night, in 90 minutes we got three mini-obstacles — no Detour and no Roadblock — lame. Driving on the right hand side of the road was probably the most challenging part of the competitions last night (that and a watermelon barreling towards your face). The teams had to climb a ladder to scale a wall while people were throwing water down on them. Then they had to cross a pond while riding in an upside down turtle shell (and my what big turtles they were). This part definitely looked challenging. Some teams pulled it off with ease, but I think I would have been in the water quite a few times if I were in that raft. Once across the water the teams had to knock down a suit of armor with watermelons in slingshots. Not very difficult (except for Claire). After getting through all of that, it was just a matter of finding Phil and the mat and they were done. Not too bad for the first leg of THE AMAZING RACE. Here’s to hoping they have much more challenging days ahead. It makes for better TV.

Jill and Thomas were the first to cross the mat. In addition to being the first to depart on the next leg of the race, the twosome also received the first ever Amazing Race Express Pass. The possessors of the Express Pass can use it before or during a challenge that they don’t want to complete. They can skip the task, get their next clue, and move on. Used at the right time it could be instrumental in keeping a team in the race.

Crossing the finish line last — and the first team to be Philiminated — was Ron and Tony. Those two were a hot mess of misdirection all night and I’m not surprised they were the ones to go. But they seemed nice enough and there were other teams I would have gladly said goodbye to before these guys.

Which brings me to my favorite part of any THE AMAZING RACE premiere episode recap –  first impressions.  We were introduced to 11 teams in last night’s season premiere.  The narrative given to each of the team/team members by the producers last night was quite deliberate. Editing is the producers way of letting the audience know which teams to keep an eye on, which contestants are the villains, and which contestants we should be rooting for.

It’s really too early to say which teams I’m liking, but I will say that there are two team nicknames that I’m loving! Who can’t get behind “Team Glee” (the geeky a cappella singers from Princenton) and “The Gilmore Girls” (the mother and the biological daughter she has just reunited with after giving her up for adoption.) Not sure about the players but I love the names.

As for the teams that are already pissing me off….

Chad & Stephanie (aka Tinkerbell & Pan) – While Stephanie seemed lovely enough, I question her judgment since it’s by choice that she is in a relationship with Chad. The guy is a big bully. He has zero patience and is one of those guys that never does anything wrong. It’s going to take a lot for this doucher to redeem himself in this race.

Gary & Mallory – This father/daughter duo weren’t jerks like Chad was, but I was continuously annoyed by all of Mallory’s screeching last night. Perhaps she was caught up in the excitement of the moment, but she better learn to contain herself or I’m going to have hit the mute button during all her scenes.

A solid opening to the start of THE AMAZING RACE.  Hoping producers right some wrongs of the recent past and kick up the game level and intensity this season.  When in doubt they know that a watermelon to the face always works.

Are you watching this season? Thoughts on the first episode? Any early favorites or teams you are already loathing? Chime in below.

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2 Responses to “THE AMAZING RACE Season Premiere – ‘They Don’t Call it The Amazing Race for Nothin’!’”

  1. Ashley on September 27th, 2010 11:01 am

    That poor watermelon girl…that’s what she’ll be known for for the rest of the season! I wanted to hit that “Sunshine” girl so bad…she was so happy the whole time!! That’s just me being bitter that I’m not on the Race. The tattoo people were SO STUPID. Didn’t even know what country they were in! I’ll obviously be watching next week because it’s my favorite reality show, but the challenges were kind of easy! (I should say “easy looking” – from my couch, all of the challenges look easy.)

  2. thechock on September 28th, 2010 12:32 am

    Loved it! Can’t wait for more, I have high hopes for this season. I was surprised you didn’t comment on the stupidity of the tattoo’d team… SO DUMB! How could you miss all that stuff right in front of their face. You’re right there was no Detour, but I’m pretty sure the watermelon competition was a Road Block.