TV Review: ‘The Amazing Race’ on CBS Begins 14th Race Around the World
Television Rating: 4.5/5.0
CHICAGO – For six years there has been an Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Competition Program and for every one of those years the same show has walked home with the trophy, beating series like “Project Runway,” “Survivor,” and “American Idol”. That show is “The Amazing Race”. Based on the strength of the premiere, it seems likely the producers of this CBS mainstay should probably make room for Emmy #7.
“The Amazing Race” could be used in classrooms to dissect what separates the good reality TV from the bad. Yes, hosts are important and Phil Keoghan is one of the best. And concept is key. But a competition shows lives and dies on two things - casting and editing, both of which are incredibly strong on “The Amazing Race”.
Standing from L to R: Amanda and Kris, Mel and Mike, Lakisha and Jen, Preston and Jennifer, Margie and Luke, Brad and Victoria; Sitting from L to R: Cara and Jaime, Mark and Mike, Christie and Jodi, Steve and Linda, Tammy and Victor.
Photo credit: Robert Voets/CBS
Every year, “The Amazing Race” finds a way to cast the perfect mix of young and old, athletic and intellectual, and compatible and argumentative and the 14th installment is no different. A team of NFL cheerleaders, the show’s first-ever deaf contestant, a brother/sister team of Harvard educated lawyers, stuntmen who specialize in child actors, and even “School of Rock” author Mike White and his dad. This may be one of the most entertainingly cast seasons of “TAR” to date.
Even the best cast and concept wouldn’t work as well as “The Amazing Race” does without the amazing editing team on this show. The way “Amazing Race” builds tension from activity to activity and country to country is remarkable once you notice it. They can even make waiting in an airport nail-biting.
And then there are the ends of each leg. Watch in the season premiere, “Don’t Let a Cheese Hit Me,” as the teams come to the final mat and how expertly it’s cut together to raise the suspense and action. It’s what truly sets “The Amazing Race” apart.
In the first episode, we meet the cast and they depart from the Joint Forces Training Base in Los Alamitos, California and travel to Switzerland to jump off the world’s tallest bungee and carry 200 pounds of cheese down a hill. It’s a funny, suspenseful start to what looks like it could be the best installment of “The Amazing Race” in a few seasons.
“Don’t Let a Cheese Hit Me”—Victor must bungee jump off the Verzasca Dam in Locarno, Switzerland in order to receive the next clue
Photo credit: Robert Voets/CBS
As for the cast, following are the 11 teams, listed in no particular order.
Mark, 48, and Michael Munoz, 51, brothers who are stuntmen/actors and 4’ 9”.
Tammy, 26, and Victor Jih, 35, siblings who also happen to be Harvard-educated lawyers.
Lakisha, 28, and Jennifer Hoffman, 24, competitive sisters and former Division 1 collegiate athletes from the University of Louisville.
Christie Volkmer, 37, and Jodi Wincheski, 40, flight attendant friends from Southwest Airlines.
Cara Rosenthal, 26, and Jaime Edmondson, 29, former NFL cheerleaders for the Miami Dolphins.
Brad, 52, and Victoria Hunt, 47, married couple of nine years.
Mel, 68, and Mike White, 38, father and son who happen to both be writers and happen to both be gay.
Linda, 52, and Steve Cole, 43, a married couple of seventeen years.
Jennifer Hopka, 26, and Preston McCamy, 28, a dating couple from Columbia, South Carolina who has broken up and gotten back together several times.
Amanda Blackledge, 23, and Kris Klicka, 24, a couple of three years with little travel experience.
Margie, 51, and Luke Adams, 23, mother and son from Denver. Luke is the first deaf contestant in the history of the show.