Reality TV

The good news is, we’re done with season six of The Amazing Race in syndication, and after season seven I can stop watching until it comes back around to season two (as I’ve seen all the ones in between — 8, 9, 10, and 1). So in about a month I’ll probably finally shut up about this show, at least for a little while. But the bad news is…there’s still a month to go! So this one’s an all-Amazing Race entry. Sorry; hope you can put up with it until the obsession passes. (But if you”re not interested, come back soon for holiday shopping tips and baby pandas! For real!)

Here’s the thing about reality television: I don’t watch it. Not really. I swear! Yes, I watch almost everything else. But in general, as a writer, I think that I ought to support shows with great writing (like Veronica Mars! and Battlestar Galactica! and House!): shows that create characters and develop them and craft ongoing mysteries and raise big questions and are funny and make you think. (As opposed to shows that mostly make you scream: “Run, BJ and Tyler, RUUUUUUU — what the — WHY ARE YOU JUMPING IN THE LAKE?!!!!!”) (For instance.) (Although that was both mysterious and funny.)

That’s also why I’m not such a fan of procedural shows, where the story is wrapped up in each episode and the main characters don’t evolve very much (or when they do, the audience gets mad). It’s a different kind of writing, and I’m sure it’s very hard, but I like stories with ongoing arcs and I like seeing what happens to people over time, which is the best thing about TV as opposed to movies — lots of time to watch them change.

However, I don’t think all reality shows are terrible. I think it’s a genre, like any other, albeit one which unfortunately lends itself to some incredible trashiness (The Littlest Groom? Temptation Island? Who Wants to Marry My DAD? SERIOUSLY?). But there is also great reality TV…like Top Chef and, of course, The Amazing Race.

AND…they’ve just announced that next season (starting in the spring) is an ALL-STARS EDITION! Woo hoo! I love the show as is, of course, but I’d be so curious to see some of these people again (Kris and Jon! We love you, Kris and Jon!) — and to see how they play the game differently now that they’ve done it once. Taking notes? Yeah I am!

So let’s play the Best Game Ever: picking our dream All-Stars cast.

The Imaginary Rules I’m Making Up For Myself:

* No previous winners — might as well give the other teams a chance. Besides, then I”d want to include too many of them (basically everyone I”ve seen except Freddy & Kendra).

* A fairly even gender distribution (girl-girl, girl-boy, and boy-boy).

* No one from the Family Edition (unless Carissa Gaghan wants to come back with someone, because she was the toughest, coolest nine-year-old ever.)

* Teams who played well, not teams who were just adorable.

And then I’m promptly going to break that last rule by putting Dave and Lori on my list. The self-proclaimed “Nerds” from season nine are so my kind of people, I just can’t leave them off.

Also, this is going to be a dumb-ass list because I still haven’t seen seasons two and three and most of four. So my selection pool is a bit smaller than most people’s.

From Season One:

Frank and Margarita (I couldn’t believe how well they ended up getting along, plus they kicked ass)
Kevin and Drew (good racers AND adorable)
Nancy and Emily (because they’re my mom’s favorite team) (of the, like, three episodes she’s ever seen)

From Season Four:

David and Jeff (I saw enough of the season to think they were good racers, who might have won except for one very bad call)

From Season Five:

Colin and Christie (yeah, they’re crazy, but SUCH good racers) (besides, I want to see him yell at another ox)
Linda and Karen (Bowling Moms!)

From Season Six:

Kris and Jon (adorable AND amazing racers!) (luckily! because I’d want them on here no matter what)
Lena and Kristy (I know they didn’t get far, but I think they would have if it weren’t for the unluckiest Roadblock ever, and they’re troopers, and also I like all-girl teams)

From Season Seven:

I’m sorry, but…Rob and Amber. I know a lot of people hate them, but I think if they hadn’t been on Survivor, they’d get a lot more respect as Amazing Racers, because they were really remarkably good at running this race, being nice to locals, not acting like idiots on TV, etc. And personally, I like the way they are to each other; I think they’re a good couple. And I kind of love Rob’s accent. Besides, this seems kind of inevitable, doesn’t it?

From Season Nine:

Dave and Lori (“Nerds Rule!”)
Eric and Jeremy (they’re kind of goofy, but they raced really hard, and as much as I wanted BJ and Tyler to win, I felt bad for the Frat Boys at the end)

From Season Ten:

Dustin and Kandice! Go Dustin and Kandice! Because I wanted them to be the first all-female team to win (SIGH)…and one of them looks like my sister, so I can’t help but like them.

If these were the teams, I’d have a really hard time choosing who I want to win, but at least it would be fun to watch all of them. And I think they’d all have a really, really good shot at winning, too. Don’t you want to see Colin and Christie go up against Rob and Amber, and then get smoked by Kris and Jon? I do!

I’m inclined towards teams that tried really hard but lost because of one tiny mistake at the wrong time. I also think they’re shouldn’t be too many dating teams per season. Season Six had like SEVEN dating teams, and they screamed at each other ALL THE TIME. My season would only have five, and hardly any of them yell at each other. Much much better.

I also don’t mind teams that play tough with the other teams (although I don’t know if I could be the same way), as long as they play fair (using Yields is OK; blocking doorways in airports is not, ahem, Guido). But the teams I like best are the ones who are at least nice to each other. I feel like, of course you might have trouble getting along with random strangers whom you are racing for a million dollars. But if you can’t get through an airport or walk a donkey down a road without screaming at your wife/girlfriend, I think there might be something wrong with you. More importantly, I don’t want to see you on television.

So I hope the casting people for All-Stars chose wisely! Personally, I can’t wait to see it. Hooray!

Quote of the Day: From the Television Without Pity recap of a season 6 episode: “Fortunately, the first travel agent that Jonathan sets out to berate tells him that he”s out of luck, because she can”t sign on to her computer at the moment. Boy, that is sad. I am so very filled with regret. In the cab, Jonathan cannot believe that Victoria made the travel agent”s computer crash like that. "From now on, this is my part," he says, hoping that if he intervenes in time, she won”t go screwing up the computers at the airport, too.” — Miss Alli, TWoP