Oh boy. Well. There you go. Season 24 is in the books. (Finally! Thank God.)
Back in November when the teams were first spoiled and the Race played out in real time, I was already dreading this season. Many were already calling it the worst ever, even before the teams even reached the Finish Line.
And you know what? After 12 episodes, I might not be able to disagree. And that is incredibly sad for me.
I absolutely love The Amazing Race. It is still one of my favorite currently airing shows and will always be one of the all-time favorite shows ever. But I’ve made it no secret that I’ve been incredibly disappointed by the show these last few years. Especially with all the foreign versions of TAR popping up with greater frequency in that same period, the shortcomings of the American mothership have only been highlighted even more.
And TAR24 just may perfectly embody all that has been wrong with TAR these last few years.
First of all, the cast. A returning Racers season has been rumored for about a year now. But whether or not it would be an “All-Stars” season was still very much up in the air. Even more so when the cast was spoiled in November. No way the spoiled teams would be considered “All-Stars.” This had to be The Amazing Race: Redemption. Teams like Jessica & John who would seek redemption for not using their Express Pass. Dave & Connor who’d be seeking redemption for having to quit thanks to Dave’s Achilles. Leo & Jamal seeking redemption for not having a team to help them in the penultimate Leg. Brendon & Rachel seeking redemption for the one misread clue that cost them a million dollars.
And then finding out Unfinished Business teams were invited back too? “Redemption,” perfect title for the season. But no. Bertram & Co and CBS decided that these teams were worthy of being called All-Stars.
The first All-Stars cast? Now those teams were All-Stars. Mirna & Schmirna. The BQs. The Frat Boys. Team ChaChaCha. Team Guido. Romber. Those teams were actually memorable teams who made lasting impressions their first time on the Race.
This TAR24 cast? Not so much. I’ll get more into the All-Star worthiness of each team in my Subjective Team Rankings below, but I can say that 2/3 of this cast did not deserve to be invited back as “All-Stars.” A “Redemption” season? Sure. But to think these teams are All-Stars!?
Many TAR fans had other ideas of All-Star teams: James & Jaymes, Pam & Winnie, Tim & Marie, Bill & Cathi, Amani & Marcus, Andy & Tommy, Trey & Lexi and maybe the biggest one Brook & Claire.
Some of those teams and others were invited, some weren’t even considered, others turned TAR down. Okay. But if TAR couldn’t get enough All-Star worthy teams, why not wait? Or even *GASP* invite teams from before TAR18. But as we all know, Bertram says no one would remember those old teams.
Except of course the supposed most beloved teams of Jet & Cord, the Globetrotters and Margie & Luke.
Like I posted a while ago, even if the route is horrible and tasks suck, if the cast is awesome and can provide awesome “content” as Phil put it, then the season can be saved. But we got a horrible cast which only exacerbated the rest of the problems.
Horrible Route, Horrible Tasks, Horrible Leg Design
23,000 miles! The shortest non-Family Edition route ever. And this is supposed to be an All-Star season?
Realize this: They visited only four countries in the first 8 Legs. Even if a Leg or two were replacement Legs, that is absolutely unacceptable.
Yes, everyone knows that not only has TAR’s budget dropped dramatically, it seems TAR will do anything and everything to spend as little money and put in as little effort into Race planning than they ever have before.
Just when you think Leg Design couldn’t get any worse, they do. Who would even think Legs could get even more linear than they already were. Not only Point A to Point B, but assigned plane tickets! Flights that would automatically place half the teams in danger and the other half a chance to coast on through to safety on a free Leg.
That is a travesty. And now I think it might have fostered all the horrible buddy-buddy “Let’s hold hands” mentality of the teams and eliminated the other teams who would actually fight and be motivated to compete for that million dollars.
The Leg Design has absolutely stifled any kind of exciting competition.
Tasks were incredibly uninspired, of course. That is nothing new on contemporary TAR. Which leads us to…
They can’t even think of Detours anymore. Instead, we get random tasks that could be staged in any city in the world. Nothing cultural, nothing related to the specific location.
The short route looks like it was thrown together in an hour.
And a new development on TAR, the lack of drama at the end of the Leg. They don’t even care to create faux suspense anymore. For most of the Legs this season, the outcome of each Leg was decided minutes before the episode ended. Where have the awesomely clever TARUS editors gone? Probably off editing episodes of TAR Canada and Australia.
But that this season has felt so phoned in, a so-called All-Stars season, is very sad.
And the WTF!?!
Apparently, there’s a new rule change that allows Connor to have done 8 Road Blocks this Race. And it’s been hilarious to see so many TAR fans bring that up and for Phil to have tweeted about it several times in the last week. There is now a 6 Road Block limit before Leg 10 and the three Road Blocks in Leg 11-12 must be split 2-1. What? No, no. It used to be teams needed to be even at 6-6 (if there was only one Road Block in the final Leg) or 6-5 (if there were two Road Blocks in the final Leg) going into the Final Leg so the most any team member had to do during a Race was 7.
Suddenly the rule changes? Why? Because an old man couldn’t possibly have done some of the Road Blocks? Phil’s repeated tweeting is hilariously suspicious, as if he was told to cover up/do damage control for someone’s huge blunder in not being able to count Road Blocks.
If the REAL Road Block rule had been in effect, who knows how that could affected the Race with different team members doing different Road Blocks.
But the biggest, most annoying WTF is the show’s decision to use a shortened intro/opening credits sequence. ARE YOU SERIOUS BERTRAM & CO.?
They removed 20 seconds from the opening just so we could get 20 more seconds of Dave whining about his age or the Cowboys saying Yeehaw?
That they would just throw aside one of the most iconic opening themes, one that they just updated too, in favor of 20 extra seconds of episode time is insane. Especially when most of the episodes were reaching for content to fill the time anyway.
What is happening to TAR?
Now The Amazing Race is being banished to Fridays in the Fall. You can keep positive about the move, but let’s be honest. It’s not a good sign.
TAR24 is the lowest rated season of The Amazing Race ever, continuing the steep declines the show has made in the last 2 years. The freefalling ratings haven’t lit a fire under Bertram & Co.’s butts, as evidenced by this season. So hopefully the move to Fridays will be the catalyst for them to actually put in A LOT more effort into the show.
Otherwise, TAR25 could be its last. Moving what was once not only a gold standard in reality TV, but a gold standard in all of television to Fridays is not a good sign.
There is no way CBS will continue to renew TAR if it does even two tenths lower than it does now on Sundays. And that is a HUGE possibility. You couple TAR’s continuing decline and the smaller audiences for all of TV on Fridays, this could be a huge disaster.
Yes, Friday has been known to be the night where shows are sent to die. Yes, there have been some successes like Grimm or Shark Tank. But TAR is not a cheap show to produce. It is not cheaper than some scripted dramas. And it is certainly not cheaper than Undercover Boss.
Even when TAR’s ratings weren’t so hot, they had the Emmys to fall back on. And now, TAR doesn’t even have that anymore.
Do I want to see TAR succeed? Of course I do. I want to see TARUS churn out new seasons for years and years to come. But the facts are pretty clear. And the fans who have been with the show since the beginning have made their opinions very clear.
TAR has been in a deep rut. While international versions of TAR have thrived, the original has collapsed. Is there hope for it? Of course there is. But that is up to the TAR brain trust. Bertram Van Munster, Elise Doganieri, Jerry Bruckheimer, everyone at TAR needs to wake up. It’s time to finally stop dragging their feet and time to put in the time and effort into TAR25 like it’ll be the last season. Meaning, they need to step it up or TARUS goes bye-bye.
A Regrettable Season
I followed the spoilers in real time for the first time ever this season. I was there when the cast was first revealed and there when Brendon & “I AM Vegas” Rachel lost in Vegas. So I had time to process the horrible bootlist and horrible outcome. But I didn’t expect the season to end up being worse than my already low expectations.
TAR24 has just been a regrettable season all around. From the horrible cast, the gall of CBS and Bertram & Co. to call these teams All-Stars, to the uninspired tasks, poor Leg design, cheap route, boring and haphazard editing, abhorrent winners; pretty much everything about this season has been a regrettable mess.
My FINAL Subjective Team Rankings
These rankings are so messed up, seriously.
Okay, first of all, my top 3 is pretty much unchanged since the first Leg. If only they were the Final 3 teams. This season could have been salvaged. But no, two of them had to get eliminated 1-2.
Congratulations to Brendon & Rachel for the being the only team in Amazing Race history to complete the entire Race and cross the Finish Line twice. That’s a big accomplishment. An even bigger accomplishment may have been changing the opinions of some casuals around this season too. To think, the casuals were siding with Brendon & Rachel against the old guy. Amazing. When Kentucky Hybrid and the Twinnies got eliminated first, Brendon & Rachel were the only hope and thank goodness they made it to the end, at least. Them winning would have absolutely redeemed this season. But they still Raced much better this time around. And them losing to a bad taxi is actually less infuriating than Rachel’s huge blunder in TAR20’s finale. They really could’ve won TAR20 if they had read that clue correctly.
Natalie & Nadiya, aside from being one of the few truly All-Star teams, would have created so much awesome drama. Not only between themselves, but with other teams. Imagine the NaNas going up against old Dave or the Country Girls. That would have been AMAZING and fun to watch. Couple that with them actually being good Racers (their TAR21-selves, not their TAR24, Leg 1 selves), and this season would’ve been dramatically different.
Mark & Mallory were an absolute mess. A completely misguided and pointless gimmick thought up by TAR. If Mark & Bopper couldn’t have Raced, then why not have brought back Mallory with Gary instead. Or some other team. Still, they would’ve been much better to watch than most of the other teams. And how can you not like Mallory for goodness sakes. You want a Racer that’s actually on the “good” side, here’s Mallory. Not some sanctimonious father and son or rodeo people.
Jessica & John. At #4!?!?! Yup. Jessica did more on her own than Caroline & Jennifer did together. She was a tough Racer who fought through pain and actually completed tasks on her own. Imagine that, a woman doing tasks on The Amazing Race without asking for help. John was a big douchebag on TAR22, but he definitely changed for the better and instead of being some overconfident jerk he and Jessica were a solid team who fought and competed to stay in the Race. They were legit competitors who deserved to move on much more than others. All-Star worthy? No. But of the cast, definitely more deserving to have a shot at the million dollars.
Joey & Meghan. OMG. Now I’m just crazy. I absolutely hated Joey in TAR22. So damn annoying. Meghan was always alright. And I went into this season ready to dislike them as much as I did in TAR22. But to prove just how big of a mess this season was, I actually didn’t mind them. Sure, there were times Joey’s annoying habits would seep out, but Meghan, like Jessica, was a strong woman on the Race who, yes, did tasks on her own. And together, they respected the Race and competed. They had friends on the Race, but knew when to just put your head down and Race.
Margie & Luke will never be one of my favorite teams. And while Gary & Mallory and Ron & Christina deserve to be the first parent-child team to win more than they do, it was really sad to see them pan over to Margie & Luke when Phil proclaimed Dave & Connor the first parent-child winners. Luke is still a spoiled brat, but Margie is such a tough competitor and great Racer. She has carried Luke through his huge missteps and able to compete on her own merits and strengths as well. As a mother and an “older” woman, she was also able to do more than Caroline & Jen combined. While it was annoying to have three-peaters on this season, they certainly were one of the more tolerable teams on. And even just based on their performance here (mostly Margie), they deserved to stay much longer.
I thought Leo & Jamal would change their camwhoring ways, but they didn’t. They were just as annoying as they were last season, and yet still more tolerable than other teams. That’s when you know it’s bad. They’d get overconfident yet do nothing to back that cockiness up. And then they had to go and feed Dave & Connor’s ego. You can bet Tim & Marie (as TAR23’s would-be reps) wouldn’t have done that.
Flight Time & Big Easy will forever be quitters who pee on foreign national monuments. But even they didn’t seem into this season. They Raced horribly and even phoned in their lame jokes. They seemed less energetic and almost felt like they were forced to come on the season. Just a horrible performance from them and definitely worse than their previous two Races. Just a waste of a space that could’ve gone to a better, more enthusiastic and less-gimmicky team.
Caroline & Jen may be one of the worst representatives for all-female teams in TAR history. Needing to flirt for an Express Pass and getting pulled along by other teams all the way to the Final Leg is not a strategy. It’s just complete and utter laziness and incompetence. More laziness than incompetence because they could do some things when they wanted to. But most of the time they’d whine about only being girls and then go beg others for help. I will never forget them saying the car building task was impossible for a girl, yet Margie and Meghan, who are girls and did that same task no problem, were standing right next to them. They were bad enough on their own, but then hopping into Dave & Connor’s whambulance made them even worse.
Jet & Cord are still one of my least favorite TAR teams of all time. No they were not cheated out of a win their first Race. No they are not good ol’ country boys. They don’t like gays and apparently look down on dark-skinned Afghanis. “I knew you couldn’t trust them the moment we first saw them.” Uh okay. Their smug, entitled attitude for three seasons has been unbearable. And yet, they aren’t the worst of this season. Now you know how bad it has been when the Cowboys aren’t even the worst TAR has to offer in a season.
Dave & Connor may be one of the worst winners in TAR history. A sanctimonious and hypocritical team with no respect for The Amazing Race and how it is run. Their reaction to Brendon & Rachel U-Turning them and the subsequent obsession with them was even worse than Vanessa in TAR20. But what’s worse about Dave & Connor is their sour and hypocritical attitudes. He’s too old to get U-Turned, but he’s not too old to have won Legs in their previous Race on one Leg or win 5 Legs before the final in this season. Dave talks about his age, yet there have been so many Racers in previous seasons who were just as if not older than him who were able to do more and harder tasks. Connor is a bratty prick. Dave is a huge baby that dumps tasks he doesn’t feel like doing onto his poor, cancer-free son. Give me a break. Add to that their absolutely boring expositional play-by-play of everything on the Race or their outstanding supposed moral values and they amount to one of the worst teams to ever the run the Race, let alone being the worst winners ever. Such a horrible representative for both “old” Racers and all parent-child teams that came before them.
Maybe during this Summer, I’ll have to take a look at these rankings and revise some of them. Hindsight is definitely 20/20. But for now…
18. TAR18: UB
(regardless of winner)
17. TAR11: AS
|GROUP of TEAMS
5. TAR11: AS
|MY ALL-TIME TEAMS
1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12/18)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3/AS)
1. Charla & Mirna (TAR5/AS)
4. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20/TAR24)
7. John Vito & Jill (TAR3/AS)
8. David & Margaretta (TAR1)
9. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
10. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
11. The Linz Family (TAR8)
12. Max & Katie (TAR22)
13. Ernie & Cindy (TAR19)
14. Nat & Kat (TAR17)
15. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
16. Erwin & Godwin (TAR10)
17. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21/24)
18. Trey & Lexi (TAR21)
19. Pam & Winnie (TAR22)
|NON TOP 3 TEAMS THAT
SHOULD HAVE GONE FURTHER
1. Ron & Christina (TAR18)
2. Teri & Ian (TARAS)
3. John Vito & Jill (TAR3)
4. The Gaghan Family (TAR8)
5. Linda & Karen (TAR5)
6. Bopper & Mark (TAR20)
7. Meredith & Gretchen (TAR7)
8. Charla & Mirna (TAR5)
9. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR24)
10. Natalie & Nadiya (TAR21)
11. The Paolo Family (TAR8)
12. Pam & Winnie (TAR22)
13. Gary & Mallory (TAR17)
14. Joseph & Monica (TAR9)
15. Bill & Cathi (TAR19)
16. Jim & Marsha (TAR5)
17. Steve & Allie (TAR16)
18. Hoskote & Naina (TAR23)
19. Mark & Mallory (TAR24)
FINAL 3 TEAM (NON-WINNERS)
1. Brook & Claire (TAR17)
1. Kris & Jon (TAR6)
1. Teri & Ian (TAR3)
1. Charla & Mirna (TARAS)
1. Ronald & Christina (TAR12)
6. Ken & Gerard (TAR3)
6. Brendon & Rachel (TAR24)
6. Kelly & Jon (TAR4)
6. Dustin & Kandice (TARAS)
10. Gary & Mallory (TAR18)
11. Max & Katie (TAR22)
12. Jaymes & James (TAR21)
13. Brian & Ericka (TAR15)
14. Eric & Jeremy (TAR9)
15. Brendon & Rachel (TAR20)
16. Nicolas & Donald (TAR12)
17. Frank & Margarita (TAR1)
18. Trey & Lexi (TAR21)
19. Ken & Tina (TAR13)
20. Tim & Marie (TAR23)