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Amazing Race - All Stars: Fish jumping through hoops to win!

Posted on 03/24/2014 by Ajay in The Amazing Race and General News

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By Ajay Rochester - former host of Biggest Loser Australia


I’ve always loved this show - it has all the fishbowl qualities a good reality show needs to reinvent itself season after season: great locations, Type A personalities and enough stress to see the monster come out of everyone even if for just a few seconds.

This leg of the competition begins in Kuala Lumpur and has the contestants making their way to Sri Lanka. Everyone but newlyweds Brendan & Rachel and Mother/Son team Margie & Luke make the 11 pm flight out of KL. The newlyweds decide to risk everything and travel via Singapore despite a seemingly impossible connecting flight with no time to spare. Luke urges his mother to follow the couple but Margie errs on the side of caution, waiting to take the next direct flight the following day.

Brendan & Rachel’s stressful but risky move pays off and they AMAZINGLY arrive before anyone else but it does them no favors as the monastery they must complete their next task in is closed until Sunrise enabling all but Margie & Luke to catch up.

It’s always a compelling element of “Race”; the micro peeks into the many differing cultures of countries around the world. But I always chuckle when real world merges with the Reality world, in this instance, Buddhist monks in traditional dress, blessing the racers, bowing, post prayer and in reverence handing them the all too familiar yellow Amazing Race instruction card. It’s like spotting a digital wristwatch on an actor in a period film. Funny.

No reality show would be complete without a possible love story and there seems to be a lot of country lovin’ going on between the cowboys and the country singers - a match made in Nashville heaven but the only game these potential love birds have time to play is catch and kiss because as always the race doesn’t stop until someone pockets a cool million.

There’s a crazy race thru Sri Lankan streets with tiny little Tuk Tuks facing off with buses and trucks, making me wonder how they have managed to keep all their contestants alive with 24 seasons and how many traverses around the world? That really does make it The Amazing Race.

Then it’s time to choose between nature and nurture. Do you sit around fishing in the hope that nature favors you and the fish bite or do you take the nurture route and in the case of the Harlem Globetrotters, use all that time they spent learning to spin a ball on their finger and put it to good use dancing while spinning plates on a stick? These giants of the sporting world step up to the plate, literally, and are out of there before anyone else could say “Finding Nemo”, with one of the contestants declaring dishearteningly, “You can’t make fish bite.” True dat!

However the Basketballers' lucky break turns ugly when it takes them more than a stitch in time to put together and sew a collared shirt in order to get the final clue of this leg of the race. And this is where I couldn’t help but cringe and wonder if anyone in production brought up the complicated issue of sweatshops in third world countries when they decided to film in what appears to be just that - a Sri Lankan sweatshop, workers lined up, row after row, with a task master leaning over them inspecting their work as they make shirt after shirt in a people driven production line. And just when I couldn’t feel any more uncomfortable, Leo, of the “Afghanimals” team, waves a 1000 rupee note in the air offering to “outsource” the job to one of the real workers, slaving away beside him, who all look one part confused, one part offended and three parts tempted, because let’s call a spade a spade here, in real world sweatshop conditions 1000 rupees would be the equivalent of 8 days wages. Triple cringe for those of us who know these things but again, it's these uncomfortable "true color" moments that have us coming back for more.

Dave and Connor are the first people out of there and over this week’s finish line. The Globetrotters are last out of the "sweatshop" but lucky for them Margie & Luke just could not make up the time they lost on their ill fated flight and are subsequently eliminated, bringing the best part of the show to fruition. Despite being hearing impaired and having overcome so much adversity in his life, Luke restores our faith in humanity, humility and gratitude when he expresses that he wasn’t sad at finishing “last” and instead is thankful that he is one of only two teams to have done The Amazing Race three times and with an attitude like that I have no doubt we will see him again and again, until he deservingly pockets the million dollar prize, because let’s be honest, it’s only on Survivor that we want to see the bad guy win.

Amazing Race airs on CBS 8-9pm Sundays and runs until Sunday, May 18


Ajay Rochester is former host of The Biggest Loser Australia

Her blog can be found at http://www.findingmymojo.com


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