series-high ratings for Amazing Race 7 finale; conspiracy theories abound about it.

series-high ratings for Amazing Race 7 finale; conspiracy theories abound about it.
Tuesday’s finale of The Amazing Race 7 was watched by more people than have ever watched the show before. Slightly more than 16 million people tuned in, and Variety reports that the show “ends the season as the No. 5 reality show on television, having surpassed the fading ‘Fear Factor’ on NBC and ‘The Bachelor’ on ABC.” The show came in first place in its second hour, and in second place its first hour; because of it, “CBS enjoyed its strongest Tuesday in key demos since November 2001.”

Immediately after CBS aired the finale, a number of conspiracy theories began to float around. And by “flat around,” I mean people with the inability to express themselves without the use of all caps and exclamation points started e.mailing me (please, please stop). Most of the talk centers around Joyce and Uchenna’s admission to the “closed” flight in San Juan. Other theories involve common Amazing Race practices that are somehow shocking now. Here’s a round-up of what I’ve been hearing and thoughts about each one:

  • Theory: CBS and/or producers ensured that two teams would be racing in Miami by asking American Airlines, a sponsor of the show, to let Joyce and Uchenna on the flight.
  • Possible rational explanation: Gate attendants went above and beyond for two people who were being followed by a camera crew. Joyce tells the Houston Chronicle that “when that plane came back to the airport and they let us on, I swear to you I felt like that was a miracle.” This either supports the conspiracy theory, or proves that God is not only interested in affecting Survivor, but wants some Amazing Race action, too.
  • Theory: The bridge-jumping task was placed purposefully far away and/or kept closed until morning so Uchenna and Joyce could catch up.
  • Rational explanation: The show has had “equalizers” since its first season; they’re controversial, but nothing new. This is what happens when you start watching a reality show during its finale and then try to find evidence to support your theory: You sound like a moron.
  • Theory: CBS wanted Uchenna and Joyce to win. They paid off Rob and Amber by paying for their wedding.
  • Rational explanation: If CBS wanted a likable couple to win, where the hell were they last season? Or in season three? And does anyone think for a second that Rob, competitor that he is, would allow himself to be used like a pawn and cause him to lose yet again?
  • Theory: Producers forced Uchenna and Joyce to pay for the cab to add drama.
  • Rational explanation: Of course they did. It’s a game rule. As the New York Post explains this morning, “The game’s rules say that contestants cannot do anything illegal–and stealing a cab ride is, to say the least, breaking the law. Although the Agus were running low on cash before they even got into the taxi, the game’s rules also forbid them from begging for cash in any U.S. airport.
  • Theory: CBS slowed the rotation of the earth so Uchenna and Joyce could catch up.
  • Possible explanation: This one is most likely true. If Les Moonves can keep Julie Chen as host of Big Brother for six seasons, he can do anything.

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.