The Amazing Race 9 visits the Middle East and has a double-surprise ending

Because of my increasing disillusionment with the show, I decided to watch last night’s episode of The Amazing Race like I used to: no laptop. Watching the race by perpetually rewinding whenever someone says something dumb definitely kills the tension.

I was doing really well until Jeremy rolled down his window and asked a man, “Excuse me, how do we get to the ferries? … Straight? Okay.” I just had to write that down. But the rest of the leg wasn’t really full of all kinds of zany and crazy one-liners. Ray and Yolanda didn’t get along for most of the episode, and at one point, Yolanda, digging to find something that was buried, responded to Ray’s sideline help by hysterically muttering, “Your momma got a pattern goin’.”

The biggest moments came at the end of the race, however: Fran and Berry came in first place. The look on Phil’s face when they arrived on the mat suggested he thought the production crew was playing a joke on him. But Fran and Barry actually beat every other team, including Eric and Jeremy, who came in fourth, and BJ and Tyler, who came in last.

While BJ and Tyler’s misfortune caused them to mute their insufferable assclown nature, they were saved by the first nonelimination leg, and promised to be even more wild and crazy in the future. One of them said, “Our fun-loving, goofy attitude has gotten us this far and we’re still going to use it in the next leg of the race.” I can’t wait.

The Sing-Off loses its star

Ben Folds

NBC's super-fun December a capella singing competition The Sing-Off is returning, but without its star judge, Ben Folds, and only as a two-hour special. Those are really depressing changes for a series that proved itself to be a super-fun show when it returned last December.


A film director talks about becoming a reality TV character

Anna Martemucci

What is it like to have your life turned into reality TV? Director Anna Martemucci, one of the two directors featured on Starz' exceptional reality series, talks about that, the competition, and her collaboration with her husband and brother-in-law.

Plus: How the show's producers tried to keep the $250,000 competition fair.

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.