Charla and Mirna’s box of supplies was used during an actual relief effort

An anonymous correspondent, who uses the word “we” suggesting that s/he is part of The Amazing Race 11‘s production, writes in with corrections about my episode commentary, while a reader with a husband in the Air Force takes issue with the episode’s editing of airplane footage.

First, during the Detour task in Guam, I found humor in Mirna saying that they were participating in a “humanitarian effort” because it was identified by Phil as simply a “training exercise.” In other words, while I have no doubt that the military humanitarian efforts exist and are necessary and important, it seemed like the show was hedging a bit to give weight to a made-for-TV moment. But our correspondent says that wasn’t exactly the case:

“The first part of the task, the packing of the box, was part of Anderson Air Force Bases’ annual Operation Christmas Drop, where donations of goods collected throughout the year by the various companies stationed at the AFB are dropped on neighboring islands for the less privileged. This is an annual event begun over 40 years ago. The box Charla & Mirna packed was later dropped to an outlying island as part of Anderson’s annual drop.

The annual drop was not scheduled until the week following the taping
of the show.

Before the drop, the AF always runs a few training missions on another side of the island on Guam itself. What you saw was an actual training run for their pilots and cargo technicians. The men & women of Anderson AFB were kind enough to schedule one while we were there.”

I also suggested that the plane did a nose dive “for no reason whatsoever.” The correspondent says:

“The dive is standard operating procedure for almost all military cargo drops, especially when supplying hostile areas. Because this was a training mission, albeit one for a humanitarian effort, but a training mission nonetheless, they incorporated the dive.”

I stand corrected. By the way, it’s terrific that Charla and Mirna’s box was actually dropped later during a real mission, although when the boarded the plane, they did say something like, “There’s our box!”

Meanwhile, reader Sara from Kansas City writes that the show edited together footage of different planes during that segment:

On the Detour they said that Charla and Mirna would be in a C-17 aircraft for the task, then they showed a B-52 taking off and a C-5 landing. My husband is in the Air Force and he was just shaking his head.

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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.