Non-elimination leg shows up after one team gets scarred by The Amazing Race

The big news on Sunday’s episode of The Amazing Race 12 was the appearance of this season’s first non-elimination leg. In July, The Orlando Sentinel’s TV critic, Hal Boedeker, reported that the non-elimination legs had been dropped, citing a conversation with one of the series’ executive producers, Jonathan Littman. Boedeker didn’t quote Littman, but reported, “The show will will do two fewer episdoes [sic] and drop the noneliminations to create more excitement.”

Later, executive producer and showrunner Bertram Van Munster confirmed that, telling Reality TV World, “The audience and ourselves, we’re not crazy about non-eliminations. It’s exciting to see people eliminated at the end of every episode. … Penalties just make it murky. This is just such a clean-cut concept, it’s not about finding more penalties and hurdles for people. That’s not what this thing is about. I think the audience and our fans like eliminations from what we understand. .. For the contestants, the heat’s on every step of the way. Every leg of the way the heat is on because they can be eliminated.”

While host Phil Keoghan’s introduction to the race in the first episode suggested this was coming, with fewer eliminations than pit stops, but I assumed that meant another twist, like legs that spanned multiple episodes. I tried to contact producers back then, but wasn’t able to get an answer.

Anyway, this revelation came at the end of a rather thrilling episode, one that was packed with action and drama and made those boring-ass airport episodes worth the wait. Let’s just hope it keeps up.

  • On board a ferry to Italy, Vyxsin said, “This is the time to get serious,” and together they touched up their makeup, because as we all know, the key to successful travel is good makeup.
  • Whoever writes the subtitles decided viewers were too dumb to understand Italian city names, so they translated them to their English versions, even when the audio was clear. Every time an Italian person would direct a team to “Firenze,” the on-screen title would say “Florence,” even though the person clearly said “Firenze.”
  • TK and Rachel left their clue on a table, and also apparently missed the clue of their camera operator zooming in on it while they ran off to their car. That led to conflict, although they fight like they’re stoned. “Did you check your pockets?” Rachel asked. “I don’t have pockets,” TK said. After the recovered the clue, he said, “This has been too much, man. I’m too mellow to handle this.” See?
  • Phil introduced this season’s only Fast Forward, which was rather evil (“Where’d they think this shit up?” Donald asked). Phil explained that teams attempting the Fast Forward “will discover that they have to have a permanent tattoo drawn on their body, the letters ff, which stand for ‘fast forward.'” They apparently had to have it on their upper arm, which Nicolas and his grandfather went for with surprisingly little hesitation, although we’d expect that from Nicolas, who isn’t exactly the sharpest needle in the tattoo parlor.
  • Jen, who is not at all self-centered, said, “I was really impressed that Nate actually listened to me.” Yes, it’s often impressive when others are impressed by you.
  • Christina cried out, “Daddy!” and Ronald replied, with a rather indignant tone, “What? What?” She’s such a whiner; he was only driving away without her as she stood at the open car door, with her feet about to be run over by the tire.
  • In 12 seasons of this show, I can’t remember a team member threatening suicide if their teammate ignored them, but that’s what we during the dating goths’ first real meltdown. As Vyxsin accelerated down a narrow street, Kynt screamed, “Stop this car! Stop this car Vyxsin! You’re not capable. I’m going to jump out if you don’t stop!” Alas, he did not.
  • When Kynt and Vyxsin checked in last, Phil told them they were safe. “This is the first of only two non-elimination legs,” Phil told them, and explained the new penalty. “Some time during the next leg of the race, you’re going to encounter a new twist in the race, and it’s called a speedbump. A speedbump is only you have to complete while the other teams have to keep racing. You don’t know when it’s coming.” Just like misinformation from producers promoting their show.

Surprisingly, man not eaten alive on Eaten Alive

Eaten Alive

Discovery Channel’s happy family holiday special Eaten Alive aired Sunday, rewarding viewers for their two full hours of viewing by ensuring that they spent quality time in the company of others instead of wasting that time doing something else that might not have been as satisfying, such as buying things that have labels which accurately reflect their contents.


Winter 2015 reality TV debut schedule

winter 2015 reality TV schedule

Mark your calendars with all these upcoming reality TV show debuts, including Celebrity Apprentice, The Bachelor, and another season of MasterChef Junior, all of which kick off in early January.

There are also 20+ shows debuting in December--including the one-off return of The Sing Off. No winter break for reality TV.

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.