Amazing Race: loud, grating and unlikely to change (just like my opinion of it!)

I tried hard, I really did. And I even got slightly excited when I heard the theme song.

But by then I was already annoyed by the flock of one-note assholes that seem to populate much of this season’s cast, or at least they seem like assholes because they won’t stop screaming at each other. Even Phil Keoghan’s introduction of them was annoying, and not just because he used sentence fragments. Those teams went on to help each other out and screw themselves between tired challenges, which actually showed some promise conceptually but in reality, there was nothing. Flight, checkbox, checkbox, mat. The race might as well just have started with the teams going down a playground slide.

There was a lot of the DNA of a great series there, such as the Chippendales searching for the clue and Abbie’s line about Fallopian tubes (“please don’t eat mine”).

If I’m honest, though, the thing that pushed me over the edge last night and will keep me away is the editing, particularly the soundtrack. The non-stop, grating, high-energy music and relentless sound effects are obnoxious, especially because not every moment is a life or death, high-tension one. I felt like an old man: Turn that shit down! It’s exhausting and so unnecessary.

As someone recalled, in 2009, executive producer Betram van Munster promised in a Q&A with Variety readers to change the music (“We are doing just that. He has a very good point.”) and tone down the sound effects, saying the person who asked about it was “a smart viewer. He’s 100 percent right. And that’s the reason why we’re changing it. We have the power to change it and we are.” While he said they’d exhausted every type of person and couple (“There are only so many types of people in this world and we’ve pretty much covered every category”), he promised more character development (“There is some truth to that. And we have changed it.”).

That was three and a half years ago.

The Amazing Race is lost in the woods, and I want it to die of starvation so we can just look at its childhood pictures and remember what we loved about it.

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.