The Amazing Race 34 wiped away the non-elimination leg, a welcome change after 33 seasons with that twist.
Not at all welcome: having to wait to watch The Amazing Race, especially when the show that’s bumped it later is so terrible.
While CBS has created an all-reality TV Wednesday night, they gave The Amazing Race’s timeslot to The Real Love Boat, an attempt at Love Island so bad I couldn’t even hate-watch it. I hope someone resurrects Skin Wars to rescue Rebecca Romijn from having to host next to her yelling husband, Jerry O’Connell.
My review of The Real Love Boat (the show, not the ship) is to say that it belongs at the bottom of the ocean, maybe to be excavated in 84 years to remind everyone that many reality TV show ideas were shite.
We’ll see what the ratings are, but my guess is that it’s as dead-on-arrival as the skeleton on Amazing Race.
Regardless, I really hope CBS reconsiders its schedule, and pushes The Real Love Boat to 10 p.m. and moves Amazing Race back to 9 p.m., where it makes for a perfect pairing with Survivor, especially now that TAR is reinvigorated.
While the removal of non-elimination legs is exciting, Amazing Race 34’s lack of them presents a structural problem: How do you get 11 or 12 episodes without eliminating one of the 12 teams in each episode?
The answer: a megaleg! And most likely, megalegs, plural, as the teams’ clue said it was “your very first megaleg.”
The megaleg—or is it mega leg?—has appeared just once before, in pre-pandemic season 32. It’s functionally similar to the “keep racing!” legs where teams show up at the mat, only to have Phil Keoghan send them on their way.
Here, though, they were told immediately that they’d be facing two Detour challenges, two Roadblock challenges, and two cities.
Navigating the first city, Bologna, Italy, was absolutely a third challenge. Between stick shifts and directions, so many teams had issues—some comical, some frustrating, some both.
The first Detour was a choice between memorizing and navigating:
- Sitting through an eight-minute lecture and then identifying 16 bones, muscles, and organs in just 90 seconds,
- or delivering an 88-pound cheese wheel to a cutter and then a restaurant.
The first took place inside and outside of an anatomical theatre where “thousands of medical students boned up”—OH PHIL KEOGHAN I LOVE YOU.
The instructor administering the test outside was a human scare jump, yelling “STOP!” in a way that would have made me pee myself, which I know because I did that in my living room.
As if that wasn’t enough, when there were just two teams left, he faked out Rich and Dom—on their anniversary!—by reaching around them to hand a clue to Glenda and Lumumba first, before also handing them a clue. That sassy, scary man!
While a few teams really struggled—Linton and Sharik needed three tries to get it right—a few others strategically chose that task. Quinton and Mattie began the leg in the third group to leave, but pulled into fourth place, thanks to Mattie’s knowledge of anatomy from a college class.
Emily and Molly also did well, answering the questions right on their first try.
But it was Emily’s performance in the Roadblock that was most impressive: She burned through the task of adding wheels, brakes, and body panels to a Ducati motorcycle, and sent them into the second half of the megaleg in second place.
While Marcus and Mike arrived first, and Marcus actually owns the same bike (!), Mike did the Roadblock, because, as Marcus explained, he doesn’t tinker.
The cheese task presented some problems to those who struggled with navigation, but it was really the anatomy and bike tasks that seemed to present the biggest, uh, roadblocks for teams.
At the actual Roadblock, the holding area for the team member not doing the task was a fascinating mix of nerves, such as Derek pacing all around, and relaxation, like Dom meditating.
While and Glenda and Lumumb started the leg in the very first group, alongside Marcus and Michael, they ended up as one of the last two teams heading into the second half of the megaleg, while Marcus and Michael maintained their lead.
So there was a lot of movement and a lot of struggle, and for me that’s really the best kind of Amazing Race leg, one that allows teams to pass each other even if they start at a deficit.
Will that continue in the second half of the megaleg? We have to wait until next week—and through another episode of The Real Love Boat, ugh—to see.