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The Amazing Race - it's ba-ack

I know this US-produced "reality TV" show has been a guilty pleasure for many of you (aka "travel porn"). It seemed that the pandemic + low ratings(?) had killed off The Amazing Race -- it has been off TV for a long time, I thought it was gone forever. Then, to my amazement, I was looking through the recordings on my DVR today as had breakfast, and what do I see: "The Amazing Race - We're back!" Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?! Really? Yep, not a re-run. (Turns out I had not deleted my DVR's instructions to record all new episodes of the show, so when a new one aired, it snagged it. Nice.).

The Amazing Race 2022, Season 33 airs on CBS on Wednesdays at 9 pm (least it does in Rick Steves HQ time zone -- as they say, check your local listings).

I only watched the first minute or two of the introduction to the show (I wanted to be sure it wasn't a rerun or a glitch of my DVR). It's new. They say that they had begun filming the series but stopped in March 2020 as the pandemic blew up. They apparently went back and picked up where they left off (kinda sorta) at some point after COVID settled down a bit (I'm guessing last summer, when things looked more encouraging than right now). They made some changes to manage COVID. Beyond that, that's all I know. I'm going to surprise my spouse with the news tonight after dinner. She is not big on delayed gratification, so I fully expect we will immediately watch the recorded Episode 1 of "Season 33" as soon as I let her know that it exists.

If you don't enjoy the show, I understand (it is pretty trashy TV). For those of you who have missed it, set your DVRs. My wife and I used to watch it regularly. Coincidentally, we were traveling in Turkey when the pandemic blew up in March 2020 (exactly when the show suspended filming). We did sneak in a nice trip to Europe last summer when COVID seemed well under control, maybe even to be circling the drain. Alas, omicron. Now our foreign adventures are on hold again as I plan the next trip (maybe in October if all goes well), and as we count the days until our next booster shots.

But...seeing this show come back looks like a hopeful sign to me. Right now, omicron is raging, but I'm hoping that fizzles quickly and we all catch a break. I like hearing the speculation I've heard (and that's all it is now, just speculation) that maybe once omicron is behind us (early data from South Africa and the UK suggest it might depart at the same speed it arrived), things may continue to get better, and we will again enjoy greater ability to come and go as the pandemic recedes

Until then, at least we can watch others vicariously on TV, and think to ourselves, "I may do some dumb things sometimes, but at least I'm not as stupid as THAT guy..."

Don't touch that dial. Now, where's that antigen test kit I was about to break open...

Posted by
2418 posts

I recorded it last night and will watch it tonight. I love Amazing Race and would love to be on it one day, but then, my wife has occasionally suggested on vacation to slow down because we're not on Amazing Race.

Posted by
341 posts

I LOVED watching it last night! Missed it so much.

Posted by
482 posts

I decided to go to Carcasonne based on MTV's Road Rules, they did a Europe edition in the late 90s and were in Carcasonne on Bastille Day (they helped put up the fireworks, if memory serves). I do love watching shows like that! Good to hear Amazing Race is back!

Posted by
2754 posts

I'd rather watch travel vloggers on Youtube, there is no shortage. Or those folks who strap a camera to their chest and walk around somewhere (those are mildly addictive).

Posted by
3353 posts

Until then, at least we can watch others vicariously on TV, and think
to ourselves, "I may do some dumb things sometimes, but at least I'm
not as stupid as THAT guy..."

This ^^^^. Watched it last night, and on more than one occasion we looked at each other and went "whaaaaat????"

It is a guilty pleasure, for sure. It's about the only "reality" show we watch.

Posted by
8995 posts

AR is guilty pleasure of mine as well!
Before the pandemic hit the BBC did their own version of it called "Race Across the World". First season was London to Singapore; second was Mexico City to Ushuaia. Their incarnation was much more grounded. Only ground transport was permitted. It didn't rely on teams doing wacky tasks, rather they were given a sum of money at the beginning and had to carefully budget it to the end. If they ran of cash (or lost it )the race was over. Very enjoyable! In the US it's available on the Discovery+ steaming service; you can get a 7 day free trial, and bindge both seasons over a weekend.

Posted by
28129 posts

hoping that fizzles quickly and we all catch a break. I like hearing the speculation I've heard (and that's all it is now, just speculation) that maybe once omicron is behind us (early data from South Africa and the UK suggest it might depart at the same speed it arrived), things may continue to get better, and we will again enjoy greater ability to come and go as the pandemic recedes

we can all hope, I know I do, but sorry to pop your bubble, no sign of any dropoff in England. The centre of the infection has just moved north. Last night it was announced that 1 in every 15 people in England had it over New Year. That's a lot of people.

Several boroughs of London have the level of infection at just under 2,000 per 100,000 and several more are closer to 2,500. Just before the Omicron they had been running in the 200 range.

Posted by
682 posts

We had not watched this is many years as our local station was not showing CBS for quite a while. We do not have cable anymore, so are able to watch it on Hulu and I was so happy!

I watched it last night and enjoyed it. I am not a big fan of the back stories though as it seems the shows always have to have some dramatic element like that. I just want to see people racing, but that is just me.

David--Like you, we were traveling when the pandemic hit. We got back home in early Feb. 2020 and felt fortunate to make it home. My husbands coworker made it only to Boston and ended up on ICU there with Covid (caught here in Seattle before he left for the trip) and sent 8 months in the hospital there. So definitely an unnerving time. We did go to Iceland in August and felt so fortunate to make that trip. We are due to return to Iceland in a few weeks, but I am not holding my breath on that right now.

Posted by
172 posts

Tha amazing race used to be good. It had regular people on there. Then it switched to gimmicky teams.
Used to watch it and think maybe we could do it. Had applied one time. Now, no way most of the posters here on RS could ever get in.
Plus, they took away the money factor and now all teams do is jump in cabs and go to where they need to be and then the task. So, it is not about the travel anymore. No more figuring it out.
I also do not like the way most teams now have no respect for the country they are in with people wearing bright spandex and other assorted inappropriate clothing (for the country). Too much in your face.
As RS posters and travelers, we would never dress or act the way these teams do. Some teams have little travel experience or awareness of culture and oftentimes are not even aware where they are on a map of the world. Since most of us here spend time and money to achieve our travel dreams it feels as if those teams are luckier than they know, but they do not deserve it.

Posted by
13215 posts

We saw 2 contestants on a London street corner just outside Paddington Station in 2014, looking very stressed. They were wearing lime green; she had long blond hair, worn loose. Looking at photos at the time (and again now), I see they were “Team Nashville”, Keith and Whitney.

https://www.ibtimes.com/amazing-race-2014-cast-announced-meet-season-25-contestants-discover-new-game-changer-1674662

They were surrounded by people and they were both glancing here and there with a look of desperation, as though trying to figure out the best way to go. I thought they might be trying to get to Heathrow, but I see now that this was “Leg 2” and they were going to take the train to Oxford. Probably not sure what was the best way to get into the station. . .

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Amazing_Race_25

What was really weird about this was that I had never watched AR; just heard about it from others. We were on that corner after arriving by train from Cornwall. And as were on the train, approaching one of the calling points (must have been Reading), an announcement said to disembark there for Gatwick Airport. For some reason, I immediately thought “If I were on the Amazing Race, maybe I could save time to my next destination by flying from Gatwick instead of staying on this train and going to Heathrow on the Express.” And then we walked out of Paddington Station and there they were. . .

To this day, I cannot figure out how or why that thought came into my head.

Posted by
31522 posts

I watched the two hour season opener last week and enjoyed it immensely. It seemed like a reminder of pre-pandemic times. They made everything look quite normal, but I know from reading a description of the show, that it was most certainly not normal. The teams were all tested frequently and the show chartered a 757 to transport them so they wouldn't face any risk travelling on commercial flights.

I believe the next episode takes place in Scotland, and they will also be competing in Lisbon and Lugano.

Posted by
9 posts

Ken, at the end of the episode after the two hour premiere, that’s when they shut down production due to COVID. The date was February 28, 2020, so the first three episodes were pre-COVID, must’ve been filmed in February 2020. Definitely surreal to watch it, knowing what happens. I’m interested in seeing what happens in the episodes moving forward, and how COVID affects filming/travel.

Posted by
1796 posts

I’ve enjoyed the episodes so far. One thing that I found somewhat amazing was the number of people that didn’t know what a ‘bobby’ was. That some didn’t know who Boris Johnson is I find easier to believe. All teams seem decent. Maybe that will change

Posted by
5765 posts

One thing that I found somewhat amazing was the number of people that didn’t know what a ‘bobby’ was...

It should be evident to anyone who watches for a while that there are often some "cultural privileges", advantages (and disadvantages) to contestants, based on where/when/how they grew up and their life experience. So it shouldn't be a complete surprise that someone who has had a broad education, has lived a life that is culturally diverse, and who has been exposed to a wide variety of experiences, is going to have an easier time with lots of things in life, including (but not limited to) TV shows written by people who have had similar "cultural privileges" during their own lives.

I grew up reading the Encyclopaedia Britannica, from A to Z, every volume, every page, for fun. For a real treat, we broke out the gigantic Britannica Atlas of the World and spent hours looking over every tiny dot on every map. Looking back, I am shocked that my parents (who I guess were a lot more progressive and forward-thinking than I gave them credit for at the time) saw the value in a broad education, and they paid for what (at the time) seemed like an obscenely-expensive extravagance, to have an encyclopedia and other "reference books" in our home. I can probably thank them (and blame them!) for my travel addiction. But I know others grew up in homes without any books at all (or without a home). So...we are not always on an equal playing field.

On the show, I am more astonished at how it seems an entire generation trembles in fear at the idea of having to drive a car with a manual transmission, and consider it a crisis to be confronted by a stick shift or a need to navigate using a paper map. I'm sure they have other talents for tasks that would stymie me (just hand me that rotary phone and step aside, I know how to use it!).

Posted by
1465 posts

I just watched this week's Switzerland episode and was pleasantly surprised to see from the previews that next week is Switzerland too. It has me very excited for my June return to Switzerland. 😊

Posted by
2418 posts

On the show, I am more astonished at how it seems an entire generation
trembles in fear at the idea of having to drive a car with a manual
transmission, and consider it a crisis to be confronted by a stick
shift or a need to navigate using a paper map.

I'm 57 years old and never driven a stick shift in my life, so I definitely would tremble in fear, and limits my choices on who I would want to team with on the race. My 22 year old daughter laughed at me at Christmas because my wife gave me a paper map of Scotland for our upcoming trip. I love the map. I'll definitely be using Google Maps more often, but there is something comforting and familiar about a paper map that my daughter doesn't get. I'm astonished that as a university grad with a 4.0 GPA that she can't read a map or tell which way is north! I can't team with her on the race; she can't drive a stick either AND can't read the map.

Posted by
31522 posts

"On the show, I am more astonished at how it seems an entire generation trembles in fear at the idea of having to drive a car with a manual transmission, and consider it a crisis to be confronted by a stick shift or a need to navigate using a paper map."

It's unfortunate that driving schools no longer teach drivers to use a stick shift, as there are times when that skill might be useful (as some of the AR teams have been finding out). When I first started driving in the late '60s, stick shifts (both "three-on-the-tree" and "four-on-the-floor") were more common than automatics, so that's what everyone learned to drive on. Manual transmissions still seem to be more prevalent in Europe, so it's prudent for anyone planning to drive there to perhaps take a few lessons with a stick shift. While travellers can request the rental firm to supply an automatic, sometimes that's not possible.

Phil told the teams in the last episode that they'll be doing more self driving (to minimize travel on public transit), so there may be more examples of teams having problems.