Why I Love The Amazing Race
A few weeks ago, Gadling writer Melanie Renzulli tweeted a link to her post called Why I Hate The Amazing Race that immediately got my attention. You see, I luuuuuh-vuh The Amazing Race and I’m prepared to tell you why. [Insert millions of little hearts here.]
For starters, I must confess that I’ve missed a few episodes, but that’s sometimes because I’m not available on Sunday evenings and other times it’s because I think The Amazing Race should have already picked me to be on the show by now so when I’m feeling salty, I hold my own personal walk-outs. (Like they care.) But mostly I’m curious to see what part of the world the contestants are in so if I’m home on a Sunday night, I’m definitely watching. #smirk
Melanie’s three reasons for hating this eight-time Emmy Award winning reality show are as follows:
1. Travel should not be about numbers. To paraphrase: Instead of the show focusing on the destination, the focus is on the number of continents/countries/cities the contestants are racing through in a short period of time.
2. Travel is best when you slow down. Self-explanatory.
3. Travel, in itself, should be the reward. Paraphrasing again: The $1 million prize isn’t the reward; travel is.
I read Melanie’s post with an open mind and while I agree with many of her statements in general, those statements aren’t a reason for me to hate The Amazing Race. Instead, I love it. Every little thing about it. Not because it’s a travel show (which – in traditional terms – it is not); but because it is a reality game show that uses the world as its gameboard. It really IS a race around the world. And yes, it’s for money. Big money. #gameon
So here are three reasons why I love The Amazing Race:
1. Travel is reality and can sometimes be fast and furious. I agree with Melanie and many of the folks that left comments on her post: The Amazing Race is not a traditional travel show. It’s not slow and easy like Bourdain or Steves or Wright or Brown; those hosts that give you dynamic and immersive travel experiences captured in 30 minute travel shows. But The Amazing Race is an entertaining reality show that uses travel scenarios for game play and lets the audience see snippets of countries they might never get to see for themselves. Considering the fact that only 30% of Americans even hold a US passport, this is a good thing from where I sit. And yes, the show is fast and furious….even with the speed bumps. Kind of like the 2 day overseas business trips to China one of my friends makes a few times a month. Fast, furious, interesting and productive in its very own special way.
2. Watching people race around the world can be eye-opening and possibly even foster travel. There have been several times I have been watching The Amazing Race and one of the contestants showed his or her ignorance by saying something culturally inappropriate and cringe worthy. And while I admit that our opinions about what is actually considered culturally inappropriate behavior can be subjective, these snippets of bad behavior could potentially lead to a little insight for either or both of the cringe-ees and/or the cringe-ors. At a minimum, some fans might even want to experience more of what they’re watching for themselves. You never know what little boost a person might need just to get off of the sofa and buy a plane ticket.
3. Games + Travel = Learning & Fun! I love games. Particularly those that are relative to things that interest me: Culture, diversity, humanity and you guessed it, travel. Shoot, I put together an online scavenger hunt game just to have some fun and give away tickets to Blogalicious 11 and it was fun! But games aren’t just folly either. They can teach too. The Amazing Race boasts a few lessons in geography, culture and history every time it airs not to mention lessons that show how difficult travel can be with the wrong partner, how good manners will get you along a lot further on a travel adventure than bad manners, and how language barriers can often be overcome. And to Melanie’s point in her article, how many people do you think knew where Burkina Faso was (or even heard of it for that matter) before they saw contestants racing through it on The Amazing Race?
Overall I think Melanie and I are definitely Sisters in Travel. I don’t mind the idea of agreeing to disagree, so I hope I don’t come across as bashing Melanie’s point of view because that’s not how I roll. I just love The Amazing Race. How about you? Are you a lover or a hater?
When Tracey isn’t watching The Amazing Race, she is planning travel adventures for girls via OBG Adventure Camps, planning adult trips to Paris via OBG®inParis, blogging at OneBrownGirl.com®, and is aiming to give girls a world view via The Passport Party Project, a grassroots philanthropic initiative that will gift 100 girls with their very first passports.
All images in this post are from Wikipedia Commons.