Not every The Amazing Race viewer was a fan, but I actually enjoyed the non-elimination legs. I always recognized them for what they were, an effort to spread out the season for more episodes. Still I did find it exciting when teams I liked where saved from eliminations. I also found it frustrating when teams I didn’t enjoy were saved but the point is that the non-eliminations caused an emotional reaction. The Amazing Race made me feel something and that’s good for any form of entertainment.
The non-elimination legs weren’t perfect but they worked. They certainly worked far better than their season 27 replacement, which might have seemed good on paper but has been a horrible mistake in practice.
They Ruin the End of the Episode
I understand what The Amazing Race was going for with this rule change. They want to keep their extended episode order and to have tension at all Pit Stops. They can’t do this if some of the Pit Stops end with no one going home. So their solution in season 27 is to make teams keep racing for some legs. There is no Pit Stop but instead some episodes become two-parters. So far it’s happened twice in season 27 and both times have been problematic.
The main problem with two-parter legs is there is just no tension to them. The way The Amazing Race works is that teams will arrive before other ones. A self-explanatory statement but it has to be said because it doesn’t seem like the producers of The Amazing Race took that fact into account when coming up with the new rules. When a certain team comes in first, this is when we learn that there is no end to this leg of the race. The teams have to keep going. From that point onward the rest of the episode is meaningless. It doesn’t matter who comes in second place all the way down to last place because no one is going to be eliminated. In these two-parters The Amazing Race spoils the end of the episode with more than twenty minutes left to go.
At least in the non-elimination legs, the audience didn’t know it was non-elimination until the very last second. Until that final team stepped on the mat and Phil let them know if they were going home or staying, the audience was clueless. There was suspense there and an actual investment to watch teams get to the finish line. In these new two-parters The Amazing Race still carries on like the team that comes in last place matters. There are all the editing tricks and dramatic music that The Amazing Race uses to drum up tension but it means nothing. We know already there is no threat and therefore no reason to care.
There Is No Consequence for Coming in Last
Still The Amazing Race should be praised somewhat for the intention but it needs serious tweaking. There should be a penalty for coming in last place more than once. The non-elimination legs had the Speed Bump which required the saved team to complete an extra challenge in the next leg and sometimes lose all their money. More often than not this was a death sentence for the team in the next leg but at least there was some kind of consequence for them coming in last.
So far in these two-parters the last place team is treated like all the rest. The Amazing Race doesn’t penalize them at all, just sends them on their way to keep racing. So not only is the end of the first part of the two-parter boring but there is no further impact. Retroactively it makes the whole leg meaningless. It’s an even more transparent place holder and attempt to extend the season than the non-elimination.
Maybe if The Amazing Race reintroduced penalties for the last place teams this new change could work. As it stands though in an effort to fix the problems with the non-elimination legs The Amazing Race has created a whole host of new problems. But what do you think? Do you like the two-part episodes? Is it better than non-elimination legs? Or should The Amazing Race go back to their old format?
The Amazing Race season 27 airs Fridays at 8pm on CBS.
(Images courtesy of CBS)