It’s hard to remember a time before The Amazing Race. For fans of reality television, it’s the epitome of thrills, spills and relatable adventures. If you’ve ever tuned in to watch a team struggle, only to think ‘I’d be hopeless at that too,’ you’ve found your tribe. We love The Amazing Race and we can’t wait for season 31 to hit screens. Yes, that’s right, The Amazing Race is counting the days until its thirty first season. This officially makes it one of the longest running reality shows on US television. We’ve had thirty seasons of Phil Keoghan psyching teams at the final pit stop. Thirty seasons of insane games and puzzles in places we never knew existed. Thirty seasons of break ups, make ups and everything in between. It’s been a wild ride.
If you’re not familiar with The Amazing Race, it’s a show in which pairs of people race each other around the world to win a big cash prize. There’s drama aplenty, with regular fights, goofy blunders, backstabbers and delayed flights. Yet, what we really love about it is its humanity. Sure, there are villains but, every season, we also see devoted husbands, supportive families, loyal lovers and diehard friends. When we watch The Amazing Race, we see the good in people. So, here are 15 more reasons we love the show and hope it lasts forever.
1. It Puts Our Travel Woes Into Perspective
Even though contestants on The Amazing Race jump out of planes, hang glide down mountains and (occasionally) get annihilated by giant catapults, their most dangerous destination is the airport. And they’ve got to travel through a whole bunch of them. If you think your travel woes are desperate, just imagine being stuck in a passport security queue during a race towards one million dollars. We’ve seen tears, yelling and every negotiation tactic in between but, sadly, teams get made or broken depending on how accommodating their airline guy is feeling today. On this show, a missed flight is a nightmare.
2. It Helps Us Become Better Packers
The Amazing Race is an exercise in ‘how to pack for a dream trip.’ Only, on this show, the contestants don’t know where they’re going until the last minute. Past seasons have seen teams fly from the heat of Mexico to the snowy French Alps. Who knows, perhaps the producers take pleasure in seeing swimsuit clad tourists jet off to freezing cold climates. Then again, shows are just as likely to play out entirely in hot climates. There’s just no telling where contestants will be directed to and, well, that’s why it’s so much fun. We’ve picked up some great packing tips. Going on holiday but don’t know if it’ll be sunny or horrifying? Get yourself a foldaway rain jacket and think layering.
3. We Love That Contestants Lie to the Public
We’ve lost count of the times we’ve wondered why members of the general public are so helpful, accommodating and non-intrusive. If you picked a racing team up in you cab, you’d have a lot of questions, right? Well, it turns out contestants are instructed to lie to anybody they meet while competing on The Amazing Race. It ensures people respond as naturally as possible and it safeguards details about the season before it airs. Contestants and crew are expected to tell people they’re filming for a documentary. No biggie.
4. It Takes the Safety of Contestants Very Seriously
We’re also thrilled to know contestants are carefully guarded and protected throughout their time on The Amazing Race. For entertainment purposes, we don’t see them interact with crew members (unless there’s an accident), but help is always close by. Some of the challenges teams face along the way are very scary. When you add the unfamiliarity of a new country and culture, it’s no surprise the race really messes with emotions. Fortunately, teams are followed by a personal (and discreet) security detail.
5. It Takes Us On Brand New Adventures
One of the very best things about The Amazing Race is its ability to help us experience different cultures and ways of living. During the first season, teams raced to a pit stop in Tunisia, at the incredible Amphitheatre of Thysdrus. It’s the third largest amphitheatre in the world but we bet most people don’t know it. We didn’t. In season sixteen, the teams raced through China. They travelled through Zhujiajiao, a beautiful water town built around an ancient city. Sounds cool, right? It was very cool. We can’t wait to see where contestants will end up on the next season. Wherever they go, we’re going to learn something new.
6. They Have to Slum It Like the Rest of Us
The Amazing Race is filled with breath taking scenery and gorgeous landscapes but, as you might expect, it’s not all fancy hotels and TV perks. Contestants are not allowed to bring any of their own money. So, they’ve got to budget carefully and find a way to stretch their cash until the end of the leg. According to past contestants, it means gross food and plenty of it. As they’re constantly on the move and running out of money, most teams end up living on airplane food and unhealthy snack products. When they do go out to eat, it’s not always a treat. Anybody remember the Argentinian feast from season seven? As Reel Roadblock reminds us, to pass a roadblock, teams had to eat four pounds of blood sausage, cow intestine and cow udders.
7. The Camera Crew Is Insanely Talented
There’s so much drama on camera that it’s easy to forget all the drama happening outside of it. The filming crew, for instance, have to go everywhere contestants do. Sometimes, it’s hanging off the side of a cliff face. Others times it’s trekking through the desert on a camel. They’ve got to be ready to catch all of the action whether they’re filming underwater, in snow, on a tightrope or up high in the trees. However, ask any of the camera crew and they’ll tell you what the hardest job really is – keeping up with contestants as they hoof it to pit stops. They can’t get in the way or slow teams down. They’ve got to run, with all their filming equipment, to every new pit stop, puzzle and roadblock punishment. They’re the unknown heroes of The Amazing Race.
8. It Flies Us Around the Globe
At a time when it’s increasingly difficult for many people to fly – due to money, movement or security constraints – The Amazing Race takes viewers on an epic journey. As of 2018, the show had filmed on every continent and featured eighty nine different countries. If you can’t travel as freely or as adventurously as you’d like, for whatever reason, watch The Amazing Race instead. Sure, you might get a little bit jealous of contestants racing into stunning sunsets. It won’t last long though; when you see those same teams break down because they can’t roll cheese up a hill, you’ll be glad you’re watching from home – in a comfy armchair, with a DIY cocktail and no plans to chop logs, sing folk songs or run like the devil to a pit stop tomorrow.
9. It Keeps Big Secrets for Viewers
We recently discovered that ‘you’re out’ doesn’t necessarily mean gone on The Amazing Race. In fact, when teams are eliminated, they don’t go straight home. If they did fly back immediately, details about who is winning would leak and, potentially, ruin the season for people watching back home. To prevent this from happening, the show’s producers keep all eliminated teams in a ‘controlled’ location. Think jury duty. They wait out the rest of the season in a secret hotel enjoying free food and drinks. Then, everybody is brought back for the end of season celebration as the final pit stop.
10. It Relies Heavily On Local People
There are plenty of travel shows out there that claim authenticity but rarely get up close and personal with local life. The Amazing Race doesn’t have this option. To pull off a travel show with so many complex elements – flights, road blocks, challenges, racing pit stops – it relies on a vast network of local fixers and connections. Without the help and support of local translators, cameramen, restaurants, hotel staff, government officials and more, none of it would be possible. We’re sure these local relationships are responsible for many of the more unusual challenges on the show. Sometimes, it seems like a mystery as to how a tribe of remote villagers, many of whom don’t speak English, end up hosting a bunch of hapless Americans. It’s all down to the invaluable work of research and production crews.
11. What You See Is What You Get
After doing a little digging, we’re pleased to say there’s scant evidence to suggest The Amazing Race is anything but 100% genuine. The only ‘deception’ we discovered is the practice of keeping eliminated teams around to protect the identity of potential winners. Otherwise, what you see on screen is the real deal. Contestants really don’t have access to their own money. They take fewer breaks (for sleep and food) than you might think. Most importantly, they don’t get help from their filming crew or security detail off camera. In fact, the two person (one cameraman, one sound technician) crew has strict orders not to intervene, offer advice or assist teams at road blocks. They’ve just got to watch the drama unfold. For the sake of entertainment, everybody’s in it together and we love it.
12. It Forces Teams to Work Together
Ever wondered why no contestant has ever thrown the towel in and abandoned their racing partner, even during the fiercest of fights? Well, they’re actually not allowed to leave one another. The rules of the game state contestants must remain within twenty feet of their partner at all times. It’s for safety purposes and to ensure cameramen catch every moment. This rule is likely responsible for some of the more dramatic scenes we’ve watched on The Amazing Race. Who could forget Brook’s not so nurturing response, in season seventeen, after partner Claire took a whole watermelon to the face. Or when Jonathan dropped his pack to sprint to the pit stop in season six, only to miss out on first place and physically shove his wife for pausing to pick it up. Okay, maybe some contestants are better off alone.
13. It Gives Us Major Couple Goals
Yes, there’s lots of fighting on The Amazing Race. Sometimes, couples argue so fiercely you’re sure they’re going to file for divorce as soon as they get home. Fortunately, there are plenty of dream pairings as well; couples who make it through each gruelling leg by supporting one another no matter what. Take Bethany Hamilton and her husband Adam who played the game in 2003. They were immensely popular with viewers because they managed to overcome a multitude of challenges (including racing around the world with one arm) by lifting one another up, spiritually, physically and emotionally.
14. It Teaches Us to Be Sensitive to Other Cultures
The eating challenges, in particular, can be a major drag for contestants. Well, they wouldn’t be much of a challenge if they were enjoyable now, would they? In season twenty one, contestants sat down to a delicious bowl of…frog fallopian tubes. Entertainment Weekly explains the dish is a delicacy in Shanghai and, even though teams struggled, it’s considered a special treat among locals. We’ll be honest, we’re not going to order any fallopian tubes on our next trip to Shanghai. We do have a better understanding of why some might though. And isn’t that one of the best things about The Amazing Race? It teaches us how to acknowledge, respect and appreciate cultural practices we didn’t even know existed. For a reality TV show, it can be pretty educational.
15. Season 31 Is a Reality TV Star Showdown
As Deadline explains, the new season of The Amazing Race has another gimmick in store for fans. This time, all of the contestants are previous participants on reality television shows. There are contestants from Survivor, Big Brother and, of course, past seasons of The Amazing Race. We think it sounds incredible. Don’t pretend you wouldn’t love it if a burly pair of Survivor hunks get lapped by a nerdy pair from Big Brother. We’re very excited to have Phil back. We can’t wait to see a final pit stop. We’re psyched to find out which reality show has produced the toughest personalities. We just can’t wait. The Amazing Race is back and it’s going to be a big one. Did we mention the first episode has contestants climbing a twenty foot toy model of Mount Fuji…in wigs and spandex unitards?
Why We’ll Keep Watching The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race has everything. It’s got drama, conflict, challenges and people striving to overcome their fears. It also features magical acts of human kindness, incredible friendships and the will many of us have to prevail and survive. Even after thirty seasons, it continues to be a remarkable show and we hope it sticks around for a long time to come. As for who we’re rooting for this time around, duh, it’s Becca and Floyd. Even if they’re not dating (as they swear to), we’re in love with their easy going ways, tight relationship and freestyle raps. Let’s hope they go all the way.