Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Amazing Race 22 Season Premiere and Other Reality Shows

This was a banner week in reality as Amazing Race started its 22nd season; Project Runway, Comic Book Men, and Kings of the Nerds were all on the same night (last Thurs.); and Joanna Coles popped up again (after I thought we were rid of her as the icy mentor on PR All Stars).

With so many seasons behind it, TAR has to come up with some new twists to make the races different. Last season, they did the $2 million jackpot if you won both the first and the last legs. This time, Phil gave the winners of the first leg not one, but two express presses, the second one to be given to a team of the winners' choice. The winning team has until the fourth leg to give away the extra pass. (I guess they aren't allowed to use it themselves or not give it away at all and let it just go to waste, that wasn't made clear.)

The conniving and backstabbing start right away when the five teams who get on the first flight to Bora Bora make a pact that whoever wins the two expresses passes will give the extra one to the second-place finisher of their group. If someone from the second flight surges ahead and takes the number two spot, then screw them (of course, that's what happened, but it doesn't effect the pact.) I did not see the advantage of this because the winning team is not going to want to give the express press to a strong rival. The only benefit is to fuck over the other six teams.

Once in Bora Bora, the contestants have to jump out of a helicopter--as opposed to the usual airplane--knock down and rebuild hundreds of sandcastles to find a clue, rig a canoe and paddle to Phil at the pit stop.    Blonde Californians John and Jessica come in first, but according to the previews, they may not honor their agreement in giving the other express pass to the father-and-son cancer survivors who came in second of their evil group. If that happens, they would grow an enormous target on their backs and they'd get U-turned at the first opportunity.

From the possible double-crossing, I may hate John and Jessica in the next episode, but I think I really despise newlyweds Max and Katie because right off the bat they tell us how they don't like new people, have an awful time making friends and are willing to act fake nice to get ahead. Plus they don't seem to have any occupations except for being newlyweds. They, along with bottom three teams are already semi-cheating by not even completing the roadblock and taking a four-hour penalty, which Rob and Amber famously did several seasons back. But then my favorites Josh and Brent did take a penalty for not completing the synchronized swimming last season--but the pool was closing and they had to.

There's also the obnoxiously peppy YouTube hosts Joey and Meghan. What do they host? What is their talent? Do they make any money off it? I like the taxidermist-WalMart greeter, but they should play the theme from Psycho (Norman Bates had the same hobby) during his segments rather than the unimaginative banjo picking just cause he's from Alabama.

In other reality news, Comic Book Men was kinda flat. The big deal was an Ultimate Fighting match between guys dressed like Jay and Silent Bob. Project Runway did the unconventional challenge with flowers AND hardware, and on The King of the Nerds, Ivan was enraged that anyone would dare send him to the Nerd-Off just because he's the strongest player. He should have taken it as a compliment. But the highlight was the return of Joanna Coles.

Coles left Marie Claire, the Project Runway-sponsoring magazine, for Cosmo--when I don't know--but last Fri. she was on The Job, CBS's new answer to the unemployment problem. Coles and two of her Cosmo editors were recruiting for an editorial assistant. One thing they never say on this show is--what much does the freaking job pay? I also loved how Joanna kept giving the stink eye to the three reps from fashion websites ready to offer competing positions to the applicants. They didn't tell us how much those jobs paid either.

It was weird to watch a TV version of a job interview with a live audience and quiz-like questions testing knowledge of celebrities and fashion. I wish all mine had been like that.

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