Let's fix the Amazing Race. You're the producers...what do you do?

For me:

  1. No more spoon-fed flights except the first leg and in the rare circumstance where you’re in a third-world country and there’s only one flight to your destination per three days. And in the case of a spoon-fed flight, once all the teams are through customs, they leave the customs desk with the same time differential they had before.

  2. Same deal with any shared flight–I hate seat jockeying on airplanes: it’s boring TV. So your arrival time at the ticket desk (open or not) is recorded, and you leave the customs area in the same order with the same wait-time.

  3. Stop stunt-casting. No reality show famewhores. No quasi-famous people. No obvious dicks. Stop trying to fill slots (the “gay/lesbian slot”). Look at the first season or three for perfect casting (Flo aside). And while this hasn’t been too much of a problem, nobody but the Amazing Producers really has their panties in a wad that there’s never been an all-female team who’s won: don’t start casting losers or wimps to make a crappy race that an all-female team can limp to the finish line on.

3A) Addendum: DO NOT CAST ANYONE ON THE RACE WHO WILL PISS OFF THE AUDIENCE IF THEY WIN!. If you think they’re so obnoxious that you’ll lose viewers if they win, you shouldn’t let them on the show.

  1. Anyone who says “Fine. Then we should just quit.” or sits down and says “I’m done” is instantly eliminated right then and there. No exceptions. You want to quit a race that millions would give their left hand to be on? Fine. You get your wish.

  2. Bring back the “eat/sleep/mingle” stuff.

  3. Bring back the 12 hour rule–I don’t care if it’s more work for your production crew. Did you notice that this season there was no “So-and-so arrived 12 hours ago at 10:03 am. They’ll be departing at 10:03 pm.”? I don’t trust the Amazing Race not to do shenanigans.

  4. No taxis at all on the final leg. Either the show provides drivers with directions (or have to be directed), or the team members have to walk/bike/jog/segue

  5. The speedbump needs to be about a 10-15 minute challenge. And come after any bunch points.

  6. Ditch the U-Turn. I read a stat that a yield only has a 10% chance of taking you out of the race while a U-Turn has a 100% chance. I can’t think of any team who’s survived a U-Turn (or if it’s a non-elim, not come in last) - I’m coming around on the Yield. It’s a good way to get rid of stupid, nasty contestants.

  7. Bring back more fast forwards (at least 1/2 of the legs should have them) or ditch them all together. If you only have one, it means that the lead team will ALWAYS take it. It also needs to be a much tougher/yuckier task. “Feed the orangutans a banana” is not a good FF challenge.

  8. Stop doing retarded tasks like “run through town in your underwear” or “jump off a pier dressed in a bird-costume”. This is a rich world filled with fascinating customs/cultures. Let’s explore them rather than do stupid and embarrassing fake challenges, shall we?

  9. Bring back the “each person does an equal number of roadblocks” rule (Caitie’s teammate did 7 this time around, IIRC).

  10. Spitballing an idea here:
    Rather than the way they always do it (teams leave in the order of arrival), what if the teams left all at once…but had their differences in time as a deficit to make up. In other words, if Team A came in 20 minutes before Team B Team B would have a 20 minute deficit in their final ranking. IIRC, the Tour De France does things this way. This eliminates a lot of the stupid "Go to the internet cafe that (gosh!) only opens from 11:30 pm (right after the last team leaves the pit stop!) at night fake opening time crap. It also means more hustle is required because you have to make stuff up at the end.

Why fix something that’s not broken? I’m still enjoying the show as much as ever. Sure, I get annoyed w/ certain aspects but not enough to detract from my enjoyment of the show.

There ought to be some legs with a designated ‘break’ that allows the teams to mingle. Maybe every 4 episodes or so. Then they can still have the tiny bit of drama that they get when teams aren’t sure of who’s behind them.

As much as I’d like to see a lengthy show where flights aren’t spoon-fed, this would just ruin the ending too easily. Either the entire show would need to be free-form, in which case nobody could ever do anything cool like WWI reenactments and you’d need experienced travelers, or they have to stick with the current airport-as-bunching-point and each city is more or less an individual race.

The Tour de France has the same problem that the winner can be decided well in advance of the end. Perhaps if the timing is used only up to the final 3 or 4 it might make sense. Currently it is a race of “don’t come in last” up until the final leg; it might be good to see them racing the entire time. I’d be curious to see what how previous races would have looked if this rule were in place.

More “Make your way to…” challenges. If a team can convince a local to drive them faster than a bus can go, or a boat captain to ferry them across a lake, so be it.

I liked the delay this last time in the counting challenge. Otherwise, what’s to stop a person from just writing down ond showing the judge consecutive numbers until they get it right.

No notes allowed in the memory challenge. You can take notes, you can study nites, but after you open the clue, no notes allowed.

More animal challenges. Animals always add an unexpected element. Camel racing with robot jockeys is good.

More Cowboys. Because the world needs more Jet and Cord.


My ex loved that show and I would watch it with her. The thing that I couldn’t stand was that most episodes would have pinch points. For example, people straggle into the last stage and then they leave that stage staggered based on when they arrived. The first time races to a pottery shop or something and it doesn’t open for another six hours. Eventually, pretty much everyone is there waiting for the store to open so the advantage is gone.

I realize that the show would be exponentially more difficult to make if some people are entire days ahead of others because you have to keep some of the challenge set-ups ready for a long time but it’s so unfair. At least let the first group get more sleep/rest or find some other way to reward them other than cooling their jets in a bus station waiting for everyone else to catch the same exact bus with them.

I like some of your ideas, but not others. For example, I don’t think they need to hyper-manage the airport arrival/departure times as you suggest. I guess the things on my wishlist are:
– more Fast Forwards, so there is strategy involved in whether to take one
– go back to 12- (or 36-) hour pit stops
– get rid of U-Turn and Intersection (Yield is okay).
– Speed Bumps should be simply a 15- or 30- minute delay in the middle of a race; forget the extra task.

I don’t mind the typecasting: I thought Rob/Amber, the Globetrotters and Big Brother were all pretty interesting teams.

To the producer’s credit, there has been a lot less of this type of bunching in recent seasons. This season, team Big Brother fell way behind in one episode and couldn’t catch up over the course of two legs (but benefited from a non-elimination in between).

Yeah. I vote for fewer cab rides. All too often, the race hinges on a last cab ride, which is largely out of the contestant’s hands. That’s no way to resolve a race.

Maybe designated TAR drivers who must follow speed limits and traffic laws and are directed by contestants? They could involve a sponsor by giving contestants GPS units in the cars to direct the driver.

There’s a lot of challenges to eliminating cabs.

You can’t make them run/skate/bike everywhere because then all the fit teams would dominate. I hated to see those two female poker players get eliminated because they couldn’t golf or hit one of those strongman bells (before they got to a dance challenge - WTF?).

Also, you need people to travel across cities, so you need something that travels relatively fast. And not all cities have good public transport.

I would also like to see TAR rules spelled out in the website. There’s always a bunch of questions about why contestants did or didn’t do things. For instance, when can they use cell phones? What can they write down? Why don’t they keep giving guesses one after another on counting challenges (10 minute rule was a great addition)?

And while I realize its a race, I’d like to have a few more moments where they appreciate the places they’re in and take in the culture.

I’d also like to see an international version where couples from around the world compete against the Yanks.

I know this presents all kinds of secrecy challenges, but I’d love to see some legs (other than the final one) run in the U.S. Like they did in Family Edition, but without the families.

I guess it would be hard to avoid spoilers, but there might be some way around it.

I like the show pretty much as is.

I hate the clues with Spoon fed destinations.

“Fly to Santiago, Chile” Not Good
“Fly to the capital of the South American country that has 5 letters” Good
“Fly to the capital of the South American Country {with some obscure fact about Chile}” Better

definitely, give the racers TAR drivers on the last leg (or make them walk/run/bike) And the racers must do all the navigating.

The memory challenge should have something more complicated than the poster challenge this past Sunday. The surfboard in Hawaii was better. The one in Portland was great.

I would like to see two roadblocks as the last task done simultaneously on the last leg. One physical task and one mental task. The contestants are separated and once they complete their task, they go to the final mat but can’t check until their partner finishes his/her task and arrives. Lot of anxious moments.

Competitive Fast Forwards. I like it better when multiple teams can try for the FF, and it isn’t just a matter of whoever leaves for the FF location first will get the FF. I’d rather have it be a skill or luck based task (rather than an activity).

I don’t mind bunching, but jockeying for place in an airport is not necessarily compelling unless one team does something brilliant. I’m glad that’s mostly gone.

More public transportation. Taxis are too easy. If places have bus, train, boat, ferry systems, make the teams use them.

Also, no one we don’t want to see win.

It seems the teams are sequestered from each other at the pitstops, rather than in previous seasons where they seemingly hung out together. I think having them mingle is better.

More clues where they have to figure out the next stop rather than “Go to _____” Sure, we get the meandering drives around southern France, but it was pretty scenery and much more interesting than “Drive to 123 Main Street, City, Country”

You do know about Amazing Race Asia, right? All non-Yanks :slight_smile:

There’s at least 2 or 3 seasons of it (and they’re mining it for challenges) and it’s really good.

Which reminds me:

x) Harder challenges. In TAR-Asia, the teams had a challenge that made people cry–they had unhulled(? the fibery stuff was still on) coconuts with red dye. And each team had one hammer. And each team had a stack of like 100 coconuts, one of which had red dye. The US version took the challenge, but there were far fewer coconuts and they’d been hulled so it was much easier to crack 'em.

Another TAR-Asia challenge was (in the middle of a crowded marketplace in…India maybe?) a "Count the number of round, slippery betel(?) nuts—each team had (IIRC) a different amount to count but they were all in the 400-450 range. There were meltdowns and tears. THAT’S good TV.

What a great idea----Too often it’s one team member doing all the “heavy lifting” (mentally OR physically) while the other partner is just passively along for the ride.

I think this would be an excellent way for The Amazing Race to get more action and excitement on the last leg, and it would keep all members of the teams on their toes to the bitter end…

Let Canadians play!

The teams would get to the airport and punch a clock, and stand around waiting for the last team. Then they’d fly somewhere and stand around waiting for their turn to leave. I think that would be even more boring.

If they were going to to do something like that, I’d say just let the teams finish a leg in one city, then start the next leg in a new city. All the flights happen off camera. I wonder if you could even sequester or blindfold the Racers so they wouldn’t know where they were at the beginning of a leg. That would eliminate some good strategy, though, like teams that find a travel agent before going to the airport or take the time to do research on their next destination.

Get rid of bunching. If you fall that far behind, and you aren’t eliminated, you deserve to be unless you hustle.

They do take the bus around from pitstop to start of race sometimes, don’t they? Do the same thing, but with planes. Or trains.

I only remember a few of those. In the just-concluded Race, they finished a leg in Hamburg and began the next in the Champagne region in France. There was one a few seasons ago where the Pit Stop was on a boat (somewhere in Asia, I think. China?) and the boat travelled somewhere while the teams stayed aboard and slept. And I think there was one before that where the teams got to a train station in India expecting a Pit Stop, but were met by the Amazing Phil, given another clue, and then all took a train together. (Not quite the same, since the train got to the new city and all the teams started Racing right away, instead of waiting for their start times.)

It poses a bit of a logistical problem. The Pit Stop should be a chance to rest and recuperate. If first place has to wait for last place, and then they all get on a bus together, the first place team is missing out on some valuable sleep time. (or vice versa)

If I’ve forgotten any, or have the details on those wrong, someone will be along to correct me.

I wonder why they haven’t used duel tasks before (one teammate does something mental while the other does something physical - And they can’t move on until both have completed their tasks). This seems like a great idea. And an opportunity to ramp up the tension as a teammate waits for their partner to finish.

And while I also hate villains, they do provide a reason to watch as I root for them to lose. I admit that I was glued to the race as that dude with the ex-Playboy model who he berated and even pushed was racing as I kept hoping they would lose.

I also agree that vaguer clues are better as they allow more room for teams to make mental errors, which can be amusing and tension-filled.

I also hate the stunt casting. Give me regular folks living a dream.

I’ve been thinking about this. I don’t like the artificial bunching points, but I do like the interaction of the teams at the various tasks as they influence (positively or negatively) the others performance around them.

The way it is structured now really is a race and whoever finishes first wins…simplicity.

  1. I think it would make better watching if the artificial bunching points were structured. Like the teams leave the checkpoint 10 minutes apart in the same order as they arrived. This way the team that arrives first has the most rest before the next leg. The problem with this is that there is no particular advantage to consistently place first.

  2. Introduce points awarded based on the checkin placement. This would allow the stronger teams to build up their advantage over the weaker teams. Too much advantage for the stronger teams?

  3. Scale the points based on the leg. Initial legs have lower points, while later legs have higher points. Perhaps the last leg is a free for all.

  4. Change the elimination to 3 teams on every third leg based on the point total.

Hmmm…as I read the above, I wonder if the teams should get points at the individual ‘tasks’ along the leg instead…

I dunno…could it work?