Welcome to Last Night on TV, our daily column that looks back at what happened on television the night before. If we’re going to stay up all night and watch TV, we might as well talk about it the next day.
Last night on TV, Christopher talks The Amazing Race.
The Amazing Race
Christopher Campbell: At its best, The Amazing Race is a thrilling competition. But even when it’s not exciting, as this week’s episode was not, it still functions as a decent travel show with a side of cultural education. Last night, the racers stayed in Cartagena for the entire leg, giving us more information about local practices and showing us more places to visit if we ever can get down to Colombia ourselves – and if not, we got a nice virtual experience of the claustrophobic catacombs of the Castillo San Felipe de Barajas, the city’s public transit and some of its street vendors.
There are three main sorts of challenges for teams on The Amazing Race. There’s the touristy experience challenge, of which there was none this week (normally they’re something scary, especially for racers afraid of heights). Then there’s the cultural challenge, where the players have to try out a local sport or craft or at least learn about one. These are the ones that in turn inform the audience, too. Last night, for instance, we learned about the explosive bar pastime of tejo, which I could see being popular in hip city neighborhoods in the US if they’re not deemed dangerous and therefore illegal. And we learned about the traditional indigenous artisan bags called mochila.
The third kind of challenge, and the one I sometimes question the idea of, is where racers perform a job of the working class of the area. Last night there was a Detour where teams had to be bus attendants and collect money from passengers. It’s okay, as I’m sure the production always pays the people whose jobs are being taken over, and they always prove how hard-working the real professionals are. In this challenge, nobody wanted to ride the buses, so teams had to get creative in order to convince random people who were fine walking to ride transit. Poor Scott had to watch as his daughter, Blair, offered men kisses for money – “besos for pesos.”
Meanwhile, this leg was won quick and easy by the athletic and plenty smart duo of Brodie and Kurt. Their ultimate frisbee talents were especially beneficial in the tejo Detour, because it entailed precision and a good arm. But right on their heels were Tyler and Korey, who didn’t feel quite as comfortable with the sport but could appropriately relate it to cornhole and do just fine. And they might be the smartest team. I’d have thought the fraternal team of Mensa members Darius and Cameron would have been the smartest team, but after doing well in the first episode they fell back due to stupid mistakes and wound up eliminated this round.
Between the frisbee players and Tyler and Korey (who are just friends! but still so cute together), both of who seemed to have arrived at the pit stop way ahead of anyone else, are clearly the frontrunners of this season and it’s hard to imagine any of the others being much competition for them. Something crazy could happen, of course, but I see this as already being down to just the two teams. Who do I want to see win? I like Tyler and Korey a lot (almost enough to go pick up Tyler’s book) and they’re also the team I predict will win. They’re just so compatible as teammates and have such great spirit. I really do wonder what might slow them down if anything.