Monday, February 28, 2005

Countdown to TAR7

I admit it...I'm ready for the preview special for Inferno 2. Hell, I might even tune into Fear Factor tonight, just to see if Omarosa ends up choking on something gross. But my mind is on the season preimere of The Amazing Race, which is less than 26 hours away.

After the fourth season, when CBS was on the fence in terms of renewing TAR, I wrote an essay explaining all the good things (yes, that's me with the handsome guys. Yes, I do look like a dork. No, I still can't tell Reichen from Chip). Since then, TAR fans have had a mixed bag: one insanely great season (TAR5), and one season where we had to apologize for anybody who had tuned in on our advice (TAR6). While blah Freddy and racist beeyotch Kendra did bug by winning, there was a bright side: there would only be three weeks until the start of the next season. I was at TARCon that night, and when CBS told us to stay tuned for scenes of the next season, everybody basically went "No way!" I should've brought my tape recorder, just to get the sound of jaws hitting the floor at the news of a former P.O.W. running the Race.

Of course, everybody is focused on Rob Mariano and Amber Brkich, both of whom had been on Survivor twice. Back when I was affilated, most of the other recappers didn't get why I was upset about this. To me, TAR didn't need to piggyback off the success of other shows. I wasn't bugged at the prospect of happens all the time (Daniel Lue of Tough Enough and Survivor: The Amazon, Kristen Kirschner of Murder in Small Town X and The Apprentice, just to name two). Sure, Rob showed how classy he was with a rendition of "Ding Dong the Witch is Dead" on Survivor: All-Stars, after Sue Hawk took herself out a few days after getting grinded by a naked Richard Hatch. Here's the point: The Amazing Race has its own fanbase now. It's grown for years, rooted in the forums of Television Without Pity. Bringing in "Ramber" is along the same lines as Allison Irwin racing with her on-again/off-again boyfriend one year after finishing runner-up on Big Brother. And that backfired after they got eliminated two episodes in.

Also, there's the really cyncial part of me that sees TAR7 as a way to make people care about Ramber again. Why? For their impending nuputals, rumored to be televised. It's been almost a year since we really care that much about Ramber? I'm guessing it's 50/50, give or take a few points. But CBS is probably salivating at the thought of the wedding. Hell, if it would guarentee a few more points in the Nielsens, they'd bring in Rupert to preside over the wedding.

Bottom line? I see them finishing sixth. While TAR is not as alliance-driven as Survivor, the fact that this team has won its million bucks will guarentee that the other teams won't help them. It should be interesting to see...after dying week after week last season watching good teams go out early and bad teams stay in (hello, Jonathan and Victoria!), TAR7 can't be any worse. Even at its lowest points, TAR can beat the pants off the best of any other reality series. And if you've yet to see this it. For me. Tomorrow night, 9 p.m. Eastern time.

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