The Amazing Race: Go Big or Go Home
September 27, 2014 1:31 PM - Season 25, Episode 1 - Subscribe

11 Teams begin a race around the world. All of the key components are back: Phil's eyebrow, tooth sparkles, helpful arrows, baffled people, cabbies, and places to add to your travel bucket list.

After traveling from New York City to the Virgin Islands, 3 teams spend hours digging for treasure, only to agree to give up and race for finish line (and the 4 hour penalty for not finishing a leg).

There's a new twist: the winners of the first leg get a "Save", which they can use to save themselves later in the season.
posted by julen (18 comments total)
 
I was so pleased by the instant Karma of the ending - all the whining about how unfair the other team was to not let them usurp the cab/van and physically blocking them from doing so (the team from whom they yanked the pen AS IT WAS BEING USED so they could hoover up their spot on the list) at the end didn't even ruin my pleasure. Maybe if they hadn't been so cocky about how they'd clearly beat the firemen in a race to the end before they went to convince the firemen to give up ... no, I'd still have hated them. I'm sure they're used to men helping them/getting out of their way, but still!

In any case, I like that there was a smarts + perseverence challenge so early.

Among the usual slot contestants: We have the Other CBS Reality Show Pair, the Dating Couple, the Married Couple (with unnaturally white smiles), the Couple There To Prove They're Great Together, the Parent and Child, the Entertainment Athletes, the Somewhat Famous Athlete and Partner, the College Sweethearts, the There To Prove Obscure Stereotype Isn't True Pair ... oh, and the galpals we just said goodbye to.
posted by julen at 3:03 PM on September 27, 2014


OMG young Phil in the flashback to Season 1.

Amy & Maya the food scientists totally did the dyed water thing!

The dentist is more buff than the professional wrestler. Uncle Jeremy Renner the firefighter isn't far behind either. Speaking of the dentists, here's hoping for a challenge that involves black lights so we can see if Misti's & Jim's teeth glow in the dark.

No teams older than 40-something, boo.

Yay for a very satisfying boot.
posted by jamaro at 6:29 PM on September 27, 2014


The compass watch seemed really smart. I wonder what the rules are for that sort of thing and why everyone doesn't have one of those, a flashlight, Swiss army knife, etc.

On first sight I wanted to not like the dentists. But they are strong, helpful, smart and not going anywhere with that "Save". I better warm up to them because I think they have a good shot at winning.
posted by Gary at 11:55 PM on September 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


There was a time when about everyone did have a compass like that, they were common accessories in cars. My dad gave me one for my first car, I always find a space for it in every subsequent car I've owned. Nowadays I mostly only see them in boats and kids toys.

Looking forward to Amazing Race Season 1056, where teams struggle to comprehend the touch interface of a Garmin Nuvi.
posted by jamaro at 8:31 AM on September 28, 2014


Oh I am soooo glad this is on FanFare!

How are those dopey ladies the Queens of Miami Real Estate when one of them doesn't know where the sun rises and sets?

I really like the Flight Attendant Mom. "Who's gonna dig? [looks at daughter] Guess I'm gonna dig...."

My favorite part of TAR is when teams really mispronounce locations and are utterly befuddled by local customs. Or go to poorer nations and look around in wonder ("Wow! There are REAL PEOPLE here!").

I do hate the eating challenges, though. Hope we don't get any this season.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 12:15 PM on September 28, 2014


How are those dopey ladies the Queens of Miami Real Estate when one of them doesn't know where the sun rises and sets?

I suspect being cute, blonde, fond of bikinis, pushy, manipulative, egocentric, and full of chutzpah probably helps them. They clearly expected the firefighters to yield to them, and it was a shock to the system when they didn't (the second time).

I always enjoy it when production points out that teams are running right by a cluebox or are literally 1 foot away from where they should be digging. Informative AND snarky.

I suspect the wrestlers are going to be one of those teams where the female half (herself a wrestler) is actually the stronger racer, despite the team's own assumptions.
posted by julen at 12:40 PM on September 28, 2014


OK, so you've just made a deal with two other teams to skip a task and take a 2 hour penalty. Then you arrive at the mat and you see those other two teams ahead of you. Why would you NOT turn around and go back to the task again? If you manage the task within the 2 hours, you stay in the race. Other teams have abandoned one task for another, only to return to the original task later.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:22 PM on September 28, 2014


Ghost, I am pretty sure you have to irrevocably declare that you are quitting to get the next route info clue. Teams have switched detour tasks, or abandoned fast forwards, but they could do that without needing to unlock the next clue.
posted by stevis23 at 4:17 PM on September 28, 2014 [3 favorites]


The compass watch seemed really smart. I wonder what the rules are for that sort of thing and why everyone doesn't have one of those, a flashlight, Swiss army knife, etc. [emph. mine]

Headlamps seem de rigeur at this point; I think the last three teams all had headlamps when they were trying to dig. Headlamps are preferable to flashlights as they leave both hands free, and of course can be used as a conventional flashlight if necessary.

I wonder if any of the last three teams had seen the earlier teams find their boxes. They weren't buried very deep, and if they knew that, the smart thing to do would have been to start jabbing the shovel in the sand at various spots in the approximate vicinity of where they thought the box should be until they hit something. As we were shown, none of them were very far off from the actual locations of the boxes.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 8:42 AM on September 29, 2014 [1 favorite]


Headlamps seem de rigeur at this point; I think the last three teams all had headlamps when they were trying to dig.

Good point. I had assumed those came with the challenge but perhaps they carry them around. I'm assuming the compass watches will be banned next season or else regular compasses made standard so they don't give an advantage. People at home want the game to be about the racers competing and not who brought the cleverest items with them.

It's similar to how sometimes they mention how much money teams are given, but it almost never becomes an issue. They also got rid of that dumb rule where teams saved in not-elimination legs were stripped of their money and belongings. Viewers want to see teams win by racing hard and being smart in challenges, not being frugal about cab fare.
posted by Gary at 10:29 AM on September 29, 2014


I wondered if there was a rule about random searching that prevented the teams from doing some kind of spiral out from the calculated point to search for a nearby box.

I was surprised more people didn't have gloves. I think gloves are up there with a headlamp for useful things to have. I did like a few years ago when a team brought a clicker-counter, which they used to good effect.

And, yeah, the stripping teams of their stuff was weak. Although I did like the two guys (who ended up winning) who stripped down to their bathing suits when they thought they might be subject to that penalty. I'm curious to see what the effect of the save is vs the 'skip a task'.
posted by rmd1023 at 8:12 PM on September 30, 2014


I'm curious to see what the effect of the save is vs the 'skip a task'.

Two seasons ago, I think it was, we saw a team get eliminated while holding the Express Pass, because they didn't think they were going to be the last team. That can't possibly happen with the Save, as you can use it right there on the mat. OTOH, the Save doesn't actually save you any time — if you finish hours behind the other teams, you start out hours behind them on the next leg, although that may be irrelevant if there's bunching at the start of the next leg, as there often is.

I'm unclear on whether the Save means that no team is eliminated, or if it means the second-to-last team is eliminated instead. Pretty brutal for that team if it's the latter, but I'm wondering how the producers plan for the contingency of whether the Save is ever used, if it's the former. Possibilities for dealing with that which come to mind include:
  • having a leg which could be skipped altogether if the Save had not been used (most complex, and potentially problematic in that it affects the number of episodes in the season)
  • having a leg which is either elimination or non-elimination, depending on whether the Save has been used
  • having an ordinary leg which becomes a double elimination leg if the Save has been used
  • having three or four teams go into the final leg (or two vs. three, etc.)

posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:31 AM on October 1, 2014


My guess would be that they change the elimination-ness of the leg right after the save expires.

we saw a team get eliminated while holding the Express Pass
I remember that. Dude.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:22 AM on October 1, 2014


My guess would be that they change the elimination-ness of the leg right after the save expires

I've always wondered if the elimination/non-elimination status of a leg is predetermined or if they wait to see who's going to be last. I think it was last season or the one before that where the same two girls (baseball wives, maybe?) were last at a bunch of legs and they all were miraculously non-elimination legs.
posted by Weeping_angel at 12:30 PM on October 2, 2014


The non-eliminations are supposed to be pre-determined, but there will always be speculation when the team you don't like gets to stay. Last season it was the country girls twice and Brendan and Rachel once, and both of those teams were in the final three. So it was definitely time to buy a tinfoil hat and talk conspiracies.

What's interesting this season is if they can't plan ahead then they don't know when to add something to bunch the teams together like DevilsAdvocate mentioned. I feel bad for the show's producers trying to cut together an interesting episode when one of the teams takes a wrong flight or otherwise ends up hours and hours behind any of the other teams.
posted by Gary at 1:42 PM on October 2, 2014


I saw teams wearing gloves when they were digging after dark (did the producers have mercy on them?).

I forgot about how unlucky teams who had their items/money confiscated used to have to beg on the street for cash -- that was always unpleasant.

I am annoyed by the new night -- this was a Sunday tradition at Chez Potsmokinghippieoverlord, dammit! It feels wrong on a weeknight.
posted by potsmokinghippieoverlord at 5:39 PM on October 2, 2014 [1 favorite]


I think the dentists might be over 40 (or maybe they just spend a lot of time in the sun), so I wasn't assuming there were no over-40 teams.
posted by matildaben at 12:47 PM on December 3, 2014


They are 36 and 37 and a great advertisement for the importance of sunscreen.
posted by jamaro at 7:54 PM on December 3, 2014 [1 favorite]


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