It’s the tenth Anniversary race! The very first episode went out on September 5th 2001, and here we are ten years later having fallen in and out of love with it several times. We’ve been spoiled by the Australian version of the show which was a lot of fun indeed, but will we bother sticking around for the US one? I’m going to write some stuff about episode one, but I will stick it under a spoiler.
- The first task is at the starting line and the teams are told that the last team to move on will be given a Hazard which is just a Speed Bump under a new name.
- Initially the task seems quite interesting – there are a load of umbrellas with letters on them and six other letters are revealed on a board. When you repeat the letters and combine the two it reveals the location of their next clue – in this instance “Taiwan, Taipei”.
- Unfortunately what seems like quite a puzzly challenge is ruined by the fact it isn’t really a puzzle at all. In fact all the teams are going up to Phil with their umbrellas randomly until they hit one he says is correct – they get given keys to a car, and inside the car is a video message from Phil saying “congratulations, you’ve worked out you’re going to Taiwan, Taipei!” Er no they didn’t!
- One team left their passport at the gas station and got it returned to them thanks to someone recognising the fact it was The Amazing Race and tweeting about it.
- Next task a bit more interesting, rather than a clue box they have to work out (from the clue “look up!”) that the clue is being displayed on a billboard of red and yellow animated balloons. The clue is in Chinese so they have to get help to translate it. This is good, it’s more fun when they aren’t given things on a plate.
- The roadblock was a memory test – go to a payphone and listen to a two sentence Confucius saying, then repeat it word for word to a monk.
- Whilst one team had to go off and do a bungee jump as their Hazard, the next task was dragon boat racing. There was no detour in this leg, whether there was one but everyone just took the dragon boat racing anyway I don’t know.
- I have no real favourite teams as yet, but it’s always funny when they have minor celebrity racers because they try and keep their fame secret which never works, and there’s not much the other teams can do about it anyway.
Good things to take away from the episode – less airport drama, less producers signposting everything for thick people. A task or puzzle at every location.
The Hazard didn’t really add anything and next week we’ve got a speed bump anyway, and a double elimination. Wooh.