Why I’m forced to watch The Amazing Race

I’ve never seen The Amazing Race. You can tell by this blog that I don’t tend to watch much reality television, with the exceptions of Top Chef and America’s Next Top Model. Ok, so I did watch many an episode of Deal or No Deal, but it’s syndicated and on all the time. Plus, it’s a game show, so I don’t know if it really counts.

But starting February 15 (well, a couple days after that because I’ll be out of town and therefore have to TiVo), I’ll be forced to watch The Amazing Race.

Now, it is Emmy Award-winning, so I guess I can’t complain. At least it’s not one of those “housewives” shows, but I really don’t know the premise of this show except people with tanks, shorts, and backpacks run all over the place for…something. And sometimes they run out of money, and the episode teasers make that sound like a really big deal. If anyone has words of wisdom, please share.

The reason I’m forced to watch this show is because I know–well, knew–someone on it. One of this season’s contestants just happened to be from my home town, and now, I want to see how far she goes.

Why is that? I haven’t had contact with this person in years (no, I won’t tell you who it is quite yet–you’ll probably know based on when I stop watching), but I still want to see how this person does. Well, how the team does.

Anyway, meet the teams here. Let me know who you’re rooting for and whether it’d be of interest for me to blog about it. Are you a big fan? Let me know if you have hunches.

Should be an interesting ride. Or run. Or…what do they do?!

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The super-obnoxious life of the American teenager

So. As I said in my update post, people seem to be interested in this show, when, they shouldn’t be. And of course, the show I mean is The Secret Life of the American Teenager. I believe in my original review of the pilot, I said that I would continue to watch the show so that I could post another review…you know, see if anything has changed.

It. Didn’t.

Man, this was a horrible show, and I think I base the entire “hit” status of the show on the fact that it was summer and the only other shows on were reruns of Deal or No Deal. I’m going to be honest. I’d rather rewatch the 60th anniversary show of the Emmy’s than Secret Life any day of the week. At least the Emmy’s had good hair.

But first. Let’s recap. Here is the cast of characters:

Pregnant Teen, otherwise known as Amy: Actually, the only person in the show who had the capabilities to act beyond John Schneider and Molly Ringwald but of course, didn’t get any sort of opportunity. Her storylines were reasonable; her hair was atrocious. Someone attack her bangs with scissors.

Boyfriend of Pregnant Teen, otherwise known as Ben: Pathetic, formerly pathetic-yet-skeezy boyfriend to Amy who only started dating said girl because he wanted to get laid. Now he realized that all he wants is love and whines like a puppy the entire series. Awesome.

Religious Girl, otherwise known as Grace: Along with the originality of her name came an original character–a cardboard cutout that’s half cheerleader, half moronic angel. Grace is the only blond on the show, symbolically showing her innocence–or what we would call naivety. Not only is Grace, oh, such a good person, but she has one eensy storyline that drags through the entire season.

Knocker-upper, otherwise known as Ricky: The boy who knocked up Amy. Who sleeps with slut girl. And dates Amy’s best friend. And wants to sleep with Grace. But pretends to have feelings for Grace. But doesn’t. Or does he? Who knows? But he’s super obnoxious and no one likes him. Yet everyone does. Seriously, this is the depth around Ricky. Lots of people changing their minds–and clothes, after he uses them. But don’t worry. It’s not because he’s a bad guy…it’s all related to his past, according to his therapist.

Long-haired semi-religious boy, aka Brad from Home Improvement–I mean Jack!: This guy has the easiest role on the series. Seriously. He has the same lines that just cycle around and around over and over. He wants Grace, he wants slut. He’s apologetic, he’s mad! He doesn’t have to memorize much. (But seriously, while I know it’s not the same actor, is there a reason we’ve made this character look EXACTLY like Brad from Home Improvement, circa 1994?)

The slut, otherwise known as…wait–does she have a name?: She sleeps around and has issues with her parents. Hmmm, shouldn’t she be in college with that storyline?

Best friend number 1, the redhead: Ok, I don’t know her plot, but I know she’s annoying, so I tend to ignore her.

Best friend number 2, the non-redhead: Amy’s other best friend who’s not anymore because her parents won’t let her and has a nice brother. Oh, and she dates Ricky, because EVERYONE tends to date the person who knocked up your best friend. That always happens. Always.

Korean best friend number 1, the boy: Ben’s best friend who just talks through everything with him. EVERYTHING.

Korean best friend number 2, the girl: Actually sometimes has funny things to add, but isn’t in the show all the much to matter.

Parents: Oh, this is its own series, I swear. Move them over to the new 90210, will you? I think that show might need more drama.

Sadly, my descriptions don’t even include all the storylines that this show has in one season. I think they stuck the entire series of Dallas in a three-month show. All we need is a who-shot-JR moment. Maybe they’ll kill off Amy’s dad. He’s sufficiently annoying and one-dimensional. Nevermind, they can’t kill him off. He fits in too well.

Ok, enough of my cattiness. Let’s get to the root of the problem. That being, we have TOO MANY CHARACTERS! This happened with 7th Heaven, too. We got so many people involved in the show that there was no time to delve into any problems and no one cared about any of the characters anymore. Plus, if you try to focus on only one storyline with all these people, fans complain because others aren’t doing anything (which is funny since that’s true to life–people don’t ALWAYS have life-ending drama going on). Since we have to have everyone juggling crap, we’re using up all possible plotlines in three episodes and then we go to the outrageous! Just cut down some characters. Keep it down to, like, five, and make the rest recurring. Or just hire guest stars. Why does Grace have to only choose between Ricky and Brad from Home Improvement–I mean Jack. There are tons of other people at this school. Try one of them.

Hey, Best Friends 1 and 2 could follow this same strategy. Then, maybe it’d be realistic!

And why must EVERYONE be related? Amy’s Dad used to be married to Grace’s mom. Grace’s dad is partners with Amy’s doctor. Amy’s Dad is sleeping with slut’s mom. Oh, and Ben wants to marry Amy, and Ben’s dad is totally for it! And we all live happily ever after.

None of this is REALISTIC! Unless you’re in a tiny tiny tiny town, but even in those, divorce generally isn’t prominent, there wouldn’t be as many people at the school, and most likely, you’re living by yourself in your 400-acre farm in the middle of Montana: population 1. (Sorry, people from Montana. I don’t mean to insult you, just the show. After all, you are home to the white-footed ferret, and I love those little guys. 🙂 )

And no one talks that much about sex. I had the great opportunity to watch this show with people who had never seen it before. Every five minutes, they’d look up and go, is this all they talk about? It was the finale. Every scene someone mentioned sex. And not euphemisms. They actually mentioned the word “sex.” Maybe they can up the ante next season and say “sexual intercourse” every time they mention it.

Oy. Next season.

Anyway, I could write more, but I’d just get cattier. Just here’s what I think should be done if the show continues.

1. Fewer characters.

2. Fewer storylines–focus on only a few at a time…for the ENTIRE season, not every episode.

3. More realistic situations.

4. Get everyone disassociated with each other. They’re interconnected because they’re at the same school. Lose the other stuff.

5. Stop TALKING. Do something!

6. Change the theme song. (Sorry, I just hate the theme song.)