Don’t Always Bet on Black (Episode 8-1)

For many fans of The Amazing Race, the prospect of having families with children competing on the show was horrifying. What’s consistently been one of the smartest and most dramatic reality competition programs had the potential to become an annoying, cheesy self-parody.

Luckily, producers cast only two families with pre-teens, and those they picked seemed well-suited to this level of competition. The Black family participates in martial arts together, and everyone in the Gaghan family is a runner. And even though the Blacks were the first to be eliminated, their departure was due more to a lack of urgency and travel experience than to the ages of the kids.

The Gaghans, on the other hand, could be around for a long time. Besides being long distance runners, Carissa and Billy are also obviously gifted kids. Their precocious natures and heightened levels of curiosity will keep them interested in a game that lasts for weeks. It helps that something as simple as a car radio is enough to completely entrance Billy. As recent studies have shown that teenagers are horrible at reading emotions and body language, the teams with teens could have more interpersonal problems than Bill and Tammy Gaghan and their two pre-teen kids.

Other observations on the first episode:

  • The Paolos looked poised for a meltdown, but Brian gets lots of credit for being the only person to recognize Kevin and Drew of TAR 1 at the hot dog stand.
  • The Linz family should be playing much better than they are, but at least they’re funny.
  • The Weaver family lost their dad when he was hit by a car, and now mom, Linda, has been run over by an Amish buggy. I hope that some day the kids can appreciate the coincidence. I thought it was hilarious. Guess I won’t be spending eternity with the Weavers.
  • As the proverb says: “The journey of 11,000 miles starts with a trip to Philly.”
  • You can’t rely on Wesley Snipes for gambling advice.