I've suddenly been watching a whole bunch of The Amazing Race episodes, including Amazing Race Canada. Amazing Race Canada, a country with 1/10 the population of the U.S.A., has a prize of $250,000, a couple of Corvette Stingrays and free executive air travel for a year, a mouthful which a couple of players have summed up as half a million dollars. Amazing Race (sic) France has a small prize, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing.

To see complete videos of The Amazing Race Canada, go to CTV. For ARC junkies, the Inside The Race With Blackberry is entertaining, particularly the episode 9 one.

If you think about it, The Amazing Race would be an excellent subject for a parody film. There's a lot of material there, for example the early "Get set, go!" scene.

You know what I would like to see? An Amazing Race with Britain and the old dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand), plus U.S.A. and Ireland, with the bigger countries getting more teams and possibly some room for areas such as Scotland. The producers of Amazing Race have excluded Canadians from participating in the American show, as Phil Keoghan discusses here and much more here. However, TAR Asia and TAR China have teams from many countries.

"You didn't load all your coconuts"


In the first leg of the ARC those two nice ladies, a police officer and a tax inspector, didn't follow instructions and were the first team to be eliminated from the race. These are stupid players, and we would not behave this way.

Or maybe not. As you can see in the coconuts clip, players often behave in a dumb way, don't follow instructions or don't see something that's right in front of them. During the first leg of ARC the Winnipeg team didn't follow the same instructions either, where they had to grab two (not one) clues by reaching past some creepy crawlies. Joanne Mcleod couldn't figure out how to open a car door from the outside. In the first episode of one of the TAR seasons, a couple of Asian American girls walked right past the pit stop and were eliminated. When asked why this happened, one of the girls said they experienced tunnel vision. Racers are under a lot of stress, and they are in a race. They go through an experience that you and I don't really know about.

Amazing Race was conceived as a reality show featuring competitive travel, and this was especially obvious in the first season. ARC doesn't go beyond Canada's borders, which makes it a different beast from TAR. I have no problem with staying within Canada. Ideally I would like to see them alternate seasons in and out of Canada.

After watching the Nova Scotia episode more than once, I noticed a couple of things. When Celina was driving stick - better than I would, I'm sure - she stops dangerously in the middle of the road. There is repeated honking, but the honking takes place when she is swearing. When Tim Jr. hears about the Bluenose, he calls it Bluenote. His knowledge of Canada is lacking, but he apparently knows about the famous Blue Note Café in Winnipeg.

Don't forget that the competitor in The Amazing Race Canada who was a sniper is a killer. Soldiers in Afghanistan did the various tasks required for muscular peacekeeping - that's not what this guy did. His day job was killing people (okay, more observation than sharpshooting). Those snipers are A types, and he's been known to use his fists. His powers of observation are useful as a player.

There are also police on two separate teams.

The gay cowboys, one of whom had already been on a reality program, are good at all those hard things, but also good at those little things. Jet and Dave are cruising through things, but don't forget their frustrating experience in leg #2 (it has been noted that they did a good job with the calligraphy). Fan favourites Hal and Joanne have the experience that comes from age as well as the fitness that comes from being Hal and Joanne, and they are also TAR connoisseurs. I picture Jody and Cory, what I call the military team, winning the race.

Vanessa and Celina are portrayed as whiny, inept and annoying. Note that
They are two distinct individuals.
You don't get to be a model by sitting around and texting, and they won't have the problems that come with age.
There is a good deal of experience with air travel.
There is experience with dancing and being in front of a camera.
I don't know if they have what it takes to overcome challenges. I do know that their mother has what it takes to overcome challenges.

Amazing Race Canada inevitably has a Canadian vibe because of the people involved. For example this brief "Thanks John" bit. I can't put my finger on the distinction, but you wouldn't get that anywhere else.

ARC was filmed months ago. How are you supposed to keep secret who won? I read that if TAR people give away who won they can be sued for $3-4 million. In addition, they are taken to a secluded spot and their communication is closely monitored. However, I don't think they're doing that for ARC.

SPOILERS One team in ARC came in last twice but were saved twice by being last in non-elimination legs, which seems to be a first in TAR. These "cockroaches" are now in the final three. The final three teams in ARC are all blood relatives for some reason.

SPOILERS I have mixed feelings about the end of ARC, in particular the flag/flower challenge. On the one hand, I respect that two and a half person team because someone is a fan of the show, good decisions were made and there was thoroughness and discipline. On the other hand, it strikes me as unfair because it is not a test of the players' abilities. And there was no way to work your way through that challenge. In one TAR season they had to do some gymnastics to place on the global map the countries they went to. At least there you can make intelligent guesses. Going into the flag/flower challenge, the teams were basically tied.

Spare a thought for the hosts. Phil Keoghan does a lot of travelling and work, and has to wait at the mat for however long it takes. John Montgomery was really scared for that first leg of ARC. Eliminating someone on the third leg is one thing, but can you imagine eliminating the first team on the first leg of the first ARC?

Winning a million dollars would be great! Well, actually no. Don't listen to my opinion; listen to people who have won a million dollars in the lottery. They will tell you it's the worst thing that ever happened to them. I honestly believe this, give or take. If someone gave me a million dollars I would be better able to discern the ups and downs of suddenly getting a million dollars.


The Tims contemplate their next destination.