'Amazing Race 9' kicks off
It's on your mark for the 9th edition of Amazing Race -- and it's all-American
By BILL BRIOUX -- Toronto Sun
Tonight's latest edition of The Amazing Race features hippies, 'hos and homos -- but still no Hosers.
After last fall's soft and fuzzy Family Edition flopped, tonight's latest Race features the most stereotypical pairings ever. It opens with a two-hour premiere starting at 9 p.m. on CTV and CBS.
But despite being bombarded with requests from Canadians dying to compete, no north of the border players are in tonight's quest for the million-dollar prize.
Host Phil Keoghan, who spoke with critics on a conference call last week, says CBS is not about to open the show up to international contestants. Reality shows are a lot like the Olympics where TV is concerned, he suggested. "Most people like to watch themselves rather than people from other countries."
In any event, CBS is probably loath to experiment with this series again so soon after the Family Edition flop. All-Star or International Races are likely back burnered for now.
The solution for frustrated Canadian Racers? "Go to CTV and ask them to make their own version," Keoghan suggests.
The 38-year-old New Zealander knows the series is twice as popular, proportionally, in Canada as it is in the U.S. On a recent visit to Toronto, he tried to hide out in the Air Canada lounge, back to the door and nose in a notebook, and still he was mobbed by Canucks. "No exaggeration, I must get 20 e-mails a week from Canadians saying, 'When are you going to let Canadians play on The Amazing Race?'" he told the Sun last month in Pasadena on the network press tour.
Keoghan admitted that the Family Edition was less than a success. "Race is all about faces and places," he said. "We had too many faces and not enough places." Starting the show by saying, "Teams must now travel 8,000 miles to South Africa," is always going to beat saying, "Teams must now travel eight blocks."
This time, the 11 new two-member teams needed their passports. This ninth edition of The Amazing Race travels 60,000 miles with stops in Moscow, Sicily and the Middle East.
As for talk of an All Star edition, Keoghan said don't hold your breath. Survivor really didn't get any kind of a boost when they did it, he said. He also thinks people change once they've been on one series. "They have a chance to reflect on the way they're depicted and the way people react to them," he said. "I don't think they are the same people any more."
TEAMS ARE A REAL TRIP
Remember the last Amazing Race, the "Family Edition," where four member teams basically drove around Mississauga in minivans?
Host Phil Keoghan admits that sucker had too many faces, not enough places. Ratings slumped, especially in the U.S., so the two-member, 'round the world race is back on with a vengeance this time.
Tonight, teams jet from Colorado to Brazil on the first leg of the 60,000 mile journey. To make things ridiculously easy to follow, the producers have cast this edition with the most obvious stereotypes imaginable. Within minutes, they're even calling themselves "the gay team" or "the hippie team." You'll swear it's all been wardrobed and scripted. Here they are:
Lake and Michelle, married parents and too good to be true Southern professionals (he's a know-it-all dentist, she's his assistant).
Danielle and Dani, roller skating skanks from Stanton Island, N.Y. "We love boys!" they declare as the prance around in hot pink suits.
B.J. and Tyler, Frisco friends with Cheech and Chong charm. "Dude," says one after a chopper ride, "is this not the most James Bond thing you've ever done?"
THE BLACK TEAM
Ray and Yolanda, a lawyer and a teacher who have been dating long distance for five years. "I'm from the 'hood," Ray declares, adding he had to go to law school to "feel empowered."
THE GAY TEAM
John and Scott, lifelong friends from Massachusetts with one big handicap -- John's fear of flying. "My father called him his tallest daughter," said Scott.
KEN AND BARBIE
Monica and Joseph, incredibly fit Southern daters from Arkansas who water ski together like Sea World pros. A.k.a. "Team Mo-Jo."
Eric and Jeremy, well-waxed beach bums from Florida where one's a bartender and the other a valet. "We would like to be millionaires," says one, "but we don't want to work for it."
Lisa and Joni, two cougars from Texas shown wearing tiaras and leg wrestling each other in the opener. A.k.a. "The Glamazons" (both are 6-feet tall).
Fran and Barry, Colorado grandparents married 40 years. Barry insists he's no kindly granddad, too competitive.
THE GILMORE GIRLS
Wanda and Desiree, a mother/daughter team with Puerto Rican roots who insist they're going to "salsa our way to the pit stop." A.k.a. Team Boricua (Team Puerto Rican).
Dave and Lori from Kansas, two made-for-each-other nerds nicknamed "The Einsteins" by the mother/daughter team. http://jam.canoe.ca/Television/2006/02/28/1465689.html