Amazing Race Season 23 Recap Episode 1

As you probably already know, I ran the Amazing Race on Season 21.  Most seasons blend together. The routes, while interesting, usually never really stand out (although Season 22 was my favorite of all seasons). Same can be said for the contestants (my favorite cast here ).  Except in my case. All someone needs to hear is that “we were the only team in Amazing Race history to have had a chance at winning 2 million dollars.”  And then they remember this sequence exactly:

Frog Fallopian tubes, passing a girl with two prosthetic legs to the finish mat, chance at 2 million, 4 missed flights / Frankfurt Airport, U-turn in Frankfurt , Chippendales/Twinnies/Texas alliance. No more 2 million dollars.  

And so that about sums up my Amazing Race experience.  Well, actually there’s a lot more to the story (as to all of those points) but the bottom line is this: even though I didn’t win 2 million bucks, I can thank the Amazing Race for all of the wonderful opportunities that have come my way in the 1-year since – book deal, travel magazine writing gig, #ChiefWorldExplorer opportunity literally titled “The Best Job in the World) (application still pending, but I’ve made it from 3000+ applicants to top 50 thus far – you can see my application videos here) and the accompanying social media platform that goes along with being on a primetime television show for nearly 3 months.  So yes, I’d trade all of that for 2 million dollars, duh, but that’s neither here nor there.  What is here is my short and sweet commentary, 10 thoughts and musings, on each episode of this season of Amazing Race. Without further ado, Episode 1. 


1.  Athletes always do well. Especially professional ones. Even seemingly ‘out of playing shape’ ones like the two former NFL guys Chester & Ephraim should and probably will do well.  “Well” means not getting eliminated in the first few weeks.  And might have a legitimate chance at Final 4 or 5.  But they’re not winning. Why? Because for reasons only known to people on the inside, unless you’re a still active or very recently (read: young) retired athlete you’re going to need some estrogenic abilities. And these guys have none. “But the hockey players won last season!” you might say. To which I will again say, recently retired and young is more important than having a female on the team.  I’d still choose Abbie as my partner in a heads up Amazing Race against all male teams. I mean, just look at how much better we did on every leg of the race against all the male/male teams on our season. We only finished lower than a male/male team 6x out of a possible 32 chances (or 18% success rate against) (Beekman boys (1x – but we had a U turn to complete), chippendales (Amsterdam/Russia 2x – but gnarly flight mishaps put us 8hrs behind so it’s hard to imagine they’d have beat us on a same start time start), Gary/Will (never), Rockers (2x – but needed/used a Fast Forward). In other words, no male/male team ever beat us without some advantage in place for them (fast forward) or a disadvantage working against us (flight delays/cancelations/u turn).  So yeah, I like our chances against male/male teams.  But I digress because that’s what I do.

2. A good comeback is always good tv. Case in point: Tim: “I didnt know they made people with voices as shrill as yours.”  Marie: “I didnt know they made people as dumb as you.”  Advantage Maria.   For this reason and others, obviously.

3. I dig the new intro/outro to the show. I miss the old one, but I like this new one.  It’s the facelift that says “we want to invest in 2013 technology and beyond but we will not change the theme music, just the graphics”.  Good move.

4. Read your clue. I can’t believe after 22 seasons of available footage, teams still dont stop to read their clue.  INSIDE INFO TIP: We are told that while opening a clue we are not allowed to move (walk/run and read).  Therefore you KNOW YOU HAVE TO STAND AND READ YOUR CLUE FOR THE CAMERA. So WTF??? How many teams didnt read their clue and either the wrong teammate did the rowboat’ing and/or you took a cab to the pit stop? 2? 3?  Now, listen, I’m not totally without fault here myself, we took a cab from the clue box in the Balloon task (where we made balloon animals/hats for little kids in Indonesia) but when we arrived, I re-read the clue and realized it said “travel by foot”, and so we headed back to the clue box location (by foot) and then back again to the bicycle -beekat station thingy. It was only 100-200 yards so no big deal, but after that, we never missed a clue.

5. Tim & Danny: Yes, stopping to ask directions is smart.  Point for you.  But I’m taking the point away because you probably should’ve gone with a different point of reference than the 80 year old spanish speaking lady. Also, flapping your arms when asking where the airport is by way of charades does not symbolize a plane. It symbolizes a bird.  Planes would be arms that don’t flap. I haven’t seen a plane that has flapping wings, but maybe in Oklahoma?

6. Being able to speak a second language is always always always a benefit. Especially espanol. Reminded me of Art & JJ in Season 20 when they arrived in (Paraguay) and being the San Diego Border Patrol studs they are, had the ability to communicate with the locals (which always helps in transportation situations).  So if you see someone speaking fluent Spanish in the first episode, you can pretty much bet they’re not getting eliminated that leg – cue Nicole.  And she brings the fire.  So even though they screwed up rule 4 above, they get a pass based on the language and competitive skills. And they’re probably smart as s–t given their career choices.  They’ll go far.

7. Want to make sure you get some TV time? Say things like: “it was awe inspiring”, “it was just one of those moments”, “we have never experienced…” or you can just have a mental breakdown during a timed time zone test in a Russian schoolroom and guarantee about 2 straight minutes of face time.  Your pick.

8. Biggest Surprise to me of Episode 1: The drag queen bingo dudes in their 50’s not being last. In fact they weren’t even in the last few teams.  What??? There’s only one Beekman Boys and no one, I mean, no one is going to take down the biggest upset in Race history again.  And this would be it.

9.  Favorites to win as of Episode 1: Definitely not the afghanimals.  That weird cat call yodel throat thing is flat out ridiculous.  If they were on my season, well, they’d be the Rockers to me – yeah, you’re on my race and i’m on yours, but we really have no reason to talk. Good luck. Get a haircut.

10. Finally, father daughter is a great relationship to have on the race. But it’ll never win. Ever.  We’ll never see it and while I’m not sure how much longer Amazing Race stays on TV, I’m pretty sure even if it was another 10 years, we won’t see it. Same with mother son, although I like father-daughter chances better. Hoskote is a stud regardless, seems a bit old fashioned in his views, but it’s pretty apparent from his age and lineage where that comes from.  Naina is a sweet heart, and I could never imagine the frustration of being eliminated first.  Of course, a three week vacation (probably to a private resort in Thailand) is a nice consolation. Not to mention the per diem and all complimentary expenses.

So that’s it.  Up next: bikinis, bathing suits, bodies and a chance to see who trained as hard as we did prior to departing on the Race.  I can’t wait for this episode.

If you liked this recap, then please see this video of my next project.