I will be the first to admit that I probably watch too much reality television.
Of course, I will also defend myself by saying that I don’t watch as much as I used to. I limit myself now. The Bachelor, the Bachelorette, and Bachelor In Paradise are the only dating shows that I still watch and I have to admit that I find them less and less interesting with each passing season. (Some of that, to be honest, is because I cringe whenever I see people talking about the “Bachelor Nation.” Just because I watch the same show as you doesn’t mean that I want to come over to your house and watch you get drunk on box wine.) I still watch Survivor but I have yet to watch any episodes of the Hulu Kardashian show. The only reason that I recently watched Selling Sunset was because I was checking out the shows that had been submitted to the Emmys. I haven’t really been emotionally involved with Big Brother for a while now, though I do still write about it because I love my readers.
That said, I still absolutely love The Amazing Race and I make no apologies for that.
The premise behind The Amazing Race has always been a simple one. Teams of two are sent on a race around the world. During each leg of the race, they have to complete tasks before they can continue on their journey. At the end of each leg is a pit stop. Finish first and you’ll get a prize. Finish last and you’ll probably be eliminated from the race. Each season has featured little tweaks to the formula but the basics have always remained the same, which is one reason why The Amazing Race‘s fans have remained loyal to it for over 22 years.
What is the appeal of The Amazing Race? It’s more than just seeing who wins and who loses. It’s seeing how the teams, who always start out very confident, handle being outside of their comfort zone. I’ve lost track of how many athletic, cocky teams were eliminated from the race because they failed to properly communicate with their taxi driver. How many teams have gone from being in first place to being dead last just because their flight was delayed? The most recent season of the Amazing Race was actually put on hold due to COVID quarantines. Filming stopped in 2020 and then resumed over a year later, with the remaining teams returning to their last pit stop. The Amazing Race is unpredictable and it takes exactly the right mix of athleticism, intelligence, confidence, and luck to survive it. The Amazing Race is about skill and communicating and seeing the world and I absolutely love it. A good deal of the Race’s popularity is also due to host Phil Keoghan, who actually seems to be sincerely invested in the racers and their journey. That’s quiet a contrast to most reality competition hosts. Just as snarky Jeff Probst was the perfect host for Survivor (or, at least, he was before he decided to get all weepy and sincere these past few seasons), Phil Keoghan is the perfect host for The Amazing Race.
My Ox is Broken! is a perfect companion to The Amazing Race. Admittedly, the book was published in 2006 and, as a result, it only covers the first 9 seasons of the Race. But those were some truly great seasons and reading the book today is a wonderful way to relive the excitement of Rob and Amber going from dominating Survivor to nearly winning The Amazing Race, Colin and Christie narrowly losing the fifth season, and the dysfunctional couples who made up the sixth season. Author Adam-Troy Castro takes a look at everything that made those first 9 seasons so much fun and he’s also honest about the show’s occasional missteps. Full of recaps, interviews, and lists (you know how much I love lists!), this book is an essential for anyone who loves the Race.