the amazing race 19It should have been a pretty big clue that on the night of “The Amazing Race 19” premiere, I had a stomach bug and felt worse when I tried to watch it.  Coincidence?  At the time I felt so, but after watching both episodes this season, I’m beginning to think otherwise.

After the initial stomach clue, I probably should have simply turned off the show when 5 minutes in, Phil was trying to show off his trademark eyebrow lift for a few solid seconds. Has the show stooped to the point where the host is trying to be “known” for something?  Despite the cheesy factor, I continued to watch, and was shocked how challenging he made the first puzzle seem.   He said some shit like (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Go find an umbrella, figure out the letters up top mean such and such thing, compare it to the umbrella, find the right one, then decipher that shit out so you can then re-arrange the letters to get your next destination

However, what Phil should have said was “Run up, grab and umbrella and stand in line while I tell you if it’s the right one or not.  When you find the right one, run to your car and I’ll tell you exactly where you’re going”  Great.  We go from what sounds to be a challenging puzzle to some sort of guessing game.  Great way to start off the season.  Oh, and for kickers, the unlucky ones who pick out their umbrella last will be subject to a new thing called a Hazard (basically a different name for a speed bump).  Sweet.

We're smart!

One of the biggest surprises happened in a long time, and the show (almost) had nothing to do with it.  Promptly after boasting how smart they were, one of the Vegas showgirls dropped her passport at a gas station, nearly putting their race to an end before they could even board the airplane.  We’ve seen lost passports before, but I don’t recall a time that a team had a brain fart this costly before even leaving the United States.  Thanks to some fake twitter detectives (*cough* production), the girls were called over the loud speakers at the airport and told some guys found it and brought it there.   Sure, I believe the crew was really going to leave a passport on the ground at some random gas station and not doing anything about it.

Sure, it would have sucked for the super smart showgirls, but come on, stay out of it.  I know you didn’t want to lose the eye candy before the show really began, but you didn’t have to make it so obvious that you stepped in and helped.

The first episode finished with “Ma and Pa” finishing very dead last by a long shot, so they were sent home, right?  Wrong!  Week 1 and it’s already a non-elimination leg.  This naturally means they’re at a disadvantage, right?  Wrong again, my friends.  The first 15 or so minutes of episode 2 was spent allowing every team to catch up at the airport, then all hop on the same train together.

Seriously?  The only “race” part of the show consists of getting lucky on the taxi that’s planted at every airport for them. Between the luck of the taxi driver, the relative ease and sometimes luck of competitions, the show has really taken a downward turn over the past few seasons.  It’s basically just a traveling competition show now.

To top it off, the “game changer” last night was the fine print at one challenge where teams had to give the orphanage ALL their money and not just the money earned from the detour.   If you missed it, and most did, you had to walk back and turn in all the money.  This completely shook up the rankings, and paired with the double elimination week made the first real eviction basically all about who can pay attention to details of one clue over a duration of two episodes.

I’m going to keep watching to see if the show picks up, and mostly because I started liking and rooting for the snowboarders.  Hopefully this season isn’t a disappointment, but so far it’s off to a slow start.