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"You Look Like Peter Pan": High-Flying Moves After a Season of Dramatic Lows on the "Amazing Race" Season Finale

Last night brought us the conclusion of the latest cycle of CBS' reality franchise The Amazing Race and, while this past season hasn't been the series' best, I do have to say that I was caught up in the action, tension, and Peter Pan-high flying escapades of last night's installment.

(Additionally, my wife is originally from Portland, Oregon so it's likely that there was a fair amount of nostalgia for PDX going on for the final leg of the million-dollar race. Not to mention cheering when they showed that iconic Made in Oregon sign.)

I have to say that, while I wasn't the biggest champion for this lackluster season, I was happy about the final outcome of the race and pleased as punch that mistake-prone frat boys Dan and Andrew didn't walk away with the top prize. (Come on, even if you haven't yet seen last night's finale, you know they had a snowball's chance in hell of winning this thing.)

I knew from the very start that Nick and Starr would win if they could just stay focused on their own performance and not get sidetracked by competitiveness with the other teams (Starr) or become romantically entangled with their competitors (ahem, Starr again).

They were, in my opinion, one of the strongest teams ever to participate in the Race and the producers definitely tried to play up their rivalries with their fellow Racers throughout the season. But this brother-and-sister combo managed to keep their heads down, outwit the other teams, and finish detours and road blocks in record time. They even managed to finish ahead of other teams when faced with taxicab drivers from hell who seemed devilishly bent on knocking them out of the race.

As for Ken and Tina, I was pretty damn impressed with how much competition they offered the much younger Nick and Starr and by the fact that the Race really did recharge and renew their struggling marriage. Ken shakily taking out their wedding rings and tearfully placing Tina's back on her finger (after a long time off) was just the icing on the cake.

And I was super-impressed with how well they remembered their previous destinations during this week's challenge, in which they had to match route markers with various instructions, detours, road blocks, and pit stops from each of the legs thus far. Not an easy task, that, especially the physical element of running back and forth from the clue boxes to the board over and over again. And Tina not only got over her fear of heights to do the High & Dry Detour, but she seemed to relish the zipline drop from the Bridge of the Gods outside Portland.

It does seem like The Amazing Race really can bring people together and improve their life outlook, no?

I would suggest next time around, however, that the producers focus a bit more on casting. While I enjoyed Nick and Starr's enthusiasm and drive (and Ken and Tina's rows), there weren't very many teams to root for or against on this cycle, which definitely goes down with TAR: Family Edition as one of the least enjoyable and exciting seasons of this venerable series.

But my congratulations go out to Nick and Starr for managing to play smart, run hard, and stay together throughout many an obstacle along the way and take home the million dollar prize after so many first place wins this season. Way to go, guys!

Amazing Race is set to return with a new season on February 15th on CBS.


Jon88 said…
"... I was super-impressed with how well they remembered their previous destinations ..." And I was kind of unimpressed that the teams seem not to have figured out by now that they should keep a piece of paper in their pocket with a running list of everywhere they've gone and everything they've done. Or is that against the rules?
I enjoyed the season finale but agree that this was one of the least interesting seasons of The Amazing Race. I don't know if it was the casting or if I'm just getting tired of the format (which would be sad because I used to love this show!) but this season just did not hold my interest. I am glad, though, that Nick and Starr won. They are definitely one of the strongest teams ever to compete. And Nick really did look like Peter Pan on that zip line!
Anonymous said…
I still love this show (and even write reviews for it myself over at, but this was a pretty annoying season... I mean, for goodness sake READ THE DIRECTIONS! These people were killing me with the huge mistakes that could have been avoided by simply reading the clues. Seriously!

And "amen" to the Family Edition being total crap.

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