Amazing Race 28: "Social Media Personalities"

Anyone else watching this season?

The gimmick this season is that these are people already used to being on camera as Youtube stars, mostly. And I just watched the first episode, and I have to say, it shows. These are attractive, outgoing, fit people who are ideal for running the race.

The reason I started watching again is my parents actually told me that the fifth episode, which aired this week, is really good. So I started catching up tonight.

One thing I will say: Mexico City is gorgeous in this episode. Lots of modern buildings lit up so beautifully at night, great historic site later in the episode, and an amazing modern looking museum at the end.

The teams are a little harder to keep track of this season, since I don’t know them from Youtube, but by the end of the first episode, I think I had a pretty good handle on who is who. Especially at the back of the pack.

My wife and I have been watching and it’s been a good season so far. As far as scenery goes, the last episode was in (minor spoiler?) France in and around Mount Blanc, and the scenery looked amazing.

First off, I had never heard of any of these YouTubers, but they obviously have big followings, since more than once when they’re tooling around people see them and ask for selfies with them. One of the teams got mobbed in an airport even.

Secondly, I noticed in the last episode (no spoilers!) that when they’re asked to do something scary/thrilling/out of their comfort zone, that most, if not all, of these teams enthusiastically go for it - in prior seasons you’d always find someone who was afraid of heights, or didn’t want to get dirty, etc. Here, all the teams seem to be “this is why we’re on the Amazing Race, let’s do it!”

Thirdly, all of the teams seem to be pretty friendly toward each other. Most seasons you can tell which team is the jerk team that you’re supposed to root against. Here, everyone seems to more or less know each other (or maybe know “of” each other) due to them all being on social media. So it seems more like a party than a big competition. Don’t get me wrong, they’re competitive, but it’s more of a “we can beat these guys” and less of a “those guys are jerks, let’s screw them over.”

This season makes me realize that there is a completely different form of media that I was unaware of. I had only heard of a couple of the people on the show (the Vine-guy being one of them). My 16 year old nephew, on the other hand, knew almost every one of them.

I expected this season to be terrible, honestly. After a couple of seasons ago when they had the Youtube-couple on that seemed to think this was their big chance to act like over-the-top idiots on national TV. Figured this season would just be an entire show consisting of that personality type. Instead they’ve been pretty good; other than the mother-and-son “red team”. The son, for me, is exactly what I was afraid everyone was going to be. His exaggerated reactions to everything have been off-putting. He might not be acting or playing it up, but it feels like he is.

The only group I knew of was the guys who do the frisbee stunt shots. I’ve seen a few of their (rather impressive) videos. The others? No idea who they are.
Mount Blanc was beautiful. Lucky for them too, it was a perfect day to shoot.

This has been a very good season so far. None of the teams have been horrible and it does seem that the teams are competitive without being jerks. I suspect some of it has to do with the fact that they need to keep a decent public profile. Being douchebags does not help their brand.

So I caught up the Mt. Blanc episode. What a great season this has been. And that Mount Blanc episode is one of the best episodes of the show I’ve seen since the first four seasons.

Yeah, it really was a perfect day to shoot, but they also did such a great job, both with the helicopter shots and the handheld camera people near the racers, getting the perfect angles where you could see the racers as well as the slopes behind them in the shot. There was this one helicopter shot where it’s zooming into them on the top of the mountain, but with the zoom, you can see the town below them. So good. And those helmet cams! I’m so glad they upgraded them. They’re so much higher quality than previous seasons, so when they edited it all together, it’s no longer jarring to go to helmet cams.

And the end of the episode was really thrilling too. I love the way they edited it together and revealed who was in last place. I loved the drama up there of three teams ready to go, waiting for the wind. I also loved the little comforting and encouraging words the guides had for their parasailing partners. Lovely stuff. Great season, all likeable people, and a superb episode. One of the best.