11 May 2009
Well, stereotypes certainly took a beating this year as the nerdy Asian brains took the prize, the deaf kid made the finals, the short guys triumphed at every physical challenge and the cheerleaders and flight attendants made fewer mental mistakes than the Harvard elite. That said, I’m going to call every school but Harvard a loser on this one since the only racers who knew who Chekhov was were Harvard Law alum Tammy and Victor. But no one seemed to know how to swim, regardless of where they were taught to do everything else, so everybody loses on that front. Despite their moments of inspiration, the finale put Margie and Luke in the loser category as well, revealing them to be patience-less stress balls who may have had terrible challenges to overcome but also had no qualms about reminding everyone of that fact. The spirit of fairness and equality was lost a little in the penultimate leg when Tammy and Victor had an inexcusably big advantage with the Chinese food detour in Beijing, but the equally annoying equalizer of infrequent flights once again took away any lead they had built up, so their win can’t really be undermined by that production planning glitch in China. Impatient and rude Jaime and crazy catty Jen were also losers, not looking too pretty after bad behaviour on the race.
Firstly, obviously, Tammy and Victor who won a million dollars and a lot of bragging rights. Next there were the producers, who managed to make the show’s 14th season one of their best with interesting contestants, fun challenges and well-produced episodes. Women were also big winners this year, representing 75% of those still in the race for the final 2 legs and making for some of the season’s most memorable personalities and toughest competitors, (it’s also worth noting that 50% of the same group of final racers was made up of racial minorities). Family ties scored some serious points on the race too this year: the winners were siblings, third place went to a mother/son team, fourth place went to sisters, fifth to a pair of brothers and sixth to father and son. I’d also like to give winning props to Cara, who kept her head and calmly navigated her way to a second place finish, despite being dragged down by a negative and semi-abusive partner. And it has to be said that last night’s season finale marks a big win for my clairvoyancy skills, seeing as Tammy and Victor were my picks to win from week 1 (seriously, you can go check the archive, it’s there). But mostly, the viewers were the winners this season, because it really was quite a race.