The ATC Report

In Control – Vol. VIII, No. 4

This episode further highlighted what a bad idea “The Amazing Race, Family Edition®” really was. It also highlighted just how dumb some of these teams really are. From teams traveling “…over 200 miles”, to teams somehow managing to pronounce the word “colonel” as “colonial” (not just one team, but two), to teams having to find a mobile home park in Mississippi (insert your own joke here), to racers crying for the sake of crying, to the last place team being eliminated in their home town, all the way to hitting a 15 when the dealer shows a losing hand, this show is almost to the point of un-watchability. At least the Paolo family provides some comic relief as they give each other paper cuts, noogies, and wedgies. At least we know who to blame: Ray.

Rather than actually talk anymore about the episode (which you – like us – still watched), we thought we would try to answer a common question that we (as former racers) often get. Rarely a day goes by when someone doesn’t stop one or both of us and say, “Hey! You’re that Amazing Race guy! How did you get so damn good looking?”

That’s not the question we’re going to answer, but we’d just like to point out that it happens all the time. The fact that we both pay our wives large sums to approach us and say that on a daily basis means nothing. It still happens.

The question we’re really going to answer goes something like, “So, what can we do to get on the show? What should we do for our video/the interview/the race?” Folks, it’s easy. With the increasing popularity of The Amazing Race (at least until TAR8), there are now numerous books available on those exact subjects. Here are a few of them, you should be able to find one or more that suits your needs.

Train Wreck

Train Wreck: How Family Edition Is Ruining The Amazing Race, by Bertram Van Munster. Published by TARflies Publishing, $24.95, available at most book stores. This book is written by the show’s creator and delves into the real reasons that season number eight of CBS’s Emmy-award winning reality show became the “Family Edition.” His narratives of the meetings with CBS brass as they forced the season into existence are alone worth the price of the book, but race fans will also find plenty of material about all the previous seasons within. Van Munster creates a compelling argument against the CBS powers-that-be, and this book is a must-read for any true aficionado of the show.

One Opportunity Wasted

One Opportunity Wasted: 7 Really Good Seasons of The Amazing Race and One Not So Much, by Phil Keoghan. Published by S. Sucks and Co., $21.95, available in both hardcover and paperback at finer bookstores. The host of The Amazing Race “tells all” about the first seven (successful) seasons of the show, and lists the mistakes made in season eight. He presents a team-by-team analysis of all the racers, and even publishes his list of “favorite racers ever” – with some surprising results. (Hint: think air traffic controllers.) This book should be required reading for anyone thinking about applying for the show.

100 Racers Who Have Screwed Up

100 Racers Who Have Screwed Up In The Amazing Race (And Ray Is Number 37), by Miss Ali, Published by Groupthink, Ltd. Available via the Internet, or can occasionally be found in bargain bins, used book stores, and garage sales. This is a rather tough book to find, since only 500 copies were ever printed, and of those just 27 were sold. We don’t recommend the book so much for the opinions presented (as they are usually so far off the mark as to be ludicrous), but more for the value to future racers of doing exactly opposite of what the author suggests.

How To Lose Viewers And Influence Cancellation

How To Lose Viewers And Influence Cancellation, by Les Moonves. Published by BigEye Publishers, available in most bookstores. Anyone who has read “Trainwreck” should really read this account as well. This book gives the “other” version of the creation of The Amazing Race 8, Family Edition®. While the two books agree on most of the “facts”, it is truly interesting to see the mindset of upper level management at CBS presented within. Of course, the truly big revelation in this book deals with the very first attempt made to cancel The Amazing Race, back in season 4. Unfortunately for CBS, the cast proved to be one of the most open to the show’s fans, and the show itself garnered the only Emmy Award won by the big eye that year.