Welcome back for the 19th Amazing Race, fresh off of their eighth Emmy win for Best Reality Show. I must admit, next to its first win, this one was most surprising. I really thought Top Chef: All-Stars was a better show last year, but I am certainly not complaining. Year in and year out, the Race is of high quality. Perhaps some more than others, but high quality nonetheless. And now we have the 19th edition, embarking yet again from California.
Now – the teams.
Ethan and Jenna – Yep, THAT Ethan and Jenna. The winners of Survivor: Africa and Amazon, contestants on All-Stars, and long-time dating couple. Both have been very involved in charitable activities since their fame and fortune was achieved, and Ethan had a very public battle with cancer. On Survivor, Ethan was the “good guy” on Africa and a very amiable person. Jenna had a strange Amazon experience, going from spoiled sorority brat to challenge monster, to lesser of two evils. Jenna is one-half of the infamous peanut butter and chocolate flashers that season. They have Rob and Amber as their precedent setters as Survivor crossovers. Romber were villainous on Survivor, but were mostly fun to watch on the Race. We shall see how these guys are going to be.
Ethan and Jenna are the big casting story, but there are some other interesting teams. Nicknames will be needed.
Andy and Tommy – They are former Olympic snowboarders from 2002 and 2006. They claim to not be slackers, but the two of them raced this first leg as if they had just gotten back from a Grateful Dead concert.
Laurence and Zac – That’s Laurence with a U and Zac with no H or K. So, that’s some fun spelling. Larry is English or Aussie, which is interesting. I don’t recall there ever being someone from another country on the show before, so that’s a first. Zac is the youngest person to sail around the world. So, while the rest of us were bowling and hanging out at Denny’s at his age, he was pulling a Magellan.
Ernie and Cindy – She is a control freak. Excellent. That always goes well on this show.
Justin and Jennifer – The two of them are going to be loads of fun, as there will be some crazy sibling blowups with these two hotheads.
Bill and Cathi – Grandparent farmers who “understand manual labor.” We also have another creative speller on our hands. Older couples have been on most seasons, but few have ever really been relevant. After this first episode, I don’t see that changing anytime soon.
Liz and Marie – Blond gorgeous twins. Well, that’s something for some fan fiction. Oh, and stereotypical ditzy blondes. Awesome. So, they are going to be chock full of comedy. They are better looking than the previous ditzy blonde twins – AR5 Kami/Karli – but might actually be denser.
Jeremy and Sandy – My namesake gets some chance for redemption. The previous Jeremy was the tool counterpart to Eric/Jeremy on AR9. They were one of the best teams ever, but all he talked about was screwing the other Racers, greeters, travel agents, farm animals, etc. This Jeremy and his lady friend are both divorced and are the latest team to use the Race as a test of their relationship.
Ron and Bill – And our latest gay couple entry. They are easily the first nickname of the season – Guido 2. Heck, both have team members named Bill. They are flight attendants, which could come in handy during the travel portion of the Race.
Marcus and Amani – This team features former Indianapolis Colts tight end Marcus Pollard and his wife. Pollard was a very good player – a good receiver and as a tight end, part of the offensive line. Those huge players are tasked with opening holes for the running backs to run through, and for protecting the quarterback. In Pollard’s case, one of those quarterbacks was Peyton Manning, one of the best ever. Marcus has lots of energy and enthusiasm, and unlike Ethan/Jenna, should be able to hide his fame nicely.
Kaylani and Lisa – These are former Las Vegas showgirls with really, really attractive bodies. I mean, they are really good looking. They also claim to be smart as well as attractive. This episode does not prove their point.