TVGuide's Matt Roush Answers More TAR Questions
From TVGuide Online: Ask Matt
Question: At the end of your review in the Aug. 23 edition of TV Guide, you state that you hope CBS will find a way to bring back the Emmy-nominated Amazing Race. Does that mean it has been cancelled??!! Please say it ain't so. And in an unrelated topic: Last Comic Standing. I also stopped watching it after a while, but it was because of the cruel way the other "comics" were treating Dat Phan. When it came time to vote, I voted for him as many times as was allowed. I'd be willing to bet there were a lot of others out there who felt the same way. — Charlotte S.
Matt: Sympathy may well have been the deciding factor in who won Last Comic Standing. That's as good a theory as any I've heard. As for Amazing Race, quite a few people were either confused or startled by my plea for the show to continue. Yes, the show has been on all summer, but as of this moment, CBS has yet to give the show a greenlight for a fifth season. I was hoping that in my annual diatribe against Big Brother, I might be able to shame CBS into ponying up for a reality TV show that aims a little higher than just being trash. Wouldn't that be refreshing?
Question: When I read your recent article on Big Brother 4, I can't say I was suprised. Your annual BB bashing is almost a tradition. But anyway, I was wondering what makes Amazing Race a better show? To me there is no strategy other than getting up early and getting lucky. However, Big Brother is the only reality series where you can actually see people interacting and forming strategies that you can watch from start to finish. It is actually fun to watch, considering you don't know what to expect from week to week. More than I can say for Survivor, which is won by dumb luck and nothing more. — Andrew G.
Matt: I think it depends on your definition of what's fun to watch. What I and other fans of Amazing Race value about the show is the fact that it rewards achievement, and that the show is always moving and going someplace — and often someplace fantastic. Yes, it often depends on luck, but also on initiative, on endurance and on being flexible enough to get around in strange and foreign locales. Race rarely dwells on the bottom-feeding attributes that are so common to much of reality TV: backstabbing, lying, bitching and moaning, and lying around thinking of nothing but how to get someone they don't like out of a claustrophobic house. I find Big Brother to be a very depressing show (though it's a classic compared to the truly vile Paradise Hotel), and I would defend my opinion that this year's "cast" is a big evolutionary step down from last season, when at least there were vivid and memorable personalities like Amy, Marcellus, Danielle, Jason, Roddy, Chiara, etc. I've been keeping up with BB4 off and on, and try to watch at least the elimination nights, but I find this group to be completely forgettable. But I'm sure a year from now I'll be having this same conversation, since CBS considers the show a summer keeper. And they're probably right. CBS is wise to keep the show a strictly summer event.