'Amazing Race' really is amazing
May. 29, 2003 12:00 AM http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu...529race29.html
The best reality show that nobody is watching starts its fourth edition tonight. So don't set your VCRs and don't program your TiVos, because apparently CBS' The Amazing Race isn't destined to get the big audience it deserves.
Nobody is a relative term, of course. A little more than 9 million people watched the third edition, but it was outrated not only by the popular but less well-crafted The Bachelor, but by ABC's Are You Hot? and some 80 other prime-time shows.
Considering how clever and entertaining Amazing Race is, that's a travesty.
The show pits 12 couples against one another in a global race. They get treasure-hunt style clues from the producers, and the last one to reach the day's destination is eliminated.
It's several cuts above the usual reality fare because the filming and editing are so astute and because, even before that, the couple relationships are carefully selected for dramatic tension.
This time out, there are two NFL wives from Atlanta, a pair of models from Miami Beach, a father and son trying to reconnect, engaged virgins with commitment issues, a pair of, literally, clowns.
Putting the couples under the strain of a task-oriented race, the producers cunningly discover windows into the tensions in any relationship. But more than highlighting misbehavior, the show is rich with humor and human decency, too.
Race comes from the Jerry Bruckheimer production house (the CSIs, Without a Trace), and although a different genre, it holds up the action-movie producer's tradition of making smart, stylish TV. People usually like that sort of thing.