Contestants on CBS's Emmy-winning global wind sprint The Amazing Race
face many challenges, such as restraining themselves from strangling their partners until after
the race is over, and realizing that speaking louder and slower does not make foreigners understand English better. But the greatest challenges are the exotic, terrifying, and goofy competitions that frustrate players in every time zone. In Race
's fifth season, the 11 teams will recruit Calcuttans to help them push engineless cars, haul stones in front of the Sphinx like Egyptian slaves of yore, and participate in a chocolate-eating task that exec producer Bertram van Munster calls a "Willy Wonka
takeoff" in honor of the show's first little-person contestant....
The assorted "Roadblocks," "Detours," and "Fast Forwards" evolve from van Munster's preseason jaunt around the planet, where he devises a route and searches for indigenous sports, like last season's get-dragged-through-the-mud-by-a-bull spectacle in India. Back in California, challenge producer Jyn Buss (who has now moved on to devise games for Big Brother 5
) and his research team flesh out the ideas and test them around the office. For a Hawaii pit stop in AR4
, for example, Buss wanted teams to chisel open a rock to find a clue inside, so he experimented with many fabricated stonelike compounds, smashing them in the parking lot. Says the meticulous Buss, "I needed the competition to take at least 35 minutes to see frustration on the players' faces."...
Nothing exhilarates Race
producers more than seeing a player self-destruct over one of their creations; reminiscing about AR3
champ Flo's aneurysm-baiting tantrum while attempting to maneuver a round boat in Vietnam, van Munster gets positively giddy: "She got so frustrated!" Forget the Emmys: For the Race
crew, watching a player burst into tears is the real
sign of a job well done.