TVGuide's 'Ask Matt' Column: TAR Can't Make Everyone Happy; Finale Comments
The following are questions answered by TVGuide's Matt Roush. Most are praising the finale and the winners while 2 other people sort-of criticize the show. :mad: And I take offense to that. You mess with TAR, you mess with me!
TVGuide's Roush Room: Ask Matt
Question: Bravo to those Amazing Racers, Chip and Reichen! Not only did they win with honor, without whining, and without fighting over the course of the competition but finally TV has gay personalities that aren't sterotypical, aren't showy, aren't arrogant. They are two men who prove that just because they're gay doesn't mean they aren't real men. — Howie H.
Matt: Yes, it was a satisfying finale, I thought — not just because of who won, but because the race was so tight and hard fought between the last two teams. (Kind of felt sorry for David and Jeff for being left so far behind. That had to hurt.)
But in a separate e-mail, Paul offered this critique on the winners: "I was wondering if there has been any sort of (deserved) negative backlash from Chip's comment about wanting to prove that gay people can do anything straight people can, as if homosexuality was a handicap. I thought Richard Hatch somewhat proved that on the first Survivor. I'm sure those in the Special Olympics would be proud of them. (Ironically enough, after that despicable comment I turned to UPN and saw a wrestler on WWE that only had one leg and thought, 'Wow, that would be more impressive if he were gay!') I have nothing against homosexuals, but the comments made were insulting to those with real handicaps that most would think would prevent them from doing things. Just wondered what you thought."
I haven't heard of any such backlash. I'm thinking the jubilation of the moment pretty much cancels out any politically correct fallout from these remarks. I'm sure someone as buff and athletic as Chip never dreamed of comparing his societal situation with the ordeals of the physically challenged.
More Amazing Race response from Sarah of Ft. Lauderdale, who rather breathlessly wrote: "Who did you want to win? Have you heard anything about an Amazing Race 5? (Please say yes! Say that it's coming back!) Did you know that there is an online petition to save the show? Do you think it might help? The guy who created the petition said that he just wants to show CBS how much people love the show. Do you think The Amazing Race has a chance at winning the Emmy?"
In order: I would have been content if any of the final three teams had won. All proved they were able to overcome the odds and their own plentiful mistakes. I was happy with how it turned out, though. In the summer of Queer Eye and other gay breakthroughs, it seemed awfully appropriate. As of this writing, I haven't heard anything about a new season of Amazing Race. A petition can't hurt, but I've always believed individual letters have more impact. Not that anything can sway CBS if the network doesn't believe in the show anymore. Hopefully we'll get our wish even without an Emmy win, which could help considerably. But I think in this new reality-competition category, it's more likely to go to the popular breakout hits, which would favor either Survivor or American Idol. If it's being judged on quality, though, then Race should win by, oh, about 40,000 miles.
And now some comments from Amazing Race non-fans...
Question: You keep stating that The Amazing Race is the classiest of the reality shows, but this season was really nasty. Everywhere you turned, there it was, from the childish line disputes, one contestant threatening to slash the tires of two other teams, one team obsessively making fun of another contestant with a mole on her face, another team fighting in Amsterdam with a scary viciousness (ironically, this was my favorite team when they weren't fighting), and the producers who saw nothing wrong with having the female contestants endure a train ride in male-only sections in order to complete a task (they wouldn't allow the male cameramen and sound guy in the women-only section) and then film them being groped and harassed for entertainment purposes. Is this really the mark of a classy reality TV show? — K.L.
Matt: Points taken, but this is still about as classy as reality TV ever gets, from what I can see. Which says something about reality TV, I'm sure. And I'm not saying the behavior of the Race contestants, though often revealing, is all that classy. Why should it be? Tell me you'd behave better if jostling for position while waiting to be ticketed, not knowing if there's enough room for all the teams. It would be excruciating. Pettiness often rears its ugly head during stressful situations, and taunts aside, these teams still seem to be taking a higher road than the contestants on sleazy dating games or disgusting extreme-game shows. (I suppose I should revise my earlier opinion to say that Jeopardy! is the classiest game show on TV. Can't imagine any argument there.) Anecdotally speaking, The Amazing Race is still the show I hear most often referred to as the reality show people can imagine themselves taking part in. It gets down and dirty, as any competition does, but the exhilaration and accomplishment of engaging in the race lifts it above the pack. The more I think about it, though, the more I have to conclude that Race fans don't appear to be the typical reality-TV viewer, who seems to prefer watching real people treated like lab rats in humiliating, sordid situations.
Question: Well, The Amazing Race has come and gone, taking its mediocre ratings with it. Not only did the finale draw lower 18-49 ratings than a typical Tuesday/Wednesday edition of Big Brother 4, it pretty much mirrored the demos of the Wednesday edition of Paradise Hotel. Here's why people never got into The Amazing Race. According to the host, non-elimination leg 12 was all about positioning. So Dave and Jeff grab the lead, and at the start of leg 13, they immediately run into an "equalizer" that once again bunches up the remaining contestants. So what was the point of leg 12? There was no point to leg 12! And that's why people can't get into TAR! — Brian
Matt: Fair enough. It's not a perfect game. What is? I admit I prefer when the non-elimination rounds (which are said to be randomly chosen) happen earlier in the game. It was obvious the penultimate episode would not be an elimination, which took away from the suspense. I can also understand the puzzlement over these "equalizers" that bunch all the teams together. But without them, some teams might pull so far ahead as to reduce any suspense whatsoever. That may be a flaw in the game, but it never worried me much. Even with those long waits, teams found different ways to get ahead. But to brandish ratings numbers as if that's a guarantee of quality, especially in a subjective area like reality TV, doesn't work for me in this case.
Originally Posted by NBCDaytimeFan
I think Chip meant to say that CUTE gay people can do anything. See there has been this horrible stereotype that cute gay men have to have sugar daddies to take care of them since they can barely function without the generosity of an older wealthy man. And Reichen breaks that stereotype to the t, because he had money before Chip and its not like Chip was financing his Airline charter business.
And I don't care if Reichen and Chip were pretty well off before the race, at least now they can finally afford beach front investment property. No more living in the ghetto for them.
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