The first Philippine edition of “The Amazing Race” is currently a nightly viewing treat on TV5, with different pairs of idiosyncratic players going on an antic tour of the country in their mad dash for the race’s top prize.
Compared to its American version, the homegrown show is more in-your-face (and throat) in the tests it subjects its contestants to. Aside from the heightened “yuck” factor as the players are made to ingest all sorts of creepy, crawly morsels, the “kooky” and even the “crazy” element appears to have been hyped up, the better to create little conflicts and feuds here and there to make the unfolding tilt all the more “eventful.”
We understand where the show is coming from but all of those hectic subplots and cantankerous players eventually get to be a predictable drag. Yes, it’s tough being an “Amazing Race” contestant, but what did these wheedlers and complainers expect? It all comes with the territory, and the weepers and whiners should quit the race before it gets even tougher!
We also note that the original American edition of the race is generally more “strategy”-oriented than the Filipino variety. It could be because the race here is a local one and the players are Pinoys, so most everybody knows the transportation situation and other exigencies beforehand, thus most of the strategic advantages are effectively neutralized.
Or, it could also be that the people behind the show think that interpersonal competition and bickering is a bigger viewer “hook” than more cerebral factors, so they focus on it, instead!
Unfortunately, this ends up giving more “face time” on-cam to the louder and more bipolar types, to the great disadvantage of contestants who are more focused and thus less “idiosyncratic” players.
More than winning
True, they may end up winning the race, but the tilt isn’t just about winning, it’s also about winning the TV audience over, with all sorts of self-serving and attention-calling tics, shticks and gimmicks!
We hope that, as players are sequentially eliminated, the freaky and freak-out types will be among the first to go, so that the last legs of the race will be more about heart, determination, strategy and alliances, and less about in-your-face one-upmanship and wicky-wacky “entertainment.”
Finally, we must note with some regret that Derek Ramsay isn’t turning out to be a good fit in his role as the tilt’s host and games master. We expected otherwise, given his buff physique and performing experience. But, those two assets are not fusing into a dynamic whole just yet, as Derek seems to be unable to infuse his spiels with enough “personality” to enable him to make the show his own.
Well, even as the best players have enough time to make a stronger impact on the show, so does Derek have sufficient exposure left on the program to make his personal and more energetic inputs and “flavor” felt.
We trust, however, that all these improvements will see the light of TV day long before the race shall have ended its “amazing” run!