The Amazing Race Season 23 Review “We’re Not in Oklahoma No More”

The Amazing Race is back, everybody! After 12 years, 23 seasons, and tens of thousands of miles, “We’re Not in Oklahoma No More” kicked off with a typically exciting episode and introduced us to our diverse and interesting cast. This show is like comfort food to me, or like a warm blanket that you can always cuddle up to. You know that twice a year, like clockwork, CBS is going to provide us with an incredible well-produced and exciting reality competition series. It may not be revolutionary, but it feels like home!

This race kicked off with a fun Wild West theme, and by Phil Koeghan revealing that they’re doing the double express pass thing again for the winner of the first leg. The double express pass ended up being a bit of a bust last season, so I’m hoping it gets used a little more intelligently this time.

It’s tough to really tell too much about the teams in only the first leg, but I can already tell that Tim and Marie are going to be the “mental breakdown” team. They were already at each other’s throats and calling names about two minutes out of the starting line. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve yelled at my wife a couple times thanks to the lovely Los Angeles traffic and confusing freeways, but you’d think they’d be able to handle themselves after only racing for a couple minutes. They were somehow able to squeak out first place on the first leg (thanks to a bonehead penalty that we’ll discuss later) and they even credited their bickering as a reason for their first place finish! Well, I guess that means they won’t be stopping the yelling anytime soon. Hey, at least it’ll make good television, right?

Nicole and Travis certainly came out of the gate looking like solid contenders. They look physically fit, and they’re ER doctors, so you’d think they’d be really smart, right? Well, I guess they’re the perfect team to demonstrate the first rule of The Amazing Race: Read your clues! Even the smartest team could glaze over the fine print. Heck, there was even a hashtag about it on the screen! It was all the more apparent because they literally said “Make your way on foot to the pit stop…TAXI!” Dude, listen to the words that are coming out of your mouth! So they incurred a 30 minute penalty, which I think is a little frustrating. Why can’t you just go back to the Road Block and make it back to the Pit Stop on foot? Surely that would have taken less than 30 minutes, since it looked like Tim and Marie made it there in just a couple minutes. Even more teams weren’t reading the clues, though, as the Afghanimals and the father/daughter team both didn’t read the Road Block rules properly.

I loved that they basically tricked the contestants into doing the paragliding. While it was a fun little bit of misdirection, I hope they don’t continue to switch them out like this. It would be pretty irritating if you tried to assign the much more appropriate team member to a certain task, only to find out that the other one needs to do it. I was a little annoyed by the rowing road block. It seemed like all of the teams at the beginning had no problem getting five fish from each boat, but then all of the contestants at the end kept being told that they were out of fish. Did they literally run out of fish? Because that doesn’t seem quite fair for the teams that get there later. They shouldn’t have to compete in a harder challenge.

Anyway, the father/daughter team of Hoskote and Naina are the first to go. Hoskote wasn’t a very likable dude, always blaming his daughter for everything. They reminded me a lot of the Asian father/daughter team that competed a couple seasons ago, but at least these two were sent home before they started to get even more annoying. Oh, and their whole “arranged marriage” schtick was pretty lame. How does your father wanting you to have an arranged marriage factor in to this race at all?

Despite some questionable decisions regarding the challenges, The Amazing Race got off to a predictably solid start this evening. Here’s to hoping they keep it up in the next few weeks!

What did you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments section below!

Random Thoughts:

– Fun fact: The Old West set where the teams started is literally seven minutes from my house. They used to film a lot of old westerns right next to us, and they still film stuff there like Justified on FX.

– I don’t understand why Kim was all of a sudden so scared when the paragliding guy told her that she was 600 meters about sea level. I mean, you can just look down and see how high you are.

– It was a pretty fun little touch that the contestants could actually move around the camera on their paragliders. Ephraim would even tweak it to give the viewers a better view of the scenery. Thanks, Ephraim!