The Amazing Race Season 23 Review “Speed Dating Is The Worst”

The Amazing Race returned tonight with the very entertaining “Speed Dating Is The Worst”, as the teams make their way from Vienna, Austria to Abu Dhabi. It would be difficult to think of two cities that are as different as these two, so it was definitely a shock to go from Europe these past few weeks to the Middle East.

One of my favorite things to do in every Amazing Race episode is check what time the teams are departing, as this tells you how far apart they were in the last episode. They always edit the show to make it look like the teams are so close together, but the times can sometimes reveal that the “neck and neck” finishes are up to a half hour apart. This week’s departure times revealed that Tim and Marie arrived a full five minutes before Jason and Amy. It appears that the producers just asked Tim and Marie to stick around just so that they could have that little spat on camera.

The flights to Abu Dhabi were pretty uneventful, with Leo and Jamal being the only team on the first flight, and that only got them a 10 minute head start. That lead quickly evaporated as soon as they got to their destination, so there was very little “Travel Fu” to enjoy tonight.

The detour had the teams choosing between arranging dates and constructing fishing nets. I was surprised that both of the challenges were detail oriented tasks, as they usually have one that is more hard labour or strength based. You really had to be artistically inclined and crafty to be able to arrange both of those items correctly, so if you were bad at puzzles then you would be screwed.

The one little touch that I did appreciate tonight was the yacht ride to the road block. They could have just asked the teams to take a cab or something, but they decided to let them ride in style. I wish that they gave us even more opportunities like this, to just soak in the beautiful sights of the city. These teams are so lucky to get the opportunity to be on this show, but I do sometimes feel bad for them that they don’t get to really take in the sights. They’re always so laser focused on getting to the next challenge or pit stop, so I’m glad they let them stop and smell the roses tonight.

Three episodes in now with Nicole and Travis having the Express Pass, and we still don’t know what leg they need to use it by. I’m assuming that they can’t use it in the final leg, but maybe anything before that is fair game. I’d still like some confirmation of this on the show, though.

The road block tonight let one of the team members pull a James Bond as they rappelled into a speeding car. I was a bit disappointed that the Kings girls didn’t come in last place, since it seemed like Ally didn’t even make the effort to read her clue before attempting the task. She seemed to have no idea what she was supposed to do! I’m glad that the baseball wives are sticking around for at least one more leg, as they really seem to be enjoying the race and spending time with one another. That’s more then I could say for some of these teams! Tim and Marie, I’m looking at you!

Random Thoughts:

– I thought the pit stops were always 12 hours? So how did Nicole and Travis arrive in the sunlight, apparently in the afternoon, but then they departed at 12:03 PM? It definitely wasn’t 12:03 AM when they checked in last week.

– Marie’s actions at the detour were definitely affirming the women’s roles in Arabic culture. I just wanted the date salesman to look into the camera and say “See, this is why we don’t let the women do anything in our country!”

– Did anybody else find it a bit distracting to have that Formula 1 race car in the background of the teams when they gave their interviews? When they arrived at the road block it all made sense, but it was still pretty weird. Usually it’s just a generic backdrop!