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The Play's The Thing
Travis Eberle

The past few weeks of "The Amazing Race" have proved one of the most basic rules of the show: if the tasks are interesting, the locations don't matter. Whether it's lighting lamps on a Civil War battlefield, or getting sick on a NASA centrifuge, the challenges posed are what make the show for me.  I worried that the Race would suffer because they were staying mainly in the United States, but I was glad to be proven wrong.  Watching the original series on GSN's repeats furthers my points: bungee jumping in South Africa, following a path through a sewer and hauling rear up the Great Wall of China are hands down better than eating eleven thousand chocolate bits, finding the right lock for a key, or turning over hay bales.  Interesting games and domestic locations will beat boring contests overseas every day.

One of the reasons I enjoy "Big Brother" so much is that the producers are able to do such remarkable games out in the backyard every year.  Survivor has no such excuse - they have vast expanses of outdoors to do all these great games, and how often do we get "Three strikes and you're out" with the Survivor Jeopardy thing?  Way too often.  I'll give them points for that neat courtball thing they did a couple of weeks ago, and hope that we get more of same.  Last summer's BB gave us a Super Sized "Battleship" game, houseguests zooming on zip lines, and Life Sized chessboards.  Even their "how well do you know your housemates?" games are played on huge set pieces.

Every show has the same thing, whether it's "The Apprentice" with their 'make the best marketing campaign for the company of the week,' or "Fear Factor" offering up a "best of" buffet.., the best seemed to be at the very beginning, when there were all kinds of options to consider.  Now, after the shows have had three or four series, they stick to what has been done before, rather than trying something new, whether it's good or not.

If you would like to see Travis Eberle as a stunt coordinator for the next big adventure show, drop him an e-mail at traviseberle@gmail.com.

 

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