This year's newest 'twist' to The
Amazing Race is the U-Turn.
In the same way as the
Yield is used, a team arrives at the U-Turn clue box, and sticks a team
photograph on the board. That team, upon later arriving at the U-Turn
station, must then go back and complete the second half of the just
finished Detour before being allowed to continue racing. The other teams
only need to finish the one Detour task.
This means that a trailing team is going to trail even more after having
to complete both halves of a task, while all of the other teams scamper
ahead to Phil at the mat. What's the one thing that game (and 'reality'
shows, for that matter?) rely on most? A compelling ending where the
viewers don't know who will win until the very end.
Whether the penalty is losing money, or clothes, or just having to come
in first or suffer a half hour wait, all of those things hamstring the
team in last place, making their resurrection all the harder. Rather
than hamstringing the losing teams, the show should be focusing on ways
to introduce more competition into the race, perhaps some way for a
lagging team to jump ahead in the game.
Travis Eberle can be reached at